A Contrary Point of View on Palin and the Tea Party Movement

NOTE: I will begin this piece with a medical anecdote, since I doubt many of you will find much to laugh about in the rest of this it.

A sick man received a phone call from his doctor. “I have good news and I have bad news,” the doctor said.

“Tell me the good news first,” the man said.

“Well, the good news is that you have one more day to live,” the doctor replied.

“One day to live?!?” the man exclaimed. “Dear God, what’s the bad news?!?”

“I tried calling you all day yesterday,” the doctor answered.

First, the bad news: Despite her popularity among its ranks and her willingness to address its committed a few weeks ago in Nashville, Sarah Palin is unfit to lead the Tea Party Movement. Rather than make such a claim based on the usual nastiness about Sarah Palin, I am making this assertion based upon three years of association with people who had been a part of the Ron Paul Patriot Movement, the very type of people I believe formed much of the roots of the fledgling Tea Party Movement. Ron Paul was rejected in the Republican primary in 2008, so they re-established themselves in a new way — the Tea Party way.

Sarah Palin does not represent any of the people I knew. I do not know who attended the National Tea Party convention, but I suspect it was the usual suspects, awash in their inherent distrust of government.  Dick Cheney was the one who scribbled notes on Sarah Palin’s left hand. George W. Bush prepared barbecue in the parking lot for the tailgate parties.  Karl Rove was parking cars.

And, of course, Ronald Reagan was there in spirit. Sarah Palin, after all, refers to his legacy more than she does anyone else’s because he is considered the Abraham Lincoln of the Twentieth Century. He led the march to free the world from communism and re-establish the goodness in American empire-building.

All of this is meaningless to the intellectual spirit of the American Patriot Movement that I experienced. The intellectual spirit I experienced was not kind; it was not happy and full of girlish charm. The intellectual spirit I witnessed was based on a harsh perspective, namely that all government is a monopoly of crime. Governments murder and steal and try to prohibit anyone else from doing the same. There is no such thing as a good government, there is only the struggle of good citizens trying to hold back the onslaught of government continually out of control.

In practical terms, America is run by two secret societies: The Federal Reserve runs the economic policy and the CIA runs foreign policy. If we do not outright get rid of these two entities (along with the Internal Revenue Service), I was told over and over again, America is doomed. These were folks who claim that the CIA is the greatest criminal organization ever created under the guise of helping democracy, since it has unlimited resources, legal and illegal, and carte blanche to commit murder and mayhem on those bad foreigners.

In that sense, they believe America has very much become like the Roman Empire. For those of you who read your Bibles and study Biblical history, you know that Christ was allowed to be crucified because he was not a Roman citizen. Crucifixion was so horrible that it was generally reserved for slaves and for people who had fallen out of favor with Rome. Saint Paul, on the other hand, was permitted to have a hearing in Rome because he was a Roman citizen. Americans, the Ron Paul Patriot Movement people explained to me, feel the same way about their citizenship that the Romans did, in that natural rights do not really apply to anyone who is not American. The CIA can torture, kill, steal, and lie about it as much as they like, since God forgot to include anyone who is not a U.S. citizen in His mercy. America is God’s, and the rest of the earth is the Devil’s, you see.

Ronald Reagan has always been portrayed as the representative of God, so naturally Sarah Palin would like to mention him. I have spent a lot of time living in working-class neighborhoods, and they do not feel the same way about Ronald Reagan. I will never forget having a neighbor of mine come over to see me in the 1990’s. He told me in very unpleasant terms that his entire valve plant had been packed up and shipped to Poland because, in Poland, they worked for one dollar an hour.

“They knocked the Berlin Wall down,” he said, “to make us unemployed.”

Many Ron Paul Patriots I spoke to told me the same thing. Yes, it is a lovely idea that America wants to spread freedom, but in practice it is an excuse to undermine the working class and shove all the money to the top. American corporations, the one who love America so much, moved offshore to avoid paying tax and in doing so abandoned the American worker.

From the Tea Party point of view, Sarah Palin has no intention of addressing any of these issues in a meaningful way. As far as they’re concerned, she will never take on the Federal Reserve as they woul like her to, since she wants to maintain an aggressive foreign policy marked by perpetual war. She will not take on the CIA since the agency is synonymous with continuous. And she will not take on the IRS since the government desperately needs money. Instead, they believe, she will embrace Wall Street with a bear hug. But be certain of it, they will argue, what she will do is pose with a machine gun in her right hand and a Bible in her left and tell us that she loves, loves, loves America and understands who needs to be killed both at home and abroad.

As cynical as this may sound to many middle-of-the-road Republicans and honest, common sense conservatives who refuse to go out on Ron Paul’s libertarian limb, so long as the Ron Paul Patriot base is active and in a position of influence within the Tea Party movement, appeasing that movement will be more difficult than it might otherwise appear.  Restructuring a government is a lot different than reforming it.  Case in point — George W. Bush, who unlike Reagan never wanted to abolish the Department of Education, but rather sought to make it “better.”

The American patriots in colonial America threw the tea overboard.  They did not save it and try to make it taste better.  And that distinction might be what ultimately makes a Ron Paul Patriot-led Tea Party movement not quite the lasting movement for a majority of Americans as many would hope.  Approximately 50 percent of all Americans receive a government check — they will lean toward reform, not abolition.

And now, the good news: The November elections are growing closer every day.  The 2012 presidential election season will start soon thereafter.  And, any way you look at it, Sarah Palin is still a whole lot better than Barack Obama.



  1. Louis says:

    The column is marred by the superficial judgements normally found among the mainstream press. Having been active with Tea Party & 912 Patriot groups since early last year, I find the members to be thoughtful, not prone to the kind of generalizations this writer favors, and wary of politicians of all stripes. We are methodically vetting candidates, we favor open primaries, and we are determined to achieve common sense governing, free of the smoke & mirrors that prevail today.


    P.S. For decades, the ruling class in government and on Wall Street has been rife with graduates of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, et al. Please tell me exactly how that’s worked out for our economy?

  2. Just a Patriot says:

    I believe we are beyond ‘tea-party’ time, it’s shaping up to be Whiskey Rebellion time, IMHO. We have but a few years, nay, maybe a few months, to save this republic.

    My summer plans include another visit to Mount Vernon and Monticello to re-center myself. What the hell has happened to this hard fought for bastion of freedom? I can’t believe this crap.

  3. Save it for Steven says:

    6:40, I’d love to see some GED’s in governance, if they love freedom, liberty and keeping their own earnings. My grandson would appreciate anyone, of any education level, saving this country for him. He wouldn’t even mind if they say “You Betcha”.

  4. SallyW says:

    “The column is marred by the superficial judgements normally found among the mainstream press.”

    It was really disappointing to read this coming from America’s Right. I depend on AR for quality informative factual writing. This was one guy’s opinion that could blend in with any other zillions of negative opinions on the internet. Just another claim for the Tea Party territory. Just another Sarah Palin retching. “Sarah Palin is unfit to lead the Tea Party Movement.” I don’t remember her or anyone else saying she intended to lead the TP movement. She was invited to speak at a convention, so she did just that, she spoke at a convention. Why is this guy speaking for Sarah Palin, determining what she will and will not do. Cheap shots aren’t America’s Right’s style.

    Jeff, I have always had respect for the integrity of your blog. I hope this was a mistake. It represents the very opposite of what you’ve become known and respected for. Please leave this kind of yaddle for the MSM.


  5. Jeff Schreiber says:


    I’m not going to quash an opinion of one of the writers. I know that Ron had gotten involved with some of the Ron Paul folks outside of Philadelphia expecting one thing, and was severely disappointed with what he saw. As I understand what he wrote, he was writing from the perspective of those people, and expressing the danger of what could happen if the wrong people took over the tea party movement.

    I like Palin. And I know that I’ve had many discussions with Ron–one of the few writers I actually get a chance to hang out with face-to-face–about Palin. He feels the same way I do. And he and I both have the same opinion of the Ron Paul folks, only the ones that he became acquainted with up here apparently weren’t quite what he hoped.

  6. Old Richard says:

    This is the first time I have responded to you.
    I have read many of Ron’s articles and have mostly agreed
    100% with what he has posted. While I agree with nearly
    all of Ron Paul’s agenda, it seems Mr. Glenn has gone
    off the deep end for Mr. Paul. I am a “Tea Bagger” Quote
    Un-Quote but I will not throw one American patroit (Palin)
    under the bus for another (Paul). I have always admired your
    perspective and take on the situation, on allowing this post
    on your blog is a step in step with a liberal leaning.

  7. Randy Wills says:

    I guess I should read Ronald’s posting again, but I took it as satirical, based on his personal experiences and the “poll” taken at the TP convention. I think that we should give Ronald a chance to respond to the negative – and I believe unwarranted – comments in response to his article.

    As a contributor, I know that sometimes what I write doesn’t come across to others exactly as I intended it to, so let’s give Ronald a chance. And heaven help Jeff and AR if we start throwing stones at everyone who doesn’t march in lock-step with any given candidate’s supporters.


  8. Old Richard says:

    Respecting you as a calm reasoning voice in a turbulent debate, I took your own advice and reread Ronald’s article. Outside of an opening joke
    about death, Ron stated we would find no humor following. He was right.
    I have awaited a response from Ron as you suggested, for him to defend
    himself from the negitave comments. None yet, But I am a patient person and
    will continue to wait.
    As far as a person responsible for starting the Tea Party movement,
    I would have to say it was one barrak h. obama, not Sarah Palin, Not Ron Paul.
    I fully agree with you about throwing stones, and it seems to me that Mr.
    Glenn is throwing stones because some one is not in lock-step one supporters
    To find the leader of the Tea Party go to You Tube and search for
    “Who is the Tea Party leader”

    Just Sayin.

    Old Richard

  9. Kathy says:

    I was surprised to read Ron’s assessment about a movement he apparently is viewing from afar off and with skewed analysis. I participated in the Free Republic’s Tea Party last September and then in the march on D.C. on 9/11. I also participated in the Feb 2010 Nashville Tea Party. I can say from personal experience by networking and conversing with concerned Americans from all other this country, that Ron is way off base to call this movement a “Ron Paul” movement. It is not. I don’t recall anyone even mentioning Ron Paul’s name in any of those events. Nor is it a Sarah Palin movement. She does not have what it takes to serve in high political office. Period. The Tea Party movement is simply regular Americans coming out of a deep lethargy about the affairs in WASH DC and being horrified at not just what we now have, but what has been evolving for a number of years, if not decades. And we are now speaking out, marching, protesting, and expressing our fierce anger, dismay, and resolve to kick the miscreants out of office as quickly as possible!

    I normally enjoy most of your writers’ contribution to our “right” cause, Jeff. Unfortunately, I do not enjoy misinformation that serves no useful purpose, but instead only casts unfair aspersions. Take another look, Ron.

  10. Randy Wills says:

    To “Old Richard” and “Kathy”.

    Thanks for your comments, and I accept your perspectives as perfectly valid and as worthy of consideration as anything that I might say.

    I know that I got my head handed to me on a platter for expressing concern that Sarah Palin wasn’t ready for prime time. I think that my comments focused too much on her manner of speech and not enough on my perception of her not being a serious student of history (or even worse, perhaps not a “serious” person, as evidenced by her inability to rattle off a list of books and periodicals in response to Katie Couric’s question “What do you read?), which came across to some as nit-picking.

    (Any junior high school Eglish teacher would have a field day with that paragraph, wouldn’t they?)

    So, in that spirit, I choose to give Ronald a chance to rephrase the message that he intended to get across. Maybe I completely misunderstood it.

    Respectfully, Randy

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