Should the Tea Party movement throw the likeliest bums out of Congress, conservatives still will need to be vigilant, RedState founder Erick Erickson told a Heritage audience Thursday afternoon. Otherwise, he said, surviving legislators – as well as the new guys – will fall back into spend-happy ways.
Following the Tea Party’s example, conservatives also need to keep getting better at dramatizing how Big Government hurts everyday people, Erickson said in a talk promoting his new book, Red State Uprising: How to Take Back America.
“The Left are masters of emotion,” Erickson said. It’s one reason he’s “not optimistic” that Republicans and Democratic allies will repeal Obamacare in its entirety.
“We’ll have to fight,” he said. “While there is no such thing as a permanent majority in this country anymore, there certainly is permanent policy.”
He said the new Congress must ban earmarks for pet projects. Not just because of the total cost to the federal budget, but because horse-trading over earmarks buys the votes needed to pass government-growing, budget-busting laws such as TARP, the “stimulus” and Obamacare.
“Every bad piece of legislation that comes out of Washington comes because of earmarks,” said Erickson, a lawyer who is managing editor of RedState.
He and co-author Lewis K. Uhler hoped to supply helpful information, ammunition and advice to the Tea Partiers before the midterms, Erickson said, but the book also is a blueprint for what to do after their candidates win seats in the House and Senate.
Like what? “Don’t get comfortable, number one,” he said. Second, make and follow “firm and fast rules” under which some issues – protecting the sanctity of life, ending earmarks – are “nonnegotiable.”
Or as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Heritage President Ed Feulner wrote in their pro-Tea Party column in Thursday’s Politico: “Americans have been disappointed by leaders in both parties who campaigned to right past wrongs and then, after getting to Washington, cared more about power than promises. Tea party supporters care more about principle than party labels or politics.”
Erickson echoed this, saying Tea Party winners mustn’t allow the principles that got them elected to be compromised by congressional leaders, handlers and lobbyists. They must be willing to gum up the works to get the right result, he said, recalling how – as a member of the Macon City Council – he blocked a proposal to make President Obama an honorary council member.
To watch Erickson’s presentation, go here.