tea party movement
Continuing his protest against not being invited to participate during Monday’s CNN-sponsored Republican debate in New Hampshire, Gary Johnson, who served two-terms as Governor of New Mexico, stated his case for inclusion at FoxNews.com:
In the early part of 1991, there was a governor from a relatively small state who, away from the national spotlight, had compiled a credible record, been reelected by those he served, and who was in the early stages of putting together a national campaign for President. His ranking in national political polls – when he was included – was in the neighborhood of 1-2%. By the end of 1991, he had skyrocketed to roughly six percent.
His name: Bill Clinton.
The so-called “frontrunners” for the ’92 Democrat presidential when Bill Clinton was still a blip on the screen? Mario Cuomo and Jerry Brown, both of whom were polling in double-digits. We all know how that turned out.
Likewise, in 1975, another governor, Jimmy Carter, was polling at 1%. And in 1987, the same was true of a fellow named Dukakis.
The point is clear: Using polls this early in a presidential election cycle to define who is a serious candidate or pick potential winners is a bad idea. Using them to exclude me, another Governor with a solid track record, from a critical national primary debate is even worse. But that is precisely what CNN and the other sponsors of the June 13 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate are doing.
While perusing Twitter the other day, I came across this story:
“Right-wing talk radio may have worn out its welcome, at least for now,” reports Crain’s New York Business.
A new Arbitron report shows Rush Limbaugh’s ratings down 33% from a year ago and Sean Hannitty down 28% over the same time period. Meanwhile, more centrist personalities — Don Imus in the morning and John Batchelor at night — were both up from a year earlier.
Admittedly, I don’t listen to much talk radio these days; but when I first read this story, one point that immediate entered my mind. That is that 2011 is not an election year; so I don’t know that is supposed to be a surprise or somehow shows that “right-wing” talking radio is in decline. The counter to that point is that the GOP presidential race is heating up, so listeners should be tuning in to hear what the talking heads have to say. Not really. It’s still very early on and no one seems very interested in the race right now. It’ll likely jump back up during the summer and into the fall and winter.
It would be interesting to see a comparison with an off-year to the previous election year. Maybe from that we can draw a reasonable conclusion. Or maybe we can look at how conservative radio shows are capitalizing on new medium, as Jeffrey Lord notes over at The American Spectator:
Limbaugh and conservative talkers Sean Hannity and Mark Levin are not only not losing their audience, as low-tech (or is that no-tech?) political critics are braying, the three are so far ahead of the communications curve that their liberal blogger and news outlet political foes are literally clueless even as the revolution unfolds right in front of them.
What mediums, exactly?:
Despite his best efforts, Senator Rand Paul was unable to tip the cart known as the Patriot Act over. The freshman senator gave it a valiant effort and developed some unlikely allies along the way. When you are mentioned as an ally of Dick Durbin on an issue, and you’re really a Tea Party favorite, then you give life to the cliche that politics makes strange bedfellows.
However, Sen. Paul may well have shown libertarians the path towards transforming the nation, despite the failure. From MSNBC.com:
Paul argued that in the rush to meet the terrorist threat in 2001 Congress enacted a Patriot Act that tramples on individual liberties. He had some backing from liberal Democrats and civil liberties groups who have long contended the law gives the government authority to spy on innocent citizens.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he voted for the act when he was a House member in 2001 “while ground zero was still burning.” But “I soon realized it gave too much power to government without enough judicial and congressional oversight.”
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said the provision on collecting business records can expose law-abiding citizens to government scrutiny. “If we cannot limit investigations to terrorism or other nefarious activities, where do they end?” he asked.
“The Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans’ privacy and violate their constitutional rights,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.
While President Barack Obama’s team believes Mitt Romney is their biggest threat in 2012 (sorry, I just don’t see why they think that), the folks at FreedomWorks note that his lack of authencity and his health care plan that served as a blueprint for ObamaCare is leading tea party activists to reject his candidacy:
FreedomWorks is led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and Matt Kibbe, an economist and former Capitol Hill aide. More than 30 employees, as well as a fresh class of several interns, work out of spacious seventh floor offices near the U.S. Capitol. The group knows they cannot impose their will on the fiercely independent conservative organizers fueling the Tea Party. But they say the activist base is just as anti-Romney as they are.
Kibbe said in an interview that FreedomWorks has no plans at the moment to endorse an opponent of Romney’s in the primary. But others in the organization made clear they will devote considerable resources toward helping whoever emerges as the most viable Republican in the primary other than the putative front runner.
Brendan Steinhauser, who travels around the country meeting with activists as FreedomWorks’ top liaison to the grassroots, said most people he talks to are “definitely trying to stop Romney.”
With an opening on the Senate Finance Committee due to the resignation of Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), the folks over at FreedomWorks are making a strong push to get Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) appointed to fill the seat:
—This is a great opportunity for Sen. McConnell to build on his comment that “the tea party has had an overwhelmingly positive impact” by appointing one of the Senators who best represents tea party ethos.
—The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over the issues that bring the tea party together—free markets, fiscal responsibility, and constitutionally limited government. Sen. DeMint has a strong legislative record on this fiscal policy set, fighting for fundamental tax reform, consumer-driven healthcare, free trade, and proposing bold solutions for Social Security.
—DeMint was one of the first lawmakers to embrace the tea party movement and was one of the very few politicians invited to speak at our historic 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C in 2009.
—Sen. DeMint’s appointment would be a clear signal to our broad and active movement that Republicans in Washington are still listening. Sen. DeMint has requested a seat on the committee every time one has been available. Given his seniority this time, and his importance to the powerful tea party movement, now is the perfect time to offer him a seat.
FreedomWorks is encouraging you to call Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office at (202) 224-3135 to show that there is support for DeMint, who pushed for strong legislation to Audit the Federal Reserve last year, to be appointed to this important committee.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) visited New Hampshire yesterday. No, he’s not running for president; But he did take a shot at Donald Trump, the statist real estate mogul that is considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination and making a fool out of himself over the birther non-issue:
While speaking at a breakfast with New Hampshire Republicans one day after “The Donald” visited the Granite State, Paul riffed off the potential GOP presidential candidate’s “birther” questions.
“I’ve come to New Hampshire today because I’m very concerned,” said Paul, according to The New York Times. “I want to see the original long-form certificate of Donald Trump’s Republican registration.”
Paul’s comments follow up on some GOP-aligned groups’ effort to discredit Trump as a conservative. The free-market Club for Growth has accused Trump of being a liberal for his previous support of universal healthcare and his desire to raise tariffs on China.
Paul, a Tea Party favorite, said it would serve the GOP better to get behind a candidate who has better conservative credentials.
“Let’s look to Republicans who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk,” he said. “If we find the right candidate, I see no reason why we can’t win in 2012.”
Even though I’ve already come out in support of Gary Johnson, I have to admit that I’m kind of glad to see Ron Paul make this step forward. There are plenty of arguments in support (or against) either of the pro-liberty candidates we’re looking to have. I have my opinions, and other folks have theirs. It’s all good. However, having two candidates may well work out for the best for everyone.
I’ve been as guilty as anyone of thinking that the liberty movement can really only support one guy. In reality, that still remains to be seen. While Johnson is somewhat more likely to resonate better with independents and moderates, Paul will resonate better with the Tea Party groups. This adds a somewhat more diverse mix listening to the pro-freedom messages of both candidates.
Yes, eventually one candidate will probably bow out. Let’s face it, the odds aren’t great that even one of these men will win the nomination. The odds aren’t particularly great that both will make it all the way to the convention. One will, more likely admit defeat and probably endorse the other one. It doesn’t really matter either way. You see, those who liked the message of one are far more likely to find plenty to like in the other anyways.
The pro-liberty movement will, eventually, settle behind one of the two. Yes, I do believe the best man is Johnson, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t support Paul if Johnson bowed out. I can’t think of any other Johnson supporters who wouldn’t do the same. Truth be told, I suspect the same can be said of Paul supporters as well.
Last week, the Club for Growth slammed Donald Trump hard for his past support of eminent domain - essentially stealing private property for personal gain - laying out a few instances of his support of the tactic, which included an attempt to take the property of an elderly woman to build a parking lot for limos.
Mike Leahy has a great post over at Broadside Books that takes issue with Trump for backing big government over the Little Pink House; also noting that this behavior should rule Trump out as a presidential contender for anyone in the tea party movement:
As a developer, Trump is certainly familiar with the legal principle known as eminent domain, a notorious violation of individual liberty, which allows the state to seize the property of a private individual (usually at below market prices) in order to use that property for what the state determines to be a “public purpose.” Though the “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment was intended to prevent the possibility that “ private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” the state in 20th and 21st century America often uses its overwhelming power to define “just compensation” quite differently than the owner of the private property being taken.
CNN reports that less than 50% of Republican voters are less than thrilled with their potential candidates for 2012, which is hardly surprising. Conversations with Republican voters have revealed the same thing to me. This could be a potential problem come November of that year, but there’s a possibility that there’s a silver lining for libertarians.
You see, the lack of a true front runner means that there are a lot of votes still out there. Without a candidate to rally behind, Republicans can take a look at the field with a more open mind. In a GOP that is starting to see benefits from a Tea Party movement that often shuns social issues, instead focusing on fiscal matters.
The door is open, at least for the time being. However, it’s essential that libertarian leaning candidates to make the most of it. They will need to make their cases clearly and coherently, but also understand that winning elections means not just using statistics, but emotions. Far to many people vote with their hearts, not their heads. However, that’s grounds for another post at another time.
For now, let’s take a look at the pathetic field the GOP has so far and it’s less than inspiring. Donald Trump is the only one I want to last the whole way, and that’s purely for entertainment value, not any real grasp of policy. After all, the man who believes Obama wasn’t born in this country thinks that there might be a right to privacy. Might. Let’s look at the rest of the field.
Sarah Palin - Enough said.
Mike Huckabee - Oh yeah. Raise my taxes. Please. What I really want is socialism with a religious flare instead of Obama’s socialism with a populist flare.
Mitt Romney - Well, we already have ObamaCare, so his worst screw up in Massachusetts won’t be replicated.
Newt Gingrich - See Sarah Palin
The power of Ayn Rand devotees has impressed some Hollywood distribution executives, who took note of the hefty $5,640 per-theater average scored by “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1” during its opening weekend.
“Shocking,” one executive said about the healthy business the low-budget film has been doing, considering its “awful” marketing plan.
Awful or not, business has been brisk enough for producers Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro to expand from 299 theaters to 425 this weekend and to 1,000 by the end of the month. They don’t have enough film prints to fill all the orders.
“Things have turned for us,” Kaslow said. “When we started, exhibitors were not embracing the film like we thought they would. Now, we can pretty much go into as many theaters as we want. It’s just a matter of logistics.”
The producers stand by their marketing campaign, which relied heavily on the Internet to drum up support among members of the Tea Party, libertarians and other Rand enthusiasts.