It’s no secret that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not a fan of the Tea Party. I don’t expect to see him any time soon adorned with a Gadsden flag tee-shirt at a rally and as a staunch supporter of Obamacare, I sincerely doubt he will be moving to the right in the near future. Whether he likes our movement or not, Reid has admitted that the Tea Party, love us or hate us, is a powerful force in Washington.
To big-government proponents like Harry Reid, we are monkeywrenchers- proverbial thorns in the sides of those who wish they could augment the role of government with barely a whisper of opposition.
On Wednesday, Senator Reid sat down with several Tea Party pundits. He was a guest on talk radio host Rusty Humphries’ show. Admittedly, it was great of him to open the dialogue with listeners and Humphries who is also the National Communications Director for TheTeaParty.net.
Though the show was entirely civil, the interview came on the heels of Reid’s diatribe against the Tea Party on the Senate floor the week prior.
“We have a situation where this country has been driven by the Tea Party for the last number of years,” Reid said. “When I was in school, I studied government and I learned about the anarchists. Now, they were different than the Tea Party because they were violent. But they were anarchists because they did not believe in government in any level and they acknowledged it. The Tea Party kind of hides that. They don't say they're against government, but that is what it all amounts to. They're not doing physically destructive things to buildings and people, directly, but they are doing everything they can to throw a monkey-wrench into every form of government, whether it's local, state or federal. That's what it's all about. And so, anything they can do to through a monkey-wrench in the wheels of government, they're happy doing that.”
I get this argument from time to time. Because we advocate limited government, people will sometimes accuse us of being proponents of anarchy. They will utter hyperbolic questions like, “If you’re against government, then I guess you won’t call the fire department if your house burns down, right?” or “How did you get to work today? Paved roads?” It happens quite a bit. My answer to these nonsensical outbursts is the same rebuttal I offer to Senator Reid’s characterization of our movement as non-violent anarchists; we believe in limited government that operates on a much smaller scale. He and others can exaggerate our belief system for dramatic effect all they want but big government is as absurd and ultimately as untenable as no government at all.
Reid was offered a chance to explain his characterization on Humphries’ show and he doubled-down, saying that his speech came from the heart. He stated,
“I believe that, my experience with the Tea Party is they are against government in any form. They do throw monkey wrenches into the government. It’s evident. We can’t get things done. They don’t want anything to happen in government. We pass laws. They fight funding the laws we pass. They don’t want government to work. I want it to work."
Mr. Reid is absolutely right; we fight laws that run contrary to the fundamental principles upon which this nation was founded. We fight laws that unnecessarily augment the size and scope of government. Mr. Reid is wrong that we don’t want things to happen in government; we just see it as a patriotic duty to support legislation that is conducive to constitutional principles and to fight legislation that is not. We work not to stop lawmaking; we work to stop bad laws.
After the interview on Humphries’ show, Reid was interviewed by The Tea Party News Network’s Scottie Nell Hughes where he defended his big-government advocacy and his tax and spend ideology as a necessary effort to boost the economy. However, Reid is wrong in the assumption that government is the solution to our problems when it has been big-government’s fiscal recklessness that delivered us to our current economic malaise.
Through all of his contempt for our movement, Senator Reid has demonstrated the formidability of the Tea Party Movement. No longer are we pesky sign-wavers outside the Capitol Building. No longer can we be ignored as government tries to steamroll the American people.
Senator Reid is right to worry about the daunting presence of the Tea Party and the threat we pose to big government. Late last month, many Tea Party organizers joined with Tea Party members of Congress and various conservative advocacy groups to form the Tea Party caucus in Washington. It was a tremendous success and the movement Mr. Reid and other liberal lawmakers fear is on the move.
No, we are not anarchists. Anarchy is an expression of discontentment; it is a wildly flawed idea dedicated to destruction, not of building. We are small-government proponents and for those who favor a government large in scope, we are a formidable political force.