Politicians from both sides of the aisle keep up their partisan rhetoric. They enunciate more government spending or higher taxes on the left, and lower spending or lower tax rates on the right. But not so fast: there is an emerging third option that leaves many Americans scratching their heads.

Yes, it’s the Tea Party. It’s a new breed of politicians that despise government and want to shrink it as much as possible, even if it shuts down the government for political purposes such as repealing Obamacare.

As proud conservatives and Republicans, it’s time to reject this tactless strategy as Mitt Romney said, and tell the Republican party to start governing. Being an ideologue may make for good politics in the primaries, but it doesn’t help the country at all.

As Americans, we don’t send politicians to shut down the government. We send them to work for us, to get things done.

The libertarian Tea Party, which glorifies Ayn Rand instead of Edmund Burke, makes for interesting entertainment but not good statesmanship. Tea Party politicians like Senator Ted Cruz keep stonewalling our government. Like Cruz, most in the Tea Party seem to care more about ideology than good governance.

Cruz’s disciples love to hear Republicans talk of shutting down the government. After all, Cruz won the nod from the conservative conference in Denver with a remarkable 45 percent of the vote.

Talk about success for a freshman senator from Texas who refuses to compromise in the U.S. Senate to pass historical legislation like the immigration bill that increases border security and the overall Gross Domestic Product. Cruz’s legislative history is far from successful, his bills go nowhere. In fact, he only proposed an amendment with a Democrat once with Senator Donnelly from Indiana.

That’s the issue with Tea Party politicians. As ideologically conservative (I would argue libertarian) as they may be, they don’t understand that we have divided government. They don’t understand that they need to sit down with Democrats if we want legislation to pass.

Politicians like Cruz subjugate the American public to incompetent governance. The kind of government that does very little. As much as I may not like Obamacare, I understand that Senator Harry Reid will not go along with repealing it. Moves to repeal the law gets us nowhere.

The Tea Party fails to even fix any blemish of Obamacare with their tactics. According to the Congressional Research Service’s study, the healthcare law contains mandatory government spending that requires 67 votes from the U.S. Senate and two-thirds from the U.S. House of Representatives to derail.

The political reality is that conservatism and Republicans overall will benefit by proposing laws that can pass in today’s divided government. The Right needs to understand that obstructionism is a failed approach. Passing 15 new laws this year is nothing to boast.

I believe the American public deserves better. They deserve politicians to work for them and not twiddle their thumbs as they get paid thousands of dollars.

Conservatives need to start asking tough questions. Do we really want to veer to the right of men like Senator Tom Coburn and Richard Burr who Cruz’s chief of staff branded as part of the “surrender caucus” for not supporting a government shutdown?

The Daily Beast’s Jon Favreau is exactly right. The Republican Party is split between the no-government libertarians and the small-government conservatives. There is a dramatic difference of political philosophy.

Conservatives know that government is necessary. They know that government institutions must exist in order to promote the social order that Edmund Burke once wrote about. It’s a traditional idea that government must exist to improve the public good of all individuals. Conservatives understand that government can be a good thing.

But libertarians are the exact opposite. For them, it’s a struggle between individual liberty and an encroaching government. They promote the individual rather than the public good, and believe that government should stay away from the individual as much as possible. Read for yourself.

The Republican Party needs to pick one of these philosophies. There are good libertarian ideas that promote smaller government, but Republicans need to become more conservative to promote our government and not just diminishing its size.I would argue it’s about the quality rather than the size of our government.

For instance, this conservative position is practiced by men like Governor Chris Christie who understand that government, though imperfect, is completely necessary for the functioning of our society. That’s why he asked for federal money to rebuild New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. It’s a prudent call from a pragmatic leader.

It’s not a “gimme gimme” mentality as Senator Rand Paul described. This need for government is a healthy idea that understands that government exists to protect us when we need it and, most importantly, to serve us.

A government shutdown does a disservice to our country. I say Washington gets to work and starts solving the country’s problems like our debt and our decrepit economy instead. Chop-chop!


Alex Uzarowicz | Knox College | @AUzarowicz