The National Tea Party Convention at Opryland in Nashville, Tenn., this week is unraveling. And no wonder. Herding cats is never easy, and a convention, as opposed to demonstrations, is antithetical to the anti-establishment Tea Party philosophy.It's true that there are a slew of strongly held beliefs that add distinct flavors to each of the many tea party organizations; however, as a movement, it is very narrowly defined. It's about restoring the 10th Amendment and state's rights, and, to a lesser extent, ending entrenched power and restoring fiscal responsibility. Tea Partiers don't always realize this. Sometimes they let their policy preferences out of the bag and contention ensues.
Who could hope to corral the disparate passions of Birchers and birthers, gold bugs, strict constructionists, secessionists, militiamen, vaccine deniers, anti-papists and flat-earthers? They collectively obscure the more silent majority of those legitimately concerned that America has lost its way.
The State's Rights message should appeal across the political spectrum. If the Federal Government is checked and states gain power and standing, we will see conservative policies implemented in Texas and liberal policies in New York. What we cannot yet say is which state will implement the best policies; however, after ten or twenty years of conservative rule in Texas and liberal rule in New York, we'll be able to draw some conclusions based on crime rates, unemployment, taxes, life expectancy, GDP, income, etc.
This is why the Tea Parties must stay on message: state's rights. It's about restoring the Laboratory of Democracy.