At the Heritage Foundation this morning, Rep. Michele Bachmann gave what may have been her last major speech as a member of Congress. But although Bachmann may be leaving Congress, she made it very clear that her ideology is staying behind in the form of a Republican Party that has moved far to the right to make way for the Tea Party’s “freedom-loving reinforcements.”
Linking the Tea Party’s ideology to those who fought in the American revolution, Bachmann said the Tea Party was about “republishing the American values of American greatness.”
And it doesn’t matter whether politicians affiliated with the Tea Party win or lose in elections, she said. They’ve already won, in the form of an establishment Republican Party that has “moved toward embracing the Tea Party’s messaging":
These aren’t new ideas. They are the same values that have been espoused since the time of the American Revolution. But what is different is that it was time for us, we were in desperate need for a reawakening. And that’s what the Tea Party was all about: republishing the American values of American greatness.
All the media wanted to talk about was whether the Tea Party was up or down, whether it was dead or alive. But that missed the point entirely. Because the Tea Party never was, never has been, never will be a political party. Because, you see, it’s a movement about returning us, returning our nation to our founding principles, front and center by contending for them in our public discourse.
Well, the grassroots energy sent a wave of freedom-loving reinforcements to Washington, D.C., in 2010, including the likes of Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul, and it took the gavel away from Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives. And with the largest number of seat pick-ups since 1948, I wonder what this election this year will yield. Even the establishment moved toward embracing the Tea Party’s messaging about constitutional principles like national debt and balanced budgets.