Aegis Chronicle

Archive for the ‘Tea Party’ Category

Presidential race loses fizz for Tea Party

In News, Politics, Tea Party on October 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm

A man carries a U.S. flag during a Tea Party rally in Napa, California

By Patricia Zengerle and Eric Johnson, Reuters

With their favored candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination lagging or out of the race, many U.S. Tea Party activists are shifting focus to the struggle for control of the U.S. Senate.

The fizz has gone out of the presidential contest for some supporters of the fiscally conservative movement now that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is not running and Texas Governor Rick Perry and congresswoman Michele Bachmann are slipping in polls.

“No one is going to get perfect in a general election candidate. That is why we think the Senate is a better place to focus,” said Matt Kibbe, president and chief executive of the libertarian FreedomWorks, a Tea Party group.

In the 2010 mid-term elections, Tea Party opposition to President Barack Obama’s policies played a big role in slashing the Democrats’ majority in the 100-member Senate to just six seats and eliminating their majority in the House of Representatives.

With 23 of the 33 Senate seats up for grabs next year now held by Democrats, and a wave of public hostility to incumbents, Tea Party activists said they looked forward to more Republican gains in 2012.

“We’ll maintain the House without a problem. We absolutely have to take back the Senate and focus on that and not let presidential politics consume all of our time and energy,” said Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the California-based Tea Party Express Political Action Committee.

Some of the eight to 10 Senate seats seen as very competitive next year are in Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio, states where Tea Party groups had a big impact in 2010 and during state legislative sessions, fueling optimism about next year, Kibbe said.

“If the issues are the economy and jobs, the burden of spending and the national debt, those are swing issues that Tea Partiers care about most — there is a nice confluence in what motivates independent voters and what motivates Tea Partiers,” he said.

WORRIES ABOUT ROMNEY

Fueling the Tea Party’s disenchantment with the Republican presidential race are suspicions that front-runner Mitt Romney is too moderate and not committed to core conservative causes. The Tea Party favors lower spending and smaller government.

The former Massachusetts governor has been attacked by conservatives for introducing a healthcare program in the state that many say was a model for the sweeping healthcare overhaul enacted by Obama in 2010.

“People are definitely not rallying to Romney,” said Chris Littleton, co-founder of the Ohio Liberty Council, a coalition of about 80 Tea Party groups in Ohio, a swing state considered a must-win for any Republican presidential candidate.

“I cannot recall a single conversation I’ve had with anyone who is conservative and liberty-minded where that person supports Romney,” he said.

Some are shifting allegiance to Herman Cain, who has gained in recent polls and appeals to Tea Party activists with a plan to drastically overhaul the tax code, but Cain has yet to prove he can assemble the strong campaign team or attract the level of donations he would need to secure the nomination.

Romney’s campaign said his platform of reduced taxes, lower spending and limited government would appeal to Republicans, the Tea Party and even some Democrats, and that he would continue to reach out to all voters.

In the end, Tea Party voters are expected to put aside ideological differences with Romney if he does become the nominee, because their primary goal in next year’s presidential race is denying Obama a second term.

“The Tea Party to some extent, though not completely, was born in reaction to the Obama movement. Certainly their number one priority is going to be to beat Barack Obama in the fall. There’s no question about that,” said Doug Heye, a political consultant and former Republican National Committee spokesman.

Sal Russo, chief strategist and co-founder of the Tea Party Express, said he viewed all the Republican candidates as fiscally conservative enough for the Tea Party. Besides, he added, in the end the movement’s supporters want a candidate who can win.

“It certainly doesn’t do us any good to run and lose,” he said.

Source: Thomson Reuters

 

 
 
 
 
Advertisements

GOP candidates in SC vow to carry tea-party banner

In News, Republican, Tea Party on September 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, AP

Pledging fidelity to the Constitution and vowing to carry the tea party’s priorities to the White House, the Republicans chasing the GOP‘s presidential nomination pitched themselves Monday to their party’s libertarian activists as the strongest candidates to roll back four years of President Barack Obama’s tenure.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said the Obama administration flouted the Constitution to push a political agenda. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota stridently called Obama’s policies “unconstitutional” at the same tea party-backed forum on Labor Day. And Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the third member of his party’s top tier, told a separate town hall-style audience earlier in the day that he has a better record on jobs than the president.

With Labor Day marking the unofficial start to the 2012 campaign, the contenders were painting themselves to the tea party during an afternoon forum with Sen. Jim DeMint in his home state — site of the first nominating contest in the South. The event was designed to probe the candidates on their views of spending, taxes and the Constitution — bedrock principles for the tea party activists whose rising clout is likely to shape the nominating process.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an administration who has gone further afield from the Constitution … than the Obama administration, not just with regulation, but with energy policy, with financial regulatory policy and, with the worst example, Obamacare,” Romney said, outlining conservatives’ broad indictment of Obama’s tenure.

It also was a prime opportunity for the candidates to level pointed — though, in many cases, familiar — criticism of Obama.

“The track record we have creating jobs, I’d put up against anyone running for president of the United States, particularly the current resident of the White House,” said Perry, whose late entry into the race threatens Romney’s one-time aura of inevitability with support from tea partyers.

And Bachmann sought to sustain her status as a movement darling and suitable alternative to Romney. Although she never engaged him directly, her remarks seemed centered on Romney.

Bachmann warned that Obama and Democrats’ health care legislation was taking away freedoms and giving Washington abject power.

“They will become a dictator over our lives,” she said of federal requirements included in the overhaul that requires Americans to have health insurance. Massachusetts requires a similar mandate.

“This is the foundation for socialized medicine. Make no mistake about it. It will change the face of this nation forever,” she warned.

After keeping the tea party at arm’s length most of this campaign, Romney appeared at two tea party-related events this holiday weekend, first in New Hampshire on Sunday and then Monday here. He slightly tweaked his pitch and acknowledged critics of Massachusetts’ health plan.

“Our bill dealt with 8 percent of our population, the people who weren’t insured,” Romney said.

“He dealt with 100 percent of American people. He said, `I’m going to change health care for all of you.’ It’s simply unconstitutional. It’s bad law. It’s bad medicine. … It has got to be stopped and I know it better than most.”

Aware of the tea party’s potential to pick the nominee, all candidates have tailored their pitches to appeal to the libertarian and grassroots activists.

Bachmann, a former federal tax lawyer, called the Constitution “that sacred document” and challenged Obama’s understanding of his powers under it. She cited Obama’s advisers, whom she called “czars,” the Justice Department’s decision not to appeal a court’s overturning of a federal marriage law, and his immigration policies.

“These are areas where we see unconstitutionality,” she said of Obama, a Harvard Law School graduate and former constitutional law lecturer at the University of Chicago.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich played up the founding fathers’ writings on liberties during his appearance: “These rights are inalienable. That means no politician, no bureaucrat, no judge can take that away from you.”

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a favorite of the GOP’s libertarian wing, decried government largesse: “People were supposed to carry guns, not bureaucrats.” He also warned against a Washington that gives the Federal Reserve too much power, a favorite rallying cry for his steadfast supporters.

And pizza magnate Herman Cain of Georgia, who does well during these forums with amusing quips but hasn’t built a serious campaign organization, again was critical of Washington.

“The idea in Washington, D.C. … is if you reduce the growth, that’s a cut,” he said. “That’s not a cut. That’s deceiving the American people.”

Ahead of the forum, Perry spoke at a town hall-style meeting before heading home to Texas in a last-minute schedule change to monitor raging wildfires. He phoned DeMint to apologize for his schedule change; DeMint said Perry needed to be home.

Romney, who had initially planned to bypass the South Carolina forum, changed his schedule last week to join DeMint, whose backing he enjoyed during his first presidential bid.

While DeMint is tremendously popular here in his home state and with his party’s tea party faction, he isn’t rushing to publicly pick a favorite this time and has suggested he might not back a candidate in the primary.

That’s not to say wooing the tea party is without peril.

After Washington’s debt showdown this summer, an Associated Press-GfK poll found that 46 percent of adults had an unfavorable view of the tea party, compared with 36 percent just after last November’s election.

Source: Associated Press

 

 
 
 
 
%d bloggers like this: