Sunday, February 28, 2010

Unlikely Activist Who Got to the Tea Party Early

Keli Carender has a pierced nose, performs improv on weekends and lives here in a neighborhood with more Mexican grocers than coffeehouses. You might mistake her for the kind of young person whose vote powered President Obama to the White House. You probably would not think of her as a Tea Party type. But leaders of the Tea Party movement credit her with being the first. A year ago, frustrated that every time she called her senators to urge them to vote against the $787 billion stimulus bill their mailboxes were full, and tired of wearing out the ear of her Obama-voting fiancĂ©, Ms. Carender decided to hold a protest against what she called the “porkulus.” “I basically thought to myself: ‘I have two courses. I can give up, go home, crawl into bed and be really depressed and let it happen,’ ” she said this month while driving home from a protest at the State Capitol in Olympia. “Or I can do something different, and I can find a new avenue to have my voice get out.” This weekend, as Tea Party members observe the anniversary of the first mass protests nationwide, Ms. Carender’s path to activism offers a lens into how the movement has grown, taking many people who were not politically active — it is not uncommon to meet Tea Party advocates who say they have never voted — and turning them into a force that is rattling both parties as they look toward the midterm elections in the fall. Ms. Carender’s first rally drew only 120 people. A week later, she had 300, and six weeks later, 1,200 people gathered for a Tax Day Tea Party. Last month, she was among about 60 Tea Party leaders flown to Washington to be trained in election activism by FreedomWorks, the conservative advocacy organization led by Dick Armey, the former House Republican more

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Coffee Party activists say their civic brew's a tastier choice than Tea Party's

Furious at the tempest over the Tea Party -- the scattershot citizen uprising against big government and wild spending -- Annabel Park did what any American does when she feels her voice has been drowned out: She squeezed her anger into a Facebook status update. let's start a coffee party . . . smoothie party. red bull party. anything but tea. geez. ooh how about cappuccino party? that would really piss 'em off bec it sounds elitist . . . let's get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion. Friends replied, and more friends replied. So last month, in her Silver Spring apartment, Park started a fan page called "Join the Coffee Party Movement." Within weeks, her inbox and page wall were swamped by thousands of comments from strangers in diverse locales, such as the oil fields of west Texas and the suburbs of more

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tea Party Patriots Poll: Up to 57 Million Conservative Activists in U.S.

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is at the helm of a new conservative group called Liberty Central. Its first project is a poll, conducted with Tea Party Patriots, analyzing just how many current and potential conservative activists there are in the United States, and figuring out what they believe. The most interesting thing about the poll might be the alliance between Thomas, a long-time Washington, D.C. fixer and alum of Dick Armey’s congressional office, and the grassroots Tea Party Patriots. The findings are overwhelmingly positive for Tea Partiers — 85 percent of all people polled, for example, worry that “America might be losing the core of what made America great.” more

Hit Fullscreen to read the release.

021810 LC TPP Press Release Poll

NM Attorney General's Senior Counsel Doubles as President of Law Firm Pushing CO2 Emissions Cap

Stuart Bluestone wears two hats. He is Senior Counsel to Attorney General Gary King. He is also president of the board of directors of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, the law firm representing petitioners pressing the Environmental Improvement Board to impose an unprecedented statewide cap on emissions of carbon dioxide and gases they claim are causing global warming. Bluestone has served as a director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) since 2007. During that time, he has also served as Senior Counsel to Attorney General Gary King. In January 2010 he was named as president of the board of the NMELC. NMELC is a law firm that represents private individuals and organizations in a wide range of environmental matters across the state. It sues private and public entities, participates in appeals, intervenes in lawsuits and administrative proceedings, and seeks to influence and persuade administrative agencies in adjudications and rule-making. It is the legal counsel representing the petitioners who are pressing the EIB to impose a cap on gases they claim are causing global warming. The cap they seek would cut carbon dioxide and other emissions by 25% below 1990 levels, the most drastic such emissions cap in the country. Electric power utilities, representatives of manufacturing, mining and agricultural industries, chambers of commerce and others fear this cap will have a devastating impact on New Mexico’s economy and tax more

Another Member of Environmental Improvement Board with Conflict of Interest

Gay Dillingham is yet another member of the Environmental Improvement Board suffering from a serious conflict of interest in hearing the petition to cap CO2 emissions in New Mexico. Dillingham is a director of an organization that is part of an alliance to promote the very same sort of emissions caps she is being asked to consider as a member of the EIB. Moreover, New Energy Economy, the group which has brought the petition before the EIB, belongs to the same global warming activism alliance as the group which Dillingham helps direct. Dillingham has was appointed to the EIB in 2003 and served as its chair until recently, when Gregory Green, a lobbyist and consultant for environmental groups, assumed the role. We have previously reported on Green’s conflicts of interest in hearing the New Energy Economy petition, including the fact that he has been hired as a lobbyist by an organization, the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, that includes at least two organizations that have joined the petition pending before the EIB. [Two other members of the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy have entered appearances in the case. But as of this posting, we lack confirmation that they have become parties to the proceeding by signing onto the New Energy Economy petititon]. Dillingham is a founder of and serves on the New Mexico Board of Directors of an organization called New Voice of Business. New Voice of Business is a formal ally of 1Sky, a nationwide group advocating emissions caps and other measures it claims are needed to counter man-made global more

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Issa Report finds ACORN Fraud, SEIU Connections

Republicans on the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee have released a new report leveling fresh allegations and evidence of corruption against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. Entitled "Follow the Money: ACORN, SEIU and their Political Allies," the report presents information gleaned from committee investigations into hundreds of bank accounts, shell organizations incorporated under myriad sections of the internal revenue code, even an ACORN-directed accounting firm, Citizens Consulting Inc., charged with obscuring the trail and use of funding streams pouring into ACORN from taxpayers and charitable contributions more

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Harry Reid may need Tea Party help to revive candidacy

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is rooting for the Tea Party, at least as far as his own Nevada reelection bid goes. A new poll from Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies shows that if a Tea Party candidate runs in Nevada's Senate election, the Republican nominee could lose up to 22 percent of their support, giving Reid's flailing campaign a shot at victory. The new polls are the first good news for Reid's team in a while. A Rasmussen poll earlier this month showed Reid's top showing against any of four GOP challengers at 41 percent. The numbers showed Reid getting creamed in hypothetical races against the Republican front-runners, former state GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden and real estate developer and former basketball star Danny Tarkanian. But, with reports that New York banker John Ashjian plans to run as a Tea Party candidate, Reid might have a chance. The Public Opinion Strategies poll shows that in a hypothetical race among Lowden, Reid and Ashjian, Lowden carried only 42 percent, leaving Reid with 37 percent and Ashjian collecting 9 percent of the vote. If Tarkanian was the GOP candidate, Reid trailed by only one point. Ashjian's candidacy remains shrouded in mystery because he has kept quiet about his campaign and the newly created Tea Party of Nevada. Barry Levinson, a local lawyer and registered Democrat is the party secretary. An employee at Levinson's law firm said he would not comment on the more

NY Times Tying Tea Party To "Terrorist" Label

In the end, the core unifying theme of the Tea Partiers is populist rage, and this is the core theme in Stack’s ramblings, whether the rage is directed at corporate titans (“plunderers”), the government (“totalitarian”) or individual politicians (“liars”). I don’t doubt that Tea Partiers are on balance on the right, and if their movement ever crystallizes into a political party that will be its location. But until the requisite winnowing happens, a person with Stack’s fuzzy ideology wouldn’t feel terribly alone at a big Tea Party. I emphasize that I’m talking about his ideology, not his penchant for flying planes into buildings. Still, some of the ingredients of that penchant — a conspiratorial bent, a deep and personal sense of oppression, an attendant resentful rage — can be found in the movement, if mainly on its fringes. There are some excitable Tea Partiers out there. You could, on the one hand, follow this logic to the conclusion that Joseph Stack was the first Tea Party more

TEA Party: A Fourth Leg For Conservatives' Big Table

On Feb. 17, most of the leaders of the traditional conservative movement gathered in Arlington, Va., to plan strategy, and issued a statement of conservative principles. However, the conservative movement is rapidly changing and significantly expanding because of the addition of millions of Tea Partyers. The Tea Party movement shares certain key interests of the conservative movement, yet it is a phenomenon independent from the conservative movement. That's a good thing. The conservative movement started life in the 1950s as a two-legged stool of limited government/fiscal restraint and national defense. Then, in the second half of the 1970s, a third leg was added to the stool: traditional-values conservatives. Now the Tea Party people add a fourth leg, and the movement sits at a large-sized table. The Tea Party movement brings millions of new people to the political arena who have not previously been involved. They bring more energy, enthusiasm and excitement to politics than we've seen in the last 100 more

Obama Destroys Pledge to Allow Americans To Keep Their HC Plans

The Senate bill has a measure to protect so-called “grandfathered plans,” which would allow policy holders to maintain coverage in plans that may not abide by all of the requirements imposed on new individual plans offered on the government-run exchanges. But Obama’s new proposal changes all of that. Here’s how the White House explains the new provisions:

The Senate bill includes a “grandfather” policy that allows people who like their current coverage, to keep it. The President’s Proposal adds certain important consumer protections to these “grandfathered” plans. Within months of legislation being enacted, it requires plans to cover adult dependents up to age 26, prohibits rescissions, mandates that plans have a stronger appeals process, and requires State insurance authorities to conduct annual rate review, backed up by the oversight of the HHS Secretary. When the exchanges begin in 2014, the President’s Proposal adds new protections that prohibit all annual and lifetime limits, ban pre-existing condition exclusions, and prohibit discrimination in favor of highly compensated individuals. Beginning in 2018, the President’s Proposal requires “grandfathered” plans to cover proven preventive services with no cost sharing.

All of the new requirements proposed by Obama would increase premiums, and by definition, alter the composition of those insurance more

ACORN 'dissolved as a national structure'; ACORN denies report

The embattled liberal group ACORN is in the process of dissolving its national structure, with state and local-chapters splitting off from the underfunded, controversial national group, an official close to the group confirmed. "ACORN has dissolved as a national structure of state organizations," said a senior official close to the group, who declined to be identified by name because of the fierce conservative attacks on the group that began when a conservative filmmaker caught some staffers of its tax advisory arms on tape appearing to offer advice on incorporating a prostitution business. "Consistent with what the internal recommendations have been, each of the states are developing plans for reconstitution independence and self-sufficiency," said the official, citing ACORN's "diminished resources, damage to the brand, unprecedented attacks." The new organizations, he said "will be constituted under new banners and new bylaws and new governance," he said, consistent with the recommendations of an outside more

ACORN: We're Still Here “It is not true that ACORN is closed for business all across the country. It still exists. Bertha Lewis is still the CEO," Kevin Whelan told me. "It is true that we are shutting down operations in New York and there is this new New York Community organization,” he added, referring to New York Communities for Change, the group that has emerged in ACORN's place. NYCC follows ACORN's California chapter, which in January reformed as the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). “We know that organizers and leaders in different states are having to have discussions and making some choices," Whelan said. "I don’t think there will be announcements like this from every place ACORN is now, but I would expect that there could be some more like this in the coming days or weeks.” So, while ACORN is denying that they're dissolving as a national organization, it doesn't seem entirely out of the realm of possibility, given the issues they're facing. Even if the national staff is sticking together, it's not clear how else to describe what happens if ultimately enough state chapters choose to break more

Canadian Premier Chooses US For Heart Surgery

An unapologetic Danny Williams says he was aware his trip to the United States for heart surgery earlier this month would spark outcry, but he concluded his personal health trumped any public fallout over the controversial decision. In an interview with The Canadian Press, Williams said he went to Miami to have a "minimally invasive" surgery for an ailment first detected nearly a year ago, based on the advice of his doctors. "This was my heart, my choice and my health," Williams said late Monday from his condominium in Sarasota, Fla. "I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics." Williams said his decision to go to the U.S. did not reflect any lack of faith in his own province's health care system. "I have the utmost confidence in our own health care system in Newfoundland and Labrador, but we are just over half a million people," he said. "We do whatever we can to provide the best possible health care that we can in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canadian health care system has a great reputation, but this is a very specialized piece of surgery...". Williams also said he paid for the treatment, but added he would seek any refunds he would be eligible for in more

The CBO Can't Score the Latest Version of Obamacare

The Congressional Budget Office:

This morning the Obama Administration released a description of its health care proposal, and CBO has already received several requests to provide a cost estimate for that proposal. We had not previously received the proposal, and we have just begun the process of reviewing it—a process that will take some time, given the complexity of the issues involved. Although the proposal reflects many elements that were included in the health care bills passed by the Housee and the Senate last year, it modifies many of those elements and also includes new ones. Moreover, preparing a cost estimate requires very detailed specifications of numerous provisions, and the materials that were released this morning do not provide sufficient detail on all of the provisions. Therefore, CBO cannot provide a cost estimate for the proposal without additional detail, and, even if such detail were provided, analyzing the proposal would be a time-consuming process that could not be completed this week.

Read more

Tea party snowmen protest lawmakers in Lansing, MI

The scene in front of the Capitol Bldg., protesting tax increases as per theblogprof.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ObamaCare at Ramming Speed

A mere three days before President Obama's supposedly bipartisan health-care summit, the White House yesterday released a new blueprint thatDemocrats say they will ram through Congress with or without Republican support. So after election defeats in Virginia, New Jersey and even Massachusetts, and amid overwhelming public opposition, Democrats have decided to give the voters what they don't want anyway. Ah, the glory of "progressive" governance and democratic consent. "The President's Proposal," as the 11-page White House document is headlined, is in one sense a notable achievement: It manages to take the worst of both the House and Senate bills and combine them into something more destructive. It includes more taxes, more subsidies and even less cost control than the Senate bill. And it purports to fix the special-interest favors in the Senate bill not by eliminating them—but by expanding them to everyone. The bill's one new inspiration is a powerful federal board that would regulate premiums in the individual insurance market. In all 50 states, insurers are already required to justify premium increases to insurance commissioners, who generally have the power to give a regulatory go-ahead, or not. But their primary concern is actuarial soundness and capital standards, making sure that companies have enough cash to pay claims. The White House wants to create another layer of review that will be able to reject any rate increase that is "unreasonable or unjustified." Any insurer deemed guilty of such an infraction by this new bureaucracy "must lower premiums, provide rebates, or take other actions to make premiums affordable." In other words, de facto price more

RailRunner Costs Eating NM Alive

The recent infusions of cash to keep the RailRunner running continue a history of project costs and operating losses exceeding expectations. The RailRunner’s red ink means money is being denied other surface transportation needs. While the RailRunner continues to get money to cover its shortfall, major transportation needs are going unmet. The intial cost projections for the RailRunner were so far off target the question arises whether the Legislature and the public were intentionally misled. The RailRunner was supposed to cost the state of New Mexico only $122 million. That’s what legislators and staffers claim they were led to believe, according to a December 9, 2005 report by the Albuquerque Journal. But by December 2005, the New Mexico Department of Transportation put the cost of the RailRunner to the state at $318 million. The cost of the RailRunner to the state of New Mexico has now grown to over $475 million. That’s the sum cited by the Legislative Finance Committee in its January 2009 report to the Legislature. Of the $600 million in highway projects assigned to the I-25 corridor, the RailRunner’s costs consumed more than 79% of designated funds. The RailRunner’s cost has weighed heavily on the state’s ability to fund future highway construction and maintenance. Adding the costs of the RailRunner to the state’s debt service has further reduced the funds available for needed highway projects. As the LFC summarized the situation in 2009, “As federal appropriations continue to shrink, this may result in increased state funding for debt payments, leaving less funding available to meet the state’s highway construction and reconstruction needs.” more

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fox News scrambles to discredit CPAC after Ron Paul wins presidential poll

Remember the big conservative conference Fox News has been hyping over the past 10 days? The Conservative Political Action Conference's presidential straw poll, a key marker of the mood among conservative voters, apparently didn't mean anything to the network. Or, at least that's how Fox News characterized the poll, after it was reported that Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) had won it by a wide margin. CPAC participants voted for Paul as their favored candidate by some 31 percent, giving him the largest margin of victory in recent years. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has won the vote over the last three years, was the runner up with 22 percent. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was third with seven percent. "It is way early, it is unscientific," said a Fox News host, even as the split-screen showed Glenn Beck on stage at the conference. ake Gibson, micro-blogging for Fox News's Live Shots, wrote that Paul's win was "surprising" and caused very audible booing throughout the more

Mike Huckabee rips CPAC - Video

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee blasted the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday as outdated, nearly corrupt and unrepresentative of the conservative movement. Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential contender and potential 2012 candidate who had spoken at the conference for years, said the reason he blew it off this year was that the meeting has become dominated by libertarian activists. “CPAC has becoming increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year,” Huckabee said in an interview with Fox News, where he is a paid analyst and has his own show. He was responding to a question about whether he was upset by his single-digit showing in the conference’s straw poll, which was won by libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Huckabee said the rise of the tea party movement had “taken all of the oxygen out of the room,” rendering the venerable conference far less relevant than it had been in previous more

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Review: A New American Tea Party

A New American Tea Party by John M. O’Hara, John Wiley & Sons, 307 pages.

In his preface O’Hara lays out the three things he hopes to accomplish with this book:

One, that it will set the historic record straight on what is a critically important grassroots movement…

Second, that it will serve to define and articulate the principles of that movement…

Finally, that it will help to fortify, inspire and guide counter-revolutionaries in the policy battles ahead…

I’m pleased to report that in this well-written, thoroughly researched volume O’Hara accomplishes all three and then some.

I‘ll approach this book by asking how the author answers three questions: Who are these Tea Party folks? What events caused this phenomenon? Where do we go from here?

Let’s see what O’Hara has to say.

He describes and defines Tea Party folks in different places throughout the book. Here are some examples:

They represent the collective wisdom of the people – not populism, not the rule that might makes right – but the collective desire to be true to founding principles – a union of individualism, if you will. (p.35)

While fighting excessive taxation is certainly a noble crusade, this was not the only tenant of the tea parties. Rather, they sought to protest the expansion of government as a whole and reinforce the larger idea that government works for the people, not for itself, not for specific interest groups, not for specific organizations. (p.80)

Tea party participants, like most Americans, reject the idea that individuals are more likely to prosper in a highly controlled nanny state. They instead embrace a state where the government acts a referee, stepping in only when absolutely necessary. (p.207)

They reject the idea that big government – at the hands of liberals or conservatives – should be used to solve problems. They see it as unrealistic and they resent the encroachment on their ability to exercise their intellect and free will. (p.208)

These individuals, on the whole, subscribe to a live and let live philosophy. They believe in free markets and small government. (p.208)

They are hardworking taxpayers who were driven by nothing more than the principles at stake: the protection of a representative democracy that supports the individual right to the pursuit of happiness against egregious, if not unlawful, government intervention. (p.208)

Protestors such as those at the tea parties merely ask to be left alone – whether it is their tax dollars, the cars they drive, the food they eat, their guns, how they educate their children, or their relationship with their doctors. (p. 208).

All are excellent descriptions of the Tea Party folks I know and also explain my involvement with the group. I also emphasize this because of all the distortions by the media and political pundits.

Let’s move on to what caused the Tea Party eruption.

O’Hara walks through the litany, starting with the Community Reinvestment Act. You’ll then be reintroduced to the 1994 “Revolution That Wasn’t”, the “Quasi-Conservative” presidency of George W. Bush, taxes, Federal Reserve policy, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, universal health care and the whole list of “Bailouts, Handouts and Corporate Welfare.” He even provides a nine-page timeline, listing the date and a summary of each event.

I found this part of the book tough to read. We all knew these things had happened, but I have never seen it all laid out in one place like this. An unpleasant but necessary reminder for those of us who watched these events unfold, but an eye opener for any newbies and documentation for future historians.

Looking to the future, the author instructs us on winning arguments, honing the message, conducting rallies, publicity, pressuring politicians and utilizing coalitions and social networks. He also recommends looking beyond rallies and offers useful suggestions on taking consistent and principled action. O’Hara further suggests the Tea Parties look to their own state, writing “to enact and sustain real change, pressure needs to be kept at state and local government.” Each state has a conservative or free market think tank, and the author suggests they are an excellent resource for state level activities (In NM, it would be the Rio Grande Foundation).

There is much more to this book than I am reporting here. I thoroughly enjoyed, for instance, how he rips the political class and the media for their reaction to the Tea Party movement, devoting two full chapters to the skewering. You should also enjoy his description of the early days of the movement and his personal involvement in the first D.C. rallies. Also of interest is his presentation of a Tea Party Manifesto.

O’Hara also writes with a wonderful sense of humor which he sprinkles throughout the book. For instance, he refers to McCain’s suspending his campaign as pulling “a political Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?” and he says bailouts “are like lays potato chips – you can’t just have one.”

Hope there is enough here to stir your interest because this old cowboy thinks this one is worth your time and money.

Tea Parties Warn of 'Coordinated Assault'

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's statement that tea party activists need to start "picking a party" is part of a "coordinated assault" against the conservative grass-roots movement by the Republican establishment, tea party leaders tell Newsmax. A series of events this week have pushed some tea party leaders to the brink of firing back at GOP officials they see as potentially compromising their organizations' independent status. "Anybody who expects tea party members to vote based on party lines fundamentally misunderstands the movement," says Mark Meckler, a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots and one of its national coordinators. "The tea party movement is made up of people who value principle above party." This week's meeting between RNC Chairman Michael Steele and "tea party leaders" appeared to aggravate the growing divide. Most of the major tea party groups steered clear of the four-hour sessions, and some even suggested Steele was trying to "hijack" the movement for his own purposes. Tea party insiders say that whenever the tea parties are portrayed as aligned with the GOP, the independents and disenchanted Democrats within the grass-roots movement feel more

It’s Valley Forge Time For The Tea Party Movement

Call me A. T. Partier. I’m a member of that vast group of patriots who want to end the corruption, cronyism, favoritism and corporatism in Washington and restore constitutional government. We’re poorly organized and often seem more like a flash mob than a political movement. And in these cold, dark days of winter, our activity has slowed to a crawl. The enemy is sitting, warm and well fed, in the nation’s and states’ capitals, as the British did in Philadelphia while Washington's army shivered and starved at Valley Forge. But like that ragtag army, we’re not giving up. Rather, we’re getting ready for the spring more

Parties to the Contract

An organization called the Tea Party Patriots, comprising a number of conservative grassroots groups, has unveiled a list of 20 possible items for inclusion in a new “Contract from America,” and is urging people to visit its web site and vote for their top ten. The list is distinct from another effort to define what conservatives should stand for going into the 2010 elections: the Mount Vernon Statement. Contract from America, like its namesake, 1994’s Contract with America, mentions specifics, whereas the Mount Vernon Statement limits itself to broad principles. Both of these efforts are distinct from an official GOP effort to draft a positive agenda statement for the 2010 races, an effort that Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California is heading up. The problem with specific policy proposals is getting sufficiently broad agreement within the Republican party while still actually standing for something. The Tea Party Patriots present a mixed bag — some proposals that shouldn’t have trouble attracting broad support, some that might be more divisive, and some that could attract all the theoretical support in the world and still not come to more

Saturday, February 20, 2010

'Tea party' activists change dynamic at CPAC

Amid a euphoria unimaginable just a year ago, activists Thursday at the largest conservative gathering in the country plotted how to ride the "tea party" wave to sweeping Republican victories in this year's elections - and to force the GOP to govern as conservatives after the vote. But on the opening day of the biggest-ever Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the tenuous relationship among conservatives, tea party activists and the Republican Party establishment was also repeatedly on display. Tea party backers vowed not to be taken for granted and insisted that Republicans prove they have learned the lessons of their past support for big government. "Let's not leave them to their own devices," said Dick Armey, former House majority leader and now chairman of FreedomWorks, a prime mover of the tea party phenomenon. Republicans "must come to us and show us they're worthy of our loyalty. We don't owe them." Added John O'Hara, who helped organize some of the earliest tea party gatherings, "Let's not let a good counterrevolution go to waste." more

GOP speakers court key group at conservative conference

The second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference turned into a call to arms Friday as aspiring national leaders and other favorites of the movement's grass roots warned that President Obama and his party have ushered in an era of American decline. As they exhorted activists to help overturn the Democrats' congressional majorities in November, speaker after speaker took the dais and touched familiar chords of conservatism: smaller government, lower taxes, limited federal spending and a muscular assertion of American power abroad. They rallied a few thousand partisans who had arrived at the Marriott Wardman Park ballroom encouraged, even giddy, by the prospect of Republican successes in the midterm elections and more

George Will's Speech At CPAC

Set aside some time to watch this. You will be rewarded with an excellent speech.

The 'Stimulus' Actually Raised Unemployment

Since federal spending accounted for exactly zero of the only significant increase GDP, how could such spending possibly have "created or saved" 2 million jobs? The bill was launched last year amid grandiose promises of "shovel ready" make-work projects. In reality, as the CBO explains, "five programs accounted for more than 80% of the outlays from ARRA in 2009: Medicaid, unemployment compensation, Social Security ... grants to state and local governments ... and student aid." In other words, what was labeled a "stimulus" bill was actually a stimulus to government transfer more

Friday, February 19, 2010

Conservatives revel, and clash, at CPAC conference

Energized by an increasingly favorable political environment, the nation's conservatives gathered here Thursday speaking optimistically of seizing control this year of Congress and, ultimately, the White House. But finding the fault lines beneath the message wasn't difficult. All one had to do was walk around the corner. As a crowd stood in a hotel ballroom to applaud former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a onetime presidential candidate who sounds like he is preparing for another run, a conservative Senate candidate in a neighboring room was talking about the enemy, and he didn't mean Democrats. "The threat isn't always from the organized left," warned J.D. Hayworth, a former congressman running in Arizona's GOP primary against Sen. John McCain. Despite all the enthusiasm among Republicans watching the struggles of the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, the three-day meeting here of the Conservative Political Action Conference is a reminder that the GOP's house is also not in order. Though the party is trying to tap into the vibrancy of the growing anti-government "tea party" movement, mainstream Republicans fret that they could become victims of anti-incumbent fever, or that their difficult primary fights could end up benefiting more

Big Hollywood Hits CPAC

Conservatives need to stop whining. That's what producers and entertainment veterans Larry O'Connor and Kevin McKeever spent the morning telling attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference ( CPAC ). Want to get more conservative programming? Films? Theater? Want to work in the entertainment industry? Then "be an American, don't give up -- it'll happen, if you're good," said McKeever. Just don't whine that conservatives never get a break. The two conservatives, who say they are a part of a "secret society" of like-minded folks behind and in front of the camera and on stage, don't deny that some "ninety percent" of the industry is liberal. The very fact that they have to be part of a "secret society" that centers on networking and advancing the careers of conservatives in entertainment says they have a long way to go, but there are much more of them now than ever before. "Up to 2 years ago, life for a conservative in Hollywood really sucked," said O'Connor, who writes for Breitbart's Big Hollywood and counts himself part of a growing group of conservatives making things happen for up-and-comers in L.A. He said writers, especially, need to be "good" and not strive to be the next conservative splash. The only way they will be successful is to write stuff that is funny, touching and marketable, and to allow the conservative sensibilities to flow naturally. In other words, though it might seem unfair, no one is going to sell anything in Hollywood or New York if its marketed with in-your-face "conservative or libertarian themes." Not only is that "boring," said O'Connor, but a death knell in such a liberal more

Only 21% Say U.S. Government Has Consent of the Governed

The founding document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, states that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Today, however, just 21% of voters nationwide believe that the federal government enjoys the consent of the governed. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% disagree and say the government does not have the necessary consent. Eighteen percent (18%) of voters are not sure. However, 63% of the Political Class think the government has the consent of the governed, but only six percent (6%) of those with Mainstream views agree. Seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters now view the federal government as a special interest group, and 70% believe that the government and big business typically work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. That helps explain why 75% of voters are angry at the policies of the federal government, and 63% say it would be better for the country if most members of Congress are defeated this November. Just 27% believe their own representative in Congress is the best person for the more

The Contract From America: Why CPAC Matters Now More Than Ever

This Thursday at CPAC, the Tea Party Patriots will unveil a grassroots-generated, crowd-sourced, bottom-up call for real economic, conservative and government reform. It’s called the Contract From America. It’s not the handiwork of me or any public official. It is the genuine voice of the American people. Unlike the current political dynamic, in which the will of Washington is forced on America, this is the voice of America coming to Washington. The idea of a grassroots-generated call for reform came from Ryan Hecker of the Tea Party Patriots. Here’s how Ryan explains why he started the process of giving citizens the power to change Washington: “We started this to give every American the opportunity to make a difference and to tell elected officials that it’s now time for them to listen to the people. We also see this as a way to help unite the Tea Party movement and transform it from a purely protest movement to one calling for proactive and positive reform.” From the idea of the Contract came a website, launched in September 2009. At hundreds of thousands of Americans have submitted and debated thousands of solutions for creating jobs, securing liberty and reclaiming our government. After much debate and a series of surveys, the list of solutions has been narrowed to more

For conservatives, a new beginning

An estimated 10,000 conservative activists, thinkers, public officials and movement grandees from around the nation convene here today for the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference, the long-running political Woodstock of the Right. There is an obvious exuberance among rank-and-file conservatives that will be on full display during CPAC, and that is Exhibit A for the proposition that one year can make all the difference in the world in American politics. Consider the situation that confronted many of these same attendees at last year's CPAC: President Obama had just been inaugurated and enjoyed remarkably high public approval ratings. Seemingly impregnable Democratic majorities in the Senate and House were set to approve Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus program, and were beginning hearings on radical legislation to federalize the commanding heights of the economy, beginning with health care and energy. Washington was moving to take over General Motors and Chrysler, Congress seemed certain to pass a bill to abolish secret ballots in workplace representation elections, and the Department of Homeland Security was only weeks away from making public an official "study" warning of "right-wing extremists." Today, Obama's public approval ratings are the lowest for any president at this point in his first term, while Congress has sunk so low in public esteem as measured by the New York Times/CBS News annual survey that only 8 percent of respondents said their representative deserved to be re-elected. Two-thirds of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction under Obama. Perhaps most remarkably, 56 percent of the respondents told the Times/CBS poll that they prefer a "smaller government with fewer services," and nearly 60 percent said "government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals." more

At CPAC, Tea Party Movement Re-Enters Conservative Fold

In one speech, the year-long journey of conservative activists had come full circle. The last time they gathered for CPAC, George W. Bush had handed the presidency to Barack Obama and Democrats had dramatically expanded their majorities in the House and Senate. Inside the hall, they accepted blame for Bush’s failures; outside the hall, the first Tea Party rallies saw conservative activists declaring independence from Bush’s TARP and Obama’s stimulus package. On Thursday, the Tea Party and libertarian factions of the conservative base re-entered the fold and took center stage in packed-to-the-rafters educational panels. And at the same time, those mainstream conservative groups invited these activists to rejoin the Republican Party that had disappointed them. They’d learned their lessons. They’d closed the book on their failure. And in retrospect, didn’t Bush and Cheney seem pretty good? “We owe you an apology,” said Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) in a low-key speech delivered to a room that was quickly emptying out after Romney’s speech. “But more importantly, we owe you what we have been doing since January 2009.” Since Obama’s victory, argued McCotter — and most everyone else at CPAC — the essential goodness of the GOP and the rightness of its policies had been brought into more

At CPAC, a new conservative order

Since Richard Nixon was president, the Conservative Political Action Conference has provided the American Right with an annual occasion for self-evaluation. On Thursday, when some 10,000 activists gather in Washington for this year’s conference, they will find themselves part of a conservative movement significantly different than it was during the Bush administration, or even in 2009. A jolt of anti-Obama populist energy has upended the movement’s traditional hierarchy, lifting some new or previously low profile groups to unprecedented heights while leaving traditional powers struggling to adapt. Ascendant are groups that focus on fiscal issues such as reducing government spending and taxation, which last year drove tens of thousands of new conservative activists to the streets and town halls in protest of big spending initiatives backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. Groups that concentrate on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage have been relegated to a lower profile, as, to some extent, have those focusing on national security. Grass-roots organizations have seen their membership rolls, coffers and standing boosted by the new activists, many — but not all — of whom identify with the cacophonous tea party more

Right-Wing Activists Make Case

The divisions roiling American conservatives were on display Thursday at an annual gathering of activists, with the movement's emerging leaders directly challenging the Republican establishment. The crowd assembled for the Conservative Political Action Conference greeted grass-roots darlings with cheers and standing ovations, including U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida and conservative Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. The crowd roared Thursday morning when Mr. DeMint, opposing his own party leaders' decisions to recruit centrist candidates, said he would prefer an ideologically pure 30-member caucus than 60 Republicans "who don't believe in anything." And the crowd gave standing ovations to Mr. Rubio, who has climbed in the polls by attacking his primary rival, Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, for his support of President Barack Obama's stimulus. "We are witnessing the single greatest pushback in American history," Mr. Rubio said. "Never has the political class or the mainstream media been more out of touch with the American people than they are today." more

Tea Party Organizer Wins New York State Assembly Race

The Tea Party followers can boast about their first elected official. Dean Murray, a 45-year-old Long Island, N.Y., businessman who organized Tea Party protests, will be sworn in as the new Republican state assemblyman representing Long Island's eastern 3rd Assembly District on Monday, after being certified the winner of a special election held last Tuesday. Murray defeated his Democratic opponent, 28-year-old Lauren Thoden, 51 to 49 percent, making him what is believed to be the first Tea Party organizer who has attained public office. His district has been in Democratic hands for the last 13 years and he is the third Republican to hold the seat in the last 37 years. The assemblywoman he replaced, Patricia Eddington, resigned to take another post as a town more

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Clinton Plotting Tea Party Counterattack

But, Big Government has learned of at least one other conference call/meeting around this time. A meeting of former Clintonistas and senior Democrat political operatives to coordinate a push-back to the burgeoning tea party movement. Consider it a Democrat party relief effort. When tea party, 9/12 and townhall protests and rallies first erupted on the national scene, they were derided by national politicos as astroturf or a small fringe movement. Lefty journalists at MSNBC, CNN and elsewhere laughed away the movement with derogatory, pornographic references.e Then, Scott Brown won election to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. No one is laughing anymore. In fact, Democrats are facing political annihilation this November. Not only do Democrats face the possibility of losing their congressional majorities, massive losses in state house races could jeopardize redistricting next year and set back the progressive agenda for at least a decade. So, the Clinton Empire is planning to strike back. Big Government has learned that Clintonistas are plotting a “push/pull” strategy. They plan to identify 7-8 national figures active in the tea party movement and engage in deep opposition research on them. If possible, they will identify one or two they can perhaps ‘turn’, either with money or threats, to create a mole in the movement. The others will be subjected to a full-on smear campaign. (Has MSNBC already been notified?) Big Government has also learned that James Carville will head up the more

The Census and the Constitution

What purpose did the Constitution's framers have in mind ordering an enumeration or count of the American people every 10 years? The purpose of the headcount is to apportion the number of seats in the House of Representatives and derived from that, along with two senators from each state, the number of electors to the Electoral College. The Census Bureau tells us that this year, it will use a shorter questionnaire, consisting of only 10 questions. From what I see, only one of them serves the constitutional purpose of enumeration — namely, "How many people were living or staying at this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010?" The Census Bureau's shorter questionnaire claim is deceptive at best. The American Community Survey, long form, that used to be sent to 1 in 6 households during the decennial count, is now being sent to many people every year. Here's a brief sample of its questions, and I want someone to tell me which question serves the constitutional function of apportioning the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives: Does this house, apartment, or mobile home have hot and cold running water, a flush toilet, a bathtub or shower, a sink with a faucet, a refrigerator, a stove? Last month, what was the cost of electricity for this house, apartment, or mobile home? How many times has this person been married? After each question, the Bureau of the Census provides a statement of how the answer meets a federal need. I would prefer that they provide a statement of how answers to the questions meet the constitutional need as expressed in Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. more

‘Mt. Vernon Statement’ of Conservative Principles Released to Public

America must return to “constitutional conservatism” and her founding principles, which have been “under sustained attack,” reads a statement to be signed on Wednesday by 80 leaders of the conservative movement. “We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding,” reads the document, entitled The Mt. Vernon Statement. “Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.” “These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people,” says the statement. “They are responsible for a prosperous, just nation unlike any other in the world. They are our highest achievements, serving not only as powerful beacons to all who strive for freedom and seek self-government, but as warnings to tyrants and despots everywhere.” The full text of the document, to be signed at the Collingwood Library and Museum in Alexandria, Va., was released Wednesday morning. The public is invited to sign on as well. Collingwood was originally part of George Washington's (1732-1799) Mt. Vernon more

50 Years Downhill Since the Sharon Statement

The "revival of conservatism" is all the rage right now in the political media. We are told that the Tea Parties are sweeping the nation, that the Republican Party is being forced to the Right in its attempts to woo them, that they are either an independent populist force or (alternatively) controlled by the GOP and Beltway Conservatives. Pundits laugh at the lack of sophistication on the part of these tea partiers (they are inevitably compared to McCarthyites or John Birchers), but then ponder the Deeper Significance of this phenomenon. Seeking to take advantage of this explosion of grassroots vigor – and to control it – dozens of top conservative muckamucks met on February 17 at an estate that was an original part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. There they signed "The Mount Vernon Statement" with the subtitle: "Constitutional Conservatism: A Statement for the 21st Century." A companion statement issued to the press explained that "The Sharon Statement, signed at the home of William F. Buckley, Jr., in Sharon, Connecticut in September 1960, helped launch and define the conservative movement…" Now, 50 years later, "today’s leaders will unveil and sign [a new] declaration of leadership." As someone who was there at Sharon, and voted for adoption of the Sharon Statement, I urge you to read and compare the two documents. Then put the two documents into their historical more

House Democrats say merger of health bills is near

House Democrats on Wednesday said they're closing in on a final health care overhaul bill that merges the House and Senate plans but they don't yet know how or when they're going to pass it. They also won't disclose how it deals with flash points that helped stall the effort, such as how to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions, whether to include a public insurance option and how to pay for it. "The House and Senate have come very close to reaching a final agreement, in coordination with the White House," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The White House is expected to release its own health reform proposal ahead of President Obama's bipartisan health reform summit with congressional leaders, planned for Feb. 25. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs revealed scant details of the plan this week but told reporters to "stay tuned." more

Pay-go gets passed, then it gets bypassed

The ink is barely dry on the pay-as-you-go law, and Democrats are seeking to bypass it to enact parts of their job-creation agenda. Democratic leaders said extensions of unemployment insurance and COBRA healthcare benefits should be emergency spending that isn’t subject to the pay-as-you-go statute, which requires new non-discretionary spending to be offset with spending cuts or tax increases. With current extensions of unemployment and COBRA benefits set to expire at the end of the month and the jobless rate still near 10 percent, Democratic lawmakers want to pass the extensions quickly, without having to find offsets for the more

Stimulus funds going to slashed programs

More than $3.5 billion in economic stimulus funds are going to programs that President Obama wants to eliminate or trim in his new budget. The president's budget released this month recommends getting rid of Army Corps of Engineers' drinking-water projects, which got $200 million in stimulus funds, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture flood-prevention program, which received $290 million from the stimulus, a USA TODAY review of stimulus spending reports show. The administration's budget plan says the corps and USDA programs are inefficient and duplicate similar, more effective work by other agencies. The proposed cuts indicate the programs shouldn't have gotten money from the $862 billion stimulus package, said Tom Schatz of the non-partisan budget watchdog Citizens Against Government Waste. "It's certainly inconsistent, and it would have been better to have this realization a year ago," Schatz more

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nation’s Top Conservatives Will Sign Philosophical Declaration of War against Big Government

The nation's top conservative leaders will gather Wednesday at Collingwood in Alexandria, Va.—a property that was once the site of George Washington’s River Farm—to sign a document organizers are calling the Mount Vernon Statement. It is designed to signal that a united and resurgent conservative movement is declaring philosophical war against the big government and moral relativism advanced by the nation’s liberal cultural, academic and political establishments. The statement emphatically says no to the type of "change" pushed by political leaders who ignore the Constitution's limits on government more

“In recent decades, America’s principles have been undermined and redefined in our culture, our universities and our politics,” says an excerpt from the statement. “The self-evident truths of 1776 have been supplanted by the notion that no such truths exist. The federal government today ignores the limits of the Constitution, which is increasingly dismissed as obsolete and irrelevant.

Also see Mount Vernon Conservatives.

On Wednesday, more than 80 conservative thinkers and organization heads will come together to ratify a joint manifesto ahead of the 2010 elections. Dubbed the Mount Vernon Statement, its goal is to unite the right -- economic, social, and national security conservatives -- under a set of shared principles. The idea is to make different conservative groups feel part of the same team and also to bind them in a common intellectual enterprise.

Tea Party Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right

When Friends for Liberty held its first public event, Mrs. Stout listened as Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff, brought 1,400 people to their feet with a speech about confronting a despotic federal government. Mrs. Stout said she felt as if she had been handed a road map to rebellion. Members of her family, she said, think she has disappeared down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. But Mrs. Stout said she has never felt so engaged. “I can’t go on being the shy, quiet me,” she said. “I need to stand up.” The Tea Party movement has become a platform for conservative populist discontent, a force in Republican politics for revival, as it was in the Massachusetts Senate election, or for division. But it is also about the profound private transformation of people like Mrs. Stout, people who not long ago were not especially interested in politics, yet now say they are bracing for more

In New Mexico, Mary Johnson, recording secretary of the Las Cruces Tea Party steering committee, described why she fears the government. She pointed out how much easier it is since Sept. 11 for the government to tap telephones and scour e-mail, bank accounts and library records. “Twenty years ago that would have been a paranoid statement,” Ms. Johnson said. “It’s not anymore.”

An interesting read, but also an attempt by the New York Times to marginalize the Tea Party by tying it to the militia and racist groups.

Tea party leaders will meet with Steele and other Republican operatives

About 50 leaders of the grass-roots "tea party" movement will meet in Washington on Tuesday with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele and other top GOP operatives to discuss campaign strategies and conservative principles. The afternoon meeting on Capitol Hill will mark the first time that a broad coalition of tea party organizers -- who have railed against both the Democratic and the Republican establishments -- will sit down with GOP leaders. Top Republican leaders have been openly courting the organizers, looking to marshal grass-roots energy heading into November's midterm elections. Karin Hoffman, founder of DC Works For Us, a tea party group in South Florida, said she initiated the meeting by approaching Steele last month and asking him to sit down with a range of tea party organizers. She said her goal is to open a civil dialogue with the GOP leadership, but she dismissed any suggestion that tea party groups might merge with the Republican more

Census Bureau Already Wasted Millions of Dollars on Employees Who Did No Work

Were those pricey Super Bowl ads a waste? Maybe not, but paying $3 million to census employees who didn't do any work surely was. The Census Bureau, a month away from its 2010 population count, has already wasted millions of dollars paying temporary employees who never did the work and others who overbilled for travel, according to excerpts of an audit obtained by The Associated Press. But the report Commerce Department inspector general Todd Zinser makes clear the government is at risk of wasting millions of additional dollars without tighter spending controls by the Census Bureau on its 1 million temporary more

Kicking the Train Down the Track

The Rail Runner is New Mexico’s $400 plus Million black hole. In 2008, voters decided to try and help fill the bottomless pit by approving a gross receipts tax that is supposed to bring in $12 Million a year – a little over half the $22 Million operating budget. The Rail Runner burns $22 Million a year, receives fare revenue of $2.9 Million and GRT revenue allegedly equaling $12 Million (figures vary wildly). Including the claimed $750,000 budget gap, the Rail Runner receives approximately $6.35 Million from “other sources” – nearly a third of their annual budget. Understand that these “other sources” are the same sources as every other tax dollar thrown into the abyss – New Mexico taxpayers. We foot the bill to the tune of 87% of the train’s annual budget. Only 13% of the Rail Runner budget is paid for by those who consume the state’s transit “product.” Now, Big Bill wants to use $643,500 from Obama’s slush fund to keep the train alive for one more more

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Three Major Companies Quit Climate Change Coalition

In a blow to the legislative effort to cap U.S. emissions of greenhouse gas, three influential companies have resigned from the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of business and environmental groups spearheading the movement in Washington. Energy companies BP PLC and ConocoPhillips were joined by machine giant Caterpillar in announcing that they would not be renewing their memberships in the group, according to statements issued by each of the companies Tuesday. Gas giant ConocoPhillips’ statement said acting independently of USCAP would allow it to focus its efforts on increasing the use of natural gas. Congressional efforts to cap greenhouse gases so far have “disadvantaged the transportation sector and its consumers, left domestic refineries unfairly penalized versus international competition, and ignored the critical role that natural gas can play in reducing GHG emissions," said Jim Mulva, ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive officer. Myron Bell, with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an advocacy group that opposes legislative efforts to cap greenhouse gases, welcomed the announcement. “In dropping out of the U. S. Climate Action Partnership, BP America, Conoco Phillips, and Caterpillar are recognizing that cap-and-trade legislation is dead in the U. S. Congress and that global warming alarmism is collapsing rapidly. We hope that other major corporations will soon see the light and drop their support for cap-and-trade and other energy-rationing legislation,” he said in a more

Cap-and-Tax Escape

Yesterday's corporate defections from the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) won't be greeted with the same hosannas as last year's departures of Nike and Apple from the Chamber of Commerce over its global warming stance, but they're undoubtedly more important. This scales-from-eyes moment shows that some big American businesses are putting shareholders and consumers ahead of politics. The departing are BP America, Conoco Phillips and Caterpillar, which were among the original members of USCAP, a coalition of green pressure groups and Fortune 500 businesses that tried to drive a cap-and-trade program into law. Some corporate members concluded that climate legislation was inevitable and hoped to tip it in a more business-friendly direction. Others—ahem, General Electric—are in our view engaged in little more than old-fashioned rent-seeking. Through regulatory gaming, Congress would choose business winners and losers, dispensing billions of dollars in carbon permits to the politically connected. The climate bills the House passed in August and Senate liberals are contemplating have stripped away that illusion. Carbon tariffs and other regulations would have damaged heavy manufacturing against global competitors, which explains Caterpillar's exit, while oil companies would suffer as transportation, refining and power generation via natural gas were punished. Then there's the harm to long-run growth, which would slow under the economy-wide drag of new taxes and federal more

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Constitutionally illiterate

On Nov. 5, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the House minority leader, took the podium at a Republican rally, waved a document defiantly and declared:"This is my copy of the Constitution, and I'm going to stand here with the Founding Fathers who wrote in the Preamble, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness …" Mr. Boehner was encouraging participants to protest the pending House vote for health care reform by demanding their constitutional right to make medical decisions. Pop quiz: What's wrong with this picture? If you said that there is no explicit constitutional right to make medical decisions, you score some points. If you said that the passage Mr. Boehner quotes is from the Declaration of Independence you get an A. If you also noted that the quotation is not even from the Declaration's preamble, you earn extra credit. Mr. Boehner is not the first opinion leader to confuse the Constitution with the Declaration, nor is he apt to be the more

What I Saw at the Tea Party Convention

There were promises of transparency and of a new kind of collaborative politics where establishment figures listened to ordinary Americans. We were going to see net spending cuts, tax cuts for nearly all Americans, an end to earmarks, legislation posted online for the public to review before it is signed into law, and a line-by-line review of the federal budget to remove wasteful programs. These weren't the tea-party platforms I heard discussed in Nashville last weekend. They were the campaign promises of Barack Obama in 2008. Mr. Obama made those promises because the ideas they represented were popular with average Americans. So popular, it turns out, that average Americans are organizing themselves in pursuit of the kind of good government Mr. Obama promised, but has not delivered. And that, in a nutshell, was the feel of the National Tea Party Convention. The political elites have failed, and citizens are stepping in to pick up the slack. Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry—and they are—but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually more

Friday, February 12, 2010

Poll: Who Are the Tea Partiers?

Americans who call themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement express strong levels of anger toward Washington generally, and great personal antipathy toward President Obama specifically, a new CBS News/ New York Times poll shows. They are more likely to call themselves Republicans than independents. Americans who call themselves "Tea Party members" in this poll: • Mostly consider themselves Republicans – not independents - and most view the Republican Party favorably (62 percent). • Are overwhelmingly negative about President Obama personally (80 percent); Americans overall are more favorable. • Are more likely to think President Obama is working mainly on behalf of the poor, and not the middle class. • Express nearly three times more anger toward Washington (45 percent) than Americans overall (17 percent). • Are more likely to believe President Obama has already raised taxes, while most Americans do more

Tea Parties and the American Political Tradition

The tea-party movement has made a mark on the politics of the Obama era, and it has historical parallels—less in this country's founding era than in two great "anti" movements of the last two centuries: the resistance to Thomas Jefferson's embargo (1807-09) and to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's plan to pack the Supreme Court (1937). Both episodes befell presidents who had enjoyed spectacular political success. Jefferson, who won the White House in the nail-biting election of 1800, had given America peace, low taxes and the Louisiana Purchase. In 1804 his Democratic-Republican Party (ancestor of today's Democrats, not the GOP) blew away the opposition Federalists, as he carried 13½ of 16 states (Maryland voted by electoral districts, which split). The man who had vowed to sink Federalism into "an abyss" seemed to have done it. FDR in 1937 was even more potent. Although the Depression lingered, the New Deal was the only political game in town. In the election of 1936 Roosevelt won 46 states to the Republicans' two; there were 333 Democrats in the new House and 75 in the new Senate. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, eat your hearts out. The embargo and the court-packing scheme both provoked bitter, bipartisan resistance...If I have my precedents right, the tea-party movement by itself will not take lasting political form. The spontaneity and diversity of such revolts unfits them for the long more

If you are not familiar with Brookhiser's writings, he is very much in the Federalist camp.

Tea Party movement an ever-growing force

What’s most interesting is that liberals seem to be spending an extraordinary amount of time hemming and hawing, attempting to destroy what they keep insisting is a fringe, inconsequential movement. Our very own Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, meant what he said when he referred to Tea Partiers as “evil-mongers.” His counterpart in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calls them “un-American.” The problem for liberals, though, is that despite the negatives, the Tea Party supporters have survived tooth-and-nail, fighting their way through the typical roadblocks and landmines left by their opponents. In fact, a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll—outlets not exactly known as conservative bulwarks—revealed that “45 percent [of respondents] say…they agree strongly or somewhat strongly with [the Tea Party’s] positions….” What mainstream conservatives are currently grappling with, though, is how to channel the grassroots groundswell surrounding the Tea Party movement and apply it to the more mainstream GOP platform. They’re having a problem bringing this baggage-heavy group into the conservative fold, and without tarnishing the precious little positive energy the GOP has established through recent political wins. But Gary Emineth, Chairman of the North Dakota State Republican Party, thinks he’s found a way. In Bismarck, N.D., today, Emineth and his team in the North Dakota GOP are hosting a conference of state Tea Partiers, Republican activists, social and fiscal conservatives and Republican state politicians in a town-hall-style gathering. The intention is to bring these heretofore disparate but politically conservative groups together to increase their numbers, bolster their efforts and bring some level of organization and direction to a grassroots organization desperately in need of more

Heartache: Tea Party candidate in Texas a 9/11 truther

Six days ago, the big news out of Texas was that Tea Party activist and gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina came within the margin of error with Kay Bailey Hutchison, who barely clung to second place against incumbent Rick Perry. Today, Glenn Beck suffers heartbreak when Medina more or less cops to being a 9/11 Truther as well as a “constitutional conservative” candidate. “I think some very good questions raised have been raised in that regard,” Medina replies when Beck asks whether she believes that the American government was in any way involved in bringing down the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. Medina says she won’t take a position on a question where “good questions have been raised and haven’t been answered,” even though they have been answered for years. Beck and the others in his studio can’t quite believe their more

Some blacks back Tea Party

Among these movement conservatives are a small but increasing number of black conservatives and libertarians who - attracted to the tea party movement's call for smaller government, lower taxes, and less government spending - are getting involved in the protest movement. Kevin Jackson, a former ACORN and union organizer who currently works as an advocate for the homeless in Charleston, S.C., began attending tea party events "because I saw the Left under Obama seeking to destroy the freedoms that we as Americans have fought so hard to have, and the Left's determination to take socialize, to over the state", he said. Although he has been active in Republican Party politics, Ron Miller, an information technology consultant in Huntingtown, Md. who is running for the Maryland State Senate, said that the tea party rallies were his first foray into protest movement activities. "The movement embodied my beliefs in limited government, low taxes, individual liberty and free enterprise", he said. Miller organized and emceed the first tea party in Maryland last year, and has been a featured speaker at four tea party rallies. He has attended many other tea party events, including the large 9/12 March On Washington event last autumn. As the tea party movement increasingly presses for changes in American politics, some observers have wondered if the movement is relevant to black America's aspirations, issues, and more

Secession in the Air

What called the Tea Party into existence? Some are angry over unchecked immigration and the failure to control our borders and send the illegals back. Some are angry over the loss of manufacturing jobs. Some are angry over winless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some are angry over ethnic preferences they see as favoring minorities over them. What they agree upon, however, is that they have been treading water for a decade, working harder and harder with little or no improvement in their family standard of living. They see the government as taking more of their income in taxes, seeking more control over their institutions, creating entitlements for others not them, plunging the nation into unpayable debt, and inviting inflation or a default that can wipe out what they have saved. And there is nothing they can do about it, for they are politically powerless. By their gatherings, numbers, mockery of elites and militancy, however, they get a sense of the power that they do not have. Their repeated reappearance on the national stage, in new incarnations, should be a fire bell in the night to the establishment of both parties. For it testifies to their belief and that of millions more that the state they detest is at war with the country they love. The secession taking place in America is a secession of the heart – of people who have come to believe the government is them, and not us. Obama's problem, like the Bushes' in 1992 and 2008, is that one thing these folks are really good at is throwing people out of more

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Poll finds most Americans are unhappy with government

Two-thirds of Americans are "dissatisfied" or downright "angry" about the way the federal government is working, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. On average, the public estimates that 53 cents of every tax dollar they send to Washington is "wasted." Despite the disapproval of government, few Americans say they know much about the "tea party" movement, which emerged last year and attracted voters angry at a government they thought was spending recklessly and overstepping its constitutional powers. And the new poll shows that the political standing of former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who was the keynote speaker last week at the first National Tea Party Convention, has deteriorated significantly. The opening is clear: Public dissatisfaction with how Washington operates is at its highest level in Post-ABC polling in more than a decade -- since the months after the Republican-led government shutdown in 1996 -- and negative ratings of the two major parties hover near record highs. But nearly two-thirds of those polled say they know just some, very little or nothing about what the tea party movement stands for. About one in eight says they know "a great deal" about the positions of tea party groups, but the lack of information does not erase the appeal: About 45 percent of all Americans say they agree at least somewhat with tea partiers on issues, including majorities of Republicans and more

Tea Party Activists Craft 'Contract from America'

Republicans on Capitol Hill are developing an election-year alternative to the Obama administration's agenda. But a Tea Party activist in Texas says the politicians in Washington - including the out-of-power Republicans - don't have the "credibility" to offer a contract. His solution? Use the Internet, develop a "Contract from America," and make the politicians come to him. "You are going to be held accountable by us," said conservative activist Ryan Hecker, offering a preview of what Tea Party activists are going to tell congressional candidates later this year. "We have a plan - a proactive reform plan - for you to follow and not the other way around." To get his idea off the ground, he launched a website, "," which encourages activists to offer possible planks for the contract. From the original 1,000 ideas which were submitted, Hecker whittled it down to about 50 based on popularity. He is currently in the process of narrowing it to 20 ideas. He is being aided in this process by former House Republican Leader Dick Armey, whose conservative group, FreedomWorks, has established close ties with many Tea Party activists around the more

Reagan Brothers Feud Over Father's Response to Tea Party Movement

Ronald Reagan's sons -- who share virtually nothing about their political persuasions -- are in a feud over what the late president would have to say about the Tea Party Movement and Sarah Palin. Spurred by his younger brother Ron's recent appearance on Joy Behar's Headline News show, Michael Reagan, a Republican strategist, issued a written statement Wednesday saying his father would've supported the movement. "I believe he would embrace the Tea Party Movement, if he were alive today, and support the work of Sarah Palin, Scott Brown and others who espouse conservative principles, who are opening up the eyes of the public to what is happening to our nation," said Michael Reagan, who runs Reagan PAC, which supports candidates in the Reagan mold. Ron Reagan, a liberal Democrat, told Behar last month that the Gipper, a conservative icon who would have turned 99 last weekend, would've been turned off by the modern Tea more

Fred Thompson

"Taxpayers lose $100 mil/day when gov employees don't work". That's fine. We lose $10 billion a day when they do. Fred Thompson

Moderate Republicans crash tea party

"Tea party" Republicans aren't the only candidates poised to make inroads this year - moderate Republicans are surging from Illinois to California, and in several instances proving they can best tea-party-powered conservatives at the polls. Take the Illinois Republican Senate primary: Patrick Hughes, a developer and political newcomer, seemed to have the wind at his back as a staunch fiscal conservative and favorite of the tea party movement. His chief rival, Rep. Mark Kirk, was routinely blasted as a RINO - Republican in Name Only - for his more moderate record, which includes votes for cap-and-trade emissions legislation and the bank bailouts. But Mr. Kirk won the Feb. 2 primary easily, capturing 56 percent of the vote against Mr. Hughes, who took 19 percent. Three other challengers split the rest of the vote. It's possible the stars may be aligning for moderate Republicans in 2010. With the nation focused on the economy and wars in the Middle East, moderate candidates may be able to tip-toe around the hot-button social issues that can trip them up in right-leaning more

Tea Party Jab to Be Zapped From Captain America Comic

A "tea bag" reference in a recent Captain America comic book that has angered the Tea Party movement will be removed by Marvel Comics in future editions, the story's writer told In issue No. 602 of Captain America, "Two Americas, Part One," the title hero and The Falcon, a black superhero from New York City, stumble upon a protest rally in Boise, Idaho. They see scores of protesters carrying signs that say "Stop the Socialists!" and "Tea Bag The Libs Before They Tea Bag YOU!" Captain America says the protest appears to be an "anti-tax thing," and The Falcon jokes that he likely would not be welcomed into the crowd of "angry white folks." Ed Brubaker, who wrote the story, told he did not write the "Tea Bag The Libs Before They Tea Bag YOU!" sign shown in the edition, insisting that the words were added by someone in "lettering or production" just before being shipped to the printer. It will be changed in subsequent editions, he said. Herb London, president of the Hudson Institute, a think tank based in Washington, said the protest scene in the comic book is merely the latest attempt in a "systematic effort" to chastise the grassroots Tea Party movement. "I was perplexed by this," London said. "It seems to me there was a clear effort on someone's part to undermine the Tea Party movement." more

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thoughts on the Nashville Tea Party Convention and Sarah Palin

The best thing to happen to the tea party movement is Sarah Palin. It is very clear she did not know the circumstances involved in finding the money to get her to Nashville. It is also very clear that the money is not going to her — it is going to the cause. She’ll use this money as part of a war chest to help elect likeminded people. I think the tea party movement largely exists due to the absence of real leadership. Too often the tea party activists elected people who claimed to be concerned about the cost of government and then got to DC and betrayed the voters’ trust. Sarah Palin’s governance shows she not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. As her voice grows, many of the voices of the alleged tea party leaders will diminish. Palin’s history is one of a woman who gets involved and leaves places better than she found them. The tea party movement will be left better off by Sarah Palin. And I hope that some of those who brought her in to the tea party movement will exit through the door she entered. I was profoundly disappointed to hear Joseph Farah of World Net Daily hijack the convention and try to treat the birther issue as legitimate. The birther issue is not legitimate. There is no lingering constitutional issue. There never was. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time talking about the meaning of the tea party movement and voter angst. Once Farah opened his claptrap, every question was about the birther movement. Way to go. And that goes to a larger issue with this particular convention. With few expections, among them Sarah Palin, the featured speakers were virtual unknowns or, like Farah, increasingly on the more

The Tea Party Goes After Ron Paul

His son Rand’s campaign for Senate in Kentucky is going better than anyone could have expected — every Kentuckian I met at the National Tea Party Convention backed him — but Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is drawing three primary opponents for his own re-election bid. Ironically, all three are from the Tea Party movement, which, as reporter Tom Benning points out, would be hard to imagine without the energy stirred up by Paul’s 2008 presidential more

Five Lessons from the Tea-Party Convention

Things can get awkward when protesters have to put down their placards and tackle the business of building an organization — networking online and recruiting reliable volunteers, precinct captains and even candidates. The transition is even more uncomfortable when undertaken in the glare of the national media spotlight, as the national tea-party movement attempted to do at its first convention, held in Tennessee over the weekend. As with any protest movement, consensus proved elusive in two days of debate, but they seemed to agree on five key more

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tea Party Plots Its Next Move

Tea Party activists gathered in Tennessee this weekend grappled with a central question looming over the burgeoning political movement: Where does it go from here? Organizers here seek to shift the focus from staging political rallies to winning elections. "The Tea Party movement is growing up," said Judson Phillips, a Nashville-based criminal-defense lawyer who organized the National Tea Party Convention. "If 2010 is another year of rallies, we've lost." Building a coherent movement won't be easy. The Tea Party activism that sprang up last year remains a loosely organized concept, held together by the broad beliefs that politicians in both parties are out of touch, that fiscal responsibility has run amok and that the public view of America has dimmed. But the movement—guided by thousands of independent and conservative activists who organize mainly through online social-networking sites—is prone to infighting over its leadership and ties to the Republican Party. There are also tensions between those who think the Tea Partiers should remain a grassroots organization, and those willing to partner with more-established groups who can offer guidance on how to organize and run more

Tea Party Is America's Third Great Awakening

I attended this past weekend’s National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, and I came away feeling that I had seen something important. The Tea Party movement is part of something bigger: America’s Third Great Awakening. America’s prior Great Awakenings, in the 18th and 19th Centuries, were religious in nature. Unimpressed with self-serving, ossified, and often corrupt religious institutions, Americans responded with a bottom-up reassertion of faith, and independence. This time, it’s different. It’s not America’s churches and seminaries that are in trouble: It’s America’s politicians and parties. They’ve grown corrupt, venal, and out-of-touch with the values, and the people, that they’re supposed to represent. So the people, once again, are reasserting themselves. Most of the attention focused on this weekend’s convention seemed to involve the keynote speaker, Sarah Palin. But though Palin wowed the crowd with red-meat attacks on overspending, weak national defense, and broken promises, the key phrase in her speech was this one: “All power is inherent in the people.” more

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Palin: 'America is ready for another revolution'

Sarah Palin received a rousing welcome from a crowd of more than 1,000 tea partiers last night at the first national tea party convention as she sent a strong message that she supports lower taxes, smaller government, transparency, energy independence and strong national security. A large banquet room at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel was crowded from wall-to-wall with energized tea partiers and as many as 120 press organizations from around the world – including broadcasters from Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Japan. "I'm a big supporter of this movement," she said. "America is ready for another revolution." Palin applauded Scott Brown's recent Senate win in Massachusetts. "Scott Brown represents what this beautiful movement is all about," she said. "He was just a guy with a truck and passion to serve our country. It took guts, and it took a lot of hard work. But with grass-roots support, Scott Brown carried the day." Palin warned tea partiers not to let the movement be defined by one leader or politician. "The tea party movement is not a top-down operation. It's a ground-up call to action that is forcing both parties to change the way that they're doing business," she said. She said Americans are discouraged by what they see in Washington, and the "Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda" is leaving the nation less secure, deeper in debt and more submissive to big more

New Texas gov poll shows Tea Party candidate Debra Medina would defeat Democrat

As The Ticket previously reported, incumbent Gov. Rick Perry is being challenged by GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and by Debra Medina, a businesswoman and Tea Party supporter who's become a wild-card third wheel in what was supposed to be a slugging match between two Establishment heavyweights who've never really liked each other anyway. Last month they had their initial debate for the March 2 primary and everyone avoided any major gaffes, which is a major point of these confrontations. The lesser-known Medina, however, got valuable statewide TV exposure. A previous Rasmussen survey of likely Republican voters found Perry leading Hutchison 44-29 with Medina trailing at 16. Now comes word, via a new Rasmussen Reports Poll, that Medina is gaining some traction and today all three of the Republicans lead the likely Democratic challenger, Houston Mayor Bill White. Hutchison still performs the best, beating White by 13 points, 49-36. Perry is second-best in that hypothetical matchup, defeating White by nine, 48-39. But now, Rasmussen's telephone poll finds, Medina would defeat White 41-38. That's a reversal from last month when White's totals put him ahead of her, 44-38. Medina has gone from 4% in November to 12% in January and now 16%, apparently by cutting into Hutchison's more

Tea Party Convention showdown

Three former allies of the National Tea Party Convention are planning a guerrilla press conference near the convention hall Saturday afternoon to highlight what they contend are the organizers’ efforts to hijack the tea party movement. The three men, Anthony Shreeve, Robert Kilmarx and Mark Herr, are Tennessee tea party activists who were involved in the early stages of planning the convention and say they resigned in protest after disputes with lead convention organizers Judson and Sherry Phillips, who contend that the ex-allies were banned from the group planning the event for incivility or indiscretion. The disputes have since gone public and turned ugly. At their news conference — which they plan to hold in the same sprawling hotel convention center that is hosting the convention — the three “intend to challenge [the convention] on all levels,” Shreeve more