David Boaz argues that, on balance, they're a good thing:
The tea party is not a libertarian movement, but (at this point at least) it is a libertarian force in American politics. It’s organizing Americans to come out in the streets, confront politicians, and vote on the issues of spending, deficits, debt, the size and scope of government, and the constitutional limits on government. That’s a good thing. And if many of the tea partiers do hold socially conservative views (not all of them do), then it’s a good thing for the American political system and for American freedom to keep them focused on shrinking the size and cost of the federal government.
This might be a plausible argument if the Tea Party had offered any serious proposals to slash spending. But they haven't. Until they do, my skepticism that there is no fiscal there there - just partisan and cultural hatred of Obama and multicultural America - will remain. And even if they do help rein in spending, which I agree with David would be a good thing, at what cost in other areas? Especially if they help bring the neocons back to power? Or intensify the drug war? Or keep persecuting gay servicemembers? Or ratchet up the national security state still further? Or make Arizona's war on Hispanic illegal immigrants nationwide?
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