How to Succeed in Politics

The Tea Party movement is blazing its agenda across America. But this is a movement without a cause. If the Whigs, Populists and Feminists can be co-opted by the Democrats and Republicans, this newest third party will suffer the same fate.

Issue: July-Aug 2010

IN 1773, Sam Adams led the Boston Sons of Liberty, thinly disguised as Mohawk Indians, onto three British freighters, seized their cargo of imported Indian tea and threw it into the harbor. They were afraid that the tea, unexpectedly cheap because it had been exempted from the usual British reexport tariff, would tempt Massachusetts consumers to abandon their principled resistance to taxation without representation. A later historian jokingly referred to the event as the “Boston Tea Party.” Today, anti-big-government agitators are channeling their ancestors’ ire as they build a Tea Party movement of their own. Some pundits speculate that the group could end up forming a new political party for the first time in well over a century, to rank with the Democrats and Republicans. They too must be kidding. Everything we know about political parties tells us that the Tea Party is not one and is not going to become one.

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