As you know, if I see or read something that makes so much sense that I have to share it – I will. This comes from Keith Olberman on MSNBC’s Countdown. It is about the Tea Party and its agenda for America. Please read it, think about it, and check the facts contained within it – then decide for yourself if the Tea Party is something that you truly feel is good for this country. Don’t decide solely because of this Special Comment from Mr. Olberman, but look around and educate yourself from the myriad of reports and analysis that draw the same conclusions. These are important times my friends…get smarter. I now yield the remainder of my time and my blog to Mr. Olberman. Read the rest of this entry
With the official formation of a congressional Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Michele Bachmann has thrust an existential question before House Republican leaders: Are you in or are you out?
Indiana’s Mike Pence, chairman of the Republican Conference, was adamant. “You betcha,” he said, deploying a Minnesota catch phrase.
But Minority Leader John Boehner won’t have his name on the caucus list.
And Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor and his chief deputy, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California — known as “Young Guns” for the GOP — are undecided.
Minnesota’s Bachmann, a favorite of the tea party movement, earned approval from the Democratic leadership for her caucus late last week. It came as a bit of a surprise to her leadership, whom she didn’t forewarn before formally applying to create the caucus.
“It was something we were doing on our own,” Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok said. “Ultimately, we just pulled the trigger.”
Indeed, the tea party movement is a loaded political weapon for Republicans heading into the midterm elections.
Until now, they have had the luxury of enjoying the benefits of tea party enthusiasm without having to actually declare membership. But now that Bachmann has brought the tea party inside the Capitol, House Republican leaders and rank-and-file members may have to choose whether to join the institutionalized movement.
It’s easy to see why some Republicans may be hesitant, even as the tea party, itself, fights over the sentiments expressed by the movement’s most extreme elements.
The Tea Party Federation expelled its most prominent faction, the Tea Party Express, after a spokesman wrote a racially charged letter framed as a satirical jab at Ben Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The Tea Party Express fired back, with a spokesman calling the decision “arrogant and preposterous.”
“If there are some tendencies in the outside movement that you don’t want to be associated with, this could be a risky step,” said Celia Carroll, a political science professor at Hampden-Sydney College who has done academic research on congressional caucuses.
Joining caucuses is somewhat of a ritual in the House, where niche groups like the Sportsmen’s Caucus or the Armenian Caucus are supposed to give lawmakers a chance to build their political identity and promote their own ideas and those of allies outside Congress. The Senate is less relevant in the caucus debate: There is only one officially recognized caucus, the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.
“I think caucuses represent an opportunity for members to get together and to share ideas, and my hope is that this Tea Party Caucus would do the same and also would be an avenue for bringing some of the energy and enthusiasm and the focus that I’ve seen from the national march on Washington, where I spoke on 9/12, [and] traveling around Indiana and a little around the country, deeper into the well of Congress,” Pence said.
Pence is widely viewed as a potential candidate for statewide, or perhaps national office, and he has built on his connection to the movement, which could be politically beneficial in the future.
But the question is not as clear-cut for other Republican leaders.
Cantor’s office declined to entertain a question about whether the No. 2 GOP House member would join the Tea Party Caucus. A spokesman said he was on a plane nearly all day and could not be reached.
The uncertainty in the House GOP leadership underscores the risk — and reward — of identifying with a movement that electrifies the conservative base, yet may turn off moderate Republicans and political independents with controversial slogans and billboards perceived by many to be racist or insensitive to religious minorities.
Republican leaders certainly have been capitalizing on tea party anger at a Democratic-controlled establishment, watching with glee as Democratic health care town halls were disrupted by tea party demonstrators last fall. In fact, Boehner led the charge of Republican lawmakers down the Capitol steps late last year, addressing the crowd before Bachmann did. He also spoke at rallies in Orlando, Fla., and Ohio and attended one in Bakersfield, Calif., with McCarthy.
But when it comes to joining the caucus, the Ohio Republican fell back on a long-standing promise not to join such groups.
“As a personal policy, Boehner is not a member of any caucus other than the House Republican Conference,” spokesman Michael Steele said in a statement to POLITICO.
There’s an advantage to watching the fire from a safe distance, Carroll said.
“It’s brilliant politically to take advantage of this anti-Democratic, to a large extent, movement without being seen as orchestrating it,” she said.
But Bachmann’s formation of the new caucus has made her a force to be reckoned with inside the Republican Conference; indeed, at last fall’s tea party march on Capitol Hill, demonstrators yelled out, “Palin/Bachmann 2012.” Partially as a result of Bachmann’s — and Sarah Palin’s — star power, nearly a quarter of Americans believe the tea party “will become a viable third party in American politics,” according to a POLITICO poll released Monday.
Bachmann’s office said it hasn’t worked out many of the details of how the caucus will operate and interact with the tea party movement outside Congress. The group’s first step will be to find members to put tea party “principles into practice,” Dziok said. Its first meeting will be Wednesday.
Lawmakers and aides said there’s room for both the Tea Party Caucus and the conservative Republican Study Committee, whose members quite likely would provide a pool for Bachmann’s group.
Pence, a former chairman of the RSC, said he hasn’t spoken to Bachmann about what the group will do, but he welcomes the voice.
“I think iron sharpens iron,” he said.
In response to this Tea Bagger billboard, a Tea Bagger leader, said:
“That’s just a waste of money, time, resources and it’s not going to further our cause,” said Shelby Blakely, a leaders of the Tea Party Patriots, a national group. “It’s not going to help our cause. It’s going to make people think that the tea party is full of a bunch of right-wing fringe people, and that’s not true.”
The Tea Party is NOT “a bunch of right-wing fringe people?” WHAT WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!?!?!
(PAUSE FOR DEEP BREATH)
If that is a fact (which it isn’t) then the Tea Party has a worse advertising group than the Democrats- and that is saying something.
Let’s break that quote down. It says that the Tea Party is not:
2) fringe people
Let’s look at each assertion separately:
Let’s take a look at the Tea Bagger Party and their views vs. Republican views (source from HERE) and maybe we will see that they are not right wing in their views at all (* NOTE: NOT HOLDING BREATH HERE) :
When asked what they considered “extremely serious threats” to the country’s future wellbeing, tea partiers cited the exact same things as run-of-the-mill Republicans. Shocker, right? Both groups overwhelmingly pointed to federal debt (61 percent of tea partiers, 55 percent of GOPers), Big Government (49 percent, 43 percent), health care costs (41 percent, 37 percent), and “terrorism” (51 percent, 51 percent) as the biggest threats to American prosperity. And in the category of unimportant threats, both groups dismiss the environment/global warming and discrimination against minorities. Here’s a good breakdown from Gallup:
“Yeah Matt what about the “FRINGE PEOPLE” part of that quote..but what about that, huh? So what they are conservative, but they aren’t extremists are they. You haven’t shown anything to support that HAVE YOU SMARTY PANTS?”
I hear your cry and well, since you asked for it…
So media coverage of the tea party is overblown? Maybe they’re not such a novel group after all? That’s the message gleaned by the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent:
The Tea Party movement gets a disproportionate share of media attention because of all the funny costumes, Hitler references, and fantasizing about armed revolution…
…and that doesn’t sound like “ fringe people” to you? What does then?
Maybe this Tea Party platform outline taken from http://www.teapartyplatform.us/Welcome.html will illustrate the “fringeness” of the Tea Party belief system:
Get government out of our lives and eliminate social security and medicare now!
As strict constructionists we believe the Constitution should be amended to protect life and prohibit all abortions, without exception.
Speaking of the Constitution, we believe citizenship should be denied to children of non-citizens born in the U.S. even though the 14th Amendment, says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.” Common sense tells us they didn’t really mean all persons born in the United States. Did they?
Put God back in the schools and let curricula tell the truth – that evolution is just a theory, like the theory of gravity. Freedom of religion for all Christians. Jews might be ok too.
Appoint a special prosecutor to thoroughly investigate the probable foreign birth of Barack Hussein Obama.
On libertarian principles, private restaurants and other businesses should not be forced to serve minorities. Though we abhor discrimination and if there is a minority out there who wants to join us they are welcome!
Protect the 2nd Amendment rights of people who are on the terrorist no-fly list!
I seriously doubt you will find many “non-tea party” Republicans who will agree to this platform. At least, in public.
So there, RIGHT- WING FRINGE PEOPLE you are!
WHAT??? YOU NEED MORE PROOF???
This nugget is gleaned from The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (found here.) Please note the last sentence of this paragraph:
Eight-in-ten Tea Party Republicans are closely following news about local candidates and campaigns, just half of Republicans who have no opinion about the Tea Party say the same. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) Tea Party Republicans are absolutely certain they will vote, compared with 68% of Republicans with no opinion about the Tea Party. Roughly two-thirds (65%) of Tea Party Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than usual; about half (49%) of Republicans with no opinion of the Tea Party say the same. On all three measures, Republicans with no opinion of the Tea Party movement share more in common with Democratic voters than with Tea Party Republican voters.
According to the article, You Tea Party wackos are ALL ABOUT SOME VOTING, way more so than Reps and Dems, (which is cool) but you have less in common with other CONSERVATIVES than the LIBERALS do!
SO, SIMPLY PUT THE DEMOCRATS (YOU KNOW THE SOCIALISTS, MARXISTS, ETC. ACCORDING TO YOUR OWN BILLBOARD) HAVE MORE IN COMMON WITH YOUR ALLIES THAN YOU DO.
YOU ARE “RIGHT- WING FRINGE PEOPLE.”
I rest my case.
Before you read this article please note WHO proposed the amendments and what how the vote turned out to pass these amendments…I think a lot of people in this country need to look behind the curtain.
Senate Ends Taxpayer-Funded Bank Bailouts
by: Patricia Murphy
The Senate made two significant changes to the Wall Street reform bill Wednesday, including a ban on using taxpayer money to salvage failing financial institutions.
The amendments followed a breakthrough in negotiations between Democratic and Republican leaders.
The first amendment came from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who proposed banning federal funds from being used to bail out large financial institutions. Boxer called her amendment “an ironclad assurance that if a failing Wall Street firm is liquidated, the cost of that liquidation must come either from selling off the firm’s assets or from assessments of big Wall Street firms.” The Senate passed it 96 to 1, with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) objecting.
Next up was a joint amendment from Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) prescribing an orderly disposal of firms deemed “too big to fail.” Their measure would give the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) the power to seize and liquidate large financial firms if their failure would pose a risk to the U.S. economy.
The last-minute compromise hammered out between Dodd and Shelby came after Republicans refused for days to go along with Dodd’s original idea. He proposed creating a $50 billion bailout fund, paid for by banks, to use in case liquidation of large firms becomes necessary. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the proposal a “permanent bailout fund,” while Maine Republican Susan Collins warned that institutions engaged in risky behavior would have a government safety net.
The Senate passed the Shelby-Dodd measure, 93 to 5.
The near-unanimous votes came after weeks of partisan bickering by senators in both parties, with each side accusing the other of working to help Wall Street at the expense of small businesses and taxpayers.
Republicans argued that under the Dodd plan, any business that extends credit to its customers could be subject to the measure’s regulations. On Tuesday, McConnell warned it would give the federal government regulatory authority over businesses that are not financial institutions. “It has an extraordinarily broad reach at the moment, that could go right down to an orthodontist in middle America providing credit for a family having their child’s teeth straightened,” McConnell said.
But Democrats maintained that it would apply only to firms that make extending credit a core business.
At a press conference Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid alleged that any Republican objection to the overall reform bill is meant to protect Wall Street.
“Republicans are having difficulty determining how they’re going to continue making love to Wall Street,” Reid said. “It’s obvious they don’t want to put any decent restrictions on what Wall Street has done or is doing.”
With two roll call votes down, and more than 90 amendments still pending, Dodd predicted Wednesday that debate on financial reform will last at least through the end of next week.