There seem to be varying views on when the American “Tea Party” first became a thing, but most seem to track it to early 2009, a month into Obama’s disastrous 8 years as president. My favorite reliable source (Wikipedia) puts it this way:
On February 18, 2009, the one-month-old Obama administration announced the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, an economic recovery plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by refinancing mortgages in the wake of the Great Recession. The next day, CNBC business news editor Rick Santelli criticized the Plan in a live broadcast from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He said that those plans were “promoting bad behavior” by “subsidizing losers’ mortgages”. He suggested holding a tea party for traders to gather and dump the derivatives in the Chicago River on July 1. “President Obama, are you listening?” he asked. A number of the floor traders around him cheered on his proposal, to the amusement of the hosts in the studio. Santelli’s “rant” became a viral video after being featured on the Drudge Report.
The basic tenet of the Tea Party was small government. Not a terribly radical proposition given the fact that our nation was founded on that very principle. However, do you remember the liberal reaction to the Tea Party? The left was convinced, with great glee I might add, that the Tea Party would bring down the American Republican Party as most of the elected members of congress from the Tea Party were also Republicans. According to left wing commentators, the Tea Party was so radical it would pull the Republican party so far right that moderates would defect to the Democrat party. Of course, none of that happened. Indeed, the views held by the Tea Party have become mainstream, dare I say even moderate, views in US today.
Why would I bring this up so many years after the Tea Party came into existence, particularly since you almost never hear anything about them (note: we don’t hear about them because their views are so mainstream now)? I bring it up because the Woke Party has done precisely to the Democrat Party what leftists hoped the Tea Party would do to the Republican Party. A recent report notes that over one million voters have switched from Democrat to Republican, mostly among the coveted suburban swing voters. This represents more than two-thirds of party switchers!
When the Democrats were so excited that the country would revolt against Republicans because the Tea Party dragged them kicking and screaming to the idea of lower taxes, imagine if some Democrat had said 10-15 years ago, “Hey, while they’re self-destructing with the Tea Party, let’s announce that parents should have no role in their child’s education. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s be clear that men can have babies and we should let criminals freely commit crimes and defund the police! Yay!” It’s hard to imagine now, but for all his abject failures, Obama now looks like a moderate in comparison to the current Democrat Party! Government controlled healthcare was a bad idea then and now and was one of the most unpopular and far-reaching pieces of legislation ever passed on party lines, but it pales in comparison to the notion that men should be allowed to pretend they’re women and compete in women’s athletics, let alone get naked in the women’s locker room!
And, yet, here we are. How is it that the Democrat Party embraced these notions, which can only be described as the loony fringe, after apparently recognizing the risk, which turned out to be no risk at all, of the Tea Party pulling the Republican Party too far to the right? Even our President has been more or less a moderate his entire career, but is now espousing some of the most fringe views on most major topics. I allow for the possibility that he doesn’t actually know what he’s espousing, but is just reading notes some 34 year old unelected bureaucrat handed him. But, if that’s true, one still has to wonder where the adults are?
I have no answer to that. Trust me, I’m not complaining. Indeed, my schadenfreude meter is on code red. I’m enjoying the show and plan to enjoy it even more in November. I’m just shocked that the party that warned us with great excitement that the Tea Party would destroy the Republican Party (spoiler alert: it didn’t) would be so quick to allow the whacko fringe to take over their party’s entire platform. Keep it going!