Ken Connor
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It's become a favorite pastime among the press and punditry to blame the Tea Party for the problems plaguing the GOP. If those radicals would just shut up and go away, Republicans wouldn't be having so many problems. If the Tea Party had stayed out of the way in Virginia, for example, then Bill Bolling would be the Republican candidate instead of Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe wouldn't stand a chance.

These speculations may prove correct, but not for the reasons asserted. The Liberal press wants to advance the idea that the Tea Party is trouble for the GOP because their policy positions are "radical" and out of touch with "mainstream Conservatives." This simply is not true. I would challenge any critic to name one distinct policy position advocated by the Tea Party that is radically different than the platform embraced by a majority of Americans who identify with the Republican Party or movement conservatism.

According to TeaParty.org, there are fifteen "non-negotiable" principles that embody the Tea Party identity. They are as follows:

  1. Illegal aliens are here illegally.
  2. Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.?
  3. A strong military is essential.?
  4. Special interests must be eliminated.?
  5. Gun ownership is sacred.?
  6. Government must be downsized.
  7. The national budget must be balanced.
  8. Deficit spending must end.?
  9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal.
  10. Reducing personal income taxes is a must.?
  11. Reducing business income taxes is mandatory.?
  12. Political offices must be available to average citizens.?
  13. Intrusive government must be stopped.
  14. English as our core language is required.?
  15. Traditional family values are encouraged.

Another way to articulate these points would be to say that the Tea Party is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of the rule of law, limited government, an ethical and morally-sound society, the robust protection of individual liberty, ethics and honesty in business and government, fiscal prudence and financial responsibility, and a robust national defense. Not surprisingly, there's a lot here to ruffle Liberals' feathers, but there's little that the average Conservative would find objectionable.

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Ken Connor

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