Florida's Tea Par Party
The Tea Party movement is not a political party--nor should it be.
It was inevitable. Politico reported last week that Florida lawyer Frederic O’Neal registered a party in Florida back in August. The report notes
The Tea Party will become one of 32 minor political parties certified by the state, including also the Real Food Party of the United States of America, the Prohibition Party, and the Florida Socialist Workers Party. Its website is not live.
No attempt to marginalize the new party there. CBS News picked up the story and wrote
Even though the conservative lost in that race, "tea partiers" and other conservatives "remain convinced they're on the right side of history," CBSNews.com's Charles Cooper wrote. "And in writing down their morning-after election analyses... they also delivered a hard-edged message to the Republican establishment: Get behind us or get out of the way."
"...that race" of course refers to NY-23, the only race conservatives lost that day. Tea Party activists campaigned for Doug Hoffman toward the end and may have been the force that took his candidacy from dead last to almost first. I wrote about that on Nov 5.
Clearly NY-23 is the dream scenario for the left. Squabbling among conservatives and moderates allows them to squeak by. It's what happened in the Russian Duma in 1917, the Weimar Republic in 1932, and here in 1992. In 2010--just one short year from now--Doug Hoffman will win the NY-23 seat.
What does all this mean for the Tea Party as a political party? I wrote about the role of parties in our republic in June. Parties get candidates elected to office and then enact a platform. The nature of our winner-take-all system is that the number of effective parties--especially at the national level--is narrowed to two and those two have historically been big tent parties. That's a good thing.
Starting around 1992, the Democrat Party began narrowing it's base farther and farther left. They can only win by attracting disaffected or politically naive voters which they did in 2008 or by moving the culture of this country leftward which they've been trying to do for a very long time. In the short term, their best shot is to keep the opposition fragmented.
That's what will happen if the Tea Party movement turns into a political party. It will cause splits like NY-23 and the governor's race in New Jersey.
Tea Party Patriots can't allow that to happen. The strength of the Tea Party movement is in holding all parties accountable, especially for fiscal responsibility. We should seek out, encourage, support and endorse candidates who hold our values regardless of party.
Another small party run by a lawyer. Ho hum. The Politico was right to marginalize it. The Tea Party movement ought to ignore it.