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February 18, 2010

Tea Party Perspective…

Derek Shackelford

I must admit I am not a follower of the Tea Party movement. This does not mean that I cannot look at it objectively. I am not a follower in terms of believing all of its principles.


As an educated person, I do try to keep up with current events and learn about historical relevance. When the Tea Party movement started, initially I just listened. There were several rallies/demonstrations across the nation. In particular members of the Frederick community staged their own Tea Party. The media covered the events and – depending upon one’s perspective – the coverage was limited or excessive.


It can be acknowledged that government is too intrusive, spends excessively, and disregards the rights of the people. That is apparent; but it just didn’t start with the Obama Administration.


Government has been this way for centuries. The debt and exclusion of rights just didn’t start yesterday. It didn’t matter whether the president is Democrat or Republican. The same holds true for Congress.


So, with this in mind, I decided to attend one of the local Tea Party rallies. I just didn’t want to hear it from someone else or garner an opinion from media coverage. As previously mentioned, I believe we have too much government. What grabbed my attention was some of the speeches and the rhetoric. Some of the speakers made some good points while others spoke some dangerous rhetoric. Yet, it did not go unchecked.


Which leads me to the recent National Tea Party Convention. It was the inaugural event for the Tea Party across the country. The keynote speaker was Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate and former governor of Alaska.


I tuned in to hear Palin’s address and what did I hear? A political stump speech for the Republican Party straight from the party’s talking points.


Interesting enough, she was given several standing ovations for her remarks and I heard chants of “Run Sarah Run.” I then wondered if this was a movement or a political rally.


Governor Palin criticized President Barack Obama on his foreign policy, health care reform and economic agenda. While the president’s policies are fair game for analysis, it is interesting the approach taken by Governor Palin and those who cheered during the speech.


Not once did Mrs. Palin address those in her own party, who have contributed to the state of our country.


Even after the speech, she was tossed softball questions, so much so that she had the talking points written on her hand to remind her. Not once was she challenged on policy but was given a pass by the moderator.


She was cheered for her foreign policy stance. It was a great sound bite that went like this, “We win, they lose.” Sounds simple, with no clear understanding of the complex world.


How many times has she been out of the country? While some criticize President Obama for his use of the teleprompter, what person does not use any type of teleprompter or notes to deliver speeches? I’m still waiting to hear the analysis of Sarah Palin’s attempt at Cliff Notes from the Tea Partygoers.


It remains to be seen how great an impact the Tea Party movement will have on the mid-year election. Is this movement one that shapes the political landscape, or just another wing of the GOP?


If the Tea Party is truly serious it would be an equal opportunity accountability conveyer. It would check Sean Hannity when he speaks his partiality and untruths. It would check Rush Limbaugh when he spouts insensitive comments. It would check Sarah Palin for using every means at her disposal for 15 minutes of fame.


Until then, it loses all credibility because it seems that if it isn’t from the right, then it isn’t right.


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