Tea Party issues: Bailouts, Spending, Taxes, Big Government, Health Care Reform, Global Warming, Gun Control, Elections, etc...The Old South Meeting House is where the patriots met to plan the Boston Tea Party.
Those running — or considering mounting a challenge — for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee will face Tea Party scrutiny this week. Representatives from FreedomWorks, a group that’s been a major player in organizing activists within the Tea Party movement, will question some candidates during a two-hour event on Wednesday. According to an organizer of the event, former Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis, Connecticut GOP chairman Chris Healy, former Missouri RNC committee member Ann Wagner and former Bush administration official Maria Cino are planning to participate. Others could still join, according to Soloman Yue, an RNC committee member from Oregon. The forum was organized by the Conservative Steering Committee, a group of RNC committee members developed to verify the conservative bona fides of potential candidates for the chairmanship. Current chairman Michael Steele, who has yet to disclose whether he’ll run for re-election, has not informed organizers whether he plans to participate in the forum. Organizers are still waiting to hear from former RNC aide Gentry Collins and Wisconsin GOP chairman Reince Priebus on whether they’ll take part...more
The John Birch Society, a group denounced by the late conservative icon William F. Buckley, has been making the rounds at several Tea Party events and will host a table at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February for the second consecutive year after having not attended for two decades, save one year in the 1990s. Though marginalized by Buckley in the 1960s and 1970s, the society has started to make a resurgence of sorts by tying itself to the Tea Party movement. Buckley pushed the John Birch Society and its followers, called “Birchers,” out of the American conservative movement after the group’s founder and leader, Robert Welch, expressed his view that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.” In a column, Buckley denounced the John Birch Society and called Welch’s views “so far removed from common sense.” Buckley even went as far as not allowing any person who contributed to a John Birch Society publication to appear in the masthead of the National Review, the influential conservative news journal he founded and edited. But Birchers don’t agree with Buckley’s assessment of them. Several think the reason Buckley disagreed with them was because of personal gripes he had with Welch, and that Buckley used Welch as a scapegoat to eliminate the threat of the rising populist movement, similar to the Tea Party movement...more
Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, has expressed opposition to Fred Upton (R-MI) as a candidate for Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (HECC).
“The election of Fred Upton to head this important committee would be a slap in the face to conservatives and Tea Partiers,” Viguerie said. “Following the 2010 elections, Republican members of Congress have been given a chance to re-establish the GOP as the party of limited government and fiscal responsibility. But the election of Upton would signal a return to the disastrous big government policies of George W. Bush, Dennis Hastert, Tom DeLay, and Bill Frist.”
The chairman of the HECC will be determined by a vote of all GOP house members.
Viguerie cited Upton’s lifetime rating of 72.42% from the American Conservative Union (ACU) as an indicator that he would lead the HECC in a moderate to liberal direction.
By contrast, all of the other contenders for chairman of the committee have much higher ACU lifetime ratings: John Shimkus (R-IL) 88.51%; Joe Barton (R-TX) 94.14%; and Cliff Stearns (R-FL) 94.53%.
“Not only are Shimkus, Barton, and Stearns better choices than Upton, almost any Republican in the House would be better. Upton has cast so many bad votes for wasteful spending and big government, it would be hard to do worse,” Viguerie said.
Viguerie cited multiple votes by Upton for increased federal spending in appropriation bills, the Cash for Clunkers Bill, the Wall Street bailout, and the automobile company bailout.
“The Republican Party is on probation with conservatives. This is their first test to see if they’ve learned anything from their previous over-indulgence in obese government,” Viguerie said.
Companies supporting President Obama's big-government policies risk suffering a dramatic drop in customer favorability, a newly-released nationwide research survey of conservative voters conducted by FreedomWorks and the National Center for Public Policy Research reveals. In one example of the research findings, General Electric and Johnson & Johnson - companies that played key roles in advancing President Obama's agenda, including cap-and-trade and health care - experienced plummeting favorability among conservatives after they were informed of the companies' lobbying efforts. The drop in favorability was most severe with conservative voters active in the Tea Party movement. Significantly, a substantial number of these consumers said this drop in favorability would influence their buying decisions.
Key findings about conservatives:
* Favorability of General Electric fell from 51% to 20%.
* Favorability of Johnson & Johnson plunged over a staggering 50 points - from 69% to 16%.
* Sixty percent of conservative voters said they are less likely to buy products from companies that have lobbied in favor of Obama's legislative agenda.
Key findings about Tea Party activists:
* Only 28% of conservatives active in the Tea Party had an initial favorable opinion of GE, but this number dropped to 13% after these voters were informed of GE's support of Obama's policies.
* 60% of conservatives active in the Tea Party had a favorable opinion of Johnson & Johnson, but this number plunged to 8% after they were informed of Johnson & Johnson's support of Obama's policies.
* Eighty-one percent of conservative voters active in the Tea Party are less likely to buy products from companies that have actively lobbied in favor of Obama's legislative agenda...more
Senate Republicans’ campaign chief has warned colleagues to expect conservative primary challengers in 2012, and many are already moving to shore up their right flank in case of Tea Party-endorsed insurgencies back home. Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), one of the Republicans most likely to vote with Democrats, this week announced her support for an earmark moratorium and reiterated her call for a permanent extension of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. Sen. Dick Lugar (Ind.), the Republican co-sponsor of legislation to grant permanent residency to the children of illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements, has ramped up his fundraising and polling. And Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), who could have to square off against Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), recently filed a friend-of-the-court brief challenging the constitutionality of Democrats’ new healthcare law. Many Tea Party voters consider that the greatest policy outrage of President Obama’s administration...more
Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, issued the following statement regarding a declaration in support of Senator Jim DeMint signed by 56 Tea Party and conservative leaders that was sent to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, National Republican Senatorial Committee John Cornyn, and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele:
“As recently as two days ago, a bitter Lisa Murkowski joined the ranks of GOP establishment whiners who wrongly claim Senator Jim DeMint’s support for constitutional conservatives somehow cost Republicans a majority in the Senate.
“Members of the GOP establishment tried to undermine Ronald Reagan in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but failed. They will fail in their efforts to undermine Senator DeMint, and the consequences will be far-reaching to the party committees.
“Conservative leaders want it made clear that they consider any attack on Senator Jim DeMint as an attack on conservatives and Tea Partiers.
“Constitutional conservatives stand behind Senator Jim DeMint, who, more than any elected Republican official, is responsible for energizing the conservative base and keeping the Tea Partiers in, or moving them to, the GOP.”
Nearly all of these new faces belong to “Tea Party” conservatives, determined to clean up the fiscal mess confronting the nation. But the flavor of the incoming freshman class is sweet for social conservatives too. Indeed, the 112th Congress could prove to be the most socially conservative set of newcomers since the one that rode into Washington on Ronald Reagan’s coattails in 1980. That’s clear from a close analysis of the public positions taken by the wave of conservative candidates who prevailed in hundreds of national and statewide contests. Consider the 37 races for governor, where Republicans made a net gain of five and now hold at least 29 seats. All four GOP women who won governorships Nov. 2 were endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List, whose pro-life PAC ranked among the largest independent conservative funds in the 2010 election cycle. If Arizona’s Jan Brewer is controversial nationally, she proved quite popular at home. Nikki Haley not only will become South Carolina’s first female governor, but the first Indian-American woman elected governor anywhere in the United States. And in New Mexico, rising GOP star Susana Martinez will be the nation’s first Hispanic female governor...more
With the mid-term elections now literally in the history books, the powers that be on both the Left side of the aisle and the Right, inside the beltway and out, have finally come to understand the power and appeal of the citizen movement commonly referred to as the Tea Party Movement. But, along with this recognition of power and appeal comes the wont of these groups to rationalize away the catalyst and the chemistry that gave birth to the movement. If the Tea Party Movement is to keep its potency it must avoid several pitfalls common to well-intentioned movements. Chief among these pitfalls is allowing your opposition to define who you are; or what we are. Make no mistake, the establishment political apparatus does not – repeat, does not – celebrate the Tea Party Movement. In fact, they are extremely threatened, both on the Left and the Right, by this pure grassroots movement; this phoenix that has ascended from the ashes of a grotesque governmental system centered on political opportunism and self-preservation. They are threatened – not they feel threatened, but they are threatened – because their status quo is threatened; because the very apparatus they have assembled is about to be junked. And just like a feral cat that has been cornered, they are willing to do and say anything to protect their status quo...more
A gay Republican group and some Tea Party organizers want GOP leaders in the new Congress to concentrate on fiscal issues and not social ones such as same-sex marriage and abortion. “On behalf of limited-government conservatives everywhere, we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement,” reads a letter addressed to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. “This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue,” said the letter, released Monday by GOProud, a group that “represents gay conservatives and their allies.” Signatories include leadership of GOProud and Ralph King, a Tea Party organizer in Ohio who is on the leadership council of the Tea Party Patriots. Among other signatories to the GOProud-initiated letter are Tea Party coordinators from Maines, Arizona, Nebraska, Montana, Maryland, Illinois, Idaho, Florida and California. In response to the letter Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, said social issues should be a priority of the 112th Congress...
Virginia Thomas, political activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has decided to relinquish control of Liberty Central, the conservative group she founded less than a year ago, so that the organization can escape the "distractions" of her media celebrity, a spokeswoman said. Thomas started Liberty Central in May as a grass-roots organizer and educator and intended for it to serve as a clearinghouse of policy and candidate information for conservative activists and tea party groups...MORE
Republicans in Congress are going to be interesting to watch for the next two years, as they try to cope with the influx of the Tea Party Republicans who have just been elected to office. Some of these skirmishes are happening already, as both parties prepare to hold their official party caucus meetings this week, where they will vote on their leadership positions and on their policies for the next Congress. The Tea Party Republicans failed to elevate Representative Michele Bachmann to the lowest rung of the House leadership positions, causing her to withdraw her candidacy last week. But just today, the Tea Partiers seem to have won a policy battle over in the Senate, as the establishment Republican leader Mitch McConnell just announced that he has seen the light on banning earmarks -- a dramatic reversal of his position up to this point...MORE
With the mission of taking over the House accomplished, the movement is now at a crossroads, and where it goes next is a matter of crucial importance for the Right. One option is closer cooperation with (and what cynics might call co-option by) the Republican-party structure. Given that Karl Rove’s “72-hour turnout plan” (an RNC-run effort to canvass neighborhoods and call voters that was first deployed on a massive scale in 2004) essentially did not take place this election cycle, the movement’s organizational muscle (not to mention the hearts and minds of its activist base) will be especially important to the party. It’s unclear who would be the majority shareholder if the Republican party and the Tea Party merged. Yet deeper integration is unlikely to outlive this political moment. Just as the grassroots organization built during President Bush’s winning 2000 and 2004 campaigns did not outlive his presidency (or even, in fact, persist much beyond those campaigns), President Obama struggled mightily to conjure up the enthusiasm of his 2008 bid in this year’s listless campaign, limiting his stops to inner cities and liberal college towns. After the 2008 election, the vaunted “Obama movement” mostly fizzled out: It was moved in-house to the Democratic National Committee and given the moniker “Organizing for America.” Campaign-related activity on “MyBO,” OFA’s Web-based organizing hub, was down as much as 90 percent from 2008 as activists recoiled at the shift from the frenetic energy of a campaign to White House command and control. The experience should provide a cautionary tale to the Tea Partiers, with their more humble origins: Hitch yourself to established power institutions at your own peril...more
The big question after the midterms is how the Tea Party stays coherent and effective after their big victory in the midterms. Glenn Reynolds and PJTV hosts a discussion with Tea Party organizers Mike Wilson and David Kirkham about this very issue in a rare, free release from the subscriber channel. Glenn talks more about how the Tea Party succeeded in the first place in this seventeen-minute panel discussion on the topic, and what lessons that success holds for keeping the movement alive...Hot Air
Meet The Shellackers: Secrets of the Tea Party Tidal Wave
Some conservatives are concerned that the decision by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to withdraw from a key House leadership contest could be a sign of things to come for tea party supporters in their effort to shake up the Washington establishment. Last week, Bachmann embarked on a bid against Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) for the post of House Republican Conference Chair, the number four-ranking position in a new Republican majority. But Bachmann, who founded the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, stumbled in gaining traction for the slot and pulled out Wednesday night. At least a few conservative Republican House members wondered if this augured poorly for the tea party movement. And at least one Congressman blasted the new GOP leaders for trying to craft what was described as a "cabinet." "I think it's the leadership protecting its power base and trying to keep the tea party from getting in the door," said one conservative Congressman who declined to be identified. The lawmaker went on to even compare the maneuvering of leaders to the iron fist management style of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)...more
Will the spirit and passion of the Tea Party movement dissipate or grow stronger? Will it find a voice in Washington to combat the special interest forces? Will Tea Party advocates elected November 2 be able to stay true to their principles? Will the Tea Party movement still be a force to be reckoned with in 2012? Join us as our panel of Tea Party leaders and observers discusses these and other questions about the future of this political insurgency. Heritage
The incoming leadership of the new House Republican majority hardly had a chance to relish its dismantling of the Democrats before the Tea Party came calling in the form of Representative Michele Bachmann. Ms. Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican and Tea Party heroine often seen exhorting conservative activists at rallies and on cable television, announced that she intended to seek the No. 4 position among House Republicans. She said she could provide the viewpoint of a constitutional conservative, one she evidently sees lacking in Representatives John A. Boehner of Ohio, Eric Cantor of Virginia and Kevin McCarthy of California — the three likely leaders. Mr. Cantor and other influential Republicans are rallying instead behind Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a fiscal conservative, and Ms. Bachmann has only an outside shot at winning the race. But her candidacy vividly illustrates the central tension facing Mr. Boehner and his team: balancing the demands of new lawmakers, some of whom ran against the Republican establishment and advocate a no-compromise stance toward the Obama administration and Democratic policies, against the need to deliver some accomplishments at a time of economic distress...more
Whether the Tea Party rank-and-file decide to get on board remains an open question, but conservative figures like Dick Armey, the former Republican majority leader who now chairs FreedomWorks, and Erick Erickson, managing editor of the blog RedState, are already excited about the prospect of directing Tea Party outrage toward new and unsuspecting targets. The New York Times obtained a draft of a confidential memo to be distributed to all incoming House Republican lawmakers, in which Armey and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe tell lawmakers that working to repeal health care reform is “nonnegotiable,” and they’ll become the target of a major backlash if they don’t succeed in doing so. “Politically speaking, your only choice is to get on offense and start moving boldly ahead to repeal, replace and defund Obamacare in 2011, or risk rejection by the voters in 2012,” Armey and Kibbe wrote. Meanwhile, Erikson wrote yesterday, “We have a significant opportunity to improve the Senate GOP through some primaries [in 2012],” and he provided a list of all the Senate Republicans up for re-election in the next cycle...more:
One of the movement’s biggest tests may be the debt ceiling. Rand Paul has not ruled out filibustering any efforts to raise the limit on how much money the government can borrow, on which a decision is expected to be made early next year. If Congress fails to pass the legislation, the U.S. won’t be able to make good on its commitments such as bonds. Of course, the Tea Party doesn’t want to be held responsible for the financial catastrophe that experts say would occur if the debt ceiling is not raised. The question is what sort of concessions the movement will want to make and whether the movement’s supporters will keep their faith when political ideology meets economic reality. The ideas espoused by the Tea Party about limited small government and lower taxes were once heard mostly at think tanks and campaign rallies. Many voters, though, probably know little about the movement’s ideas beyond the soundbites reported in the media. 24/7 Wall St. decided to take a closer look at the Tea Party. We reviewed the position papers, public statements and websites of self-described Tea Party candidates. We then determined the party’s 10 key economic ideas which may help shape government policy for years to come. The following are the ten fiscal commandments of the Tea Party...more
Allegedly, the Tea Party movement has been violent, angry, intent to incite fear and hate among the populace. These narratives weren’t true — tonight’s vote has proven them caricatures laid out by journalists with short wordcounts and shorter attention spans. Violent movements do not do these things. They don’t show up at the polls and overwhelm the establishment in favor of a minority candidate, as in the case of Sen.-elect Marco Rubio, R-Fla. They also don’t lose so badly, as in the case of Christine O’Donnell. They don’t take on, and nearly defeat, the leader of the majority party in the Senate, at the same time as he colludes with casinos in a potentially illegal scheme to get out the vote in his favor. They don’t settle for a more liberal candidate in Illinois just because he’s the most electable. Yet they did all of those things. Strange. Tea Party activists, just by showing up on the political stage, to fight within the political process, proved every broad stereotype hurled at them wrong. This campaign, for them, was the most important one ever, and perhaps they’re surprised that they got so carried away. But chances are, most of them aren’t surprised. They’re probably just getting ready for 2012...more
The Federal Communications Commission is joining the fight against bullying. Reportedly, the agency will soon issue rules requiring schools that receive federal funding for Internet equipment and service under its “E-rate” program to educate students on “how to act responsibly online.” Specific topics will include “cyber-bullying prevention” and “behavior on social networking sites like Facebook.” It’s an odd new mission for the agency. Certainly, no one should defend bullying, and everyone is in favor of proper behavior online. But do America’s schools really need direction on those issues from the FCC? What’s next? Education mandates from the Federal Railroad Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission?...more
Leaders of the Tea Party Patriots organization declared Tuesday’s election results “a victory for liberty,” but blamed a rival Tea Party organization for Senate losses in Nevada and Delaware, saying the group shouldn’t have intervened in those elections by making endorsements in the primary. The two organizations have a history of feuding over how involved national groups should be in elections. The Tea Party Patriots organization does not endorse candidates, while the California-based Tea Party Express endorsed numerous candidates this cycle. Asked if Tea Party voters should be more pragmatic in nominating more electable candidates during future elections, Jenny Beth Martin, a national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, took a swipe at the rival Tea Party Express. “One thing that we’ve seen across the country is that in places where the Tea Party people were allowed to nominate their own nominees and were not influenced by top-down political organizations, such as Tea Party Express, the Republicans did win,” Martin said at a Wednesday morning news conference in Washington, D.C. Mark Meckler, another national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, claimed “the grassroots were not allowed to speak” in races where the Tea Party Express made endorsements. “An outside, top-down organization came in and chose a candidate for them,” he said. The Tea Party Express played a large role — and was widely lauded by activists — in nominating conservatives in Republican primaries this year, especially Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Joe Miller in Alaska. Both Angle and O’Donnell lost Tuesday night, and Miller is trailing as the votes are still being counted...more
A little over a year ago, Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, launched an attack on the "un-American" Tea Party movement. "We call it Astroturf," she said. "It's not really a grassroots movement." Today Pelosi is former Speaker and a carpet of what she dismissed so haughtily as Astroturf is being laid on the floors of both chambers of Congress. Tea Party-backed politicians – Marco Rubio in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, the list goes on – are no longer shouting into megaphones in windswept parking lots; they are packing their bags for Washington and sharpening their flick-knives for the bloody battles ahead. The Tea Party movement, which 21 months ago did not exist, and which has been widely derided and ridiculed by those who thought they knew best, can no longer be ignored. Once seen as little more than fodder for Saturday Night Live and the Daily Show, it is now a voice that will dominate congressional debates and direct budget deliberations...more
Voters embracing the tea party's conservative throw-the-bums-out anthem sent two of its leading conservative voices to Washington and another to the South Carolina governor's mansion. The victories for Rand Paul and Marco Rubio in the Senate and Nikki Haley as governor gave tea party activists three Cinderella stories for the 2010 campaign. All were long shots when they declared their candidacies but won over voters with their Washington-outsider, anti-tax campaigns. "There's a tea party tidal wave, and we're sending a message," said Paul, a first time candidate from Kentucky and son of libertarian hero and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson. "We've come to take our government back." But the tea party movement, without any official platform or national organization, drew a committed following. About four in 10 voters considered themselves tea party supporters, according to preliminary exit poll results. However, it was also a polarizing force – about a quarter of voters said they considered their vote a message of support for the tea party, and nearly as many said their vote was meant to signal opposition to the movement...more
To address these grievances, Paul was ready and waiting. He is not the Tea Party’s founder (there isn’t one), or its culturally resonant figure (that’s Sarah Palin), but something more like its brain, its Marx or Madison. He has become its intellectual godfather—and its actual father, in the case of its brightest rising star, his son Rand Paul, Kentucky’s GOP Senate nominee. The Tea Party has overrun the Republican Party everywhere from Alaska to Kentucky to Maine, and a version of Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve just passed the Senate unanimously en route to becoming law. Today, on matters of economic politics, Paul is at least as significant as any of the Republicans he shared the stage with in the 2007 South Carolina debate. And has anyone noticed that he’s a fixture on Fox News? Paul grew up on a dairy farm outside Pittsburgh and attended Gettysburg College and Duke University’s medical school. Although his libertarian conservatism is characteristic of Texas, he did not settle there until after he had spent five years as an Air Force flight surgeon, part of it stationed in San Antonio. In 1968, he moved to sprawling, rural Brazoria County, and established a successful obstetrics practice. Paul’s passion, however, was not medicine but economics. During medical school, he had happened upon a copy of The Road to Serfdom, the ringing defense of laissez-faire capitalism by the Austrian economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek. Written in 1944 against the backdrop of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, it argues that state control of the economy leads inexorably to tyranny. (After Glenn Beck endorsed it, Hayek’s book unexpectedly hit the best-seller list last summer.) To Paul, this was an epiphany, and it launched him on a quest to read anything he could find about the Austrian school of economics. The work of Hayek’s mentor, Ludwig von Mises, came to command his singular esteem...more
Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.