The TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party movement formed in response to the federal government’s bipartisan spending problem. The movement was jolted and turned into the force it now is because of President Barack Obama’s overreach on Obamacare and his proposals to massively increase taxes. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare and ruled that the individual mandate is a tax, inextricably linking Obama and Obamacare to massive tax increases. The Supreme Court -- and, in particular, Chief Justice John Roberts, who was the deciding vote -- injected the Tea Party movement with steroids and ensured the movement will only grow in numbers and enthusiasm.
Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision, local and national Tea Party forces that powered the movement in 2010 reloaded.
Jenny Beth Martin, president of the influential Tea Party Patriots, which hosted a tele-town hall on Thursday night, said “this was one of the worst decisions ever made by the Supreme Court” and that “freedom is important and our constitution matters ... and it is worth fighting for.”
Among those who called into the town hall were Tea Party stalwarts such as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, whose state passed the Healthcare Freedom Act which made it unconstitutional in the Commonwealth for individuals to be forced to purchase health insurance, and Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Steve King (R-IA).
Cuccinelli, who was a Tea Partier before the Tea Party existed, said that while the decision was something “none of us anticipated,” he tried to see the glass as half-full by noting the decision “defined the outer limits of the commerce power” and limited the federal spending power “for the first time since the New Deal.” Cuccinelli said that the federal government cannot now threaten states to take away money from an existing program if states do not choose to opt-in a new program, like the health care exchanges.
But there is nothing “half-full” about the federal government now having unlimited ways in which to tax people without saying it is a tax and, by implication, mandating them to do whatever it chooses is “the right thing to do.” Nor is there any bright side to a Supreme Court seemingly making up law out of whole cloth and acting like an extension of Congress.
And that is what the Tea Party and those like Cuccinelli will be fighting against from here on out. There will now be a perpetual threat of taxing and mandating by other means, and the only way to counter that threat is to perpetually elect constitutionalists to all branches of government from the highest to the lowest levels at the federal and state levels.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) spoke about how important the Repeal Pledge is in the Congressional elections this fall so that Congress is stocked with like-minded Representatives intent on repealing Obamacare and preserving liberty.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) spoke about she walked to the base of the Supreme Court and was impressed at the rapid response capabilities and the ferocity of the Tea Party Patriots group. She repeatedly mentioned that a similar type of ferocity would be needed to forge ahead to repeal Obamacare.
Later that night, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on FOX News’ “On The Record,” referred to Obamacare as “treachery.”
Palin, the heart and soul of the Tea Party movement who has essentially been the movement’s North Star, said that “Obamacare is a harbinger of things yet to come” and if Obama is reelected, Americans will “no longer recognize the country you love.”
Palin said she would like to see governors “be tough and opt out” of the various health exchanges and ridiculed Obama for not understanding the 10th Amendment.
And on Friday, Americans For Prosperity (AFP), a group that has also been on the front lines in places such as Wisconsin and helped lead the charge against Obamcare from the beginning, announced a $9 million advertising campaign against Obamacare that will combine television buys with online and grassroots activism in key swing states such as Virginia.
AFP President Tim Phillips said Obamacare is the largest tax increase in American history. Phillips said he will be barnstorming across Virginia, a state that could very well determine the fate of Obamacare because Virginians may determine who wins the White House (Virginia is the key swing state this year) and controls the Senate (Tim Kaine versus George Allen).
Thomas Jefferson essentially said that eternal vigilance was the price of liberty, and the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare ensured the Tea Party will not become apathetic.
By upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare, the Supreme Court hastened the country’s slide toward the fiscal cliff and bigger government. The Court’s decision, though, may have also recharged a movement, potentially enabling it to more quickly return the country back to fiscal sanity, limited government, and constitutional principles.