In Friday’s Washington Post, columnist Aaron Blake declares “It’s time to stop calling Rand Paul a tea partier.” However rather than explain how and why Rand Paul should be categorized Blake proves how little he understands about the tea party and how much he has been influenced by the leftist stereotypes about the tea party. In short Blake is practicing political bigotry.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is the most interesting man (or woman) in the Republican Party today. He is known as a staunch conservative on fiscal issues, but he’s working with Democrats on criminal sentencing reform. He woos religious conservatives in Iowa, but he also flirts with a more libertarian stance on social issues. And as unrest continues in Ferguson, Paul said something no other Republicans are saying: That the “militarization” of police is harmful to African Americans.
Blake seems surprised that Paul is working on criminal sentencing reform but if he ever heard the Kentucky Senator’s rationale for the reform it begins with a key tea party tenet–reform will reduce costs/government spending.
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The WAPO columnists talks about Paul’s libertarian views on some social issues, but The tea party is not a “social conservative” movement although many social conservatives are part of the tea party movement. The tea party movement is about cutting government spending, shrinking
the size of government, and ensuring government does not overstep its
role as define in the U.S. constitution or violate our God-given rights
protected in the Constitution.
Many conservatives and tea partiers are talking about the evils of the over-militarization” of the police. In fact Mary Katherine Ham wrote a great article Wednesday night called “Free societies require more of police than turning tough situations into militarized zones” Militarization of police is a long-time tea party issue because it’s all about government intrusion into our lives and violating our constitutionally protected rights.
By complementing Paul for saying, the “militarization” of police is harmful to African Americans Blake seems to be suggesting that the rest of tea party supporters are racist, a false meme effectively used by many left-wing progressive types in an attempt to de-legitimize the tea party movement.
It’s interesting that those same MSM reporters and progressive politicians/talking heads who suggest the tea party as racist because of one possible nut-job at a rally never called the Occupy Wall Street movement as anti-Semitic even though their rallies will filled with posters denouncing what they called the “Jew-owned banking industry.”
As we’ve written before, the “tea party” tag has been vastly over-applied throughout the last few years. It was basically used on every Republican who won office in 2010, even as many of them had little to do with the movement — either ideologically or in their actions. (Case in point: Chris Christie was once seen as a tea partier. Think about that.) Since then, it has been used to refer to basically any Republican who beat the GOP establishment in a primary.
Given Paul’s political rise — he defeated an
establishment-aligned Republican in a 2010 primary — it was natural to
label him a tea partier. We have done it too — repeatedly. It’s the
easiest short-hand for a GOP outsider. But more and more, it’s looking
like that label doesn’t really fit. While Paul is certainly aligned with
the tea party on a lot of stuff, the label doesn’t describe him as well
as it does someone like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
An op-ed Paul wrote Thursday in Time magazine was just the latest
example of that. The things Paul said in it are not the kind of things
you would expect from a tea partier.
No Aaron, Chris Christie was never seen as a tea partier. He was supported by many in the tea party, he has even sought the votes of tea party groups, but he never defined himself as a tea party guy, always as a conservative Republican. Again Blake doesn’t “get it.” While the mainstream media tries to marginalize some politicians as being part of the tea party movement (which they also try to marginalize). It is not the media’s choice to define who is part of the tea party movement.
There is no official “tea party” there are hundreds of “tea parties.”
While there are national tea party organizations most of them are local
and all of them independent. Entrance into the tea party movement is simply a matter of self-identification. It’s a movement and a set of objectives there is no secret decoder ring and while there are hundreds of tea party groups, one does not have to be a member to participate. Not all people who self-identify as conservative Republican also consider themselves as part of the tea party and vice versa.
As previously explained, there is nothing which Blake identifies above as Rand Paul’s non-tea party opinions that is contrary to goals of the vast majority of the tea party movement.
In truth, Blake is a political bigot. Just as a racial bigot will say all blacks are—, or an anti-Semitic bigot will say all Jews are—, The Washington Post columnist Aaron Black says all tea partiers are—. That is simply untrue and unprofessional for a columnist.