As I have said several times, to date, as we get closer to November 2nd, the hurdles that the Tea Party Movement must surmount just keep getting higher and more arduous. Since my last post on the topic two reports have come to the fore that support what I have been saying for the past month.
First, the popular business periodical, “Business Week”; just came out with an article entitled:”Why Business Doesn’t Trust the Tea Party”; To wit: “The Tea Party’s small-government slogans may be appealing, but its policies could throw the U.S. economy into chaos”. This article has detailed the extent of discomfort and dismay within the business community that has resulted from the rise of the Tea Party Movement within the American body politic. In general the business community’s uneasiness with the Tea Party Movement can be summed up as follows: “It may sound like a corporate dream come true-as long as the corporation in question doesn’t have international operations, rely on immigrant labor, see the value of national monetary policy, or find itself in need of a subsidy to boost exports or an emergency loan from the Fed to survive the worst recession in seven decades. Business leaders who favor education reform, immigration reform, or investment in infrastructure can likely say goodbye to those ideas for the short term as well; they won’t be possible in the willfully gridlocked world of the coming 112th Congress.” Focusing on South Carolina in particular, where a Tea Party backed candidate has a good chance of winning and it’s Senator, Jim DeMint (R-SC) is a leading force in the movement, the local Chamber of Commerce had this to say:”For business leaders who prize pragmatism and stability, it was all too much… Chamber members, he says, tend to be more realistic and moderate in their thought processes. We prefer candidates who are not extreme. If you look at the Tea Party, I think most of them would say they hate Big Business.” To amplify the concerns of the business community in this key conservative state, consider the following: “As the South Carolina Chamber realized, the Tea Party’s seductive small-government principles are hitched to a train full of explosive cargo-from Alaska’s U.S. Senate candidate, Joe Miller, who suggested Social Security is unconstitutional, to Delaware’s U.S. Senate candidate, Christine O’Donnell, who has no relevant job experience…The Tea Party’s brand of political nitroglycerin, in short, is too unstable for businesses that look to government for predictability, moderation, and the creation of a stable economic environment. A lot of the agenda is being driven by the extremes…This kind of extremism makes it much harder to plan from a business perspective.”
Thus, from the perspective of the practical businessman or woman, the Tea Party Movement may espouse pro-business ideas in theory, but in practice, the movement may be as much an obstacle to economic expansion and rejuvenation as anything that might emanate from the left side of the political spectrum. That is to say, that in the minds of today’s business professionals the ideas currently espoused by the Tea Party Movement are most likely to be of little use now. That said, these business professionals find little to rejoice over when they actually get down to the nuts and bolts of the Tea Party’s ideology and how it relates to the practical aspects of running an economic enterprise. The bottom line for these business people is that the Tea Party Movement is a losing proposition, a bum deal no matter how you slice it. The leading luminaries of the Tea Party Movement either don’t understand the business environment or if they do, they have jettisoned that knowledge for the sake of a political purity that has little practical application in the economic realities of today’s America.
The next potential blockbuster, as reported on today’s Meet the Press which will hit this coming week, is a report by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the NAACP that again, raises questions about the degree to which the Tea Party Movement can be considered an engine of racial discord in the American body politic. This report, entitled: “Tea Party Nationalism”, lays out the following conclusions: “The result of this study contravenes many of the Tea Parties’ self-invented myths, particularly their sole concentration on budget deficits, taxes, and the power of the federal government. Instead, this report found Tea Party ranks to be permeated with concerns about race and national identity and other so-called social issues…Tea Party organization have given platforms to anti-Semites, racists and bigots, Further, hard-core white nationalists have been attracted to these protests, looking for potential recruits and hoping to push these (white) protestors toward a more self-conscious and ideological white supremacy.” In fairness to the amorphous Tea Party Movement, many of it’s subset organizations have been quick to distance themselves from any and all forms of blatant racism and bigotry, but the labels associated with these now discredited and antiquated forms of social behavior have regrettably continued to dog the movement.
Thus as we get closer to the mid-term elections of 2010, the more the questions surrounding the Tea Party movement come to the surface and they seem to be coming with increased velocity. The politically astute can only ask one question: “As the questions surrounding the viability of the Tea Party Movement continue to mount, to what extent can the average citizen feel comfortable throwing his lot in with this, as yet, undefined and controversial movement?” A corollary question also comes to the fore: “In an age of globalization and increased economic competition, are the interests of the American people best served by a movement that is characterized and identified with an such a poorly defined political ideology that contains such a large element of political amateurs in it’s electoral slate?
Steven J. Gulitti