The founders of Tea Party Patriots, Inc., explain their movement and its plan “to restore America to greatness.”
Meckler, a lawyer, entrepreneur and family man from California, and Martin, a housecleaner and family woman from Atlanta who lost her home in the collapse of the housing bubble, found each other after the emotional response of CNBC financial analyst Rick Santelli on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to the Obama administration’s 2009 proposal to bail out delinquent mortgages. Claiming the Founding Fathers would be rolling over in their graves, Santelli called for a Chicago Tea Party in July. Rush Limbaugh broadcast Santelli’s rant on his radio show and called for revolution. “The next day,” the authors note, “the modern-day Tea Party movement was born.” Meckler and Martin deny that theirs is an “Astroturf” (i.e., artificial) grass roots movement and a front for the Republican Party. They claim their numbers were, from the beginning, made up of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, like Meckler himself, who had all but given up on the two-party system. But the politics they advocate are solidly right wing. Peppering the text with quotes from founders like Jefferson and Madison and conservative icons like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, they argue for small government, low taxes and a free market. They want to abolish the income tax, overturn the Health Care Reform Act of 2010, weaken public-employee unions, challenge public education with vouchers for educational choice and somehow instill in their fellow citizens and the nation’s culture makers reverence for American exceptionalism. Areas of common ground with those they disagree with, such as an intriguing proposal for more direct democracy via the Internet, are rare.
Like-minded readers will find this book inspiring and invaluable. Others may find it overly strident at worst or a political curiosity at best.