The “tea party” is not dead yet, despite efforts by the left, liberals, progressives, Democrats, mainstream media, etc. to blame it for the Tucson shootings... and the strange new respect for “civility” -- which means, if you don't agree with us then shut the hell up – among formerly firebrand liberals like Barack Obama. As always – and this is part of human nature on the political side – the people in charge always favor law and order, “civility”, unquestioning obedience, etc.... no matter what their professed principles happen to be. Yesterday's street-marching, sitting-in protester is today's power-suited stuffed shirt... 'twas ever thus. Try to keep your political and moral “purity” in Washington, DC – it's only the very rare, very exceptional human being that is capable of such a feat. The rest fall to the usual blandishments of money, power, sensual pleasures, shows of superiority, and all the rest of it. It's not about political conviction, party, belief, or creed – it's the system itself that corrupts, and the corruption will not end until the system itself is deconstructed and replaced with something closer to the founders' intent.
With that as an opening statement, let us take a brief look at Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the “rising stars” of the Republican/conservative contingent in Congress. He has declined to join the Senate Tea Party caucus, and is “not even sure there's a need for one” -- based on the premise that the tea party's strength “comes from its grass roots... it is not a political organization [tell that to the MSM!]... it is a movement of everyday citizens from all walks of life.” So far so good. And: “My concern is a Tea Party caucus could intrude on that.” Well, yes. Because any organization that consists of part citizens and part politicians is going to wind up being run by the politicians for political purposes – which means, primarily, the acquisition and retention of power at the expense of principle.
I commented a while back that the Republicans reaching out to the “tea partiers” by setting up this caucus was like a degenerate, disease-infested old man proposing marriage to a young, virginal girl. Clearly, the Republican mainstream is only interested in the tea party to the extent that it can enhance their fortunes – which means votes and contributions. But by co-opting it they also accomplish a much-needed defusing of its agenda. You get welcomed into the inner sanctum, but they you have to play by inner sanctum rules, or risk being tossed out into the stormy night. So Rubio seems to be on the right track with his skepticism. He's trying to help the tea partiers retain their purity even in the midst of the massive moral dumpster of Washington politics.
So... the fate of the tea party in this regard has yet to be determined. The fact that people are still talking about it as a distinct entity is encouraging... but how much influence, if any, it will actually have on the legislative agenda is another matter.
But we're not finished with Rubio yet. According to a previous article, “Rubio was among freshman senators invited to accompany Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., last week on a high-profile trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they dined with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and met with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.” This was considered a bit suspect by conservatives because of McConnell's position at the very heart of the Republican establishment. But the real scandal is that Rubio saw fit to sit down to dinner with a corrupt puppet -- who represents our dismally-failed foreign policy -- and a somewhat lunatic, hyperactive general, who represents the American Empire-building war machine. You don't sit down and break bread with these clowns unless you're already pretty darned committed to supporting them and their cause (or whatever it is). And as I've pointed out on a number of occasions, support for the twin wars and a “muscular foreign policy” is the Achilles heel of the tea partiers. You can expect it from the Republicans, and certainly from the neocons, since they basically invented both things... and you can expect it from mainstream conservatives. One might have hoped that the tea partiers were a bit more enlightened on the matter, and had a better historical perspective – but it was obvious, all along, that this was not the case... especially when they all gathered around Sarah Palin like chicks around a mother hen, she being as extreme a war hawk as we've seen on the national scene for quite a few years. (Yeah, OK, I know it's a mixed metaphor. Mother hen... hawk... whatever.)
And what is wrong with the tea partiers being pro-war and pro-American Empire? Well, other than being in direct defiance of the Constitution (which the tea partiers claim to respect), it directly contradicts, cancels out, and neutralizes their positions on big government and the budget deficit. You can't pursue empire without big government, and you can't have big government in foreign affairs and, at the same time, small government in domestic affairs. It just doesn't work that way. And, you can't pursue empire the way we do without running up intractable debt. So if the tea partiers are opposed to big government, and to deficits, they have to oppose the wars, and campaign for an end to the American Empire (I mean a voluntary withdrawal, since the end will come sooner or later regardless). Otherwise they're just delusional – and right now Sen. Rubio seems to have fallen prey to that delusion. By sitting down with the likes of Karazai and Petraeus, he is not betraying the tea party, but may well be betraying the political and economic interests of the American people.