Stop Calling the Tea Party Extreme. It Isn’t.

Stop Calling the Tea Party Extreme. It Isn’t.

By Mercer
Tyson

The left-leaning mainstream media and liberal
Democratic politicians continue to refer to the Tea Party as extreme, wacko, and
out of touch with the American public.  Clear evidence indicates exactly the
opposite.

Many of us are getting increasingly annoyed when we
hear the Tea Party called extreme, right-wing wackos, or other unbecoming names
along that vein.  Of course, almost everyone I know decidedly left of center
deems him- or herself centrist.  My knee-jerk liberal neighbor thinks he’s a
centrist.  I have gone back through every posting on his blog, and they are all
as far left on whatever subject he is writing about as one can
be.

But then, he also thinks Obama is a centrist, as do
large segments of the MSM, Hollywood, and other liberal groups.  Universal
health care, unconditional amnesty for everyone, taxing enough life out of our
valuable corporations to drive them to other countries (good riddance!  I mean,
who wanted those high-paying jobs anyway?), subsidizing green energy schemes
that cost a fortune and make no economic sense — it goes on and on.  I guess
that, given their viewpoint, it’s no wonder they think the Tea Party is
extreme.

Now, I know it’s pointless to try to convince a
liberal that reality isn’t a whipped-cream world where all you have to do is
wish and it will come true.  However, with the hope that some late arrivals to
politics and those “independents” who seem to ride the fence and fall on
whatever side has greener grass at the moment are open-minded and willing to
listen, I will present some very obvious facts that have been dramatically
confused by the various liberal cults that want to paint the Tea Party as
extremist.

First, make no mistake about the MSM; they feign
honesty, but their decidedly slanted viewpoint denies them the ability to
present things in a straightforward manner.  There are some who argue that they
purposefully distort the truth and paint those on the right side of the aisle as
loonies, either directly or subtly.  I choose to believe that, being in the news
business, they are merely hopeless liberals without a clue about reality, and
believe they are representing the news fairly.  Regardless, they have the
ability to affect opinions.  Depicting the Tea Party as extreme is an issue that
really needs to be exposed.

So, exactly what does it mean to be extreme?  We all
know, but I will present a definition
anyway from Dictionary.com (with some minor editing):

1.  of a character or kind farthest
removed from the ordinary or average.

2.  utmost or exceedingly great in
degree.

3.  farthest from the center or
middle; outermost; endmost.

4.  farthest, utmost, or very far in
any direction.

5.  exceeding the bounds of
moderation.

6.  going to the utmost or very great
lengths in action, habit, opinion, etc.

So what exactly is extreme about the Tea Party?  Just
how are they “of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or
average”?

Let’s analyze their viewpoints.  The Tea Party is not
an official organization, but from the TeaParty.net
website, the main “planks” are:

  • Limited federal government
  • Individual freedoms
  • Personal responsibility
  • Free markets

Limited Government

A recent Rasmussen poll
(from US News and World Report) indicated that considerably more respondents
believe the federal government has too much power as opposed to too little.
According to the survey:

75 percent of Republicans believe the federal
government has too much power over the states while a plurality of Democrats (37
percent) believe the balance is about right.  Among those not affiliated
with either major party, 52 percent say the federal government has too much
influence while 9 percent say not enough
.  [Italics
added.]

And from a January ABC News article:

ABCNEWS tested the issue with two questions: Half the
respondents in this poll were asked if they trust the government to do what’s
right when it comes to handling national security and the war on terrorism.
Sixty-eight percent said yes. The other half were asked if they trust the
government to do what’s right when it comes to handling social issues like the
economy, health care, Social Security and education.  Far fewer — 38 percent —
said yes.

On this issue, the Tea Party is decidedly
centrist.

Individual Freedoms

A December 2010 poll
from Rasmussen Reports clearly shows how important individual freedoms are for
Americans; “[a]mong moderate voters, a plurality (48%) agrees with the
conservative perspective with a focus on protecting individual rights.”
Interestingly, “[t]he widest gap as is often the case is between the Political
Class and Mainstream voters.  Seventy percent (70%) of those in the Mainstream
say the primary role of a government is to protect individual rights.  Fifty-one
percent (51%) of Political Class voters say insuring fairness and social justice
should come first.”  Wow.  A whopping 70% of the Mainstream class!
Those are big numbers.

On this issue, the Tea Party is decidedly
centrist.

Personal Responsibility

While polls asking the direct question of how
important personal responsibility is in general are hard to find, specific polls
show Americans believe in the concept.  From a Gallup poll on the subject of
personal responsibility in the matter of health care, “89% of Republicans, 64%
of independents, and 61% of Americans overall say Americans themselves — rather
than the government — have the primary responsibility for ensuring that they
have health insurance.”  Fairly large numbers support the Tea Party
position.

Hardly anything that can be called
extreme.

Free Markets

No surprise here.  According to a GlobalScan
poll,
the free-enterprise system and free-market economy together decidedly constitute
the best system on which to base the future of the world.  In the U.S., this
opinion is shared by 71% of the people surveyed in contrast to 24% who
disagree.  (Worldwide polling shows 61% agreement as opposed to 28% who
disagree.)  Concurrence again.

So, concerning all four “planks” of the Tea Party, the
majority of the public is clearly in agreement.  However, as we know, the Tea
Party is vocal in its support or opposition to other specific issues as well.
Regarding some of their more important issues:

  • A July 11 CNN/ORC
    poll shows that 66% of the respondents support Cut, Cap, and
    Balance.
  • In the same poll, 74% Support a Balanced Budget
    Amendment.
  • On the budget deficit, many would agree that the Tea
    Party believes in the cuts-only or mostly spending cuts approach.  According to
    the following chart from Gallup,
    67% think the deficit should be reduced by only or mostly spending cuts.  Even
    those who believe in spending cuts alone account for 26%.  Hardly
    extremist.

 

 

  • CNN
    poll
    , January 2011, 71% of people want to cut spending in
    general (although they don’t agree as to what should necessarily be
    cut).
  • Finally, from an LA Times article:
    “according to most polls, about 20% of voters are liberal, substantially less
    than the about 40% who identify themselves as conservative.”

So how is it the Tea Party is labeled extremist when,
on virtually all their important issues, the evidence is clear that most
Americans are in substantial agreement with it?  And why did a Gallup
survey
conducted April 20-23 of this year find that only 30 percent of Americans
describe themselves as Tea Party supporters?

Clearly, the American public has been mislead by the
MSM and by the propensity of liberal politicians who customarily preach the
left-wing viewpoint to hurl charges of racism or other unflattering words at
anyone who does not agree with them.  Serious misunderstanding of the Tea Party
and the American people is apparent in Nancy Pelosi’s famous comment
referring to the Tea Party movement as astroturf instead of
grassroots.

The result of this misrepresentation is the
marginalization of the Tea Party to segments of the American public who pay
little attention to politics and believe what they hear on the 6:00 news at
dinnertime.  It’s time the “teabaggers” passionately disclaim the extremist
label.  People who make that claim should be stopped in their tracks
immediately, and the conversation should cease until that claim is
contested.

No, the Tea Party is not extreme.  It is merely the
“Silent Majority” no longer being silent.

The Tea Party, Right About Everything

The Tea Party, Right About Everything

By Randall
Hoven

The false narrative is that the Tea Party is a bunch
of stubborn nuts, if not outright racists.  In truth, the Tea Party has been
right about everything, while almost everyone else has been nuts, especially the
“experts.”

Minimum wage.  One of the first
things Democrats did after taking back Congress in 2007 was raise the federal
minimum wage 41% from 2007 to 2009.  Result?  The unemployment rate went
from 4.4% in May 2007 to 10.1% in 2009.  It is 9.2% even today — four years
later.

As for teens, the
unemployment rate went from 14.9% to 27.1%, the highest ever recorded, meaning
since 1948.  Today it is still a high 24.5%.  And for blacks:
from a low of 7.9% in 2007 to 16.5% in 2010.  It is still a high
16.2%.

The Democrat Congress also decided to apply the same
minimum wages to American Samoa.  Results?
Near-decimation of its economy, one that had been based largely on low-cost tuna
canning and textile work.

… employment fell 19 percent from 2008 to 2009 … tuna canning employment fell 55 percent from 2009 to 2010… Average inflation-adjusted earnings fell by 5 percent from 2008 to 2009 and by 11 percent from 2006 to 2009.

Of course, some of the increase in unemployment was a
result of the Great Recession.  But the Employment Policies Institute did
a study to separate the effects for the most vulnerable group: males aged 16-24
without high school diploma.  EPI’s answer: the minimum wage increase killed
over 100,000 jobs (31% of the lost jobs) for that demographic.

TARP.  Unless you were a politician
or executive of a large bank, you were likely against the Troubled Asset Relief
Program.  I would guess that most anyone now calling herself a member of the Tea
Party was against TARP in 2008.  But Senator Barack Obama voted for it, along
with most of his Democrat colleagues.  Also the top brains of the Stupid Party
pushed it: Henry Paulson, George W. Bush, and John McCain.

On October 3, 2008, Congress authorized Treasury
Secretary Paulson to use up to $350 billion under TARP to do what was needed to
stave off financial disaster.  By December, after using $267B, Paulson said he
was done, crisis averted.
(Of course his successor, Tim Geithner, was not done.)

Here’s the funny thing: while Paulson was lending out
less than $0.3 trillion, the Federal Reserve was
lending out over $16T to do about the same thing!  By my calculations, Paulson’s
TARP slush fund was less than 2% the size of the Federal
Reserve’s.

Do you think that 2% was critical to staving off
financial apocalypse?  (FYI, over 3T of the Fed’s emergency loans were to
subsidiaries of foreign-owned banks.)

When the dust cleared, the federal government owned
two bankrupt car companies and the god-awful home mortgage portfolios of Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac — entities that had nothing to do with the original purpose
of TARP.

Global markets were
so enamored with TARP that there was an immediate sell-off of about 20% in
global stock markets the moment it went into effect.  I also credit TARP, and
McCain’s reaction to it, for McCain’s loss to Obama.  Ever since, all budget
discussions have involved units of trillions instead of mere billions.  The
world has not been the same since TARP.

Stimulus.  Opposition to Obama’s
stimulus was the origin of the Tea Party.  Now we know the
story.

How the stimulus was sold: It would create three
million jobs or more.  It would keep the unemployment rate under 8%, instead of
9% without a stimulus.  It would cost $787B.  The jobs were
shovel-ready.

What really happened:
There are 1.2 million fewer jobs now than when the stimulus was
passed.  Unemployment went over 10% (vs. prediction of 8%) and is still over 9%
(vs. prediction of about 6.8% at this time).  It cost $814B or
more.  Maybe 6% of it went to infrastructure projects.
Obama’s reaction?  A
little joke
:
“Shovel ready was not as shovel ready as we expected.”

Of course, Obama and his minions simply blame this on
their underestimating the size of the mess they inherited from Bush.  But that
has
been studied
by
economists at the University of Western Ontario and Ohio State University.  The
verdict: the stimulus itself cost about one million private-sector jobs; the net
job loss was about 595,000.  We’d have been better off without any “stimulus” at
all, just as the Tea Party said.

ObamaCare.  ObamaCare was sold as a
way to bend the health “cost
curve
” down.  As it turned out, it is bending the cost
curve up — health care will be more costly than it would have been
without ObamaCare.  It’s so great that in its first year about 1,500 companies,
states, and unions were granted waivers.

ObamaCare strangled the recovery in the crib.  The
private sector has
been generating only 6,400 jobs per month since it was passed, compared to
67,600 before.  We would never return to pre-recession unemployment
levels at the current pace.  ObamaCare is costing us over 60,000 jobs per
month.

Drilling moratorium.  According to a
new study by IHS
Global Insight
,
merely picking up the pace in granting oil drilling permits would go a long way
in producing jobs throughout the US, adding to GDP and reducing dependency on
foreign oil sources.  In 2012 alone it could mean 230,000 new jobs, $44B more in
GDP, 150 million more barrels of oil, and $15B less in imported
oil.

Budgets.  Now we find ourselves in
another budget fight, with the Tea Party getting the blame from much of the
media and liberal punditry.  The truth is that Democrats have not even written,
much less passed, a budget of any kind in over two years; they simply kill
everyone else’s.

  • The Republican-led House passed a budget on schedule
    in April.  Senate Democrats voted it down.
  • Obama proposed a budget in February.  The
    Congressional Budget Office scored it as having a 10-year cumulative deficit of
    $9.5 trillion.  The Democrat-led Senate voted that down too, 97-0.
  • The House proposed the only written plan for
    addressing the debt ceiling — the Cut, Cap and Balance plan.  Senate Democrats
    voted that down, too.

It shouldn’t take a keen insight to see that Senate
Democrats are the “Party of No” and the obstacle to resolving budget and debt
issues.

Uncertainty and arbitrariness.  Just
last December Obama said keeping Bush’s tax rates was critical to keeping the
recovery going.  He and the Democrat Congress at the time extended them for
another two years, plus added over $300 B in additional tax
cuts
and credits
.
Now, just seven months later, Obama insists that any deal to raise the debt
ceiling must include tax increases.

Like ObamaCare, the Dodd-Frank bill to regulate all
finance in the country is a thousand-page-plus piece of legislation.  As the New York
Times
understated it just after its passage, “[a] number of the details have
been left for regulators to work out.” Got it? Those thousand-plus pages did not
include the details.

The EPA now has power
to regulate

every use of fossil fuels in this country, as well as every breath we take, if
they so deem.  What will it do with that power?  You get to guess.  If you think
it wouldn’t do anything too stupid, know that the FDA
just outlawed

common inhalers for asthma sufferers.  Their reason was, get this, those
inhalers are blamed for contributing to upper-atmosphere ozone
loss.

Even if you think CFCs contribute to ozone loss, how
much do you think the CFCs released by asthma inhalers have to do with it?  And
how much is the indirect and ambiguous loss of ozone worth compared to the
direct and known suffering of asthma patients?  Such is the wisdom of government
regulators.

The list is endless.  If you were thinking of starting
a business or making an investment that might not pay off for five or ten years,
would you feel like you know the rules and could depend on them?  No, you’d
hunker down, which is exactly what everyone with any money left is doing right
now.

This jobless recovery is not some mystery.  It is very
clearly the result of decisions — decisions made by Obama and the Democrats.
At every opportunity they grew government, shrank the private sector, and viewed
budding enterprises as little more than beasts of burden — something to whip
while healthy and carve up and eat when not.

As Robert Mugabe viewed white-owned farms, Obama views
corporations not yet in Chapter 11.

Nothing Democrats did helped; everything they did
hurt.  Everything.  Min wage.  TARP.  Stimulus.  ObamaCare.  The Gulf oil spill.
Every budget they ever proposed, written or not.  Every little czar they put in
place to spend other people’s money and to bully the only productive people
still toiling away at the thankless tasks of making stuff and providing
jobs.

At every point, the Tea Party and its sympathizers
tried to stop these idiocies, only to be called ignorant racists.  You might
want to ask yourself why so many people talk of the “Tea Party,” whatever that
is, the way Lenin and Stalin talked of kulaks and saboteurs, whoever they
were.

Do “taxed enough already,” “stop spending,” and “obey
the Constitution” sound that crazy to you?  If so, you might want to think about
why you think so.

Randall Hoven can be followed on
Twitter.  His bio and previous writings can
be found at randallhoven.com.

FrontPage’s Person of the Year: The Tea Party

FrontPage’s Person of the Year: The Tea Party

Posted By Nichole Hungerford On December 31, 2010 @ 12:50 am In FrontPage

Over the past few years, while atrophy of the welfare state system has spurred violent protests in Western Europe, the United States has experienced a parallel, but remarkably distinct phenomenon. In early 2009, desperate Greeks rioted in the streets to demand that their overextended government do more for them in the face of financial crisis. Americans, at the same time, rallied across the nation for their government to do less. More than any one individual alone in 2010, this movement, the Tea Party movement, wrought tremendous change over the political landscape, realizing a historic election and revitalizing the American zeitgeist. The title of FrontPage Magazine’s Person of the Year, therefore, must be bestowed collectively on these individuals, the formidable torchbearers of our beloved liberty and prosperity.

Two days after the newly-elected President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus bill) into law February 19th, the Tea Party movement found its voice — in the unlikeliest of places. A little-known CNBC analyst, Rick Santelli, embarked on a spontaneous rant while delivering a market forecast live on air. His harangue was precipitated by the federal government’s decision to stem the 2009 housing and financial crisis with a series of unprecedented “bailouts” for Wall Street and the banking industry, financed by taxpayer revenue. “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage, that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?” Santelli wailed, turning to the gallery of traders on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. The crowd jeered. “President Obama, are you listening?” Apparently, he was not. Santelli proceeded to flippantly claim he was considering organizing a “Chicago Tea Party” to protest government spending and the apparent collectivization of wealth.

The clip was immediately picked up by the Drudge Report, a highly influential driver of conservative discourse. (For nostalgia’s sake, Santelli’s video clip is here [1].) Prior to this incident, there had been several large conservative-oriented rallies held around the country, some of which were publicized by conservative journalist and blogger Michelle Malkin. To our best reckoning, however, the “Tea Party” moniker had not been applied to this growing brand of conservative activism until after the Santelli clip “went viral.” Within hours of the rant’s debut, a number of “Tea Party” websites went live.

The notion of a Tea Party protest following the 2008-2009 financial crisis was completely felicitous at the time. It encapsulated at just the right moment, in just the right way, an ambient sense of unease, not just among steadfast Republicans, but among individuals erstwhile unengaged in the political process. By the time the Obama administration incestuously “bailed out” the auto-industry in March of the president’s inaugural year — or more precisely, bailed out the his union patrons — followed by the effective ousting of the presiding General Motors president, the political die had already been cast. President Obama’s throng of support quickly evaporate into a haze of resentment from the now not-so-silent majority.

The rancid reaction of the Left to the Tea Party is well known and not worth treatment here. What is important is setting the record straight on what the Tea Party really is. This is no straightforward task, to be sure, as the term “Tea Party” is essentially an umbrella label for numerous regional and national conservative activism groups. Members are predominately Republican voters, many of whom are disaffected and work largely outside the GOP establishment. Only 54% of Tea Party supporters had a favorable view of the Republican Party, according to an April 2010 New York Times/CBS News poll [2]. Polls consistently show the movement’s single greatest unifying principle is fiscal conservatism, including a desire for a smaller government and a concern over the federal deficit.  Social issues are mixed and far less uniform. According to the same poll, slightly more people favored civil unions for homosexuals compared to those who believed gay couples should receive no legal recognition (41% to 40%) and 45% are pro-choice (believing abortion should be available, but with restrictions), while only 35% believe abortion should not be available.

The movement’s focus on the virtues of fiscal conservatism in an atmosphere of immense economic uncertainty proved to be a political powder keg. In the afterglow of Barack Obama’s presidential victory, with both chambers of Congress controlled by the Democratic Party and headed by far-left leadership, many left-wing commentators believed the Republican Party was on the wane. And in fact, perhaps they were right. A large portion of Tea Party supporters, almost 40%, did not like McCain and slightly more had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party. Glenn Beck was more well-liked than both McCain and President George W. Bush. The Left’s pronouncements may have been accurate with respect to the political clout of the Republican Party, but conservatism was — and is — still very much alive. As the Democratic Party moved farther and farther away from economic matters after the stimulus bill was passed, and as beleaguered Republicans stood by impotently, worried fiscal conservatives took the only avenue left.

Early portents of Tea Party power came in the form of Massachusetts junior senator Scott Brown, who assumed “liberal lion” Ted Kennedy’s seat in the January 2010 special election, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first Republican governor to be elected in New Jersey in 12 years. Both enjoyed a wellspring of support from Tea Party activists within and outside their respective states. From this standpoint, the 2010 midterm election looked like it would be a good year for conservatives

Few predicted that the election would be as historic as it actually was, surpassing even the “Gingrich Revolution” of the 1990s. In terms of immediate political success, however, the impact of the Tea Party was a wild card in some cases. While candidates like Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Nikki Haley, governor-elect of South Carolina, were able to use Tea Party support to beat not only their liberal opponents in the election, but their Republican establishment opponents in the primaries, others, such as Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, Sharon Angle of Nevada, and Joe Miller of Alaska could not manage the same success. In these cases, personal foibles and eccentricities played a significant role in their defeat.

Although the Tea Party may have been an obstacle to conservative victory in select races, if the conservative voter “enthusiasm gap” can be identified with the Tea Party phenomenon, and indeed, conservative Tea Party supporters were by far the most enthusiastic voters in the midterm election, then the presence of the Tea Party was an overall boon to the Republican Party. The charge that “less electable” Tea Party candidates may have cost Republicans a few seats is unfortunate (if true), but it is overshadowed by a new competitiveness among conservative candidates and that, as conservatives say, makes us better.

The Tea Party has also helped bring much needed aesthetic diversity to the face of conservatism — and serious new political talent to the fore. The favored liberal characterization of the GOP, which was regrettably presented in excelsis by 2008 presidential contender John McCain, was “pale, stale, and male.” This image was shattered during the 2010 midterm election by a much more diverse stock of high profile candidates, either in gubernatorial or congressional races. Many of these individuals may have serious political futures ahead of them. South Carolina governor-elect Nikki Haley exacted a huge upset over not just her Democratic opponent, but also many in the SC Republican establishment. Haley faced serious opposition in the gubernatorial primary, but was a Tea Party favorite. Rising star Marco Rubio, the “un-Obama,” was largely supported by Tea Party forces, and made short work of both Obama-ally, incumbent Kendrick Meek and the (presumably) top Florida GOP leader, Governor Charles Crist. Rubio’s political gifts cannot be overstated, and the maturity of his political career will be fascinating to watch.

The 2010 election proved the Tea Party’s strength. In many ways, the movement has done enough to fall complacently back into slumber. So, what is on the horizon for the Tea Party? Does the it have the fortitude to face President Obama head on in 2012? Most of the front-runners for 2012 GOP presidential candidates — Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin — fall short of the adequate support needed to defeat Obama. Yet, recall the low opinion Tea Party supporters generally had of John McCain (and his party). If Tea Partiers can maintain movement enthusiasm, and if an actually inspiring candidate emerges, President Obama has every reason to be concerned. The battle for the presidency in 2012 will likely be very competitive.

Commentator Arthur Brooks has described the Tea Party as a new front of a culture war. “America [can] continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise — limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces,” Brooks said in the Washington Post, “[or] America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose.” The problem is, the Tea Party notwithstanding, the outcome of this war is nowhere certain. Even under Republican leadership, the size and scope of government has increased every year. The government spends more, controls more, takes more. And to some extent, polls have shown, the populace is in favor of this direction. Can it be stopped? Or are we inevitably headed toward European decline? Perhaps most importantly, the Tea Party represents the hope that our fate of joining the other corpses of Westernism is not sealed — that we will always be a society that protests for the government to do less and not more. As recent events have shown, there is plenty of room for optimism


Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com

Primary Lessons

Posted By Jacob Laksin On June 10, 2010 @ 1:00 am In FrontPage | 2 Comments

As President Obama’s poll ratings tumble and the Democratic majority in Congress continues to post record disapproval numbers, some on the Left have consoled themselves with the thought that the growing grassroots hostility to incumbent candidates transcends party and ideology. In this exegesis, liberal and progressive discontents are just as wound up – and just as influential – as their conservative Tea Party counterparts. If this week’s primary election results proved anything, it’s that this reading of the nation’s political map won’t wash. While the Tea Parties continued to notch victories in pivotal primary races, the Left’s insurgents were rebuffed.

The most prominent example came from Arkansas, where embattled Senator Blanche Lincoln staved off a bruising challenge from her union-backed rival, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Lincoln drew Big Labor’s wrath for heresies like opposing “card check [1]” legislation, which would have eliminated secret ballots to facilitate union organizing. As payback, unions, aided by a battery of progressive political action groups, put their full political clout into the race, sponsoring Halter to the tune of $10 million. But while the lavishly funded challenge did force Lincoln into a runoff, the unions’ purchasing power came up short. As one agonized Obama White House official told Politico: “Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise.” Lincoln remains deeply vulnerable. Polls show she trails her Republican opponent John Boozman by some 25 points. But her defeat, if it comes, will be punishment for being too loyal to the Left’s agenda (Lincoln cast the decisive 60th vote to pass ObamaCare) rather than for straying too far from it.

Lest one dismiss Arkansas as a one-off from conservative country, liberal bastions proved no more receptive to left-wing insurgents. In California’s 36th district, far-Left candidate Marcy Winograd lost her second successive bid to oust Democratic centrist Jane Harman. Winograd, who styles herself as a “peace” activist, ran a campaign that sounded the full range of the angry Left’s talking points: Harman was variously portrayed as a corporate shill, a warmonger, and a traitor to the Left. An outspoken foe of Israel, Winograd even tried to capitalize on Harman’s pro-Israel record in the context of the recent clash between Israeli commandos and armed Turkish activists attempting to run Israel’s naval blockade. Winograd boasted [2] that as a sign of “solidarity” with the activists, her campaign had sent a Winograd for Congress T-Shirt that had been “worn on the flotilla.” As primary day neared, progressive blogs began trumpeting [3] Winograd as the new Joe Sestak – a true progressive who would oust the incumbent impostor. The hype proved just that, as Harman won by a comfortable 18-point [4] margin.

While primary challenges from the Left sputtered, Tea Party-backed conservatives scored several successes. Most prominently, Sharron Angle [5], until recently a relative unknown, rode the Tea Party movement’s support to victory in a crowded field for Nevada’s Republican nomination for the Senate. Although Tea Party spending to support Angle’s candidacy was limited compared to Big Labor’s efforts in Arkansas – the Tea Party political action committee spent just $550,000 to boost her name recognition – it was far more effective: From a 5 percent approval rating as recently as April, Angle went on to win the nomination. Tea Party-backed candidates also won [6] in Georgia, Maine and South Carolina.

It was not all glory for the Tea Party. In California and New Jersey, Tea Party favorites failed to break through. (A too-close-to-call race [7] between Tea Party candidate Anna Little and establishment rival Diana Gooch in New Jersey’s 6th Congressional district was one notable exception.) Even in defeat, though, there was encouraging news for the movement, as Tea Party candidates ran strongly in almost all races in which they were involved. At the very least, their generally strong showing indicated that despite their now-stale slogans of “change,” the Left is not nearly as energized, and not nearly the same force in primary races, as the surging conservative opposition.

Still, those determined to rain on the Tea Party’s parade ask a pertinent question: Can the movement replicate its strong success in primaries in general election races, where it must court a more ideologically diverse electorate? Democratic strategists and the mainstream media have professed glee over the prospect of Democratic incumbents facing candidates like Sharron Angle, whom they deem too far out of the mainstream. One Democratic strategist suggested [8] that Harry Reid would be “dancing in the streets” were Angle to win the GOP nomination. The Washington Post even did Reid the unsolicited favor of producing a list of allegedly damning quotes [9] that Reid could use to paint Angle as an extremist. But if early poll results are any guide, the Angle-Reid matchup won’t be the cakewalk that Democrats suppose. Indeed, a recent Mason-Dixon poll has Angle beating Reid by 44 percent to 41 percent. The Tea Party, it seems, is just getting started.

National Review: Palin’s ‘Mama Grizzlies’ Bite Back

National Review: Palin’s ‘Mama Grizzlies’ Bite Back

by Robert Costa

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Nikki Haley
Enlarge Mary Ann Chastain/AP PhotoFormer Alaska Governor Sarah Palin waves to supporters after she endorses South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley.

Mary Ann Chastain/AP PhotoFormer Alaska Governor Sarah Palin waves to supporters after she endorses South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley.

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June 9, 2010

Oh, those “mama grizzlies, they rise up.” So says Sarah Palin, rightfully, and it bears repeating after two high-flying lady Republicans she championed swept to victory on Tuesday. In South Carolina, Nikki Haley outdistanced three rivals in the GOP gubernatorial primary (falling just short of a majority, but she is heavily favored to win the runoff on June 22), while in California, Carly Fiorina held off four Republicans in a crowded Senate primary. Their wins are Palin’s, too.

Haley and Fiorina are examples of what Palin last month called an “emerging, conservative, feminist identity” in the GOP. In other words, the rise of Palinistas: smart, pro-life conservative women who succeed with style — and a dash of controversy. The latter they address with a smile, and, Thatcher-like, with a quick quip or a swift kick.

Going rogue, of course, isn’t easy. Since Palin endorsed Haley in May, the former state representative has experienced her share of misadventure. First, a pair of Republican operatives, without proof, claimed to have slept with the married mother of two. Then Haley, whose Sikh parents emigrated from India, had to sidestep a “raghead” slur made by a state senator. With its tabloid-like media coverage, the unwelcome controversy mirrored Palin’s 2008 vice-presidential run, during which she was dogged by rumors and innuendo.

Haley, for her part, denied the allegations of adultery, though some feared the tawdry whispers would damage her fresh-faced reputation. They didn’t. In fact, with a little help from Palin, who seems to relish lowering a Facebook boom on foes, Haley weathered them with ease. On the social-networking website, the former Alaska governor laid into Haley’s haters and offered a glimpse into a Palinista’s world. “I warned her and her family that she would be targeted,” Palin wrote, that “she would be put through some hell. . . . As I said to Nikki this morning, ‘Hang in there. I’ve been there.'” Haley did, and she has kept her comfortable, double-digit lead in the polls.

Deftly playing victim, and punching back at sexed-up slime, may be politics as usual in South Carolina, but for national observers, it’s also Palin 101. As Walter Shapiro of Politics Daily put it, Haley mastered “boomerang politics — making every attack seem like a vindication of her conservative populist outrage.” That has been a favorite Palin technique since the days when nobody outside Alaska had heard of her.

Tangling with opponents, however, is not the only element of Palinista politics. Friendly debate with tea-party groups is another. Palin — an outsider to the GOP establishment before she was tapped as the veep nominee, and its pit bull once brought inside — remains a trusted tea-party favorite. Though she is close to the movement, it’s important to note that she’s not of the tea parties. She was around, and battling Obama, before tricorner hats began to pop up en masse.

That warm affinity and simultaneous lack of debt to the tea-party movement has enabled Palin to be independent, and surprisingly unpredictable, in whom she chooses to endorse. While Haley, a tea-party darling before she got Palin’s nod, was an easy, no-trouble pick, Palin’s endorsement in California’s GOP Senate primary caused a bit more tension on the right.

In early May, Palin posted a note to her Facebook followers about Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. “I’d like to tell you about a commonsense conservative,” she said, one who, like her, “grew up in a modest home with a schoolteacher dad, worked her way through several colleges, and then entered an arena where few women had tread.” While a “huge proponent of contested primaries,” Palin explained that she was backing Fiorina because her “fiscal conservatism is rooted in real-life experience.”

The uproar came fast. Thousands of conservatives commented in anger below the Facebook endorsement, scratching their heads about why Palin, of all people, would back Fiorina, whom they considered a RINO (Republican in Name Only). Chuck DeVore, considered by many, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), to be the most tea-party-aligned of the contenders, was left empty-handed. With Palin having endorsed her former running mate, Sen. John McCain, a moderate, in Arizona’s Senate primary months before, “that’s two strikes against you, little sister!” wrote one commenter. “One more and you’re done.” Shelby Baker, a leader of Tea Party Patriots, complained to Human Events that the “bloom’s off the rose,” dubbing Palin “a company girl . . . a Republican, and not in a good way.”

Palin eyed the online debate for a bit, and then jumped in with a Facebook update. Look, she typed, “some reaction right out of the chute calls for more information.” Fiorina, she argued, is “pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-military, and pro-strict border security and against amnesty,” as well as being for repealing Obamacare and for supporting the Second Amendment. “That’s no RINO,” Palin mused, “that’s a winner.” Some still didn’t buy it, finding Fiorina to be, as the Telegraph explained, “insufficiently robust against abortion.”

Nevertheless, Palin’s willingness to mix it up with tea partiers will only help her should she decide to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. For Palin, policy ideas and values are important. So, smartly, is winning — especially when it comes to electing her hand-picked crop of Palinistas. “No matter your gender or politics, you have to hand it to her: Palin is fearless,” says Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to Pres. George W. Bush.

Despite the complications, that’s good news for the GOP’s electoral chances. “Sarah Palin — feminist first, tea partyer second,” said one recent Christian Science Monitor headline. About that, we shouldn’t be too sure. For Palin, it seems, it’s about electing Republicans, just with a mama grizzly, please. From what we saw last night, her strategy is working.

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Conservatives: Beware of McCain Regression Syndrome

Conservatives: Beware of McCain Regression Syndrome

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 22, 2010 09:10 AM

The question isn’t why Sarah Palin is helping John McCain. The question is: What are you doing to stop him from cementing his Big Government Republican legacy?

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Conservatives: Beware of McCain Regression Syndrome
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

Pay attention: In the afterglow of the Massachusetts Miracle, there are flickers of peril for The Right. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but like Paul Revere’s midnight-message, consider this warning “a cry of defiance, and not of fear.” Conservatives have worked hard over the past year to rebuild after Big Government Republican John McCain’s defeat. But McCain isn’t going gently into that good night.

Red Flag Number One: A reader from Arizona informed me the day after the Bay State Bombshell that he had received a robo-call from Massachusetts GOP Sen.-elect Scott Brown. “He basically wanted me to vote for John McCain in November,” the reader said in his description of the automated campaign call supporting the four-term Sen. McCain’s re-election bid. “No wonder [Brown] said he hadn’t had any sleep…he was busy recording phone messages!”

Red Flag Number Two: Also in the wake of the Massachusetts special election, the nation’s most popular conservative political figure, Sarah Palin, announced she would be campaigning for her former running mate in Arizona in March. Palin told Facebook followers that she’s going to “ride the tide with commonsense candidates” and help “heroes and statesmen” like McCain. Facing mounting conservative opposition in his home state and polls showing him virtually tied with possible GOP challenger and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, McCain welcomed the boost: “Sarah energized our nation and remains a leading voice in the Republican Party.”

Savor the irony: After a career spent bashing the right flank of the party, Sen. McCain is now clinging to its coattails to save his incumbent hide.

And pay attention to the hidden, more troubling irony: While he runs to the right to protect his seat, McCain’s political machine is working across the country to install liberal and establishment Republicans to secure his legacy.

In Florida, McCain’s Country First Political Action Committee is supporting the Senate bid of fellow illegal alien amnesty supporter and global warming alarmist, GOP Gov. Charlie Crist, whose crucial 2008 primary endorsement rescued McCain from disaster. Grass-roots conservatives support former GOP statehouse leader Marco Rubio – who is hitting Crist hard for lying to voters about his embrace of President Obama’s pork-laden, fraud-ridden stimulus package.

In Colorado, McCain and his meddlers infuriated the state party by anointing former lieutenant governor Jane Norton to challenge endangered Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet. She’s a milquetoast public official who has served on a lot of task forces and GOP clubs – and who happens to be the sister-in-law of big Beltway insider Charlie Black. An estimated 40 percent of her coffers are filled with out-of-state money (and much of that is flowing from the Beltway).

The mini-McCain of Colorado claims to oppose “special interests,” but has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from D.C. lobbyists at McCain’s behest – stifling the candidacy of strong conservative rivals led by grass-roots-supported Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, an amnesty opponent whose aggressive illegal immigration prosecutions have earned him the rage of the far Left and big business Right. A recent Rasmussen poll showed Buck and another GOP candidate Tom Wiens beating Bennet – despite the huge cash and crony advantage of front-runner and blank-slate Jane.

In California, McCain’s PAC supports former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina – a celebrity name with deep pockets of her own, massive media exposure, and a checkered business record. Fiorina served as the economic adviser to McCain, who supported the $700 billion TARP bailout, the $25 billion auto bailout, a $300 billion mortgage bailout, and the first $85 billion AIG bailout. As GOP rival and grass-roots-supported Chuck DeVore’s camp notes, Fiorina has also vacillated publicly over the Obama stimulus. With taxpayer “friends” like this, who needs Democrats?

With all due respect to McCain’s past noble war service, it’s time to head to the pasture. As the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, he was wrong on the constitutionality of the free-speech-stifling McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulations. He was wrong to side with the junk-science global warming activists in pushing onerous carbon caps on America. He was on the wrong side of every Chicken Little-driven bailout. He was wrong in opposing enhanced CIA interrogation methods that have saved countless American lives and averted jihadi plots. And he was spectacularly wrong in teaming with the open-borders lobby to push a dangerous illegal alien amnesty.

Tea Party activists are rightly outraged by Sarah Palin’s decision to campaign for McCain, whose entrenched incumbency and progressive views are anathema to the movement. At least she has an excuse: She’s caught between a loyalty rock and a partisan hard place. The conservative base has no such obligations – and it is imperative that they get in the game (as they did in Massachusetts) before it’s too late. The movement to restore limited government in Washington has come too far, against all odds, to succumb to McCain Regression Syndrome now.