Paul A. Ibbetson
Get out of my tent! Fruming over the Tea Party movement
By Paul A. Ibbetson
June 23, 2010

What does it mean to be a Republican? What does it mean to be a Democrat? Are they both the same? The answer is no they are not, well not completely. I was disheartened to read David Frum's article, "The Tea Party is a turn-off for US moderates," not simply because it misrepresents the Tea Party movement which is usually the activity of angry liberals, but it also once again muddies the waters as to why we have a two-party system.

Frum frames the Tea Party activists as radical and angry people, which makes me believe that he most likely has never attended these events and never met the people who come to show their support for America. There is also a major disconnect in Frum's reality of the liberal media and this movement. Contrary to Frum's belief, the Tea Party has never been portrayed by the media as an unstoppable force. Actually, if anything, these gatherings that take place all over the country have been downplayed in every possible way. In his assessment of the Tea Parties, Frum sounded more like Keith Olbermann than a former speech writer for George W. Bush. He implies that liberalism within the Republican Party is a needed working part of its existence. Frum calls them the "moderate faction" of the Republican Party, and he indicates that it is they who are offended by these angry activists. He scoffs at the Republicans for rejecting Arlen Specter and thinks it would have been a good strategy to have kept this liberal under the Republican tent.

There is obviously a major disconnect here that needs addressing. I will do so now as someone who has attended many Tea Parties as a speaker, master of ceremonies and often just as a proud American concerned about the future of this country. Tea Party goers are not angry, misguided people. They are not radicals unless limited government, controlled spending, the Constitution and traditional American values are radical ideas. If these ideas are to be placed within the category of "radical" then let my name be placed there as well.

I believe that the Tea Party movement is due partly to the Republican Party's failure to be a true tent in which conservative values can be found. Too many donkey tails are sticking out from under the Republican tent. In this, Frum is inadvertently correct; the liberals who hide in the vague title of "moderate" do exist in the Republican Party, and they have all but destroyed it. Barack Obama is the direct byproduct of the political breakdown of the two-party system. The Tea Party movement is not a Republican movement, but it has served to pull the party further toward conservative values, and that is a positive thing. Why? Because the Republican Party can and should take back the mantle as the party of conservative values. They are the only viable option.

If we follow Frum's advice we simply keep stuffing more donkeys under the Republican tent. This is subsequently what liberals call rational thinking. This action might avoid the debate over the need for perfection in Tea-Party-supported candidates but it continues to feed the disease of liberalism that is destroying the country. Attend a Tea Party and you will see regular Americans that understand the effects of liberalism. If Frum is right then core values are negotiable and victories at the cost of the soul of this nation are events worthy of jubilation. If Frum is right then the so-called moderates of the Republican Party will silence the people of the Tea at the polls and they will be forever viewed as angry militants. But if he is wrong, let's say, as wrong as wrong has ever been, then the Tea Party movement may embody exactly what has to be done, and just in the nick of time. If this is true then the Frum mentality must be told, "Get out of my tent!"

© Paul A. Ibbetson


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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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