Early on, most of my father's supporters in 2007–2008 already didn't trust the establishment in either party, and it's no coincidence that the Tea Party today is ingrained with the same bipartisan distrust. So many politicians and pundits now think the Tea Partiers are being unreasonable in this distrust and mock them at every turn. Yet the Tea Party really can't find any tangible reasons to trust most politicians or pundits and continue to mock them accordingly at many events and rallies. Thankfully, the Tea Party continues to be resilient and courageous enough not to allow the establishment to laugh or lampoon them out of existence. As the keynote speaker at the grassroots event held in support of my father's campaign three years ago—dubbed the "second Boston Tea Party"—I told the audience something that remains just as true now for today's larger movement:
I'd like to welcome you, the sons and daughters of liberty, to the revolution. They say the British scoffed at the American rabble and laughed at the Americans, their imperfect uniforms, their imperfect tactics. They laughed at retreat after retreat of the American army. They laughed right up until Yorktown. Today, you are that American rabble and that struggle—the disillusioned, the cynical, the bereaved, bereaved at the loss of liberty. The establishment in their high rise penthouse laughs at you, they laugh at us...But you know what? They're not laughing today.
The establishment probably began to quit laughing in about 2007 when grassroots conservatives became so upset over Comprehensive Immigration Reform—more accurately described as "amnesty" for some 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens—that they shut down the congressional switchboard with an avalanche of phone calls. When Obama and John McCain joined President George W. Bush in 2008 to bail out troubled banks, automakers, and even the housing market with the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), grassroots conservatives vowed that the politicians who voted for these financial schemes—Republicans included—would pay a political price. Let's just say there were a number of politicians in the GOP state primaries in the spring and summer before the 2010 midterm elections that today aren't laughing one bit and will forever regret voting for TARP.
From the protest rumblings of my father's presidential campaign to the grassroots backlash against amnesty and bailouts, the different coalitions within the Tea Party came together to put their best foot forward on Tax Day, April 15, 2009, holding massive rallies nationwide that the establishment still predictably scorned but could no longer ignore. Many more events followed in the weeks and months afterward, and now, two years later, the Tea Party is not only still in full force but has proved itself an enduring movement with the potential to change American politics forever and for the better. Despite accusations to the contrary, the Tea Party is organized from the bottom up, decentralized and independent. No matter how much the establishment would love to control and manipulate this movement, its political narrative is dictated by the grass roots, not the other way around. The "rabble" has spoken and the establishment must now listen—whether they like it or not.
Taxed Enough Already