By now all conscious people have seen how American Tea Party Republicans, especially those in the House of Representatives and Senate, are widely seen as radical, unreasonable, mad, stupid, extreme, anarchists, delusional and worse. My view is that the best and most useful way to see these people is this: They are political terrorists.
They have developed their own form of violence. They are filled with hatred. Sure, they see themselves as the only genuine US patriots, but that should not fool anyone. They can and do twist, undermine and distort provisions in the US Constitution. The power they now wield has been developed over many years by the actions of more mainstream Republicans, especially manipulating House districts through gerrymandering.
They are ready and willing to bring down the US government and even the global economy despite rhetoric often used to cloak their real goals with tactical objectives like ending Obamacare. The biggest mistake people make is not seeing just how fundamental, counter-democratic and nihilistic their real goals are. Nor should they be seen as legitimate Libertarians.
Face reality, these Tea Party terrorists in Congress did not work hard to go to Washington, DC to compromise and govern; they went to bring down the system. Their antics have amped up public discontent with the federal government. Fine, the terrorists surely love to see that result because they think it builds support for them. They do not want a government that works; they want a very different kind of government. Taking the oath of office for them is a farce. They see themselves as persecuted, when they should be prosecuted.
The core of their thinking is that their long term goals transcend everything seen by the rest of us as terrible near term consequences and pain. No matter how much harm is caused to many millions of people in the US and worldwide they are willing to pursue their beliefs. Tea Party zealots should be seen as revolutionaries trying to overthrow the US government, political system and economy, not figuratively but literally. Moreover, to the extent that there are elected Tea Party believers in both the House and Senate, their efforts are also akin to an attempted coup. Forget the notion that when the time comes these terrorists will act reasonably. They have the passion (or insanity) to go all the way.
The main irony is that this Tea Party revolution does not use guns, so widely held and defended by multitudes of Americans that many of us associate with those on the conservative right and with revolutions. But not all violence or revolutions require guns.
The absence of guns and explosives should not mislead the general public and media about the true nature of these political terrorists. What everyone should start fearing is what these terrorists may do in the future if they do not succeed very much in the immediate policy battles in the House and Senate. They are not likely to limp away. They are more likely to escalate their tactics. Some talk about the Tea Party movement becoming a national third political party, but I doubt this. These terrorists and subversives are unlikely to expend their energy on trying to convince the majority of Americans to more widely elect them to important positions rather than Republicans and Democrats. This is not the path for true revolutionaries. Politicians with very big egos and ambitions, like Senator Ted Cruz, are likely to distance themselves from the Tea Party at an appropriate time.
How can these political terrorists be defeated? One key action that has already begun is to remove funding for their many organizations. What we now see is that some of the billionaires on the right rightfully fear the collapse of the national and global economy that supports them. For self-preservation they act reasonably. This may not totally kill the Tea Party movement, but it can cripple its power and impact.
Second, we need more mainstream media focus on the true nature of the movement and, especially, how it undermines democracy and the US Constitution, and not merely as a fight between Democrats and Republicans with mainly short term objectives. In 2011 there was some legitimate use of the term terrorist. For example, William Yeomans said of some House members "they have now become full-blown terrorists;" "They have joined the villains of American history who have been sufficiently craven to inflict massive harm on innocent victims to achieve their political goals." Things have gotten a lot worse since 2011.Third, we need more of the general public to openly express their denial and condemnation of the Tea Party movement. Sure, vote out congressional incumbents, but pay particular attention to Tea Party candidates that should be rejected. Fight for overturning gerrymandered districts.
I write this as the government shutdown continues and a few days before the debt ceiling hits with its feared default of federal payments. Even though more mainstream Republicans may step in, finally, and thwart Tea Party objectives, no one should stop despising and fearing the Tea Party movement. Sure, in any revolution there are casualties, but what this Tea Party movement is willing to sacrifice and harm is far too much to support. Yes, we need a Second American Revolution, but not one so driven by very stupid, obsessed and irrational people.