Editor's note: This column was co-authored by Billie Tucker.
President Obama recently compared the Tea Party to the Occupy Wall Street protests, telling ABC News’ Jake Tapper, “in some ways they’re not that different.” We beg to differ. The Tea Party and the protestors are almost exact opposites.
The president is in a dilemma. He sympathizes with the protesters because many of their goals are also his. He thus wants to associate the Occupiers with the Tea Party, a movement that has resonated with the American people.
But there’s the rub. Obama identifies with the Occupiers because, as pollster Doug Schoen put it, they reflect “values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people … and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies.”
That’s not the Tea Party. That’s the opposite.
Unlike the Occupiers, the Tea Party has a unifying set of principles. Those are articulated clearly in America’s founding document, the Constitution. It lays out a system for limited government, delegating specific powers to elected leaders and prohibiting them from exercising responsibilities beyond these enumerated powers.
The Tea Party’s heroes are therefore the Founding Fathers. The Tea Party is all about the small-government, personal responsibility and conservative philosophies espoused by Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and Milton Friedman.
The Tea Party is not an anarchist, anti-government group. We agree with Barry Goldwater that “the legitimate functions of government are actually conducive to freedom. Maintaining internal order, keeping foreign foes at bay, administering justice, removing obstacles to the free interchange of goods-the exercise of these powers makes it possible for men to follow their chosen pursuits with maximum freedom.”
The Tea Party reveres the values of this country: respect for the law and private property, freedom of expression, assembly and religion, self-government, self-sufficiency, hard work, and the belief that the family -- not the federal government -- is the major institution in society. We know America’s success stems directly from these values. It’s what sets America apart from all others.
The vast majority of Occupiers we’ve heard would deviate America from its historic course. Their hero, judging by their tee-shirts, seems to be more Che Guevara, a psychopathic killer, than Madison, Jefferson and Franklin.
Let’s analyze how the protesters’ demands would make our country less free and more dependent on an ever-growing government.