Last Wednesday, the Arizona State Senate approved a bill that would require presidential candidates to provide official documentation proving they were born in the U.S. in order to appear on the presidential ballot in the state. This passage guarantees the word “birther” will be used at least a billion times leading up to the 2012 presidential election. If this hollow decision also carries the ability to penetrate the world’s worst comb-over, then Donald Trump is certainly celebrating with his newfound brotherhood, the Tea Party. Trump is currently testing Tea Party waters for a potential 2012 presidential bid.
Recently, Trump has become synonymous with a national movement advocating for President Barack Obama to present his full legal birth certificate to the country. Trump questions the validity of Obama’s citizenship, and by, default his presidency. Another emissary of the Tea Party movement, House Representative Michele Bachmann also echoes Trump’s view. “Everybody should put their birth certificate on the table and not worry about it. It doesn’t have to be a toxic issue. Put your birth certificate in, end of story,” she said.
But a fundamental flaw exists. If Trump and Bachmann are really trying to present themselves as Tea Party candidates, then how could they possibly endorse an action that is fundamentally anti-constitutional? This would be like a priest delivering a sermon to his church on Easter, only to go home and practice Islam, something both hypocritical and contrary to his belief set. Well, that’s the case here, because the Tea Party prides itself on preserving the sanctity of the Constitution. The birther craze just happens to be the latest example of political celebrities trying to cash in on perceived Tea Party momentum, when in reality their values are fundamentally contrary to the basic tenets of the party.
According to the “Contract from America,” the framework Tea Partiers base their political views around, the number one aim is to “Protect the Constitution.” Explicit rights are guaranteed within our Constitution, the fourth amendment in this instance, guaranteeing protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Our Founding Fathers eloquently drafted the following: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Crusading for the disclosure of someone’s birth certificate as part of a personal vendetta does not equate to a warrant. In this case, the birther provocation is very unreasonable; but the Tea Party hypocrisy doesn’t end there.
Bachmann signed the “Contract from America,” but her complete disrespect for its basic canons is offensive. In July 2009, she voted yes on House Resolution 3357 to extend an additional $192 billion in anti-recession stimulus spending. The Tea Party, however, has clearly stated in the contract it aims to “Restore Fiscal Responsibility and Constitutionally Limited Government and End Runaway Government Spending.” This $192 billion can definitely be classified as a violation of fiscal responsibility, and is the opposite of ending runaway spending.
But wait, there’s more. The Tea Party aims to simplify and standardize the tax code by providing a single-rate tax system. Yet Bachmann, in her senselessness, recently spoke at the Conservative Principles PAC, advocating for an unfair tax system. She said, “…our government needs to prefer a tax code and a policy that prefers family formation…”
Her comments show support for differing tax rates depending on marital status. That is not standardized for all Americans. How is it that the Tea Party can continue to embrace such a rampant violator of its core belief system?
Trump is no better. Prior to last year’s election cycle, Trump donated campaign money to numerous Democratic candidates who directly opposed Tea Party candidates. He gave $2,400 to Sen. Harry Reid in lieu of Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle. He gave another $4,800 to former Flority Gov. Charlie Crist, who eventually lost to Tea Party candidate Marco Rubio in Florida. Trump has also openly crusaded for a government-provided universal health care system, which clearly violates the Tea Party thrust to repeal the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Is the larger Tea Party blind, or is it merely enamored with the celebrity nature of these people? Where is the accountability against deceitful and pretentious statements by those claiming to represent party ideals? These hypocritical actions are indicative of a political party that has no definitive platform and is willing to accept any lunatic shamelessly looking for publicity. What’s to stop them from jumping on the next political trend? Tea Partiers in Mississippi are planning to protest an Islamic Center in Southaven the day before Easter. Are the members really that ignorant of the Constitution? Or is protecting it just a mask for practicing hate and intolerance? The Tea Party is in the midst of an identity crisis, and neither Bachmann nor Trump is the answer. Actually reading the Constitution would be a start.
—Brody Burns is seeking a master’s of business administration.
— The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.