In six months I went from a political outsider to the only Tea Partier our president actually knows. Until recently, I had never been to a political rally, much less been an activist. I frankly found politics to be a repulsive display of backroom deals, dishonesty, personal attacks and smear tactics designed to intimidate normal Americans from joining the process. But everything changed with Obamacare.
Many years ago, I took an inviolate oath to my patients that has become increasingly difficult to keep each time the government forces itself between my patients and me. I must admit that I may take this assault on our health system - and on our freedom - personally because I am not only a physician but also Barack Obama's cousin.
I made the difficult decision to "go public" and take a stand for my patients, my profession and my country. This launched a dizzying whirlwind of television shows, reporters, newspapers, Op-Eds columns, radio programs, criticisms, praise, speaking engagements and, yes, the very political rallies I always had avoided. My first rally was on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, where I joined Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, and actor Jon Voight as a headline speaker standing before 30,000 Tea Party patriots. My first taste of politics was a drink from a fire hydrant.
The Republicans took notice, and I agreed to meet privately with party insiders. I was warned that there would be sharp minds and sharp elbows, and no one in attendance was too bashful to put them on display. Indeed. I entered this belly of the beast not knowing what to expect or even whom to expect.
What I saw was not just a who's-who list of power brokers and officials, but also genuine, normal people. Some faces I recognized; others I did not. They ran the gamut from those who have run and funded campaigns to those who have humbly knocked on doors and manned phones for a cause. There were people in the room who had dedicated years of their lives to serving our nation; some, decades. And there were people in the room who knew that the Republican Party had gone astray.
They said to me that I could bridge the gap between the Republican Party and the Tea Party. I knew immediately that this was a unique opportunity for me to get a few things off my chest. Here was my answer to them:
If you think one person can bridge the gap between Republicans and Tea Partiers, then it's bigger than you realize. I can't bridge the gap, but I can tell you how to close it: Stand with the Tea Party people. Embrace their three founding principles: (1) Follow the Constitution, (2) stop the runaway spending and (3) protect the free market.
I told them that I have been a Republican all my life, but I haven't always been a proud Republican. The nation entrusted itself to my party, and we lost our way. I don't care if you have a D or an R behind your name, if you violate these bedrock principles, if you serve to grow the government at the expense of our liberty, if you seek to increase our tax burden, if you trust Washington elites more than the American people, you are part of the problem.
Furthermore, both the Ds and the Rs are so busy insulting each other and the Tea Party people that they conveniently forget to address the actual issues at hand.
I admit I probably take some of the attacks against Barack too personally, but there's no place for such attacks against anyone. We all know the drill: Republicans are stupid, greedy, racist, rich evildoers, and Democrats are narcissistic, anti-American, tree-hugging, pocket-picking dilettantes. The Tea Party people are the dangerous, mouth-breathing, crazy, Nazi-inspired, racist fringe.
The truth is there's nothing to be gained by insulting each other, and I won't have it. I told them I will be the first to defend Barack or anyone from personal attacks. Besides, I'd rather win in the marketplace of ideas. But for the sake of our republic, I would launch the mother of all family feuds, if that's what it takes, and take my cousin Barack to task not for some petty, spun-up inference, but for his actual policies. It would be an epic showdown for the heart and soul of America.
I would make him defend the bank bailouts, the failed $814 billion stimulus, double-digit unemployment and the auto-industry takeover. Make him defend the disastrous health care takeover, the 16,000 new IRS agents. Make him explain why he broke his eight pledges to hold health care hearings in public.
I'd make him explain why he became our appeaser-in-chief, bowing (sometimes literally) to the demands of dictators. Make him explain why he abandons Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East, but won't "meddle" in Iran while it is racing for a nuclear bomb. Make him explain why he wants to grant constitutional rights to the Sept. 11 terrorists but disregards his own constitutional obligation todefend America's borders from invasion.
I'd make him explain why taxpayers should pony up for yet another borrowed-money stimulus when the first one failed so miserably. Why he gave a second round of permanent big-bank bailouts but ignores Main Street businesses that actually create jobs. Make him explain why he broke his pledge not to raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000 and, for that matter, why he thinks families making more than $250,000 - the people who actually create jobs - aren't already taxed enough. Make him explain why each baby born today is welcomed into America with the shackles of more than $40,000 of debt.
I'd make him explain why a government that can't even plug an oil leak can somehow manage the complexities of our lives better than we can ourselves. It's time he explained why he or any president should exercise the unholy power to choose which Americans will be winners and which will be losers.
It's not a smear to say Barack Obama is just flat-out wrong. To disagree with him is not racist, and it's not a personal attack to say he's got some explaining to do. But even that's not the point.
The Tea Party movement exists, I told them, not because of the Democrats. We know who they are, with their tax increases, endless spending and Washington-knows-best takeovers. No, the Tea Parties exist because of the failures of the Republican Party. We were supposed to be the ones Americans could trust.
For too long, the Washington establishment - including Republicans - has been more interested in growing its own power than honoring the ideals upon which generations before us have built the greatest nation in history.
I realize that other serious issues exist. Some of those, in fact, are very important to me. But our nation is in a collapse of our own making because we have violated these basic principles, and if we don't get them right and do it now, we won't survive long enough to fight for those other causes. There comes a time when we must be Americans and take a stand, not for party, but for nation. That time is now.
So, no, neither I nor any other person can bridge that gap between the Republican Party and the Tea Party, but I can help close it. Republicans are now given a second chance for a rendezvous with destiny. Embrace the American bedrock principles of constitutionally limited government, true fiscal responsibility and free markets. And thank the patriotic people of the Tea Party movement for reminding us all just how it was that America became the greatest nation on God's green earth.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf is a board-certified, practicing diagnostic radiologist and President Obama's cousin. He operates the website miltonwolf.com.