If there is one thing some conservatives are good at, it is ruining a good thing. The Tea Party movement and President Donald J. Trump have successfully delivered to the Republican establishment exactly what they said they wanted: a unified, conservative-led government.
Unfortunately, instead of recognizing victory and unifying to ensure the best conservative ideas are embraced, certain conservative leaders, particularly from the elitist D.C. segment, have decided to line up a good ol’ circular firing squad.
Hours before President Trump took to the stage for his home run speech to the Joint Session of Congress, we heard cheap shots at him about budget rumors – since no presidential budget has been submitted yet. Republican Senators were asserting that any budget that included desperately needed cuts to the bloated State Department would be “dead on arrival.”
They are joined by a group we can only term as Conservative Bubble Boys and Girls. They’re a small, but vocal group of entrenched politicos who have clung to the conservative label as a way to stay relevant in the D.C. bubble.
Regrettably, they spend far too much of their time finding fault with what other conservatives are doing. They’ve been out of touch for so long, it seems like they don’t really know whose team they’re on.
Following President Trump’s speech on Tuesday, I released the following statement:
Since 2012, Tea Party Express has hosted the official Tea Party response to the President’s address. Last night was the first night that our address wasn’t necessary. Not because the ideas of limited government and economic growth have fallen out of vogue – because they surely haven’t – but because that speech was delivered on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by the President of the United States.
President Trump delivered an eloquent address, where he clearly and deliberately laid out his conservative vision for America. It should now be clear to everyone that the Tea Party movement is more than rallies and protests. We have arrived in D.C., through our elected representatives, to fulfill our mission and finally rein in government.
But instead of covering this milestone for the conservative movement, the Bubble Boys and Girls used it to write the Tea Party’s obituary, claiming that we were dead because we somehow embraced a big government agenda void of a conservative vision. Huh?
The Weekly Standard published the piece “RIP, Tea Party: 2009-2017,” and claimed, “The anti-establishment movement embraces big government.” Why? Because they claim the President did not outline specific budget cuts, but only talked about spending priorities. Thus, they conclude—before a single piece of legislation is introduced—that he is a “big government conservative.”
Then, a senior editor at National Review asserted, “Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d bet that if President Obama (or a President Jeb Bush) had made a similar speech with similar spending commitments and no explanation of how to pay for them, the Tea Party Express would have mustered enough objections to respond.”
Yes, the National Review writer is right. We had no confidence that Barack Obama was going to rein in the size and cost of government; we would have proudly stood with Jeb Bush if he had a Trump-like cabinet. We would have given a lot of room to a President who had appointed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, or Scott Pruitt to the EPA or Tom Price to head up HHS.
Furthermore, both authors oddly marginalized the President’s pro-growth agenda, which includes historic tax cuts, massive regulatory reform, and bold education changes that will affect millions of children across the nation. And that doesn’t even touch the Administration’s unequivocal commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare. These are major conservative priorities—and priorities that have defined the Tea Party movement—but the Bubble Boys and Girls won’t let facts get in the way of an opportunity to bash the President.
Admittedly, there are plenty of details to work through as the Administration and Congress prepare to honor the promises they made to voters. And none of us are under any illusion that we’ll be happy with 100 percent of every decision made. If the President or Congress deviates from the will of the voters, we should call them out—I know that Tea Party Express will.
However, instead of impulsively attacking President Trump and fellow conservatives, let’s try to keep our powder dry and wait for there to be a fight. Maybe that way we will be ready and united to actually win some of the impending battles and deliver the best solutions for conservatives.
Taylor Budowich is the executive director of Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee.