Like Tea Partiers, Birchers want as little government as possible. They also have advocated a shift back to the gold standard in the economy and believe that isolationism is the proper foreign policy position. As a whole, the Tea Party movement hasn’t weighed in on foreign policy, nor has it endorsed going back to the gold standard, but many Tea Partiers do agree with Republican Texas Rep. Ron Paul on auditing the Federal Reserve.
Raimondo said the Birchers’ gold standard stance is fairly consistent with one of Paul’s economic recommendations.
Raimondo thinks the Tea Party movement is the rebirth of the John Birch Society. Raimondo says both are populist conservative movements and both are, in general, attacked by the media. He said Birchers were “just typical conservatives.” Like the Tea Party movement, Birchers faced criticism from liberals, conservatives and most media, Raimondo told TheDC.
“They were the Tea Partiers of yester-year,” Raimondo said. “Robert Welch, you know, was an idiosyncratic kind of guy…He represents the conservative movement prior to Buckley.”
Where the Tea Party movement differs from the John Birch Society, according to Raimondo, is that the John Birch Society was coordinated in a top-down, strictly managed manner. There was a clear leader, and that leader was Welch, which he said made it easy for “establishment” conservatives like Buckley, liberals and the media to “smear.”
The John Birch Society’s current president, John McManus, will also be speaking at an upcoming Tea Party rally in Boston on December 12 at Faneuil Hall.
Boston Tea Party leader Bob Dwyer, who has invited McManus to speak at several events the local chapter has had in the past, said there have been several people who have called him to complain about having Birchers there, but he responds that he thinks Tea Partiers and Birchers have a lot in common.
“If people have got a problem with a speaker, they can go right up to them after they’re done and say so,” Dwyer told TheDC. “Why not go straight to the horse’s mouth?”
Dwyer helped organize the nation’s first Tea Party rally in 2007, where now Republican Kentucky Senator-elect Rand Paul keynoted. Dwyer said Rand Paul and Ron Paul are the “true” beginnings of the Tea Party movement, not former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin or Fox News personality Glenn Beck, though, he says, both figures are certainly part of the movement.