In Which I AGREE with a Tea Partier

Maybe we really are in the “End Times.” I entirely agree with what a Tea Party Senator has just said.

Utah Senator Mike Lee was arm-in-arm with crazy Ted Cruz during the recent shenanigans that shut down the government. But in the wake of that fiasco, he has made a speech that at the very least shows a self-awareness we are not accustomed to seeing from Tea Party folks, and in places sounds positively progressive!

“Especially in the wake of recent controversies, many conservatives are more frustrated with the establishment than ever before,” Lee said. “And we have every reason to be. But however justified, frustration is not a platform. Anger is not an agenda. And outrage, as a habit, is not even conservative.”

Instead of “outrage, resentment, and intolerance,” the party should project a message—and more than a message, a principle—of “optimism,” he said.

“American conservatism, at its core, is about gratitude, and cooperation, and trust, and above all hope,” Lee said. “It is also about inclusion. Successful political movements are about identifying converts, not heretics.”

 But the paragraph that most struck me was one in which Lee actually seems to occupy reality, and to see what most Tea Party folks resolutely refuse to acknowledge:

“This opportunity crisis,” he continued, “presents itself in three principal ways: immobility among the poor, trapped in poverty; insecurity in the middle class, where families just can’t seem to get ahead; and cronyist privilege at the top, where political and economic elites unfairly profit at everyone else’s expense. The Republican Party should tackle these three crises head on.”

Actually, I’d settle for a GOP that wasn’t insistent on making them worse.

That said, if this speech actually represents Mike Lee’s current perspective, it is immensely welcome–if considerably overdue. Maybe we could get him to talk to several members of Indiana’s Congressional delegation.

I’m especially looking at you, Todd Rokita and  Marlin Stutzman.


  1. A statement from a poster from “All in the Family”, spoken by a mentally challenged young man to Archie, “Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.” In this case; learning that a Tea Party member can make logical, common sense, intelligent statements also proves that almost anything is possible. This level of thinking – and action – by Tea Party members of the GOP has not been in evidence these past years. Wonder what cost it came with to Senator Lee?

  2. Glad to see that “Blind Seduction” can be overruled
    by common sense, be it a Republican or Democrat.

    I’m still at a political stage where I refuse to consider
    Cruz (and his ilk) as either Rep or Dem. I prefer to label
    them as “Dixiecrats”, they always migrate to the side
    which appears to have the best audience for their
    pernicious rhetoric. Currently they are pandering to the
    republicans. Perhaps in 20 years they will be back on
    the democrat side of the establishment.

  3. I’m not sure why you’re surprised by the content of that speech. The Tea Party was founded as a response to corporate bailouts resulting the elite prospering at the expense of working men and women. It’s never been about those at the top continuing to prosper at the expense of the poor and working class. The Tea Party is a populist movement that is fighting against the establishment elites who are using government to enrich themselves. The Tea Party is very similar in its motivations as the Occupy Movement. The only difference between the two is how goals are accomplished. The Occupy people say that government can be used to elevate the middle class and poor. The Tea Party people say that government is always going to be used to manipulate the system to make the rich richer therefore we need government out.

    Sheila, when it comes to objectives you are a heck of a lot closer philosophically to Tea Party Republicans than you are to Establishment Republicans. People get confused between objectives and tactics. It’s the scorched Earth tactics of the Tea Party you don’t like. When it comes to the goals the Tea Party types are trying to reach, they are very similar to the goals you advocate.

  4. I do agree with Paul for the most part here. What bothers me, though, is the apparent failure of Tea Party leadership (and I know in some cases they deny singular “organizational leadership” at least at the national level) to attempt to separate themselves from racist loonies, etc. who give them a bad name. Yes, I know folks on the left sometimes don’t distance themselves from some on their on crazy fringe….but at least lately there hardly seems to be any equivalance, numerically at least.

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