What Unifies Tea Parties: Grievance, Target, Goal


The Tea Party protest has become a broad-based “big tent”  because it is focused on a few simple things:


The grievance is chronic fiscal irresponsibility, now become acute fiscal extremism.


The target is an inbred, self-serving, self-perpetuating and bipartisan political class that no longer represents the will of the people.


The goal is to send that political class packing and restore genuine representative government, with whatever policy implications that entails.


What are those policy implications?  A balanced budget amendment and honest government accounting are two strong possibilities. The effects of just those would ripple through the welfare state with surprising and healthy results.


It’s true that some Tea Party protestors are also passionate about other issues – immigration, abortion, school choice, etc. It’s also likely that there are Tea Party protestors on both sides of those issues.


What unites them is the complaint, the target, and the goal described above.


“What do we want?”

“Representative government!”

“When do we want it?”



Not the most catchy chant, but it’s substance is just right.


Tags: , ,

7 Responses to “What Unifies Tea Parties: Grievance, Target, Goal”

  1. Tax Day Tea Party » Why I’ll be there Says:

    […] The complaint is chronic fiscal irresponsibility, now become acute fiscal extremism. My party has let the country down with its massive overspending, corrupt career politicians, and willingness to play business as usual when it’s not called for. Some observers have compared the Tea Party Protests to the Tax Revolt that began in California in the 1970s and spread nationwide, eventually providing important support for President Ronald Reagan’s landmark 1981 tax rate cut. But there really is nothing in modern American political history to match the spontaneous explosion of grassroots political activism in recent months among what once was known as the Silent Majority. Leadership in America will have an opportunity to recognize America’s demands through our non-violent demonstration of grievances on April 15th. We citizens will be standing outside, protesting government overreach and proclaiming our rights. Make your voice heard. Take part in an event you can tell your children about. We may not be Samuel Adams or Thomas Paine, but we can do our part to take back our country and to remind other that elections (of socialists) have consequences. The current day tea parties, over 2000 scheduled to have occurred by the end of this week, also signal a rebellion — a rebellion against government spending and a change in the philosophy of this country. These taxpayer tea parties are the biggest opportunity we have to show the grassroots fire against the spending, debt, tax increases and freedom-killing big government. If you enjoyed the article, why not subscribe? Posted to » California Tea Party, UncategorizedShare and Save […]

  2. Craig Says:

    Jack, I would agree that the Tea parties overall have a common goal, however, we must have a great leader with specific plans on how to send the current political class packing. What policy implications are you refering too and who will implement them. We need answers and the actions to take so that the tea party movement does not fizzle out after tomorow. One tv personality’s wife recently said “We’re going to storm Washington”.
    Is this the common goal of the tea party? If so, when, what time, and who will lead us?

  3. Michael Kuras Says:

    Jack has diagnosed the problem much as I have. (See my response to an earlier posting of his.) Jack also suggests that a workable remedy will entail installing a new political class that implements a new set of policy mandates: a balanced budget along with honest and transparent “accounting” practices.

    I am all for those policies. But those policies will not correct the underlying problem and the collateral damage that has accumulated all around it.

    I have written that we are still focused on symptoms and on treating the symptoms. We MUST do that. But we can’t stop there. That is like treating a tooth ache with aspirin. Yes, take the aspirin to stop the pain – but do not think that the problem has gone away. The decaying tooth is still there.

    We also cannot ignore the fact that the problem has been accumulated incrementally. And as I’ve written before, we cannot undo incremementally what has been accumulated incrementally. The same is true for the tooth ache anology. A tooth that has accumulated incremental decay cannot be restored incrementally – by more intense brushing, say. The decay must be wholly removed and only then an immediate restorative process employed. What is required now is not more incrementalism. A revolution is required. That is the ONLY thing that will permit the underlying problems to be addressed.

    And if that sounds scary and daunting, it is. But the only alternative is the continued slide into Progressive Fascism. The government is too big! And it’s growing and its reach is expanding. It already wields unimaginable and ultimately uncontrollable power over the lives of individual citizens.

    Yes, there is a way to accomplish such a revolution peacefully. (But be prepared for the alternative. The “established order” is unlikely to go quietly into the night of history.) Such a way entails a sustained involvement by MILLIONS of Americans in setting and scoping the range of “government.” The Tea Parties will be remembered only if they START that process.

    And what is that process? In a word, it is MORE democracy – not more of the same type of democracy that got us into this fix: representative democracy. Representative democracy ultimately relies on an unsustainable and unnatural cycle: every couple of years citizens are supposed to get deeply and intensely involved in the social questions of the day – and then to go away and to let “representatives” do the heavy lifting while they sit and watch. That sort of “duty cycle” simply breeds a growing divide between the ruled and their rulers. It is unnatural and unsustainable. It always culminates in Fascism.

    Alas, there is not room enough here to outline how to accomplish “more” democracy. But we have to.

  4. Extreme Thoughts in the Tea Party Aftermath | The Classic Liberal Blog Says:

    […] Jack McHugh (via Thoughts on Freedom) does a great job summing up what unifies us: The grievance is chronic fiscal irresponsibility, now become acute fiscal extremism. […]

  5. Saran Simpkin Says:

    I was reading something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your perspective on it is diametrically contradicted to what I read before. I am still mulling over the different points of view, but I’m tipped heavily toward yours. And regardless, that’s what is so good about modern democracy and the marketplace of thoughts on-line.

  6. Jack McHugh Says:

    Thanks Saran.

    BTW, the formulation in this has been refined with experience. Below is the latest, and be sure to check out this document that contains it and some other awesome stuff: Tea Party Activists have ATTITUDE, http://www.mackinac.org/10508

    Tea Party activists focus on what unites them, not things that may divide. Those uniting things are:

    Grievance: The chronic, unsustainable fiscal irresponsibility of the welfare/regulatory state.

    Target: A self-serving, self-perpetuating, inbred and bipartisan class of political careerists who have taken control of the government and do not represent the will of the people.

    Goal: Restore genuine representative government by changing the incentives that make those political careerists serve the system rather than the people.

  7. tea towel Says:

    I Absolutely understand what your stance in this issue is. Even though I might disagree on some of the smaller aspects, I think you did an exceptional job explaining it. For sure beats trying to research it by myself. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: