Recall how from sometime in 2002 until they won back control of Congress, Democrats in Washington defined themselves by opposing then-President Bush’s agenda? It was they who started the process of filibustering nominees to the federal bunch and they who used every procedural gimmick in the book to slow down or stop Republican legislative reforms, including plans to fix Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) which were the catalyst for the financial meltdown.
Back then, however, we didn’t hear many people calling them the “Party of No.” Liberal pundits weren’t asking them to put forward an alternative agenda, merely commending them for blocking the initiatives of then-majority party.
So, if today, while protesting the Obama Democrats big government policies at Tea Parties across the nation, people criticize you for being the “party of no,” then ask them (politely without raising your voice), if they criticized the minority Democrats for “obstructing” the Republican agenda in the Bush Era.
Just tell them you’re saying, “No” to big government and by doing so, you’re affirming the values our founders fought for, from the first Tea Party just over 236 years ago until the inauguration of George Washington nearly sixteen years later–and for which American patriots kept fighting for the next two hundred years and change.
And if your critics style themselves as intellectuals, then tell them about the great French philosopher Albert Camus who defined “a rebel” as an individual who says “No.” This non affirms the existence of a limit: “the categorical refusal of an interference deemed intolerable”. Your “No” affirms all that you want to preserve.
In short, you’re not just saying, “No,” you’re making a philosophical statement.