I wonder if the reluctance of the various Tea Party groups to saddle themselves with a chosen candidate is due (in part) to the simple fact that few of the candidates understand the simple principles we as a group represent. The three principles I am about to address are usually absent from any dialogue during the election process and are DOA once the elected get seated. They are not universally understood by any of them if, at all.
Michelle Bachman may claim the mantle of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress but she certainly does not represent the principles we profess as is evident from her voting record. Therefore it is imperative that these principles become steadfast and immovable. It is also imperative that our decisions are guided by these principles as we seek to influence politics and the course of this nation.
The three principles are as follows:
1; Limited Government
2; Unapologetic American sovereignty
3; Constitutional Originalism
Principle 1. Limited Government
The Constitution is very specific on the idea of limited goverbnment. It is the entire basis of the document itself. That government is allowed only so much to prevent tryanny. Today it is anything but limited. It is pervasive into every aspect of our daily lives. Congress passes laws based on knee-jerk politics and constituents who Sen Rand Paul calls "the beseechers"; always asking for an expansion, always demanding their cause is the most important, always that some one else is the bad guy. When Congress passes these laws they are vague in language and are usually passed off to some newly created agency to enforce the law. It is here that the tyranny gets implimented. It is here that the government grows in scope and reach. These agencies get to make up their own rules. We must hold Congress accountable to it's Constitutional obligations and not allow them to abdicate that responsibility to some unelected entity.
In 1819 Chief Justice John Marshall expressed four points when deciding on a bill. These four points are a sort of 'checklist' for Congress to adhere to to act upon something.
The first point is: Is the Bill legitimate?
Is it politics deciding this vote? Is it some nagging activist group demanding this bill? Does this bill address a specific need for the nation?
The second point is: Is the Bill Constitutional?
Does the bill meet the enumerated powers of the Congress? Does Congress have the right (not authority) to discuss such a Bill? Should this be left to the States and/or the people?
The third point is: The means employed by the Congress to carry out the language of the Bill must be Constitutional and plainly adapted to carry out that end.
Bills become political footballs today, deals are made, laws are broken. Self imposed Congressional rules often squash debate on a Bill, back room deals and money exchanges hands routinely. This is not Constitutional.
The fourth point is: The means chosen must also comply with the Constitution.
Should there come a day when Congress actually decides to do it's job the end result must meet all the requirements of the Articles, Clauses and Amendments to the Constitution and in order to carry out the new law said new law must not violate anyone's civil rights as a means to an end.
Congress has become lax in it's enumerated powers. Most Bills are not even read. Officials take money from activists and lobbyists. Senators and Congressmen alike from both sides even buy and sell stock based on the inside knowledge of a particular Bill they are trying to pass. You and I would get arrested, but Congress has benn able to pass it's own rule granting themselves immunity in this area. Congress then turns this legislation over to an agency that operates as a 'fiat' and have employed draconian measures to enforce the laws. These agencies are a defacto law enforcement agency. Why else would the EPA or USDA need armed SWAT to conduct inspections and raids?
Principle 2. Unapologetic American Sovereignty
Only Congress can ratify a treaty. Deals that were made with other nations during the first one hundred years of this nation were done this way. They were alliances, trade, purchases, sea and land rights and they all had to be voted on. They were outside the pervue of the Constitution and were not to impose upon the rights of Americans. Today, with our friends at the UN treaties are devised and signed with the expressed intent of undermining our liberties within the borders of the United States.
There are UN mandates ranging from war to gun control to the environment that affect our daily lives. All of them designed to trump the Constitution. Many criminal and questions of rights cases have been decided by the Supreme Court using models from the UN and/or other nations as a way to butress a decision. There should be no other litmus used other than our own Constitution.
The push of the myth that we can do something to stop climate change by imposing taxes, caps, regulations on nations is a prime example of this breach of sovereignty. One tactic of Agenda 21 is to get in on the community level and have the communities adopt the language of the treaty therefore bypassing any vote from Congress.
The nation now looks towards any military action from a UN view point. If the UN says no, then any nation defending itself (even pre-emptively) is an aggressor nation and must be sanctioned. The United States must be allowed to act unilaterally any time it is threatened.
Principle 3. Constitutional Originalism
Liberals think that this concept is an attempt to turn back the clock on social progress. They fail to see how important the Constitution is in all it original form. Said mistakes have been repaired through the Amendment Process.
The Founders made this prcess difficult for a reason. They did not want some future society legislating willy-nilly at every historical bump in the road (oops, too late).
Even the mistakes in the Constitution must (at least) be revered for it is a marker of where we once were and how far we have come in our attempt to "create a more perfect union". As the Tea Party debates and decides how best to apply itself politically we must be mindful to always stick to the tenets of the Constitution. We must be careful not to bend to political winds and vote on something because it is the 'right thing to do'. We must vote based on the three principles and the four points expressed by Justice Marshall.
The Tenth Amendment may enumerate powers to the State and local level but even here State, city councils and town halls have no problem trampling on Constitutional liberties. A prime example would be how the Mass Gay Right Coalition ignored a public referendum shooting down gay marraige so they pulled an end run and sent it to the State Supreme Court where it was decided legal based on feel good politics, not what the people voted on. Even California's Proposition 8 (despite being voted down twice) somehow has found it's way to the national Supreme Court.
I believe these three principles should be explored and debated thoroughly and should be part of a blueprint for engagement as we begin the process of speaking to the power of truth about where this country has been heading and how the Tea Party should galvanize itself into a true political party.
....And That Is The Diatribe....
I wish to thank Elizabeth Price Foley for her book, The Tea Party, Three Principles