Michele Bachmann is a two-term Republican U.S. representative from Minnesota's Sixth District.
It's a question considered by many: Is the Tea Party movement good for the Republican Party? The Tea Party will certainly be remembered as one of the most influential movements in this coming election, and I suspect in many more elections to come. That seems to prompt another question: Is the Tea Party part of the Republican Party? The Tea Party is not a political party in and of itself, and therefore is not exclusive to one political affiliation. Republicans, Democrats, independents, and Libertarians have all come to call themselves Tea Partyers. The Tea Party is not about red; it's not about blue; it's about red, white, and blue—it's an American Tea Party.
And because it represents a diverse America, the Tea Party has been very good for all parties as a source of energy, bringing droves of voters to special and primary elections. Although some Republican candidates have been frustrated by the results of these elections, they cannot ignore that the Tea Party has revitalized some of their own members this election cycle.
People have been saying for years that it is not OK to live beyond our means as a nation, approving programs and bureaucracies for which we need to borrow money. People who join the Tea Party do so for all different reasons, but mostly because they are tired of the economic policies of establishment members of Congress, Democrat and Republican alike. Shaking up the establishment is never a bad thing. For the Republican Party, this shaking offers a chance to live up to the adages by which it has defined itself for decades. It also draws a much-needed spotlight on Democratic ills.
It was the threat to our shared values, our inalienable rights to a free life, and the right to own the fruit of one's labors that birthed the Tea Party. Tea Partyers saw the government takeovers of private enterprise and personal wealth as a disgrace to the rights of individuals—rights that are undeniable by any government. Republicans, under George W. Bush, approved the initial bailout. Democrats, under Barack Obama, perpetuated the bailout philosophy and even extended it to nonfinancial entities. In addition, they have further embroiled government in healthcare and begun the creation of what promises to be a huge and intrusive new bureaucracy, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Tea Partyers demand that both parties adhere to a principle of limited government.
Your average Tea Partyer knows that elections should not be about the lesser of two evils but about principled candidates who will determine whether America survives our current tribulation or whether America becomes unexceptional to the world, just like every other nation. People ask me why that distinction matters. It matters because our forefathers were thinking of all generations of Americans when they left trails of blood in the snow at Valley Forge and when they risked their lives by signing their names on the Declaration of Independence. We are the reason they fought at Gettysburg and stormed the beaches of Normandy.
The Tea Party is an awakening to the realization of the identity of America and the values that we hold that have made us the greatest nation in the world. The Tea Party embodies the Spirit of 1776, the American spirit that rises up in us when our freedoms and rights are being taken away. It is the spirit of unity among all Americans that we are one nation.
So the answer is simple: Yes, the Tea Party is good for the GOP, because the Tea Party is good for America and her generations yet to come.
Read why the Tea Party is hurting Republicans, by Thomas Whalen, associate professor at Boston University and author of 'A Higher Purpose: Profiles in Presidential Courage.'