Jim DeMint

Bowles-Simpson plan doesn’t receive enough votes to force action in Congress

The recommendations presented by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of the President’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, failed to receive enough support to force action in Congress, though it did manage to receive more than a majority:

Eleven of the 18 members of President Obama’s fiscal commission voted Friday to embrace a bipartisan commission’s controversial plan to slash deficits by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade - too few votes to command quick action in Congress, but far more than even the panel’s most ardent supporters had predicted just a few weeks ago.

Among those voting yes were all three of the Senate Republicans appointed to the panel, including Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), a rock-ribbed conservative who endorsed the package despite a sharp increase in federal tax collections.

Two Senate Democrats on the panel also voted yes, including assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), an influential liberal who sought to bridge a major partisan divide by explicitly endorsing a gradual increase in the retirement age from 67 to 69.

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), also voted yes, and Durbin predicted that Conrad would use the commission’s report as a basis for constructing the party’s next fiscal blueprint early in 2011.

Republicans warned to stay away from social issues

Several tea party organizations and GOProud are encouraging the GOP to stay away from social issues in the upcoming Congress:

In a letter to be released Monday, the group GOProud and leaders from groups like the Tea Party Patriots and the New American Patriots, will urge Republicans in the House and Senate to keep their focus on shrinking the government.

“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,” they write to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell in an advance copy provided to POLITICO. “This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue.”

The letter’s signatories range from GOProud’s co-founder and Chairman Christopher Barron — a member of a group encouraging Dick Cheney to run for president — to Tea Party leaders with no particular interest in the gay rights movement.

As of Sunday evening, the letter had 17 signatories. They include tea party organizers, conservative activists and media personalities from across the country, including radio host Tammy Bruce, bloggers Bruce Carroll, Dan Blatt and Doug Welch, and various local coordinators for the Tea Party Patriots and other tea party groups.

“When they were out in the Boston Harbor, they weren’t arguing about who was gay or who was having an abortion,” said Ralph King, a letter signatory who is a Tea Party Patriots national leadership council member, as well as an Ohio co-coordinator.

Jim DeMint is wrong

The list I have to choose from for president in 2012 is steadily shrinking. The latest name to be scratched off the list? Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). While appearing last night on Special Report w/ Bret Baier, DeMint said, “you can’t be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative”:

Now, this is something he has said before. At the Value Voters Summit in September, DeMint said, “it’s impossible to be a fiscal conservative unless you’re a social conservative because of the high cost of a dysfunctional society.” I was hoping it was a moment of pandering, but it looks like I was wrong.

In responding to DeMint and other social conservatives shortly after comments made in September, David Boaz, executive vice-president of the Cato Institute, wrote:

Conservative bloggers polled on 2012 GOP presidential candidates

We’re not even out of the mid-term election yet, but some are already looking towards the 2012 presidential election as Right Wing News brings us a survey of conservative bloggers and their preferences for the candidate to go up against Barack Obama:

If you had to choose today, which of the following candidates would you be most likely to support for President in 2012?

17) John McCain: 0.0% (0 votes)
17) Mike Huckabee: 0.0% (0 votes)
17) Rudy Guiliani: 0.0% (0 votes)
17) Scott Brown: 0.0% (0 votes)
13) Rick Santorum: 1.4% (1 vote)
13) Eric Cantor: 1.4% (1 vote)
13) John Thune: 1.4% (1 vote)
13) Condi Rice: 1.4% (1 vote)
7) Newt Gingrich: 2.8% (2 votes)
7) Jeb Bush: 2.8% (2 votes)
7) Herman Cain: 2.8% (2 votes)
7) Haley Barbour: 2.8% (2 votes)
7) Ron Paul: 2.8% (2 votes)
7) Tim Pawlenty: 2.8% (2 votes)
6) Mitt Romney: 5.6% (4 votes)
5) Bobby Jindal: 8.3% (6 votes)
3) Mitch Daniels: 11.1% (8 votes)
3) Mike Pence: 11.1% (8 votes)
2) Sarah Palin: 15.3% (11 votes)
1) Chris Christie: 26.4% (19 votes)

I’m glad to see that Tax Hike Mike Huckabee got no love, but the lovefest on the right for Sarah Palin seems to still be there. Chris Christie has repeatedly said that he has no presidential aspirations.

Out of this list, I could live with Ron Paul or Mitch Daniels…maybe even Tim Pawlenty. Of those not listed, I could also see myself voting for Sen. Jim DeMint and Gary Johnson.

Obama Administration to target tea party?

Yesterday, the New York Times broke a story that the Obama Administration is planning to attack the tea party movement by tying it to the Republican Party:

President Obama’s political advisers, looking for ways to help Democrats and alter the course of the midterm elections in the final weeks, are considering a range of ideas, including national advertisements, to cast the Republican Party as all but taken over by Tea Party extremists, people involved in the discussion said.

White House and Congressional Democratic strategists are trying to energize dispirited Democratic voters over the coming six weeks, in hopes of limiting the party’s losses and keeping control of the House and Senate. The strategists see openings to exploit after a string of Tea Party successes split Republicans in a number of states, culminating last week with developments that scrambled Senate races in Delaware and Alaska.

I doubt there are many tea partyers that won’t tell you what they are trying to accomplish is, as Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks wrote at the Wall Street Journal, “a hostile takeover” of the Republican Party.

Nevertheless, the Obama Administration is denying this report, claiming that the New York Times is “100 percent wrong.” Maybe they are heeding the advice of former President Bill Clinton, which is to engage the tea party movement in open dialogue. Who knows? But attacking them is only going to motivate them more.

NRSC will support O’Donnell

It seemed late on Tuesday evening that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was going to pass on offering assistance to Christine O’Donnell, who had just defeated Rep. Mike Castle for the GOP nomination for United States Senate. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who endorsed O’Donnell, came under fire for helping a candidate with little chance of winning in November beat a sure winner.

As you can imagine, conservatives immediately began criticizing the NRSC, and by Wednesday morning, Sen. John Cornyn, who heads the NRSC, had changed his tune, offering an endorsement and cash to O’Donnell’s campaign:

“Let there be no mistake: The National Republican Senatorial Committee – and I personally as the committee’s chairman – strongly stand by all of our Republican nominees, including Christine O’Donnell in Delaware,” Cornyn said. “I reached out to Christine this morning, and as I have conveyed to all of our nominees, I offered her my personal congratulations and let her know that she has our support. This support includes a check for $42,000 – the maximum allowable donation that we have provided to all of our nominees – which the NRSC will send to her campaign today.”

DeMint sends $250k to Florida to help Rubio

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) really wants Marco Rubio to win his bid for United States Senate in Florida. How much? He just sent the Florida GOP $250,000, according to Ben Smith over at Politico:

I’m told by two GOP sources that DeMint has transferred $250,000 from his own re-election account to the Florida GOP, which has been having some cash-flow problems of late.  DeMint was one of the earliest backers of Florida Senate hopeful Marco Rubio and the cash will be used in part to aid GOTV efforts in that race by going to the state party’s federal Victory account.

It’s not like DeMint has a tough battle on this hands with Alvin Greene in his re-election bid. The most recent survey out of South Carolina shows him with a 44 point lead.

House, Senate GOP stand firm on extending tax cuts

House Minority Leader John Boehner backtracked on comments he made over the weekend by asserting his support for extending all of the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of the year:

“We should stop all the hikes because that is what’s best for the economy,” Boehner said on Twitter, as some House Republicans did their best to further smother any talk about Boehner cutting some deal with Democrats.

“Leader Boehner and I agree that we must do everything possible to stop these job killing tax hikes,” said Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee.

As other Republicans joined in, it left many unsure whether Boehner had just given a less than stellar response on “Face the Nation”, or whether he really would sign off on a deal.

Other Republican leaders shot down the idea of a compromise, like Boehner, backing extention of all the tax cuts. Boehner is also asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to not use House Rules to increase the threshold needed to extend the tax cuts.

Over in the Senate, Mitch McConnell introduced the Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2010, which would extend current tax rates, prevents the return of the marriage penalty and deals with the Alternative Minimum Tax. It also touches on the Death Tax, but to what extent is unclear.

DE Senate: Republicans to decide on nominee today

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Republican primary in Delaware has been nothing short of brutal, and Democrats are loving it. Rep. Mike Castle, generally cast as a liberal Republican, is backed by the state party, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and has been considered the favorite to win until this week when Christine O’Donnell began to surge in the polls.

O’Donnell has received support from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, both of whom contributed to the defeat of Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, who lost to Joe Miller in a primary race that shocked the political establishment. All are hitting Castle for supporting bailouts, declining to support an repeal of ObamaCare and voting for cap-and-trade.

Dick Armey: The Anti-Trent Lott

“To paraphrase the former Leader himself, if recent Senates had had more Jim DeMints and fewer Trent Lotts making economic policy, ‘we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years.’” - Chris Chocola, President of the Club for Growth

On Sunday, Dick Armey, author of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, and Trent Lott, who is representative of everything wrong with the Republican Party, discussed the tea party movement and the current crop of candidates running under its banner.

Armey believes, as he states in this short clip, that the tea party candidates are representative of the mainstream on fiscal issues. Lott, however, believes that they need to be “co-opted” so that people like him can still have a job when they are run out of Washington, DC.

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