Decision Day: The Tea Party, Strategy, and Principle

In the career of any holder of public office, as in the life of any man, a decision begins to form about him the moment that he decides to stand for something. It is a decision as to whom he has chosen to be, the values he has chosen to uphold, and the depth of his convictions. The beauty of this process is: the decision is entirely his. The hardship of this process is: the decision is entirely his, and there is no struggle so great as that of a man who holds consciously, unyieldingly, comprehensively, to a set of beliefs. The same can be said of a movement.

A decision began to form some eight months ago when the Tea Party took Congress. For a movement that based itself on a no-nonsense platform that set aside social issues to focus on removing the government’s hand from our pockets and reconstituting it upon those exercises necessary and proper to it, this summer’s budgetary and debt ceiling crises will be reviewed as having played a significant role in shaping that controversy. What, then, do they portend?  To be sure, from the Ryan Plan to “Cut, Cap, and Balance,” no Tea Party action or legislation has been met with universal public approval or gone without significant controversy (deserved or not, as the Ryan Plan didn’t actually cut much of anything). …

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