- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2012

Democrats didn’t understand the Tea Party movement in 2010, and they don’t understand it now. That’s fine. They suffered historic losses because of their blissful ignorance, and they will do so again. The more interesting question is whether the Republicans understand.

The Tea Party’s three guiding principles are limited government, constitutional fidelity and free-market economics. In three short years, this nascent movement has fundamentally transformed the political landscape. Activists have targeted statists of both political parties and have supported whichever candidate better reflects the guiding principles.

Witness the historic and improbable election of Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown. Hardly a Tea Party poster child, he became the beneficiary of the only movement in America powerful enough to break the decades-long stranglehold the Kennedy clan had on Massachusetts. The Tea Party mobilized solely to secure “the 40th vote against Obamacare.”

The stakes in 2012 could not be higher. In every election, every congressman, every senator and, most important, the presidency itself is that proverbial 40th vote against Obamacare. But it’s so much more. A nearly trillion-dollar failed stimulus. Bank bailouts. Auto takeovers. Unemployment. Food stamps. America’s credit downgrade. Intentionally skyrocketing gas prices. And a president who submissively bows before our adversaries. The 2012 election must stop Barack Obama’s radical departure from what once made America that “shining city upon a hill.”

During the run-up to Obamacare, Mr. Obama - caught without a teleprompter - famously said America was a nation “on the precipice” of passing his health care takeover. He surely meant to say threshold, but, as it turns, he was correct in his word choice.

Enter Mitt Romney. America is a center-right nation with perennial polls showing that conservatives outnumber liberals 2-1. Democrats and their allies in the media know there simply aren’t enough liberals to defeat Republicans, so they will do everything they can to split the Tea Party from Mitt Romney. They will fail.

Mitt Romney boldly pledges to rebuild the foundation of what he calls an “opportunity society.” This stands in stark contrast to Mr. Obama’s attempt to “fundamentally transform” America into a government-centered society. Mr. Romney trusts Americans to unleash their talents and treasures to rebuild an economy in desperate need of America’s can-do attitude. Mr. Obama trusts government to determine which industries or crony companies you will be forced to fund.

The Romney Revolution to rejoin the long arc of America’s history that embraces individual liberty has a force unlike any other in modern history: the Tea Party. Sixty-six million Americans consider themselves to be part of or supportive of the Tea Party. The movement that sent shock waves by catapulting Mr. Brown into office is ready to go to work for Mitt Romney.

The Tea Party, it’s important to realize, will not simply get in line with Republicans. Its members are prepared to be Mitt Romney’s best friend, or his worst enemy. Just ask former Utah Sen. Robert Bennett or former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Republicans whose careers ended abruptly at the hands of the Tea Party. There is, as author and blogger Glenn Reynolds said in the title of his book, “An Army of Davids” who yearn to breathe free and simply have run out of patience with politicians of either party who think otherwise.

Gone are the days of the blank check. Republicans, before the Tea Party, gave President George W. Bush a blank check, and he gave us “no bureaucrat left behind” and the largest expansion of Medicare in the history of the program. Mr. Bush’s blank check also gave us Mr. Obama, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and with them the rise of the government-centered society that puts us on the path to becoming a second-rate, European-style social welfare state.

Tea Party members will pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to restoring our republic, but they will not give President Mitt Romney a blank check. He understands this, and it is for this reason that the Romney Revolution is poised to restore America to greatness.

Americans are awakening to the realization that the 2012 election is one of those precious few, enormously consequential yet precariously fleeting moments in our republic’s history that not only will define our era but will determine our destiny. We must ask ourselves a very difficult but basic question: Who are we? Are we the bold patriots who once believed in natural rights and limited government? Or will we be the generation that finally surrenders the last vestiges of American freedom upon the altar of government dependence?

I believe our generation will break free from the shackles of oppressive government. We will join those patriots who came before us and earned the right to call themselves Americans.

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.