Republicans

NYT: Tea Partiers Bring Cause to Washington

By KATE ZERNIKE

WASHINGTON — Thousands of Tea Party supporters marched to the foot of Capitol Hill on Sunday, declaring their determination to topple the Democratic majority in Congress on Election Day.

“If we do not succeed in November, all that once was good and great about this country could someday be gone,” warned Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, the chairman of the House Republican Conference. He added, “Let’s give them a November that they never forget.”

The event, organized by FreedomWorks, a libertarian advocacy group that has helped the Tea Party grow, was a repeat of a march on Washington that was a defining moment for the nascent movement a year ago. And it was intended as a political bookend to the religious revival that Glenn Beck called for at the Lincoln Memorial two weeks ago, drawing many of the same people.

This crowd was not nearly as large as the one that marched last year, or the one at Mr. Beck’s rally. Ending up on the western slope of the Capitol, it stretched back, stopping just short of the National Mall. But in many ways the crowd was louder than the one that had amassed for Mr. Beck. He had asked people to leave signs at home; FreedomWorks encouraged people to bring their signs, and to get loud.

The crowd cheered wildly as speakers celebrated the victories of Tea Party candidates who have upset establishment candidates in Republican primaries, and proclaimed that the Tea Party would now turn its ire against the Democrats.

“I believe we’ve got the Republican Party’s attention — we’ve been beating the establishment all over the country,” said Dick Armey, the former Republican House majority leader and the chairman of FreedomWorks, to a burst of cheering. “It’s time we give the same lesson to the other party.”

Mr. Pence taunted the Democratic leadership: “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job. A recovery is when Nancy Pelosi loses her job.”

As the crowd cheered, he gave a taste of what a Republican-led Congress might look like, calling for a repeal of the health care overhaul legislation “lock, stock and barrel,” and an end to “bailouts, once and for all.”

Speakers talked about the 10 points in the so-called Contract From America, a Tea Party manifesto that was created online as people proposed and then voted on what they wanted Congress to do. The provisions include a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget and requiring all legislation to state the exact provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to enact such a law.

“We run things,” Ryan Hecker, a young Tea Party activist from Houston who conceived of the contract, told the crowd. “Not only should we be listened to, we should be shown deference.”

Continue reading at the New York Times

WSJ: A Tea Party Manifesto

The movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party. It is aiming for a hostile takeover.

By DICK ARMEY AND MATT KIBBE

On Feb. 9, 2009, Mary Rakovich, a recently laid-off automotive engineer, set out for a convention center in Fort Myers, Fla. with protest signs, a cooler of water and the courage of her convictions. She felt compelled to act, having grown increasingly alarmed at the explosion of earmarks, bailouts and government spending in the waning years of the Bush administration. President Barack Obama, joined by then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, was in town promoting his plan to spend a trillion dollars in borrowed money to “stimulate” the economy.

Mary didn’t know it, but she was on the front lines of a grass-roots revolution that was brewing across the nation. More than 3,000 miles away, Keli Carender, a young Seattle school teacher and a member of a local comedy improv troupe, was feeling equally frustrated. She started to organize like-minded citizens. “Our nation’s fiscal path is just not sustainable,” she said. “You can’t continue to spend money you don’t have indefinitely.”

Today the ranks of this citizen rebellion can be counted in the millions. The rebellion’s name derives from the glorious rant of CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who in February 2009 called for a new “tea party” from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. By doing so he reminded all of us that America was founded on the revolutionary principle of citizen participation, citizen activism and the primacy of the individual over the government. That’s the tea party ethos.

The tea party movement has blossomed into a powerful social phenomenon because it is leaderless—not directed by any one mind, political party or parochial agenda.

The criteria for membership are straightforward: Stay true to principle even when it proves inconvenient, be assertive but respectful, add value and don’t taking credit for other people’s work. Our community is built on the Trader Principle: We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government. These were the principles that enabled the Sept. 12, 2009 taxpayer march on Washington to be one of the largest political protests in the history of our nation’s capital.

The many branches of the tea party movement have created a virtual marketplace for new ideas, effective innovations and creative tactics. Best practices come from the ground up, around kitchen tables, from Facebook friends, at weekly book clubs, or on Twitter feeds. This is beautiful chaos—or, as the Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek put it, “spontaneous order.”

Decentralization, not top-down hierarchy, is the best way to maximize the contributions of people and their personal knowledge. Let the leaders be the activists who have the best knowledge of local personalities and issues. In the real world, this is common sense. In Washington, D.C., this is considered radical.

The big-government crowd is drawn to the compulsory nature of centralized authority. They can’t imagine an undirected social order. Someone needs to be in charge—someone who knows better. Big government is audacious and conceited.

By definition, government is the means by which citizens are forced to do that which they would not do voluntarily. Like pay high taxes. Or redistribute tax dollars to bail out the broken, bloated pension systems of state government employees. Or purchase, by federal mandate, a government-defined health-insurance plan that is unaffordable, unnecessary or unwanted.

For the left, and for today’s Democratic Party, every solution to every perceived problem involves more government—top-down dictates from bureaucrats presumed to know better what you need. Tea partiers reject this nanny state philosophy of redistribution and control because it is bankrupting our country.

While the tea party is not a formal political party, local networks across the nation have moved beyond protests and turned to more practical matters of political accountability. Already, particularly in Republican primaries, fed-up Americans are turning out at the polls to vote out the big spenders. They are supporting candidates who have signed the Contract From America, a statement of policy principles generated online by hundreds of thousands of grass-roots activists.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal

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

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

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

——————–

Download a hardcopy of this press release here.

ROLL CALL: GOP to Roll Out Agenda-Building Project

House Republican leaders will roll out a new initiative on Tuesday that will become a central part of designing their policy agenda, according to GOP aides familiar with the plan.

The effort, called “America Speaking Out,” will include town hall meetings and other public forums that will allow Republicans to gather ideas for the new GOP agenda from citizens around the country.

The initiative will also include a website, complete with a mobile phone application, that will allow citizens to submit ideas for the Republican agenda online.

“America Speaking Out will be our effort to engage the American people about their priorities for a new policy agenda,” said one GOP aide.

Continue reading at Roll Call

THE HILL: GOP Plans ‘America Speaking Out’ Event

By Molly K. Hooper

House GOP leaders have planned a high-profile event at Washington D.C.’s Newseum Tuesday morning to launch the start of their “America Speaking Out” project.

Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is in charge of the initiative to result in the release of a set of policy items that Republicans would pursue if they won back control of the House in November.

According to officials involved in the effort, “America Speaking Out” will focus on gathering feedback from Americans on what items that lawmakers should be focusing on in the future.

GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) said on Monday “it’s part of a process of engaging Americans.”

Pence added that the project was not a product of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“’America Speaking Out’ is not a project of the political” campaign arm, Pence said. He refrained from going into further detail.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) tasked McCarthy with heading the effort to produce a list of policy changes similar to the successful “Contract with America” that Republicans used in 1994 to win control of the House and the Senate.

Continue reading at The Hill

HUFFINGTON POST: “GOP Crowd-Sourcing Its Policy Agenda”

This time around, the GOP is crowd-sourcing its contract. House Republicans want your help “develop[ing] a new governing agenda,” according to a statement announcing a new effort to elicit public input on the GOP policy agenda.

“To return power to the American people and begin to restore the broken bonds of trust between Americans and their elected leaders, House Republicans are asking all Americans to be part of an unprecedented new initiative that will, in time, lead to a new policy agenda,” reads the release, announcing the new initiative, “America Speaking Out,” which launches Tuesday.

The Republican initiative comes after the Tea Party movement put forward its own version of the GOP’s 1994 Contract with America, which they call the “Contract from America.”

Some elected Republicans have been slow to sign on to the Tea Party contract and the “America Speaking Out” initiative gives them something to rally behind, while retaining a grassroots feel.

“We’ve been talking to them throughout the process, but that wasn’t the impetus of this,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is heading up the initiative. “We hope they’ll make those ideas a part of this process.”

The outreach also raises questions about where the GOP stands. A major critique of the Republican Party that comes from its conservative base is that it lost its way over the last decade and that it no longer stands on principle. Asking for help in crafting a governing agenda does little to discourage that criticism. Democrats have been happy to repeat the charge, accusing the GOP of lacking new ideas and relying on a simple strategy of opposition to whatever the Democrats propose.

“This sounds like the sequel to a really bad movie. The same old characters whose failed leadership, mismanagement, and ethical shortcomings created a huge mess are now attempting a drastic makeover with a slick marketing effort in hopes the public will somehow forget that the GOP was responsible,” Doug Thornell, an aide to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told HuffPost in a statement. “Republicans ran everything for years and we know how that turned out — huge deficits, debt, millions of jobs lost, putting the special interests first. The American people just can’t afford another Republican dud.”
Continue reading at the Huffington Post

WASH POST: “The Tea Party’s Allegiance to No One”

By Kathleen Parker

No one doubts the sincerity or power of the Tea Party movement anymore. We get it: free-market principles, limited government and individual liberty.

Those are the three fundamentals of the Tea Party’s “Contract From America,” to which any serious Republican must subscribe, nay, sign in blood. Make it real red.

Nowhere is this new power-to-the-people imperative in starker relief than in Utah — one of the nation’s reddest states — where three-term conservative Sen. Bob Bennett seems likely to lose the Republican Party nomination this weekend.

This, despite the fact that Bennett’s voting record earns an 84 rating from the American Conservative Union, an A ranking from the National Rifle Association — and is nothing like a liberal’s.

But Bennett committed the ultimate sin in Tea Party circles. He voted for the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), a.k.a. “bank bailout,” during the George W. Bush administration. And, he advanced a market-driven health-reform bill as an alternative to the Democratic plan that, alas, also included an insurance mandate.

Continue reading at the Washington Post