There are three names in the daily news I would like to see banished; Lindsey Lohan, Charlie Sheen and Tea Party. The first two I’d get rid of because their disintegrating lives deserve the utmost privacy and their certain end is none of our business. At least not in running commentary.

As for the T-P, it has passed its usefulness and no longer describes the group of vocal separatists that it once did. Tea Party does not appear on any state’s election ballot. It’s not a registered third political party. It’s no longer an entity unto itself – if it ever was. It is the Republican Party in both tone and reality. Despite all the media coverage and noise, it is no longer a legal or definable separate entity.

I don’t mean to denigrate the T-P for being Republican. There are some well-grounded, sincere and thoughtful people who have become involved for what they consider good and proper reasons. That’s a fact. It’s my personal belief those more thoughtful participants will eventually figure out they’re being used and return to reality.

But, there are some mean-spirited, self-interested billionaires behind the noise and some equally less-than-honest people working in its hierarchy. And there are some lifelong malcontents and fringe-thinking people who’ve been drawn to it. Those, too, are facts.

Some 60-80 members of Congress elected in 2010 call themselves “Tea Partiers.” Aside from the inexperience-at-the-top-of-their-voices many have displayed, there were already plenty of folks in Congress louder and crazier than some of the new bunch. Ol’ Louis Ghomert of Texas makes my case. There are others.

But on the roster of congressional membership, and in all other ways political, these T-P types are Republicans. There is no Tea Party in Congress despite the intellectually and factually-challenged Michelle Bachmann’s efforts to make it so. Just two parties. Not three.

What has disappointed me in these first few months of the current session is the willingness of experienced Republican leadership to pay so much attention to the new people. Granted, they may – or may not – represent a snapshot of the mood of the electorate several months ago. But, even so, incoming freshmen in almost any civilized group are usually given the rule book, told to read it, and assigned to the back row – and silence – until they mature. For many good reasons.

Not this bunch. They want change and they want it now! Discordant voices of people who’ve never read a federal budget – much less created one – are being paid too much attention. Most have no idea of how our government’s interconnectedness with other world economies often dictates our own spending. Rather than acknowledging the “ship-of-state” is large and requires a great deal of time to maneuver, they’re treating it as a row boat that can quickly change directions. It can’t. Their efforts to do so can create great damage if they prevail.

Happy with the current congress? No! And I’ve said so many times in boldface type with very large letters. We’ve got intellectual and political gridlock of the first order. Self-interest on a massive scale. And a bunch of folks that don’t know the difference between a political campaign and being a member of congress when that campaign is over.

But heavy-handed and attempted quick manipulation of the levers of government can create still more problems – worse problems. The idea that people who’ve never flown before can pilot an aircraft in trouble is fodder for the movies. Not real life.

The late Idaho Gov. Robert Smylie told me a long time ago “There’s a reason why every law is on the books. Somebody wanted it and worked to see it get there.” He was absolutely right. Every law is the result of someone’s hard work or a perceived need that had to be met. Every one. Good ones and bad ones.

Before this discordant and largely politically-challenged bunch is paid a lot more attention – and before there’s any wholesale cutting of this and that – each item on the chopping block needs to be examined. Very carefully. Each must be reviewed to determine if the need, the constituency, the reason for its existence, are still valid and necessary. Putting an axe in the hands of ideologues with no broad view of the needs of everyone in this country can create lasting problems. Even some of life and death.

Maybe someday there will be a valid reason for a third political party in the good old U.S. of A. Maybe sooner than later. But, for better or worse, we now have only two. Whatever force got these new, loud and often grating voices to Washington, it needs to be dissolved – forgotten. There are Democrats. There are Republicans. There is no Tea Party.

The longer this fallacy of subdivision within the Republican Party is allowed to fester, the more the present stalemate will worsen. And we can’t afford that.

Comments are closed.