Talk about Republican Party differences between the "establishment" and the tea party is taking attention from the real issues facing the nation.
Americans agree that we're on the wrong track.
The latest Gallup Poll shows just 25 percent are satisfied. Even among Democrats just 35 percent are satisfied.
Lest you think that Americans are chronically unhappy, satisfaction in 2000, when George W. Bush was elected president, was over 60 percent.
It then spiraled down for the next eight years, bottoming out at 7 percent at the end of his second term.
This peaked at 36 percent in the early Barack Obama years when many Americans believed that he offered something new and positive to offer the country. TEA PARTY IS MISUNDERSTOOD
The portrayal of tea partiers as crazy ideologues who sprouted suddenly from the grass roots in reaction to Obama is not accurate.
The tea party movement expressed dissatisfaction with business- as-usual in Washington that was key to Obama getting nominated in the Democratic Party and elected president.
The Republican "establishment" is complicit in the problem because none of today's biggest problems are new.
Obama did not invent the problems with American health care. Costs were going through the roof before he got elected. Tens of millions of Americans were living without insurance before he got elected.
But Republicans did nothing. They were afraid of being bold, of taking on hard issues, of being too ideological.
So Americans elected a president, twice, who was not afraid of being bold, of taking on hard issues and of being ideological.
What Obama did was step on the accelerator of the destructive trends already taking place.
The trend toward growing the welfare state, the trend toward more government interference in private American life and the trend toward interpreting religious freedom as moral relativism.
The issue for Republicans is whether they can be as clear and principled about who they are as Democrats are. WHEN IS SPENDING JUSTIFIED?
It is not enough to just talk about spending. All government spending is not created equal. Spending for national defense is a clear constitutional responsibility of the federal government.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the main source of growth of government spending will be entitlements - government health care programs and Social Security. By 2038, they will double as a percentage of our national economy.
Spending per student in our public school system has increased 200 percent since 1970 with no change in test scores.
Despite claims that so-called "social" issues are different from economic issues, the evidence is overwhelming correlating poverty, lack of education and lack of upward mobility to growing up in a home without two married parents.
Can we continue to delude ourselves that we can have a free, prosperous country when almost half our babies are born to unwed mothers?
As our country ages and there are as many Americans over 85 as there are under 5, can we continue to believe that it doesn't matter that we abort a million babies a year?
Abraham Lincoln told America that it can't be half slave and half free. It would become all one or all the other.
Tea partiers have been the voice of opposition from the grass roots.
The question remains if Republicans will listen and respond with the same boldness to lead in the direction of freedom as Obama and his party have in leading in the opposite direction. Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education (www.urbancure.org).