Tea Party

Rand Paul looks to lead in the Senate

Rand Paul

On Tuesday, Politico ran a mostly great story about Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), outlining some of his more libertarian-leanings on issues that dogged the Republican Party in the most recent election cycle:

In the wake of Barack Obama’s reelection win and ahead of a possible 2016 White House bid of his own, the Kentucky Republican plans to mix his hard-line tea party conservatism with more moderate policies that could woo younger voters and minorities largely absent from the GOP coalition. It’s the latest tactic of the freshman senator to inject the Libertarian-minded views shared by his retiring father into mainstream Republican thinking as the party grapples with its future.

In an interview with POLITICO, Paul said he’ll return to Congress this week pushing measures long avoided by his party. He wants to work with liberal Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Republicans to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for pot possession. He wants to carve a compromise immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a proposal he believes could be palatable to conservatives. And he believes his ideas — along with pushing for less U.S. military intervention in conflicts overseas — could help the GOP broaden its tent and appeal to crucial voting blocs that handed Democrats big wins in the West Coast, the Northeast and along the Great Lakes.

“We have three big regions where we’re not competitive,” Paul said. “And we have to be competitive in those regions.”

Republican Base Forgets How Primaries Work

While combing through the post-election coverage, I found this little gem from Tony Lee of Breitbart News:

Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, criticized the Republican Party for hand-picking a Beltway elite candidate who did not campaign forcefully on America’s founding principles and said the “presidential loss is unequivocally on them.”

“For those of us who believe that America, as founded, is the greatest country in the history of the world – a ‘Shining city upon a hill’ – we wanted someone who would fight for us,” Martin said. “We wanted a fighter like Ronald Reagan who boldly championed America’s founding principles, who inspired millions of independents and ‘Reagan Democrats’ to join us, and who fought his leftist opponents on the idea that America, as founded, was a ‘Shining city upon a hill.’

Instead, Martin lamented, “what we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party.”

Er, what?

No, really, I want to know what’s going on here. Because it seems evident to me that Republican voters went to Republican primaries and voted for their candidate for the Republican nomination. The “Establishment” did not foist Romney upon them. Republican voters made their choices at primaries and caucuses across the nation this past spring.

LaTourette is right on social issues, wrong on the Tea Party

Steve LaTourette

Last week. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) tried to explain the Republican Party’s loss during an interview on CNN. LaTourette, who did not seek re-election this year, explained that, while the GOP has the “right message on finances,” it has to learn to get “out of people’s bedrooms”:

Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Republican from Ohio, had some strong language for his party on Thursday, saying that he wants Republicans “out of people’s bedrooms.”

After Republicans lost the presidential race and failed to retake the Senate, LaTourette said the GOP must rein in its extreme right wing and reach out to growing minority groups in order to stay competitive in future elections.

“We have the right message on finances, we have to get out of people’s lives, get out of people’s bedrooms, and we have to be a national party,” LaTourette said on CNN’s Starting Point. “Or else we’re going to lose.”

LaTourette also blasted the idea that the Tea Party movement has the answers for the party, slamming Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock in the process, noting that their views on abortion cost Republican votes:

The notion that the tea party holds the key to Republican success moving forward is “nonsense,” LaTourette said. He also said that “we can’t continue to dis the Latino voters.” Finally, LaTourette took aim at Republican Senate candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, both of whom made controversial remarks about rape during the election.

Random Musings About the Election of 2012

romney

This was a historic election, and few thought the 2012 election would be as serious of a blow-out for the Republican presidential nominee as it was for Sen. John McCain in 2008. Now that a full day has passed since the election, I have had time to collect my thoughts about what went wrong, what went right, and what the future holds.

1) Money can not buy elections. Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, Linda McMahon, Sheldon Adelson, and Citizens United changed the political landscape. Adelson alone spent $53 million, and only 1 of his congressional candidates won. While I don’t live in a swing-state, I saw the endless attack ads on Virgina television channels. My family in Ohio was so tired of it that they largely kept the TV off or watched Netflix. Cookie-cutter Super PAC ads, especially in the era of DVRs, do not move numbers for Presidential candidates.

You can have all the fuel in the world, but it doesn’t matter if no one likes the car. Money is not inherently corrupting, nor do people automatically believe any piece of literature sent to their door. Anyone who disagrees is a Democrat trying to give unfair advantage to labor unions and other left-leaning groups which had the freedom to advocate for candidates long before Citizens United.

Some quick thoughts about the election results

Not much has changed over night. Florida has yet to be called, but Romney trails Obama by some 46,000 votes. Whether or not Romney wins the state doesn’t matter, he’ll still lose the Electoral College. Assuming Obama still maintains a lead in Florida, here is how the map looks after last night:

Final Electoral College Map

There is a lot to say about the election, much of which has already been said by analysts, but I’ve thrown together a few thoughts on some different points. You don’t have to agree with me, but these are things worth nothing.

House Republicans Will Lose Seats: There was talk of House Republicans adding to their majority in the days leading up to the election. CNN noted during their coverage last night that this was a possibility. That will not happen. Some of the gains from 2010 were wiped out last night, especially in Illinois and New York. In Florida, Rep. Allen West lost his bid for re-election by less than 3,000 votes. Democrats managed to keep some of the seats Republicans hoped to pickup — such as GA-12, where Rep. John Barrow defeated Lee Anderson, and UT-4, a race that looked good for the GOP, but Mia Love was unable to defeat Rep. Jim Matheson. In the end, Republicans will keep their majority, but it will be slightly smaller.

IN Senate: Mourdock trails Donnelly headed into election day

mourdock

On Friday, we took a look at the battle for control of the United States Senate, noting that Republicans, who once had high-hopes to gain a majority in that chamber, are very likely to fall short at the polls tomorrow. Their struggles to take control of the Senate can really be highlighted by races in Indiana and Missouri, where the Republican nominees have struggled after making controversial comments about abortion and rape.

Todd Akin’s misstep in Missouri, where he is likely to lose to Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was thought to be the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate, has been well documented. More recently, however, are Richard Mourdock’s troubles in Indiana.

Republicans could make gains in the House of Representatives

United States Capitol

Riding the strength of the Tea Party movement and voter angst, Republicans won 62 seats in the 2010 mid-term election, taking control of the House in an election that was viewed as a referendum on the first-half of President Barack Obama’s term. And even though it looks like they will fail to take control of the Senate this year, Aaron Blake, who writes at The Fix over at the Washington Post, reports that Republicans may actually increase their already sizeable majority in the House of Representatives:

The Fix now projects that the 2012 race for the House is likely to be close to a draw, and there is even a fair chance that Republicans will add to their biggest majority in six decades on Tuesday.
[…]
In recent weeks, as Mitt Romney has gained a few points in the presidential race, a similar but slight shift has been happening at the House level: The generic ballot has tightened.

While Democrats had built a modest advantage on the generic ballot (a measure of whether people prefer a generic Republican or a generic Democrat) when President Obama built some momentum in September, that advantage is basically gone now.

In part because of this, Democrats have seen their candidates in conservative-leaning districts suffer. Friday, we are moving several red-district Democrats into more vulnerable ratings, including Reps. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.).

And because those seats have shifted, it is no longer a foregone conclusion that Democrats will gain seats this year.

New e-book takes a look at the “libertarian vote”

Most Americans typically think about politics in terms of “red” and “blue” states or in terms of liberal and conservative. Independents are sought after in elections, but their voting patters and beliefs are not easily understood by either major party. Fitting into that bloc of voters who are considered independents are libertarians — those who are “fiscal conservative” and “socially liberal.”

There has been a lot of talk about how libertarians should vote in this election, but there really doesn’t seem to be much of an understand from where this important voting bloc is coming. In a new e-book — The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center, David Boaz, David Kirby, and Emily Ekins look at the data, offering insight into what issues help dicate the voting patterns of libertarians, which makes up between 10% to 20% of voters.

You can purchase the e-book, which is reasonably priced at $3.99, for your Kindle over at Amazon.com.

Parts of this book were discussed in a forum earlier this month at the Cato Institute as David Kirby and Emily Ekins explained their recent look at the libertarian roots of the Tea Party, a movement that was instrumental in the 2010 mid-term election:

Mother Jones’ surprisingly good profile of Ted Cruz

Back in July, Ted Cruz sent sent shockwaves through the conservative movement when he defeated David Dewhurst, the establishment-backed candidate, in the Texas GOP primary for United States Senate. Cruz’s sharp personality and oratory helped propel him from the cellar in the polls to beating the GOP establishment to being one of the most anticipated speakers at the Republican National Convention in August.

While those of us that followed Cruz during the primary and subsequent runoff know why he eventually captured the hearts and minds of Texas Republican, Mother Jones, a left-wing magazine, has also taken notice, providing a good profile of this rising GOP star — calling him the “Republican Barack Obama”:

Joe Scarborough defends the Tea Party movement against media attacks

Tea Party Movement

Since coming on the scene in 2009, the Tea Party movement has been maligned or misrepresented by an unsympathetic media. They fawned over Occupy Wall Street, but they quickly fizzled out. But the Tea Party is still around and still having an influence on American politics through backing anti-establishment candidates in Republican primaries.

This is what the movement has become used to since its inception. But in his column at Politico, Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s the Morning Joe, used his column yesterday to rip the media’s treatment of the Tea Party movement:

“Why is the tea party destroying the Republican Party?”

That’s a leading question that I have been asked repeatedly from media pundits and Democratic politicians over the past three years. Over that time, Democratic politicians and media pundits have almost universally accused the tea party of bringing ruin to the Grand Old Party. According to this skewed narrative, Republican leaders were once bipartisan, rational and almost worthy of getting invitations to Georgetown cocktail parties. Now, they are Manchurian candidates held captive by the right-wing beasts whose only goal is to infect the minds of real-life Nick Brodys who dominate the U.S. House.

Sometimes, mainstream publications and Democratic leaders even go so far as to say kind things about Ronald Reagan as a way to attack the tea party. They speak glowingly of Reagan and contrast him with the barbarians who now run the Republican Party. This, of course, conveniently overlooks the nasty attacks Reagan has endured at the hands of those who now cynically praise the 40th president.

 


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