The Right Opinion

Walker Victory: This Is What the Tea Party Is About

By Mona Charen · Jun. 8, 2012

Though it hasn't been celebrated as such, Scott Walker's victory in Wisconsin represents the full flowering of the tea party movement. It is also a sign – among others – that the Republican Party has recaptured its ideological core.

The tea partyers are often mischaracterized as extreme right-wingers. Thus, proponents of same-sex marriage or unrestricted abortion will invoke “tea party” elements as those most opposed to their efforts. That's off target. Though many in the movement may have conservative social views, those weren't the issues that spurred them to organize, demonstrate and vote.

No, the tea partyers – judging by their signs, speeches and writings – were alarmed about irresponsible government spending, bailouts of the undeserving and spiraling debt. The tea partyers are actually the 21st century “goo-goos” – good government types – the label that was attached to progressives in the early 20th century. They aren't anarchists, racists (as in the more febrile accusations of their opponents) or culture warriors. They simply want to see government scale back and perform its essential functions fairly, efficiently and honestly.

For some time, Republican office holders were little better than Democrats when it came to spending, accountability and reform. The size of government seemed to grow inexorably under both parties. Some Republicans earned and deserved tea party disdain.

But we are now in an era of true Republican reform. The reformers are Republican governors who, like Scott Walker, have chosen to tackle the bloated budgets and corrupt bargains of state governments. At least a half dozen Republican governors – Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, Chris Christie in New Jersey, Mitch Daniels in Indiana, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, Bob McDonnell in Virginia, and Walker himself – have taken on the public sector unions frontally.

The word “corrupt” is not too strong for a system that worked like this: Unions worked to elect Democrats. Once elected, Democrats passed laws that permitted states to withhold union dues from state employee paychecks, further enriching and entrenching public sector unions. State governments then signed contracts with the unions giving far more generous pay, work rules (like teacher tenure) and benefits than the average taxpayer receives. Unions thus elected the people who sat across the table from them in contract negotiations. As Victor Gotbaum, a New York City union leader boasted, “We have the ability to elect our own boss.” That mutual backscratching has burdened taxpayers with pension and other liabilities mounting into the trillions.

On his first day in office, Chris Christie signed an executive order forbidding public sector unions from making political contributions (corporations were already barred). He then embarked on the grueling, but necessary, battle to require unionized teachers to accept slightly less generous pensions and to make tiny contributions to their own health insurance.

In New Mexico, Susana Martinez has cut spending by $150 million without raising taxes, reduced the state workforce by 5 percent, eliminated duplicative taxes on small businesses, and increased local control of schools by opting out of No Child Left Behind.

Indiana's Mitch Daniels ended collective bargaining for public sector unions early in his tenure. He balanced budgets without raising taxes, earned the state a AAA bond rating for the first time, reduced the number of state workers to the lowest in the nation, improved the business climate, transformed a $700 million deficit into a $1.3 billion surplus, and earned Indiana the Tax Foundation's “First in the Midwest” award for business climate. Indiana's government is also more efficient: child support collections are up, wait times for child services have been halved, 150 state troopers have been added, and the Healthy Indiana Plan provides health insurance to 50,000 low-income Hoosiers. Among participants, emergency room use has declined. Perhaps the most emblematic of all Indiana's accomplishments is that wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles have been reduced to less than eight minutes.

Both Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Bob McDonnell in Virginia have pushed for reform of teacher tenure. McDonnell, like the other Republican reform governors, has reduced state spending. Jindal has also passed a balanced budget, ethics reform, tax cuts, and one of the most sweeping school voucher laws in the nation.

Scott Walker is in good company. He and his fellow reform Republicans are the vanguard of a refreshed and confident Republican Party. It's a party that, unlike the Democrats, is confronting the looming threat of government debt. That is what the tea partyers have been demanding. All of the Republican reformers are popular. Who knows – if this continues, we may even escape bankruptcy.

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6 Comments

wjm in Colorado said:

I am optomistic that the Democrats overplayed their hand, and the attempt to destroy the Constitution and transform the country has backfired. I See Chariman Obamao's defeat this November as inevitable. His treason and corruption will end. I Hope that a Constitutional Congress will have the will and strength to try and convict this Chicago roach.

Friday, June 8, 2012 at 5:57 AM

Tex Horn in Texas said:

The Tea Party is also demanding that we clean Congress of the so-called RINOS, and have a good start with the squashing of Lugar, and hopefully, Orrin Hatch. Now, if we could follow that by deposing John Boehner (who seems more concerned about his dear Speakership position than governing), McConnell, McCain, and the like. If the Tea Party is indeed alive during this election year, I hope they breathe fire to any who support the social democrat legislation championed by the current adminstation and many democrats and republicans alike.

Friday, June 8, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Linda in Omaha said:

The first thing the tea party needs to do is shake up the convention and get rid of the ultra rino romney. He has made it clear he has no use for social conservatives except to use us for our vote, and he says he does not have to reach out to ask for that; "social conservatives will vote for me". He refused to go to a single prolife or pro family event. Many of us see Romney as bad as Obama socially. We are not like the liberals who live on the plantation and does what we are told. Romney has spent his life saying he is one thing and doing something else. He will never get many conservatives votes because he had made his distain clear. Back at you Romney.

Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Linda in Omaha said:

The first thing the tea party needs to do is shake up the convention and get rid of the ultra rino romney. He has made it clear he has no use for social conservatives except to use us for our vote, and he says he does not have to reach out to ask for that; "sociaUl conservatives will vote for me". He refused to go to a single prolife or pro family event. Many of us see Romney as bad as Obama socially. We are not like the liberals who live on the plantation and does what we are told. Romney has spent his life saying he is one thing and doing something else. He will never get many conservatives votes because he had made his distain clear. Back at you Romney.

Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 5:56 PM

davidfarrar in Cedartown said:

'So This Is How Liberty Dies...With Thunderous Applause'

The Tea Party must stand firm in its resolve to defend its American birthright. If we don't; nobody else will.

Unlike Obama, Mitt Romney should not try and hide his past. There are serious, national interests involved in understanding just how much of his family's exodus into Mexico jives with the record, or even with what some other country may be able to document...and then blackmail the President of the United States into doing their bidding.

Since 1885 until 1912, I think it is fair to say; Mormon men and their families, moved into Mexican territory, en mass, bought land, created towns, raised children, all with the expressed intent of creating a domicile residence outside of US jurisdiction, and outside of their pledge of allegiance to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Under these conditions, even if born US citizens, their US citizenship would have been forfeited under these circumstances once they reach the age of majority.

After the age of majority, Gaskell Romney was living in Mexico, buying land, building a house and raising a family, all activities consistent with Mexican citizenship and inconsistent with US citizenship under the second Mexican Constitution.

It is time for Mitt Romney to address this issue like a responsible presidential candidate and not follow in Obama's footsteps by stonewalling this issue for the next four years.

Since the doubts concerning Obama's, Romney's, Rubio's and Jindal's "natural born citizen" status are Constitutional in nature, the honorable thing to do is to have Mr. Romney support, as many Tea Party members do, de Vattel's definition of a natural born Citizen as that of a person born a citizen under the cloak of allegiance of the father.

We know Obama can't make that pledge, nor Rubio, nor Jindal. But how about Romney; can he make that pledge?

ex animo
davidfarrar

Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Linda in Omaha said:

Romney in no Reagan. Reagan spoke often of prolife issues and stood who those who were in the trenches. Romney has refused to go to conservative events. Romney has lied back and forth depending on who he is taking to. He promised the log cabin rep he would get gay marriage though and that it would take a rep not a dem to do it.
Mitt Romney’s Dismal Record

"As U.S. real output grew 13 percent between 2002 and 2006, Massachusetts trailed at 9 percent.

* Manufacturing employment fell 7 percent nationwide those years, but sank 14 percent under Romney, placing Massachusetts 48th among the states.

* Between fall 2003 and autumn 2006, U.S. job growth averaged 5.4 percent, nearly three times Massachusetts' anemic 1.9 percent pace.

* While 8 million Americans over age 16 found work between 2002 and 2006, the number of employed Massachusetts residents actually declined by 8,500 during those years.

"Massachusetts was the only state to have failed to post any gain in its pool of employed residents," professors Sum and McLaughlin concluded.

In an April 2003 meeting with the Massachusetts congressional delegation in Washington, Romney failed to endorse President Bush's $726 billion tax-cut proposal."

[Cato Institute annual Fiscal Policy Report Card - America's Governors, 2004.]

Romney's "accomplishments".

1. Implemented/created Gay Marriage in MA

2. Supported and forced Gay Adoption in MA

3. Supported Abortion wholeheartedly

4. Raised taxes/fees over 300% while being Governor of MA

5. Implemented a state-level Cap and Trade system.

6. Supported Man-Made Global Warming

7. Supported the Brady Bill

8. Implemented a state level “Assault” Weapons Ban after the Federal AWB was allowed to expire.

9. Supported TARP

10. Supported Amnesty for Illegal Aliens (Citizenship for those already here)

11. Supported McCain-Kennedy (Amnesty)

12. Implemented a socialized medicine in MA called RomneyCare complete with an Individual Mandate and $50 abortions.

13. Nominated 27 Democrats (out of 36 nominations) for judgeships in MA, many of them extreme left-wingers.

Why should social conservatives vote for Romney? To stop Obama? We are turning into the democrats. Sheople who happily move left with Romney will have him for 8 years. Compromise if you want. This is chess not checkers. Giving the country Romney will only allow the left to move further left. Welcome to Greece

Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 7:57 PM