Ken Connor

In the flurry of post-government-shutdown analysis, the talking heads are speculating about the demise of the Tea Party. According to the New York Times,

"In the aftermath of the U.S. government shutdown and a close call with default, there is a political consensus among Democrats, many Republicans, establishment conservatives, business leaders and the inside-the-Beltway commentariat: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Tea Party members in the House have done grievous harm to themselves and their brand. They caused economic and political wreckage and got nothing for it. The silver lining, critics say, is that these right-wingers may now be chastened, and Mr. Cruz’s national ambitions have been dealt a lethal setback."

Meanwhile in Texas, Senator Ted Cruz's constituents recently welcomed him home with a rousing, eight minute standing ovation. If the Tea Party has been grievously harmed and Ted Cruz marginalized, that's news to folks in the Lone Star State.

As much as the establishment arm of Washington and their media counterparts would like the Tea Party to just disappear, they are wrong in their assessment of the shutdown and its impact on the movement. The Tea Party will not be relegated to the ash bin of history, and pronouncements of its demise are premature. On the contrary, the Tea Party has emerged from this federal fracas more committed and clear-eyed than ever. Unlike so many of the pundits and pontificators who set the agenda and guide the headlines, the Tea Party and its members understand that something fundamental is wrong with Washington. They love this country and want to preserve it, and they understand that the path our government is on is one that leads to certain destruction. They know that you cannot spend more than you take in indefinitely. They understand that America's gigantic debt and deficit are like twin millstones around our neck. They understand that there is an inverse relationship between the size of government and the freedom that citizens enjoy, and they understand that government grows directly in proportion to the amount of money available to it.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.