What happened to the Tea Party?

Over at Politico, Joe Scarborough has written a nifty little piece about the Tea Party’s intentions. For years, mainstream and liberal media sources (but I repeat myself) have been taking shots at the Tea Party, claiming that it is trying to destroy the Republican Party. While this tired tactic may work on a few moderate Republicans, Scarborough reveals how ridiculous of a claim it really is.

Many have wondered if the Tea Party has served its usefulness. I find this to be bit of a perplexing question since the Tea Party was never really “organized” to begin with. The fascinating rise of the Tea Party after the 2008 election revealed that Tea Party types were always there, but the rallies gave them a vehicle to make their voice heard. Like the concerned citizens that the U.S. Constitution seems to take for granted, Tea Party attendees and organizers were regular people who were sick, tired, and thoroughly disgusted with the status quo political games we were getting from Washington. The Obama election was the lightning rod that gave life to an already existing mass of Americans, rather than the other way around. The media likes to pretend that the Tea Party caused many Americans to become disgruntled with the political machine, when the truth is they were disgruntled already and the Tea Party was merely a way to broadcast their voices of discontent.

Scarborough points out that the media must even go so far as pitting the Tea Party against Ronald Reagan. In order to preserve their precious two-party system (more like one and a half on a good day), the media is attempting to contrast the GOP of Reagan and historic Republicans against the “political vigilantes” of the Tea Party. Like their namesake in Boston Harbor, the Tea Party is portrayed as taking matters into their own hands and circumventing the “gentlemen” lines of political showmanship. While this may be somewhat of an accurate portrayal, it is also a historic one. American history is replete with “radical” movements, which have been instrumental in moving the political dialogue along. In fact, the Declaration of Independence seems to demand these types of movements every so often because of the very real problem of political gridlock. Thomas Jefferson understood that an occasional wrench in the machine was not only good for progress; it was also good (and necessary) for the machine. But the media doesn’t like political wrenches because it cannot control them.

Scarborough concludes his article this way:

“No one knows what happens next. But, we can at least start telling the truth about what happened over the last three years. Whether opinion leaders like it or not, the Tea Party helped engineer a Republican landslide, reframed the national debate and put the president so far back on his heels that even Mitt Romney has a chance to be president. And that in itself is pretty damn remarkable.”

This is what really scares the media and is the primary reason why they are willing to go to the extremes of defending the GOP over and against the Tea Party. The media has much to lose if the two parties drift back to hard left and hard right, rather than where they currently reside at center-left and center-right. American politics in the 21st century has become little more than a battle of semantics and this is precisely why the media is able to control it. If, as the Tea Party wants, American politics gets back to issues rather than sound bites, the media will instantly lose the upper hand. The internet made the Tea Party a reality, not the media. The media knows this, and they don’t like the prospects of it and they will do everything in their power to keep it from happening. Don’t believe the hype: the Tea Party is far from over. There is too much yet to do.