Recently, the TEA Party movement celebrated its first anniversary. At first the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party activists were dismissed as a few grumpy right-wingers upset that America elected a black president. They were given little credence beyond being an amusing political side show. That soon changed. On April 15th hundreds of thousands of average Americans showed up at protest rallies across the nation, outraged at the “stimulus” package of goodies doled out to special interests, liberal activism organizations and Democrat pet projects. CNN reported that a few thousand people showed up at the rally in Atlanta, but I was there and can assure you that it was close to ten-fold that amount. It was shoulder-to-shoulder for about four blocks in one direction, not counting the people on the side streets.
Once they could no longer be dismissed as a fringe element, TEA Party activists were labeled as “Astro-turf” (fake grass roots), accused of being flunkies of Big Corporate America, mindlessly doing the bidding of their masters. They were accused of being a fabrication of FOX News and the Republican Party. They were accused of being everything except what they are…average Americans, generally with traditional conservative values, who were fed up over 20 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush politics, two political parties who paid only lip service to the people they claimed to serve while engaging in a bacchanalian orgy of political perks, who had finally been pushed over the edge by a pork-laden spending bill of almost $800 billion. They were saying “Enough is enough!”, and they were going to make their voices be heard.
As we all know, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under fire for its targeting of Tea Party groups. This scandal, while outrageous and demanding of answers and accountability, isn’t exactly a new thing for the United States’ most disliked bureaucratic entity.
The Cato Institute has a released a new video highlighting the past administrations’ — from FDR to LBJ to Nixon — uses of the IRS to target political and ideological opponents. The video features comments from David Keating, President of the Center for Competitive Politics; Michael MacLeod-Ball, Chief Legislative Council at the ACLU; John Samples, Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Representative Government; and Gene Healy, Vice President of the Cato Institute.
Samples and Keating noted that there are efforts in and outside of Congress to give the IRS more power to monitor groups that have tax-exempt status, which they explain is an ironic notion, given this most recent scandal. Healy also points to recent comments by President Obama, who decried voices warning of tyranny in a recent commencement address.
“I think if you’re one of these Tea Party groups that spent, in some cases, two years, under an IRS inquisition, you might start to think that these voices are onto something,” said Healy, just before a clip of President Obama joking about auditing university officials who had refused him an honorary degree.
There is always ego involved in politics, there is no denying that. Some elected officials may say that they are public servants or what have you, but that’s a talking point more than anything else, so a certain amount of arrogance and narcissism is expected when dealing with elected officials. But what you don’t expect is a president to go through White House biographies of their predecessors to invoke themselves:
Many of President Obama’s fervent devotees are young enough not to have much memory of the political world before the arrival of The One. Coincidentally, Obama himself feels the same way—and the White House’s official website reflects that.
The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on www.whitehouse.gov, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford). Here are a few examples:
His opposition all hopes that President Obama follows in the footsteps of George H.W. Bush and becomes a one term President. However, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air wrote a piece pondering the possibility that Obama will simply not seek re-election rather than lose the election outright. He cites parallels with post FDR presidents who did just that, with the closest parallel being with Lyndon Johnson.
Obama’s popularity has plummeted recently, as Morissey cites that it’s also dropped in places where the President should be strong:
But the decision may end up being out of his hands if the political environment doesn’t improve. Obama’s numbers are plummeting in places Democrats can hardly afford to lose. In Pennsylvania, where Obama will top a ticket that also includes Bob Casey’s bid for a second Senate term, he’s either at 43% approval (Quinnipiac) or at 35% (Muhlenberg). Wisconsin turned Republican last year and a series of elections this year confirmed it, and Herb Kohl’s seat in the Senate is up for grabs. Obama can be expected to drag down the ticket in Virginia (James Webb’s seat is open), Florida (Bill Nelson), Ohio (Sherrod Brown), Maryland (Ben Cardin), and Michigan (Debbie Stabenow). Obama is underwater in New York and New Jersey already, two normally staunch Democratic states, both with Senate races on the line as well. If Obama runs at the top of those tickets, he might eke out victories in the two states, but his presence on the ticket will depress Democratic turnout and might endanger Kirsten Gillibrand and Robert Menendez; Democrats would almost certainly have to spend a ton of money to bolster them that they’d normally spend elsewhere.
For the last few days I’ve had a political debate with a very liberal friend. The subject was the TEA Party movement, which he says is driven by racial hatred and greed. He asserts that the TEA Party is driven by racist white people enraged that their tax dollars are used to provide welfare benefits to blacks and Hispanics. I’ve asked him repeatedly to explain, then, why it is nearly impossible to find signs at TEA Party rallies that mention race at all (this is often countered with the absurd claim that the racism is “subtle” or “hidden,” and that opposition to the policies of President Obama, a black man, are de facto proof of racism).
After numerous exchanges on the subject, with me offering concrete proof debunking his claims, or questions which he is unable to answer, he finally admitted that he has no way to prove his claims but he knows them to be true anyway, and nothing I can say will change his mind one iota.
And liberals make fun of religious people that believe in creationism or have faith in the healing power of prayer? That is truly ironic.
The simple fact is that, while liberals often make fun of people who “cling to their guns or religion,” modern liberalism is in and of itself a religion. Its members have a set of beliefs which must be accepted on faith, and which are wholly unverifiable on the basis of fact and reason. Liberalism has its articles of faith, its prophets and its holy scripture. It shuns unbelievers and excommunicates heretics. And above all, it has an unshakeable belief in its god, the State.
In truth, modern liberals are more appropriately described as statists (those that belief that the state is and should be the Supreme Arbiter of the ordering of society, and that the concerns of the individual should always be subservient and subordinate to the will of the state). Modern liberalism is, in fact, entirely antithetical to the classical liberalism of the Founding Fathers.
Why would the Obama Administration want to mirror LBJ?:
In mapping its strategy, the Obama team chose to take its cues from another Democratic senator-turned-president: following the legislative model employed by Johnson to enact Medicare in 1965.
“There are two qualities these presidents have in common,” said White House senior adviser David Axelrod. Like Obama, Johnson “had a big vision and drove the country toward it, and second, he had a great appreciation for the legislative process.”
That should be a red flag. Medicare, part of President Johnson’s “Great Society” plan, has long-term unfunded liabilities of $31.8 trillion (p. 28), according to the most recent financial report from the federal government.
Despite President Barack Obama’s denials, he is as responsible for the deficit as his predecessor and is actually making it worse:
Congress controls the purse strings, not the president, and it was under Democratic control for Obama’s last two years as Illinois senator. Obama supported the emergency bailout package in President George W. Bush’s final months - a package Democratic leaders wanted to make bigger.
To be sure, Obama opposed the Iraq war, a drain on federal coffers for six years before he became president. But with one major exception, he voted in support of Iraq war spending.
The economy has worsened under Obama, though from forces surely in play before he became president, and he can credibly claim to have inherited a grim situation.
Still, his response to the crisis goes well beyond “one-time charges.”