The Washington Examiner reached out to Amy Kremer, a friend and chair of the Tea Party Express, and myself yesterday to ask if the Obama Administration finally responding to Sen. Rand Paul on the issue of drone strikes against American citizens on American soil after his 13-hour filibuster was a win for the Tea Party movement:
Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor has rallied the fledgling Tea Party movement from a months-long slump and highlighted the schism between those brassy conservative newcomers and their Republican Party elders.
“What a night,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said after Paul’s filibuster, which began Wednesday about noon and ended about 1 a.m. Thursday. “He has definitely energized the base in a way that it hasn’t been energized in a long time.”
Until Paul’s appearance, the Tea Party’s popularity appeared to be waning. Republican leaders pushed Tea Party lawmakers to the sidelines during budget negotiations with President Obama. After a very successful 2010 election, the Tea Party took a beating in the 2012 contests. And pollsters found that fewer and fewer people were affiliating themselves with the movement.
But Paul’s filibuster attracted huge support on social media sites, from conservatives and liberals, and some believe it could mark a comeback for the movement.
“This is a big deal,” said Jason Pye, editor-in-chief of UnitedLiberty.org, a libertarian blog that follows the Tea Party.
With relative success in the 2012 Presidential elections – considering Ron Paul in the Republican primary and Gary Johnson as the Libertarian candidate in the general – libertarians maintain our strongest position in modern history. With opportunity in front of us, hopes abound to create a “broader freedom movement” – a term which rankles top libertarians.
With this opportunity comes risk – specifically, the risk of being co-opted again, a la Tea Party 2010 – therein diluting an otherwise powerful message. With CPAC 2013 in the near term, the 2014 midterm elections in the – ahem – mid-term, and the 2016 Presidential election in the far-term, we should expect more posturing from establishmentarians, mostly on the Right, for their votes.
It might be tempting to reject all policy ideas that don’t immediately get us to the Promised Land, or to support policy ideas when we disagree with their proposed end states. I don’t think we have to do either/or. I believe we can work incrementally within the existing framework to build bridges and, as the minority, work our ideas upward within a broader movement, strengthening both the broader movement and ourselves.
When presented with new opportunities, the typical impulse for political movements on the Left and Right is to look for new policy positions to woo more voters. But libertarians don’t have a policy problem; we have a messaging problem.
Now that Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014, Georgia is becoming a battleground for fight between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. Over at Georgia Tipsheet, James Richardson recently noted that Tea Party Patriots is considering involvement in the primary, which has led some Republicans to worry that the race “will descend into a conservative pissing match.”
To this point, however, only one candidate, Rep. Paul Broun, has announced. It’s is expected that Rep. Jack Kingston, a life-long appropriator and serial earmarker, will soon announce his campaign. And Rep. Tom Price, a generally solid fiscal conservative, is talking like a candidate and trying to contrast himself as a better communicator for conservative ideals.
Even though Republicans won’t head to the polls in the primary for than a year, there are new numbers out of the Peach State that show a close race. According to the survey conducted by Harper Polling, the race is a dead-heat among a handful of House members from Georgia:
Last week, Karl Rove and American Crossroads raised eyebrows by launching a new political action committee (PAC) aimed at helping so-called “electable conservatives” in primary battles. The news was met with admonition from conservative groups that have helped more fiscally conservative primary challengers, such as Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.
Another shot was recently fired from the establishment, this time by Haley Barbour, former Governor of Mississippi and a fundraiser for American Crossroads. Robert Costa of National Review reported yesterday that Barbour specifically targeted the Club for Growth during a recent talk at Mount Vernon:
Last week, at a closed-door retreat in northern Virginia, Barbour told a large gathering of congressional staffers, including several leadership aides, that party officials should discourage donors from funding the high-profile conservative group.
“We kicked away four or five Senate seats in the last two cycles by nominating candidates who did not have the best chance to win,” he says. “We ought to talk to Republican donors now, in the off-season before the primaries, and discourage them from donating to organizations that will attack good Republicans.”
“Republican groups like the Club for Growth should stop spending money to defeat Republicans,” he adds. “Politics can’t be about purity. Unity wins in politics, purity loses.”
The fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party heated up this weekend as David Brooks, whose columns at The New York Times occasionally knock the freedom movement, claimed that the establishment would eventually triumph:
“I think it’s the beginning of a longer-lasting thing,” Brooks said. “There’s been a lot of calls for Republicans to change. And we have seen that from everybody to Paul Ryan to Marco Rubio. Now we’re beginning to see the donor class really begin to change. There is some question: Are they trying to change just the candidates, so they don’t get Todd Akin, or they trying to actually change some of the substance? And, so far, it seems to be just the candidates. One of the interesting things — and I can’t say I know the answer to this — is, how much will the tea party fight back? There has been some effort that they are saying, oh, the establishment is taking over.”
“But my own sense of things so far is that there is not the will to fight among the tea party, and that a lot of people in the tea party are, frankly — they’re not,” he continued. “They are also Republicans. Say, Rush Limbaugh, for example, who is not tea party. He’s more an establishment Republican who wants the Republican Party to win. So I have a feeling that the establishment is going to have maybe an easier time of it than some might think.”
President Barack Obama will give the first State of the Union address of his second term tomorrow night. It’s expected that he will build upon the incredibly partisan, Leftist agenda laid out in his inaugural address at a time when Republicans in Congress are still struggling to find their message.
While Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will give the Republican response to the State of the Union address, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) will offer a more stark contrast between the policies of the Obama Administration by giving the official Tea Party response:
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will deliver the Tea Party’s official response to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Tea Party Express announced on Friday.
“Since the President has been re-elected, the debt has continued to skyrocket and unemployment has ticked up, but he has offered no solutions and has shown no leadership,” said Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer. “In contrast, Senator Rand Paul has put forth solutions that would spur economic growth and rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending. We are excited that Senator Paul, a conservative leader and strong voice for the Tea Party movement, will be offering our perspective on the state of the union.”
With Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s reelection coming up in 2014, numerous individuals have been looking at taking a whack at the Kentucky senator. He’s annoyed grassroots conservatives, libertarian Republicans, and Tea Party types for awhile now, both for his deals with Senate Democrats to keep things moving (such as the recent deal on filibusters) and just because he really hasn’t done anything to cut spending.
Recently, though, this irritation has built a bridge between Kentucky conservatives and Kentucky liberals, and an unlikely grouping of very strange bedfellows indeed are exploring the possibilities of an alliance against him. Seth Mandel at Commentary magazine doesn’t like this at all:
The sometimes contradictory nature of the grassroots conservative criticism of GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was apparent a few weeks ago when one conservative group began to advertise against McConnell from the right. It turned out this same group, which rates members of Congress on their dedication to conservative principles and freedom, gives McConnell a 95 percent rating.
There is no question that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has an important decision to make in who will succeed and finish the remainder of Jim DeMint’s term. However, there is an aspect to the appointment that hasn’t gotten much, if any, attention.
In 2010, Haley rode the Tea Party wave all the way to Columbia. Early on in her campaign, Erick Erickson wrote that Haley “gets checks in all the major boxes: life, tax cutting, government cutting, honesty, and uncompromising on the need to reform.”
“She is not afraid, even as an elected official, to criticize her own party for losing its way. That’s the type of candidate the Republicans need,” he added.
Unfortunately, Haley’s record in office has been disappointing. In her first year, Haley proposed the largest spending increase in state history (including federal funds). In its biannual Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors, which grades state executives on spending and taxes, the Cato Institute noted that Haley oversaw an 11% spending increase in just two fiscal years.
With Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) under fire from conservatives for his desire to raise taxes as part of a “fiscal cliff” deal, there is speculation that former Gov. Mark Sanford, who made news in 2009 due to an affair, could try to make a political comeback:
For starters he’s done the one thing political observers insisted was absolutely necessary in the event he wanted to attempt a political comeback – legitimize his love affair with Argentinean hottie Maria Belen Chapur. Sanford proposed to Chapur last week in Buenos Aires … and she accepted. The result? What was once viewed by some as a tawdry affair now looks more like thehappy ending to a romance novel.
What else is Sanford doing? Working the press … like Newsday contributor Lane Filler, who encountered Sanford in a very interesting location at the 2012 Republican National Convention this week.
“I saw him coming down the escalator at the press center of the Republican National Convention in Tampa,” Filler writes of his “surprise encounter” with Sanford.
So if Sanford has no political future (and ostensibly knows it) then what exactly was he doing lurking around the press corps at the GOP convention?
Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
House freshman Allen West (R-FL) – a tea party and Fox News favorite – finally conceded defeat to his Democratic opponent on Tuesday. According to a Politico article, “The congressman’s unexpected loss left his advisers, donors and legion of tea party fans searching for answers.”
Here’s one answer: West’s hypocritical votes in favor of federal programs that inappropriately subsidize local concerns apparently didn’t buy him goodwill from voters. I’m referring to West’s votes earlier this year to save the Community Development Block Grant program and the Economic Development Administration, which I previously discussed: