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June 11, 2014

Also Having a Bad Day: The National Tea Party Groups, Who Donated Not a Dime to Brat

Maybe that effed-up poll scared them off, but not a single national "Tea Party" groups invested a silver dime in David Brat.

[A]lthough Brat’s shocking victory can certainly be attributed to the tireless work of grassroots activists in his district, it’s important to remember that the aforementioned outside Tea Party groups offered him zero support.

Not one penny.

“Of the measly $4,805 in political expenditures against Cantor reported to the Federal Election Commission, none came from the big national tea party groups,” the Washington Post reported. “The bulk was spent by a newly formed super PAC called We Deserve Better PAC on an online ad that attacked Cantor as pro-amnesty.”

Meanwhile, outside groups spent nearly $366,000 on pro-Cantor ads.

Laura Ingraham was especially critical of the Tea Party Patriots.

Ingraham, who campaigned for Brat in the Richmond-area Virginia district, called out a laundry list of national tea-party groups for their failure to help him. "I don't believe any of these organizations did anything for David Brat," she said on Fox. Ingraham, specifically called out Jenny Beth Martin, who heads Tea Party Patriots, saying Brat "couldn't get her on the phone."

I'm glad these groups are getting some critical looks from the Tea Party caucus. Many seem to spend a great deal more money internally on salaries and consultants than on actual political activism.

It's not that I think these are bad people. But I think it misdiagnoses the problem to imagine that DC is in bad shape because there are too many Bad People in DC.

Now, there are in fact too many Bad People in DC. Politics will always attract power-seekers, fortune-hunters, and narcissists, no matter what the party or ideology.

But it has been that way since before Babylon, and it's not going to change.

The only thing that can change is the incentive structure offered by the voters. As Milton Friedman observed, you will not get a good government by electing "Good People" to office. You either will not be able to accomplish this, or these Good People will soon become Bad People because that is the nature of the system.

The way you get good government is set the rewards -- and punishments -- such that even Bad People will make Good Decisions, out of pure self-interest.

The minute these Tea Party groups went from "amateurs" to "professionals," they became part of The System. And Professionals Get Paid -- that is what defines the professional. Amateurs might do it out of love, patriotism, anger, or even simple boredom, but Professionals Get Paid.

Skepticism is almost always a good thing. It is very good indeed to be skeptical of one's political leaders. But one has to remain skeptical of professional skeptics, too, of the Professionalized, Cartelized "Outsiders" who are part of a parallel Competitor System to the actual System.

That Competitor System may be preferable to the Ruling System, but it's still a System, and still needs to be viewed as a very, very fallible and very self-interested System in its own right.

All the same human sins -- stupidity, vanity, factionalism, intrigue, ambition, venality -- are present in every single political system ever fashioned by Man. No ideology is proof against these.

The only proof against these sins is vigilance from the outside. It is not often conscience that keeps a thief from breaking a store's window and stealing from it; more often it is the bright streetlight just beside the window.

The very moment someone is afforded Hero status is the moment he begins to act villainously. The very moment someone is put beyond outside accountability is the moment he begins to act as if he's beyond outside accountability.

And in the end that's not the fault of the person granted that Hero status. It's really the fault of the people who foolishly bestowed that upon him.

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posted by Ace at 03:23 PM

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