The Tea Party seems awfully quiet lately. BP turns the Gulf of Mexico in an oil holding pond, and the Tea Party has nothing to offer as citizens' anger rises at government for not doing enough.
Maybe the Tea Party can get back in the headlines by attacking the judicial activism and federalization of power in yesterday's McDonald v. City of Chicago gun rights ruling. Five men in Washington stripped power from your local and state governments and gave more power to the federal judiciary. Those five conservatives also engaged in the very sort of judicial activism that Republicans allegedly loathe as they look for a reason to quash Elana Kagan's nomination. Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy have grafted a new individual right, self-defense against common crime, onto a Second Amendment predicated entirely on the principle of common defense against invaders and possibly an illegitimate government. (McDonald v. Chicago can't be about the "well-regulated Militia"—how can a ruling that only extends pistol rights as far as your front door help you play Red Dawn*?)
If I understand the Tea Party—if there is any Tea Party philosophy to understand—McDonald v. Chicago represents everything these angry conservatives hate: a power-hungry federal government violating the Founders' intent to expand its dominance over our duly elected local officials. But the Tea Party won't go there, because they are not a party of principle. They aren't even a party. They're just a writhing mass of inchoate rage with no coherent plan for practical governance.
But maybe deep down the Tea Partiers really do want anarchy. Ugh.
*Oh my: there's a remake coming. Get you pistols ready for Chinese paratroopers!
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