Political establishment does not understand tea party movement

You would think the smartest guys in the room of American politics would have figured out the tea party by now.
But you would be wrong. Abundant proof was just provided on the opinion pages of The New York Times in an indignant editorial entitled “The Repeal Amendment.”

The Repeal Amendment is a proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to enable the legislatures of two-thirds of the states to repeal a federal law they find objectionable. It comes as a surprise to no sentient being who has witnessed the grass-roots rebellion, aka the tea party, against expanding federal power.

But even if only the 40 percent of Americans who identify themselves as conservatives align with the tea party, it is anything but a fringe element.

So how does the Times view the Repeal Amendment and the tea party behind it?

“The proposal is sweeping, expressing with bold simplicity the view of the tea party and others that the federal government’s influence is far too broad. It would give state legislatures the power to veto any federal law or regulation if two-thirds of the legislatures approved.”

Three points:
First, the Times rejects the tea party belief that “the federal government’s influence is far too broad.” A little further on in the editorial, the Times argues that the Founders actually intended the Constitution to “promote economic development that would lift the fortunes of the American people.”

No, the Founders’ purpose was clearly expressed in the Preamble, which described the Constitution’s purpose as to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Second, the Times claims the Repeal Amendment’s prospects for adoption are “exceedingly low.” This prediction comes from the same experts who spent much of 2009 reassuring each other that the tea party movement was an inconsequential fringe.

Third, after their November shellacking, the experts now offer more of their standard diminution of the tea party as just another “anger-fueled, myth-based” populist movement. It is an illegitimate movement because its adherents must be moved by passion instead of reason and deceived by a disreputable myth about an American past that never was.

Maybe these people will not engage the Repeal Amendment on its merits because they know it accurately reflects the Constitution.

Mark Tapscott is the editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner and proprietor of Tapscott’s Copy Desk blog at www.washingtonexaminer.com.

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