John Fund continues:
…Both Bevin and Hampton are Tea Party activists who have never held elective office. Hampton’s path certainly represents triumph over adversity. Born in Detroit, the 57-year-old Hampton and her three sisters were raised by a single mom who lacked a high school education and couldn’t afford a television or a car.
But Hampton was determined to better herself. She graduated with a degree in industrial engineering and worked for five years in the automobile industry to pay off her college loans. She then joined the Air Force, retiring as a Captain.
Source: National Review Online
Robert W. Merry reviews Grover Norquist’s new book
Congress would never allow sequestration to take effect, according to the media wisdom of the day, and hence Republicans would have to accept tax increases as part of the alternative fiscal bargain. That would mean the GOP would have to repudiate the famous Tax Pledge devised by Norquist and signed by nearly every congressional Republican. That, in turn, would destroy the force and power of that nettlesome Tax Pledge—and dislodge Norquist from his prominent place as Horatio at the bridge of tax policy.
[Order Grover Norquist’s book “End the IRS Before It Ends Us: How to Restore a Low Tax, High Growth, Wealthy America“, Center Street, 352 pp., $20.25 at Amazon.com]
This particular episode took place around the luncheon table of the Center for the National Interest (publisher of this website and its allied magazine), and the media hounds went after Norquist with the glee of those who know they are about to witness a political comeuppance of serious magnitude. Through it all, the imperturbable Norquist confidently and quietly held his ground—never ruffled, never riled, never lacking in magnanimity, seemingly sure of his aces. “This isn’t my first rodeo,” he said, and laid out a lucid political explanation for why his Pledge would hold, even in the face of such tectonic pressures.
The next day, the Los Angeles Times offered an analysis entitled, “Grover Norquist the has-been.” It proclaimed that “even he can’t ignore the signs that his hold is slipping.” The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, after quoting Norquist’s insistence that congressional Republicans would adhere to their anti-tax heritage, even in the face of the looming sequestration decision, wrote with a smirk, “Also, the dog ate Norquist’s homework.” He added that Norquist’s confidence on the matter suggested he “had been on a long trip in a remote location.” The New York Times, in a front-page feature, suggested Norquist “finds himself in a tricky spot.”
What happened next? The sequestration deadline came and went, no grand fiscal compromise emerged, the austere spending cuts went into effect, and Norquist’s famous Pledge remained intact, as did the political standing and influence of Norquist himself. Dana Milbank never got around to revealing to his readers his own remote location whenthe dog was eating his prediction of Norquist’s political demise. Truly, Norquist is a Washington figure to be reckoned with.
Now he bundles up his anti-tax sentiments and political assessments into a sprightly volume entitled: End the IRS Before It Ends Us: How to Restore a Low Tax, High Growth, Wealthy America. It’s a book of many parts: primer on America’s tax history and growth in government; polemical expose of liberal legerdemain on the issue; policy recommendations for smaller government, strong economic growth and a streamlined tax system; and paean to the energy and efficiency of unfettered capitalism. He even provides an amusing narrative of the earnest efforts of his adversaries to obliterate his famous Pledge, all to no avail.
The reason they can’t obliterate it, writes Norquist, is that the American people are on to the ominous consequences of inexorable governmental expansion and fiscal incontinence. Currently, U.S. governmental spending—federal, state and local—amounts to 34 percent of the national economy, while taxes consume about 30 percent of annual GDP. And what’s going to happen to tax rates and the governmental share of GDP, he asks, when it comes time to pay down the $17 trillion in federal debt (nearly $8 trillion of it added on Obama’s watch) or the $123 trillion in “unfunded liabilities” accumulated through years of irresponsible government spending?
All this has generated civic angers that in turn spawned the Tea Party phenomenon of the early Obama years—the country’s first mass movement focused primarily on governmental spending. During the week of April 15, 2009, Americans gathered across the country in more than 600—perhaps as many as a thousand—anti-spending rallies with up to a million participants. As Norquist puts it, “A wall of opposition to government spending rose up.” At the next election, Republicans campaigning against government spending and Obama’s stimulus legislation captured the House by gaining sixty-three seats in that chamber; they also picked up a net gain of six Senate seats.
Two years later, though, the Tea Party movement seemed to have petered out. Republicans failed to oust Obama from the White House or to capture the four Senate seats needed for control of that chamber. What happened?
According to Norquist, the answer is simple. “The Tea Party didn’t fall down the stairs. It was pushed.” Read the rest of this entry »
Cuckoo Bananas 9-11 Truther Van Jones Abets Slanderous Claim that ‘Tea Party Folks’ Support Chapel Hill MurdererPosted: February 12, 2015
With headlines like this, who needs body copy?
Everyone in Washington has a P.R. machine, or at minimum, an agenda. That’s certainly the case with Lois Lerner, the former IRS executive whose division targeted conservative nonprofit applicants with delays and harassment.
“Lerner is willing to testify only in the news media, where the whole truth is not required and irrelevant information can be shared to make her seem less unsympathetic.”
Lerner’s division of the IRS systematically obstructed and denied status to Tea Party groups while subjecting many of the smallest ones — those most vulnerable and least likely to be lawyered up — to inappropriate demands for information that was not legally required. In one case, this included the content of the opening prayer recited in meetings, and in others, this IRS Inquisition demanded that leaders of certain groups pledge never to run for office.
Lerner is out of that business now, and on to a new campaign. This campaign, in which she has enlisted friends and former colleagues, aims to tell the side of the story that she has refused to give Congress under oath.
The resulting Politico piece includes — this is no joke — the revelations that she once baked brownies for colleagues and that she loves dogs. How delightful for her and the dogs! But so what? Lerner cited the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions about her involvement in this scandal. The reason for doing that is that she believes her answers could facilitate a criminal prosecution against her. The mysterious destruction of evidence in this case strongly suggests she is right to worry about that. So does her concerned email inquiry to government IT workers as to whether her instant messages with colleagues could ever be obtained by congressional investigators. Read the rest of this entry »
The documents show Lerner’s efforts to persuade Treasury auditors that there was no institutional bias at the IRS, the agency’s attempts to head off a damaging investigation with a pre-emptive apology, and Lerner’s pep talk to her staff after the apology.
WASHINGTON — Gregory Korte reports: The day that former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner publicly apologized for using “inappropriate criteria” to delay tax exemptions for Tea Party groups, she told her colleagues that they were being “beaten up by the press for all the wrong reasons.”
It was only going to get worse, she told them in an e-mail, and there was no way around it other than to “ride it through.”
Then she left for a week’s vacation in Canada.
That e-mail comes in 1,706 pages of newly released documents that shed light on the damage control happening at the IRS — and at the watchdog agency investigating it — as the scandal blew up last year. Read the rest of this entry »
IRS says it has lost emails from FIVE MORE employees associated with Tea Party targeting scheme
Associated Press reports: The Internal Revenue Service has lost emails from five more employees who are part of congressional probes into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, the tax service disclosed on Friday.
The IRS said in June that it could not locate an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status during the time that the targeting of Tea Party groups occurred.
That revelation set off a new round of investigations and congressional hearings.
On Friday, the IRS issued a report to Congress saying the agency also lost emails from five other employees related to the probe, including two agents who worked in a Cincinnati office processing applications for tax-exempt status.
Not only did the IRS lose former former tax-exempt director Lois Lerner’s emails, it said today it lost the emails of five other employees associated with a Tea Party targeting scheme.
The disclosure came on the same day the Senate’s subcommittee on investigations released competing reports on how the IRS handled applications from political groups during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
The Democratic report, released by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, said both liberal and conservative groups were mistreated, revealing no political bias by the IRS. Read the rest of this entry »
Two headlines in the last few weeks at Brietbart.com form an interesting duet…
Tony Lee writes: The New York Times editorial board believes the border crisis is merely “a myth.”
In a weekend editorial, the Times said the “White House is getting it mostly right” on immigration and blasted Republicans, who are “throwing up roadblocks” with “dangerous overreaction.” The Times praised the Obama administration’s request for $3.7 billion in aid to deal with a crisis they think is a “myth.”
“The besieged border is a myth, and the arrival of a few thousand weary refugee children on buses does not make the myth true,” the Times wrote…(read more)
Jack Schwartz at The Daily Beast argues in what is surprisingly not a metaphor that the Tea Party is for all intents and purposes a religion – and as such has crossed lines that endanger American democracy:
America has long been the incubator of many spiritual creeds going back to the Great Awakening and even earlier. Only one of them, Mormonism, has taken root and flourished as a true religion sprung from our own native ground. Today, however, we have a new faith growing from this nation’s soil: the Tea Party. Despite its secular trappings and “taxed enough already” motto, it is a religious movement, one grounded in the traditions of American spiritual revival. This religiosity explains the Tea Party’s political zealotry. Read the rest of this entry »
For Breitbart.com, Robert Wilde reports: Although former IRS official Lois Lerner refuses to speak, pleading the fifth amendment, her attorney spoke on her behalf regarding the controversy over two years of missing IRS emails.
“It’s a little brazen to think she did this on purpose.”
— Lois Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor III
William Taylor III said that accusations by Republicans that she is hiding something is “silly… she doesn’t know what happened… It’s a little brazen to think she did this on purpose.”
The IRS and Democrats contend that the emails were lost due to a hard drive crash. Yet, as Politico reported, it so happens that the computer glitch was concomitant with the 2009 time period in which Cincinnati IRS agents started delaying the approvals of Tea Party groups vying for 501(c)(4) non-profit status. Notably, the not-for- profit designation would have allowed the conservative groups the capacity to carry out a limited amount of political activity. Read the rest of this entry »
First, we found out agency was targeting Tea Party. Now IRS emails are missing. Cover-up?
For USAToday, Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes: I guess it’s time to award President Obama a second asterisk. When charges came out that the IRS targeted Tea Party groups for harassment, the Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto started calling Obama “President Asterisk.”
[Don’t miss this: The Daily Caller Knows EXACTLY Where The IRS Emails Went]
His point was that this illicit assistance tainted the election, the way an athlete’s use of illegal performance-enhancers results in an asterisk on any records he sets.
“…since government agencies seldom ‘lose’ evidence that makes them look good, reasonable people might suspect that there’s a cover-up going on…”
Now it may be time for another asterisk. As Congress investigates the IRS chicanery, the IRS has responded to a request for emails to and from Lois Lerner, who spearheaded the Tea Party harassment, by saying, basically, that the dog ate its homework.
[Glenn Reynolds‘ book The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself is available at Amazon]
Or, rather, the IRS claims, somewhat dubiously, that “a hard drive crash” on Lerner’s computer led to the loss of emails to outside entities “such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.” You know, the very people she’s accused of coordinating her harassment with.
“…After all, nobody thought that the famous ’18½ minute gap’ on Richard Nixon’s White House tapes contained anything positive about White House involvement in Watergate.”
With those emails missing, it’ll be harder to prove whether Lerner’s Tea Party harassment might have been at the behest of other wrongdoers, perhaps going as high as the Oval Office itself. But since government agencies seldom “lose” evidence that makes them look good, reasonable people might suspect that there’s a cover-up going on. After all, nobody thought that the famous “18½ minute gap” on Richard Nixon’s White House tapes contained anything positive about White House involvement in Watergate.
For Breitbart.com, Charlie Spiering writes: On Tax Day, the Republican National Committee announced it is suing the IRS for stonewalling Freedom of Information Act request for documents about the tax agency’s politicized scrutiny of conservative and Tea Party groups.
The RNC filed the request on May 21, 2013, in an attempt to expose the documents and emails surrounding agency’s process in handling applications of non-profit organizations such as conservative and Tea Party groups.
“We’re filing this suit because the Obama administration has a responsibility to be transparent and accountable to the American people. The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records.”
After the RNC filed the request, the IRS has requested several extensions, which has already delayed the release by 226 business days.
And it’s amazing how quickly and quietly it’s happened
Don’t get your hopes up. This guy says more insulting and bizarre things about conservatives and Republicans, on a word-by-word basis, than we normally see from writers that describe themselves as “right-of-center”. Why? Because the markers on the field are different in western Europe than they are here.
When Pascal mentions “innovative conservative policy ideas” that he supports, I shudder to think. Watch closely as he agrees with the Left about how Republicans are perceived. Because, you know, their critics are right. About how dumb Republicans are. And spends most of the article exploring different ways to call them stupid. Until, you know, recently. Sorta.
In France, a “conservative thinker” is probably somewhere in the range of a ‘big ideas’ Hillary Clinton-wing-of-the-party policy wonk here. Just a guess. Perhaps my judgement is too hasty. Let’s give Pascal the benefit of the doubt. He is writing for The Week, so, here goes…
Perhaps the worst sin of the GOP during the Obama era has been the party’s lack of interest in serious, innovative policy.
Thanks to the notion that opposing the White House was enough of an agenda, and the inchoate enthusiasm of the Tea Party, the GOP, it seemed, was great at sound and fury but had no ideas. Anything the GOP did manage to propose was either an old idea from the ’80s, just plain awful, or (most often) both.
“…but basically their sense was that the problem was that Republicans are dumb. Republican politicians would never take on innovative policy ideas because their base is made up of a bunch of backward troglodytes and their paymasters are robber barons only interested in tax cuts…”
If this narrative seems familiar, it’s because left-of-center pundits have been hammering these ideas for years. And they were right.
“…And in any case, to be a Republican is to have little interest in new ideas — or ideas, period…”
But now, these same pundits are conspicuously silent about how the trend is reversing — and fast.
Lois Lerner, the official involved in the IRS‘s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups, will testify before Congress on Wednesday, according to House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa.
“We believe that evidence that we’ve gathered causes her, in her best interest, to be someone who should testify.”
Lerner had previously invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions from members of Congress about her role in the IRS scandal.
Issa, House GOP to recall Lois Lerner
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is hauling Lois Lerner back to Congress.
Issa told Lerner’s attorney in a Tuesday letter that he expected the retired IRS official to appear before his committee on March 5.
“Because the committee explicitly rejected her Fifth Amendment privilege claim, I expect her to provide answers when the hearing reconvenes on March 5.”
— Chairman Darrell Issa
Lerner, the official at the center of the IRS targeting controversy, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination at a May 2013 hearing, just days after she apologized for the agency’s treatment of Tea Party groups.
See “Sit Down, Bitch, We’re Not Done Yet (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
But the Oversight Committee later ruled that Lerner waived her rights by making an opening statement, setting the stage for her recall next week.
The American Center for Law and Justice‘s Matthew Clark reports: The Obama Administration’s Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is poised to place government monitors in newsrooms across the country in an absurdly draconian attempt to intimidate and control the media.
Peter Doocy reports from Washington, D.C.
Before you dismiss this assertion as utterly preposterous (we all know how that turned out when the Tea Party complained that it was being targeted by the IRS), this bombshell of an accusation comes from an actual FCC Commissioner.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai reveals a brand new Obama Administration program that he fears could be used in “pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.”
As Commissioner Pai explains in the Wall Street Journal:
Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.
The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about “the process by which stories are selected” and how often stations cover “critical information needs,” along with “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”
In fact, the FCC is now expanding the bounds of regulatory powers to include newspapers, which it has absolutely no authority over, in its new government monitoring program.
Matthew Boyle reports: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) says she agrees that Republicans can’t trust President Obama to enforce the law, but they should immediately move forward on comprehensive immigration reform, anyway.
Ayotte, who rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 to her election to the Senate but has emerged as one of the upper chamber’s more liberal Republicans, conceded there is a “trust deficit” with Obama.
“There’s a trust deficit that the Speaker is facing right now and it’s related to ObamaCare and the disastrous rollout,” she said. “Because, let’s think about it, immigration means doing a lot of complex things well. And in addition to that, the administration keeps issuing executive orders to change the law, very frequently.”
However, Ayotte insisted the GOP should move forward anyway.
“I think we should solve this,” she continued. “I think [Boehner] can find a way forward. Certainly, the bill that came out of the Senate was not perfect, but it was a good solution to a hard problem. I think it’s an important issue to solve – not only for the country, but for the Republican Party.”
Tony Lee reports: After wasting nearly $325 million during the 2012 election cycle with nothing to show for it and then declaring war on the Tea Party, donations to Karl Rove‘s three Crossroads groups decreased by 98% last year. The groups reportedly raised a paltry $6.1 million combined in 2013.
“Rove’s organization has been so tarnished among the conservative base that candidates fear donors will not contribute to any group associated with him.”
Philip Klein writes: When the Tea Party movement emerged to challenge President Obama in 2009, it also posed a counterweight to the “compassionate conservative” wing of the Republican Party, which was defined by the expansionist policies of President George W. Bush.
After years of being marginalized, compassionate conservatives – emboldened by the overreach of Tea Party conservatives during last fall’s government shutdown fight – are attempting to reassert control over the party.
In the winter 2014 issue of National Affairs, Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner – two former speechwriters and advisers to Bush – propose “A Conservative Vision of Government,” in which they advance many of the arguments that were used 15 years ago to sideline small-government conservatives and lay the groundwork for the Bush-era spending binge.
Kevin Glass reports: The Brookings Institution‘s Public Religion Research Institute conducts what they call the “American Values Survey,” and this year have focused particularly on how libertarians fit into the American political fabric. Libertarians are traditionally thought of as being “on the right” and presumed to be most accurately represented, of the two major parties, by the Republican Party.
But is that really true?
PRRI finds that libertarians constitute a very small segment of the GOP and have difficulty making common cause with the other ideological strains of the Republican Party. Specifically, libertarians are repelled by the religious right, which still makes up a significan portion of the conservative movement.
As Brookings’ Ross Tilchin writes:
Victor Davis Hanson writes: On almost every left-right issue that divides Democrats and Republicans — as well as Republicans themselves — there is a neglected populist constituency.
The result is that populist politics are largely caricatured as Tea Party extremism — and a voice for the middle class is largely absent.
The problem with ObamaCare is that its well-connected and influential supporters — pet businesses, unions and congressional insiders — have already won exemption from it.
The rich will always have their concierge doctors and Cadillac health plans. The poor can usually find low-cost care through Medicaid, federal clinics and emergency rooms.
In contrast, those who have lost their preferred individual plans, or will pay higher premiums and deductibles, are largely members of the self-employed middle class. They are too poor to have their own exclusive health care coverage but too wealthy for most government subsidies. So far, ObamaCare is falling hardest on the middle class.
Consider the trillion-dollar student loan mess. Millions of young people do not qualify for grants predicated on either income levels, ancestry or both. Nor are their parents wealthy enough to pay their tuition or room-and-board costs. The result is that the middle class — parents and students alike — has accrued a staggering level of student loan debt.
Wynton Hall writes: On Christmas Day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it plans to spend at least $50 million to “support establishment, business-friendly candidates in primaries and the general election, with an aim of trying to win a Republican Senate majority.”
“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce top political strategist Scott Reed. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”
GOP establishment officials hope to elide Tea Party challenges by shrinking the nomination process down to a tight four-month window replete with penalties for states that shirk the rules.
The WSJ reported that Republican leaders “hope a less restive Republican caucus will allow the House to pass a farm bill and push ahead on at least incremental overhauls of the immigration system.”
Bloomberg Editor Reveals Liberal Contempt for America
Flavelle’s obnoxiously insulting article got nearly 1000 comments from readers who drove a parade through his error-ridden logic and condescending jackassery. Below are just a few examples:
And here’s Flavelle’s migrane-inspiring piece of work, with notes from yours truly:
Christopher Flavelle: New Gallup poll numbers show Americans increasingly dispute the idea that government has a responsibility to make sure everybody can get health insurance. It’s tempting to see that as an indictment against Obamacare, but it might just mean more Americans are becoming jerks.
What’s clear is that the shifting views on health care predate the Affordable Care Act. The number of Americans who think health care is the government’s responsibility hovered around two-thirds for the first half of the 2000s, peaking at 69 percent in 2006. Then those numbers started falling, hitting 50 percent in 2010 and 42 percent this year.
So far so good. Just reporting poll figures.
The shrinkage of American generosity during that period wasn’t just about health care. The onset of the recession corresponded with a change in public opinion on a range of issues, and in most cases the effect was to make Americans less caring about others.
American “generosity” is measured by how passively they surrender (by force, not voluntarily) their hard-earned income to IRS agents and unaccountable government bureaucrats for experts to ‘manage’? How is there any virtue, or ‘caring’, in person A. taking money from person B. to give to C.?
Many of the reaction in the comments section are (more pungent, more hostile) variations of this obvious problem. Flavelle‘s outlook–if it represents mainstream liberalism–is a problem, as we go into the 21st century. It’s emblematic of the great divide between competing ideologies: statists and secularists (social justice liberals) and conservatives and libertarians (classical liberals) as well as the divide between ordinary, self-reliant, generous Americans, and coercive, ill-tempered elitist jackasses.
Starting in 2007, the portion of Americans who said the government should guarantee every person enough to eat and a place to sleep started falling, from 69 percent to 59 percent last year. People who said the government should help the needy, even if it means going deeper into debt, fell from 54 percent to 43 percent over the same period.
Exactly. “The government”, in Flavelle’s warped understanding, is the vehicle–the delivery system–of concern, care, and generosity, not the people. Like many liberals and statists, “government” is misunderstood to be the same thing as “society”.
Question: Is it society’s obligation to help the needy? If the question was framed that way, you can guarantee the poll would have gotten much different results.
I needn’t point out that Americans are the most generous people on earth, in giving money. and goods, medical aid, and care during global disasters. No other nation comes even close. Where’s China? Where’s Europe, when disaster-relief aid is needed? America’s record of generosity–direct, personal, real generosity–overwhelmingly contradicts everything and everybody Flavelle‘s article aims to smear.
When the facts are considered in the slim victory that terribly flawed Democrat Terry McAuliffe had against Ken Cuccinelli, it’s hard to deny the conclusion that the Republican party decided it was better to abandon Virginia to the Democrat party than to allow the Tea Party and social conservatives to win.
The Left is Trying to Rehabilitate Karl Marx. Let’s Remind Them of The Millions Who Died in His NamePosted: November 3, 2013
Where it all ends – the Killing Fields of Cambodia
Tim Stanley writes: I can’t quite believe that I’ve just sat through ten minutes of BBC television in which British journalists Owen Jones and Zoe Williams have defended Karl Marx as the prophet of the End of Capitalism. Unbelievable because I had thought Marxism was over with the fall of the Berlin Wall – when we discovered that socialism was one part bloodshed, one part farce. But unbelievable also because you’d have to be a pretty lacking in moral sensitivity to defend a thinker whose work sent millions of people to an early grave.
I don’t want to have to rehearse the numbers but, apparently, they’re not being taught in schools anymore – so here goes. Sixty-five million were murdered in China – starved, hounded to suicide, shot as class traitors. Twenty million in the USSR, 2 million in North Korea, 1.7 million in Africa. The nightmare of Cambodia (2 million dead) is especially vivid. “Reactionaries” were sorted out from the base population on the grounds of being supporters of the old regime, having gone to school or just for wearing glasses. They were taken to the side of paddy fields and hacked to death by teenagers.
“…But in the case of the federal shutdown, of course, the economic hit on millions of Americans didn’t come from government — it came from one political faction in the House of Representatives. You could sue the Tea Party, but what is that? A bunch of costumed zealots on Fox are not responsible for anything that comes out of their mouths and lands in the porous mind of someone like…”
More crying and whining from the crib at NYT
Hostility between the GOP and the Tea Party could cause a real rift.
Jonah Goldberg writes: Conservatives with long memories had to laugh at the recent New York Timesfront-page headline: “Fiscal Crisis Sounds the Charge in GOP’s ‘Civil War.’”
Within a week of Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inauguration, Viguerie was denouncing the Gipper as a traitor to the cause. The Associated Press ran a story headlined “Conservatives Angry with Reagan.” Viguerie was the centerpiece: “Almost every conservative I have talked to in the last two months has been disappointed in the initial appointments to the Reagan Cabinet.”
By July of that year, the Washington Post ran a news story, “For Reagan and the New Right, the Honeymoon Is Over,” which included many anti-Reagan barbs. After the 1990 midterms, Viguerie told USA Today, “You just heard the opening shots of a civil war within the Republican Party.”
Then again, just because Viguerie is predicting something doesn’t mean he’s wrong. I’ve always loved the story of the British intelligence officer whose career spanned the first half of the 20th century: “Year after year the worriers and fretters would come to me with awful predictions of the outbreak of war. I denied it each time. I was only wrong twice.”
The battle between Obama and the Republicans is a sad and pitiful contest for the same reason that a baseball game in which one side plays by the rules and the other one races the bases in motorcycles and shoots the balls over the fence with an RPG.
Ted Cruz has come the closest to understanding that the other side just doesn’t play by any rules, but lacks the leverage to make much of that. Cruz is still a product of a system in which there are rules. And that system is as unfit for challenging the left-wing radicals running things as trying to play a game of chess against an opponent who feels like moving the pieces any which way he feels like and always claims to have won.
Law is a consensus. If you stop keeping the law, the police arrest you. If a gang of left-wing radicals in a basement somewhere stopped following the law, they might be locked up. It’s not a certain thing considering that mad bomber Bill Ayers is a university professor. But once those same left-wing radicals control much of the system and the media that reports on the system, they have no reason to follow the law. Read the rest of this entry »
The Tea Party’s Wasted Energy
‘We’ve got to get the Rockefeller Republicans out of the party,” a fellow told me in Minnesota recently. Or was it Arizona? Or Wilkes-Barre, Pa.? Actually, I think it was all three. I hear it all the time as I travel around the country speaking to conservative groups.
Liberal Republican sounds like a contradiction in terms today, particularly for young people who grew up in the age of strictly ideological parties. But for most of American history, the parties weren’t strongly ideological institutions so much as coalitions of interests. There were very liberal Republicans and very conservative Democrats. Occasionally parties were defined — or indeed created — over single issues (the GOP was created to fight slavery, for instance), but the idea that you can guess someone is a conservative or liberal just by their party ID is a fairly recent development.