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The Tea Party Manifesto



That's the title of a nice article by Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe in today's WSJ. I've long been a fan of Dick Armey's ever since I met him at one of Jude Wanniski's fabulous Polyconomics conferences some 15 years ago. Not only is he a smart economist and strong believer in free markets and limited government, he's also just a really nice guy. He proved that last point when, as he asked if he might join us at the breakfast table, he offered to bring my wife some coffee. He didn't do that to buy our vote, he did it because it was the right thing to do. And he was the House Majority Leader at the time, if memory serves.

Armey and Kibbe are leading figures behind Freedomworks, a good place to go if you want some informed and well-organized information about what the Tea Party stands for. Here are some excerpts from the article, which I'm sure isn't as good as Armey and Kibbe's new book, Give Us Liberty, which was released today.

Our community is built on the Trader Principle: We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government. 
Decentralization, not top-down hierarchy, is the best way to maximize the contributions of people and their personal knowledge. Let the leaders be the activists who have the best knowledge of local personalities and issues. 
[The Tea Party] ...demands fiscal policies that limit government, restrain spending, promote market reforms in health care—and oppose ObamaCare, tax hikes and cap-and-trade restrictions that will kill job creation and stunt economic growth. 
The tea party movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party, but a hostile takeover of it.
The American values of individual freedom, fiscal responsibility and limited government bind the ranks of our movement. That makes the tea party better than a political party.
I think this is all very powerful stuff, obviously, since it has already shaken up the political status quo in both parties. It's a fresh approach to politics, because it focuses almost exclusively on fiscal issues. As far as social issues, it is limited to an emphasis on individual liberty, which if interpreted correctly can be a very big tent covering folks of many religious and moral persuasions.

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