As someone whose first vote was for Ronald Reagan in 1980, I can honestly say that I have consistently sought after the most conservative candidate I could find, but all too often I found myself voting for the lesser of two evils.
But in 2009 the political landscape changed. When the Republicans could only muster up a miserable option by the name of John McCain to run against a socialist-Marxist by the name of Barack Obama, tens of millions of grassroots Americans said enough is enough.
The Tea Party was launched and I’m grateful to be a part of the movement.
Much of our ire has been targeted toward the party whose candidates most of us have consistently voted for. Fundamentally our gripe has been that the principles the Republicans espoused, as defined in their platform, were consistently repudiated by their deeds via their votes, including at local, state and national levels. Most prominently though our Republican “values” were trampled on by our national Republican officials, year after year, decade after decade. In my own state of Tennessee, the poster child nationally for the repudiation of Republican values has been Senator Lamar Alexander. Sadly there are dozens of others we could highlight as well.
Innocently, and perhaps naively, the Tea Party movement sought to simply restore limited government, Constitutional adherence and fiscal conservatism (and for many of us traditional social values as well) to our government. What we got in return though from the party we had consistently but often times reluctantly supported with our votes, was a thorough lashing. We were treated worse than the Democratic candidates the Republican party sought to defeat. We were called all manner of names. And Republican candidates who had the audacity to call themselves “grassroots conservatives” (code phrase for Tea Party) were actively targeted by Republican PAC’s and organizations (both at the state and national levels). Many of the Republican attacks on “their own” were the most vicious, vile and deceptive attacks one can imagine. For one such instance simply study the despicable attacks by Senator Thad Cochrane on fellow Republican (and tea party) candidate Chris McDaniel earlier this year.
But let’s fast forward to November 2014.
Many Republicans look at the results of the just completed election as an endorsement of them and their party along with a repudiation of the socialist-Marxist sitting in the White House and his policies. They are half right — but only as it relates to the last half of the sentence. Foolishly they perceive that the American people enthusiastically endorsed them. If they believe that then they probably believe that I along with millions of others “enthusiastically” endorsed John McCain or Mitt Romney when they ran against Barack Obama. That could not be further from the truth.
So, these next few months will reveal one of two realities.
Will those foolish Republicans, who fancy themselves as in touch with their constituents, push forward with their misguided, elitist agenda, one which would compromise with Obama and in so doing agree to half a dose of poison instead of a full dose (following six years of the same steady stream of poison from the Obama administration)?
Or will the voices and sentiments of the American people who rejected Obama but pulled the lever for the “lesser of two evils” prevail? Will they be heard? Will “We the People” guide Washington (and in my case Nashville as well) in a manner that will once again set our nation and states on course for a “rendezvous with destiny” of which President Ronald Reagan so eloquently spoke?
Time will tell. But out of honor for our predecessors and for the sake of our offspring, I pray that we will learn from history and not repeat its mistakes. I pray Washington will hear the message that was so firmly proclaimed a couple of weeks ago and they will do what is seldom done by politicians — acknowledge their errors, humbly reverse course, and respect the will of the People. If so, we will together solve the momentous challenges facing our nation. If not, we will tragically succumb to those same momentous challenges.
Speaker John Boehner, Senator Mitch McConnell, Governor Bill Haslam, so which option will it be?