tea party movement

Absurd fingerpointing continues in wake of Arizona shooting

As more become clear about Jared Loughner, the facts seem to mean less and less for those seeking to turn this tragedy into a political witch hunt. It appears that Loughner, had an obsession with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) dating back to 2007 - before Sarah Palin or the tea party movement came on the national scene, and the warning signs that Loughner was an unstable person had been ignored; even by police.

And while the debate on Loughner’s political leanings is still raging, Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post notes that he is a registered independent:

Loughner registered to vote on Sept. 29, 2006, identifying himself as an independent. Records show he voted in the 2006 and 2008 elections but is current listed as “inactive” on the state’s voter roles — meaning that he did not vote in November.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, liberals sought to paint Loughner as an anti-government, tea party conservative. Conservatives retorted that Loughner lacked anything close to a coherent political philosophy — a case strengthened by subsequent glimpses into his personal life that suggests someone struggling with mental illness.

Loughner’s decision to affiliate as an independent rather than a Republican or Democrat would seem to affirm the sense that while he targeted Giffords in the attack, it was not a decision born of a set of deeply held political beliefs that fit neatly into either party.

On the tragedy in Arizona, political rhetoric and fingerpointing

Since Saturday’s shooting in Arizona, my comments on the tragedy have been limited because there are a lot of things being said from all sides and I felt that I should wait until more information was discovered before making any comments.

Unfortunately, others have felt the need to be reactionary, rush to judgment and blame the most convenient figure(s) or movement to take advantage of the situation in hopes to score cheap political points.

Jared Loughner is mentally disturbed, it’s seem very unlikely that Sarah Palin or another politician or the tea party movement had any influence on his actions.

Let’s face it, we’re always going to have differences. And with those differences comes, at times, heat rhetoric - and it comes from all sides, conservative and liberal. There are occasionally individuals that react in an inappropriate manner, either verbally or physically abusive. And other take it to the next level by attempting to take the lives of someone they disagree with. Yes, it’s unfortunately when it happens, and we shouldn’t play down the significance of loss of life.

We should remember that with a free society occasionally comes some excess. With freedom of speech comes vitriolic and incendiary speech, and sometimes hate speech.

Liberty Links: Morning Reads for Monday, January 10th

Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.

Tea party groups warn GOP

With the GOP now taking control of the House, but showing signs that they may be backing down from promises made on the campaign trail, tea party groups are warning Republicans that they are watching them:

As Republicans celebrated their new power in Washington yesterday, two prominent Tea Party activists walked the halls of Capitol Hill carrying a message: we’re keeping an eye on you.

Although many freshman lawmakers ran on a Tea Party platform — and enjoyed Tea Party support — Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, the co-founders of the national group, Tea Party Patriots, aren’t taking anything for granted.

They wasted no time expressing their displeasure with Republican leaders who have been signaling that they would not be able to follow through on their pledge to cut $100 billion from the federal budget this year. They were also passing along the sentiment that the vast majority of their members across the country oppose raising the debt ceiling and support spending cuts.

“The piggy bank is empty,” Meckler told ABC News yesterday, and while he and Martin agreed that the government should not default on its loans, he said following through on the promise to significantly trim the budget was “about political will.”

For their part, GOP leaders pushed back on the suggestion that they were breaking a promise on that score.

Holtz-Eakin sets the record straight on the debt ceiling

The Obama Administration and Democrats are presenting Republicans with their first challenge on reducing the size and scope of government with a vote expected to occur in the first half of the year to raise the debt ceiling to almost $14.3 trillion. Democrats and some Republicans are warning of dire economic consequences if the increase isn’t passed.

Over at the Daily Caller, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former head of the Congressional Budget Office, takes issue with the view presented by the Obama Administration:

To me, at least, leadership means you don’t “talk down” the economy and don’t demagogue important economic issues. As director of economic policy for the McCain 2008 campaign, I took great pains to ensure that the senator was not perceived as predicting (or worse, advocating) doom for the U.S. economy. When running for president one should act and speak like someone who would be president.

I’ve never been sure that the Obama team understood or agreed with this view. As a candidate and even as president, Barack Obama has been uneven in his handling of economic distress. At times he has appeared presidential, but at others seemed willing to predict the worst “unless” his policies were adopted (think back to the debate over the stimulus bill). This has the same feel. Goolsbee’s quote — “The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.” — has no business being uttered by a prominent administration official.

Republicans take control of the House

The results of the mid-term election became a reality for Democrats yesterday as Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and more than 90 new members were seated.

John Boehner (R-OH) defeated Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the election for Speaker. In fact, 19 members of her own caucus voted for someone else (11 voted for Heath Shuler), voted present or did not vote at all; the most members of a caucus to vote against their party’s nominee since 1923.

The power exchange wasn’t limited to the Congress, as the transition also took place on Twitter. The Daily Caller notes:

Late Tuesday evening, hours before the Wednesday kick-off of the 112th Congress, Rep. Pelosi dutifully ceded the use of @SpeakerPelosi in exchange for @NancyPelosi. Meanwhile, @JohnBoehner remains to be actively used by the entering Speaker (he also used @GOPLeader, but that account has been handed over to Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor), while @SpeakerBoehner became the Ohio congressman’s active account Wednesday morning.

Liberty Links: Morning Reads for Tuesday, January 4th

Below is a collection of the dozen or more links that I didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to take a look at. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.

Tea party movement not happy with GOP

It looks like the honeymoon between tea partyers and Republicans is over as some cracks are starting to show in a relationship that led to a takeover of the House of Representatives and gains in the Senate:

Just a month ago, Tea Party leaders were celebrating their movement’s victories in the midterm elections. But as Congress wrapped up an unusually productive lame-duck session last month, those same Tea Party leaders were lamenting that Washington behaved as if it barely noticed that American voters had repudiated the political establishment.

In their final days controlling the House, Democrats succeeded in passing legislation that Tea Party leaders opposed, including a bill to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers at the site of the World Trade Center attacks, an arms-control treaty with Russia, a food safety bill and a repeal of the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.

“Do I think that they’ve recognized what happened on Election Day? I would say decisively no,” said Mark Meckler, a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, which sent its members an alert last month urging them to call their representatives to urge them to “stop now and go home!!”

Senate moves forward to final vote on tax cut extension

The Senate voted for cloture yesterday, an important step to passing a two-year extension of current tax rates (with some sweetners for members to help ensure passage):

The proposal to extend the Bush-era tax rates will proceed.

The Senate reached the 60 votes needed to move forward with President Obama’s $858 billion plan to extend the current income tax rates Monday afternoon. It ultimately passed 83-15.

The measure would extend the Bush-era tax rates for two years in return for a 13-month extension of federal unemployment benefits. The package also will set the estate tax rate at 35 percent for assets beyond $5 million.

Five Republicans, nine Democrats and one independent have cast dissenting votes, including Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who spent more than eight hours on the Senate floor last Friday railing against the deal. Nevada Sen. John Ensign, who joined Republicans Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio to vote against cloture, has said he opposes the measure because the unemployment benefits in the package are not paid for.

A slate of liberal Democrats who have staunchly supported a tax increase for the wealthy also supported the vote to move toward final passage. New York Sen. Charles Schumer, Michigan Sen. Deborah Stabenow and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, all fierce opponents of the Bush tax rates, cast a “yea” vote.

Some Republicans look for way around earmark moratorium

Just a few weeks after voting to extend a self-imposed moratorium on earmarks, some so-called conservatives are looking for away around the ban, fretting that their pet projects will now be put at risk:

[S]ome Republicans are discussing exemptions to the earmark ban, allowing transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and water projects. While transportation earmarks are probably the most notorious — think “Bridge to Nowhere” — there is talk about tweaking the very definition of “earmark.”

“It’s like what beauty is,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.). “Everyone knows what a bridge to nowhere is, or an airport that lands no airplanes, or a statue to you — everyone knows that’s bad. It’s easy to say what an earmark isn’t, rather than what an earmark is.”

The issue has popped up most frequently at the Conservative Opportunity Society, the caucus founded by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in the early 1980s. During their Wednesday morning meeting last week, caucus members had a long discussion about how the Republican Party could redefine “member-directed spending,” as earmarks are formally called on the Hill.

Conservatives like Roe, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Iowa Rep. Steve King are among those trying to figure out a longer-term, sustainable way to get money back to projects in their districts.

“This isn’t trying to be too cute by half of what is an earmark and what isn’t,” Bachmann told POLITICO on Wednesday. “But we have to address the issue of how are we going to fund transportation projects across the country?”

Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) took to Twitter to put out the obvious hypocrisy of his colleagues:


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