The tea party will never be a Party

Patrick Allitt, historian and sometime CWL writer and FCRC panelist, has written widely about conservatives and conservative Americans. He has a witty and informative essay in the National Interest telling us why the tea party will not ascend to the heights of U.S. politics, namely partydom. His succinct account of our history is illustrative and in an odd way reassuring.His opening: "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."The whole thing here:

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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