Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tea Party Relevance

By Stephen Z. Nemo:

What does it matter if you gain the whole world but lose your soul? The US Chamber of Commerce is giving $50 million to establishment Republican candidates facing off against Tea Party and conservative challengers in the upcoming GOP Senate primaries. “No fools on the ticket,” the Chamber’s political strategist Scott Reed told the Wall Street Journal. Republicans fear Tea Party opponents threaten their best chance in years to take the Senate.

Republican politicians feared the Tea Party after the “shellacking” of 2010 did more than unseat democrats; it unseated a few GOP RINOs as well. As of late, the Tea Party has lost its focus, distracted by such things as President Obama’s national origin.

I have a theory explaining the Tea Party’s diminished influence and it centers on one man: former Republican House Speaker Dick Armey.

Armey headed the FreedomWorks organization in the years leading up to the 2010 trouncing of Nancy Pelosi’s House Democrats. He helped organize Tea Party and conservative grassroots activists into a vote-winning juggernaut. All the same, he was eventually deposed and paid $8 million to go away. Since then, FreedomWorks has focused primarily on fundraising and not much else.

A condition of Armey’s lucrative departure from FreedomWorks most likely included a non-disclosure agreement preventing him from speaking publicly regarding his exodus from that organization.

The Tea Party should have been large and in charge during the presidential election of 2012. It wasn’t.  Armey’s exit from the political scene may be the reason why. Of course, Republican voters did not help matters by nominating another Democrat-Lite candidate to head their presidential ticket.

Luckily, Heritage Action (the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation) has attempted to fill the void left by FreedomWorks. Recently, it spent a half million dollars for online political ads targeting GOP House members that balked at defunding ObamaCare. For compromise-first Republicans, Heritage had gone too far.

“There’s a real question on the minds of many Republicans now – I am not just speaking for myself,” said Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch during an appearance on MSNBC, “Is Heritage going to go so political that it really doesn’t amount to anything anymore? It’s in danger of losing its clout and its power.”

Arizona’s GOP Sen. John McCain told the Washington Post he has been giving advice to Republican incumbents facing Tea Party challengers: “Play offense. Go after your opponent. Your opponent’s going after you, you go after your opponent. The best defense is a good offense.”

It’s unfortunate McCain didn’t follow his own advice during the presidential campaign of 2008. But then, Obama was not a Tea Party challenger. And that is the point.

The problem many Republican politicians have with the Heritage Foundation is that the organization has finally dropped all pretenses that a measurable difference exists between the GOP’s weak sisters and their ObamaCare-hobbled Democrat colleagues; a reality many in the Tea Party have been aware of for some time.

Establishment Republicans desperately want to control Congress. What they will do with their majority they haven’t said. That’s because their only ideology is power … just like Democrats. Orrin Hatch says the moral principles that govern the actions of the Tea Party and conservatives are “so political that it really doesn’t amount to anything anymore.”

“Life liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are passé to the John McCains, the Orrin Hatches and the John Boehners of the GOP. What frightens me is these spineless  Republican leaders may have their finger on the pulse of the American populace. Freedom is a hard sell to a society that has devolved into a collection of weak, government-dependent serfs.

Americans were oblivious to the life-changing effects of dictatorial ObamaCare and elected the president twice. Republican voters that claim they don’t like big government re-elected big-government “conservatives” just the same.

The good news is that the 
roll-out of the presidents health care monstrosity is awakening the American people, providing the Tea Party a hammer to strike authoritarian Democrats and their compromising GOP friends.

I remain a Republican for one reason: to vote for Tea Party and conservative challengers to incumbent RINOs. Most Republicans are obsessed with winning a majority in Congress. I, on the other hand, am more interested in changing the Republican Party from a big-government enabler to an uncompromising champion of  limited government and maximum freedom for the individual.

That requires an organization capable of countering tens of millions of dollars from establishment backers. We must remember that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was outspent by the establishment favorite David Dewhurst – 3 to 1. Dewhurst, a millionaire, spent $19 million of his own money. Tea Party organization carried the day for Cruz. My hope is that Heritage Action will help the Tea Party repeat the success of 2010 in  2014.

To that end, a well-organized Tea Party should take John McCain’s advice: “Go after your opponent. Your opponent’s going after you … The best defense is a good offense.”

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gallup: 72% of Americans Don’t Trust ‘Big Government’

“There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.”
~Cartoonist Walt Kelly

By Stephen Z. Nemo:

“We have met the enemy and he is us,” the comic strip cartoon character Pogo famously said. That is certainly the case for America’s political majority, though they don’t realize it … yet.

On December 8, the Gallup organization released the results of a poll that asked Americans what they perceive to be the greatest threat facing them in the future. 5% said “big labor.” 21% said “big business.” A whopping 72% said “big government.”

“Since Barack Obama took office in 2009, an average of 64% of Americans have named big government as the greatest threat. That is up from an average 56% during George W. Bush’s administration from 2001-2008,” said Gallup.

Two days later, Gallup reported that Americans give Congress a paltry 14% approval rating, while a meager 40% give President Obama two thumbs up.

Gallup adds that confidence in institutions has dropped dramatically: 19% of Americans have a “great deal” of confidence in the presidency, while 30% have “very little”; 5% still believe in Congress, while 47% do not; 9% believe everything they read in the newspapers, 32% don’t trust pulp scribblers any further than they can throw them.

Can you say societal collapse?

I’m a pessimist by nature, but the dramatic crumbling of America since the financial collapse of 2008 (expressed by the election of Barack Obama as president) has soured my already sour view of what lies in store for the nation Abraham Lincoln once described as “the last, best hope of earth.”

If the politicians we elect are to be believed, this is impossible since under our democratic system only good can come when “all of us worked together.” Can a democratic majority be wrong? That is a question the democratic mob isn’t all that keen to ask themselves … or answer.

Our friends at Gallup say our trust in one another “is down nearly 20 percentage points from its recent peak in 2005,” but stands at a comfortable 61%. That’s remarkably high considering these same souls elected the President and Congress they no longer trust to make their childish hope for change come true.

Americans don’t appreciate cold reality when it indelicately smashes their childish one dimensional assumptions about our three dimensional universe. They assume democracy is a panacea to quell all their fears. They thought Social Security, Medicare, economic stimulus, government-run health care would make them happy and “create jobs” and maintain a “strong middle class” … from cradle to grave. These institutions and the actions they spur are bankrupting the nation and the middle class, while dramatically reducing their freedoms.

If, as President Obama says, “Washington is broken,” it’s because politicians won’t disabuse you of your silly notions. They know that is no way to get elected. And likewise, playing to the political majority’s childlike notions makes lying to them all the more easier. “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”

While Americans receive cancelation notices by the millions from their private, affordable health care providers, the Oval Office Liar-in-Chief seeks to distract disappointed children with talk of “income inequality.” He claims it is the “defining challenge of our time.” That’s because he knows children are incapable of grasping the fact that their new and expensive ObamaCare premiums ARE addressing income inequality by redistributing … YOURS.

Oh, one more thing before I forget. Gallup reports the “majority of Republicans, 58%, say they have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement, with slightly more than one-quarter (28%) viewing it unfavorably. Democrats, on the other hand, are largely unfavorable toward the group, with 74% reporting an unfavorable view. Independents fall in between the two parties, but are more likely to view the movement unfavorably than favorably … Though the Tea Party espouses conservative fiscal goals, self-identified conservatives, as a whole, are somewhat divided about the movement. A full third (34%) of conservatives have an unfavorable opinion of the group.”

It's not easy being a grown up. The toughest job every parent faces is to say no to their screaming youngster’s unreasonable demands. “I hate you,” is the adolescent’s usual response. The good parent, however, knows that yielding to the whims of tiny tots will spoil the child and render them incapable of coping with the disappointments that are an inescapable part of adulthood.

If the Tea Party is the adult in this analogy, it’s because the movement clings to the paternal principles of the Founding Fathers. They never promised individual prosperity, thought to concoct old-age Ponzi schemes, or demagogue the gullible concerning income inequality. Instead, they created a national government of limited power to maximize what Americans once regarded as their most valued possession … freedom. They never promised you a rose garden. They expected that you would plant your own.

If a majority of Americans recognize big government as “the biggest threat to the country in the future,” why do they vote to make it larger and more dangerous? It’s time you put childish notions behind you, grow up and embrace freedom with all its uncertainties.

The prosperity-stimulating, liberty-loving, baby-sitting magic machine of big government – a figment of your childish imaginations – has failed you. In fact, it’s destroying you and the hope of future generations. Congratulations! You, the democratic majority, are the enemies of America’s future.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”