Party Like It's 1773
On December 16, 1773, a number of men in Sam Adams’ “Sons of Liberty” organization boarded ships in Boston Harbor in order to dump nearly 350 chests of East India Company tea into the waters. This was the Boston Tea Party, and the goal was to help the British Parliament understand that the colonists rejected the premise that a distant government had the right ”to regulate one's life and dictate how it would be conducted and at what price.”
Almost 240 years after the Boston Tea Party, the potency of its ideals are still alive and well, but are being directed at the tyranny of a stateside government instead of one across the pond.
Beginning all around the country in 2009, patriots have organized and attended rallies marked by the “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsen flags made popular during the American Revolution. Their goal, like that of the original tea partiers, has been to help President Obama and other Washington politicians understand that lucid Americans forthrightly reject the continued expansion of government and the idea that a politician or group of politicians possesses the right to regulate or otherwise dictate the daily minutiae of our lives.
And for those who like to keep count in such matters, it appears that in the match between tea partiers and big-government politicians, the tea partiers are winning hands down.
If we take Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency as our starting point, since that time conservatives have ousted a number of no-good, tax-and-spend Democrats and replaced them with conservatives who are often Republicans and who are running on Reagan-like principles of cutting taxes and shrinking government.
A case in point here is Republican Chris Christie’s November 2009 victory over Democrat incumbent Jon Corzine in New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. Although Obama visited the Garden State three times to campaign for Corzine, the conservative message of Christie and his tea party supporters squashed any positive impact the president otherwise might have had.
In that same election cycle, Bob McDonnell ended the Republican Party’s eight-year losing streak in the Old Dominion by defeating Democrat Creigh Deeds to win Virginia’s gubernatorial race. He won the election handily thanks to the strong support of tea partiers, also referred to as “independents” by mainstream news outlets, who can’t bring themselves to admit the success that conservative-driven tea parties around the nation have achieved.
Since then, fair-weather Senator Arlen Specter, who switched from the Republican Party to the Democrat Party in the glow of Obama’s presidential election, was defeated in Pennsylvania. And in the same elections that saw Specter go down, the Democrat chosen to fill deceased Representative Jack Murtha’s seat ran against Obama and the very big-government policies that marked Murtha’s shameful career.
And Republicans have not been immune to the sickle with which tea partiers are threshing either. On Saturday, May 8, 2010, Utah’s three-term Republican Senator Bob Bennett was “thrown out of office … by delegates at the Utah GOP Convention.” Although Bennett liked to talk like a conservative when running for office, he supported the kind of bailouts that brought tea partiers out of the woodwork to begin with once elections were over.
Just ten days after Bennett was told “thanks but no thanks,” another moderate Republican, Trey Grayson, “lost badly” to his opponent Rand Paul in a bid for the Senate seat from which Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning is retiring. Not surprisingly, Grayson had the support of the D.C. establishment but Paul had the support of Sarah Palin and an untold number of pedal-to-the-metal conservative activists.
This push for true conservatism and sound government also resulted in Republican Charles Djou winning a special election in Hawaii for a congressional seat that hasn’t been held by a Republican since 1990. In his final push, just five days before the election, Djou put out a press release in which he said: “This congressional seat is not owned by the Democrat Party. It isn't owned by any union or special interest group. This seat is owned by the people.”
Apparently “the people” agreed with Djou. And I think it’s safe to say Sam Adams and his “Sons of Liberty” would have concurred as well.
If you’re still a naysayer, just look at what happened in South Carolina on June 21. Political “outsiders” Nikki Haley and Tim Scott secured Republican nominations for the upcoming November elections. Haley will be the Republican candidate for governor and Tim Scott, a black conservative, will run for a congressional seat in the Palmetto State’s 1st District.
Both Haley and Scott were endorsed by Palin and supported by tea partiers.
In summary, incumbents of both parties who support the big-government policies that have characterized Obama’s administration to this point may want to be sure they have another job to fall back on come election season. For although the tea in Boston Harbor has long since dispersed and disappeared, there are tens of thousands of tea partiers who are still partying like it’s 1773.