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Andrew Veselka Headshot

Why the Tea Party Is Doomed to Fail

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Just over year ago, a swarm of Tea Party Republicans were elected throughout the country thanks to one clear and consistent idea; that the one and only way to pull America out of the economic hole it dug itself into was to drastically cut spending throughout the government, while not allowing any additional taxes to get in the way. Basically, only the American people can create true economic job growth, all that frivolous government spending does is send the country deeper into debt.

However, according to a recent Newsweek investigation, many of these said politicians have recently seemed unable to put their money, or more accurately their lack of it, where their mouth is. According to the investigation approximately five dozen fiscally conservative republicans, from freshmen Tea Party darlings like Allen West to veteran politicians like Eric Cantor and even notable anti-spending presidential candidates like Ron Paul, have all carried out the time honored political tradition of bringing home as much bacon as possible to feed their constituents.

To cite just a couple of examples, John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, the man who has led the GOP's fight for fiscal conservatism and who has frequently criticized President Obama's clean energy agenda, was not above taking advantage of this apparent fault when pressuring the administration for a clean energy loan guarantee for a uranium project in his home state of Ohio. Presidential candidate Rick Perry wrote a letter in 2009 accepting more than two billion dollars in federal stimulus for his home state of Texas. Even Michele Bachmann, widely regarded as among the most insanely committed when it comes to zero government spending, sought stimulus funds for transportation projects in her state of Minnesota.

But while on the surface this may just seem like a blatantly hypocritical political move, something commonly found in Washington, if you look closer it actually pinpoints the major flaw in the Tea Party's over-simplistic plan to fix America. It is impossible to actually implement. As these recent allegations have shown, no matter what a politician's hardcore belief may be, he or she is not willing to risk their re-election on alienating the majority of their constituents. Thus, even if a candidate won on a promise of zero spending, it would be extremely difficult to get re-elected if he or she were to follow through on that promise, as the vast majority of sane constituents would immediately desert him or her.

Never mind the fact that any sane politician (including most Republicans) could tell you that simply cutting the budget wouldn't work, the vast majority of Americans would never actually support a politician who delivered them no economic benefit whatsoever. This is what makes pork barrel spending the life blood a politician's re-election campaign, and why the Tea Party will never survive in the long term. While candidates from the movement may have been swept into office on the promise of no frivolous spending, which enticed the most partisan (and loudest) of constituents, they are just as likely to be swept back out by their less committed constituents should they completely fulfill their promise.

In other words, the eventual fall of the Tea Party will not be caused only by the over-simplicity of their policies, but by the unwillingness of their representatives to fully put them into effect. No matter how financially conservative a district may be, the majority of its constituents will still demand large spending for local projects; and no matter how frugal a politician may be, his or her number one goal is still to get re-elected. To put it simply, the Tea Party isn't just bad for the country, it's bad for the politicians.