By David Zuniga
On September 25th, Matthew Romano argued that the Tea Party movement lacks two things, unity and consistency. He goes on to expose the supposed dilemma and near hypocrisy of advocating for a strong defense while running on a platform of lessening government spending. What Mr. Romano does not realize is the narrow scope of his analysis in making these claims.
For one, the Tea Party movement is one where there are many different citizens with different priorities. One common theme is a necessity to curtail spending, but the main argument and fuel behind the Tea Party is simple: Washington has failed the American people.
The Tea Party movement does not need unity, but instead the ability to effectively empower the voter. Different regions may have different objectives but instead of crowding out strong, Republican/Conservative candidates and being left to scratch their heads with a sentiment of, "now what?", the movement needs to master the techniques to be effective activists.
This involves educating the voter base on the issues, (and sometimes themselves) and doing what it takes to put an initiative or referendum on their ballots that the general public can vote for.
With regards to arguing for a strong defense while lessening government spending, Romano again overlooks crucial elements of this debate. Defense has always been considered a public good, one that no one entity can burden but the government. Additionally, the defense budget is what ensures thousands upon thousands of jobs to the American people with production contracts split among many states.
The Pentagon has already cut it's spending in scrapping the F-22 project and in August, the Washington Post reported Defense Secretary Gates proposing drastic cuts to "trim[ing] overhead and shrink[ing] bureaucracy so that more money can be spent on troops and weapons". To call for more efficient government is not contradictory, it is holding Washington accountable.