All this has generated a refreshing “clean sweep” sensibility, consistent with a grass-roots movement of Americans who are sincerely focused on individual freedom – and frustrated at the futility of past efforts to combat the seemingly unstoppable encroachment by government power. If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine the tea party making good on its promise to permanently restore some of our freedom. But with eyes wide open, I see a movement imperiled by the same entrenched thinking that has driven government’s growth for more than a century.
One side of the divided tea-party mentality (its “right brain,” so to speak) recoils from the cumulative impact of government programs enacted over more than a century. In the wake of unprecedented “stimulus” spending, Wall Street bailouts, “Government Motors,” and Obamacare’s takeover of health insurance, the movement foresees economic ruin and diminished freedom for all Americans. To combat these evils, the tea party invokes America’s founding ideals of individual rights and limited government, and talks about cutting big government down to size.