Friday, August 30, 2013

Establishment, Careerist Republicans Strike Back Against The Right WIng "Fringe"


You probably heard about how poor old doddering McConnell stumbled right into a right wing trap, tarring all the Kentucky teabaggers as "fringe," which, of course they are. But Republicans aren't supposed to talk that way about what's now their party's base. Local Tea Party leaders immediately blasted McConnell in a very public and very damaging way:
August 29, 2013

Dear Senator McConnell,

We were extremely disturbed by a recent comment by your campaign spokeswoman on Monday dismissing conservative and Tea party Activists who support or are considering supporting Matt Bevin as “a small cadre of fringe friends.”

In the wake of much backlash in Kentucky, your campaign manager attempted to explain the comment, saying, “In a statement yesterday, our spokeswoman called a Washington, D.C. based group that makes a living attacking conservatives fringe. That statement was confined to that group only and does not extend any further.”

We are writing to you today because we would like to hear from you-- and not a spokesperson-- about what exactly constitutes fringe.

The Tea Party was born in 2009 out of frustration with the size of government, the explosion in federal spending and the evisceration of our constitutional rights. In response, Tea Party activists called for cutting government spending, reforming our tax code, opposing bailouts, and implementing free-market policies instead of creating even more top-down government bureaucracies.

National groups like the Madison Project and the Senate Conservative Fund espouse these same beliefs and have helped local Tea Party activists like ourselves elect such conservative stalwarts as Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz and Rep. Thomas Massie.

These are not fringe views. These are the fundamental views embraced by our Founding Fathers and the core principles of the conservative movement. 
Do you espouse these fundamental conservative views or do you consider them “fringe?” Is it “fringe” to support defunding Obamacare? Is it “fringe” to fight for cutting government spending instead of supporting one debt limit increase after another? Is it “fringe” to oppose the bailouts of massive corporations at taxpayers’ expense? Is it “fringe” to oppose amnesty?

We would appreciate a clarification from you on where you stand on these issues and whether you consider these values “fringe?”

If you indeed believe that limited government and individual liberty are “fringe” values, then we are proud to belong to the fringe group that your campaign has so cavalierly dismissed.


Scott Hofstra,
spokesperson, United Kentucky Tea Party

Bobby Alexander
President, Central Kentucky Tea Party Patriots

Larry Robinson,
President, Northern Kentucky Tea Party

Wendy Caswell
President, Louisville Tea Party

Jenean Hampton,
President, Bowling Green Southern Kentucky Tea Party

David Dickerson
Head of Barren County Patriots

Garth Kunhein
Kenton County Tea Party

Terry Donoghue
Northern KY Tea Party

Teresa Buky
Head of Bullitt County “Voices of Independence” Tea Party

And of course, it isn't just McConnell. The entire Republican Beltway Establishment-- and their allies in the states and, more important, on Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex-- are starting to take action against the "fringe" elements that are threatening the status quo. This goes back to the argument about what is conservative and what is truly reactionary. Representatives of the status quo-- conservatives like McConnell-- fear revolutionary, or counter-revolutionary, activists and right-wing populists even more than the fear Democrats. McConnell would probably rather see Grimes win than Bevin. And back in DC, House Republicans are also taking action to protect themselves (and their comfy careers) from the fringe, in this case, South Carolina sociopath Jim DeMint and his crazed Heritage Foundation. Heritage employees are now barred from House Republican planning sessions. The Establishment Republicans are sick of being pushed further right than they think their constituents-- and their donors-- feel comfortable with. Even the furthest right GOP House caucus, the Republican Study Group (the real extremists inside the party), has told Heritage they're no longer welcome and their imput should be channeled through staff like any other special interest pressure group. And Heritage got the humiliating message direct from Louisiana wingnut Steve Scalise, The RSC chairman, personally.
[T]he move to effectively kick Heritage out of the weekly RSC meeting represents "a seismic shift" in the relationship between the two institutions, according to one high-ranking Capitol Hill aide.

The acrimony can be traced to a pair of summer showdowns over agriculture policy.

In June, as the House prepared to vote on an extension of the farm bill-- an enormous legislative package that governs everything from crop subsidies to food-stamp policy-- conservative lawmakers and outside groups rallied in opposition. Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the right-wing think tank, called for the bill to be split into two pieces-- one dealing specifically with agriculture policy (called a "farm-only bill") and another legislating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the food-stamp program known as SNAP.

Members of the RSC agreed. In fact, Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana sponsored an amendment that would accomplish exactly what Heritage Action and other outside groups were advocating: splitting the farm bill. Stutzman's amendment failed, however, and Heritage Action issued a key vote alert warning lawmakers to vote "no" on the farm bill. (If they voted "yes," members faced consequences, anything from a demerit on their Heritage Action "scorecard" to a 30-second radio ad launched back in their districts.)

The vast majority of GOP lawmakers, including many conservatives from rural districts, ignored the outcry from the right and voted for the bill. But in the end, 62 House Republicans sided with Heritage Action, enough to help Democrats defeat a bill that they denounced for its steep cuts to safety-net programs.

For Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who had publicly endorsed the farm bill, the defeat was a black eye. Within hours, members of his leadership team were conferring with leading RSC members who had opposed the legislation, and soliciting suggestions on how to pass a revised farm bill. Their response: Split the agriculture policy into a separate bill-- just as the outside groups have been advocating-- and we'll vote yes.

Boehner and his team eventually agreed, and three weeks later a farm-only bill came to the House floor. Of the 62 Republicans who voted against the first farm bill, 48 supported this second iteration, which passed by a narrow margin. Leadership had its farm bill victory, and RSC members congratulated each other on achieving an ideological goal that had been discussed for decades: separating agriculture policy from food stamps.
But not all conservatives were celebrating. The new farm bill had passed over the objections of Heritage Action, which, to the astonishment of some RSC members, had issued another alert, telling conservatives to vote against the split bill—despite having spent years agitating for exactly that. In its warning, Heritage Action said the revised legislation "would make permanent farm policies-- like the sugar program-- that harm consumers and taxpayers alike."

To some conservative members, this was Heritage Action moving the goalposts, plain and simple. And they were furious about it. Members mumbled to each other about how it had become impossible to please these powerful outside groups, which are known to raise more money off Democratic victories than Republican ones. There was, as one Hill aide put it, "enormous discontent" among conservative members who were tired of feeling threatened by an outside group that existed as a parasite living off the Republican members of Congress.
This kind of tension and disarray has real consequences for ordinary people. The Republicans, after all, control the House and have managed to obstruct activities in the Senate. Yesterday, the NY Times editorial board issued a scathing blast aimed right at Speaker Boehner, a scathing blast that was right on point. They accuse him of "reckless abdication" of his most basic responsibilities to the American people. (Boehner, who was at a fundraiser in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this week, must thank his lucky stars every day that Pelosi appointed Steve Israel, who has issued him a free reelection pass again, chairman of the DCCC.)
Just when Speaker John Boehner should be warning his members not to use the debt ceiling as a threat, he is doing exactly the opposite. Instead of reminding lawmakers that they are obligated to pay for the debts they voted to incur, he is once again waving the dull saber of default.

At a fund-raiser in Idaho on Monday, Mr. Boehner repeated his old vow not to raise the debt ceiling this fall unless Republicans get an equal amount in cuts and reforms-- on top of the nearly $2 trillion in cuts over a decade that they won using the same extortion tactic in 2011.

“It may be unfair, but what I’m trying to do here is to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would produce if left to its own devices,” he said. “We’re going to have a whale of a fight.”

It’s more than “unfair” to wage this fight again; it’s a reckless abdication of Mr. Boehner’s responsibility to guide House Republicans away from the brink. Too many Tea Party members of the House have spread the dangerous falsehood that a default would be of little consequence, that it would merely shake up Washington a bit and cut the deficit, which is already declining. One of them, Ted Yoho of Florida, recently said that a default would actually raise the government’s credit rating.

No responsible economist or business leader agrees with that. In 2011, the credit rating of the United States declined when Republicans merely threatened not to raise the limit. If they actually refused to raise the debt ceiling, the markets would crash, interest rates would skyrocket, benefit checks and military spending would be at risk, and the fragile economic recovery would probably grind to a halt.

Mr. Boehner, who has previously said he would not allow a default to take place, should be reminding House members of the potential catastrophe instead of encouraging their worst impulses and raising their hopes that this “whale of a fight” could win them new victories.
The Republicans have encouraged a fringe element to box it in and make sound government impossible and dysfunctional. Grover Norquist much be softly whistling "Dixie" somewhere.

Labels: , , , ,


At 5:58 PM, Anonymous me said...

The Tea Party was born in 2009 out of frustration with the size of government...

Fucking idiot baggers, don't even know where their own party came from.

There's no fucking way that a political party can come from nowhere to the power these retards have, all on its own. Especially if it is "born out of frustration". Especially if its main proponents are so obviously and demonstrably stupid.

You know how many new movements have been born out of frustration in the last 200 years? Dozens, at least. How many of them went anywhere? Of those few that did, how many did it in a handful of years?

Now ask yourself how many new movements have been supported by multi-multi-multi billionaire kooks.

Aha! I think we have an answer.

At 5:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said.


Post a Comment

<< Home