Not so Dead After All: Tea Party Is Planning More Damage on the Right

Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

… Across the country, deeply conservative organizations angry about the concession on tax increases are pledging more, not fewer, primary challenges to Republicans they believe are straying too far from the party’s orthodoxy on taxes, guns, energy, immigration, spending and abortion.

“The gloves are off,” said Everett Wilkinson, a founder of the Tea Party movement in Florida. “We’re going to challenge a lot of the G.O.P. going forward,” he added, both in primaries and general elections. ...NYT

That would have seemed like a threat to the Democrats, now seen as the party of decency, economic recovery, and forward movement. The Dems, let’s remember, won Florida in spite of efforts on the part of Republicans to game the vote. That and the right’s growing reputation as the do-nothing, obstructionist faction may simply reduce Republicans to further embarrassment at the polls. Moderate members of the party are cringing but planning to mobilize from the center

Steven C. LaTourette, who retired from his Ohio Congressional seat at the end of the year and will become the president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, said his group would raise money to defend middle-of-the-road Republicans against the more conservative groups.
“There has to be an acceptance within the party of people who have nonidentical views on every issue,” Mr. LaTourette said. “You can’t be a national party unless you invite in and are accepting of members with different visions. You can’t treat them as pariahs.”...NYT

Abortion, same-sex marriage, gun rights and immigration are seen as political issues that Republicans will have to stay away from rather than embrace. Their win in the House wasn’t really a win. They were saved from a loss by having successfully gerrymandered districts in some states to block a Democratic upset. Democrats know that. Republican voters may be catching on. As they head into 2014 without the support of women and Hispanics, their political strength in 2013 is considerably weakened.

“Republicans will get their mojo back when they define themselves as the party of economic growth and upward mobility,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a Republican who will become the president of Purdue University next week. Mr. Daniels said new lawmakers and governors — many of whom are minorities and women — would reshape the Republican Party. ...NYT

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CBS News shows a picture of tea party activists that obliterates any notion that the Republican party will be able to control them.

Long-standing geographic tensions have increased, pitting endangered Northeastern Republicans against their colleagues from other parts of the country. Enraged tea party leaders are threatening to knock off dozens of Republicans who supported a measure that raised taxes on the nation’s highest earners.
“People are mad as hell. I’m right there with them,” Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express, said late last week, declaring that she has “no confidence” in the party her members typically support. Her remarks came after GOP lawmakers agreed to higher taxes but no broad spending cuts as part of a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.” …CBS/DC News

President Obama’s choice of issues to lead off his second term are bound to exacerbate Republican divisions.

Obama has outlined a second-term agenda focused on immigration and gun control; those are issues that would test Republican solidarity even in good times. Deep splits already exist between Republican pragmatists and the conservative base, who oppose any restrictions on guns or allowances for illegal immigrants.

It’s unclear whether Obama can exploit the GOP fissures or whether the Republican dysfunction will hamper him. With Boehner unable to control his fractured caucus, the White House is left wondering how to deal with the House on any divisive issue. …CBS/DC News

And the bad cop-good cop Obama-Biden team may be just what Republicans most dread at this point.

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The Chicago Tribune writes the Republican Party off as the Groping Old Party.

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Probably the most naive defense of the tea party — which, you’ll remember, began as a genuine populist movement but was very quickly bought out by Dick Armey, American Crossroads, and the Koch brothers — is that it is still “populist.” That surprising defense comes from Michael Hirsh at Atlantic.

Sorry, but I think the drama is far from over. The rebellion against the size of government is a true populist movement, and it’s not going away. The debt limit is still the biggest card the tea party has. They’re going to use it. ...The Atlantic

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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Author: PRAIRIE WEATHER

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8 Comments

  1. Why is there absolutely no mention of Black Budget spending cuts? Is it because we’re not supposed to know such a thing exists? YEP!

    Black Budget is a term we give to everything in the defense budget that’s classified. Tim Weiner, NY Times, and author of Blank Check: The Pentagon’s Black Budget said ” You can’t keep spending money like this and maintain an empire. That’s how empires’ fail”.
    The amount we spend “secretly” is as much as France, the UK or even Germany spend on their entire defense budget annually.

    The military arguement is that these operations and secret projects need to be done without congressional oversight, since it would compromise security, but that is actually illegal. Our constitution calls for a balanced budget, so when we spend money in” secret” we are violationg our constitution.
    The biggest problem aside from the HUMONGOUS billions spent, is that not all projects are even completed, and many that are, are never even used or are forgotten about and trashed. But the money just keeps pouring in without any congressional monitoring, and without the american people even knowing.
    So when I hear Republicans screaming for spending cuts it bugs me. I have always maintained…We have more money in this country than ANY of us are aware of, and these contrived dramas about fiscal cliffs and debt ceilings are illusory and deal only with “some” of the money.

  2. If you will look at WHO has backed and continues to back the Tea Party (all their balderdash about having “no leaders” left aside to cut down on the sniggering), “THEY” did pretty well in the last election: slipped three more senators in, under the radar. Their “caucus” lost some congressional seats, but the losers get to do the Conservative Chautauqua Circuit and their favorite mischief cycle is coming up: the off-year primaries, where their influence is multiplied as a national organization (I’m talking about the money, not the rubes) can pick off unsupported local candidates.

    The shadowy “libertarians” backing the Tea Party, Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, ALEC, et al continues their hostile takeover of a dispirited and directionless GOP. This year, they were more successful than not and STILL fly under the radar, even while people knowingly whisper their names and THINK they know what they’re talking about. They don’t. Kill the Tea Party and the selfsame forces would merely find another mask to wear.

    They’ve never been as close as they are today.

    [And what the heck is SHEKNOWS talking about? Not remotely related to the topic at hand.]

  3. LOL…sorry, wrong website post. Ooops!

  4. The main thing about our “new” Republican party(ies) is all the faces they have. ( Maybe that explains Mitt Romney better than we thought).
    Even though 9 of the worst just left, several more just arrived to take their place.
    This party is hardly conservative anymore.
    They are radicals who want their demands met or will bring the government to it’s knees if need be. Funny how I don’t recall any far left extremist organizations influencing, backing or infiltrating the Democrats. There is more fist pounding anarchy coming from the right.
    Most Republicans I know don’t see what is happening right under their noses, and continue to defend their behavior even though they are often embarrassed by it.
    This is what congress must have been like just before the civil war.

  5. The Moderate Independant:
    I stated in an earlier post that Tea Party Republicans should have to define themselves for voters. They should be on the ticket as Libertarian Republicans so the voters know exactly who they are electing. I doubt that traditional Republican conservatives would vote for them if they knew.

  6. These folks have always been around, probably always will be. Most of their supporters are grouped in southern states. A lot of this is just plain old fashioned racism. I don’t think the rise of this movement after the first black black president was elected is a coincidence. My guess they might try to create trouble in 2014 and continue obstructing in the meantime. Their influence isn’t done but they clearly are diminished after the election. My guess is that when Obama leaves office that it will fadeout and their members will go back to the various crackpot far right organizations that existed before the tea party came along. The longer they hang around the more long term damage they do to the GOP. A lot of people, myself included have voted for Republicans in the past would never vote GOP today because the loons that have to large extent taken it over.

  7. I think it’s more likely the rise of the tea party is a result of the fiscal crisis and TARP, the debt/deficits, and frustration with the lack of fiscal restraint within the Republican party.

    From WIKI
    “Birth of national Tea Party movement
    On February 19, 2009,[55] in a broadcast from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, CNBC Business News Network editor Rick Santelli loudly criticized the government plan to refinance mortgages, which had just been announced the day before, as “promoting bad behavior” by “subsidizing losers’ mortgages” and raised the possibility of putting together a “Chicago Tea Party in July”.[74][75] A number of the traders and brokers around him cheered on his proposal, to the apparent amusement of the hosts in the studio. It was called “the rant heard round the world”.[76] According to The New Yorker writer Ben McGrath[77] and New York Times reporter Kate Zernike,[78] this is where the movement was first inspired to coalesce under the collective banner of “Tea Party”. By the next day, guests on Fox News had already begun to mention this new “Tea Party”.[79][80]
    The day following Santelli’s comments from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, on February 20, 2009, roughly 50 national conservative leaders participated in a conference call that gave birth to the national Tea Party movement.[81]“

  8. Absolutely, racism is at the core of it, but I doubt the influence of these extremist organizations will fade out after Obama leaves office.
    Afterall, we may have a female president next or another Democrat or even…..a rational Republican. Got to fight the good fight!!

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