Party on, tea-partier dudes!

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Don’t sacrifice the “possible” for the “perfect.”

That’s the latest and greatest advice a Bowling Green Daily News editorial delivered to those affiliated with the tea party movement – via a “memo.”

The editorial pointed to 2010 elections in Nevada and Delaware – elections where tea partiers passionately backed candidates not supported by the political establishment. These candidates won their primaries but eventually lost to leftist Democrats.

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Citing polls indicating that those defeated in the primaries could have come out victorious in the general election, the editorial concluded: “these are two seats that the Republicans may well have picked up had the tea party stayed out of those particular races.”

But this shows a shallow and incomplete understanding about what the tea party is about as well as what it is not about.

The tea party is not a political party. It’s a movement that touches all political parties in a serious effort to return our nation to constitutional government and fiscal sanity.

It doesn’t care nearly as much about whether an “R,” “D,” “L” or “I” is next to a name as they do about policymakers doing what’s best for the citizens they represent.

Why should we care about party affiliation when it comes to policies that promote lower taxes, less government spending and the elimination of costly, job-killing regulations? Pundits sympathetic to the political establishment of either party should remember: policies will be around long after the politicians are gone.

In speaking to thousands of independent-thinking Kentuckians at tea-party events, I’ve been singularly impressed with the sheer number of mothers, grandmothers, sons, daughters and college students who say: “This is the first time I’ve ever gotten involved.”

Does anyone really think our country would be better off if the tea party would stay out of our election process?

To say we would be better off as a commonwealth or country if they remained sidelined – even if their votes don’t please the partisans – goes against the very grain of our founders. Like Samson’s hair, the secret to America’s strength is that individuals, not centralized power – whether in Washington, Frankfort or at party headquarters – offers the best hope for this experiment in representative republicanism to survive.

I assure you that those 116 patriots who showed up at Griffin’s Wharf, boarded the Dartmouth, Eleanor and Beaver on Dec. 16, 1773 and hurled 90,000 pounds of tea into the cold waters of the Boston Harbor did not stop on their way to get the blessing of the local party bosses. No doubt they would have been encouraged to turn around and go home.

Today’s independent thinkers that comprise the tea party movement have every right to support whatever policies and candidates they choose.

It’s fortunate for the rest of the Bluegrass State that these tea partiers have not gotten that “memo.”

Case in point: after local bureaucrats raised sewer rates by 15 percent, the Northern Kentucky Tea Party swung into action and got legislation passed requiring elected officials to approve rate increases.

Tea partiers also waged war against the Environmental Protection Agency’s newest unilateral mandates forcing local taxpayers to pay the price for unproven, multimillion-dollar water treatment plants. These unprecedented mandates will result in Kentuckians’ water bills shooting up by 25 percent.

“It’s a federal mandate but the state of Kentucky never challenged it – but we are,” said Garth Kuhnhein, president of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party. “The EPA at its public hearings claimed that the cost would only be about $1 per year, but it’s going to be 100 times that.”

I’m just glad the Northern Kentucky Tea Party didn’t get “the memo.” I’m glad they still believe that the “perfect” – or at least “better” – is indeed “possible.”
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