A lot of the readers of United Liberty probably have a pretty good idea of what transpired at the GOP convention on Tuesday, or at least have heard about it. For those who haven’t, it all started Friday when the Rules Committee, led by one of my least favorite people, John Sununu, decided to radically change the power structure of the party, in essence, neutering the grassroots. Specifically, it would make the RNC very much a top-heavy organization and give the national party establishment, as well as the party’s nominee, ultimate authority over the delegate process.
So fast-forward to Tuesday when the convention convened to start handling party business. The matter concerning the rule changes was brought before the assembled body and while, according to multiple reports, the nays had it, it was passed. Before we go any further, I’d have to recommend a write-up by Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks. This pretty much gives all the info you need about this power grab. The main points being Rules 12 and 15, respectively, which if changed, would create the aforementioned shift of power.
As Clancy notes, there was a lot of misinformation flying around that helped cause this mess. The main one being that this was just a Ron Paul thing:
Ted Cruz, who was backed by the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, has won the Republican nomination for United States Senate in Texas, defeating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the runoff last night by roughly 12 points:
Ted Cruz, the former solicitor general supported by the Tea Party, defeated long-time Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, R-Texas, in a primary runoff that effectively decides who will serve as the next U.S. Senator from Texas.
The Associated Press called the race for Cruz the first 22 percent of votes counted showed him with 53 percent support, as Roll Call noted, despite Dewhurst loaning himself over $24 million during the primary.
Cruz received strong support from Tea Party figures such as Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., whose Senate Conservatives Fund spent $1.3 million on behalf of Cruz and raised another $700,000 for his campaign.
“This is another victory for conservatives and it shows that the Tea Party can still defeat the Republican establishment if it wants to,” said Senate Conservatives Fund executive director Matt Hoskins. “This wasn’t a fluke. Ted Cruz was massively outspent in a state of 25 million people and he still won. If conservatives can win a race like this in Texas, they can win anywhere.”
Julie Borowski is the Policy Analyst at FreedomWorks. Recently, Ms. Borowski was a government affairs associate at Americans for Tax Reform. Before that, she was a Koch Fellow intern with the Institute for Humane Studies at the Center for Competitive Politics.
Business Insider recently named her in a list of women leading the “Ron Paul Revolution” and she is famous in right-of-center political circles for her vlogging.
Matt Naugle: Business Insider named you one of the leading women in the Ron Paul liberty movement. How did you become a libertarian?
Julie Borowski: I became a libertarian because of the Internet.
I used to be a huge neoconservative in early high school. Eek, I know.
Growing up in a Republican household, I used to have the childish mentality that I couldn’t criticize Republicans ever. I supported all Republicans because they weren’t “tree hugging sissies” like the Democrats. I believed in every word of the Republican platform without any independent thought. Wow, how dumb.
I was thrilled when George W. Bush became president. But after a few years, I realized that we weren’t better off. Despite all the talk about fiscal responsibility, George W. Bush was a big spender like the Democrats. And I slowly started questioning the wars. What exactly has been accomplished?
Music is a passion of mine. In finding the music that most interests me, I’ve found Derek Webb. His album “Stockholm Syndrome” (one of my favorites) is a must have for anyone who has ever thought that maybe Christians were entirely missing the point on some current political and social issues. One of the songs on “Stockholm Syndrome” is a catchy little tune called “Jena & Jimmy.” It’s about date rape.
Well, kind of. ”Jena & Jimmy” is a political metaphor for the way grassroots movements often get intoxicated with power – power that ultimately brings the demise of the movement.
I often wonder if the Tea Party movement will become like Jena in this song. I certainly hope not, but I get concerned when I see so many Tea Party leaders working to spread their influence rather than working to advance the principles they claim to value.
For example, look at the Republican Senate primary in Nebraska. A candidate (Deb Fischer) won the election last night, largely because she was sporting endorsements from Sarah Palin and Herman Cain. Meanwhile, somebody like Don Stenberg (endorsed by Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks, and Club for Growth) goes home a loser.
We really can’t fault Fischer for seeking out endorsements from Sarah Palin and Herman Cain; they certainly have sway with voters, and in a tight race, you need every edge you can get. The real issue here is the lack of vetting candidates by the people perceived as leaders in the Tea Party movement.
Why do people like Cain and Palin latch on to candidates who aren’t really great? Is it the attention they get? Is it the way people swoon at the site of them behind a microphone? Are they just looking for a way to extend their political influence?
As you can imagine, there has been a lot of discussion about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. And while the budget would, if passed, repeal ObamaCare, it doesn’t replace it. This, along with other aspects of the proposal, has been a sticking point for many conservatives.
On Tuesday, Rep. Ryan said that he didn’t include a replacement for ObamaCare, for which costs have doubled, in his budget because there is no consensus amongst House Republicans as to what their model for health care reform should be.
Given all of the problems with ObamaCare, many of which were laid out in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), proposing such a comprehensive budget proposal without at least some foundation of replacement proposals is odd. It’s even more odd when the budget was unveiled during the second anniversary of the health care reform law and the week before it’s due to come before the Supreme Court.
However, Rep. Paul Broun, MD (R-GA) has introduced the OPTION Act (H.R. 4224), a patient-centered health care reform replacement. According to Broun’s office, the OPTION Act would repeal and replace ObamaCare with a reform package that would protect the interests of patients:
Our friends at FreedomWorks had hoped yesterday to release the findings of the Tea Party Debt Commission at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington. Despite being sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Senate Democrats shut down the event, forcing them move to nearby Hillsdale College.
Congress has not passed a budget — one of its most basic functions — in 933 days, including two years of overwhelming Democratic Party majorities in both chambers while also controlling the presidency. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe and Sen. Lee were understandably frustrated by the actions of Senate Democrats, but were undeterred (as you can see in the video above).
In a statement from FreedomWorks, Kibbe said:
“The Senate hasn’t been able to pass a budget resolution three years running. They have been unable to do their job, and now the Rules Committee is trying to prevent the American people from doing it for them,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks
After the IRS and DOJ scandals became public knowledge late last week and earlier this week, Reuters used the stories as a chance to analyize President Barack Obama’s civil liberties record.
While he seemed like a stark contrast to George W. Bush during the 2008 presidential campaign, the analysis reveals that Obama’s administration, has been a disappointment on civil liberties. Some constitutional lawyers interviewed by Reuters attribute this to the “realties” of the presidency.
But do these so-called “realities” give a president the excuse to infringe upon civil liberties? And shouldn’t there accountability when administration officials, whether they be in the IRS or DOJ, act in a manner is grossly out of line?
In an editorial at The Daily Beast, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, sees the scandals this week as both a failure of President Obama’s leadership and part of his administration’s continuing assault on civil liberties:
So who is really responsible? Who knew what, and when did they know it?
The day the story broke, Carney tried to deflect blame by claiming that the “IRS is an independent enforcement agency.” However, it is a part of the Department of the Treasury, which answers to the president.
Democratic campaign strategist David Axelrod argued that the “vast” size of the federal government makes it impossible for the president to know what is going on beneath him in the Executive Branch.
If President Obama is not watching over the Executive Branch, then who is?
Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Mark Sanford was headed to defeat in South Carolina’s First Congressional District. He had made a notable misstep, which caused the National Republican Campaign Committee to pull resources from the race. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and FreedomWorks, a grassroots-driven organization, stepped into fill the void, with the former providing vocal support and the latter activists to educate voters in the district.
Sanford wound up defeating his Democratic opponent by a healthy margin, providing Paul, who is thought to be candidate for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016, and FreedomWorks with notch on their belt against the Republican political establishment.
Fresh off this victory, FreedomWorks has now set its sights on another South Carolina race that could shake-up the Republican Party.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has long been a thorn in the side of fiscal conservatives. He was once thought to be untouchable, but recent polls have showed his numbers falling among Republicans.
Mark Sanford will defeat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the special election for South Carolina’s First Congressional District. Votes are still being counted, but with nearly 75% of precincts reporting, Sanford leads by a 9-point margin, and not enough votes are left for Colbert Busch to win.
Democrats poured money into the district in the hopes that Colbert Busch, perhaps better known as comedian Stephen Colbert’s sister, would win the seat against a candidate whose personal trials are well-known. She was ahead in the polls a week ago, but Sanford managed to close the gap.
They were able to tie Colbert Busch to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) national Democrats, and labor unions. The fact that she gave a vague answer as to whether or not she would vote to repeal ObamaCare, an important issue in a strong Republican district, didn’t help her with voters.
A little more than a week ago, many reporters seemed more than ready to write Mark Sanford’s political obituary. Public Policy Polling had him down by 9 points to Elizabeth Colbert Busch, perhaps properly known as “Stephen Colbert’s sister,” and the spin of a Democratic Party win in South Carolina’s First Congressional District, which strongly leans Republican, was already beginning.
But there has been a notable shift in the race over the last few days. Sanford’s campaign has nationalized their message, making the race about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Democratic Party, and big labor. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and grassroots groups like FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Express have also went to bat for Sanford when the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) wouldn’t.