A Tea Party Patriot Responds to a Ruling Party Pundit

-By Norvell S. Rose

It wasn’t until the election of Barack Obama that I ever really considered myself a party person. Okay, I was a registered Republican, and I tended to vote for (R) candidates. Not because I truly believed in any set of guiding GOP principles, and especially not in recent years. But more because of a general feeling that Democrat contenders were, like termites, almost always more likely to eat away the foundations of the America I love.

Now, though, it’s different. The termites are swarming. They are more voracious than ever. And because we must engage in serious pest control, I passionately proclaim, “Party on!” Now that Obama defiantly pursues his relentless assault on liberty in order to fundamentally transform the United States of America, I am a party animal. A Tea Party Patriot and proud of it!

Thus, when her highness of highbrow punditry, Eleanor Clift, pens another of her catty columns for Newsweek, I accept her invitation to party. Entitled “Weak Tea (Party)” (www.newsweek.com/id/232794), Ms Clift’s commentary provides an ideal opportunity to clarify just what the Tea Party movement is all about. Here, thanks to the blinding hubris of the ruling class, Eleanor unwittingly offers an incredible party favor – the chance to blunt and even bury a number of key points the liberal media elite use to try to define who the Tea Party is.

Eleanor asks, “Is the Tea Party a lasting force?” Why, yes, Ms Clift, indeed it is. And more than a force, it represents real climate change in America’s political environment. In fact, you could say Tea Party Patriots are the leading edge of a fundamental reformation of the United States of America.

So, let’s play our party game – Eleanor writes / Norvell responds. Selected excerpts followed by analysis from this particular Tea Partier’s perspective. These are my thoughts and ideas. I don’t pretend to speak for others in the movement.

Eleanor writes: “It was conventional wisdom to dismiss the tea-party activists who disrupted town-hall meetings around the country last summer as a bunch of crazies orchestrated by Republican activists.”

Norvell responds: First, about that “conventional wisdom” thing. Clearly, Ms. Clift, you were part of the convention. In your writings for Newsweek and your rantings on TV, you demonstrated with a scornful snicker your aristocratic aversion to the Tea Party “mob”. But you weren’t so fine and proper that you weren’t willing to engage in name-calling – “teabaggers”.. Now really, Eleanor, such a crude term for such a sophisticated lady to use. At least now, you’ve elevated the discourse and describe the movement as “tea-party activists.” Way to go.

And I’ve just got to expose that tired tactic of making a charge while cutely trying to appear not to make it. I mean really, Eleanor, do you think we’re that easily fooled by your “superior” intellect and debate skills? After you write that “It was conventional wisdom…”, you then go on to repeat accusations that we “…disrupted town-hall meetings…as a bunch of crazies orchestrated by Republican activists.” When did you stop beating your husband, Ms. Clift?

Eleanor writes: “They equated President Obama’s policies with socialism, communism, and fascism, whichever -ism was handy, and their angry rhetoric was so over the top that Democrats dismissed them as a fringe group not worth worrying about.”

Norvell responds: Now you’re getting this Tea Partier really steamed. You’re implying that Tea Party Patriots are dumb, angry extremists. Why, we don’t even know which “-ism” be the right “-ism.” We just plumb full o’ hateful words that ain’t based on no thoughtful thinking. And your reference to how the “Democrats dismissed” this “fringe group?” Well, Ms Clift, seems to this here fringer that bein’ as you dismissed us folk, too, you must’ve been one of them Democrats, eh?

Eleanor writes: “Tea-party activists backing Scott Brown in Massachusetts showed a willingness to be pragmatic, setting aside divisive cultural issues and focusing on economic freedom and free markets.”

Norvell responds: Sounds to this activist as though your analysis of the Massachusetts Senate election might be a slap on the rear as much as a pat on the head. You know, our being willing to act responsibly and all, to behave in a more reasonable fashion, to rise above all that previous rabble-rousing rhetoric and play a more grown-up political game. What we are willing to do, Ms Clift, is stand up for liberty and not stand down when chastened by those who would define and dismiss us as immature adolescents.

Eleanor writes: “The tea party polls higher with voters than the Democratic or Republican parties, and its grassroots followers are feeling flush with power.”

Norvell responds: The Tea Party is truly an inclusive movement of a variety of voters from diverse organizations. It does not have “grassroots followers” because there are no elite leaders. I realize this must be a revolutionary concept that’s hard for you to grasp. This Tea Partier, Ms Clift, follows his own political conscience.

To me, the Tea Party movement is a groundswell of conservative-minded, Constitution-centered, independence-loving individualists bound together not by party platform but by governing principles. We are united not by affiliation to a traditional party but by affection for traditions borne of a unique set of American principles.

Eleanor writes: “At a press conference this week in Washington, tea-party representatives from around the country gathered in the offices of Freedom Works, a conservative action group chaired by former Republican House leader Dick Armey and funded by like-minded corporations. Freedom Works specializes in “AstroTurfing,” ginning up grassroots campaigns, and the tea-partiers are sensitive about being seen as anybody’s tool.”

Norvell responds: Ah, there you go again with that non-stick “AstroTurfing” accusation, but made in a backhanded way. Not that you directly level the spurious charge that Tea Party activism is an invention of the right-wing corporate machine. No, you damn with faint praise our sensitivity to being “anybody’s tool.”

We’re smart enough to dodge another cheap shot, Ms Clift. We see the ploy – how you don’t suggest that we are not someone’s “tool,” just that we are sensitive to the charge; as though we recognize we must avoid the appearance of something the left still believes to be true. After all, you are very familiar with using “tools” in your political fortress building.

Eleanor writes: “Anger is the common denominator of these activists, and anger about what? The loss of their freedoms, and it doesn’t get much more specific than that.”

Norvell responds: Really, Ms Clift, don’t you know that anger is but the flinty spark igniting the tinder of this American wildfire called the Tea Party. Anger enflames and the heat on the liberal machine intensifies. Anger burns and the Tea Party movement builds with an irresistable momentum.

And do you suggest, madam, that the “loss of their freedoms” is not reason enough for us to be angry? Do we need to list the freedoms being lost? The liberties being appropriated? The opportunities being foreclosed by a federal behemoth with an insatiable lust for power?

Eleanor writes: “Tea-party people are libertarians, and on the state level, they are organizing around the notion of using the 10th Amendment (which affirms state’s rights) to overturn health-care legislation—should it still pass by some miracle. It’s hard to take their rhetoric seriously. Where else could they go in the world to be freer? It reminds me of the slogan shouted at antiwar protesters, “America, love it or leave it.”

Norvell responds: So, let me understand your point, Ms Clift. We who believe in the sanctity of the 10th Amendment (which does far more than affirm state’s rights) are pursuing this “notion” of using it to do exactly and precisely what it was intended to do? Is that it? Enforcing one of our essential rights is nothing more than a “notion” to you? Notion defined as a “vague or imperfect conception or idea of something?” (dictionary.com) Now I’m really starting to feel that angry thing again.

And you had best take seriously what you mischaracterize as our “rhetoric.” For our words are more than bombast and hyperbole. Our words are inspired by and drawn from the very principles and documents upon which this nation was founded. Oh yes, that very Constitution that Barack Obama has described as having “deep flaws.”

Eleanor writes: “Antigovernment populism on the right is getting all the attention….”

Norvell responds: If you and yours truly believe that the Tea Party is “antigovernment populism”, Eleanor, then you and the self-deluded Obamatons are indeed on the endangered species list. The Tea Party is not anti-government, we are anti-THIS-government. Your label implies that we are anti-intellectual malcontents who are against necessary order in society. I contend that we are, instead, against the privileged elite – the new Obama-led oligarchy – who believe the government works best by imposing power from top down, rather than deriving authority from bottom up.

Thus concludes today’s party game. But my party animal instincts remain on high alert, for as Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Before signing off, though, I do want to send a quick “thank you” note to Eleanor Clift and other “Clift dwellers” who look down on us from high atop their pretentious, and evermore perilous, perch.

Norvell writes: Eleanor, please accept my deep gratitude for the welcome reinforcement you have given me and my fellow Americans. Yes, reinforcement of our realization that you and your liberal crew just don’t get it. Reinforcement that your continuing off-base analysis and bad advice to power-mad politicians will help liberty-loving patriots reclaim America and redefine her destiny.

In short, Ms Clift, thank you so much for helping to brew an even stronger and more potent Tea Party.
Norvell S. Rose is a veteran radio and TV journalist, writer, producer and director with five regional Emmy Awards to his credit. A Patriot with a rekindled passion for truth, honor, and liberty, Rose is a direct descendant of John Sevier — hero of the American Revolution, four times elected to Congress, and first governor of Tennessee. Rose lives with his wife and two children in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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