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Title: The Tea Party [Freedom Caucus], Not Democrats or Republicans, Is the Problem
Source: The Daily Beast
URL Source: https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-t ... -or-republicans-is-the-problem
Published: Oct 20, 2013
Author: JON FAVREAU
Post Date: 2018-02-12 06:00:36 by Gatlin
Keywords: None
Views: 755
Comments: 52

The Tea Party [Freedom Caucus], Not Democrats or Republicans, Is the Problem.

It’s de rigueur to decry ‘partisanship’ as Washington’s ‘real problem.’ Let’s get real—the most destructive force in American politics today is the Tea Party, says Jon Favreau.

So now that our government is open and able to pay its bills, what soon-to-be-forgotten lessons have we learned from this sorry fiasco?

Perhaps most important is the reminder that political temper tantrums in Washington exact a toll that goes far beyond unfavorable headlines and worse-than-dog-poo poll numbers. This decision hurt people. Some families couldn’t pay their bills. Others had nowhere safe to send their children while they worked. Poor women lost vouchers that helped buy food and formula for their newborns. Cancer treatments were put on hold for patients who didn’t have much time to waste.

All told, the shutdown and flirtation with default cost America north of $20 billion. The countries that weren’t busy mocking us were frightened by our behavior, wondering if the world’s wealthiest nation would become the world’s deadbeat nation, taking everyone else down with us in a global collapse worse than 2008.

And for what? For what purpose was this pain and humiliation inflicted upon the American people?

Yes, you, Rep. Marlin Stutzman from Indiana. Do you have an answer?

“We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Oh.

Which brings me to the second shutdown lesson. As a country, we may never get a more revealing, disturbing look at the true source of Washington’s dysfunction than we did over the last few weeks. Together, we endured a 21-hour non- filibuster speech from White Castle enthusiast Ted Cruz that was so devoid of self-awareness I’m not even sure he knew he was giving it. We saw Sarah Palin come all the way back from the small town of Irrelevancy, Alaska, to lead the charge against an open-air memorial that was blocked by a 3-foot barricade, while a few assholes waved Confederate flags outside the White House and reminded each other that Obama’s a Muslim, just for good measure.

We saw the shutdown rationale shift from defunding Obamacare to delaying Obamacare to cutting spending to reforming entitlements to charging congressional staffers more for health insurance to cutting taxes for stethoscope manufacturers to something, anything that would embarrass the president. As we inched closer to the abyss, we witnessed a parade of right-wing mathletes run the numbers and confidently deny the economic catastrophe that would result from America’s first-ever financial default. And as the speaker of the House made one last half-hearted effort to save his caucus from total defeat, we watched Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation kill the plan with a press release, a move just about everyone saw coming that only served to remind us who’s really in charge.

In Official Washington, decrying “partisanship” as the “real problem” is the prerequisite for being taken seriously as a smart, unbiased political commentator. But from where we stand right now, partisanship is not the problem. Democrats are not the problem. Republicans are not the problem. The relationship between President Obama and John Boehner is not the problem.

The Tea Party is the problem.

The Tea Party is the most destructive force in American politics today. Over the last few weeks, it has demonstrated again that its intent is not to shake up the establishment but to burn down the village. As a Democrat, I disagree with its policy positions, but its policy positions alone are not what make the Tea Party so dangerous. What makes the Tea Party dangerous is its members’ willful disregard for the most basic tenets of American democracy. They do not believe in the legitimacy of our president. They do not believe in the legitimacy of decisions handed down by our Supreme Court. Unlike President Obama, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, or a host of other Democratic and Republican lawmakers who grasp the basic reality of politics, they have never, not once shown a willingness to compromise on anything. Merely uttering the word is enough to draw a primary challenge.

All this, despite the fact that the Tea Party represents the views of a small, ever- shrinking fraction of Americans. Even within the Republican Party, its members’ favorability hovers around 50 percent, the lowest of all time. Their recent legislative strategy, a word that can be used only in its loosest sense, led to 144 Tea Party House members voting against a bipartisan compromise simply to open the government and avert default. But when Reuters polled people who weren’t satisfied with last week’s outcome, only 2 percent said it was because the House passed the Senate’s bipartisan bill. Only 5 percent said it was because Republicans compromised. Only 3 percent said it was because default would have taught our government an important lesson. Most people said their main dissatisfaction was with the ugly process the Tea Party dragged us all through.

And yet, somehow, this small minority of Tea Party House members, who represent less than one half of one legislative body in one branch of government, has been given enormous influence over the national agenda—a situation without precedent in American political history. It’s insanity.

The president and Boehner can hang out, drink beers, play golf, and shake hands on all kinds of deals. Boehner has been open to revenue in the past. Obama has put entitlement cuts on the table that made his party uncomfortable. The Senate has already passed bipartisan immigration legislation, and there are enough Republicans and Democrats in Congress who are willing to compromise and make progress on any number of issues.

But Boehner was, in his own words, “overrun” by the Tea Party during the shutdown, and so long as he and other Republicans fear challenges from the fringe more than the frustrations of the majority, nothing will get done. And we will find ourselves in the same predicament again and again, regardless of who is elected president or speaker or majority leader.

The Republican Party is at war with itself. And as tempting as it might be for Democrats to gloat from the sidelines, it is in all of our interests—Democrats, independents, and Republicans—to make sure the Tea Party doesn’t win. In 2014, candidates of both parties should challenge their rivals to sign a No Shutdown Pledge and a No Default Pledge. In House races, candidates should be asked whether they’re willing to violate the ridiculous Hastert rule and allow simple up-or-down votes on legislation that could pass with bipartisan support, no matter who holds the majority. In Senate races, they should be asked whether they’re willing to make it harder for bipartisan legislation to be filibustered by a Ted Cruz or a Mike Lee.

Democrats and Republicans can argue all they want over the role of government, but we cannot allow the Tea Party to continue holding the country hostage over its kamikaze mission to destroy government. The vast majority of Americans reject that mission, and we’re not about to sacrifice ourselves or our democracy as collateral damage. It’s time for all of us to get together and fight the crazy.

Poster Comment:
Jon Favreau is a Democrat and wrote this article for The Daily Beast back in October, 2013. He says that the Tea Party [Freedom Caucus] is the most destructive force in American politics today. And what makes the Tea Party dangerous is its members’ willful disregard for the most basic tenets of American democracy. They have never, not once shown a willingness to compromise on anything. Where is Jon Favreau wrong?

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Begin Trace Mode for Comment # 4.

#1. To: Gatlin (#0)

In 2013 it was the Tea Party. Today it is the Democrat Party that is on a kamikaze mission to destroy the President at any cost.

The Tea Party failed, and the Democrats will fail. Republicans failed long ago. We're governed by failures all around.

Throw them all out and replace them with the Olympians when they come home from Korea.

True, they know nothing about politics. But the people who run Washington know everything about politics - and they keep crashing the plane. So it won't be worse.

And the Olympians, at least, every one of them, have a decades-long tradition of self-discipline and focus on what is necessary to succeed. The politicians also know how to succeed - in getting elected - but self-discipline has nothing to do with it.

Since we're not really going to do that, we just have to tend our own gardens and hope for the best. There's no real chance that our government is going to get any better.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-02-12   6:20:37 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Vicomte13 (#1)

In 2013 it was the Tea Party. Today it is the Democrat Party ...
Today it is the House Freedom Caucus that was founded in January 2015 by nine Republicans as a smoke-filled-back-room invite-only group.

There is an article by Paul Waldman [dated February 3, 2016] titled Paul Ryan to Tea Party: You are the problem which I cannot post since it is behind a pay wall. But I can post the speech the article is written about. It was the fascinating speech by Paul Ryan at Heritage Action, a tea party-allied organization that has fashioned itself as the guardian of conservative purity.

In his speech, Ryan called for unity. “To quote William Wallace in Braveheart,” he said, “we have to unite the clans.”

However his speech was actually a revocation of things the tea party has done. Ryan also used the occasion to take shots at the congressional Republican leadership, and even the GOP presidential candidates at that time. While he didn’t actually call anyone out by name, but with an understanding of what was happening then and the conflict that has continued to roil in the Republican Party in recent years, the salient critique was hard to miss...and his points are still as important today as much as there were then.

I believe we can all win when we get together and have an ideas contest. But we lose when certain individuals make it a personality contest. Conservatives cannot win while some of the Tea Party and Freedom Caucus are acting like angry reactionaries. The actions by some in the Tea Party and Freedom Caucus has created a fragmented conservative movement that is now letting the progressives win by default.

The Left is enjoying the action as the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus continue to cause the conservative movement to stand in a circular firing squad. This revolting display of alpha personalities playing to TV cameras only permits progressives to win by dereliction. The Left just sits back and laughs as they follow the old Napoleon Bonaparte adage: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

The Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus didn’t listen to Ryan back then and they will still today only listen to each other as they continually strut and pump their already overinflated egos . It seems nothing will ever change that.

The speech by Paul Ryan:

WASHINGTON — Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) attended the Heritage Action Conservative Policy Summit to discuss opportunities to unite around a bold agenda to save the American Idea. Watch the event live here. Below are his full remarks as prepared for delivery:

We Have to Unite Conservatives
- Dated: February 3, 2016.

“Thank you very much. I want to thank Mike and everyone at Heritage Action for hosting us today. These are the kinds of conversations we need to be having. These are the kinds of conversations we were having when I was working for Jack Kemp at Empower America. That’s how House Republicans put together the Contract with America.

“I’m a Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan conservative. They both understood we need to be talking about what our vision is and how we can make it a reality. We need to raise our gaze. That’s how you move America forward. And that’s what I want to talk to you about.

“Let’s cut to the chase: There are a lot of people hurting in America right now. They don’t think the promise of this country is real for them. The American Idea—that the condition of your birth, it does not determine the outcome of your life—a lot of people don’t think that’s true anymore. And if the American Idea is not true for everybody, then it is not true at all.

“And we just can’t accept that. It goes against everything this country stands for. We are the conservative party. We want to conserve this country’s promise. And so we care about opportunity. We want every person in this country to find the American dream. That is our mission.

“So the question we face in 2016 is simple: Do we want more of the same? Do we want the liberal progressives to lock in all their gains? Or are we, the other party— the conservative party—going to get the country back on the right track? And how do we do that?

“To quote William Wallace in Braveheart, we have to unite the clans.

“We have to unite conservatives around a bold, pro-growth agenda that will get America back on track—and then take our agenda to the people. We have to take our founding principles—freedom, liberty, free enterprise, self-determination, government by consent—apply them to the problems of the day, and come up with real solutions that will build a confident America. If we don’t think the country’s headed in the right direction—and we don’t—then we have an obligation to give the people of this nation a choice for a better way forward. And that’s what House Republicans are going to do.

“My theory of the case is this: We win when we have an ideas contest. We lose when we have a personality contest. We can’t fall into the progressives’ trap of acting like angry reactionaries. The Left would love nothing more than for a fragmented conservative movement to stand in a circular firing squad, so the progressives can win by default.

“This president is struggling to remain relevant in an election year when he’s not on the ballot. He is going to do all he can to elect another progressive by distracting the American people. So he’s going to try to get us talking about guns or some other hot-button issue and not about his failures on ISIS or the economy or national security. He’s going to try to knock us off our game. We have to understand his distractions for what they are. Otherwise, we’re going to have a distraction this week, next week, and the week after that. And that’s going to be the Obama playbook all year long.

“And so what I want to say to you today is this: Don’t take the bait. Don’t fight over tactics. And don’t impugn people’s motives. It’s fine if you disagree. And there’s a lot that’s rotten in Washington. There’s no doubt about that. But we can’t let how you vote on an amendment to an appropriations bill define what it means to be a conservative. Because, it’s setting our sights too low. Frankly, that’s letting the president define us. That’s what he wants us to do. That’s defining ourselves as an opposition party, instead of a proposition party.

“So we have to be straight with each other, and more importantly, we have to be straight with the American people. We can’t promise that we can repeal Obamacare when a guy with the last name Obama is president. All that does is set us up for failure . . . and disappointment . . . and recriminations.

“When voices in the conservative movement demand things that they know we can’t achieve with a Democrat in the White House, all that does is depress our base and in turn help Democrats stay in the White House. We can’t do that anymore.

“I don’t want to set us up for failure. I want to set us up for success. That’s something we all can work on—together. And the way to do that is to unify around a vision. We need to define the horizon we’re aiming for. And then we need to bring the rest of the country with us.

“That’s why I’m really heartened by what you’re doing today. You’ve put out your plan to get America back on track. Now we’re putting together our own. And today we’re going to share ideas and flesh out our vision. If we keep this up, I think there will be no question that in 2016 the Republican party will be the party of ideas. As you know, we’re already at work on our agenda. It has five parts: national security; jobs and economic growth; health care; poverty and opportunity. . . .

“And finally, the last piece of this agenda—and it is so critical to all the others—is restoring the Constitution. The president's executive overreach has undermined the Constitution and damaged the people’s trust. What needs to be done to restore the separation of powers and protect our constitutional liberties? What good is enacting all these great conservative policies if another charismatic progressive can talk his or her way into the White House again and undo it all with a pen and a phone?

“So, those are our five points. We’re saying, here is what we will do if you, the men and women of America, give us a Republican president we can work with to do this. And we’re ready to work with everyone at Heritage Action as we put together that agenda.

“We want your ideas and your input. As far as I’m concerned, if you have ideas, we’re all ears.

“Because the way I see it, that’s how we turn the country around. In the late 1970s, Jack Kemp and House conservatives put out a plan to cut taxes and restore America to her greatness. It was bold and aspirational. It was so compelling that Ronald Reagan ran on those ideas in 1980.

“And what happened? Reagan ran the tables. The Republican party won a mandate from the people, and the rest, as they say, is history. And Mandate for Leadership was a cornerstone of that moment.

“Well, that is exactly what we need to do today. And the stakes are even higher. So we need to be inspirational. We need to be inclusive. We need to show how our principles and policies are universal and how they apply to everybody. We know that the economy is weak. We know that the world is on fire. We know that the future is uncertain. There’s a lot of frustration and anger out there. And is it justified? It sure is.

“But we should not follow the Democrats and play identity politics. Let's talk to people in ways that unite us and that are unique to America's founding. That’s what I think people are hungry for. And that really is the essence of the Republican party— or, more importantly, the essence of the conservative movement. And that is our mission for the next six months.

“All told, I am excited. I am optimistic. Why? Because the Left is intellectually exhausted. Their ideas have failed. And we are just getting started. We have all the makings for a mandate from the people to save the American Idea. Now let’s go get it.”

Gatlin  posted on  2018-02-12   8:11:54 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


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