The Tea Party's goal to reduce spending by the federal government is admirable. Its efforts, however, are misguided and misrepresented.
Its members are self-proclaimed political conservatives. That the Constitution should be followed as written by the Founding Fathers and should not be interpreted is one of their core tenets.
Rarely, if ever, do they quote the Constitution when criticizing the spending practices of the government. If they did, they could make a convincing argument that most, if not all, of the monies spent out of the country are in opposition to what was intended by James Madison, its author.
Article I, Section 8, permits taxes to be raised, but only allows them to be spent on three items. It states in part, "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes ... to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States."
Many Americans -- and not just the Tea Party -- believe the nation needs the hundreds of bases that the military currently occupies in foreign countries. Nevertheless, it cannot be argued that all of them are needed for defense.
The 40 men who signed the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, were concerned about protecting the borders of their new nation and not with occupying forts on foreign soils.
It can be concluded that either the Tea Party does not know the Constitution or that its members believe it is permissible to interpret it. Either conclusion disavows their claim of being conservatives.
STEPHEN J. VEROTSKY