Tea Party Unites Conservatives, Libertarians and Moderates

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I thought that this article over at American Thinker explains the destiny of the Tea Party movement very well.

"Populist Constitutionalism" - that's what the Tea Party is all about. Love and respect for the Constitution is driving the movement. Sharing the document, and then discussing the meaning, purpose, and the ideas of the Constitution, that is the process that is taking place as a result of this love and respect.

This discussion is what America needs right now. The Constitution (and a real federal government) is the set of principles that can unite all Americans (with the possible exception of the most radical of those on the left who want to see some kind of socialist central state.)

Social conservatives, fiscal conservatives (that might be liberal on some social issues), libertarians, and moderates can agree to disagree about issues like abortion, legalized drugs, gay marriage, etc. The Constitution teaches all of them that the resolution to these problems should be conducted on the state or community level, as opposed to the national, level.

These divergent groups agree that the federal government has, over the last several decades, stepped further and further outside of the bounds of the Constitution. Issues, including health care, cap and trade, and excessive regulation of businesses are outside of the specific powers granted to the federal government. More and more Americans are aware of this fact. And more and more Americans are sharing the promises and the premises of the Constitution with their friends and neighbors through Tea Parties being held across America. This is what I mean when I say that the Tea Party is "populist constitutionalism."

The Tea Party movement is not a one-issue (one-hit) wonder -- like prohibition. Nor is it a bunch of political zombies mesmerized by some charismatic leader like an Edwards, a Wallace, or a Perot.

The Tea Party does not need a charismatic leader. It is, essentially, an ongoing educational process -- that will be heard (one way or another) by tone deaf and constitutionally ignorant politicians. The Tea Party teaches a multitude of Americans what they are no longer (or "rarely," I suppose I should write) taught in our public schools and universities: America was, from the beginning, intended to be a grand experiment in freedom and local and state control.

Take Nevada and Utah as instances. The states border each other. Yet one state endorses legalized gambling, prostitution, and easy access to liquor. Right next door, teetotaling Utah frowns on all of these "immoral" practices.

That's the way the Founding Fathers wanted America to be. They knew that different people had different needs and values. They realized that they should be free to express those values legislatively on the state and community levels. If an American finds Nevada's laws too promiscuous (or Utah's laws too restrictive), the citizen can either work to change the laws of the particular state ... or the citizen can move across state lines.

There are, and will continue to be, arguments and dissension within the Tea Party. (The media is already noting this and eating it up.) But Americans are famous for contention and debate. No populist movement (unless it is focused on a single issue like prohibition) will be in agreement on every issue. Disputation and disagreement in the Tea Party is a sign of health and enthusiasm -- not a portent of dissolution.
Populist constitutionalism is the surest and clearest path to saving our republic. [...]As far as the Constitution goes, you can never have enough copies ... and we should never stop learning as much as we can about the greatest political document ever written.


Patty Zevallos said...

Healthcare reform can start now with no high price tag

Obama and Congress are taking the entirely wrong approach to healthcare reform. We can be doing so much right now to improve healthcare without suspicious price tags. There is nothing wrong with carrying out reform in two phases: the immediate and low price-tag phase, and the longer-term, let's-find-the-money-first phase.

What can be done now, with little public opposition:

One group plan
Everyone would have access to insurance if all insurance companies were required to offer a plan to individuals as though they were all in one large company group plan, with the same rate and no exclusions. There is no cost to taxpayers; premiums are paid by the insured.

Guaranteed coverage and insurance market reforms
Few would argue with such provisions. The health insurance industry has been such a Wild West that companies could promise anything and provide nothing. They suffered no bad consequences when they blatantly breached contracts with subscribers. Other than enforcement, there would be no cost to taxpayers.

Essential benefits
An independent committee would define an "essential benefit package" as a minimum quality standard. It would include preventive services with no co-pays or deductibles, mental health services, and oral health and vision for children. It would cap the amount that consumers have to spend per year, and cost taxpayers nothing. Insurance companies could add features to this basic package. Now they can get away with not paying for basic services because most people do not have a choice of plans, and insurance plans are far too complicated to easily compare.

Individual responsibility
It is time for the government to be honest about the lifestyle factors that cause many of our healthcare problems. According to an article at preventdisease.com that is based on research reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, "preventable illness makes up approximately 80% of the burden of illness and 90% of all healthcare costs," and "preventable illnesses account for eight of the nine leading categories of death." This is the single most important factor in lowering healthcare costs and making people healthier. But in most ways it is not a role for government. It is up to individuals to change their habits. However, the federal government certainly shouldn't be making the situation worse. That means telling the truth about the fast food and prepared food industries. And it means requiring that government agencies and contractors use part-time and telecommuting work arrangements so people have time to exercise and prepare food at home. A national campaign aimed at employers, encouraging them to use flexible schedules for workers, such as part-time and telecommuting, could do a lot of good, with the government itself taking the lead. Cost to taxpayers: nothing. In fact, there are potentially huge savings in lowered healthcare costs.

(the rest of this article is at http://www.pbzproductions.com/newsletter-green%20living/healthcare%20reform%2002-11-10.html)

These and other no- or low-cost changes would greatly improve care and save millions. They are the first step. There is no reason to delay them in order to get a “comprehensive” healthcare reform. No reform can possibly work without them in place first.

Patty Zevallos
media producer – web, video, print

@Patty, I usually delete spam, but since you made some points with your plug, (even though they have nothing to do with this post) I'll post it and address your points.

Your main point is naive and completely illogical: A 'low price tag' to consumers without the 'high price tag' for the government. In the real world, healthcare costs money. A lot of money. Much of it you can't get around: the cost of equipment and drugs, the cost of doctors, and the cost of running hospitals are some of the biggest. All of this has to be paid for. Even if you could force doctors or drug companies to work for less, it would not work because they would rebel (just as anyone would who was forced by the government to work for less) and then we would not have the goods and services we need.

You are wrong when you state "few would argue" with your ideas. What do you think all of the protest has been about these last six months? Despite your misleading title, what you are suggesting is exactly what Democrats wanted in the first place, and they have unearthed a firestorm of opposition from the American public. Most Americans want to be able to have the health insurance they can afford, not pay more so other people can have more with their money. Grouping all Americans (plus illegals who pay nothing!) into a single-payer system like you suggest would do just that: redistribute everyday, middle-class Americans' taxes to pay for those who pay nothing. That is why that kind of system is called SOCIALIZED MEDICINE everywhere else in the world.

And then in your next paragraph, you go on to describe an 'independent committee' that would decide what each person's health plan would decide what each person's health plan would include. Hello "Death Panels"! And another bold-faced lie: Do you know any government agency that "costs nothing"? Creating more bureaucracy is NOT a way to save money.

By now, it should be clear that your who comment is simply talking points for socialized medicine/single payer plan. You incorrectly say that 1) most people would agree with it, 2) it would save money, 3) people would have more services available. In reality, your ideas would cause 1) a great decline in availability and quality of healthcare, 2) much greater national debt, 3) much higher taxes, 4) much greater government intrusion into the lives of citizens telling them what they can or can't eat, penalizing them for lifestyle choices, etc.

I know this is sacrilege for you, but why not let people choose what kind of healthcare they want and what kind of life they want to live? IF the public want higher quality food then they will demand it and companies will change to meet their demands. We are already seeing this change with the increase in organic foods available. If the public is fed up with limiting insurance plans, a wise entrepreneur will create one that meets their needs. You cannot get something for nothing by involving the government. It does not work to force people to do things. That is not how America's healthcare system became the greatest in the world. But we will kill our healthcare if start cutting what we pay its workers and rationing it to our citizens. We are not a communist country. We don't do things like that in America.

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