Does the Tea Party have a foreign policy? P. J. O’Rourke explores the question in a recent World Affairs article. He begins by saying that it’s difficult to answer because first of all, there is no Tea Party:
…There are, of course, any number of Tea Party Coalition groups across the country. But these mix and mingle, cooperate, compete, debate, merge, and overlap with countless other groups grouped together as the “Tea Party movement” in the public mind (or the public commentator mind).
Some of these organizations have staffs and salaries and offices, and some—according to the time left over for blogging after job and children—have memberships numbering between one and none. Various domestic policy foundations such as FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and the Independence Institute have had their influence, as have associations of people with a frame of mind about policy that’s more antinomian, such as FedUpUSA. Then there is the 9/12 Project, promoted by Glenn Beck, which seeks a return to the best of what Americans thought and felt after 9/11 and which is more concerned with values than policy per se. A variety of social conservatives with similar concerns about values—if diverse ideas of what those values are—also have been lumped with the Tea Party movement. Sometimes they’ve lumped themselves.
Disaggregation and multifariousness make it hard to take any policy measure of the Tea Party. But the tougher problem is definitional. “Movement” implies a destination. When you move you’re headed somewhere. Political movements have a place they want government to go. The Tea Party movement has a place it wants government to go—and rot. That’s different. The Tea Party has a political attitude rather than a political ideology.
Nevertheless, the main concepts promoted by the Tea Party still have foreign policy “implications” as far as O’Rourke is concerned. If you want to read what he thinks these are, here’s his article.