The short answer is not yet.
When the grassroots groups called “tea” (Taxed-Enough-Already) parties began to form and gather members, many began to ask if they were really just Republicans with a new name or were they the beginning of a new political party.
The short answers are no and no.
The Tea Party movement is made up of grassroots groups that have formed to promote conservative principles of limited government. Since their principles more closely reflect those of the conservative wing of the Republican Party than the Democratic Party, they are frequently assumed to be Republicans. While many tea party members are registered Republicans they have been marginalized by the moderate liberal wing of the GOP. So the initial battles are against Republicans who, in their “big tent” quest for power, have compromised and betrayed the principles of conservative limited government, individual rights, family values and reliance on Almighty God.
Tea party members are now flexing their considerable muscle to steer the GOP away from a defacto merger with the Democratic Party. Of late the Republicans have competed with the Democrats for who can spend the most and grow government the fastest. Obama has taken the clear lead in that department now but George W. Bush was no fiscal conservative.
So far, the battles between the tea parties and the GOP are being won by tea party candidates who are defeating free-spending, big government Republicans in primary races. They are rooting out the “RINO’s” (Republicans-In-Name-Only) in race after primary race. The latest tea party backed candidate to score success is Alaska’s Joe Miller over GOP machine-backed incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said of Joe Miller’s primary victory that he won because “He ran on principles and because Alaskans, like all Americans, want to stop the massive spending, bailouts and debt that are bankrupting our country.”
The list of tea party supported candidates who have upset RINO Republicans for national offices is impressive, Mike Lee in Utah, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado.
The tea parties will not form a new political party. They will rise to the leadership of the GOP. They will not be Republicans with a new name. They will be the cadre that will align the GOP to be the party of limited government and fiscal conservatism. They will promote family values and the protection of our God-given unalienable rights.
The battle now moves on to November 2nd when tea party backed candidates will encounter the liberal Democrats. Candidates like Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Sharron Angle of Nevada are challenging incumbent liberals and enjoying widespread support as they run on conservative principles and family values.
As a Christian conservative tea party member, I like our chances. Let’s roll.
Ed Randazzo-Rapid City, SD