Republican Party

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.”


Continue reading here

WSJ: “Tea-Party Activists Stage Tax-Day Rallies”

Filing Deadline Brings Out Protesters Against Big Government, Administration Policies; ‘Tsunami of Conservatism’

By Neil King Jr., Douglas Belkin, and Louise Radnofsky

Tea-party activists held rallies across the country Thursday, the deadline for filing federal tax returns, to highlight what they said were onerous taxes and a bloated federal government.

The activists protested Democratic policies and displayed varying attitudes toward prominent Republicans. Some groups invited marquee conservatives, such as former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who addressed around 500 people in Austin, Texas.

Other organizers refused to invite politicians of any stripe, reflecting the deep distrust many in the movement feel toward elected officials.

In Wisconsin, several tea-party groups protested a decision to let former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson address a rally in Madison. Saying it was “time for new voices and new faces,” Mr. Thompson used his speech to announce that he would not challenge Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in his bid for re-election.

The rallies in town squares and hotel ballrooms from Philadelphia to San Diego came a year after a similar spate of April 15 protests put the small-government, anti-tax movement on the national map.

Organizers said Thursday’s rallies were more numerous and generally larger than last year’s. But the gatherings also illustrated the conflicting aims and strategies that have sprung up within the movement, which is now made up of hundreds of local groups working under a dizzying array of names.

The Tea Party Express, a group organized by a California political-consulting company, concluded a nationwide bus tour with a rally in Washington, D.C., that prominently featured—and endorsed—an array of Republican candidates in the midterm elections. Most other groups have spurned such endorsements.

One candidate endorsed by the group was Sharron Angle, a former member of the Nevada State Assembly, who is among a dozen Republicans vying to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. The Tea Party Express made her one of its 14 “heroes” in the November election.

“Good morning, American patriots,” Ms. Angle said in her speech to about 200 activists. “You have brought a tsunami of conservatism across this country.”

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal

CONGRESS.ORG: Tea Partier to GOP… “Copy Away”

Republicans seem to be borrowing from the tea party playbook.

By Ambreen Ali

If imitation is a form of flattery, then the GOP just paid tea partyer Ryan Hecker the ultimate compliment.

As Hecker and the Tea Party Patriots unveiled the final version of their Contract From America , House Republicans announced a very similar initiative called the Commitment to America.

Like the tea party’s 10-point manifesto , the Republicans’ mission statement will be generated by collecting online surveys from conservative Americans.

Hecker collected more than 500,000 surveys over the past six months and recently unveiled his web-savvy strategy for incorporating the grassroots.

“I’m honored that they’re looking at the process we used,” Hecker said Thursday as he set up for a Tax Day rally on the National Mall.

“At the end of the day, if the Republicans come up with their own document and it’s a strong document, that’s good,” he added. “But I hope that our agenda is still a central part of what they’re doing.”

Hecker said the growing popularity of the tea parties is a big reason why the Republican Party is opening up their document to grassroots input.

“I think they recognize that they’ve lost some legitimacy,” he said.

The Republican initiative appears to be coming from the offices of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has tried to court the tea parties without undermining their independence. He asked Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to lead the effort.

“In ’94 there wasn’t the Internet, there wasn’t phone apps,” McCarthy told Roll Call . “We are going to make it easy so anybody from across this country from all different walks [can contribute].”

Continue reading at Congress.org

Grassroots Activists Help Launch Historic “Contract from America”

Download a hardcopy of the official press release here.

On April 15th, hundreds of local Tea Party and limited government groups around the country will join together to announce the launch of 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 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. The top ten issues comprise the final Contract. By asking website visitors to propose and vote on the agenda, the result 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 has now been finalized into a blueprint that will serve notice to public officials about what the people want for their future.

And the top ten are…

1. Protect the Constitution
2. Reject Cap & Trade
3. Demand a Balanced Budget
4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
6. End Runaway Government Spending
7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
9. Stop the Pork
10. Stop the Tax Hikes

We are 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.

THE ATLANTIC: Does the GOP Have a Tea Party Problem?

By Chris Good

A question hovering around the tea party movement has been: will it hurt Republicans at the polls in November, generating third-party candidates and sucking votes away from the GOP?

Polling released this past week by Quinnipiac says this is a possibility: with tea party candidates running in a generic race, Republicans go from winners to losers, with just 25% of the vote. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, for its part, has put together a list of races involving conservative challengers, some running as third-party candidates, advertised as “Palin’s Primaries.”

I don’t know the answer to this question for sure, but I do know this: top tea party organizers are not interested in supporting third-party candidates, or in forming official Tea Party political parties in states, which means it’s unlikely we’ll see an organized movement to form Tea Parties and make trouble in GOP-stronghold districts.

In other words: the tea party movement won’t rise up to challenge the GOP, on a national scale, any time soon.

“Personally, I think it’s better to run within the established parties and try to change the parties,” said Jenny Beth Martin, national co-chair of the group Tea Party Patriots. Martin’s group claims to have 15 million members; after surveying local organizers, Tea Party Patriots leaders put out a statement making clear that it did not support the formation of a Tea Party political party.

With guidance from the Dick Armey-led FreedomWorks, the tea party movement figures to target, in organized fashion, about four House races and four Senate races this fall. None of those include third-party bids.

As far as third-party candidates go, it’s more likely that individuals will decide to run, without the encouragement of state or national organizers, seeking to claim the tea party mantle.

But it’s questionable whether such candidates would garner enough support to make a difference, despite the findings from Quinnipiac. It’s one thing to tell a pollster you like the idea of a tea party candidate–and, to be sure, some conservatives are upset with the Republican Party, based on TARP and Bush-era spending–but another thing to vote for a candidate who is polling low, especially if a Republican candidate has tacked sufficiently to the right.

We saw a tea partier run in the Massachusetts Senate race, but Joe Kennedy (no relation to the Kennedy family, or to the other Joe Kennedy) only got 1% of the vote.

Continue reading at The Atlantic

SCRIPPS NEWS: Republicans Look for New Contract to Help Regain Congress

WASHINGTON – Republicans are so convinced that the fall midterm elections could be a repeat of 1994, the year that ushered them into the majority in Congress, they are reaching into the playbook for the prop that helped propel that victory: a new Contract with America.

House Republicans have tapped one of their own to begin casting for ideas to form a 10-point legislative to-do list, promises candidates would make to voters this fall.

Only problem is, the Tea Party movement beat them to it.

For months, Tea Party activists have been crafting a Contract from America, a soon-to-be released document from the renegade conservative movement.

Not to be outdone, a cadre of old-guard conservatives headed by former Attorney General Edwin Meese and backed by the conservative Heritage Foundation this month launched a broad decree known as the Mount Vernon Statement.

For a political party being criticized as the party of no, the flurry of manifestos offers an aggressive effort to stand for something.

“There is a perception that the 1994 Contract with America contributed to the Republican victory, and a lot of people on the conservative side of the aisle want history to repeat itself,” said John Pitney, a former Republican operative who is now a government professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif.

“They’re also aware they need to be for something,” he said. “They want to define themselves rather than let the other side define them.”

The original Contract with America was essentially a small-government 10-step program – a “detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print,” it said.

The now almost legendary document championed by then-Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia outlined a series of legislative proposals Republican candidates vowed to bring to the House floor for a vote, if elected.

Continue reading at Scripps News

NEWSWEEK: Rep. Kevin McCarthy Concocting his Own Plan to Take Back the House

By Michael Hirsh

Rep. Kevin McCarthy laughs at the idea that he’s trying to resurrect the “Contract With America.” “No sequel, outside of The Godfather II, ever did better than the original,” he jokes. But the second-term congressman from Bakers-field, Calif., a sunny salt-of-the-earth type who used to run a sandwich shop, has been tasked with orchestrating the next Republican revolution. So he’s doing his best to learn from the last one. McCarthy’s project has a slightly different name—the “Commitment to -America”—but his mission is essentially the same as the one pursued by GOP revolutionaries in 1994: to come up with a simple program for action that will redefine the Republican Party and bring it back to power.

“One of the things I first did, I went back and talked to everybody” involved with the 1994 campaign, says McCarthy, one of the party’s self-described “young guns.” Newt Gingrich, the mastermind of the ’94 GOP takeover of the House, was at the top of his list. McCarthy wanted to hear how he might repeat Gingrich’s success, but without seeming like a tiresome impersonator. “This is a different world,” says Gingrich. “Every dance has its own rules. The anger is much greater now than it was before. People are tired of the whole process in Washington.”

There are, it is true, unmistakable similarities between the two eras. The Republican leaders who designed the “Contract With America”—a 10-point program that included a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget—sought to -capitalize on a broad disgust with Washington, reflected at the time in the 19 percent vote that third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot won in 1992. Then, as now, the Republicans were trying to exploit a backlash against big government. It was Hillarycare in ’94; now it’s Obamacare.

But even as McCarthy seeks to recapture the mojo of ’94, he and other Republicans recognize that the differences between now and then are probably much greater than the similarities. For starters, says former House majority leader Dick Armey, a key member of the Gingrich contract team, “in ’94 we didn’t have a single person in America that could remember having been disappointed [by] a Republican majority” in the House. (At the time, Republicans hadn’t controlled the House in 39 years.) “Then we just had to say, ‘We’re not them.’ Now we have to say, ‘We’re not them—and by the way, we’re not the same Republicans who just broke your heart a few years ago.’?” It’s a sign of the tougher new environment that Republicans have failed so far to exploit fully the -antigovernment rage behind the tea-party movement: even Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman who has made his name fighting big government, is seen as too inside the Beltway by some tea partiers.

It was no surprise to anyone when, late last year, House Minority Leader John Boehner assigned McCarthy, the Republican deputy whip, to de-sign a new program to help the GOP overcome its reputation as “the party of no.” While McCarthy is not as intellectual as Gingrich, a former college professor, the 45-year-old former fireman can display an almost Gingrichian wonkishness and creativity. (He just flew out to Seattle to talk with Microsoft executives about adapting software that NASA uses to map the moon in order to map the new political landscape.) Gingrich’s spokesman, Rick Tyler, says, “If you were going to franchise Newt like McDonald’s, McCarthy would be the flagship restaurant. He completely spills over with ideas…He knows districts around the country from memory.”

Still, no one in the GOP today can really fill the outsize role of Gingrich (as McCarthy is the first to admit). In ’94 Gingrich “became the golden arches,” says Rich Galen, Gingrich’s former spokesman. “All you had to say was ‘Newt Gingrich’ and everything followed from that. Neither Boehner nor [Republican Senate leader Mitch] McConnell nor anybody else has been a Gingrich. They don’t have the intelligence or the capacity. That is probably the biggest difference between 2010 and 1994.”

Not even Newt is Newt anymore. An older and grayer Gingrich is still around, and still angling to define the GOP agenda on his own. But he’s out of office and sapped of the influence he once had. Armey, head of an activist group called FreedomWorks, is -himself endorsing an alternative grassroots approach he’s calling the Contract From America. “Bless their hearts,” he says of McCarthy and Boehner. “They’re making a good effort. But I don’t think the political space is there for them to offer a contract.”

Continue reading at Newsweek

THE HAYRIDE: Good Idea…

While the Republican Party is casting about in an effort to recharge its brand and prepare itself for the opportunity this fall to mount a 1994-style comeback, the punditocracy in New York and Washington is decrying the lack of a GOP leader for the people to rally around.

This is less a problem than people think, for two reasons.

First, America is not a country which requires great leaders. We have certainly had them, but our successes as a nation have come mostly through private excellence in peacetime. Most people think Ulysses S. Grant was a lousy president, but it was during Grant’s presidency when the transcontinental railroad was completed by private railroad companies. America’s Gilded Age, when the country was industrialized and progressed from a war-torn proto-nation lacking in infrastructure to the world’s supreme economic power, occurred amid some of the most nameless, faceless presidents in the country’s history.

And so on.

Second, in today’s political climate the Republican Party putting forth a true leader is tantamount to giving the Democrat media/political complex a target. When Sarah Palin was identified as a rising star in the party, every effort was made to destroy her – and she went from an exciting figure to a controversial one virtually overnight (whether some of that was attributable to Palin or not, there is little question she was treated to some of the worst our political culture has to offer). In this climate it might be better for the GOP to hold off until the absolute last minute before galvanizing behind a virtually unknown outsider the other side doesn’t have the goods on – the Scott Brown campaign being a perfect example.

But a leader at the top of the party is an issue more for 2012 than 2010 in any event; a mid-term election

is about some 467 different races, not one. Nationalizing those elections is a good idea, particularly amid the voter dissatisfaction abounding across the fruited plain at present, but it requires an agenda to do so rather than a personality.

And so the question becomes, how does the party galvanize behind an agenda? Should a bunch of Republican Beltway insiders sit in Michael Steele’s or John Boehner’s or Mitch McConnell’s office and hand down Ten Commandments on stone tablets to the subjects?

Or should the party operate in a fashion more in tune with its philosophy of individualist, bottom-up, free-market ideals?

If it is to be the latter, the GOP could do much worse than listen to the Tea Party Patriots, who are working on such such a bottom-up agenda. They’ve called it the Contract From America, which is a name much too derivative from the Contract For America of 1994 fame, but in all other respects appears to be exactly what the Republican Party needs. The organization has engaged in a process of whittling down a plethora of conservative ideas to an agenda of 10-12 items, and they’re currently conducting a survey of the American people to see which ideas rise to the top of our concern and which are the most important to include in a new plan for the country.

Bear in mind, this is not a Republican group. It’s a Tea Party group. As such, it’s a double-edged sword of sorts for the GOP. The party does NOT have any claim to loyalty from the Tea Party movement, which generally reacts to the Republican brand with disgust thanks to the poor performance of the party in governing over the previous decade. And to fully fuse the Tea Party movement into a GOP coalition probably will involve the movement taking over the Republican Party in the same manner that the Soros-funded statist/socialist/neo-fascist Left took over the Democrat Party from the Clintonites some time in 2005.

Continue reading at The Hayride…