Democrats

POLITICO: Debt Ceiling Talks have Tea Party Ready for Disappointment – and Retribution

By Kenneth P. Vogel and Marin Cogan

Tea party activists braced for disappointment as negotiations on the debt ceiling finally resulted in a deal Sunday, but sent a clear signal to congressional Republicans that they are in no mood to tolerate compromise and will seek retribution against anyone who has not fully supported their agenda.

They are focused in particular on the fate of the concession they extracted from House Speaker John Boehner in order to get his debt ceiling bill through the House last week – a provision making a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution a prerequisite for raising the debt ceiling again that they regarded as a huge victory.

“If the final bill is passed by establishment Republicans and House Democrats and does not include a balanced budget amendment as a requirement, it will be completely unacceptable and will be seen as a violation of the mandate that the tea party and like-minded people gave Republicans in 2010,” said Ryan Hecker, the leader of a crowd-sourced tea party effort called the Contract from America.

“The tea party didn’t help elect Republicans because they liked Republicans. They elected Republicans to give them a second chance. And if they go moderate on this, then they have ruined their second chance, and there will be a real effort to replace them with those who will stand up for economic conservative values,” said Hecker, who helped conservative House Republicans rally support for the amendment.

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UK’s MAIL ONLINE: ‘Tea Party’ Rebels Score Stunning Poll Victories

By Tom Leonard

They want to purify their party and their country, returning America to the honest, founding traditions of thrift, small government and self-reliance from which, they say, it has strayed.

And, like the protesters from whom they take their name (the Bostonians who demonstrated against British taxation by dumping tea into the city’s harbour in 1773), the Tea Party rebels are – by their own account – as ‘mad as hell’.

But whether they are a bunch of dotty extremists or not, the Tea Party phenomenon suddenly poses a serious threat.

On Tuesday night, the upsurge in anger among grassroots American conservatives, with both Barack Obama and the Republican Party, made itself spectacularly felt in the tiny, affluent state of Delaware.

In one of the least expected results of the primary season – in which candidates are chosen for November’s mid-term elections – Christine O’Donnell, a Tea Party-backed dissident Republican, beat a moderate and establishment favourite to win the party’s nomination for vice-president Joe Biden’s old seat in the U.S. Senate.

O’Donnell is a perennial candidate and former abstinence counsellor, who promotes complete celibacy before marriage and has a fierce stance on guns (pro), government spending (anti), abortion (anti) and masturbation (anti – it’s a sin, she says).

Her strong beliefs had prompted many – especially local Republican leaders – to write her off as unelectable.

But then Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate and a poster girl of the Tea Party movement, endorsed O’Donnell.

In a move that has proved electorally successful across the U.S., Mrs Palin described her as one of her ‘mama grizzlies’ – a term she has coined to describe her uncompromising conservative allies.

Grizzly bears may be common in the rough and ready Palin home state of Alaska, but in the more sophisticated environs of Delaware they are unheard of outside the zoo.

As the significance of O’Donnell’s victory (accompanied by similar Tea Party success in New York, where its multi-millionaire candidate, Carl Paladino, won a Republican primary for state governor) sank in yesterday, there was a feeling across America that if it can happen in Delaware, it can happen anywhere.

O’Donnell trilled from the podium to huge cheers: ‘Don’t ever underestimate the power of we the people.’ There is fat chance of that now.

Carl Paladino has won a Republican primary for state governor in New York

‘Nightmare’ was a common verdict among political commentators — not for Mr Obama’s Democrats, who are chuckling at the idea of a divided opposition, but for the Republican Party.

It sees its hopes of grabbing power in Congress and crushing key Obama immigration and global warming legislation dashed by the election of Tea Partiers who have little hope of attracting the crucial independent floating voters when it comes to the election in November.

That is why the Tea Party movement is such a mixed blessing for the Republicans.

Yes, its energy has galvanised the party as Obamania once electrified the Democrats. But it also has the potential to frighten away moderate, mainstream voters, disillusioned with the Obama regime.

Republicans shouted themselves hoarse insisting that O’Donnell, who has a history of financial problems and dubious claims about her education, would be unelectable in November — but the Tea Partiers still backed her.

For them, keeping the Democrats out of power matters less than ideological purity.

But then commentators admit to being baffled by the Tea Party movement. Much of the problem is that it is hardly a party at all — in fact, it is more a network of like-minds than an organisation.

Completely decentralised, true to its libertarian principles, it has no real leader (every Tea Partier is his or her own spokesman) and no formal membership structure.

If you call yourself a Tea Partier, then, hey, you are one.

More than 200 leaders of local tea parties, in an umbrella group called Tea Party Patriots, discuss developments every week in a conference call, but that is as far as any party hierarchy goes.

Jonathan Rauch, an academic who has studied the movement, describes the average member as ‘white, bright and right’ – a well-educated conservative who is now an independent, even if he or she generally supports Republican policies.

Accusations of racial exclusivity have dogged the movement, but Rauch says members are largely white as few blacks and Hispanics are conservatives.

Membership numbers are vague, but there are estimated to be tens of thousands of activists.

The movement itself claims to have 17million supporters, but that could include anyone who has ever expressed sympathy with the Tea Party philosophy.

As for that philosophy, congressional candidates are expected to follow a ten-point Contract From America agenda aimed at making Washington more accountable.

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GA Cong. Candidate Tom Graves

Georgia Congressional Candidate Tom Graves Signs Contract from America

(Cumming, GA) – Tomorrow, Tom Graves, congressional candidate for a May 11 special election in Georgia’s 9th Congressional District, will join hundreds of local Tea Party and limited government groups around the country by signing the “Contract from America,” a grassroots legislative blueprint for 2010 and beyond. Originally proposed by Ryan Hecker, a Houston Tea Party activist and National Coordinator for the initiative’s chief organizing group Tea Party Patriots, this project is intended to present a different kind of agenda for our federal lawmakers: unlike the Contract with America introduced in the 1990s, everyday citizens proposed and voted on every plank of the Contract from America.

Grassroots activists from across the country, including Tom Graves, visited the website to choose their top ten priorities from a list of 21 action items that committed Americans from all walks of life proposed.

Tom Graves is proud to join with millions of Tea Party activists across the country to announce the arrival of the Contract from America and the exit of elected officials who continue to ignore calls for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets.

U.S. Senate Candidate Mike Lee

U.S. Senate Candidate Mike Lee Signs “Contract From America”

Salt Lake City, UT — U.S. Senate candidate Mike Lee today signed the “Contract From America,” an innovative policy agenda promoting free enterprise, individual liberty, and limited government. Lee said:

“I am pleased to join Senator Jim DeMint in signing this contract and agenda which reflects and captures a nationwide movement demanding that Congress restore America’s constitutional principles. Developed by a consensus of almost a half-million patriots across the country, I believe that this contract articulates the principles that I and other true conservatives are fighting for.”

Lee concluded by saying, “This initiative comes in the tradition of 1994’s ‘Contract With America,’ which spurred a tidal wave of Republican victories that ended decades of Democratic stranglehold on Congress and helped put the brakes on the Clinton Administration. I’m inspired that so many Americans are behind a restoration of those values, and I look forward to working with Senator DeMint and others to implement them.”

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2010
OFFICE OF U.S. SENATOR JIM DeMINT (R-South Carolina)
CONTACT: Wesley Denton, (202) 228-5079

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint Signs “Contract from America”

WASHINGTON, DC– Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) today signed the “Contract from America,” and issued the following statement:

“I am proud to stand with millions of Americans across the nation that are demanding real reform in Washington. They want an end to the deficit spending, high taxes, and bailouts that have dragged our economy down and threaten the future for our children and grandchildren. This contract was created by the people and outlines a commonsense, constitutional approach to set our country back on the road to prosperity.

“This is a grassroots-generated positive agenda for reform that all Republicans, Democrats, and Independents should be able to support.”


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THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Getting It On, 2010 Version

By Barry Casselman

The 2010 national mid-term elections are now taking full shape as incumbents make their final decisions about whether they will run for re-election or not, and challengers are stepping up to the plate to take on those incumbents who do run.

The momentum so far is clearly to Republican challengers, but this is not true in all states and in all races. Furthermore, if the GOP is to win big in November, it will have to raise a substantial amount of money, develop major national organizing and campaign technology support, and continue to “nationalize” the 2010 elections. A further challenge for Republicans will be to integrate the significant grass roots “Tea Party” movement into their electoral efforts (to avoid self-defeating campaigns in which Tea Party candidates run as independents against Republicans, thus giving elections to the Democrats).

Democrats have serious challenges, too. They need to “localize” as many elections as best they can because national public opinion is not favorable to the recently-passed healthcare legislation, the continued bail-out of big banks and corporations, and to the Obama foreign policy which is in a shambles.

President Obama’s popularity has declined precipitously. The historic surge among black voters in 2008 will not reappear in 2010. Independents, most of whom voted for Obama in 2008, are shifting away from the president. His policy in the Middle East and with our other major allies is also turning off Jewish voters, and other liberals who had different expectations of him. House speaker Nancy Pelosi and senate leader Harry Reid, the daily faces and voices of the Democratic agenda, are not attractive or inspiring political figures.

Republicans seem ready to offer a new “Contract From America.” specifying alternative policies to the current Democratic agenda. How the public will respond to this is unknown. Social conservatives and others on the right who want to revive the immigration issue risk turning away important constituencies, most notable of which is the huge Hispanic voting population. This group is naturally conservative, but in 2006 and 2008 began turning more and more to the Democrats as illegal immigration and amnesty issues were taken up on the right and alienated many Hispanic voters.


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