Tea Party

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

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.

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

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

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: GOP Leaders Want their Money Back from Charlie Crist

With Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist expected to announce an independent run for Senate, Republican leaders say they will do their best to starve him of campaign funds.

By Dave Cook, Staff writer at Christian Science Monitor

With Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist expected to formally announce late Thursday that he will run for the Senate as an independent, GOP leaders made clear they would do their best to starve him of campaign funds.

At a Monitor sponsored breakfast for reporters, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) said, “I certainly will request the money that I donated to his campaign from my leadership PAC back.”

Senator Cornyn added that, “people have already asked for their money back and I expect that to continue. I think in addition to seeing his coffers depleted by having to return money, I think his ability to raise money as an independent will be dramatically down.” Governor Crist has $7 million in the bank and is not legally obligated to return the funds.

Crist is dropping out of a Republican primary with former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio. Recent polls show Crist losing the primary badly while having a fighting chance in a three-way general election fight with US Rep Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate.

Cornyn said NRSC officials and others have suggested that he drop out of the Senate race this year and run in 2012 against Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. “Staying in the primary and dropping out and running in 2012 are much more preferable than running as an Independent because I think his future electoral prospects are irreparably damaged by his deciding now to run as an Independent,” Cornyn said.

There is a lesson for him [in] Crist’s sagging political fortunes, Cornyn admitted. He had asked Crist to run for the Florida Senate seat after former Governor Jeb Bush declined to run. “In this political environment, it is not necessarily helpful for candidates running in the states to have the national party chairman endorse them. I think more than any time I have seen in the recent past, instead of a Contract for America, voters want a Contract from America. They want to be listened to, not lectured to and not to have their choices made for them,” Cornyn said.

Continue reading at the Christian Science Monitor