Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa Comes Out in Favor of Tea Parties, AZ Law

Here's the video report from

Another tea party v. Tea Party squabble brewing

A week after Tea Party operative Doug Guetzloe crashed a press conference of tea party activists (a biased account from the activists is here) a similar skirmish could be in the works tomorrow night in Delray Beach. Some quick background: Guetzloe’s Tea Party has fielded candidates in 20 state races to target “big spending” Republicans. The South Florida Tea Party is suing Guetzloe’s group in a West Palm Beach federal court, charging they have no right to use the name as a formal political party. The tea party, they argue, is a political movement - not a formal party. The latest now is that Guetzloe is threatening to bring his band of Tea Partiers to a tea party gathering for an event with GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum at the South County Civic Center. Guetlzoe was informed that invites for him and 19 of his allies has been rescinded. “It is a private affair and if you attempt to enter the building you will be met by the Palm Beach Sheriffs Officers to charge you and your group with trespassing,” Tim McClellan, outreach director for the South Florida Tea Party, wrote to Guetzloe...more

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sex complaint against Gore is detailed, credible

The allegation that Al Gore sexually assaulted a woman in a Portland, Ore., hotel room nearly four years ago has dealt a serious blow to the former vice president's story that he and wife Tipper simply "grew apart" after 40 years of marriage. The police report of the masseuse's complaint is 73 pages long and extremely detailed. According to the document, she got a call from the front desk of the trendy Hotel Lucia on the night of Oct. 24, 2006. The hotel had a special guest. Could she come at 10:30 p.m.?...more

Rolling the Conservative Movement:

There are "movement conservatives," and there are politicians who change their stripes for every occasion. Right now, the conservative movement is getting rolled by the latter. Let us remember another day. Health care was all the rage (at least in the press), and leading "conservatives" were leading the third way. Newt Gingrich was working with Hillary Clinton on a more gradual route to universal health care, according to the New York Times and other sources. "Conservative" Mitt Romney was building the Massachusetts universal health care along "business" principles fresh from saving the Olympics. Now what? Well, Obama, the Tea Party, and Sarah Palin have lit a fire in the country, and every politician of every stripe has taken notice. And guess what: Newt Gingrich is all about repealing universal health care. Mitt Romney is all about anything other than what happened in Massachusetts...more

Is the Tea Party a Christian Movement?

Every American who cares about the vitality of the American democratic experiment should strenuously object to the way in which the Tea Party movement has been systematically misrepresented and mocked across most major media. The Tea Party -- however one views the principles and personalities most associated with it -- is precisely the kind of citizen accountability our founders envisioned and our form of government requires. Democracy holds the governing class accountable to the governed, and the Tea Party movement is a clear example of the governed standing athwart the will of the governors and shouting Stop. Among the many who have caricatured the Tea Party movement, the most disappointing, to me, have been progressive Christians. Reverend Jim Wallis, arguably the most influential progressive Christian activist in Washington, founder and editor of Sojourners and friend to President Obama, Bono, and various other world leaders, recently wrote an article entitled "How Christian is Tea Party Libertarianism?" His answer -- that it is not Christian at all -- will hardly surprise anyone who knows Jim Wallis...more

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hayek's Road to Serfdom: Despotism Then and Now

The parallels to today's world are unsettling, to say the least. Perhaps this is why, a few weeks ago, The Road to Serfdom ascended to #1 in sales on after Glenn Beck discussed the book on his Fox News Channel program. There may not be a Hitler on the horizon, but the extent to which governments all over the world have simply ignored the lessons of the past in response to the economic crisis that they created with their own monetary policies and other interventions is mind-boggling. The US government, in particular, responded to the bust portion of the Greenspan Fed's boom-and-bust cycle with the most economically destructive – but politically centralizing – policies: trillion-dollar bailouts of failing corporations that will create moral-hazard problems the likes of which have never been seen; an escalation of the money supply that dwarfs the monetary inflation of the Greenspan Fed; the Soviet-style nationalization of automobile companies, banks, and much of the healthcare industry; government regulation of executive compensation; the appointment of dozens of dictatorial "czars" with unaccountable power to regulate and regiment myriad industries; trillion-dollar-a-year deficits; an expansion of the powers of the Fed (!); and a president who believes he has the power to fire corporate executives, nationalize industries, and send unmanned "drone" bombers to any country in the world on a whim...more

Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?

The president's poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies. Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere. And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution...more

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tea Party Convention moved to October

A National Tea Party Unity convention that was scheduled to be held in Las Vegas in July will now take place in October, according to organizers. The event, organized by Tea Party Nation (a national Tea Party organization) and Free America (a conservative non-profit group) and other organizations, will still be held at the Palazzo Las Vegas Resort. But Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips confirmed to CNN Saturday that the date is being moved from July 15-17 to October in order to hold the event closer to the midterm elections. "We concluded it would more advantageous to hold the convention in the middle of October just prior to the November elections," says Phillips in a statement...more

Attacks on the Electoral College Gain Momentum

You won’t hear about it in the mainstream media, but the Electoral College is on the verge of being eliminated. One important legislative vote could occur Thursday. Two others could occur in the upcoming days and weeks. A California-based group, National Popular Vote, is lobbying hard for a dangerous piece of anti-Electoral College legislation. My NRO article on the mechanics of the legislation is here. Five states have already approved NPV, but now three additional states are dangerously close to joining them: Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York. Another trio of state legislatures approved the scheme, but their governors vetoed the plan. These latter states remain important; a reasonable argument can be made that the gubernatorial vetoes are irrelevant. If each of these states is counted, NPV could have as many as 169 electoral votes in favor of its plan. It needs 270. NPV has come startlingly close to success even as most Americans remain completely unaware that the presidential-election process is so close to being turned on its head...more

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tea Party Express fuels Miller-Murkowski fight

The Tea Party Express, fresh off an election victory in Utah, promised Wednesday that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski would be its next victim. The group's promise of big spending to defeat her is intensifying interest in Murkowski challenger Joe Miller, a strict Constitutionalist whose views are unknown to most voters in Alaska. Miller says he believes the federal Department of Education should be abolished and that, over the long term, the government should stop offering Social Security and Medicare. His campaign message to Republican primary voters shouts of the contrast between him and Murkowski, saying she is for abortion rights, supported a Wall Street bailout and is not in favor of repealing the "Obamacare" federal health law...more

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Al Gore A "Crazed Sex Poodle?"

In a bizarre statement to police, the Oregon woman who claims that Al Gore fondled and groped her during a massage session described the former Vice President as a giggling "crazed sex poodle" who gave a "come hither" look before pouncing on her in a Portland hotel suite. In a taped January 2009 interview with cops, the 54-year-old woman, a licensed masseuse whose name has been redacted from police records, read from a lengthy prepared statement that detailed her alleged October 2006 encounter with Gore at the Hotel Lucia. It is unclear why, two years later, she approached Portland police and sought to memorialize her allegations against Gore, who she portrayed as a tipsy, handsy predator who forced her to drink Grand Marnier, pinned her to a bed, and forcibly French kissed her. The woman's statement--which could be mistaken for R-rated Vice Presidential fan fiction--describes Gore as a man with a "violent temper as well as extremely dictatorial commanding attitude besides his Mr. Smiley Global Warming concern persona."...more

The Tea Party: Crass But Right

Could the Tea Party’s latest wheeze—to recall about half a dozen senators, starting in New Jersey—mark the moment when the movement has overreached itself? I believe that the Tea Party began as a wholly positive political phenomenon, reminding mainstream Republicans where their hearts should be, but like so many juggernaut forces in history it has now careered out of control and now threatens to damage precisely those interests and causes it was founded to support...more

Why the Tea Party Is Good for America

So when those Tea Party-backed candidates triumphed over their establishment opponents, everyone was left searching for answers. Except true believers who, from the very beginning, have stood unrelenting in their defense of three principles: limited government, free markets, and individual rights and responsibility. The Tea Party has always believed those principles would resonate with Americans. And in light of the Tea Party's recent string of extraordinary electoral victories, there is now little doubt that those principles do indeed resonate with significant swaths of the American population. Yet despite the Tea Party movement's electoral success, many Americans have been slow to fully embrace the movement and its mission. Americans remain skeptical of the Tea Party, unsure whether the movement will fizzle or flourish, and hesitant to associate themselves with what many dismiss as nothing more than the latest political fad...more

Obama at the bat

Casey At The Bat applied to Obama. Here's the video:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Two Faces of the Tea Party

As a student in the exciting new field of Tea Party Studies, I’ve noticed that no one agrees on what the Tea Party actually is. Is the anti-Obama, anti-big government movement simply AstroTurf fabricated by Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks? Is it a bunch of Birthers, Birchers, conspiracists, and white power misfits? Is it a strictly economic phenomenon—the inevitable result of high and persistent unemployment? Or are the Tea Partiers nothing more than indulgent Boomers who combine 1960s social libertarianism with 1980s laissez-faire economics? Does the Tea Party draw on longstanding American constitutional, political, and economic traditions, eddies of thought that one can trace back to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson? Or is it of a more recent vintage: Are the Tea Partiers simply the same folks who once were called Reagan Democrats and Perotistas? All of the above. There is no single “Tea Party.” The name is an umbrella that encompasses many different groups. Under this umbrella, you’ll find everyone from the woolly fringe to Ron Paul supporters, from Americans for Prosperity to religious conservatives, independents, and citizens who never have been active in politics before. The umbrella is gigantic. But there are discernible ribs that extend outward from its central post, and points of shared concern that support the overall structure...more

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Tea Party Bares All In Playboy

This month’s Playboy has a stunningly unusual and potentially disruptive article: an expose, purporting to be from an established Republican consultant, discussing how Washington hacks are controlling the political advances of the Tea Party. Penned anonymously, the article, “Confessions of a Tea Party Consultant”, strikes the reader at first blush as representing the antithesis of what the Tea Party espouses. The author is insider-y, cynical, and obviously relishes the perverse “dark arts” of winning elections. He – it’s safe to assume it’s a man – takes credit for what he himself calls “downright evil” campaign tactics. The core questions are two-fold: who wrote the piece, and why? Answering (or attempting to answer) those questions could add a critical angle to consideration of the Tea Party’s future – or expose a clumsy attempt to delegitimize it...more

Monday, June 21, 2010

Obamnesty First, Security Second?

The president tells a border state U.S. senator that if we beef up border protection Democrats will lose the bargaining chip for comprehensive immigration reform. Forget national sovereignty — sue Arizona! As the Obama administration prepares to sue the state of Arizona to block its copycat enforcement of federal immigration law, Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl reveals that in a private meeting President Obama put his party's agenda above the nation's sovereignty. Last Friday, Kyl told the audience at a North Tempe Tea Party town hall meeting: "I met with the president in the Oval Office (regarding securing the southern border with Mexico)," Kyl said, "just the two of us . .. here's what the president said. 'The problem is,' he said, 'If we secure the border, then you all won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.'" If we secure the border? The nation's security is a bargaining chip for politically motivated legislation with political consequences?...more

Enraged to engaged: Tea party backers explain why

There were also plenty of people just like Warner, who held a coffee mug instead of a sign. Concerned Americans trying to find their voices, and a way to channel their disgust. For some of them, all that anger has now turned to action. It is the kind of action that helped tea party favorite Sharron Angle come from behind in the polls to capture the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Nevada, challenging Majority Leader Harry Reid. And the kind that helped tea party darlings Raul Labrador in Idaho and Todd Lally in Kentucky win their Republican congressional primaries. And that helped libertarian favorite Rand Paul beat out a Republican establishment candidate in Kentucky's Senate primary. And has mainstream Republican Charlie Crist now running as an independent in Florida's Senate race. In Yucca Valley, that action comes from the likes of Bill Warner and a new Lincoln Club. In Bullhead City, Ariz., it comes in the form of an ex-PR agent who runs the Republican women's club, volunteers as a precinct committee person and holds candidate meet-and-greets to help get out the vote. In Las Vegas, it's an Internet marketer and his friend, a blogger, working from a rented condo to oust Reid and other incumbents. These four were all in Searchlight that Saturday in March. They've heard, time and again, the characterizations in the news media, from some Democrats and, in certain cases, from their own friends and relatives - about how "those tea party-ers" are just angry voters venting about economic hard times, or they're confused, uneducated and easily influenced, or they're extremists, or, worst of all, they're racists...more

Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams Stepping Down

Tea Party Express chairman Mark Williams, who gained internet fame for attacking Geraldo Rivera’s journalistic credibility and making controversial statements about Islam and President Obama, is stepping down. He says it is part of a new plan to “think globally, act locally” against the plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero and running for a spot on the Sacramento City Council. CNN is reporting that Williams will still be involved with the organization but not have the logistical responsibility that being a chairman demands. Instead, he is working on side projects related to the Tea Party movement...more

Power Grabs and Pixie Dust - A Book Review

Power Grab by Christopher C. Horner, Regnery, 396 pgs.

This book is a 307 page horror story.

Let me explain.

Within its pages you will find scary chapter after scary chapter of what is being done to or with our natural resources by Obama and his “green” appointees.

You will also find the facts surrounding the “Power Grab” by the Executive at the expense of the Legislative and the progressive agenda behind the power shift.

Between the covers of this well-written and thoroughly documented book, you will discover:

° How and why Obama is appointing “Czars” to skirt the advise and consent provisions of the Constitution
° How Obama is using global warming as “Political Payola” and as a vehicle for “Taxing and Stealing Your Liberties”
°How green jobs programs “kill existing jobs to pay for the new, heavily subsidized and temporary” jobs.
°How the Blue-Green Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental groups, is using the environment “as a way to organize society and divvy the spoils”
°How organized labor is using “greenmail” – using environmental challenges to green utility projects – to force companies to go union

And that is just a small sample of the horror stories related in this interesting volume.

Possibly of most interest to readers of The Westerner is Chapter 6, Domestic Disturbance: Locking Up Our Resources and Shutting Down The Economy. Therein Mr. Horner describes how, using the “anti-growth, anti-energy radicals” now installed they seek to impose a policy of “energy poverty” on our country. Horner walks us through how Obama rushed to tie up the nation’s energy resources by moratoriums, postponements, shortening the duration of drilling leases and suspending governmental research and development.

Mr. Horner demonstrates throughout the book the endgame the greens seek to impose:
If the greens achieve their desired mandates, they will in effect finally codify lower levels of economic activity, individual wealth creation, and of course consumption.
Yes, a book of horror stories. But don’t let that scare you off. While this book is full of facts and has 77 pages of footnotes, it is well organized and Horner is a talented writer. He spices things up with such phrases and titles as “Renewable Fools” and “Fill ‘Er Up With Solar”; refers to Al Gore’s green enterprises as “pixie dust companies" and calls the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) the “Less Competition For Saudies measure.”

Finally, Horner ends on a positive note, calling us out to take action:
But these freedoms are not theirs to take from you. Fight back. And tell your kids and grandkids what you did in this war.
This book will make a great addition to your war arsenal.

I had previously posted a video of an interview of Mr. Horner which you can view here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Libertarian Talk, Now on Fox Business Network

“Welcome to this struggle,” Andrew Napolitano said triumphantly as he wrapped up the first television episode last weekend of his libertarian talk show, “Freedom Watch.” He saluted the camera and concluded, “From New York, defending freedom, so long America.” Mr. Napolitano’s struggle is for smaller government and individual liberty. “The American public needs to know and understand, the government serves you better when it serves you less. That’s the argument,” he said on the show. “Freedom Watch” is arguably Tea Party TV in its purest form to date. It is the latest product of the News Corporation, led by Rupert Murdoch, and being shown on the weekends on the Fox Business Network, which is searching for higher ratings by adding provocative commentators...more

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tea Party documentary: When was the last time Chris Matthews did anything worthwhile?

I caught most of Chris Matthews' “documentary” — I think that term applies very loosely here — on “The Rise of the New Right.” I do not exactly know what America Chris Matthews is living in, but it’s one where hyperbole, misdirection and a flimsy grasp of history seem to rule the day. There are so many problems with Matthews’ shoddy journalism that I hardly know where to begin, but I’ll dive into the muck and note just a few of the problems...more

Tea Party groups call for sponsors to drop Hardball

A coalition of Tea Party groups is slamming MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for his “left-wing propaganda hit piece” documentary on the Tea Party movement and is calling on sponsors to drop his show. MSNBC aired “The Rise of the New Right,” hosted by Matthews, Wednesday night. The National Tea Party Federation, a broad coalition of Tea Party groups that offer rapid response to attacks on the movement, condemned the documentary as “journalism at its worst” whose “purpose was to demonize and misrepresent.” “Chris Matthews and MSNBC have just delivered one of the most dishonest pieces of propaganda posing as journalism in American broadcast and cable television history,” said National Tea Party Coalition co-founder Michael Patrick Leahy...more

In-depth, fair AP Tea Party story coming

Here's a snippet of the story to be released Sunday:

They've heard, time and again, the characterizations in the news media, from some Democrats and, in certain cases, from their own friends and relatives -- about how "those tea party-ers" are just angry voters venting about economic hard times, or they're confused, uneducated and easily influenced, or they're extremists, or, worst of all, they're racists. Months after Searchlight and other rallies, plenty of questions remain about just what the tea party is, whether it can endure and how much influence it will have on elections this year and in years to come. Part of the answer is this: In communities across the land, citizens-turned-activists are digging in in different ways to wield whatever power and influence they're able to muster over this thing called democracy. To hear what motivates them is to begin to understand what's going on in American politics in 2010.

From Michael Silence

Checking Chumps - Congress Manages Banks

Hollering about "fairness," Democrats vowed to punish U.S. banks by passing new laws to micromanage their businesses. As a result, free checking may soon be dead. So who's really paying for all that "fairness"? Bank of America and other big banks plan to charge monthly "maintenance fees" on checking accounts, according to the Wall Street Journal, due to a spate of recent new congressional regulations on banks. It's not surprising, given the extent of do-gooderism in Congress, which has insisted it knows better than banks themselves how to run their businesses and treat their customers. Acting from what they imagine are the interests of the little guy, their recent legislative moves — as well as others on the way — have effectively halted how banks charge overdraft fees on consumers who bounce checks and how interest rates are calculated on high-risk credit cards. What they didn't pay any attention to was the fact that those fees enabled banks to offset the $300 or so it costs to maintain each checking account at a bank. So now everyone pays to replace what had otherwise been penalty-based income on the individual acts of an irresponsible few. Previously, consumers could control their fees based on how well they managed their checkbooks. The better they managed, the less they paid. Now, they'll just pay, whether they're responsible or not. Call it the socialization of fees...more

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tea Party Vs. Liberals - Psychology Today

I respectfully disagree with Dr. Taylor's analysis that the debate between the Tea Party and Liberals is about fear or anger. I think it is about how to prop up the U.S. economy, which has been faltering. Liberals want to stimulate the economy with deficit spending, while the Tea Party wants to reduce the federal deficit to encourage private investment. Academic economists debate this issue; as far as I can tell, nobody knows for sure what is the right path. The financial markets, however, may force the adoption of the Tea Party solution. At least this is what is happening now in Europe. Liberals favor deficit spending to stimulate the economy. They embrace the theory that government must create the credit that was destroyed in the private sector. Today's editorial in the N.Y. Times calling for more stimulus to help the unemployed is a good example of the liberal position. The Tea Party believes that the best way to rebuild our economy is to restore fiscal discipline to Washington -- that is, to cut the federal deficit by reducing social programs such as welfare and pensions. They believe that when the private sector sees that Washington is pursuing sound money policies, private investment will improve, creating real jobs. The Tea Party dismisses the low-paying unskilled jobs created by "stimulus" spending as unhelpful since the jobs are temporary, the funding is borrowed, and the increased debt will have to be repaid in the future. Which policy will "win" may depend on the financial markets, not on psychological analysis...more

Hard Ball's Mathews to take on Tea Perty; Rise of the New Right

Matthews is leading a history lesson in the form of a new documentary on the Tea Party brigade and its allies, Rise of the New Right. Perhaps the biggest surprise of Matthews’ special program, which airs Wednesday at 7 p.m., is the sight of Rand Paul in front of an MSNBC camera. Matthews’ mission is two-fold. He wants to suggest that there’s little daylight between people who figure in Washington polite company, like fellow commentator Pat Buchanan or Dick Armey, the leader of the activist outfit FreedomWorks, and those who are positioned closer to the fringe, like Beck or online radio host Alex Jones. Placing Buchanan and Armey, as well as Palin and Paul, in the same space as Jones, who warns of a forthcoming “police state” designed “to carry out an orderly extermination of at least 80 percent” of Americans, is a neat trick. Matthews’ second aim is to show that the hate and fear on the right is nothing new. It existed before the stock analyst’s rant and before Beck’s chalkboard displays of paranoia. Matthews gathers the whole gang of conservative prophets, who bemoaned the coming totalitarianism of the American state during the last century, for a brief reunion...more

Monday, June 14, 2010

Harry Reid Unleashes Bill Clinton on Tea Party Opponent

After helping lead candidates in Pennsylvania and Arkansas to unexpected victories in recent weeks, former President Bill Clinton is now hitting the campaign trail in Nevada to help vulnerable Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid overcome Republican nominee Sharron Angle. Bubba is back and now he's got a Tea Party favorite in his crosshairs. After helping lead candidates in Pennsylvania and Arkansas to unexpected victories in recent weeks, former President Bill Clinton is now hitting the campaign trail in Nevada to help vulnerable Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid overcome Republican nominee Sharron Angle. And according to the newest Rasmussen poll, Clinton has his work cut out for him. The poll shows Angle leading 50 to 39 percent. The poll was taken one day after Angle won the GOP primary and likely reflects a post-primary bounce. When that poll is averaged with two others taken right before the primary, Angle has a much smaller lead...more

The New Libertarian Generation?

Mark Lilla is a professor of humanities at Columbia University, where he specializes in the history of ideas — in particular, the intellectual legacy of the Enlightenment. Now, one of the principal intellectual legacies of the Enlightenment is the libertarian tradition, so it was not at all inappropriate that Lilla's article in the May 27, 2010, issue of The New York Review of Books is on the growing influence of libertarian ideas in American society. Lilla writes of the "libertarian impulses that have unsettled American society for half a century now." He writes of "the libertarian spirit [that] drifted into American life [over the past 50 years], first from the left [during the 1960s], then from the right [during the Reagan '80s]." He writes pessimistically of how this "libertarian spirit has spread to other areas of our lives," but he reserves his main pessimism and hand wringing for the impact of this libertarian spirit on our national political life. "Welcome," he writes, "to the politics of the libertarian mob."...more

AP Editorial: America founded on trust of govt.

In a June 7 editorial the AP's Washington bureau chief, Ron Fournier, advances the notion that America was "founded on the principle of trust" in government and elected leaders. Now, it seems to me — and I might be reaching here — that the Founders felt just the opposite: that individual life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness were the principles worth fighting and dying for against the imperial British government. Indeed, it was a well-founded distrust in government, and disdain for the status quo, that spurred a revolution toward American independence. And, so far as elected leaders are concerned, Thomas Jefferson said, "[L]et no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." But who am I but another skeptical American who is obviously contributing to what Ron Fournier and the AP see as a troubling trend of distrust in government...more

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tea party shaping Republican Party, fall faceoffs

The tea party movement shows some growing pains, but it still wields remarkable powers to shape the Republican Party and set up a fall election with unconventional candidates and stark choices for voters. In two high-profile primary elections Tuesday, establishment GOP candidates were stunned by come-from-behind winners backed by tea party activists and other conservatives who don't necessarily associate with that loose-knit group. National Republican leaders are sifting through the results. Voter fervor on the right delights them, but some fear their insurgent nominees might stray too far from the mainstream to win in November. In South Carolina's Republican gubernatorial primary, state Rep. Nikki Haley trailed a congressman, the lieutenant governor and attorney general for months. But a tea party surge and Sarah Palin's endorsement propelled her to an easy first-place finish. She faces Rep. Gresham Barrett in a June 22 runoff. The tea party is not invincible, of course. Relatively mainstream Republican candidates won the Senate and gubernatorial nominations in California. And conservatives' quarrels in a highly competitive House district in Virginia spelled doom for five candidates who claimed tea party ties...more

Colorado Republican looks to avoid becoming the next Tea Party victim

Colorado Senate candidate Jane Norton could become the latest Republican to lose a primary to an upstart, Tea Party-backed challenger. Norton, a former lieutenant governor, was set to cruise to the GOP nomination after being handpicked for the race by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). But, like many other party-favored candidates, she has seen her challenger gain some momentum as the primary date draws nearer. In Colorado, Norton faces Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck in the August primary. Buck has seen his support surge in recent weeks as Tea Party candidates have scored victories in Nevada and Kentucky. Flaherty’s firm released a survey of Colorado primary voters Thursday that showed Buck leading Norton 42 percent to 32, with 26 percent undecided. It was an automated survey that wasn’t commissioned by the Buck campaign, Flaherty said. “We feel very comfortable about this survey.” The results from the June 8 poll show Buck has increased his support by 27 points, while Norton has lost nine points, since the firm’s last survey in March. “Momentum is now with Ken Buck,” Flaherty said...more

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Storm Ahead

The one message that stands out from all the others after Tuesday's primaries: The ideology that has dominated the Democratic Party for decades is set for a whuppin' this fall. Some might be tempted to spin Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln's unexpected victory in the Democratic primary runoff against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter as a sign that the Democratic establishment is not in that much trouble after all. But consider: The White House is noting that the loser was the candidate of Big Labor. An Obama official made a point of pointing out to the Politico's Ben Smith that "organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise." The losing Halter had the big backing of the AFL-CIO, the SEIU and other major unions. The senior staffer went on to claim that "if even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November." Could it? Ask Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts or New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie about the effect of this president supporting their opponents — and both their races were before the bottom really fell out of President Obama's popularity...more

Dana Milbank: Obama unravels, Tea Party grows

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post teed off on that shouting match Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi got into on Monday with the Code Pinkies and other crazies who support her. He pointed out: “At Monday’s opening session, attendance was sparse: 10 empty tables and about 200 empty chairs.” The most powerful woman in politics attends a forum whose opening session had only 10 people in it? He made a keen observation, particularly in light of Tuesday’s primaries which saw conservatives strengthen their position in the Republican Party. From Dana Milbank of the Washington Post: “Political movements tend to unravel gradually, but on Tuesday this one seemed to be imploding in real time. As the Tea Party right has gained strength, Obama’s hope-and-change left has faded. The frustration has crystallized at the gathering this week of demoralized activists.” Mind you, this is the much-mocked Tea Party that was supposed to be Astroturf and all that garbage...more

Tea Party Winners And Losers

You win some, you lose some. The tea party movement - scattered across the country and without a unified message, leader or even Web site - scored several big victories in last night's Super Duper Tuesday elections. But in several races, they fell short. What does it all mean? The Republicans are probably going to continue reaching out to tea party activists who have energy and are helping with their quest to take back Congress. But as we saw with Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), it's not just the Democrats the tea party is after. Republicans are fair game in primary elections. Here's TPM's scorecard of how tea partiers fared last night...more

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Primaries show off the power of the broom

The Tea Party movement racked up several victories last night. Paul LePage, the mayor of Waterville, won the GOP gubernatorial primary in Maine and will face Democratic nominee Libby Mitchell. In Georgia, Tom Graves rode his association with the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots to victory over fellow conservative Lee Hawkins in a special election for the congressional seat vacated by Nathan Deal. Graves becomes the first Tea Party movement candidate this year to be elected to Congress. The votes were part of a slew of coast-to-coast primaries yesterday in 12 states, encompassing 20 percent of the nation’s voters...more

GOP picks NV tea party candidate in Reid battle

Nevada Republicans Tuesday picked tea party insurgent Sharron Angle to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, marking the start of an epic showdown between a king of Capitol Hill and a conservative renegade who wants to turn Washington on end. The choices couldn't be more different. Reid, 70, is the bland, sometimes prickly Democratic powerhouse who tells Nevadans, "I'm just who I am." Angle, 60, is a fiercely committed small-government, low-tax crusader, an outsider even in the GOP, who says, "I am the tea party." The former school teacher and legislator grabbed the nomination after a brutal primary in which her rivals depicted her as too extreme to appeal to independents who often cast the decisive votes in centrist Nevada. She benefited when one-time front-runner Sue Lowden was widely mocked for suggesting consumers use chickens to barter with doctors. Reid emerges as the prohibitive front-runner. Democrats are already depicting Angle as a loopy fringe figure, more caricature than politician. With plenty of money on hand and deep-pocketed allies, Reid and his supporters are expected to use TV ads to quickly define Angle in the populous Las Vegas region — home to about two of every three state voters — where she is not well known...more

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Tea Party and the Drug War

Voter dissatisfaction with Republicans and Democrats is at historic levels, and the tea-party movement is hoping to play kingmaker in the November elections. The country’s current breed of discontent is ideal for the tea parties, because economic concerns are foremost, allowing the movement to sidestep the divisions between its libertarian and conservative wings. As the elections near, however, voters will want to know where the party stands not just on the economy but on social issues. A perfect illustration is drug policy, where conservatives advocate continued prohibition but libertarians argue for legalization. Which way should the tea party lean when this issue arises? If the party is true to its principles — fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets — it must side with the libertarians...more

Monday, June 7, 2010

Seniors are Strongest Advocates for Change in 2010

This year, older Americans want to rock the political establishment. People ages 50 and older have a more negative view of congressional incumbents than do younger people. Nearly a third of those ages 65 and older say they would be more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who has never held elective office -- the highest percentage of any age group. And while majorities or pluralities of those in age groups from 18 to 64 say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who is willing to make compromises, that is not the case with those ages 65 and older: Just 29% of seniors say they would be more likely to back such a candidate while about as many (32%) would be less likely to vote for a candidate willing to compromise...more

The Club: Making GOP Establishment Vehicles Insecure Since 1999

To all the Tea Parties go the credit for recent outside-the-establishment candidate victories, but the original moneyed grassroots conservative movement, the Club for Growth, now a silver-haired veteran of Republican primary wars, has been present at the scenes of many of these campaign drive-bys. Contrary to popular belief, the Club's PAC did not endorse Rand Paul in Kentucky. They didn't endorse anyone in that Senate race. So, don't blame (or praise) the Club for that one. But the Club's PAC was the first major group to bring statewide attention to Sen. Robert Bennett's vote in favor of the TARP bailout, and spent more than $175,000 on television ads after its anti-endorsement in January and before the April caucuses, the goal being to "change the composition of the caucus universe." His major crime was the Wyden-Bennett bipartisan health care legislation, which, according to the Club, "would impose an unconstitutional individual mandate, increase federal taxes and spending by hundreds of billions of dollars, and force Americans to pay their insurance premiums through the IRS." The Tea Party got national attention, but its organizing efforts paled in comparison to what the Club's PAC was able to do. (By the way: the Club will not play in the primary, which features two acceptable candidates.)...more

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tea Party Member Stuns Crowd!

Herman Cain lead a Q&A session at the Douglas County Tea Party when a young woman asked him about the attack by the Left on our Judeo-Christian heritage in America...He addressed her question, then went to the last question of the night, and the crowd was not expecting what happened next...

A Tea Party to Nowhere

The Tea Party phenomenon has attracted a good deal of both good and bad attention in the media. Though it would perhaps be a stretch to describe it as a movement in that it has only limited organization and focus, it does tap into a genuine disconnect between the American people and the federal government in Washington. Most Tea Partiers claim to want smaller and cheaper government, less interference from Washington in their daily lives, and fewer programs that are intended to socially re-engineer the nation. So far, so good, but then comes the huge failure to comprehend that is as wide as the Grand Canyon. Most also want a strong, assertive national defense and are supporters of an aggressive foreign and security policy. Tea Partiers have unfortunately been fed a line of hokum by politicians aided and abetted by the mainstream media. They fail to understand that it is precisely the interventionist defense and foreign policies that are driving the bad things they see in government...more

The Real Public Service

Every year about this time, big-government liberals stand up in front of college commencement crowds across the country and urge the graduates to do the noblest thing possible-- become big-government liberals. That isn't how they phrase it, of course. Commencement speakers express great reverence for "public service," as distinguished from narrow private "greed." There is usually not the slightest sign of embarrassment at this self-serving celebration of the kinds of careers they have chosen-- over and above the careers of others who merely provide us with the food we eat, the homes we live in, the clothes we wear and the medical care that saves our health and our lives. What I would like to see is someone with the guts to tell those students: Do you want to be of some use and service to your fellow human beings? Then let your fellow human beings tell you what they want-- not with words, but by putting their money where their mouth is...more

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Documenting The Real Elena Kagan

It's no mystery why the White House wants nominee Elena Kagan to remain a mystery. The more we know of her views, the more we know she'd be a justice of the left. The way the president wants to rush the Kagan nomination through, you'd think having her confirmed would plug the hole at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. solicitor general was nominated on May 10, and Senate Democrats have scheduled her hearings to begin just seven weeks later, on June 28. Compare with the case of another solicitor general, Judge Robert Bork, nominated by President Reagan on July 1, 1987, but whose hearings didn't begin until Sept. 15. Then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden and his colleagues gave themselves 2 1/2 months to gather and load their ammunition. In even less than a month, some of the worst fears of Republicans about the aggressiveness of the nominee's ideology are being confirmed...more

Tea Party Conservative Jumps to 8% Lead in Senate Race!

Despite a last-minute blitz of attack ads against her (running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars), tea party activist Conservative Republican Sharron Angle has seen her poll numbers rise even further. According to a brand new Suffolk University Political Research poll, Angle has now jumped to an 8% lead over former front-runner Sue Lowden. The previous two polls conducted in this race had Angle trailing Sue Lowden by 1% (Mason-Dixon) while a Public Policy Polling survey had Angle actually ahead of Lowden by 3%. The Tea Party Express endorsed Angle on April 15th at a National Press Club news conference in Washington, D.C. At the time Angle was at 5% in the polls and badly trailed Sue Lowden who was at 47%. After a nearly $500,000 advertising blitz by the Tea Party Express (and a new $400,000 ad campaign by the Club for Growth which began advertising for Angle last week) Angle has now erased that deficit and has taken the lead...more

Tea Minus Zero

Liberals have responded to the Tea Party movement by reaching a comforting conclusion: that there is no way these guys can possibly be for real. The movement has variously been described as a “front group for the Republican party” and a “media creation”; Paul Krugman has called Tea Party rallies “AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects.” I can understand why liberals would want to dismiss the Tea Party movement as an inauthentic phenomenon; it would certainly be welcome news if it were. The sentiments on display at Tea Party rallies go beyond run-of-the-mill anti-tax, anti-spending conservatism and into territory that rightly strikes liberals as truly disturbing. But the Tea Party movement is not inauthentic, and—contrary to the impression its rallies give off—it isn’t a fringe faction either. It is a genuine popular movement, one that has managed to unite a number of ideological strains from U.S. history—some recent, some older. These strains can be described as many things, but they cannot be dismissed as passing phenomena. Much as liberals would like to believe otherwise, there is good reason to think the Tea Party movement could exercise considerable influence over our politics in the coming years...more

A view from the left.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Speaking at a tea party? You're fired!

When an assistant state attorney in Florida spoke at several tea-party rallies about her beliefs and the Constitution, her boss, a prominent Democrat, fired her – but now protesters are taking to the streets to get her job back. Former Live Oak prosecutor KrisAnne Hall, was ousted May 24 by Democrat Robert "Skip" Jarvis, state attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida, after he said she refused to stop speaking at tea-party rallies, on the radio and to the Suwannee County Republican Executive Committee. Hall, a 40-year-old mother and U.S. Army veteran who describes herself as a "constitutional originalist" and "fan of American Revolutionary history," sought an injunction in federal court to allow her to continue speaking. Three days later, Jarvis received the motion and fired her. Now Hall is suing, claiming her First Amendment rights have been violated. "I shouldn't have to trade my constitutional rights for a paycheck," she told Florida's Fox 30 News. "If we don't learn why we have the Constitution that we have, we are doomed to repeat the history that brought it to us."...more

States’ Fights

John C. Calhoun is back with a vengeance, warming the hearts of Old South romantics while chilling the blood of modern liberals. He conjures up images both appealing and appalling: old-fashioned patriotism, partisan demagoguery, genuine fears, love of liberty. The modern Tea Party movement owes much of its inspiration to the Ron Paul campaign, the only national effort in recent years to mention the Tenth Amendment. Yet inevitably talk of nullification evokes memories of Calhoun and the Lost Cause—even though the roots of the idea run much deeper. The re-emergence of nullification—the repudiation or ignoring of a federal law by a state government—poses an interesting challenge to the power of the federal government and its monopoly on constitutional interpretation. In recent decades, the first organized attempt came from the Left and libertarian Right’s advocacy of medical marijuana. The movement achieved success in California in 1996 with passage of Proposition 215—a direct affront to federal anti-drug laws—and has since spread to 13 other states. Nullification has been gaining popularity in states North, South, and West. One week before Obama assumed office, Joel Boniek introduced the Montana Firearms Freedom Act into the state legislature. Another recent nullification effort concerns the Real ID Act of 2005, which sets national standards for state driver’s licenses. As with firearms law, opposition to Real ID is a bipartisan effort...more

Lawsuit to feds: Constitution says, 'No you can't'

The newest legal brief in a court challenge to "Obamacare," the president's nationalization of health care, says the Constitution simply doesn't allow the federal government to demand a payment for not doing something. The case was brought by the Thomas More Law Center on behalf of several individuals. It challenges the government's plan to force individuals to buy health-care insurance and pay for abortions, among other issues, or be penalized. It was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and seeks an injunction to halt the plan. In a brief in support of their request for a preliminary injunction, the plaintiffs argue that there's not even any dispute. "This case is about the fundamental relationship between the power of the federal government, which is limited by the Constitution, and the liberty interests of those it governs," said the brief, filed just days ago. "Defendants' explanation of the national health care problems this country is facing and the efforts by the federal government to provide solutions to them through the Health Care Reform is, at the end of the day, beside the point." The brief said, "Defendants' arguments ultimately claim for the federal government the power to force all Americans … to engage in a commercial transaction in which they otherwise would not engage. … Defendants do not – because they cannot – refute plaintiffs' claim that if the federalgovernment does possess such power, then it also has the power to force private citizens 'to engage in [other] affirmative acts, under penalty of law, such as taking vitamins, losing weight, joining health clubs, buying a GMC truck, or purchasing an AIGinsurance policy.'"...more

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Obama debt hits $5 billion per day - 3 times Bush rate

The federal government is now $13 trillion in the red, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday, marking the first time the government has sunk that far into debt and putting a sharp point on the spending debate on Capitol Hill. Calculated down to the exact penny, the debt totaled $13,050,826,460,886.97 as of Tuesday, leaping nearly $60 billion since Friday, the previous day for which figures were released. At $13 trillion, that figure has risen by $2.4 trillion in about 500 days since President Obama took office, or an average of $4.9 billion a day. That's almost three times the daily average of $1.7 billion under the previous administration, and led Republicans on Wednesday to place blame squarely at the feet of Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats...more

Views on 'big government' may shape election outcome

It's a debate as old as Jefferson and Hamilton: how big a role should the federal government play in the lives of Americans. The age-old debate is as vigorous as ever as the fall congressional elections approach. While it's far from the only issue on the minds of voters, their general view of government may determine if Democrats keep control of Congress - and if President Barack Obama retains the political upper hand. The Obama White House, admirers and critics agree, has intervened more in the U.S. economy than any Democratic administration since Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. LBJ created a slew of social-welfare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, as part of his Great Society program. Yet the policies have also stirred fierce opposition and spawned the rise of a new political force of a loosely knit group known as the Tea Party. They've raised anew concerns about the size and scope of the national government. How much should the government tax? How much should it spend? What should it regulate? And what should it leave to markets or ordinary citizens to work out?...more

Progressivism And Limits Of A Welfare State

Today, as it has been for a century, American politics is an argument between two Princetonians — James Madison, class of 1771, and Woodrow Wilson, class of 1879. Madison was the most profound thinker among the Founders. Wilson, avatar of "progressivism," was the first president critical of the nation's founding. Barack Obama's Wilsonian agenda reflects its namesake's rejection of limited government. Lack of "a limiting principle" is the essence of progressivism, according to William Voegeli, contributing editor of the Claremont Review of Books, in his new book "Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State." The Founders, he writes, believed that free government's purpose, and the threats to it, is found in nature. The threats are desires for untrammeled power, desires which, Madison said, are "sown in the nature of man." Government's limited purpose is to protect the exercise of natural rights that pre-exist government, rights that human reason can ascertain in unchanging principles of conduct and that are essential to the pursuit of happiness. Wilsonian progressives believe that History is a proper noun, an autonomous thing. It, rather than nature, defines government's ever-evolving and unlimited purposes. Government exists to dispense an ever-expanding menu of rights — entitlements that serve an open-ended understanding of material and even spiritual well-being. The name "progressivism" implies criticism of the Founding, which we leave behind as we make progress...more

Tea Party has support of 40% of voters, poll shows

Forty percent of Michigan voters support the conservative Tea Party movement, and most of that support comes from Republicans, according to a new poll by EPIC-MRA of Lansing. Nearly three-fourths of Republicans said they like the ideas of the Tea Party, while 65% of Democrats oppose it. Independents are divided over the Tea Party: 27% support it, 27% oppose it and 26% are unsure what to think...more

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dunkirk Conservatism

The greatest rescue operation in history began in full 70 years ago today. In nine days beginning May 27, 1940, the British Navy and hundreds upon hundreds of private vessels rescued an astonishing 338,266 men from the harbor and beaches of Dunkirk, France, all while under constant bombardment from German air and land forces that killed 68,111 Brits and captured as many as another 80,000. Instead of Great Britain being left at the mercy of the German death machine, the island nation had saved an army big enough to repel a Nazi invasion. As Winston Churchill rightly noted: "We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations." American conservatives right now do not seem to realize that we are in the immediate post-Dunkirk phase of a desired political recovery...more

As Harvard Law Dean, Kagan Did Not Require Study of U.S. Constitutional Law But Did Require Study of International and Foreign Law

Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, is best known for moving Harvard Law School away from the 100-year old “case-law method” of legal study. But in the process, critics say, she moved the nation’s premier law school away from requiring the study of U.S. constitutional law towards the study of the laws of foreign nations and international law. As dean, Kagan won approval from the faculty in 2006 to make major changes to the Harvard Law's curriculum. “My understanding is that she instituted three new courses to the required curriculum and, in so doing, got rid of a requirement to take constitutional law,” Robert Alt, senior legal fellow and deputy director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, told “Currently, at Harvard, constitutional law is not required for first-year law students, or even for graduation,” Alt added...more

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Soaring costs force Canada to reassess health model

Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada's provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system. It's likely just a start as the provinces, responsible for delivering healthcare, cope with the demands of a retiring baby-boom generation. Official figures show that senior citizens will make up 25 percent of the population by 2036. In some ways the Canadian debate is the mirror image of discussions going on in the United States. Canada, fretting over budget strains, wants to prune its system, while the United States, worrying about an army of uninsured, aims to create a state-backed safety net. Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all "medically necessary" hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets, or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year...more