OK, so we’ve got this great, grass-roots movement, fueled by deep-seated concern that this country has been off-track for a long time, predating the Obama administration, by the way (and categorically not, as the arrogant and out-of-touch Keith Olbermann would have us believe, a thinly-veiled racism. Really, Keith, you should get out of your patrician Upper West Side digs a little more often and rub shoulders with the hoi polloi; you might actually begin to understand what you’re talking about.). Sorry for the digression, but that buffoon brings out the worst in me and most other sane people I know…
So the question is, where does the Tea Party movement go from here? Here’s my proposal: like the tremendous “Contract with America” proposed by Newt Gingrich in 1994, which swept Republicans into office, we need some similar bullet-list of demands we put on aspiring Congresspeople…yes, demands we put on them (isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Unfortunately, these days, it seems like it’s the other way around–one of the myriad things we’re sick of.). And once we compile the modest list of demands, we ask any/every aspiring politician to sign off on the list. Sign it, you may get our vote; don’t sign it, and we target you for removal from office. Let me throw out a few of my ideas:
* “I pledge to end the process by which earmarks and various proposals make their way onto utterly unrelated legislation.” It is infuriating that slimy politicians will tack various legislative proposals onto unrelated pieces of legislation and then force other politicians into needlessly difficult choices. It’s a political game, and it needs to end. Now. And it ought to be part of our list of demands.
* “I pledge to make Congress live by the exact same rules that it forces upon the American public.” We don’t have patricians in Washington (actually, we do, but we’re not supposed to); we’re supposed to have citizen-legislators, and they ought to live by the same health care and retirement rules, for instance, that they make us live by.
* “I pledge never to vote, for any reason, for a bill which increases the federal deficit.” Need more money? Cut something. We do it in our household budgets; learn Economics 101 and do the same in D.C.
* “I pledge to vote to sunset the tax code within 5 years.” The federal tax code is a racket, the IRS is a filthy organization, and the way taxation is used to manipulate American citizens is un-American. I favor the Fair Tax, a consumption tax, which is infinitely better in principle than an income tax, but if not the Fair Tax, find another system; anything but the continuation of business as usual.
I believe that if you kept the list of demands to 5-7 at the most, and particularly if you kept them away from some partisan issues (prospective Congresspeople would still have their different stances on these–and we could determine how to address their beliefs accordingly), then you’d gain broad-based, bi-partisan support, and could really have a movement that would change a lot of the way things are done in Washington. I think a significant majority of Americans from all parties could agree on the things I’ve outlined above, even abolishing the IRS. And if the politicians didn’t play ball, sayonara.
What say you, and what would you add to this list? I’ll probably think of a couple other things myself which I reserve the right to go back and add in an update…