Tea Parties

A new kind of birther and death panel insanity explodes

A new kind of birther and death panel insanity explodes

It’s deja vu all over again...”

Salon

Ever since 2009, political junkies have turned their attentions outside the Beltway each August, watching to see whether conservative voters would return to the outrageous town hall antics that made the Tea Party famous four years ago.

But each year it’s become harder and harder to say that the crowds are as large or rowdy as they were back then, or that a counter-movement must be right around the corner. Part of it is just that elected officials got wise and stopped doing regular, publicized town halls. But mainly it’s just that a series of developments — the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the GOP takeover of the House, the Supreme Court decision to uphold the healthcare law, President Obama’s reelection — have each sucked some of the ants out of Tea Partyer pantaloons.

On its surface, this August is no exception. At least, so far. If we assume that Democrats and their allies have scattered their trackers across the country to film as many of this month’s GOP town halls as possible, then last week was a dud by 2009 standards. But several revealing, newsworthy developments occurred this August, all of which point to a depressing fact. Tea Partyers might for the most part be done rallying and heckling politicians, but they still wield enough influence on the right to intimidate Republican officials into validating the same old unsavory claims and arguments that drove Tea Party and GOP approval ratings through the floor in Obama’s first term.

In three town halls this August, members confronted by birthers have been cowed into tacitly validating the idea that Obama isn’t a natural-born U.S. citizen.

Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., explained his reasoning to voters stream-of-conscious style early this month by positing that the question might be a “distraction” while agreeing to co-sponsor legislation authored by Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, to investigate the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate.

The liberal website ThinkProgress caught Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., telling a birther, “I believe what you’re saying and I don’t support this president whatsoever. But ma’am, we lost Nov. 6. We had the opportunity to get another president in there.”

Mullen’s spokeswoman later told TPM that he simply misspoke. But even if he didn’t mean to say he “agree[d]” with a birther, his suggestion that Obama’s birthplace is a question for the electorate to answer was a pander when what’s needed was some real talk.

Then most recently, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, told one clearly deflated birther, “I think, unfortunately, the horse is already out of the barn on this, on the whole birth certificate issue. The original Congress, when his eligibility came up, should have looked into it and it didn’t. I’m not sure how we fix it.”

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Low Registration Sinks Tea Party Convention

Sign of the times ahead for the Tea Party?

Roll Call Politics

Organizers of the Freedom Jamboree announced Wednesday that they have canceled the tea party convention planned for this fall, citing low registration.

They had hoped the event would serve as a stage for Republican presidential candidates to court the conservative movement, and two — Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) — had already confirmed they would attend.

The weekend of reflection and strategizing was scheduled for Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 in Kansas City, Kan., and included a straw poll. Twenty-one local tea party groups started it with the intent to reclaim the movement from national umbrella groups and offer an alternative to the annual fall tea party rally on the National Mall.

“We were doing it because we were fed up with the infighting that these umbrella groups have done in 2010,” William Temple, a lead organizer who lives in Georgia, told Roll Call.

He cited low registration in an email Wednesday informing activists about the cancellation. He said that finances weren’t an issue, but a June financial report posted on the organization’s website showed that only about $10,000 had been raised for an event that was supposed to attract hundreds of tea party groups from across the nation.

Only 62 tea party groups had committed to attending, well under the 350 that Temple estimated would be needed to break even.

The $10,000 was raised through sponsorships, donations, registration and vendor fees, and Temple’s email said it all would be returned.

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Related articles

“Tell Us What To Say” – Tea Party Group Gives GOP Freshmen Medicare Talking Points

So, what sort of power does a group like the Tea Party have over members of the House and Senate?  Could it be Corporate and special interests who are looking for members of both houses in Congress to tow the free market line?  

The wealthiest corporations and special interest groups usually pepper politicians with overwhelming amounts of money in hope of influencing the political process.   

It’s the same way with the Tea Party which is backed by the likes of Koch Industries and other corporate interests.

Huffington Post

FreedomWorks Gives Freshman Republicans Tips For Dealing With Medicare At Town Halls

The conservative group FreedomWorks has a message for freshman Republicans in Congress: Do not shy away from the Medicare fight.

On May 24, the group run by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey convened one of its regular off-the-record meetings with “communicators from limited-government conservative offices in the House and Senate who have a close relationship with the grassroots,” according to an email from FreedomWorks’ Media Coordinator Jackie Bodnar obtained by The Huffington Post. The email was intended for attendees of the breakfast meeting.

The main topics of discussion, according to notes attached to the email that recapped the meeting, were the debt ceiling and Medicare. The special guest that day was Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who argued, according to the recap, that the “debt ceiling has become a key bargaining chip that can be used to get the BBA [balanced budget amendment] passed.”

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, focused on Medicare and gave the congressional offices tips for dealing with the hot topic in their districts (emphasis added):

  • Get out there and talk to people. Hold town halls at senior centers and other areas where the population is especially concerned about their benefits being cut. Take the lessons of ’94 and ’95 and get out there and explain to people that their immediate benefits will not be affected. Explaining the plan will offset confusion and the Democrats’ negative messaging.
  • We need to dispel the myth that if we leave Medicare alone it will stay the same. It won’t. By reforming them we are saving and strengthening these programs for the current and future generations.
  • Don’t bury your head in the sand. Republicans must not shy away from this issue. Expect Democrats to attack, but not fighting back will only makes it worse. BOLD action is needed.
  • Communicate that Democrats do not have a plan of their own. Hold up a blank piece of paper as a powerful image of their do-nothing approach.
  • Stick to your message.

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Politics Daily’s Patricia Murphy pwns Sean Hannity, blows up his right-wing talking points

 

 

Crooks & Liars 

Yesterday’s media heroine has to be Patricia Murphy of Politics Daily, who yesterday on Fox managed to make Sean Hannity look like buffoon and a tool. Of course, Hannity does this to himself every day, but Murphy gave it a little extra edge. 

First, she flatly knocked down Hannity’s little right-wing talking point about Elena Kagan purportedly “kicked the military off campus” at Harvard (she of course did did no such thing). 

But the most delicious moment was this one: 

Murphy: Let’s be really, really honest here. There are members of the Tea Party — it’s a tiny, tiny minority — members of the Tea Party, and I’ve seen them, who compare President Obama to Hitler. I’ve been there and seen it, I’ve been on this show — 

Hannity: I’ve not seen it. 

Murphy: He’s been compared to the Khmer Rouge, and to Nazism, while I’ve been here, this is just common cultural — 

Hannity: Whom compared him to that? 

Murphy: Tucker Carlson! When I was sitting right here, on this show! 

Hannity: [red-faced] Did you disagree with him? 

Murphy: I did disagree with him. 

Of course, if you go back and look at that clip now, it’s worth noting that Hannity did not.