It's been my feel that politics in America is changing, for the better ... and I anticipate that these trends will continue to grow.
I received lots of comments ... relating Ron Paul to Sarah Palin in a political atmosphere where 43 percent consider themselves independents. Many were from Paul supporters who didn’t like the connection. Others did. Glen, who says he has supported Paul for 20 years and Palin for one possibly got closest to the current reality: “I think Palin and Paul have a lot in common ... both libertarians, but they come to it from different approaches. Paul is an erudite scholar on both economics and foreign policy. Palin comes at it from the heart and from the gut ... ”
The brooding ambiguity in the heartland has both Jeffersonian aspects (Ron Paul) and Jacksonian aspects (Sarah Palin). Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry registers in on both of these. All three might be categorized as Ted Nugent Republicans to varying degree and manifestation.
Nugent was the star of the show in some of the Texas “tea party” rallies on April 15. Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, was sent almost to seizures when a purely conservative crowd started chanting “Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul ... ” to the tune of “USA, USA, USA ... ” during one of his speeches. Paul is not a Republican, Graham shouted back at the group.
This could actually be a creative cauldron for Republicans ... They are playing with a bunch of brand-new ideas; tax reform, Austrian economics, state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment, opposition to “one-size-fits-all federalism.”
The Value Voters Summit is underway in Washington this weekend, and many political animals are looking forward to the straw poll which will be taken Saturday at the conference. While it's just a straw poll, and the 2012 presidential race is still pretty far down the campaign trail, some pundits think they will be able to read something significant in the tea leaves.
The Revenge of Ross Perot
Obama's policies are making Americans worry about the national debt
His candidacy was not for nothing. It created a new awareness of a risky fiscal policy that, in Perot's words, was "robbing future generations." It caused Americans to consider whether fiscal indiscipline was defensible on either economic or moral terms. And it sowed the legitimate fear that deficits would be fatal to prosperity.
In the following years, Republicans and Democrats were forced to attack the deficit—so much so that by the late 1990s, the government was running surpluses that no one had ever imagined ...
A 2001 recession, two unforeseen wars, and tax cuts put the federal government deep in the red. Politicians suddenly found plenty of excuses to abandon fiscal responsibility.
Both parties tacitly agreed to ignore the deficit in favor of their own priorities, which involved spending far more money than they were willing to ask taxpayers to provide. Instead of surpluses, we got deficits totaling more than $2 trillion between 2002 and 2008.
Obama's expensive ambitions have brought the issue back to center stage. He vows to cut the deficit in half. But under his budget blueprint, the government would accumulate some $7 trillion in new debt over the next decade.
Obama's fateful choice was the $787 billion stimulus package. Enacted in the depths of a recession in a desperate attempt to revive the economy, it soon spawned buyer's remorse. Coming after the 2008 stimulus package, bank rescue program and automaker bailout—steps toward "socialism" taken by a Republican president—it created the specter of the government as Incredible Hulk, rampaging out of control.
Maybe it's unfair for Obama to get the blame for that calamity. But by blithely adding to the problem, he validated the darkest predictions of his critics.
He also impeded his own fondest hope—health care reform. Obama has long insisted that his plans were essential to getting control of spending. But given the ever-rising cost of Medicare and Medicaid, the claim sounds inherently bogus.
First it was Tony Blankley, comparing Obama’s dilemma in Afghanistan to LBJ’s in Vietnam, calling both wars unwinnable and suggesting that Obama take a path different from LBJ and pull out while we’re behind. Now George Will believes it’s time to withdraw ground forces from Afghanistan, while maintaining limited drone strikes and the like.
On rightwing radio, I have heard Michael Savage and several others recently asking, Why are we still in Afghanistan? Is it to make the world safe for opium? What’s going on?
Ironically, many rightwing doves on Afghanistan are still hawks on Iraq. Meanwhile, many on the left believe withdrawal from Iraq should happen soon but think Afghanistan is the good war that must be maintained.
This is a very interesting realignment taking place. The war party is being fractured. It is no longer a binary issue, if it ever was. As Obama’s occupation of Afghanistan increases in size and scope, and, perhaps for partisan reasons, this project’s supporters and opponents begin to shift around, we can see the U.S. warfare state’s vulnerability in a new way.
It would be nice to see the realignment continue, where some generally favor more foreign intervention and others favor less. It would be all the better if this corresponded to general views toward government power, as in Japan, where the party calling for lower taxes and freer markets has recently won a groundbreaking election against those favoring a continued presence in Afghanistan, as well as big-government solutions for the economy.
The NRSC has already officially endorsed five candidates and has worked behind the scenes on behalf of several other committee favorites who are facing contested primaries.
It’s a strategy that could land the party with a roster of highly electable candidates who could go a long way toward shrinking the party’s current deficit in the Senate. But it’s also an approach that is infuriating many activists who don’t like the idea of the national party stepping in and playing favorites — especially when it means picking a moderate over a conservative.
The best, and perhaps most controversial, example of the NRSC’s muscle-flexing is in Florida, where Cornyn quickly got behind the campaign of popular moderate Gov. Charlie Crist, despite growing conservative resentment over Crist’s support of President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan and environmental policies.
The NRSC’s open support for the governor has stifled the fundraising ability of former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, an attractive candidate in his own right who has been winning the support of conservative activists across the state.
“The speed with which the national party and national Republicans took sides in this race has presented challenges,” said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos. “Speaker Rubio never envisioned a day that a conservative in the Republican primary would be the underdog — and wouldn’t be given a chance by the national party.”
Cornyn is also taking sides in Kentucky ... for Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who is locked in a primary battle against ophthalmologist Rand Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Republicans who believe they have been big-footed haven’t taken it well. In Colorado, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck said he was planning on exiting the Senate race until he found out about the committee’s involvement with Norton ... He then changed his mind, defiantly declaring that Colorado’s nominee “won’t be chosen by political operatives in Washington.”
In California, where Cornyn singled out the campaign of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and touted her prospects in a post-recess memo to his GOP colleagues ... state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, organized a fundraiser to protest the NRSC’s involvement.
“Under John Cornyn, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has racked up an impressive string of endorsements in support of nonconservative, unpopular, poorly vetted candidates across the nation,” DeVore said. “These candidacies have thus far gone on to flounder or implode.”
Colorado GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams said an NRSC endorsement in his state would backfire.
“I made it clear to the NRSC two weeks ago that it would be counterproductive for them to get involved, because it would actually hurt Jane as she tries to win the nomination. And they assured me they were not going to be endorsing,” Wadhams said.
“There are hard-core activists here who have a strong sense of independence and feel we need to make the nomination decision without the big power brokers telling us who to vote for. She doesn’t need to be shepherded along by the NRSC; she has tremendous credentials on her own,” he said.
Cornyn’s logic, however, makes perfect sense to GOP strategists, who view it as a necessary exercise in political Darwinism.
“The job of the party committee is to help people with an ‘R’ next to their name; it doesn’t matter what their ideology is,” said Carl Forti, who headed the National Republican Congressional Committee’s independent expenditure efforts in 2006.
The problem, some Republicans contend, is that the NRSC’s exercises in field clearing — or shaping — reflect a narrow Washington outlook and too often come at the expense of conservative candidates.
What's amazing, and this is why the Time story is significant, is how quickly Beck and others on the right - like Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit (who is cited in the article) - have had a dramatic effect on politics at the highest levels. This stuff is almost like All the President's Men without Deep Throat. If President Obama were in turn to be impeached - not a far-fetched scenario, given the Bill Clinton presidency - commentators will no doubt "pin the blame" on "fear-mongerers" like Beck. Natually, Beck and others will be demonized for their "hatred," while the legacy media gives a pass to the administration's corrupt communist ties. This creates a classic feedback loop. When the press white-washes real scandals and Democratic malfeasance, the Beck-heads become even more feverishly delirious.
It gets more interesting every day ...