The Search For The Tea Party Leader
February 15, 2010
By Humphrey Stevenson
The left is on the hunt and they will not be stopped until they find their quarry. In every bush, under every rock, the left is furiously searching for the leader of the Tea Party movement. It is akin to the search for the Loch Ness Monster. They want so badly to find someone, anyone that they can pronounce as the Tea Party leader.
After former Governor Sarah Palin spoke at a Tea Party convention on Saturday, Juan Williams flatly declared on Fox News Sunday that Sarah Palin is the leader of the Tea Party movement and she should accept that role.
I hate to burst Juan Williams' bubble but, while former Governor Palin is an important voice in conservative politics, she is not the leader of the Tea Party movement. Sarah Palin is a private citizen who accepted an invitation to speak before a group of other private citizens. Nevertheless, since the political leanings of this group are in opposition to that of the present administration, she and the group both must be castigated.
The fact is there is no one leader of the movement. But that fact has not nor will it stop the left from their quest. There two reasons for this endless search for the leader for the Tea Party movement.
First, a movement without an ultimate leader just does not fit the template that the left has cut out. You see, this does not happen on the left. To have a movement, you first must have a recognizable, well financed leader; a community organizer in other words. Someone has to say, "You take this sign and stand over there; you wear this shirt and stand here and on cue, all of you yell this cute little rhyme I have written out." The idea that a bunch of hick, hayseed rednecks (which is what the left thinks of us) could put together a movement without someone to tell everyone exactly what to do is inconceivable to them, if for no other reason than the fact that they cannot do it. In their world, the community cannot organize itself.
We already saw this last summer. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the Tea Parties as Astroturf or fake grassroots. What she was saying was that there existed some mysterious puppet master pulling the strings behind the scenes. She could not fathom how hundreds of thousands of individuals and small groups could first communicate and then organize themselves into what became the Tea Parties without the guidance and financing of an ultimate leader.
The other reason the left wants to find a leader of the Tea Party movement is that they want to destroy the movement. It is very difficult to use their time-tested Saul Alinsky tactics of "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it" on such a large, diverse group. Try as they might through intimidation, name-calling, fear-mongering and so forth, the left just has not been able to make much headway against the Tea Party movement. However, if they could find a clearly defined leader or even create such a leader, the tactics would be much more successful. They could then exploit any flaws, weaknesses or missteps of the "leader" and tear him or her down. Once they have discredited the leader, the movement could then be discredited.
Something else the left would like is for the Tea Party movement to go third party. This should be avoided. A conservative third party would only serve to elect Democrats by splitting the right wing vote. Ross Perot's Reform Party only served to secure Bill Clinton's election in 1992 and 1996. There may be limited times where a Tea Party candidate could offer the voters a choice if the Republican candidate offers no real alternative to the Democrat. However, even in these cases we must carefully weigh what we might gain against what damage it could do.
In the Republican primaries, however, it's another story. There the fight is on. We should put our full support behind the most conservative Republican candidates there are. But when facing the Democrats, we must present a strong, unified force.
We should focus on becoming the dominant force in the Republican Party. We should endeavor to wrestle control of the party away from the liberal/progressive wing. Then bring the Republican Party back to its bedrock, conservative values that not only win elections but are the solutions for what ails the United States.