Posts tagged Tea Party movement

Listing To Starboard

By now it’s con­ven­tional wis­dom that the Repub­li­can Party has moved extremely far to the right. So far, in fact, that Michele Bach­mann (hereto­fore best known for this clip in which she demands that her fel­low con­gress mem­bers be inves­ti­gated for “anti-​​American ideas”) is now, incred­i­bly, a top-​​tier pres­i­den­tial candidate.

The GOP is so far to the right that it is prac­ti­cally meet­ing itself com­ing around the cor­ner, vot­ing against ideas that it once sup­ported, like tax cuts, and even ini­tia­tives Repub­li­cans once spon­sored, sim­ply because they are pro­posed by Democ­rats as pos­si­ble solu­tions to some of the nation’s problems.

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Burning Down the House

In this House, the M.D. doesn’t stand for More Debt

Here we are, two busi­ness days away from the hard ceil­ing on the debt limit, after blow­ing through the acoustic tiles a cou­ple of months ago. And yet, there’s no passed increase in the debt ceil­ing. The House is sup­posed to be vot­ing on their bill as we post this. It’s not clear that the House alone can pass a bill on the debt, let alone the House, Sen­ate, and Pres­i­dent together.

It’s fine to make a state­ment via one’s votes, or to grand­stand in a debate. That’s the polit­i­cal side of gov­ern­ment, and it’s a nec­es­sary part of get­ting peo­ple involved in the dis­cus­sion. But, at the end of the day, government’s first job is to run the coun­try. The debate comes second.

Draw­ing on my House ref­er­ence above, it’s fine to remind an obese per­son who’s hav­ing a heart attack that they really need to diet. But per­haps the car­diopul­monary resus­ci­ta­tion is a lit­tle bit more impor­tant right now.

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No 14<sup>th</sup> Amendment Remedy

Pres­i­dent Obama speaks to the nation on the evening of July 25

Pres­i­dent Obama (or his Press Sec­re­tary, any­way) announced yes­ter­day that the 14th Amend­ment Rem­edy to the debt ceil­ing stand­off is “not avail­able” to use.

So where does that leave us? Let’s look at the play­ers, and then we can talk about pos­si­ble next steps.

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The Beast at Their Breast

Spar­tan Boys in Training

Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans have always reminded me of the Athe­ni­ans and the Spar­tans. In the polit­i­cal world of ancient Greece, the Athe­ni­ans were cul­ti­vated, schol­arly, socially con­cerned and fond of dis­course, also much given to inter­nal squab­bles and dis­unity. The Spar­tans were grim, war­like and goal-​​oriented, plac­ing a huge pre­mium on loy­alty and unity of pur­pose. They raised what we now call “mes­sage dis­ci­pline” to an unbe­liev­ably high art, begin­ning with the strict train­ing of children.

Leg­end has it that a young Spar­tan boy once stole a fox and gath­ered it under a cloak at his breast to con­ceal the ani­mal from his teach­ers. The starv­ing fox, safe in its hid­ing place, began to gnaw hun­grily at the boy’s stom­ach and, even­tu­ally his vital organs, but the poor lad died where he stood, in a pool of his own blood, rather than cry out and reveal weakness.

In keep­ing with my Republican-​​Spartan anal­ogy, this is pre­cisely what began hap­pen­ing to the GOP when it unwisely took the Tea Party to its bosom and thought this newly-​​whelped, sav­age ani­mal could be tamed and domes­ti­cated, and relied upon to repay pro­tec­tion with loy­alty and ser­vice. Now the Tea Party has chewed through the flesh of the party that took it in, and is start­ing to crunch on the ribcage, but Repub­li­cans are still unable to cast the dan­ger­ous ani­mal aside because doing so would be a pub­lic admis­sion of weak­ness and disunity.

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Former Ambassador Jon Huntsman Announces Candidacy

Jon Hunts­man June 21, 2011; Ronald Rea­gan Sep­tem­ber 1, 1980. Top photo: Chang W. Lee, New York Times.

Jon Hunts­man for­mally kicked off his cam­paign today in New Jer­sey, in sight of the Statue of Lib­erty — which accord­ing to some is a reminder from the French not to embrace social­ism — evok­ing the spirit of Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan as he announced his can­di­dacy for the 2012 Repub­li­can Party nom­i­na­tion for Pres­i­dent of the United States.

He invoked Rea­gan directly, say­ing that Rea­gan was a can­di­date in a sim­i­larly dif­fi­cult time in the nation’s history.

Politico’s Alexan­der Burns reports that he plans travel to New Hamp­shire later today, South Car­olina on Wednes­day, Orlando, Miami and Naples, Florida on Thurs­day, and Utah plus Nevada on Fri­day. He will set up his national cam­paign office in Orlando, home of his wife, Mary Kaye.

Huntsman’s can­di­dacy is con­sid­ered a long-​​shot. At this writ­ing, he is trad­ing at 12% on Intrade and has a 1.3% polling aver­age at Real Clear Pol­i­tics. Nate Sil­ver gives him odds of 25–1.

I don’t think you need to run down anyone’s rep­u­ta­tion to run for pres­i­dent. I respect my fel­low Repub­li­can can­di­dates. And I respect the pres­i­dent. He and I have a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion on how to help the coun­try we both love. But the ques­tion each of us wants the vot­ers to answer is who will be the bet­ter pres­i­dent, not who’s the bet­ter Amer­i­can. — Jon Hunts­man, in pre­pared remarks reported at Politico

The arti­cle below is an updated and reprinted ver­sion of one that appeared Feb­ru­ary 2, 2011. (more…)

Pauly Goes To Summer Camp

Our pet polit­i­cal platy­pus lives out back in a lovely watery habi­tat, but he does get a bit weary of the city, espe­cially in hot weather. So we’ve been scout­ing around for a place to send Pauly off for a rest­ful fun-​​filled vaca­tion, and we’ve dis­cov­ered the per­fect thing. It’s tea party sum­mer camp!

A group called the “Tampa 912 Project”  (which come to think of it has faint echoes of Glenn Beck, doesn’t it?) will host a one-​​week sem­i­nar in mid-​​July for chil­dren aged 8–12, guar­an­teed to teach our lit­tle platy­pus the “prin­ci­ples on which our nation was founded.” Those prin­ci­ples include: “Amer­ica is good,” “I believe in God and He is the cen­ter of my life” and “I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who­ever I want to. Gov­ern­ment can­not force me to be charitable.”

What nice lit­tle cherubs they will be after a week of this! (more…)

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