Mark Davis has a superb piece up on Real Clear Politics this morning on what makes the Tea Party movement tick and, perhaps even more important, what doesn't. Along the way, Davis makes a number of important observations and offers some solid advice that ought to be taken to heart by Tea Partiers everywhere.
Tea Partiers are not "anti-tax" and their movement is not "a nascent third party," according to the popular Dallas-area Talk Radio host. And it's not simply made up of social conservatives and it's not made up of a bunch of "bug-eyed lunatics, either, Davis said.
"That doesn't mean you won't find plenty of tea partiers who are devout advocates of protecting the unborn and traditional marriage - it's just that the Tea Party engine is driven first and foremost by a desire to return government to its proper constitutional limits and run it with a lot less money. Anyone driven by that passion is welcome in any roomful of tea partiers, no matter what views they may hold about God and gays.
"That is, by the way, part of why the movement is so strong. If it were to adopt some litmus tests for admittedly important social issues, it would see its ranks dwindle mightily. Electing people to bring back fiscal sanity in 2010 and 2012 will require the help of millions of voters who may be centrist, libertarian or even socially liberal. How do you think Scott Brown won in Massachusetts," Davis said.
In other words, the essential reason-for-being of the Tea Party movement is that government has gotten way too big, too expensive, and too out-of-touch with the concerns and beliefs of the people it is supposed to serve. As Davis describes it, "the people drifting toward the Tea Party movement are not extreme. They are, in fact, fighting extremism - the extremism that has brought us a government that takes far too much, spends far too much and runs our lives far too much."
It took career polticians in both parties to get us to where we are today, and it will take awakened people from both parties banning together in the Tea Party movement to restore the proper balance.
You can read the balance of Davis' article here.