I’m temporarily living in a small Alabama town that’s still safe enough to allow my children to ride their bikes down the street unattended and to leave your door unlocked while you run to the store. It’s quaint and seems untouched by the goings on in Washington, DC… and sometimes even Montgomery. But of course, it’s not. And conversations with the people you meet at the grocery store or the park reveal that. People are angry. Very angry. Thankfully, they’re also becoming organized and that is starting to make a difference.
I’m not a whole-hearted Tea Partier. I have my doubts about its long-term effectiveness, especially at a federal level if they continue to put all their efforts behind big-ticket races. But I think their potential is almost unlimited when it comes to smaller, local offices.
Recently, our town had a street festival featuring music, crafts, vendors and of course, politicians running for office, busy greeting people and kissing babies. I stopped to talk to one of the candidates who is running for a state house seat as he stood in the middle of the street handing out balloons. Though my questions were asked with cynicism, the answers returned were thoughtful, sincere and refreshing. Before too long, I realized I was talking to a real Tea Party candidate. This guy was a true believer in the need to shrink government and his mannerisms were about as un-politician like as you can get.
But it got better. As he told his story, it become clear that he had been the underdog in the primary, battling against a better-funded, establishment-picked candidate who hardly qualified to even be called a Republican. But he’d won. By a very large margin.
“…some Tea Party-backed candidates and other Republicans have taken positions that many voters consider extreme, like shutting down the government to get their way, privatizing Social Security and Medicare and ending unemployment insurance.” - NY Times
Extremism is probably the buzzword today in politics. By arguing against extremism from your opponent, you paint yourself as the defender of what is just and right. However, the thing to keep in mind is that extremism today is mainstream thought tomorrow.
For example, the idea of “medical marijuana” was extreme for many, many years. Today it’s becoming more and more common. Even more people are coming out in favor of legalization where as a decade ago it was an “extremist” view. The idea of legalizing any drug was a sign of being soft on crime and criminals. Today, it’s soccer moms and even police officers who are taking that stance, not just libertarian whack jobs.
Ideas like privatizing social security sound extreme because the propaganda machine has done a good job of painting it that way. However, as more and more people enter into social security with fewer and fewer people contributing to it, the Ponzi scheme will inevitably fail. What happens then? Well, for one, the system will need serious revision at least. That could mean privatization, or it could mean scrapping the system. Either way, something is going to have to happen and whatever it is will be something that the New York Times says is “extreme”.
Extremism is in the eye of the beholder, at least when it comes to American politics. The idea of government getting out of people’s daily lives doesn’t sound extreme, since that’s kind of what the United States is all about. However, when you argue against seat belt laws, or against the Department of Homeland Security, you get labeled as “extremist”. People forget that we lived just fine without this stuff.
National Review Online has a great profile of Sen. Jim DeMint today. Trent Lott is wrong, we need a whole Senate full of Jim DeMint disciples…
On the candidates he’s backing through the Senate Conservatives Fund and with the help of Tea Party groups:
These candidates are leaders in their own right. I’m supporting them, because they’re not running on some consultant’s talking points. They’re running on principle.” Jockeying for a leadership position, he says, is not his focus. “What I’m interested in is turning this country away from its fiscal cliff — and for the first time since Reagan, I think that we have a chance for real action, not just political posturing.”
On the GOP establishment:
Still, without naming names, DeMint remains critical of many establishment GOP senators. Earlier this summer, former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (Miss.) told the Washington Post that the Senate does not “need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples.” Party leaders, he said, need to move quickly to “co-opt” any rabble-rousing conservatives who may find their way to the marble halls of Washington. DeMint, with a hint of disgust, says, “We need to realize that Trent Lott was speaking for many senior Republicans.”
Looking at what’s happened in Republican primaries across the country—most recently with Joe Miller in Alaska—the GOP establishment has a reason to be worried.
After the much ballyhooed tour of the country by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, he came up with a brilliant plan called America Speaking Out. His great plan is pander to the American people as to what a Republican Congress should do the next term. There is nothing more depressing than to see a Congressman stand before you and with a white board and ask you what you want Congress to accomplish next year.
Has Boehner, Cantor and the entire Republican leadership been so devoid of ideas that their best idea to win control of Congress is to pander?
It has been over a year since the American people started to rise up in anger over the out of control spending, the forced socialization of our healthcare, and the never ending stream of bailouts. It was a rather simple message that the American people were trying to convey. It wasn’t all too complicated. In fact a simple kindergartener could understand it, but not the House Republican leadership.
Is it so hard for them to stand before the American people and say “We as Republicans pledge to you to not raise your taxes, hold the line on spending, and repeal ObamaCare.”
If they can’t do this one simple thing it is difficult to imagine them convincing anyone in the Tea Party movement and the larger Conservative movement as a whole that they deserve another chance at controlling Congress.
The guy who set the fire that started the Tea Party Movement was in rare form again this morning:
Showing leadership in putting pro-market, liberty-oriented candidates in Washington, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) have endorsed Mike Lee in his bid for the GOP nomination for United States Senate in Utah.
The Senate race in Utah is turning out to be a bit of a battle within the Republican Party, with one side, the establishment Republicans, supporting Tim Bridgewater and more conservative Republicans backing Mike Lee.
Because neither candidate was able to win 60% of the delegates at the Utah Republican Party’s convention, the top two candidates, Lee and Tim Bridgewater, will face-off in a primary on Tuesday, June 22nd.
McClintock, who ran against Arnold Schwatzenegger for Governor in 2003 and now represents the California 4th district in Congress called Lee “a true Constitutional Conservative,” adding:
Utahans need someone who won’t simply say no, but who will actively work to turn back the tide of big government. The American people are desperately looking for leaders who will stop taxpayer bailouts, protect individual liberty, reduce taxes and restore Constitutional principles to Washington - Mike Lee is that leader. Sending Mike to the Senate would not only be a victory for Utahans, but for all Americans.
In his press release, Dr. Paul said,
I’ve often warned about the Nevada Senate race that Harry Reid had the money to make that seat competitive again despite polling that showed him behind by double-digits. Sure enough, a new Mason-Dixon poll shows that Reid is either statistically tied or leading his GOP opponents:
Forty-two percent of Nevada voters said they would vote for state GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden in a potential match-up against Reid, while 39 percent would support the majority leader, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released Friday.
By contrast, Lowden led Reid 47-37 in a mid-April Mason-Dixon poll, both surveys having been sponsored by the Las Vegas Journal-Review.
The new poll shows Reid making up ground against — if not overtaking — other potential Republican opponents.
Reid leads former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle (R), a favorite of Tea Party activists, 42-39 percent. The top Senate Democrat is also in a statistical dead heat with businessman and former UNLV hoops star Danny Tarkanian: Forty-two percent of Nevadans would vote for Tarkanian and 41 percent would vote for Reid in such a match-up.
Complacency is the GOP’s worst enemy at this point, and Nevada is evidence of that.
This week, Jason and Brett speak with former Cato’s Former Director of Budget Studies and author of Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, Stephen Slivinski.
The discussion centers around the Republican Revolution of 1994, how the GOP traded principles for power, the big spending, and how the fever of fiscal conservatism from 1994 compares to the tea party movement today.
The Tea Party movement’s endurance will be a testament to its ability to understand that cutting government means having a long-term focus and its willingness to move beyond Republican talking points. Cato’s John Samples, author of The Struggle to Limit Government offers an assessment of what Tea Partiers should do if they really want to sustain an effort to cut government. Five pieces of advice:
1. Republicans aren’t always your friends.
2. Some tea partiers like big government.
3. Democrats aren’t always your enemies.
4. Smaller government demands restraint abroad.
5. Leave social issues to the states.
Text of Speech:
You know, theres a Chinese proverb that says that there are three curses, each one worse than the previous. The first of these curses is: “May you live in interesting times.” Well, the times we live in are certainly interesting.
We stand here today at a transformative moment in American history at the front lines of what can only be called a revolution in thought. We are here today, like hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans in cities all across the country to exercise our basic right as citizens, as a free people in a democratic republic. We stand here today, peaceably assembled, petitioning our government for redress of our grievances. And we are here to tell our government one thing: STOP.
We stand here today with a crisis of creativity in our country. We look around and see problem after problem: Poverty. Millions unable to get health care. People out of work. Its easy for all of us, no matter what our political views may be, to agree on what the problems are.
But though we all see these problems, for too long, we have seen just one solution let the government do it. Its their job. Its their responsibility.
Well, the second Chinese curse is this: May you come to the attention of those in authority.
Well, let me tell you, weve definitely been getting attention from those in power.
We are citizens today living under a government that doesn’t represent us its people. And we have made the decision, together, that we can no longer refuse to take action. And for that, we are drawing much attention.