Exit polling tells the story. About 60 percent of voters agree with the tea party core principles of government constrained by a constitution and government transparency. Well over half of voters agree with specific measures advanced in the Contract From America, including:
1. Balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
2. Elimination of earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then requiring a 2/3 vote.
3. Audit the entire damn government, including the Fed.
4. Require super-majorities in both houses of Congress to increase any federal tax or fee.
5. Require Congress to specifically cite an enumerated power for each provision of legislation.
While it would be easy for the tea party to take credit for this attitude, it would also be untrue. The tea party didn’t mold public opinion; it simply gives the public permission to speak. On the steps of the Arch in February 2009, at the first St. Louis tea party, countless people thanked me for giving them permission to speak their minds. As if it were mine to give.
As we’ve seen, the left, the ruling class, the academic and media elite, sneer at we who endeavor to run our own lives. Katie Couric, queen of the elite, calls us “the great unwashed.” The elite worked hard for years—in schools, in movies, books, and television—to convince us their our opinions were worse than useless. They told us that the founding principles of America were not just wrong, but evil.
While we knew better, we were reluctant to speak up. The cool kids went along with the elitists. After all, who doesn’t want to be elite? So we bit our tongues and toiled on, hoping that the elitists would tire and leave us alone.
Instead, the elitists became emboldened and tried to “fundamentally transform” America. That served as a wake-up call to millions. The tea parties happened. We learned that we were not alone. By the end of the summer of 2009, we learned that most people still believe in our founding principles, specifically that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
What was left but to assert our beliefs on election day.
What’s left is not some magical transformation, but a simple, steady application of our power. We build stronger coalitions, we invite more people into our world, and we slowly reclaim the rights and privileges taken away without our consent. That’s about as reasonable and mainstream as you can get.