Texas, Ted Cruz, and the Tea Party

Common SenseSo, have you heard about Ted Cruz?  Apparently he is the most despised man in America.  Even his own party hates him.  The CNN text updates on my phone confirm this  daily.  You probably also know that Cruz is a darling of the Tea Party and Texans.  The two entities – the Tea Party and Texas – have almost become synonymous.  If you lived in Texas, you’d understand the natural alliance.

The Tea Party offshoot of the Republicans is really just the political manifestation of a mindset that has been present in Texas since its founding.  It doesn’t have anything to do with the “type” of people in the Tea Party.  Contrary to portrayal in the media, Tea Partiers aren’t angry, uneducated, racist mobs.  Several polls over the last few years indicate that they are better educated, wealthier, and more politically informed than the average citizen.  The movement attracts people because it operates largely on an emotional level, and one that is easy for people to understand.

The Tea Party folks are frustrated at Washington from a perceived violation of what Texans consider the paramount human virtue  – “common sense.”  Most of these hardworking people are outraged that the government – Democrats and Republicans alike – can rack up $17 trillion dollars in debt and then have the audacity to ask for more.   It’s like having a house guest that insults your cooking, asks for seconds, and then bills you for the meal.  While the Tea Party reaction is often portrayed as anger, it’s really one of indignation at incredulous behavior.

The implementation of Obamacare highlights for the Tea Partiers everything that’s wrong with Washington.  Only in Washington can spending an estimated $400 million dollars on a website be considered a good deal.  And after all that we find out that it doesn’t work and that our data isn’t safe.  No worries.  We’ll just spend millions more to fix it.

The Tea Partiers aren’t heartless devotees of Ayn Rand.  They’re more like devotees of Sam Houston or Daniel Boone – men who put a premium on hard work, frugality, and common sense.  They’re indignant that our government lives beyond it means while asking for more money from hardworking teachers, lawyers, business owners, policemen, and others who live by the restrictions of limited income and family budgets.

The Tea Party will never be the favorite of the political intelligentsia.  Common sense is looked down on by the intellectual elite.  It’s considered a lesser virtue; a trait for a lower class of men and women who lack an academic pedigree.  It’s a noble nod to those who “will never amount to much.”  When stamped with degrees from Princeton and Harvard, however, it’s hard to ignore.  And it becomes offensive to those who believe they are entitled to know better.

4 responses

  1. Your preteen daughter got her math a little wrong. I think if you redo that math yourself (and show your work!) you’ll come up with $10. Perhaps you could educate me on where anyone can get health insurance for $10.

    • You’re right. The math was bad. And I agree, you can’t get insurance for $10. I’ll amend my post to remove my miscalculation. However, $400 million for a website and growing still seems a little steep. Thanks for pointing out my error and keeping me honest.

  2. Fundamentally, I agree with much of what Congressman Cruz and the Tea Party stands for. However, I believe that much of the disagreement lies not with their objection to the “Affordable” Care Act, but with the methods they used to object. I’m certainly not an expert, but in my opinion, it is difficult to include a government shutdown and threat to the world economy within the category of “common sense.”

    • Well put, and I agree. It was a strategic mistake to tie the bill to the government shutdown. I wish the Republicans would have just keep mum and let the press report all the bad news about the Healthcare.gov site. Instead, the news story was about the Republican strategy. Oh, well. Common Sense in principle isn’t always common sense in action. Thanks for reading.

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