- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama famously said: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. We are the hope of the future; the answer to the cynics who tell us our house must stand divided; that we cannot come together; that we cannot remake this world as it should be.”

His prophetic utterance has come true. However, it is not the progressives led by the president and the 111th Congress that were the ones “we’ve been waiting for.” Quite the contrary, the 111th Congress was banished by the American people. Without knowing it, candidate Barack Obama was predicting the rise of the Tea Party movement.

The results of a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in January show that 71 percent of Americans say it’s important that Republicans in Congress take into account the objectives and positions of the Tea Party movement when it comes to dealing with the problems facing the nation. This is true of 88 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats. Astounding, but only to those outside the movement. It seems that more than any other political force at work in the nation today, it is the Tea Party that is bringing us together.

The same poll shows that only 13 percent of Americans want to keep Obamacare as it is. Eighty-five percent want it changed.

The Tea Party movement is at the vanguard of American politics. It is an expression of a unified multitude of Americans who share a grave concern about the fiscal health of their country and who are not going to sit passively still as we go from one staggering degree of fiscal danger to another. Government is growing at breakneck speed and is spending money faster than the Treasury Department can print it.

In a similar misreading of the condition of this country and its citizens, during his State of the Union Address the president declared a “Sputnik moment” for the nation. The president is mistaken. There is no Sputnik moment, other than the one his administration is fabricating.

The most important race facing this nation is not to manufacture solar shingles and highly subsidized electric cars. No. The real race is to pull our country back from the brink of fiscal disaster and set it on a safe course. While the political class has milled around aimlessly, occupying itself with increasing deficit spending and adding to our already oppressive regulatory burdens, Main Street America long ago leapt to action and is way ahead - by a country mile. While the politicians fiddled with massive “transformative” legislation and were hailed by the media, Main Street mobilized. The Tea Party emerged.

The answer to our nation’s most pressing problems will not be engineered by academics and self-styled “experts.” No amount of egghead brain power and federal funding will dig us out of the massive fiscal hole excavated by our government.

The wise men of today who can launch our nation on a trajectory toward safety, for the most part, are not the rocket scientists found inside the Beltway or in the halls of academia. Quite the contrary - they reside on Main Street.

In the absence of a single figurehead, the Tea Party is itself the Ronald Reagan of our age, intent on injecting life and vitality into this country, which bears the horrible weight of malaise brought about by the dereliction of the political class. The movement is the embodiment, the personification of his ideals.

Members of the Tea Party movement have fully embraced and are personally committed to Reagan’s very wise counsel, embodied in the following memorable quotations:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.”

“Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.”

“To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I did not take the oath I have just taken with the intention of presiding over the dissolution of the world’s strongest economy.”

And, most memorably, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

In our country today, who is standing at the metaphoric Brandenburg Gate, facing down the grave danger of the rule of the political class? Main Street America senses the grave threat and sees the extreme damage being caused by the rule of the political class. The Tea Party is comprised of those standing on the ramparts, fearlessly speaking the truth, ready to usher in an era of governmental sanity, security and prosperity for all Americans.

It has been a beautiful thing to witness the nascent Tea Party’s rise from nothing to an enormous coalition of Main Street Americans in less than two years. What has brought them together? Three very simple core principles: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. Around these three fundamental principles, so rudimentary to the nature, functioning and success of our nation, most Americans can join together in wholehearted agreement.

Tea Partyers feel betrayed by the establishment powers of both the Democratic and Republican parties, which have contributed to the wild, rampant growth of government. Even with the recent Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, there are absolutely no guarantees of sanity being restored to governance in Washington. Christopher Beam, writing for the Dec. 26 issue of New York Magazine, stated: “That’s how conservative politics is played - talk shrinkage, do growth.” In the case of President George W. Bush, the Republican-led houses of Congress were his willing collaborators in the expansion of government size and spending.

A couple of years ago, the Republican National Committee and Republican leaders were clueless and impotent regarding how to regain power in Washington until Main Street America stepped in to lead the way. From the summer of 2009’s town-hall meetings and the health care reform bill protests to the Tax Day rallies and Tea Party marches to last fall’s get-out-the-vote efforts, it was the people of Main Street who blazed a trail to victory for the Republicans. However, it was not the Tea Party’s intention to restore power to the Republican establishment. Its goal is to install representatives who are truly in touch with their constituencies, who are dedicated to upholding our Constitution and who are immune to the allure of membership in the political class. Washington is in desperate need of reformation.

In November’s midterm elections, Republicans captured 63 Democratic seats in Congress and swept more than 600 Republicans into statehouses across the nation, turning this country from mostly blue to mostly red. The Tea Party has, for now, found a temporary home within the Republican Party. Will it be a permanent, welcoming home or will it prove to be incompatible and parasitic? Time will tell.

Main Street America will never again respect and trust the political class. The center of this nation wants nothing more than to send the political class packing.

During the past couple of years, the White House and the other centers of political power made perfectly clear their contempt and loathing for Main Street America. From the president employing sexual innuendo in calling Tea Partyers “Tea Baggers” to Nancy Pelosi insinuating that town-hall meeting attendees were Nazis to Paul Krugman’s recently tripping over himself to be the first pundit to recklessly demonize Tea Partyers as responsible for the shooting tragedy in Tucson, the examples are legion.

The political class wants Main Street to shut up, obey and blindly accept its directives. Those days are gone forever. The Tea Party is the sole threat to their existence and they clearly know it.

Many in this country have suggested that it would take another Carter administration to bring about another Ronald Reagan. This is exactly what has happened. The Tea Party movement is the embodiment of Ronald Reagan’s ideals, wisdom and courage.

Doug Mainwaring is a member of the National Capital Tea Party Patriots.

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