A Gallup poll released Thursday indicates that backing for the tea party has hit near-record lows, as 22 percent of Americans consider themselves supporters. That’s down from 32 percent shortly after the 2010 midterm elections. To gauge how conservative and Republican voters feel, Yahoo invited them to share whether they support tea party-affiliated groups. Here’s one voter’s perspective.
When the tea party first peeled itself from the skin of the GOP, and screamed loudly about constitutional rights and reform, I was thrilled. Finally, I thought, here we have a political party that might actually represent the desires of the people for a change. For a time, the tea party movement seemed to force seated politicians to bend to the will of the people. But now, when the United States military suffers from sequestration, and yet another cliff hanger is on the horizon, I wonder if the tea party was yet another sleight-of-hand trick from the stars in Washington.
Just today I received an email from Ted Cruz. He wants support to help defund Obamacare. Seriously, everything about how Obamacare was passed was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, of all the tea party standard bearers Cruz is my favorite. If he keeps pushing, maybe someday he’ll break through. But, he’s not going to do it with comments like this, “The American people are rising up and making their voices heard in Congress. It is time for Washington politicians from both parties to listen to the American people.” This comment sounds good, but it’s a load of idiocy. If a person is making themselves heard, then they are being listened to. It’s a figure of speech and he negates it by misusing it to sound like something is happening. In truth nothing is happening. This issue of Obamacare has been sitting like a growing cancer for years. If Congress was really listening to the American people then something would have changed long ago. This is just another example of politicians waiting for the barn to catch fire, then rushing in to rescue one horse, so they can stand on a podium and declare themselves as a great hero. It’s just not enough.
Rand Paul sent me an email about government spying. This is old news, and it’s frankly less important to me than getting to the bottom of the Benghazi scandal. Although with as much cover-up as there is in that issue, I wouldn’t be surprised if they blamed it all on the man on the grassy knoll. No, Paul is throwing out emails with comments like this: “…politicians on both sides of the aisle know a big fundraising quarter for me proves their days of simply ignoring NSA spying abuses or domestic drone use are coming to an end.” Yes, you are reading that right, he is asking for money so he can fight against government spying. What exactly are we supposed to think here?
Marco Rubio was supposed to be the face of immigration reform. But he has caved, and he’s now supporting a completely different position than what he did just a few years ago. In a debate with Charlie Crist in 2010, Rubio stated, “Earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty,” he told Crist. “It is unfair to the people that have legally entered this country to create an alternative pathway for individuals who entered illegally and knowingly did so.” Now, in 2013 he is the front runner of the new immigration reform package that would cause illegal aliens that entered the country knowingly and illegally would “get in the back of the line, pay a fine, pay taxes.” This is essentially what Crist proposed in 2010. Is it right or wrong? That’s not the point, the point is, Rubio needs to pick a side and stay there.
At least Paul and Cruz are still standing their ground, while Rubio simply isn’t. He’s a huge disappointment. Are Paul and Cruz the last men standing? In recent debates over Obamacare funding, and threats of government shutdown, it certainly sounds like they are.
The tea party is losing steam, simply because there is a lot of talk and no movement. Life and growth go hand in hand. The tea party needs a star, someone who will not follow in the footsteps of those already in Washington, someone who will not betray the people. But for tea party supporters, it seems like all the bright stars have fallen, and the sky is quickly turning black. Short a star, maybe if they could just have a victory in their pocket, it could turn their sinking boat around.
Still, who am I to speak? As a Reno, Nev., voter, I probably have less clout than most tea party supporters. Yet clout or no, I will cling to the tea party as a last bastion of hope for American democracy.