Recent News

Tea Party Movement Celebrates Colorado Triumph

By Anna Fifield, Financial Times

America’s rambunctious “tea party patriots” were in celebration mode on Wednesday, after their man Ken Buck beat the Republican establishment candidate for the party’s Senate nomination in Colorado, handing the movement its fourth victory of the primary season.

Mr Buck, a gaffe-prone county district attorney, narrowly beat Jane Norton, the former lieutenant-governor backed by the Republican party, who had out­fundraised Mr Buck by more than $2m.

“Get a good night’s sleep, because for the next 83 days we are going to unite the Republican party,” Mr Buck told supporters on Tuesday night, referring to the time left until November’s midterm congressional elections. Reunite it under the tea party banner, that is.

“Tea party patriots” – a burgeoning movement pressing for limited government and lower taxes, with Sarah Palin as their poster girl – are having a profound impact on the face of the Republican party.

In addition to Mr Buck, they have propelled their candidates to win primaries in Utah, Kentucky and Nevada, as well as in Florida – by default when the presumptive Republican nominee pulled out.

“We’re trying to take back the parties and put responsible people in control of them,” says Stephen Sabolich, a conservative activist from Cleveland, Ohio, who this week attended a tea party boot camp organised by FreedomWorks, a conservative group promoting “grassroots” opposition to the Obama administration.

“We’re taking over the parties. We’ve been very successful with the Republican party so far, but it’s a little more difficult with the Democrats,” says Mr Sabolich, 66.

In one of the training rooms was a board with a quote by Samuel Adams, one of the founding fathers: “It does not require a majority to prevail but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds.”

Last August, tea party activists dominated the political news agenda, organising rowdy protests round the country and taking over the “town hall” meetings that lawmakers hold in their home districts during the summer recess.

Although healthcare, a lightning rod issue, is not at the top of the agenda this year, the looming midterms mean tea parties will be a potent political force in the next three months.

The activists are drawing up scorecards in electorates, knocking on doors and setting up phone banks to spur voters to support candidates who have vowed to uphold tea party principles.

They ask candidates to sign their “Contract from America”, a tea party manifesto designed to hold politicians responsible, formulated in response to the top-down “Contract with America” written by the Republican leadership when they took over Congress in 1994.

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, is optimistic that conservatives can win the House, and perhaps the Senate, in November.

“Politically the elections will be a repeat of 1994 but it will be fundamentally different because these [tea party] folks are organised and are in all 50 states so it’s sustainable after the election,” he says.

The activists say they are aiming not just to install their preferred candidates on Republican tickets but to “shift the centre of gravity” within the party.

Continue reading the article at the Financial Times

AOL NEWS: Will Populist Backlash Stand Up in Court?

WASHINGTON (Aug. 4) — Voters in Missouri show Congress what they think of a federal mandate to purchase health insurance. Lawmakers in Arizona take immigration enforcement into their own hands. And senators in Washington talk about amending the U.S. Constitution to block children born to those here illegally from automatic citizenship.

“We’re looking at the greatest showdown on states’ rights that we’ve had in a couple of generations,” said Richard Reuben, a University of Missouri law professor. “This is a historic time.”

Arizona conservatives sing the national anthem at a rally against illegal immigration Sunday in Phoenix.

Republicans have issued a tea party-friendly Contract From America based on “individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.” Democrats have countered with a parody whose No. 1 priority is to repeal health insurance reform, their No. 1 achievement.

Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said the current revolt encompasses the tea party but is broader than that. He sees the prevailing public mood as the latest in a series of American populist movements. But unlike, say, the prairie populism of the 1890s that gave rise to the progressive movement, today there are more ways to express discontent, whether at the ballot box or on the Internet.

This time the growing number of lawsuits, ballot initiatives and legislation is part of a grassroots conservative movement that disapproves of the liberal political establishment in Washington. Said Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor and founder of The Volokh Conspiracy blog: “They are trying to have their voice heard — to mixed results.”

Continue reading at AOL News

NEWSMAX: Rubio Backs Contract From America

y David A. Patten, Thursday, July 8, 2010 01:25 PM

Newsmax has learned that conservative Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio has pledged to support the pro-liberty, anti-tax agenda known as Contract From America, which appears to be emerging as a major political force in the midterm elections.

In an e-mail response to Newsmax, Rubio, a Republican, confirmed that he has signed the contract, which presents 10 key platform planks that promote “individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.”

“I’m proud to sign the Contract From America, which is a restatement of the principles and values that have made America exceptional for centuries and that are needed in Washington today,” Rubio’s e-mail stated Thursday. “At a time when Washington is spending money that we don’t even have to expand government, the Contract From America is a reminder that America deserves leaders who will be a check and balance on the direction this president and Congress are pursuing.”

Several high-profile Republicans have joined Rubio in signing the contract during the past 48 hours, including Senate candidate Dan Coats of Indiana, Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida, and Senate candidate Ken Buck of Colorado.

“Due to your efforts, these candidates have chosen to be champions of Main Street values and have joined with you in signing the Contract From America,” declared a post on the group’s Web site, TheContract.org.

But Rubio’s commitment lends the contract perhaps its highest-profile supporter among those running in November.

“We’re very pleased,” tea party activist and Houston attorney Ryan Hecker, who originally came up with the Contract concept, tells Newsmax. “By signing the Contract From America, Marco Rubio is saying he’s listening, he’s really adopted this very Main Street agenda. He’s saying this is a powerful grassroots document, that is very much a mainstream document, that should be adopted for everyone. It should be helpful to him in the general election race, but beyond that it represents the values of a majority of Americans.”

FreedomWorks, the D.C.-based facilitator of the conservative grass-roots movement sweeping the nation, also heralded Rubio’s decision to sign onto the contract.

“This just confirms the grass-roots instincts in backing Rubio” over Gov. Charlie Crist, FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon tells Newsmax. “It shows that he’s dead serious about policy. If he’s elected to the Senate, you can bet he’ll be a policy innovator, and that’s just what this country needs. In the coming budget battle, it’s not going to be policy for the timid, and he’s shown that he’s a leader.”

A Rasmussen Reports poll on Thursday showed that Rubio has taken a 36 percent-to-34 percent lead over Christ, who left the Republican Party to become an independent after it became clear that his chances of defeating Rubio in a GOP primary were slim. Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek is running a distant third with 15 percent, according to Rasmussen.

Rubio’s commitment means that more than 130 candidates have now signed onto the list of 10 key principles, which are designed to reduce the pervasive influence of the federal government in the lives of everyday citizens — rapid progress, considering the fact that the contract was unveiled only on April 15.

“We’re more getting candidates every day,” Ryan Hecker, the tea party activist who came up with the contract concept, tells Newsmax.

The contract urges members of Congress to cite the specific clause in the Constitution that gives them authority to pass any new legislation. It rejects cap and trade, which it says will hurt the nation’s economy and global competitiveness. It aims for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, and would require a two-thirds majority to pass any tax hike.


Continue reading this article at Newsmax.com

Senate Candidates Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Ken Buck (R-CO) Sign the “Contract from America”

The Contract from America Foundation announced today that Senate Candidates Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Ken Buck (R-CO) have joined over 130 Senate and Congressional candidates nationwide by listening to the wishes of their constituents and signing the “Contract from America,” a Main Street grassroots legislative blueprint for 2010 and beyond.

In signing this bottom-up call for economic conservative and good governance reform, Marco Rubio stated: “I’m proud to sign the Contract From America, which is a restatement of the principles and values that have made America exceptional for centuries and that are needed in Washington today.  At a time when Washington is spending money that we don’t even have to expand government, the Contract From America is a reminder that America deserves leaders who will be a check and balance on the direction this president and Congress are pursuing.”

Ken Buck further noted: “This contract reflects my conservative values and record.  I’m proud to stand-up with grassroots Americans as we fight the Washington establishment.”

The Contract from America is not a list handed down from on high by old-bull politicians, but one handed up from the true grassroots in this country. After garnering nearly half a million votes in less than two months, the Contract from America is a blueprint that will serve notice to public officials about what the people want for their future.

Ryan Hecker, one of the organizers of the Contract from America, elaborated: “These candidates, by signing the Contract from America, have shown themselves to be true champions of Main Street values.  They have illustrated that, if elected, they will listen to their constituents and be grassroots conservative leaders in the Senate.”

When voting was completed, the top ten planks in the Contract from America were: (1) Protect the Constitution; (2) Reject Cap and Trade; (3) Demand a Balanced Budget; (4) Enact Fundamental Tax Reform; (5) Restore Fiscal Responsibility and Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington; (6) End Runaway Government Spending; (7) Defund, Repeal, and Replace Government-run Health Care; (8) Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy; (9) Stop the Pork; and (10) Stop the Tax Hikes.

More information about the candidates who have signed this Main Street Agenda is available at the Contract from America’s website, contract.thelibertylab.com.

CONTACT: Ryan Hecker, 215-880-2430
DOWNLOAD A HARDCOPY OF THIS PRESS RELEASE HERE.

Congratulations to Last Night’s Big Winners Who Signed the Contract

Last night was a big night across the country for some key races, some of which went quietly into the blogosphere and others that caused reverberations that will leave both Democrats and Republicans feeling the pressure that November is bringing…and with it, fall winds of change. Real change.

Signers of the Contract from America won key elections in three states and four races:

NORTH CAROLINA: Bill Randall won the District 13 runoff against Bernie Reeves with almost 60% of the vote. We intend to keep an eye on his campaign as Randall attempts to unseat incumbent Brad Miller.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Tim Scott, running in District 01 against Paul Thurmond, son of Strom Thurmond, walked off with 68% of the vote in this mandatory primary runoff.

Also taking home a big win in SC was Jeff Duncan out of District 03. Jeff faced primary challenger Richard Cash and came away with nearly 52% of the vote.

UTAH: With all eyes of the nation on the dirty politics that seemed to permeate this election, Mike Lee trumped Tim Bridgewater’s run at the Utah Senate with 51% of the vote in what turned out to be a nail-biter of an election night.

Everyone associated with the Contract from America would like to congratulate all of these candidates on running clean campaigns and sticking with the principals of the Contract. Keep up the great work and we’re behind you!

Also, a special “Thank You!” to everyone involved the the grassroots Twitter initiative, @TheTwisters. Follow them at hashtag #twisters.

November’s so bright, we’re all gonna have to wear shades!

ABC NEWS: House GOP Begins Crafting New ‘Contract [FROM] America’

Effort is Modeled on Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Agenda [and the 2010 “Contract from America”]

By TEDDY DAVIS

House Republican leaders are beginning the process of crafting a 2010 version of the “Contract with America” that proved so successful for the party in the 1990s. GOP leaders hope that the election-year agenda will help the party shed the “party of no” moniker that Democrats have sought to pin on them during President Obama’s administration. They kick off the effort at a Tuesday press conference in Washington, D.C.

“There are a number of seats that you get just by being ‘no,'” Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican spearheading the effort, told ABC News. “But you don’t get a majority by just being ‘no.’ You’ve got to say what you’re for.”

The GOP’s effort to craft an election-year agenda, which has been dubbed “America Speaking Out,” was inspired by the way in which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia, used a 10-point “Contract with America” to fuel the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress. Although polls indicated that the 1994 vote was motivated more by animus towards President Clinton than by familiarity with the Contract’s provisions, Republican leaders found the document to be a useful governing tool as they led the first GOP House majority in 40 years.

Tuesday’s event, which is scheduled to take place at Washington’s Newseum, will not unveil a GOP platform. Instead, the press conference is being used to outline the process by which Republicans are hoping to engage Americans in developing a new governing agenda. Republicans are asking supporters to submit policy ideas through a web-based platform. The GOP will also offer an iPhone application to solicit input. GOP activists can then discuss the proposals, some of which will eventually be included in the party’s election-year agenda.

The debut of “America Speaking Out” comes at an ambiguous time for House Republicans. Over the weekend, the GOP captured a staunchly Democratic district in Hawaii which had been held by 10-term Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who resigned to run for governor.

On the other hand, the GOP failed to capture the Pennsylvania congressional district which had previously been held by the late Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha, even though the culturally conservative district was the only House seat in the country which had gone from backing John Kerry for president in 2004 to backing John McCain for president in 2008.

House Republican leaders are not the only ones crafting an election-year agenda.

A tea party activist from Texas named Ryan Hecker has already used an online voting system to develop his own “Contract from America,” which was unveiled at events around the country on April 15th. So far, the “Contract From America” has been endorsed by more than 50 congressional candidates in total, including two sitting Republican senators: Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn and South Carolina’s Jim DeMint.

Continue reading at ABC News

THE ATLANTIC: House GOP’s New Contract is a Page From the Tea Party

By Chris Good

House Republicans unveiled a new website today, AmericaSpeakingOut.com, through which they’ll solicit ideas for a Contract with America style platform document. Visitors can submit and vote on platform ideas for the House Republican Conference. The idea was hatched by House Minority Leader John Boehner and led, at Boehner’s request, by California Congressman Kevin McCarthy.

In launching the site, House Republicans are taking a page from the Tea Party movement, which in April unveiled and promoted the Contract from America–a Contract with America style document created by Houston-based Tea Party activist Ryan Hecker. Hundreds of thousands of people voted for their favorite principles online to create the Contract as an open-sourced platform for the Tea Party movement. That document, unveiled ahead of nationwide April 15 Tea Party events, was praised by prominent Republicans including Boehner, who said in a press release that the Contract from America should be required reading for every lawmaker.

Continue reading at the Atlantic

WASHINGTON TIMES: “Stating the Obvious”

By Doug Mainwaring

The emergence and rapid growth of the Tea Party movement is due in large part to an increasing concern by taxpayers that our government has strayed too far from fiscal responsibility. As many have awakened from our shared national somnambulism, the electorate’s attention is galvanized by issues once considered banal or trivial, now viewed as grave threats to our country’s security, prosperity and even our national identity. A public that until a few years ago quietly trusted the job that its government has been doing in Washington is now focused like a laser beam on both the role of government and the careers of our leaders.

Tea Partiers’ deepest fears for the future of our nation are being realized in Greece. They see the beginnings of anarchy in a social democracy crippled by enormous budget deficits (13.6 percent of gross domestic product) and a heart-stopping national debt (115 percent of GDP). They see a country saddled with massive, unsustainable, unbearable entitlements. This has caused many to reflect on how our own annual budget deficit and national debt may be taking us down the same path as Greece and the other social democracies of Europe. Tea Partiers and their many sympathizers are well informed: They easily see the connection and are making sound, reasoned conclusions.

In addition to fiscal irresponsibility, there is a second major component of concern for Tea Partiers: government exceeding its constitutional limits. Too much power, money and authority are concentrated in our national government. This is detrimental to the functioning of the individual states and increasingly diminishes the freedom and liberty of the American people.

For a very long time, a majority of those who serve us in Washington have worked under the assumption that the national government is better equipped than any other entity to govern and solve all of America’s problems, and, therefore, bigger government is better. The result has been ever-increasing regulation, unfunded mandates, earmark projects and increasingly toxic entitlement programs, including the recently enacted health care reform law.

But what if this paradigm is ill-formed? What if Americans actually could be better served by being governed and regulated locally to a greater degree? Our national government has taken on a life of its own, to the disservice of those it was established to serve. Perhaps a smaller national government, with many functions returned to the states, would be better.

On April 15, the Contract from America was unveiled at tax rallies held across the country. I co-authored one of the provisions in the contract:

“Create a Blue Ribbon task force that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states.”

Our Founding Fathers did not envision a massive, all-powerful, centralized national government, nor was it their intent to lay the groundwork for one in our Constitution. Rather, our current national government exists as it does despite our Constitution. As a result, the national government is too bloated, too greedy, too unaccountable and always hungry for more. Too often, the national government has proved it is inadequate for the task of competently managing its massive programs and exercising good and faithful stewardship over the funds provided to it from the American people.

Continue reading at the Washington Times

House GOP Launches “America Speaking Out” Online Initiative

Today, Republicans in the House of Representative launched an online initiative very similar to the Contract from America, in which they intend to solicit ideas from the American people. Presumably they will act on the best ideas and perhaps on those that generate the greatest response. Their initiative is called, “America Speaking Out” and it can be found online at http://www.americaspeakingout.com/.

The Contract from America team enthusiastically applauds the efforts of GOP leaders to actively listen to the American people. We also strongly encourage you to use “America Speaking Out” as an additional tool to make sure your voice is heard. Visit their site. Register your name. Get involved. Review the ideas. Write comments. MOST IMPORTANTLY… CAST YOUR VOTES.

All of the the agenda items listed in the Contract from America have been submitted to the “America Speaking Out” website. If those items are still important to you and your community, vote for them again.We have long said that the Contract from America serves as a clarion call for those who recognize the importance of free market principles, limited government, and individual liberty. It is the natural extension of a movement that began in the local communities and quickly spread across America in response to unprecedented government expansion, reckless spending, and a blatant disregard by our leaders of the nation’s founding principles.

We are thrilled that GOP leaders in Washington have heard that call and are taking steps to re-engage with the American people.Yes, the Contract from America initiative has already been listening to Americans since last year. We have debated thousands of ideas. We have logged hundreds of thousands of votes. But far more important is the role we will continue to play, however large or small, in helping build strong coalitions of like-minded Americans that will work together to restore and rebuild this great nation.

Please continue to engage in all aspects of the political arena during this pivotal election year. Thank you for your continued support.

Warm regards,

The Contract from America Team

“Contract from America” Applauds GOP’s Initiative to Listen to the American People During Pivotal Election Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 24, 2010

Tomorrow, House Republicans are launching a new initiative to “engage Americans across the country and give them a voice in creating a new agenda for Congress.” Called, “America Speaking Out,” the effort is led by Chief Deputy Whip, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Following the lead of the Contract from America, the GOP’s initiative seems to acknowledge the fundamental relationship between the American people and their representatives; a relationship founded on the notion that representatives are elected by the American people to advance the people’s priorities, not their own. In launching America Speaking Out, the GOP will retrace the steps made by the Contract from America during the last eight months in asking the American people for their input in developing a new policy agenda.

Ryan Hecker, founder of the Contract from America initiative said, “I think it is great that House Republicans are listening to the people and borrowing from the tea party movement and the Contract from America project”

During this pivotal 2010 election cycle, millions of grassroots Tea Party activists will be closely watching this initiative. To gain the support of grassroots activists, the Tea Party movement, and the American public, the GOP needs to embrace a genuine effort to listen to the American people and advance those priorities over the destructive and self-serving tendencies of Washington insiders.

“The Contract from America is not an exclusive set of public policy proposals, and I hope that Republican members of Congress express their willingness to listen to the people and sign the Contract from America, which was created and vetted by nearly one half-million people,” Hecker noted.

The Contract from America is proud to join with Tea Party activists across the country to continue a constructive dialogue with leaders who promise to listen and support the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets.

More information about each plank, including its full description and the name of the activist who first proposed it, is available at the Contract from America’s website, contract.thelibertylab.com.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Ryan Hecker, (215) 880-2430

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Download a hardcopy of this press release here.