Two hundred and thirty-six years after a group of angry Bostonians dressed up as Native Americans so they wouldn’t get caught taking on the establishment, the Republican Party donned the mantle of the Tea Party movement, in hopes that they won’t get caught next year looking like Dede Scozzafava.
“Never has there been a moment like this in our history,” RNC chair Michael Steele told Hill staffers and Republican party activists munching pizza and sipping iced tea (without irony) at the RNC headquarters today. “Except one time before,” he added before telling the tale of the Boston Tea Party.
Steele raised his own cup of tea before promising to “stand in solidarity” with the tea partiers on health care reform. “I salute you,” he said.
Though it lacked the size, enthusiasm and racially-questionable signage of its real-life counterpart, Steele’s “RNC Tea Party” was all about embracing the ideals of a growing conservative movement that’s often been as focused on slamming the GOP as it has on attacking Democrats. There were even official GOP tea bags given out with “Listen to Me!” signs stapled to them. Interestingly, though, the party lacked most of the big Republican names the tea partiers usually turn to at their rallies. Michele Bachmann and Jim DeMint were nowhere to be found.
The event was focused on health care reform, which Steele said Democrats have moved forward in the “dead of night,” over the objections of his new friends, the tea partiers. Much of the rhetoric was similiar to Steele’s “Listen To Me” press conference Tuesday, but this time there was little talk of Democrats. It was all about praising the tea partiers.
“It’s time for you to fight,” he said to the gathered Republicans, referring to the Democratic reforms. “It’s time for you to push back.”
But after the speech, Steele told TPMDC that the effort goes beyond health care and that tea partiers should know their friends are in the GOP.
“I think we are a natural home,” Steele said. He acknowledged the tea partier’s complaints with the Republicans and he promised that the party would work hard to keep its loudest constituents happy. Steele said he offered a “mea culpa” to tea partiers since the beginning of this term, agreeing with them that the party had abandoned its conservative “principles.”
But that’s all over now, Steele said. Tea is the party’s drink now. “We are moving back, head first, in that direction,” he said. “Because that’s where we should be.”
One more than one occasion, and in different ways, the following questions have been raised: Will the Republican Party leadership ever come out of their isolation bubble and welcome Tea Party Patriots as the revitalizing force they so desperately need? Or will they continue to attempt usurping it’s energy while claiming credit for what We The People have done? Will they allow Conservatives a voice in the choice of candidates, or will they continue to foist candiates like Dede Scozzafava upon the electorate, thereby ensuring more congressional seats are won by progressive socialists hell bent on destroying our Constitutional Republic?
Congratulations are in order to Mr. Michael Steele for his somewhat overdue pronouncement to: “‘stand in solidarity’ with the tea partiers…’I salute you’…’We are moving back ( to conservative ‘principles’), head first, in that direction,’…’Because that’s where we should be’.
That sounds really good. Words of thanks, praise, encouragement and solidarity are nice to hear, and always welcome. However, I’m reminded of a couple of phrases that are cliche; but what is a cliche other than something that has become overly familiar or commonplace?
Talk is cheap.
Actions speak louder than words.
Although I don’t know Mr. Steele personally, I’ve watched and listened to him for a fair amount of time. I believe him to be a good, honest man. As a devoted, motivated Tea Party Patriot, I honestly hope that with time his words will ring true. But we must keep in mind that he’s a politician faced with the task of getting members of his own Party elected to office. Observation instructs that in the heat of such battle well meaning words, spoken honestly, have more often than not fallen to the wayside.
Mr. Steel has spoken. The question remains: Will the GOP put their money where their mouth is?
Tea Party Patriots will be watching.