tea party movement
In the wake of the shooting last week in Aurora, Colorado, Tea Party groups are understandably upset that Brian Ross, an investigative reporter at ABC News, injected movement into news as Americans were still trying to figure out what exactly had happened. This only lends justification to the view of many on the right that the media is stacked against them and is, at least in this case, literally looking for any excuse to make them look bad; even if it’s just conjecture.
And keep in mind that it wasn’t just in this particular instance where the Tea Party has been blamed for murder. As the Washington Examiner notes, there are more recent incidences of the media jumping to conclusions before the dust had cleared.
But the Tea Party movement did find an unlikely defender. On Monday, Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, ripped ABC News a new one, equating what Ross did to “I’m feeling ‘lazy’ button” and calling for his suspension:
While most Americans already are looking to November in anticipation of getting this presidential campaign over with, there are still a couple of races that have yet to be determined outcomes.
In Arizona, for example, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is a locked in a surprisingly tough primary challenge against Wil Cardon. The Club for Growth has come to Flake’s aid, dropping $500,000 in ads in the state. But Flake’s campaign hasn’t had it easy, being knocked back by some missteps along the way. He may, however, have just received a boost as Sarah Palin has given Flake her coveted endorsement:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in his Senate primary, a boost for Flake as he fends off a tough challenge from wealthy businessman Wil Cardon (R).
“Jeff is a proven conservative crusader, and today I am proud to announce my support for his campaign to become the next U.S. Senator from the great state of Arizona,” Palin said in a statement provided by Flake’s campaign. “Credited by many as the leading anti-earmark crusader in the House, Jeff has fought hard against pork barrel spending — often times casting one of the few GOP ‘no’ votes on bloated spending measures. He’s not afraid to ‘go rogue’ against his own party and its leadership; and even though he has sometimes suffered the consequences from GOP leaders for failing to toe the party line, yet he continues to fight for what is right.”
The freshman class elected to the House during the 2010 mid-term elections came Washington with a lot of hype. After all, this group of 87 members were dubbed the “Tea Party Class” thanks to coming to power during the height of the Tea Party movement. But not all of the members of this class have voted in the best interest of taxpayers, despite some still claiming the mantle of the Tea Party.
Yesterday, the Club for Growth released a study examining the votes of the class, showing that many have indeed been disappointments:
In the 2010 election, 87 freshmen House Republicans came to Washington pledging fealty to the Tea Party movement and the ideals of limited government and economic freedom. The mainstream media likes to say that the freshman class is the most uncompromising group of fiscal conservatives in history…but just how Tea Party are they? Did all 87 freshmen always vote to cut spending and limit the size of government, or did some of them vote like the big-spending R.I.N.Os of the past?
This study was compiled from the Club for Growth’s Congressional Scorecard, which evaluates lawmakers based upon their commitment to limited government and pro-growth policies. What we found was that while some freshmen have lived up to the promises they made to the tea party movement, dozens of them are big-spenders and are no different from many of the veteran Republicans they serve with.
We covered the Club’s Congressional Scorecard back in March, the results of which were based on dozens of voters related to fiscal issues, including the repeal of ObamaCare, cutting market distorting energy subsidies, and a wide range of spending cuts.
As he comes closer to securing the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul’s delegate strategy notwithstanding, Mitt Romney is no doubt weighing the various names that could partner with him on the ticket. There are a few safe picks that would appease conservatives, but not many that would appeal to independent voters; at least not without a proper rollout and a lot of selling.
But yesterday at the National Review, Robert Costa floated our old friend, Tax Hike Mike Huckabee, someone that has been under radar when it comes to a possible vice presidential pick:
[A]ccording to several sources close to the Romney campaign, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the vice-presidential search, the 56-year-old Arkansan may be included in the veep mix.
To many Republicans, a ticket with a Mormon bishop and a Baptist preacher isn’t far-fetched. “In a way, it’s almost a dream ticket,” says Ed Rollins, the chairman of Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign. “He’s substantive and knows domestic policy, and his personality wouldn’t overshadow Romney’s.”
For now, it isn’t clear whether Huckabee is going to be vetted, or that he’s anywhere near Romney’s short list. But he is, at the very least, being discussed. As one Romney ally puts it, tapping Huckabee would energize tea-party conservatives, evangelicals, and related voters who soured on Romney during the GOP primaries. He’s also not a sweat-inducing pick, since he was vetted by the Beltway press during his presidential run four years ago.
Last year, comedian Chris Rock made some disparaging remarks about Tea Party activists, calling them “insane” and “crazy” and insinuating that they are racists. The comments were certainly disappointing, but they weren’t much different from what other actors and have said about the Tea Party since it came on the scene in 2009.
But when Jason Mattera, a conservative author, asked him about the comments in January at the Sundance Film Festival, Rock reacted violently, ripping the camera from Mattera’s camerawoman and throwing it some 50 feet:
I’m not a big fan of this sort of “journalism,” nor do I particularly care for Mattera’s tactics. And I can understand that Rock felt trapped. But he could have obviously handled the situation in a way that doesn’t make him look like a complete psycho. Rock owes Mattera and his camerawoman an apology and a new camera.
It’s no secret that national grassroots and Tea Party groups, including our friends at FreedomWorks, are gunning for Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), who is one of the poster children (metaphorically speaking) of everything wrong with the Republican Party from a fiscal standpoint.
His primary opponent, Richard Mourdock, is seizing on that point, recently launching an ad hitting Lugar on wasteful earmarks, including supporting the now-infamous Bridge to Nowhere and a teapot museum:
Lugar’s absence from Indiana is also becoming a point for many conservatives and Democrats in the state. Apparently, Lugar lists a home he sold some 35 years ago as his primary residence. So when he visits his “constituents” in Indiana, he winds up staying in a hotel at taxpayer expense (emphasis mine):
The Indiana Democratic Party has combed through records going all the way back to Lugar’s first year in the Senate, 1977.
With a win in Florida under his belt, Mitt Romney is looking west to the caucus in Nevada tomorrow where the latest poll shows him leading his rivals for the Republican nomination by a large margin.
The poll, sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ) and the local CBS affiliate, shows Romney taking 45% of the vote among likely caucus-goers, with a substantial amount of support coming from Mormons. Romney also performs well with “strong supporters” of the Tea Party movement, taking 27% of the important faction in the Republican base. Gingrich takes 37% of Tea Party voters.
Here is how the rest of the poll shakes out:
- Mitt Romney: 45%
- Newt Gingrich: 25%
- Rick Santorum: 11%
- Ron Paul: 9%
Gingrich’s numbers have fallen off since the last LVRJ poll, which was conducted just before Christmas. At that time Gingrich was down four points to Romney — inside the margin of error, so they were essentially tied — in a state where many observers didn’t expect much of contest. Fast-forward to today, Romney is enjoying his highest level of support in Nevada.
The poll is disappointing (and surprising) for Ron Paul, who largely skipped out on the primary in Florida to focus on caucus states. As you can see, Paul is set to finish last, despite being “deeply organized” in the state, according to the LVRJ. He finished second there in 2008, though the process was controversial.
Next Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama will deliver his fourth State of the Union address — and hopefully, his last. While we don’t yet know the themes and issues that Obama will discuss, we got a hint of what is to come in the Republican response as House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will counter Obama’s address:
In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) praised Daniels as “a fierce advocate for smaller, less costly and more accountable government” and said that he “has the record to prove it.”
“For making tough choices and keeping his promises, Mitch Daniels is the right choice at the right time to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s address,” Boehner added.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called Daniels “an eloquent spokesman for limited government” and said that he “knows that President Obama’s three-year experiment in big government has made our economy worse and our future more uncertain, and he knows that Americans want a government that’s simpler, streamlined and secure.”
“He is a forceful advocate of pro-growth policies like fundamental tax reform, regulatory reform and energy security,” McConnell said. “And he is the right choice to explain the challenges we face and to outline a hopeful, common-sense vision for moving America forward by growing the economy, not the national debt.”
Over the last few weeks, Rick Santorum has made it increasingly clear that he is not a libertarian. We already knew this. Last summer, Santorum expressed concern about libertarian influence inside the Republican Party, not just in terms of our views on social issues, but he seems to have rejected economic views in the Tea Party movement:
Without question, Santorum’s record is one of supporting big government. As noted last week, he likes to knock others on entitlements, but never seems to own up to his own support for expanding them. Others in the conservative movement are noting Santorum’s backing for increased government power in the economy.
Now that Rick Santorum has managed to get some attention after a good showing in Iowa, more information is coming out about his big government past. I touched on this earlier this week, noting that Santorum backed expanding entitlements and bloated budgets. But more pundits are starting to pay attention to his record.
Writing at the National Review, Michael Tanner explains that Santorum is pretty much in line with the “compassionate conservativism” offered by George W. Bush:
When Hillary Clinton was justly excoriated by conservatives for her book It Takes A Village, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives, Rick Santorum countered with his book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives. Among the many government programs he supported: national service, publicly financed trust funds for children, community-investment incentives, and economic-literacy programs in “every school in America” (italics in original).
Santorum’s voting record shows that he embraced George Bush–style “big-government conservatism.” For example, he supported the Medicare prescription-drug benefit and No Child Left Behind.