National Tea Party

Thursday, May 21, 2009
The following is an exchange lifted from comments at Just One Minute. I'll be editing it from time to time if interest warrants.
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What do you think should be the first plank in the National Tea Party Platform? I've been wondering if formalizing the approach to rejection of the DC Thieves Club through a promise of denial of support might provide a vertebrae or two to some Washington annelids.

The Contract With America (LUN if Typhuspad remains dysfunctional) provides some ideas regarding form - possibly some content as well.

NOTE: Typhuspad et the whole comment when HTML was used. SixApart sucks like an industrial vacuum.

Posted by: Rick Ballard | May 21, 2009 at 08:10 AM



* FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;
* SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
* THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
* FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;
* FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
* SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;
* SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
* EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

Rick,

I actually think we would go a long way to fixing our problems if #1 were implemented. I swear all of this mess starts with political cronyism. The problem is, who would every vote for that?

I think we need to find people willing to run to buck the system - who of course will be systematically destroyed by all the ins who have all the money.

Posted by: Jane | May 21, 2009 at 09:15 AM

Jane, that is an excellent list. I'd like to suggest one more.

Every member of Congress has to sign off that they have read and understand each bill they vote on.

It would not need to be a burdensome procedure, just look at how one has to click that one has read info that web sites require you read when you sign up.

Posted by: pagar | May 21, 2009 at 09:26 AM

Jane,

I begin with the premise that there is not one of our 535 elected representatives whose immediate departure from this vale of tears would have any measurable impact on the republic. I have a very real doubt that the immediate departure of all 535 would be a net negative as well.

If I were design that first plank for a National Tea Party, I believe that I would clearly state that no incumbent who has served more than eight years would receive any support from the party. That would be a first step towards limiting the cronyism to which you refer.

The second plank would be that any candidate seeking the support of the National Tea Party must maintain a searchable database of all contributions. The database must be open to the public and the datafiles easy to download.

Then we could move on to the First, Seventh and Eighth planks listed.

Posted by: Rick Ballard | May 21, 2009 at 09:46 AM

If I were design that first plank for a National Tea Party, I believe that I would clearly state that no incumbent who has served more than eight years would receive any support from the party.

I love it Rick. I think the entire thrust should be limiting government in every way possible.

And I think we should really think about making government a part time, unpaid endeavor.

Posted by: Jane | May 21, 2009 at 09:59 AM

Jane, if you do that you'd put the bureaucracy in charge because it often takes years for Congressmen to learn the ropes.

I think not only committee staff should be cut but so should personal staff and budgets--way overdone and creating nothing but trouble.

Posted by: clarice | May 21, 2009 at 10:11 AM


Clarice,

My guess is with the brilliance we have here we could come up with a concrete platform and also probably work out the minutia. So let's give it a whirl. I nominate Rick to be in charge. And if we end up moving we also have a blueprint for our own government.


The first plank needs to echo RR. Let's affirm that the contractual terms of our voluntary association are laid out in the founding documents, that all rights are vested by our creator in the individual, except for those voluntarily assigned by individuals to the 50 States, and except for those limited rights assigned to the Federal government, either by the individual or by the states.

Then we can get into the nitty gritty.

Posted by: Old Lurker | May 21, 2009 at 10:49 AM

NINTH Abolish the congressional parking spaces at Dulles International.

Posted by: Danube of Thought | May 21, 2009 at 10:54 AM


We should also do what we can to re-enforce federalism. As I understand it the ability to force the entire nation to follow Calif emission rules is a direct outcropping of a decision to allow Cal to enforce more stringent requirements than applied elsewhere. If the Commerce clause means anything it means that states should not be permitted to set their own emission policies--the Calif market is so huge than in effect whatever the turkeys there wanted was thru market forces--and now by law--expensively imposed on us all.

In almost every other circumstance the left has used the commerce clause to exercise federal sway over what really should be local decisions.

Go figure.

Posted by: clarice | May 21, 2009 at 11:06 AM

I'm in on just about everything.

How about this for a goal. We develop an outline, contact our local tea party coodinators, send it to PJTV, aim for it to be adopted at the Sept 12th Tea party in DC.

We continue to fill in the blanks as we go along.

Posted by: Jane | May 21, 2009 at 11:31 AM


Jane--

I think the NTP idea has legs. The problem is avoiding being "Alinkskyized" for as long as possible. In other words, because the Mediacrat left has absolutely no answer to the right's ideas, it seeks to personalize everything and attack individuals directly. The more organized and hierarchical the NTP is, the more certain individuals become targeted. It's a bit of a Catch-22. Anyone have ideas for working around this problem?

Posted by: Fresh Air | May 21, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Fresh:

Well let's talk about how we expect it to play out, and then we can think about how to defend. One thing I would do is keep politicians out of it. Have it just be citizens. We should network on the internet and maybe not talk to the press until we are ready altho that could backfire.

We need a place to work on it. This topic is going to be hard to find soon.

Posted by: Jane | May 21, 2009 at 01:08 PM


Jane--

This topic is going to be hard to find soon.

What does this mean?

Posted by: Fresh Air | May 21, 2009 at 01:14 PM


9 comments:

Jane said...

I'll be first

Poi said...

Please count me in. One of the things that I think has to be addressed is getting started. It takes a lot of time to get a committed group to the point where they have an effect on an election. We need to get started now.

I normally post as Pagar. This is an old blogger account name that I used long ago but Blogger won't let me use it for some reason

Rick Ballard said...

Pagar,

Getting started amounts to preparing a statement of principles and objectives. OL's initial response re Reagan is a good start. I hope he fleshes it out with a post here.

Jane said...

One thing I am adamant about, is that no elected official get any special benefit - no pension, let them get a 401k like the rest of us and no fancy medical care.

Skookumchuk said...

Rick:

Long time no hear.

* FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress; Yup.* SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse; Seems difficult to keep non-partisan. Though the concept is sound. Needs work, but worth exploring.* THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third; Good, but perhaps there should be some sort of performance metric (gasp!)- and the numbers of committees and staff go up only when workload increases by some amount, then shrink when the workload decreases.* FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs; Fine.* FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee; Fine.* SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public; Also good.* SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase; Yes.* EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting. Best one of all, maybe.On a tactical level, it might be good to make legislators part-timers. I believe the Texas House does this, but am not sure. If the government is sufficiently streamlined, it could become feasible. And there has to be an incentive to bring in people other than lawyers. A monoculture of attorneys is almost inevitable given the current complexity. And there has to be a much stronger Federalist slant and a limit to the power of courts to make legislation.

We also have to examine nearly everything from first principles. For me, Burke, Bastiat, Tocqueville, and the rest of the guys are my bedside reading now. :-)

Rick Ballard said...

Hi Skook,

I'd rather work from first principles as well. I'd toss in Adam Smith and especially Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty, which, IMO, moved Smith's observations forward in an intelligent manner.

I suppose a short piece on inalienable rights and the necessity for "shall make no law" is probably in order. I'll see if I can get one up tomorrow or Saturday.

Then we can proceed to the proper treatment of servants with special attention to those fed by the public purse.

Poi said...

I really thought we would get more comments but I like what I see.

ambisinistral said...

I think I'm late to this conversation, since I get the feeling it started in a comments section and moved here. So please excuse me if I touch on ground that has already been covered.

This is a good start, but it strikes me as being too narrow and focused. By that I mean it seems to me to address only the Congress, while the Executive and Courts are barely touched upon.

Perhaps a stating of the Tea Partyers view of the major principals of the Constitution and how checks and balances are meant to function; and then a discussion of where we think things have gone astray and how we can bring it all back in balances is a better structure? In other words, generalize it a bit.

Also, there is no Tea Party yet. Perhaps present it as a manifesto rather than a Party platform at this point? Aim it towards the center, where you can pull in both disgruntled Democrats as well as Republicans and push it aggressively at the local level as a set of principals politicians can sign up to regardless of party affiliation.

One should leverage one's strength. The Tea Party protests seem much more effective at the local level than the national level.

At any rate, even if I'm not making much sense -- which is always possible with me -- I am interested in this issue. Something needs to be done and if you bounce to yet another blog please let me know.

Poi said...

Ambisinistral, Enjoyed reading your comments. I agree, we need to do much more at the local area. My main thrust is I believe we have to do what is going to be done soon or we are not going to be allowed to do anything.
Most of the posters you see here are at the http://justoneminute.typepad.com/
blog. I haven't seen your name there, but judging from your comments here, I believe you would enjoy Just One Minute. Please stop by over there.