Tag Archives: boston tea party

Clinton’s spin on Tea Party is misguided

Before the 2010 elections Clinton came back to Little Rock and said the Democrats would have a tough time winning because the voters had a memory problem. What is his spin on the Tea Party? Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times noted:

A friend sent a link to Politico coverage of a panel discussion and unscripted remarks by Bill ClintonFriday that were part of three days of events marking the 20th anniversary of his announcement of a run for the White House. He responds forcefully here to those who’d credit Republicans for some of his ideas.

I liked what he had to say about the Republican/Tea Party controlling message of the moment:

“I’m telling you this to point out that we need a coherent narrative,” he said. “The No. 1 rule of effective politics, especially if the people you’re running against have a simple narrative — that government is always the problem, there is no such thing as a good tax or a bad tax cut, there’s no such thing as a good program or a bad program cut, no such thing as a good regulation or a bad deregulation — if you’re going to fight that, your counter has to be rooted in the lives of other people.”

His speech included an attack on the tea party governing philosophy.

“We need to understand that one of the things that tends to tilt things toward the Republicans’ anti-government narrative is our country was born out of a suspicion of government,” Clinton said. “King George’s government was not accountable to us. That’s what the Boston tea party was about. When the tea party started out, at least they were against unaccountable behavior from top to bottom. Then it morphed into something different. If you want to go against that grain, you’ve got to tell people you understand it’s a privilege and a responsibility to spend their tax money, but there’s some things we have to do together. And that’s what the purpose of government is, to do the things that we have to do together that we can’t do on our own.”

“If we can make that choice credible,” he added, “then our candidates — starting with the president — and our principles will be fine.”


Liberal Rage Won’t Stop the Tea Party’s Rise

by John Samples

This article appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on August 9, 2011.

The tea-party contingent in Congress drove the Republican leadership to bargain harder than it otherwise would have on last week’s debt-ceiling deal. Liberals have rightly concluded that the tea party is changing political outcomes. Their response has been to equate tea-party members with terrorists.

Vice President Biden recently told House Democrats that tea-party Republicans had “acted like terrorists.” And a New York Times columnist claimed that “Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people.” Many people on the left no doubt take their cues from the vice president and the Times, so we should expect more such venomous rhetoric castigating the movement as an enemy of America.

Ironically, the movement being portrayed this way takes its name from an iconic event in American history. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 helped establish the principle of “no taxation without representation.” And the members of the current tea-party movement clearly believe in the American system of representative government. They worked to change Congress through the election of 2010, and now they expect their efforts to bear fruit in the form of new policies.

Even if their anger is understandable, liberals should be ashamed of their over-the-top anti-tea party rhetoric.

“Tea Party Patriots” — the name of one tea-party organization — is closer to the truth. Far from being enemies of America, these people believe deeply in the nation’s history, promise, and Constitution.

Differing visions
The liberal anger toward the tea party is justified in one sense. The tea-party movement’s vision of America is distinct from the reality of the welfare state the country has built since 1936. So a powerful tea party is understandably disturbing to liberals — even if their recent campaign of vilification against it is reprehensible.

But is the tea-party movement really all that powerful? The budget deal, after all, hardly restrained the growth of spending over the next year, when the government will still run a deficit in excess of $1 trillion. Even with the restraint prescribed by last week’s deal over the long term, the federal government will still be spending $4.25 trillion a year. The deal may lower federal spending, but it clearly will not bring about a substantially smaller government.

The evident rage among liberals, however, may have more to do with the battles to come than it does with the battle they’ve just lost (or won). We stand at the beginning of a long struggle. For the next few years — and maybe many more — our politics will be occupied by the same kind of fights over spending, deficits, and taxes.

These battles will be about more than just money. They reflect two different ideas of what the U.S. government should be. On one side is the tea party’s vision. On the other is the welfare state of Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and President Obama, which taxes and spends more and more in pursuit of security and fairness for its citizens.

As recently as 2008, the big-government vision seemed poised to win the day. Then came the tea-party mobilization of 2009, which led to the election outcome of 2010.

Here to stay
That victory was remarkable but, in a way, unconvincing. After all, protest movements have emerged, affected elections, and then disappeared before. The Reform Party of Ross Perot comes to mind. Last year, it was far from certain that the tea party would be more than a memory by the summer of 2011.

John Samples is director of the Center for Representative Government at the Cato Institute and the author of The Struggle to Limit Government.

More by John Samples

Even before the election of 2010, tea-party leaders were concerned that electing fiscally responsible members of Congress would not be enough to save the nation from financial ruin. They knew they had to follow up their victory with oversight to ensure that new members would remember who had elected them and why. The recent pressure on House Speaker John Boehner from tea-party representatives reflected that strategic choice.

Political scientists tell us that to bring fundamental change to the nation, political movements must become permanent organizations. The civil rights movement accomplished such a transformation. Will the tea party also become a permanent part of our politics?

It’s too soon to say, of course, but the debt-ceiling deal suggests the answer may be yes. In fact, the Republican Party might be the permanent organization the tea party becomes.

Even if their anger is understandable, liberals should be ashamed of their over-the-top anti-tea party rhetoric. The tea party could become a lasting force in American politics — one that slowly ends the long era that began with the New Deal. Though it’s often criticized as rooted in the past, the tea party may be a harbinger of the future.

The Tea Party is watching the votes of this Congress

Ernest Istook, US Congressman, Heritage Foundation, http://www.heritage.org, spoke at the Saint Paul Tea Party Rally 4/16/2011. Hosted by North Star Tea Party Patriots, and Sue Jeffers.


Being in Boston this week and walking the Freedom Trail  was a great experience. Lots of the information the tour guides gave was about Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty that put together the Boston Tea Party. What would they think of this congress today?

File:J S Copley - Samuel Adams.jpg

Here is list of the notable members of the Sons of Liberty according to Wikipedia:

I got to hear Ernest Istook of the Heritage Foundation speak in Little Rock a while back and I wrote about it on this blog. Mr. Istook is a Tea Party favorite speaker and the Heritage Foundation website (www.Heritage.org) is one of my favorite website. I am so glad that Heritage Action is grading the members of Congress on their votes. See below this article that came out today:

Mike Needham

Sneak Peak: A Tough Conservative Scorecard

Mike Needham

With every vote cast in Congress, freedom either advances or recedes. From reckless spending and stifling regulations to Obamacare, Americans see their freedoms – and those of their children and grandchildren – slipping away. We went to the polls last November to turn the tide. And while conservatives are winning the day on the message, the policy is lagging.

Later this week, Heritage Action will release our first legislative scorecard, which will show which Members of Congress are saying the right things AND doing the right things. Conversely, those who say one thing and do another will no longer be able to hide. This will be a revealing barometer of a lawmaker’s willingness to fight for principled conservative policies in Congress.

Allow me to pull back the curtain just a bit.

No single Senator or Representative achieved a perfect score – something that is practically unheard of in the world of Congressional scorecards, but reflects the fact that there is no perfect politician in Washington. The average in the Democrat-controlled Senate was 39%. Liberal politicians in the House bring the average down to 42% in the GOP-controlled chamber.

While the House has done many big things right this year – the bold House budget, the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, and Obamacare repeal, for example – conservatives still had too many losses with moderate Republicans teaming up with Democrats to defeat good legislation. As a result, the GOP average in the House is only 67%. Senate Republicans did better with a 76% average, though they have not yet voted on the often revealing appropriations bills. In all, 13 Senators and 27 Representatives scored an 85% or higher.

Like I told the crowd at the RedState.com Gathering a couple weeks ago, we are tough graders and don’t apologize for it. After all, we are conservatives, not tenured university professors.

And if there is one thing conservatives need, especially in Washington, it is unapologetic champions. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, one such champion, is “thrilled” about the scorecard. She said, “it is time now that we look at the spending habits of our legislators. It’s time that we look at what they’re doing with debt. It’s time that we look at how they’re spending taxpayer money.”

When the federal government engages in the sort of reckless spending that has come to define the previous decade, freedom recedes as the power and scope of the federal government expands. America’s future – and the economic freedom of our children and grandchildren – diminishes.

Heritage Action’s scorecard encompasses 30 votes and five co-sponsorship scores in the House and 19 votes and four co-sponsorship scores in the Senate. The votes cover the full spectrum of conservatism, and include legislative action on issues both large and small.

There is a tendency among some lawmakers to do the right thing on the big issues – repeal of Obamacare, for example – and then revert to “big government conservatism” on the small issues when they think no one is looking.

For example, 105 House Republicans joined every Democrat in voting against an amendment by Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) which would have cut $3 billion from Interior-Environment appropriations. In the Senate, 15 Republicans joined every Democrat in killing an amendment that would have repealed the non-essential Essential Air Services. These two votes are illustrative of the challenges conservatives face in Congress.

Our task is daunting, but not impossible. After a long hard fight, conservatives won the day on earmarks. Now, we must lead the fight against small bills that expand the size and scope of government. Legislation like the NAT GAS Act (HR1380) and extension of trade adjustment assistance’s welfare-style benefits must be made as politically toxic as earmarks.

Highlighting these small votes, as well as holding the line on contentious issues like the near-blank check debt ceiling increase, has ruffled some Establishment feathers. According to the Weekly Standard, Members of Congress are taking note:

[Heritage Action’s] newfound influence in politics—not just policy—has rankled a few Republicans otherwise in good conservative standing, especially since Heritage Action announced it would be scoring certain votes.

Heritage Action does not do electoral politics, but we certainly do policy politics. With all the economic indicators pointing towards anemic economic growth, if not another recession, Americans are looking for principled leadership that can steer our country off the path of slow decline and towards actual economic growth. The next 15 months are an opportunity to define the future of America – prosperity, or slow decline.

If we’re going to save the American dream for our children and grandchildren, we cannot pull punches or engage in partisan “rah-rah” type actions. Heritage Action’s scorecard will be revealing – and a tool for conservatives outside the beltway to hold their Members of Congress accountable and get America back on track.

Mike Needham

Mike Needham

Mike Needham is the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to advancing legislation that promotes freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all Americans
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