Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ted Cruz on the Tea Party

The Corner - National Review Online: "Cruz, who has been endorsed by National Review, told Wallace that his victory is a sign that the Tea Party still has momentum.  He explained,

This is part of a tidal wave that began in 2010 and that tidal wave is only stronger in 2012.  Those protests died down. I think the reason is the Tea Party went to work…  [V]oters are tired of career politicians in both parties, I mean, our country is at a crisis point right now… The American people are looking for new leaders who will step up and stop spending money we don’t have.” "

'via Blog this'

Can I just say that I find no fault in the Tea Party? To the contrary, I find that the tea party represents the best of American politics.

The Tea Party stands for basically two things: fiscal responsibility and constitutional government. And really those are one thing--because the constitution, as conceived, was supposed to enact a limited government.

Some people might criticize the tea party for being too strident, but I think these criticisms are completely misplaced. Sure, they should get the best result they can obtain with their limited power. I want them to be relevant. But compromise is overrated. How do you compromise when you think the government is moving in the wrong direction? You allow it to move in the wrong direction, but more slowly? Better I think to remain ideologically pure and find more converts than to compromise your principles and dilute the message.


Brett said...

You may be right. Maybe the liberals are taking the country to dangerous places in an unprecedented way and the best recourse for the conservatives is to fight tooth and nail, to show how far left the democrats have gone by taking firmer stances farther to the right.

But maybe not. Maybe conservatives should concede that the liberals won more elections than they did and have been voted into the drivers seat. Sure they should do everything they can to earn back the driver's position, but in the meantime is it better to try to keep the car from going anywhere than to help nudge it here and there, even though the general direction of motion is not to their liking? It seems they run the risk of setting new precedents, of teaching the liberals new strategies of obstruction that will be used against the conservatives in turn. A perpetual upping of the ante.

I'm not saying that the liberals didn't play the exact same game when the roles were reversed, but that doesn't make the whole fiasco more palatable to me. It could very well be that the conservatives have no choice but to match suit or be overrun. But I for one would sure like to see more level headed cooperation in the political arena.

Ryan said...

I'm not sure this is even a conservative/liberal split. Or at least Republicans haven't been great about shrinking the size of government in past--maybe slowing it from Democrat's pace.

And I don't think that Democrats get elected to increase the size of government--even though that is what they tend to do, once elected.

When running for election, Obama talked extensively about cutting government programs that don't work. Even once elected he would brag about government cuts that were minuscule compared to his increases in spending.

Instead, I think what happens is that once a politician is elected, the incentives all favor larger spending and centralization. Any time there is a new spending program, there is a concentrated interest that will benefit from that program, can contributed to campaigns and generally pressure a politician.

So I think it is a very good thing to have a countervailing single-issue group of people dedicated to stopping the growth in government.

I also don't really like the product of most bipartisan cooperation. I can't think of much good legislation that has come from it, other than maybe welfare reform. But NCLB was bipartisan. Medicare expansion was bipartisan. SCHIP expansion. I can't think of a single bipartisan effort, (other than maybe medicare reform) that has gone anything other than increase the size of the state. So I'm in favor of more gridlock.

Brett said...

"the incentives all favor larger spending and centralization" - Agreed

"I don't think that Democrats get elected to increase the size of government" - I'm guessing those poll numbers vary greatly with the wording of the question. Do people like "Big Government" and extensive regulation? No. Do they want continued unemployment benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, FHA loans, Social Security, etc.? Yes. And I think a lot of people vote democrat because they feel they will protect/expand these programs.

"NCLB was bipartisan" - I always find it funny how Bush gets all the credit and people forget that it was coauthored by Kennedy (as well as Boehner).

Is there any partisan piece of legislation that you're a fan of?

"it is a very good thing to have a countervailing single-issue group of people dedicated to stopping the growth in government." - Another thing that bothers me about the Tea Party (I'm not against many of their aims, I just couldn't see myself ever joining a rally) is that they seem to support any candidate willing to stand up and use fighting words without vetting the candidate very well. Take Sharron Angle for example. There were a couple of pretty solid, more traditional republican candidates that would have likely beaten Reid, but Angle threw out the most anti big government rhetoric so the Tea Party got behind her. Never mind that she was lacking in a host of areas that made her far from electable in the general election and that her actual qualifications for the job were minimal. And her's doesn't seem to be an isolated incident. The trend seems to be to choose those who demonize the government most vehemently, while other factors aren't so important.

Ryan said...

"The trend seems to be to choose those who demonize the government most vehemently, while other factors aren't so important."

But how else do we get movement on this issue? Republicans have been for smaller government for a long time and had no success in shrinking its size. In fact all the movement has been in the other direction. And I don't think that its because people are getting the size of government they want overall. I'm not opposed to other tactics. But to me it seems like a good thing to have a group that is basically made up of single issue voters.

You make a good point that sometimes people want funding for specific programs, but smaller government overall. But I think that, generally, that is because they view that government can be cut while keeping other programs funded.

I also think sometimes people process these questions as if there are no trade-offs. Do I want seniors to get better medicare benefits? yes. Do I want to pay for it through higher taxes and bigger government? No. Do you have to answer yes to both questions. Not with prioritization. Additionally, I think sometimes people answer these questions in a way that assumes away scarcity.

I wasn't really familiar with the field in Nevada, but you could be right that tea-party types made a huge miscalculation there. You could argue the same thing happened with that other female senate candidate back east.

However the tea party also got us Mike Lee in Utah, and Ted Cruz in Texas. Rubio is good too. Also Allen West. (Why did the racist tea-party types elect a black man?) So maybe it's better at getting small government republicans than strong general election candidates against incumbent Democrats.

Or maybe Angle and that other lady, whose name I can't remember, are just outliers or early mistakes that will not be repeated.

I'll have to think about the legislation question. I'm tempted to say the patriot act, but I'm sort of more ambivalent about that than I used to be. And I guess that actually was bipartisan.

I liked the de-funding of ACORN.

Ryan said...

Let me flip the question around on you: what bipartisan legislation do you like, or what do you think will be accomplished through bipartisanship that will not be accomplished otherwise?