The Tea Party Response to the SCOTUS Decision
Now that the Supreme Court's ruling on ObamaCare is known, many, from Rush Limbaugh and Greta Van Susteren on the political right to Ed Schultz (MSNBC), Rhode Island's former Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and others on the left, have either been making predictions or asking, "What is the Tea Party going to do?" For those on the left, the question implies that the Tea Party has been caught asleep at the wheel and must be in a state of utter turmoil and disarray.
A perfectly good answer comes from the thirteenth century: one day, when St. Francis of Assisi was an old man, someone approached him as he worked in his garden. The man asked him: "Francis, if you knew that the end of the world were coming tomorrow, what would you do?" Without looking up, Francis answered, "I would continue hoeing my garden," meaning that he had been leading a good life all along and that there was no drastic measure he needed to take in order to prepare to meet his maker.
Here's a more recent example, drawn from the twenty-first century: imagine that someone says to Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps, "The 2012 Summer Olympics are approaching. What are you going to do?" Michael's answer would almost certainly be, "I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing for ten hours a day, 365 days a year for the last twenty years!"
The Tea Party's response to the SCOTUS decision is similar: "We're just going to keep on doing what we've been doing all along."
The Tea Party has never looked to the Supreme Court to remedy what ails this nation. Had SCOTUS voided the law, this would have in no way addressed the deeper, underlying problem, which continues to confront our nation and which gave life to ObamaCare in the first place.
A patient with a sore chipped tooth initially may be quite relieved when the dentist gives him Novocain, caps his tooth, and sends him home. But eventually the pain will return in even greater force. Root canal is in order, and without that crucial step, long-lasting relief will remain elusive.
Washington needs root canal. The Supreme Court is not a dental practice, but We the People are. The Tea Party has proved that over and over again.
Justice Roberts was absolutely correct to say, "It's not our [the Supreme Court's] job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." He's right! That is our job, and no one else's.
Only we can tackle the hard work which must be done in order to establish a constitutional national government which will work within its enumerated bounds. That work will be accomplished only by engaged citizens, from Atlantic to Pacific, diligently working to educate themselves and their neighbors, aspiring to fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government, and participating at all levels of government and elections.
Former Congressman (and recent Republican convert) Artur Davis, speaking on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, said, "The reality for Conservatives is that this week [the SCOTUS ruling] underscores a point: conservatives are not going to prosper by putting their confidence in courts. Conservatives have to put their confidence in the grassroots, in the public, and in winning public sentiment."
On the morning of the Supreme Court's announcement, as many Tea Partiers gathered in front of the Court to rally against the onerous, gigantic, unintelligible, unaffordable, over-regulating, economy- and job-killing law known as ObamaCare, the Tea Party's stance was made clear in advance of the ruling being made public. Blaring through megaphones, the Tea Party's plan was publicly proclaimed to all who cared to listen:
If ObamaCare is upheld, we have to work hard!
If ObamaCare is partially upheld, we have to work hard!
If ObamaCare is completely thrown out, we have to work hard!
The Tea Party has been operating in high gear during its entire three-year history. Like St. Francis waiting to arrive in heaven, the Tea Party needs no major adjustment in what it is doing to respond to ObamaCare. It will continue to work to restore limited government by ensuring that only citizen-legislators and leaders who are faithful to the Constitution get elected to office, and that career legislators who repeatedly vote to increase the size and reach of government while increasing the enormousness of our debt get returned home to re-enter the private sector.
If past is prologue, the Tea Party's short history also makes perfectly clear what it will do in the future:
In 2009, the Tea Party delivered stunning victories to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.
In 2010, the Tea Party delivered a tsunami of new citizen-legislators to both Houses of U.S. Congress, and to State Houses all across the country.
In 2012, the Tea Party helped deliver a staggering defeat to the (formerly) powerful opponents of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, displaying for all the country to see that smaller government does indeed work for the benefit of all, except for those who seek to engineer society to their own liking through heavy-handed command-and-control tactics.
The fruits of the Tea Party's hard work are self-evident. The movement's trajectory has not changed and doesn't need to change in order to respond to this SCOTUS ruling. As far the Tea Party's short-, medium-, and long-range goals are concerned, SCOTUS is, in a way, inconsequential
ObamaCare is merely one symptom of a much larger problem: Washington's political aristocracy.
The Ruling Class in Washington -- a cadre of legislators, their staffs, members of the executive branch, lobbyists, union leaders, chief executives of for-profits and nonprofits, and elitist members of media and academia -- is the problem. The aristocracy's hubris and cronyism were the catalyst for the Tea Party movement from the start. These statists are convinced that they know what is best for all the rest of us, and that the country is better off if they are free to micromanage us.
A recent Rasmussen Poll shows just how detached the political aristocracy is from We the People:
Among Political Class voters, positive ratings for the Supreme Court soared to 55% [after the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare], compared to 27% a week ago.
Among Mainstream voters, the court's ratings headed in the opposite direction. A week ago, 34% of Mainstream voters said the court was doing a good or excellent job and 17% gave it poor ratings. The numbers have now reversed - 22% positive and 36% negative.
The Tea Party enjoys great strength and has met with amazing success because Washington's aristocracy continues to promote hugely unpopular legislation such as ObamaCare. Washington is not going to recognize the error of its ways or heal itself. Only We the People can do that.
There are so many among the political elites who doubtless were hoping to hear a different response from the Tea Party regarding the Supreme Court's ObamaCare decision -- something along the lines of, "Oh my God, we've been distracted! ... We've fallen apart and we need to put ourselves back together again! ... We need to shift back into high gear!"
The prospect of hearing those sorts of responses from Tea Partiers? Zero.
Doug Mainwaring is a co-founder of National Capital Tea Party Patriots.