America has but one political party capable of winning races on a scale large enough to change government practices: the Republican Party.
When the GOP takes Washington (or Jefferson City), things don't seem to get better. Wonder why?
Let's take a little stroll down memory lane.
"To secure the nomination, the Dewey forces spent money and made deals and promises that Taft would never make. Offers were made of Federal jobs that Delegates could not resist. Mississippi's delegation was headed by a Taft man, but his Delegates voted the other way. After the vote, one Delegate ran for a train and died of a heart attack on it. He had $1,500 in fresh money on him and the other Delegates claimed it should be divided among them." --Phyllis Schafly, A Choice, Not an Echo
Little has changed since 1948, the year Mrs. Schlafly described above.
In 2012, the Republican machine, in races all across America, will nominate candidates chosen by the Kingmakers. This year, those kingmakers are making their investments. Wisely. They're buying just the right people with just the right promises and just right access to just the right celebrities.
The Grassroots Problem
Kingmakers laugh at grassroots candidates and activists. We amuse them with our principles and idealism, our willingness to work for free, knocking on doors, sweating in the summer, shivering in the winter.
Kingmakers don't deign to knock doors and meet ordinary people--they have deals to cut. They have staff to do the dirty work of meeting voters.
But the grassroots stress the kingmakers, nonetheless. When a big movement like the tea party rises up and dares to challenge the established powers, the kingmakers scowl. They understand that enough tea partiers with enough time and enough energy and the right candidates could--just might--upset their plans. And then what?
What if another Reagan reached the White House? Another Taft in the Senate? Imagine the horror of another Rand Paul or Paul Ryan stirring up the rabble. What if someone actually ended crony capitalism?
So the Mr. Potters of the GOP crawl into their cobwebby dens and spin their plans. And their plans begin and end with money.
Money Is the Problem
Establishment Republicans operate on a single principle: government is money. For that matter, Democrats operate on the same principle. Both parties use government precisely the same way. They borrow against future generations to buy more power from contemporary friends.
When it comes to Constitutional limits and fiscal responsibility, the only real difference between Democrats and establishment Republicans is who gets the spoils.
Money--and the establishment view of money--is the reason things won't get better just because a Republican wins an election. The kingmakers don't want fiscal responsibility in Washington. They just want the debt laundered through their banks and spent on their businesses.
The GOP establishment doesn't want to cut regulations; it wants regulations that favor their donors' businesses.
The GOP establishment doesn't to strengthen America's image in the world, but to make more money overseas.
In 2011, the established Republican Party works overtime to regain the Senate and the White House. If it does, it will reward its friends with our grand-children's fortunes as surely as the Democrats have rewarded their friends.
In short, the establishment can't fix our problems, because the establishment is the problem.
But there is another way.
In almost every race in America, voters have a choice. A real choice, like the ones Phyllis Schlafly wrote about in 1964.
Candidates like Ed Martin and Todd Akin in Missouri, Richard Mourdock in Indiana, and Rodger Cook in Illinois. These candidates don't have money with which to buy allies. They don't get invitations to royal balls. Instead, they rely on ordinary men and women to walk neighborhoods, banging doors, and asking relatives to vote.
If these conservatives are to win their primaries, though, the grassroots must remain strong against the seductions of the establishment. In tough economic times, those seductions--almost always monetary--will be strong.
But the tea party that carried Rand Paul and Marco Rubio to the Senate can surely win one more for the Gipper, can't we?
Mrs. Schlafly told us how the grassroots prevailed in 1964 against establishment tactics of smears, intimidation, and bribes:
These tactics were not successful because in 1964 the majority of Convention Delegates were independent citizens elected in their districts who sought — not personal advancement or political jobs — but only the nomination and election of a candidate who would end the America Last policies of the past 30 years.
Amen, sister. Amen.
If we're to reverse America's drift toward socialism, away from the Constitution, we must rekindle the spirit of '64 and the Reagan Revolution of 1980.
In both of those years, "independent citizens" rose up and slapped down the Republican establishment. They said "no" to the jobs and the bailouts the kingmakers offered. The Goldwater and Reagan delegates stood by their principles, putting America's future before their own egos and wealth.
Yes, Goldwater lost. But Reagan won. And Reagan's victory owed much to the lessons conservatives learned in 1964.
For history to judge us well, we tea partiers must drive a stake through the heart of the establishment.
If not us, who?
If not now, when?
Note: These views do not necessarily reflect the views of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition. But they should. ;-)