Create an inkblot and what do you see? That is the essence of the Rorschach test. Mention the phrase “The Tea Party” what do you think? With the pending government shutdown that is the question that the media and the rest of the political class is asking. What exactly is the Tea Party?
To some, they are passionate Americans who care about their country. They believe that the Establishment has not only betrayed the Founders, but they betrayed the Constitution. The Establishment is those who work in the media, Congressional staffers or even those who work in the White House.
They see that the current political system is broken and that we need to return back to the Constitution, for some that means a limited government. For others that mean a return to focus on our domestic needs first instead of foreign entanglements. Tea Partiers believe that they are the only ones standing between freedom and decline. In order to fix this country, we need to elect true conservatives like Ted Cruz, Mark Lee, and until recently, Marco Rubio. They argue that electing these types of men would restore the United States into greatness.
To get the perspective from the “Establishment”, consider the following article, “What Tea Party Voters Don’t Understand.” The article was written by Mr. Mark Salter. Mr. Salter was John McCain’s senior advisor during the senator’s 2008 Presidential election and his former chief of staff. Mr. Salter’s article criticizes the Tea Party for their tendency to be Robespierre in their quest to save America. In other words, Republicans have to vote “the tea party way or the highway.” The highway would be a primary opponent waiting for them in the 2014 elections.
What Mr. Salter fails to recognize is that the typical passive approach that counts for leadership in Washington has frustrated our countrymen. The reason why Washington is in the mess that it is in is not partisanship, but a passive gamesmanship that waits and hopes for the other side to fail. This passive gamesmanship frustrates the voters and as such they lose trust that their government and that problems will kicked down the road and will get worse. A good example is the strategy behind the Affordable Healthcare Act.
In order to understand the Tea Party Rorschach test, an explanation on the debate is in order. Although the Act has been declared constitutional, people are concerned that their healthcare premiums will increase. The media’s assertion and the Democrat’s assertion that this will not happen falls in the face of basic economic laws-the law of supply and demand in particular.
The law of supply and demand states that the perfect price for a product must be when supply and demand is equal. If supply exceeds demand, then supply must be reduced, i.e. prices must be lowered. If demands exceed supply, then supply must increase, i.e. prices must be raised. The Act created artificial demand with the tax penalty mechanism. In other words, you have the following options: pay a tax penalty, or pay higher premiums on your insurance, or pay the coverage as provided in the exchange.
The fear is that the services as dictated by the Act will be gone. Why? Insurance companies will have no incentives to attract new customers. If your prices are similar to your competitors and the government will force the consumers to pay the tax, what incentives is there to improve or innovate. Recently, Congress understood the problems with the Act and received a waiver. Additionally, labor unions have sought an exemption because of the rising costs to their health insurance.
Yet, what is going on in Washington is frustrating. The Democrats knowing the potential problems with the Act have taken the damn the torpedoes approach. The Act’s implementation is scheduled for 2014 and there will be no delay. Other Republicans have taken Sen. Cruz’s approach, which is to debate the bill for 21 hours straight.
Some Republicans, including Senator McCain, have criticized Sen. Cruz’s approach. Mr. McCain’s approach is similar to other Republicans that have criticized Sen. Cruz. Their approach is that since there are not enough votes to overturn the Act, then there is nothing we can do until the 2014 election cycle-the passive approach that frustrates the average voter.
A proactive approach from the Republicans could look like this. House Republicans put to the floor to vote any and all bills reforming health care. Believe it or not, there are some pending bills. The bills are then brought to the Senate and force Sen. Reid to have an up and down vote on the bills in the Senate.
When the shutdown occurs, the Democrats are now forced to defend a law that has many known flaws. At the same time, Congressional Republicans should emphasize that they are offering an alternative to the problems and glitches that the Affordable Healthcare Act has. This point should be hammered again and again. The media and the Democrats need to be reminded that their tone deafness in the House made them lose their majority.
By offering an alternative, House Republicans are forcing House Democrats, Senate Democrats, and even the President to change the narrative of an out of touch party. Democrats would then need to be accountable as to why they were so adamant not to repeal a horribly flawed piece of legislation.
If congressional Republicans-Establishment Republicans and Tea Party Republicans focus on providing solutions and not snipping about who is a real Republican, then the American people would have a higher estimation of Republicans. Why? Real leadership is more than speeches and writings, it is providing solutions to the issues that are impacting our country.