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A Republican Party At Odds With Itself

The fight for the soul of the GOP.  After Speaker Boehner’s tongue-lashing of the Tea Party, a key Main Streeter and a Tea Party stalwart join us to hash out the confrontation on the Right.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio vehemently rebukes conservative groups who oppose the pending bipartisan budget compromise struck by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner said the GOP leadership has had enough tea party-driven intransigence in Congress and he doesn’t care what they think.  (AP)

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio vehemently rebukes conservative groups who oppose the pending bipartisan budget compromise struck by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner said the GOP leadership has had enough tea party-driven intransigence in Congress and he doesn’t care what they think. (AP)

House Speaker John Boehner’s “Are you kidding me?” outburst at Tea Party hardliners last week is still echoing across the landscape of the Republican Party.  Boehner’s vivid, audible frustration with hardliners in the GOP sounded as if it had been brewing and stewing for months, years.  Angry and fed up and pushed too far.  Now it’s out there.  Mainstream Republicans saying enough.  Tea Party stalwarts saying no, it’s not.  We’ve got a lot more to do.  People calling it a civil war.  How deep does it go?  How real is the divide?  This hour On Point:  the showdown inside the GOP.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action For America. (@MikeNeedham)

Steve LaTourette, President of McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies, a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm. President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership. Former U.S. Congressman from Ohio’s 19th and 14th districts. (@LaTourette)

From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today: Palin to GOP budget supporters: ‘We’ll be watching’ — “Sarah Palin is adding her voice to the chorus of Tea Party conservatives upset with the compromise budget deal. The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, who enjoys a following among the small government, anti-tax supporters, blasted the two-year deal worked out by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray. Palin argued in an op-ed column for Breitbart.com that the budget agreement would lead to higher taxes and more spending.”

Washington Times:  Budget Deal: The GOP is playing the long game – “A big, messy, budget battle right now would do nothing to help the GOP politically. While the Tea Party will undoubtedly call bad form, and while acceptance of this budget by no means constitutes the act of practicing fiscal conservatism in Congressional politics, it does give the Democrats one less thing they can use to distract from the fact that President Obama’s single greatest legislative achievement has been marred by ‘faulty’ websites, lies, fraud, and downright resentment among the American people.”

Politico: Boehner, Ryan lobby Senate GOP on budget plan — “Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan convinced 167 House Republicans to back the bipartisan budget deal last week and effectively put an end to this year’s fiscal wars. Now, they’re trying to get at least five Senate Republicans to do the same. In an attempt to head off growing Senate GOP opposition to the plan, Boehner and Ryan have personally urged a handful of Senate Republicans to help advance the plan, according to several people familiar with the matter. Boehner has brought the issue up in conversations with some of his closest Senate GOP friends, sources say, while Ryan has actively made calls to wayward Senate Republicans.

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  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

    The Republican Party will be back. A major reason Obama won so handily is the GOP became focused on capturing the Tea Party vote without thinking how moderate republicans would bolt the party and vote for Obama.

    Once the Republicans rebuke the Tea Party, the moderates will come back and the party can start competing again. I am one of those moderates. I started voting in 1968 and backed Richard Nixon. I voted Republican ….. http://lstrn.us/117TOUI

    • Mike_Card

      I’m the same. I didn’t get more liberal, the
      GOP moved away from me. They won’t be back until they realize that they need to field a candidate who can compete. And that doesn’t mean Santorum or Cruz or Paul or Michele Batshit.
      So far, they’re inclined to listen to Fox News and think they can win with a popular vote of 30 million, which ain’t happening.

      • William

        What is the difference between the GOP elites and the Liberal Democratic Party? Spending? – same; Foreign policy? – same; Love of big government? – same; Love of big business? – same; Bail out Wall Street? – same; Power? – same; Trade Agreements? – same; Where is the difference?

        Now here comes some people that want to upset the GOP elite’s good time (i.e. Senator Cruz and Conservatives) and wow…we got some real radicals!! How dare anyone want to change the status quo in Washington!!!. Cut spending!! Downsize government!!!….my God what is going on with these new guys?!!!!!!!

    • jefe68

      Nixon would never get the nomination to run for president today, that’s how far right the GOP has become.
      In 1968 Nixon was considered pretty right wing, and yet he was considering a health care plan not unlike the ACA by 1972.

      • brettearle

        I wonder what the complexion of our recent political history might have been had Stevenson been in the White House for 2 terms.

        • hennorama

          brettearle — an interesting word choice there. Intentionally provocative?

          • brettearle

            No, actually.

            And I say, no–not because I wish to agree with you or disagree with you.

            The only thing that I can think of–that you are thinking–is skin color?

            Otherwise, I am missing your subtlety.

            What are you getting at–in the world of ‘Manifest Content’?

          • hennorama

            brettearle — no worries. Just the way my brain works, with auto-scrolling definitions.

            As to the actual content of your post — the world likely would have far fewer nuclear weapons, and there might be actual cooperative governing efforts in Congress.

          • brettearle

            As to IKE’s point….

            I still think that we would have had to have dealt with the Military-Industrial complex.

            And, as we speak, I still believe that Lemay–in some kingdom of the afterlife–is, as we speak, beating Patton at the game of “RISK.”

            Who wears the wings will depend on who wins

            [....the Jury is admonished to disregard the prior statement.]

        • Acnestes

          It might have been post apocalyptic. Ike had the military cred to hold in check the military’s urges to bomb the Soviets. It’s questionable whether Adlai would have been able to and might have been persuaded.

      • William

        JFK would never get the nod with the very radical left that runs the Democratic Party. Times have changed and those old political leaders were part of a different America.

        • jefe68

          Oh please. They nominated Obama, who won, and the last Democratic in the WHite House was Clinton, not exactly left wing socialist.

          • William

            Obama is a hard core Leftist who lied and with a very Liberal press got elected. Clinton was more of a moderate that with some dragging by the Republicans moved to the center.

          • jefe68

            That’s hilarious. Well you prove to me how far right some people have gone.

            Here’s a little tip for you, all politicians lie or say things they think the public wants hear. Does it make it right, no. It’s politics though, and if I had a dime for every time some politician said something not truthful I would be as rich as Rockefeller.

          • Don_B1

            TOTAL BULLPUCKY!

            Governor Schweitzer (MT) just called him, on some issues, a corporatist.

            He correctly supported the Federal Reserve’s recapitalization of the big banks in 2009 to the present and continued President Bush’s (and Henry Paulson’s) TARP but he should have insisted that the banks renegotiate mortgages that had been deceptively issued.

            In foreign policy, he did slowly withdraw from Iraq and is working to do the same with Afghanistan, but it is not the quick path that those on the left might well have advocated.

            His healthcare reform is within the market system where he adopted the Heritage Foundation’s market approach to providing health insurance for all citizens of this country.

            And he has made as much progress as possible against the money-wielding fossil-fuel industry in trying to set ground level steps to mitigate the effects of CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels, though he has not been able to get conservative Democrats from “Red States” to sign on because of Republican scorched-earth opposition. But that is the position of those who would meet the definition of “conservative,” conserving the life of the planet so that all human life will be continued in a growing economy, not some dystopia that Republican policies will lead to.

          • Don_B1

            By the measure that you claim puts President Obama on the hard-core Left, you are to the left of Karl Marx.

            Note that Karl Marx was a decent analyst of political and economic problems; he just had no idea of how to craft a workable solution. But I am not sure you can do either, since you refuse to look at all the facts and reexamine your analysis to find what the problem really is, and then you pick an ideological solution that doesn’t fit the facts, either the real facts or the false things you call facts.

        • TFRX

          Ooh, looks like we got us a “necroconservative” on board: Someone who’ll dig up a corpse and baptise it as “conservative”.

      • TFRX

        But Nixon’s manner of doing things would have him aboard the wingnut welfare gravy train, were he alive today, I submit.

    • brettearle

      In other words, Christie’s the next President.

    • J__o__h__n

      Unless the moderate Republicans start voting in primaries in districts gerrymandered to make the general election almost irrelevant, the moderates won’t have much influence.

  • LinRP

    Of course the Republican party will be back. Even though I doubt I would ever vote that way, a stronger, more sensible party is essential for the good of the country.

    What I fear, however, is that the Republican party will be repackaged and rebuilt on slick messaging that simply obfuscates its deep-seeded extremism.

  • John_in_Amherst

    The “soul of the GOP”? It appears to be an admixture of a martial bent and isolationism, of Judeo-Christian judgmental moralism devoid of charity and compassion, of an impulsive free-marketeering stripped of competition by monopolies, of passionate constitutional fundamentalism rendered meaningless by the Machiavellian machinations of its own wealthy benefactors and strategists. In short, it is hard to see how the party can contain the disparate factions that now seek to dominate it. And the Democrats are nearly as schizophrenic, and even less well organized. The political process is being reduced to a charade that serves the interests of the highest bidders, abetted by most of the media and permitted by a majority of a public that demands distraction and is almost willfully ignorant.

    The “soul” of any party reflects the souls of its members, and the state of our politics is a sad testament to the spiritual confusion and impoverishment that is the plague of the age.

    • Labropotes

      Great comment! I wish there were slightly less vitriol directed at the right foot of our stumbling empire, but I love to see the outlines of a shared sense of our national problems, a seeming convergence of left and right. It’s factionalism and unenlightened self interest. Right on, John.

      • Don_B1

        There is a different motivation behind the actions of both parties that you perceive as stumbling:

        1) The Tea Party, through past (as late as 2010 elections) gerrymandering of voting districts, and threats to “primary” any Republican legislator showing any sign of moderation, has been able to effectively stymie any efforts to stimulate the economy to make up for the loss of aggregate demand since the Great Recession (Dec, 2007 – June, 2009) and financial crisis (Fall, 2008), which has left the country stumbling in a jobs recession.

        2) The Democrats in office have never tried to show that Keynesian economics was developed to explain economies that have had a severe recession, particularly a balance sheet recession where the private sector has over-leveraged debt to the point that when the economy goes sour, there is so much debt to be paid back that a significant portion of the total economy cannot purchase goods and services at the previous rate, thus causing job loss and a downward spiraling economy. The government is the only institution that can, for the short term, provide that aggregate demand by purchasing infrastructure and unemployment compensation and food stamps until enough jobs are built in the private sector to maintain economic growth.

        The Republicans are marching in lockstep toward an austerity economy which will further enrich the already wealthy while the Democrats are unable to sell ice in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Part of the reason for the Democrats’ failure is that the public is ignorant of macroeconomics and is too easily sold on the debt being the most important problem when a sufficient number of jobs will both make the economy boom and reduce the deficit as well as improve the lives of all workers.

        • Labropotes

          Don, I used to believe that QE in its various forms was the cure. Given our recent experiments with it, I’m not so sure anymore. It’s starting to look like more Ayn Randian BS where the rich and connected direct the capital at the superhero superior ones because, naturally, they will know best how to deploy it to everyone’s advantage. It’s not working.

          • Don_B1

            Even the supporters of QE acknowledge that it is a weak tool in this environment, but the Fed can no longer gain traction in stimulating the economy with the discount rate because nominal interests rate are for practical purposes at zero, the zero lower bound, and it cannot drive real interest rates down further without creating stronger inflation (and many economists are recommending just that) — the real rate is the nominal rate minus the rate of inflation.

            But if Congress was not captured by the Tea/Republicans obsessively bent on austerity, there almost certainly would have been an infrastructure repair, rebuild and new work or even just additional help to the states to rehire teachers and some first responders.

            The federal government certainly needs to spend a lot of money developing and installing sustainable sources of energy and reworking current buildings to make them more energy efficient.

            This could make the country more productive and guarantee its economic preeminence for generations.

          • Don_B1

            The radical right Tea/Republicans see attacking QE as part of their war on the Federal Reserve, while you do not see the big banks defending it with any real passion, which they do when fighting for things that affect their bottom line, like their efforts to limit the power of Dodd-Frank, which will limit their in-house trading.

    • sickofthechit

      They aren’t just schizophrenic, they are Schizophrenic Hypocrites! charles a. bowsher

      • John_in_Amherst

        except for a dwindling number of outliers, “politician” is becoming a subset of “hypocrite”

    • Bruce94

      Great post, but didn’t you get the memo. After Obama was elected in 2008, the GOP immediately made a pact with the Devil and sold its soul not for eternal youth or unlimited knowledge, but rather for power and wealth. The role of Faust is fulfilled by the GOP leadership including Boehner and McConnell. Mephistopheles is played by characters like Michael Needham whose organizations are contributing to and profiting from some of the worst instincts and most toxic influences that you can now find in our political landscape.

  • JGC

    From the Heritage Action site, what they will do after they repeal the ACA: “Encourage employers to provide a portable health benefit to their employees.” Now, how exactly does that work: employers providing a health benefit to their ex-employees who have left for another job?

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Not real likely. My former LARGE COMPANY employer allows me to buy insurance through their “group” as a retiree. It is so totally unaffordable as to be a joke. The ACA and exchanges are the only solution at this time. What we need is SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE!

      Why? Because EVERYONE would be in the SAME massive pool and spread the “support” by healthier people to those currently needing more care. Healthier TODAY. They will, at some time be the “unhealthier person”. No charging the single family a high rate to subsidize the low rate the insurance companies charge the “big pool” customers. Medical care providers charging the actual cost of care to EVERYONE rather than expecting the uninsured or “non pool clout” people to pay more than the true cost to subsidize the “big pool” insured.

    • hennorama

      JGC — short answer: it doesn’t.

    • Don_B1

      The portable health benefit will be like giving workers money to buy a health care policy in an exchange so that they can maintain it no matter if they change jobs.

      That is what Rep. Paul Ryan has proposed for Medicare beneficiaries.

      • sickofthechit

        Nobody seems to recognize the inherent cruelty in Ryan’s proposed Medicare “Voucher” Plan. What of the elderly person who is suffering early dementia and makes an unfortunate choice in coverage, or forgets to sign up? Are we really willing to say, “Tough luck!”? Count me out. The other hidden cruelty is that Ryan’s Plan will set a certain level of value for the voucher which will be indexed for general inflation, but for anybody who has been watching the trends, Medical inflation has doubled, trebled and sometimes nearly quadrupled general inflation. What that means for the tens of millions of retired Americans living on a fixed income (think Social Security) is less food on the table, less heat from the furnace, less chance of an existence that resembles a life they deserve.
        Either Paul Ryan is aware of this and doesn’t care or he is so clueless as to be dangerous. charles a. bowsher

    • NewtonWhale

      I have no idea where to look for the “soul” of the GOP, but I know exactly where to find its lizard brain: as far to the right as possible from so-called “moderates” like Chris Christie.

      Iowa Republicans give Christie worst net favorable rating in 2016 field

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/17/1263158/-Iowa-Republicans-give-Christie-worst-net-favorable-rating-in-2016-field

  • Leonard Bast

    The soul of the GOP went to heaven with Eisenhower and hasn’t been seen since.

    • Don_B1

      EXACTLY!

      After Barry Goldwater’s devastating loss in 1964, his supporters gathered together and started focus-group testing slogans that would sell the American public a bill of goods that would mean they would support conservative issue position and lose their rights to work for a decent wage and get a good education at a reasonable cost.

      And the move to an effective plutocracy is almost complete. That is one reason why the Republicans are so adamant about destroying the PPACA before it is recognized as the way to provide a measure of health security for the general public.

  • NewtonWhale

    Key, kids! Want to see how radical the GOP has become since Ike was Pres?

    His brother Edgar was a right winger, who wrote to Ike complaining about an activist Supreme Court, an overly intrusive Federal Government, and Social Security. He accused Ike of being no different from Harry Truman.

    Read what Ike wrote to his brother Edgar in 1954:

    “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

    http://research.archives.gov/description/186596

    Read the whole letter. Then try to imagine Ike winning the GOP nomination today.

    Unpossible.

    • adks12020

      That was a really interesting read. Thanks.

    • pete18

      Times change for everyone:

      “The final and best means of strengthening
      demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrents to private initiative which are imposed by our
      present tax system; and this administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes to be enacted and become effective in 1963.

      I am not talking about a “quickie” or a temporary tax cut, which would be more appropriate if a recession were imminent. Nor am I talking about giving
      the economy a mere shot in the arm, to ease some temporary complaint. I am talking about the accumulated evidence of the last 5 years that our
      present tax system, developed as it was, in good part, during World War II to restrain growth, exerts too heavy a drag on growth in peace time; that it siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal
      and business purchasing power; that it reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking.

      In short, to increase demand and lift the economy, the Federal Government’s most useful role is not to rush into a program of excessive increases in public expenditures, but to expand the incentives and opportunities for private expenditures.

      Corporate tax rates must also be cut to increase incentives and the availability of investment capital. The Government has already taken major steps this year to reduce business tax liability and to stimulate the modernization, replacement, and expansion of our
      productive plant and equipment. We have done this through the 1962 investment tax credit and through the liberalization of depreciation allowances–two essential parts of our first step in tax revision which
      amounted to a 10 percent reduction in corporate income taxes worth $2.5 billion. Now we need to increase consumer demand to make these measures
      fully effective–demand which will make more use of existing capacity and thus increase both profits and the incentive to invest. In fact, profits after taxes would be at least 15 percent higher today if we were
      operating at full employment.

      For all these reasons, next year’s
      tax bill should reduce personal as well as corporate income taxes, for those in the lower brackets, who are certain to spend their additional
      take-home pay, and for those in the middle and upper brackets, who can thereby be encouraged to undertake additional efforts and enabled to
      invest more capital.”

      -John F Kennedy Speech to the Economic Club of New York. December 14, 1962

      • Don_B1

        President Kennedy proposed his marginal tax reductions when the top marginal rate was 90%!

        At that level, a reduction would provide more revenue for the government, but it would NOT do that when the top rate is below 30%; actually Piketty and Saez have shown that the top marginal rate could likely go slightly above 70% and still leave the economy growing strongly.

        The “Laffer Curve” looks like one of the “Arches” of McDonald’s, with the two rates I point out being on opposite sides of the peak. moving left horizontally moves the point to the right of the peak up while it moves the point on the left of the peak down.

        You can think you can hornswoggle the public again, but there is that cliché, “You can fool some of the public all the time, you can fool all the public some of the time, but you can never fool all the public all the time.” And the balance point is moving against fooling much of the public this time.

        • Bruce94

          Yes. Even according to their own (now almost universally debunked) theory, cutting the marginal rate past a certain point is counterproductive, that is, reduces fed. revenues and threatens not only the social safety-net, but also public investments in education, training, research and infrastructure required to grow the economy and enlarge the middle-class. Some time ago, supply-side tax-cutting policy ceased being an extension of a credible economic doctrine and became a smokescreen for “starving the beast,” in other words, a PR tool in the hands of political hacks trying to peddle the right-wing free lunch–a cost free, painless path to prosperity. We now know what its application under Reagan resulted in: quadrupling of the national debt and draconian cuts in non-military discretionary spending.

          • pete18

            The debt went up under Reagan due to spending not the lack of tax receipts. It had nothing to do with his tax policies, federal revenues went up after his tax cuts.

          • Don_B1

            A huge part of President Reagan’s spending was on the military, where most of the initiatives explored by the Carter administration were fully funded.

            The first budget action in President Reagan’s administration were tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, as well documented by David Stockman.

            The “not the lack of tax receipts” is only true in your mind’s judgement, which is warped by a desire to lower the taxes of the wealthy whether it helps the country on not, and empirical evidence shows that it does not.

          • pete18

            Tax receipts went up after Reagan’s tax cuts, but so did spending, which is what caused the deficit. Both are easily documented, It’s pretty simple math. You can certainly critique Reagan’s spending, but you can’t critique the tax cuts as being a cause of the deficit.

            The rich pay MORE of the tax burden after both the Regan and Bush tax cuts than the did before under the higher rates. If you’d like them to pay less then RAISE the rates again, which will encourage people to shelter money and take it out of the economy.

      • NewtonWhale

        As JFK said, he wanted to “reduce the burden on private income and the deterrents to private initiative which are imposed by our PRESENT tax system”.

        I’m sure you know that the marginal tax rate at the time was 91%, and JFK cut it to 70%. JFK favored tax rates double that of today.

        Moreover, it was done to stimulate demand, and was not a “supply side” solution:

        http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history_lesson/2004/01/tax_cuts_in_camelot.html

        So why did you neglect to mention what the tax rate was before JFK cut it?

        • pete18

          JFK wasn’t arguing for a specific rate as the end point, his arguments applied just as much to the 70% rate, which democrats decried when Reagan tried to cut it, as it did the 90% one, What has changed for democrats over the years, as is displayed by Kennedy’s arguments, is what is best role is for the Feds to play during a recession, “The Federal Government’s most useful role is not to rush into a program
          of excessive increases in public expenditures, but to expand the
          incentives and opportunities for private expenditures.” This was true in the early 80s, the early 2000s and when Obama took office. JFK was not a tax and spend democrat and would not have been able to get elected by today’s democratic party.

          My only point is that both parties have changed over time and one shouldn’t find some sort of moral and political smugness in trying to contrast today’s Republicans to Eisenhower, while trying to ignore the other tax-cutting, anti-communist Cold War President on the Democratic side.

          • NewtonWhale

            You cannot seriously contend that the Democratic party of today has moved as far from its principles as Republicans in the last 50 years.

            The biggest change has been that the Dixiecrats left the D’s and joined the R’s. They were a minority in the Democratic party, but are the heart and soul of today’s GOP.

            That’s George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door blocking two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama. The tall man staring him down was Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach,sent by Robert F. Kennedy to ensure the civil rights of those students.

            In June 1963 JFK proposed what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After JFK was assassinated, LBJ signed it into law, and said “We have lost the South for a generation”

            Congratulations, GOP. Wallace and his racist cohorts are all yours.

          • pete18

            Ah yes, the race card, when all else fails I guess. This is a silly game you play. Both parties have changed enormously over the years. It all depends where you’d like to start the clock. The Republicans are very different now in certain respects as compared to Nixon or Eisenhower but are actually pretty close to Coolidge in terms of much of their domestic policies. The Democrats are light years away from JFK in both domestic and foreign policy but but very close to Carter and Johnson on stateside stuff. So what? Parties changing is obviously not always a bad thing, so why is this some sort of critique? A much better thing to discuss is what you’re for or against rather than trying to castigate the party that you don’t like by measuring them against some arbitrary moment in time that you’ve anointed as their Guilded Age. You probably would have voted for Stevenson anyways.

          • NewtonWhale

            Fascinating that simply quoting Republicans back to themselves always brings the accusation that we’re “playing the race card”.

            Want to hear how Republicans have been playing the race card for decades? Let Reagan adviser Lee Atwater explain it all for you:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_8E3ENrKrQ

          • pete18

            The only person you had quoted up to this point was LBJ. So then according to you, JFK must have been courting racists votes when he was proposing tax cuts, since that isn’t a policy that can be held by it’s own merits, it’s just a code for winning the Klan vote in the south.

            I’m curious, given that blacks are doing economically worse under Obama’s policies than under Bush’s, does that make the democratic party under Barack Obama a racist party? I just want to make sure I’m using consistent measuring sticks when trying to figure this stuff out.

          • NewtonWhale

            Because everyone knows that Republicans have passed all of Obama’s every economic proposals.

            Moron.

            “The dinner lasted nearly four hours. They parted company almost giddily. The Republicans had agreed on a way forward:

            Show united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies. (Eight days later, Minority Whip Cantor would hold the House Republicans to a unanimous No against Obama’s economic stimulus plan.)

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/robert-draper-anti-obama-campaign_n_1452899.html

          • pete18

            First the race card, then the ad-hominem attack. there’s a man who is confident in his position.

            Despite heroic attempts by the Republicans to block his horrible policy ideas, President Obama passed everything he wanted in his first two years in office. The economy is his. He owns it. So please answer my question, is he a racist because under his Presidency (which like all other administrations, faces an opposition party that will not provide a blank check for a President’s wish list of policy demands) blacks are doing far worse economically than whites than under George W Bush?

            I’m just trying to get a handle on your measures for what defines a racist political party.

          • NewtonWhale

            Not only am I confident in my positions (which I substantiate with actual sources) I am also confident that you are son invested in your ideological fantasy that you wouldn’t know reality if a 6’2″ black Republican Secretary of State shoved it in your face.

            Oh, wait. I happen to have one right here:

            “Former Secretary Of State Colin Powell delivered some harsh words for the GOP as a whole on Sunday.

            In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Powell noted that there is a “dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party.”

            “What do I mean by that?,” he explained. “What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.”

            Powell specifically pointed to October 2012 comments by former Alaska Gov. and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin on the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

            “When I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shuckin’ and jivin’ — that’s a racial-era slave term,” Powell said, referring to Palin’s words on Obama’s response.

            Powell added that Republicans had become too preoccupied with the candidate-selection process, losing sight of the group’s overall message.

            “You’ve got to think first about what’s the party actually going to represent,” Powell said. “If it’s just going to represent the far right wing of the political spectrum, I think the party is in difficulty. I’m a moderate, but I’m still a Republican.”

            Top Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu turned heads after the announcement, suggesting that Powell’s Obama endorsement was motivated by race. That statement prompted former Powell Chief Of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson to make Republican-Party comments similar in nature to Powell’s Sunday remarks.

            “My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people — not all of them, but most of them — who are still basing their positions on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/13/colin-powell-gop_n_2467768.html

          • Bruce94

            Yep. There’s Colin Powell once again playing the race card according to Pete18 and his ilk. If that does indeed qualify as playing the race card, then all I have to say is “well played” by both you and Colin.

          • pete18

            Why do you refuse to answer my question?

          • NewtonWhale

            I already have: Republican obstruction.

            The one stimulus bill passed in early 2009 was too small, in order to satisfy the few Republicans who voted for it (Snowe, Collins, Specter).

            Since then Republicans have fought every attempt to create jobs, have cut spending, and threatened to shut down the government if Bush’s tax cuts were not made permanent. Then, they finally did shut down the government, costing us a quarter point in GDP and $24 Billion.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/opinion/krugman-this-republican-economy.html

            http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Business/story?id=6870873

          • pete18

            It is a deluded fantasy to believe that more of a bad policy would bring you better results, you should be thanking the Republicans for preventing things that would have undercut the economy even more. The Republicans had plenty of good ideas to improve the economy that were completely ignored or vilified by the President. Compromise is a two way street. I’m not sure why you think the President gets some sort of pass that no other President in history has received, to not be judged by what he does in office, which not only includes his policies but his ability to compromise, lead and foster public opinion to get things done.

          • Bruce94

            Be prepared for the “race card” retort. They always employ the “race card” retort when their own words or the strategems of their favorite fear mongers are played back. I think Lee Atwater ranks right up there with Grover Norquist (author of the ridiculous No Tax Pledge) as one of the most toxic voices in the conservative movement whose obsession with tax relief for the wealthy, deregulation for the real estate & financial markets, and globalization for the corporate elite put us on a disastrous path that led directly to the Great Recession in 2008 and the economic stagnation of today.

  • alsordi

    The two party system is a scam. This very discussion proves that its time for a multiple party system in the US with real representation instead of this kabooki circus of compromised clowns.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Apparently there is now that 3rd party – the tea party. They jumped on the Republican wagon because as a party unto themselves, they would not hold nearly as many seats as they have now. The moderate Republicans wouldn’t be rushing to the “right” to gain “conservative” votes in their contested primaries.

      OK tea party candidates, if you think you REALLY represent the MAJORITY of your voting district, run as third party candidates, not in the Republican primaries, then we will see how much support you REALLY have.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Which party’s policies are most likely to avert the impending debt crisis — Democrat, establishment Republican, or TP Republican?

    There is only one answer and it isn’t a close call.

    • RolloMartins

      There is no debt crisis.

      • Labropotes

        Why do we collect taxes? Why not just monetize and borrow the cost of government? We ought to if debt doesn’t matter. If it does matter, at what point does it, in your view?

        • Demythify

          The “debt” never matters.

          “Deficits” can matter (deficits represent current spending, not accumulated past spending). Deficits matter when the economy is already running at maximum. In other words, when everyone who wants to work is already working, and everything consumers desire is already being produced, and there’s no productive capacity to put the additional spending to new use.

          Taxes, just like Fed interest rate targets and interest on T-bills, help regulate the money supply. They are also crucial to ensure there’s always healthy demand for the dollar. Taxes are not necessary to pay any of the government’s bills; and since the US abandoned the gold standard, it can be clearly shown how the US’s total debt equals the rest of the world’s total dollar savings. If we want a private economy with the ability to save and invest, we have to understand this. US government $US debt = World’s $US savings.

    • TFRX

      “Democrat”.

      That phrasing is so cute.

      • keltcrusader

        and he forgot the “t’ in RepublicanT – go figure?

    • Demythify

      There is no “impending debt crisis”.

      We have an economic crisis. We have an impending environmental crisis. We have a growing poverty and wealth-gap crisis. And all of them are being cynically exacerbated by all the scaremongering over this mythical “debt crisis”.

      Besides which, none of them, not establishment Democrats, Republicans nor TP Republicans are addressing the real crises very well because the mob hysteria over this mythical debt crisis has made cowards of them all.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    The recent grand-bargain lauded by the liberal media as progress trades $65B in immediate spending increases for $27B of cuts over 10 years — all while increasing the debt $7.3T over the next 10 years (source ABC news). This on top of the $17.3T in current debt.

    Since the duration on the debt is quite low and the Fed has $trillions in QE to unwind the interest rate risk is quite high. The interest on the debt will soon be the larger than military expenditures.

    • Labropotes

      The average maturity of federal debt is 5.3 years. This number has been growing — same as you’d lock in your mortgage’s rate when you know rates are only going up. The spot rate for this maturity is about 2% higher today than 5 years ago. So in 2013 the US has had to renew 20% of its debt at, at least, 2% higher interest rates (not accounting for the fact that we’ve moved up the yield curve also). That is $69bb in additional interest per year on just a fifth of our debt. Once all our debt has been refinanced, it’ll be about 5 times that, or $345bb annual increase. And we are at historically low interest rates, now too.

      • Demythify

        Wrong. That’s just wrong.

        Interest rates paid on the debt in 2000 were more than 3 times higher than they are today, 2013.

        Besides, the govt can rollover 100% of its debt with T-bills if it so chooses, and can set that interest rate where it so chooses.

        The chief downside to these low interest rates is that they punish our most cautious, risk adverse savers, such as households and businesses storing $ for future pensions and retired investors who pay a steep premium for safety.

  • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

    Song Parody From Barsoom Tork Associates …

    Title: Losing My Tea Party
    Artist: John Boehner
    Composer: Peter Buck and Barsoom Tork Associates
    YouTube: Losing My Religion (R.E.M.)

    Oh drat, it’s foolish
    It’s foolish now to be
    The Speaker of the Tea
    The lengths that I will go to
    The insistence in my guile
    Oh no, I’ve gone too far
    I’ve gone too far

    That’s me in the corner
    That’s me in the spotlight
    Losing my Tea Party
    Trying to keep up my appearance
    And I don’t know if I can do it
    Oh no, I’ve lied too much
    I haven’t cried enough

    I thought that I heard them laughing
    I thought that I felt the sting
    I think I heard old Bob Dole sigh

    Every whisper
    Of every waking hour
    I’m choosing my obsessions
    Trying to keep an air of cool
    Like a hurt, lost and blinded fool, fool
    Oh no, I’ve gone too far
    I’ve gone too far

    Consider this
    Consider this, the crippled Democracy
    Consider this, the slip
    That brought me to my knees, failed
    What if all these crises come
    Flailing around
    Now I’ve lied too much

    I thought that I heard them laughing
    I thought that I felt the sting
    I think I heard old Bob Dole sigh

    But that was just a scream
    That was just a scream

    That’s me in the corner
    That’s me in the spotlight
    Losing my Tea Party
    Trying to keep up my appearance
    And I don’t know if I can do it
    Oh no, I’ve lied too much
    I haven’t cried enough

    I thought that I heard them laughing
    I thought that I felt the sting
    I think I heard old Bob Dole sigh

    But that was just a scream
    Try, cry, why try
    That was just a scream
    Just a scream
    Just a scream, scream

    CopyClef 2013 Peter Buck and Barsoom Tork Associates.
    North American Bupkis. All songs abused.

    “At North American Bupkis, we solemnly swear we are up to no good.”

  • Michiganjf

    Ronald Reagan???!!!

    Ronald Reagan would be tossed out on his ear by these far-right Tea Party fanatics!!!

    … for being a “socialist,” of course!

  • RolloMartins

    Needham (et al) is the reason I am no longer a Republican. They (tea partiers and GOP extremists) are nothing less than traitors to this country. And by the way…Reagan was the worst president in our history.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Are you against a balanced budget?

      • jefe68

        Large governments, like the US, do not really need to have balanced budgets. They do need to have sound fiscal policies. The one we have now, which reflects the Republican party, which heavily leans towards austerity is not one of them.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          The danger threshold for the IMF and other international banking organizations for debt/GDP is 90%. We are now over 100%. The US has a little more leeway because it has the reserve currency but that will not remain forever.

          • jefe68

            Do a little research. We had more than that after WW2.

            Also you failed to mention this: U.S. debt now about 73% of GDP, CBO says

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Oh, you want to hide the SS trust fund?

            That means you want to blow up future benefits too. You can’t have it both ways.

            http://usdebtclock.org/

            Also, we were growing faster than China after WWII. What are the prospects of that now?

          • dale_dale

            Update your talking point. The research paper the scary 90% figure is based on fell apart to great fanfare this year. Due to, among other flaws, simple excel spreadsheet errors.

            http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9e5107f8-a75c-11e2-9fbe-00144feabdc0.html

            Although given the “over 100%” nonsense I guess you’re not really here to debate, as such.

          • jefe68

            He don’t want no stinken debate…

          • jefe68

            I say, I say that’s a joke son…

          • Labropotes

            CBO projects 2013 US GDP to be 15.7 trillion and current US Federal debt to be 17.4 trillion at year end 2013. The debt to GDP ratio implied is 111%

            The spsh error did not change the overall implications of the paper, nor did the authors make 90% the pivotal number. Utopians ran with the “discredited study” idea because they didn’t like its rather obvious conclusion.

          • Demythify

            Given the size of institutional debt (meaning the federal government as the bond holder of its own debt), the real debt to GDP is more like 73%. The CBO projections from just a few months ago project 100% debt/GDP ratio maybe 25 years from today–not now!

            And of course the errors in that paper altered the overall implications. The authors were only able to demonstrate a very slight GDP contraction with debts over 90%, at *best*. And because it conflated countries with debts due in exogenously pegged currencies with countries with debts in their own sovereign, floating fiat currencies, the study illegitimately conflates outcomes from non-comparable economies in their data set.

          • Demythify

            Debunked; there is no 90% threshold. No truth to it whatsoever.

            Besides, the debt is not over 100%. It’s about 73%. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-debt-now-about-73-of-gdp-cbo-says-2013-09-17-1091240

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        The last two balanced budgets were Clinton and Carter.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          So?

          The question remains.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            The biggest deficits *by far* have all been under Reagan, Bush, and Bush Jr.

            Republicans wouldn’t know a balanced budget if it bit ‘em in the … finger.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Huh?

            Obama debt will exceed all debt run up by all prior presidents combined. Check your facts.

          • OnPointComments

            The typical liberal defense of Obama’s debt and deficit goes something like this: “Yeah, but if you take Obama’s debt and deficit, then subtract this, don’t count that, add this back in, and look at it as a percentage instead of dollars, then it’s not the biggest.”

          • pete18

            Obama is a helpless waif, forced to lie and make bad decisions by the republicans, George Bush, public opinion, bad advisers, the hot weather, the Koch Brothers, Fox News and ATMs. When will his acolytes hold him responsible for ANY of his actions?

        • RolloMartins

          And Clinton’s was a huge mistake, leading to a net outflow of monies from the private sector. Hence the next recession. It was stupid, and it still is stupid.

        • Enuff_of_this

          Actually it was Clinton and a republican dominated congress in 1998. The government had run a deficit every year from 1970 to 1997

      • RolloMartins

        Yes. Anyone who understands macroeconomics would be against a balanced budget. The federal gov’t ain’t a household.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          So Keynes was wrong and didn’t understand economics?
          He said deficit spending only during a down cycle and then build up surpluses during good times.

          • RolloMartins

            Yes, Keynes was wrong…slightly. It is necessary to deficit spend if there is a net outflow of money due to foreign trade (this is now aprox 3.5%). We would need to deficit spend at least 3.5% to remain even. With the amount of infrastructure needs we have, the number of unemployed, and the rest of it, we could probably spend trillions more without any prospect of inflation. But do we do this? No; because we have too many people believing the crap the GOP is putting out there about the horrors of our grandchildren paying our bills. It is all bogus.

          • Labropotes

            The logical implication is that we should off-shore more jobs, as many as possible, and borrow the money to build our utopia. Let’s get started!

          • Demythify

            Nobody’s “borrowing” the money for the debt.

            Saying that the US has to “borrow” the money is like saying the Fed has to “borrow” money from banks to put money in the bank’s reserve accounts. The Fed and US treasury don’t have to “borrow” $. They are the ultimate source of $~. The Treasury spends money into existence. The Fed “lends” it into existence. And both of them print or mint paper money and coin into existence.

    • J__o__h__n

      George W Bush was worse.

      • sickofthechit

        Tough decision to make if you ask me. You’re probably right though.

  • Gerry Schlenker

    Michael Needham is not only kidding himself, he is a joke. He would not have voted for Ronald Reagan. Reagan would have been too liberal for him.

  • d clark

    Please, Oh Lord in this festive season of gifts and giving, allow the Republicans to bevomr exclusively Mr. Needham. and Mr. Cruz and Ms. Bachmann. Oh please, oh please, oh please!

  • TFRX

    Can we get a liberal on this panel?

    Can we get an economist to fact check everything these guests claim?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      The interviewer is liberal.

      • TFRX

        Hahahahaha.

    • hennorama

      Are there any liberal Republicans?

      • TFRX

        I don’t know.

        There’s just something screwed up about NPR’s need to have Beltway Inbreds on, the “serious people”.

        Putting a Jake Tapper on this panel would advance it leftwards. Imagine how warped that makes this panel.

        I remember an NPR ombud saying “There’s always a reason to have more Republicans on NPR”.

        The GOP will always be determined as one of the following: In power. In the news. Gearing up for regaining power.

        Ergo, a figleaf for Republicans on NPR. It’s “newsishsworthy”.

        • hennorama

          TFRX — that some are dissatisfied with the guests on virtually every show might mean that the mix is a good one.

          However, your point is well-taken.

          • TFRX

            Henno, you are a fair observer, but I would like to contend that we’ve long passed the “umpire’s test”, which goes “both teams are displeased, so I must be doing it accurately and fairly”.

            Cos nobody raises a scheisstorm about “being ignored by the media” like the wingnut welfare industry. All they can do is protest on Fox News, the WSJ Editorial Page, Rush Limbaugh, the Drudge Report, Sean Hannity, Howie Carr, Michael “Savage” Weiner…

            There’s never enough representation for them. They’ve dragged the goalposts rightward to a faretheewell. Can you imagine the 60 Minutes Benghazi resume stain 25 years ago? (Don’t know your age, but I’ll admit to being old enough.)

            And nobody thinks that storm is news like Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams, and CNN.

          • hennorama

            TFRX — but you forget — Fox News is not part of “the media” as defined by them and those they shill for.

          • TFRX

            I’ll go with Stewart’s Fox News slogan:

            “We report, but you really should check that out with someone else.”

          • hennorama

            TFRX — I have my own:

            “We retort, you deride.”

          • pete18

            So which news networks do you find “objective?”

          • pete18

            It’s amazing how hard a question that is for you to answer.

      • jefe68

        Are there unicorns?

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — perhaps apropos to the RINO discussion?:

          • jefe68

            Touche…

    • J__o__h__n

      I don’t mind the lack of a liberal when the subject is the Republican party’s internal debate. The fact checker would be good though.

  • sickofthechit

    Free Enterprise = “Privatize” to “Profitize”
    Free Enterprise = No EPA and Rivers on Fire and Poisoned Air
    Free Enterprise = Survival of the “fittest” (to hell with the weak)
    charles a. bowsher

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    I say we give the Tea Partiers and the GOP enough rope.

  • John_in_VT

    The GOP establishment wants this to go through because it sets up Paul Ryan’s (the anointed one) run for president in 2016. He’s been a consistent voice for fiscal responsibility and this will give him a big budget win. The Dem’s are willing to chance this in order to declare that bi-partisanship works and that they can deliver that.

    • RolloMartins

      Austerity is not fiscal responsibility. Austerity is good for the few, bad for the rest of us (and the country as a whole).

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Yep, I thought the same thing. He’s all “work with the other side to pass things we CAN agree on” ….. now. Not the same song during the last election.

    • Bruce94

      Ahem…if you look at Ryan’s voting record, I believe he supported nearly all of the deficit spending and debt ballooning priorities of W. Bush–a record indicative of a fiscal-conservative-in-name only and typical of the rank hypocrisy and considerable baggage that pols like Ryan bring to the table.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Mr. Needham, like John Boehner, needs to recognize a few things:
    1) Congress is supposed to represent ALL of the citizens of the USA, not just those who belong to or voted for whichever party holds the majority at any point in time.

    2) The tea party doesn’t represent half of ALL of the citizens of the USA.
    3) The tea party doesn’t even represent half of the majority party of the House or Senate. They should not be driving this bus into the chasm, though that seems to be what they want.

    It is about time Boehner got the cojones to tell them off. If the tea party wants to play, they need to work with everyone else in Congress to come up with something that the MAJORITY of the citizens of the USA agree with.

    This is a concept ALL members of Congress need to understand. The middle provides for the majority of US citizens, the “ends” do not.

  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

    Republicans made the decision to place their political desires and tactics ahead of governing the nation. Once a bill they oppose is passed they look for ways to sabotage it. The voters should be outraged. These tactics cost the country time, money and in many cases opportunity.

    Radicals have taken over my party. The GOP has gone from one with conservative principles seeking to do what is best for the nation to a party that is focused on winning elections at all cost, even if the cost is borne by the country and its citizens. They look at themselves as the ruling class. Their tactics extend beyond the issue they oppose. They oppose health care reform and in order to impose their will they block Presidential appointments for cabinet and judgeship positions. They also implement strategies to stall other unrelated legislation.

    I am a Republican and voted for the Republican running for President in every election starting in 1968 up to 2008 when I supported Barrack Obama and I voted for him again in 2012. I hope to be able to vote Republican in 2016. Presently I am upset with the GOP and things must change before I will give them my vote…. http://lstrn.us/1hUry5t

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Wait a second. I thought Romney was a moderate Republican.

      • J__o__h__n

        No, he last claimed to be a “severe conservative.” I don’t think he etchasketched away from that comment.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

        He was in MA, he wasn’t during the primaries, then the etch-a-sketch came out and he was again. Or so he claims.

      • jefe68

        He was when he was governor of Massachusetts.
        Then he tacked far right to win the nomination.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Yeah, but we keep hearing that he lost because he wasn’t conservative enough and that is why 3 Million GOP McCain voters stayed home. And Romney did better among independents than McCain (and Obama).

  • Michiganjf

    These idiots decided they would thwart anything Obama and bring government to a standstill LONG BEFORE they knew a single word of any future legislation, including the ACA (a Republican, conservative idea)!!!!!!

    These boneheads have no conviction whatsoever about “the good of the country!”

    They are simple-headed, ideological goons, and nothing more!

    • Angelique LaCour

      Indeed!

  • Chuck P

    Is your guest serious?? Politicians never have a clean debate, they have staged questions and always dance around the straight answer. There is not a politician in the federal government today that is a role model.

    • J__o__h__n

      Elizabeth Warren.

      • TFRX

        I contend that the Beltway non-pols (i.e. folks who don’t have to worry about their name being on the ballot anywhere) have been jerkle circking themselves rightwards and upwards for so long that they literally don’t know what to do with Warren.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Did you actually see her debate? It wasn’t pretty.

        • J__o__h__n

          Yes, she won the debates and the election.

      • OnPointComments

        Elizabeth Warren, the ultimate personification of the limousine liberal.

    • sickofthechit

      Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont

  • sickofthechit

    I disagree with that.

    The wealthy are not nearly “Taxed Enough Already!”
    Charles A. Bowsher

    • John_in_VT

      His point is that the middle class members of the TEA Party feel “Taxed Enough Already” and who doesn’t – regardless of income level. Most of its members are working class who feel their incomes are being siphoned off to support others as they are struggling to support their families. They know the D.C. deck is stacked against them and only this party has offered them a voice and power to change things. This is the truth regardless of whether you think the Kochs are or other sinister powers are behind it all.

      • Angelique LaCour

        There is no longer a middle class. Just the Very Rich and the Working Poor.

        • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

          Sometimes I think that that’s the plan.

        • BHA_in_Vermont

          And anyone who has a job, even if they don’t make enough to be above “poverty level” of income, pays 7.65% tax on their income for S.S. and Medicare. Something Mitt Romney pays into at a rate of ZERO dollars a year since he is not employed.

          If you make $20K from a JOB where you WORK you pay $1,530 in SS and Medicare tax. If you make $20M, all from investments while sitting on your butt all day, you pay nothing. Takers and makers??

  • MrNutso

    Yes, We think Warren is a hard liner and know one challanges her, therefore it’s okay for us to do it too.

  • J__o__h__n

    CEOs’ interests are really not represented in Washington because there was only one of them elected to the House?

  • William

    Steve is one of those old insider elites that has made such a mess of this country. Why can’t those old guys like him just go away?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      He’s making too much on K street.

  • OMA_OPINES

    More accurate names for groups championed by Mr. Needham are “Club for OUR Growth” , “Americans for OUR Prosperity” and the “Heritage of RICH WHITE MEN Foundation/ Action”. Selfish and entitled and willing to step over anyone at all to enrich themselves.

    • RolloMartins

      I cannot like this comment enough.

      • Angelique LaCour

        Ditto, Rollo!

    • John_in_VT

      What I say is that the members of these groups, and the TEA Party, love America. they just don’t particularly care for or about a vast swath of Americans.

      • MrNutso

        I love America. It’s Americans I can’t stand.

    • keltcrusader

      love this!

  • J__o__h__n

    Homogenized or not, like peanut butter the party is full of nuts.

  • Steve Ford

    the Tea party is really the Whiskey Rebellion. Their tantrum about paying taxs is a distraction from the real threats to our freedom like the NSA.

    • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

      A federal judge ruled yesterday that part of what the NSA is doing is unconstitutional!! No kidding.

  • Angelique LaCour

    As a lifelong Democrat who lives in a blue city in a very red state I am unfortunately “represented” by one of the nastiest of the Tea Party founders, Steve Scalise. Why? Because of gerrymandering. Until the Feds take over drawing the lines for Congressional House Districts the HOR will continue to be held hostage by Scalise and his ilk. It’s outrageous!

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Right, we need “one man, one vote”. Have everyone run state wide and if your state has 3 reps in the House, the top 3 vote getters win. That is how our county works for state senators, each county is a voting district.

      Works as long as no one figures out how to gerrymander the state boundaries which I think would be pretty difficult. ;)

      • J__o__h__n

        I don’t have a problem with having local representation and I think state-wide representation would take the rep further away from the voters. There should be neutral criteria for district drawing to make it nonpartisan.

        • BHA_in_Vermont

          I’d go for that. :) Remove ALL politicians from the district drawing groups. Make the districts run along intelligent boundaries like roads, city or county lines or whatever, regardless of the political affiliation of ANYONE and EVERYONE in the areas.

        • hennorama

          Gerrymandering can be solved.

          Look at California, which has both the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, and a Top 2 primary system. Now 14 people – nearly all non-politicians (currently 5 Dem, 5 Rep, 4 Decline To State) – draw the district boundaries. This is one way to avoid the entrenchment of incumbents and may lead to more moderates being elected, and fewer political extremists.

          The Top 2 primary system is where the top two vote-getters for each office in the primaries then go on to the general election, regardless of their party preference and affiliation. This may result in more moderate candidates, since they will need to appeal to voters of both major parties, as well as independents.

          See:
          http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/faq.html (CA Citizens Redistricting Commission)

          http://myvoteourfuture.org/voter-registration/resources/californias-top-two-primary/#top_2 (CA Top Two Primary system)

          • TFRX

            And that’s in California. Doesn’t it have supermajority of Dems?

            I don’t want to say “Let’s hold our breath for Texas to do this”, but…

          • hennorama

            TFRX — yes, there are thin Democratic legislative supermajorities in CA.

            The point of my post is that it is possible to remove the influence of gerrymandering. The trick is to get politics out of drawing the lines, which is FAR easier said than done.

        • OnPointComments

          How long would we have “one man, one vote” in state wide elections if it resulted in no minority majority districts? Without minority majority districts, Hank Johnson might be forced into retirement and move to Guam, putting the island in even greater danger of tipping over. The DOJ would swoop down with its spurious “disparate impact” theory in a heartbeat if there weren’t minority majority districts.

          • J__o__h__n

            I think the Roberts Court would not find that to be a problem. How many of the minority majority districts are actually minority super majority districts gerrymandered by Republicans to put all the minorities in one district to make all the others overwhelmingly white and none of them competitive?

  • William

    The GOP elites never liked the Conservative wing of the Republican Party and just want their votes and money but not choice for political office.

    • jefe68

      Such as John Birch Society types like Barry Goldwater. Well you can side yourself with extremist and win over a lot of white folks, but that’s not going to work in the next decade and beyond.

      • William

        You can side up to the radicals like Pelosi, Reid and Obama but they will fail just like all other Socialist/Progressive and Communists have done so in the past.

        • jefe68

          Oy vey. You better head for the hills then.

          • hennorama

            That or the fallout shelter.

          • William

            Yikes!….the old stand and fight them is a bad way to go…for some people….

  • sickofthechit

    Maybe you all lose because you are wrong?

    • RolloMartins

      Oh, and gerrymandering has *nothing* to do with it. Sheesh.

  • RolloMartins

    The Sequester is the ruin of the country. Just when we need so spend heavily on the poor, the broken infrastructure, we cut back. This country –the richest in the world– could do great things. But these tea party people are ruining it.

  • Jake Richards-Hegnauer

    As the Senior administrator for a photography forum with approaching half a million members, we see s specific type of member that always looks for a fight, and defends their own position, ignoring others by claiming any opposing opinion as an “Ad Hominem Attack”

    This is a term used by Internet trolls, the lowest of the low, the most obstinate belligerent presence on the internet. I find it interesting to hear Needham use this term a number of times in the first 30 minutes of this show, using it to even dismiss the
    republican phone in callers message.

    The idea that this Tea Party honcho has the same sort of working mentality as the worst internet trolls makes perfect sense as to why the congress has been completely frozen with this never ending hostility and lack of compromise.

    Lastly, the Tea Party has NOTHING in common with Reagan.

  • jimino

    I will accept the tea party as a true proponent of smaller government when their candidates lead the way on what they say they want and call for drastic cuts of federal spending in their own districts. I say give their voters what they want and see how they like it.

    • John_in_VT

      Most of the ‘Tea Party Candidates’ are not believers they are opportunists who are using that energy to advance their own careers. Witness the candidates who couldn’t wait to get on the Congressional health plan. It’s not about the ideals for them it’s about getting ahead.

    • OnPointComments

      I will accept that liberals and Democrats are correct that defense spending should be cut when they lead the way and call for drastic cuts of defense spending in their own districts.

      • Labropotes

        So you aren’t willing to do what’s right — cut DoD spending — until “the other side” cuts theirs first?

        At Washington Square in NYC, there is a quote on the arch, “Let us raise a standard to which the brave and honest can repair. The event is in the hands of God.” Your standard is, “you first.” Not brave, not honest, friend.

        • OnPointComments

          My point is that there isn’t anyone in the Congress who has volunteered for the spending cuts to be in his/her district.

          • Labropotes

            But even now you say, “I will accept” that it’s “correct” to cut defense spending. Is it, or isn’t it? Congress isn’t going to change anything until we demand it. We at least need to know what we want.

          • jimino

            But shouldn’t the ones who define themselves almost entirely by claiming that as their goal be the ones who take the lead? And doesn’t the fact that they refuse to do so make it clear that is not their actual goal?

          • OnPointComments

            But shouldn’t the ones who rant and rant that defense spending is too high take the lead by saying cut defense spending my district? And doesn’t the fact that they refuse to do so make it clear that they really don’t believe what they are saying? Even if they ever did say it (which they never have), it wouldn’t reduce the deficit because Democrats always follow “cut this” with “and spend it here instead.”

          • Labropotes

            -100.

  • RolloMartins

    Oh, please. Look at what Reagan actually did: genocide in Guatemala, illegal war in Nicaragua, brokered with terrorists. A hero? A hero?????

    • William

      So did Obama. He went to war against Libya and now that country is in total chaos. Obama wanted to go to war in Syria. Obama backed the Muslim Brotherhood (long term terrorist group) in their take over of Egypt. Obama has killed thousands of civilians with his drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama has met with the Taliban (terrorist group) in Afghanistan.

      • J__o__h__n

        We largely stayed out of Libya – did you miss the Republican talking points about “leading from behind.” He twisted himself into a knot to avoid getting involved in Syria. He waited until the last minute to say that it was time for Mubarak to leave. The US is claiming that the (justified) coup to remove Morsi wasn’t a “coup.”

        • BHA_in_Vermont

          And he got slammed by a (very misguided, if not stupid, IMO) caller on Friday’s show for NOT jumping in and throwing weapons to everyone who is against Assad.

          I would guess, based on his voice, he is plenty old enough to know who supported the Mujahideen in their fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. And old enough to know that from them came the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. I think most of us would agree that worked out as well as all our other “the enemy of our enemy is our friend” foreign policy debacles.

        • William

          We should not have gone into Libya. What is next?Syria? Iran? We lived with Cuba being run by a Communist Tyrant Castro for 50 some years who cares about Libya. He did not attack Syria because his own party and the American people said enough. He back the MB in Egypt and tried to undercut the military once they tossed the MB out of power into jail where they belong.

          • BHA_in_Vermont

            Cuba’s total oil reserves wouldn’t last us a week. If we got all of Libya’s daily output, it would be 1/6th of our daily use at the current rate for 12 years.

            Not too hard to figure out our foreign policy in the middle east vs other areas in the world.

          • William

            The Libya policy is a good example of big oil calling the shots in the UK, EU and here.

  • rich4321

    Let the Republicans rot themselves to the core, lead to its own destruction! This way save us a lot of trouble.

    • Sy2502

      Do you know what a country with only one party is called? A dictatorship. You may not agree with the other party, but its existence is essential to democracy.

  • d clark

    Little coward Needham didn’t answer your question about sucking from the Koch teat, did he!

  • TFRX

    The geographical and cultural stuff LaTourette is saying (about 45min) reminds me of Howard Dean’s “50-state strategy” but based on his own party’s weak areas.

    It’s not that giving up on Massachusetts is bad in itself, but that many of the purple states are basically swinging around the suburbs. I submit that this can’t be surgically removed in a geographical sense: Things which will gain them more votes in the suburbs will do so in solid blue states as well as purple states.

    Why? I think the future of this country is basically in the suburbs, whether they are suburbs which are becoming more populous, or places which were the boonies when I was a kid and are suburbs now.

    (And I’m a non-disinterested observer.)

    PS I’ll take Meedham’s debt limit stuff seriously when the Tea Party grinds the govt to a halt while a Republican is in the White House.

    • John_in_VT

      I love your PS and we should all remember it.

    • jefe68

      You know all that talk will disappear into the ether of their mendacity.

  • TyroneJ

    Despite Mr. Needham’s claims, Ronald Reagan would be cast out of his group as many of Reagan’s positions are now what Heritage Action For America classifies as “liberal”.

  • Chicken lady

    OK, please ask Mr. Needham how he justifies the House voting 40X times to repeal the Affordable Care Act over several years – to the point that Congress was brought to its knees, unable to conduct much business for the nation. We all have heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. I have a long career working as an advocate so I understand fighting for a better solution; however, I don’t see anything but insanity being exhibited in the House (mostly) and the Senate (a bit less).

    History shows the Republican party did not start with Ronald Regan. Perhaps a little more life experience tempers peoples’ perspective (though maybe not, look at Ron Paul).

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Democrat talking points. Those 40 votes didn’t stop any other business.
      The GOP have offered several alternative plans but what is the mechanism to get them passed while the Obamacare debacle is in place? Most of the GOP plans have been crafted the medical doctors in congress.

      • Chicken lady

        I respectfully disagree that the recurring votes did not delay other business – just think about it. All the talk preceeding the votes, then the votes themselves. A topic with heated sentiments yields many officials who want to put their stamp on their vote via comments. I’ve watched several (3 or 4) of the comments and votes on CSpan. Can you be more specific – how many MD’s are in Congress (that would have been the designers of the BOP plans to which you refer)?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          There are about a dozen doctors in congress and all are against the ACA and support alternatives. Many are rallying around Dr. Tom Price’s plan.

          http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/12/12/special_report_panel_gop_rep_tom_price_on_obamacare_alternatives_budget.html

          The 2010 congress was a wave election to repeal Obamacare. The representatives are keeping a campaign promise to do everything in their power to kill it. They are simply representing their constituents.

          • jefe68

            In the 70′s a Republican president wrote a letter to Congress about health care.
            Here is an excerpt:

            For the average family, it is clear that without adequate insurance, even normal care can ‘be a financial burden while a catastrophic illness can mean catastrophic debt.
            Beyond the question of the prices of health care, our present system of health care insurance suffers from two major flaws :

            First, even though more Americans carry health insurance than ever before, the 25 million Americans who remain uninsured often need it the most and are most unlikely to obtain it. They include many who work in seasonal or transient occupations, high-risk cases, and those who are ineligible for Medicaid despite low incomes.

            Second, those Americans who do carry health insurance often lack coverage which is balanced, comprehensive and fully protective:

            –Forty percent of those who are insured are not covered for visits to physicians on an out-patient basis, a gap that creates powerful incentives toward high cost care in hospitals;
            –Few people have the option of selecting care through prepaid arrangements offered by Health Maintenance Organizations so the system at large does not benefit from the free choice and creative competition this would offer;
            –Very few private policies cover preventive services;
            –Most health plans do not contain built-in incentives to reduce waste and inefficiency. The extra costs of wasteful practices are passed on, of course, to consumers; and
            –Fewer than half of our citizens under 65–and almost none over 65–have major medical coverage which pays for the cost of catastrophic illness.

            These gaps in health protection can have tragic consequences. They can cause people to delay seeking medical attention until it is too late. Then a medical crisis ensues, followed by huge medical bills–or worse. Delays in treatment can end in death or lifelong disability.

            http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2009/september/03/nixon-proposal.aspx

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Gee must be a bummer that you guys forced Nixon out. A huge set back.

          • jefe68

            Sarcasm aside, I think you get my point.
            If not, well I have others.

            If you took the time to read the entire letter you would see that what Nixon was proposing for heath care is very much the same thing as the ACA.

          • jefe68

            Forced Nixon out? This is your take on what happened to Nixon. Interesting.

        • BHA_in_Vermont

          Right, like they were doing all the “kill ACA” stuff on “overtime” and accomplishing a lot in their “regular 40 hour work week”.

    • Sy2502

      I agree. The GOP should have simply given the ACA enough rope to hang itself, as it is already admirably doing.

  • homebuilding

    Thank you, Tom for allowing the spectre of Reagan Worship to be part of the discussion.

    Absolutely NOTHING could be more potent in turning the young AWAY from the G.O.P !

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Yeah, that 49 state landslide still burns.

      • Ray in VT

        Isn’t that sort of like a Canadiens fan bragging to a Bruins fan about how many times that they’ve hoisted Lord Stanley’s cup?

        • TFRX

          No, more like the Jets fan who can’t seem to keep rewatching Super Bowl III while waiting for Mark Sanchez to turn into vintage-era Joe Namath.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that that is a pretty decent sports analogy, and I do love me some sports analogies.

          • TFRX

            (Hey, it’d have been about the Red Sox before 2004.)

          • Ray in VT

            For many sports is a what have you done for me lately situation, and I think that politics can be much the same way.

          • HonestDebate1

            I was actually at Super Bowl III, I was 9.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          No it is sort of like saying Bobby Orr is a huge turn off to young Bruins fans.

          Nothing could be further from the truth.

          The left hated Reagan then and they still hate Reagan. It kills them that he attracted Democrats in droves.

          • Ray in VT

            Your analogy works for your point, but my point is that you’re touting a big victory from almost 30 years ago. The Raiders absolutely blasted the ‘Skins in the Super Bowl in 1984, but it might not be such a great idea for their fans to be beating their chests over it now.

            I think that the Democrats probably feel alright, considering that they’ve run out a guy who is claimed to be the most hardcore leftist to ever hold the Oval Office, and his Electoral College victories were 365-173 and 332-206, and they’ve won the popular vote in 5 or the last 6 Presidential elections.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Fair enough. Since I’m not affiliated with the GOP I look at things a bit differently. Reagan was a win for the country after Carter.

            The Democrats might feel good after their political wins lately but the country has suffered so it is a hollow victory. Also, they should be ashamed of themselves with the way they won this last time around.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup, the country has really suffered. Maybe enough to cast off the Reagan myth and all of that trickle down nonsense. Considering the tactics that have been run out against Democratic candidates for the past decade or so, I think that it is fair to say that the gloves are off.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Are you referring to the swift boat attacks on Kerry? Did it make a difference? I’m not sure. I’ll note that those attacks did not come from the Bush campaign, unlike the smearing attacks of Romney’s character by top Obama officials.

          • Ray in VT

            Would that be, in part, the “attacks” about his core, which is either that of an arch conservative or someone to the left of Romney? The GOP primaries stuck plenty of knives into Romney. How about that “King of Bain” video? That was a good one. Considering what the President has put up with for years with people questioning his religion or the place of his birth, I don’t fault him or his campaign for coming out and swinging. Newt Gingrich and many in the GOP certainly did their share of hard and nasty politics, but many seem to not be too happy about it when it comes back at them. I think that the party is just reaping what it has sown.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Yup, Obama could NOT run on his record of leadership. Almost every action in his first term was highly political. Romney on the hand is a problem solver and would probably be everything that Obama promised his first time around. For Romney, the politics is a necessary evil in order to get the job.

            Again, the country lost the services of a good man. The irony is Romney probably would have made government services more efficient and given government a good name. Obama is probably damaging the reputation of big government for generations.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s your opinion. It would not surprise you if I said almost entirely the opposite. I have no faith in the “solutions” that the GOP offers, and some aspects of its social message are getting far out of synch with the electorate. We already know Mitt Romney’s view of 47% of the population. I wonder what else negative he might have privately said about the other 53%.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Yes, just my opinion.

            IMHO, governors usually make better presidents. Romney’s skills (see SLC Olympics) in cleaning up corruption and bloat are uniquely suited to cleaning up DC ills.

            However, there are long line of recent candidates from the Senate that did little to inspire confidence — Dole, Gore, Kerry, McCain. Obama talked like he could be an exception. However, he turned out to be another political hack with no leadership experience or skills. A huge disappoint.

          • hennorama

            WftC — For some reason, these choice quotes came to mind:

            “They (voters) want to know what’s the truth. They’re not interested in a chameleon.” ~ Michele Bachmann, criticizing Mitt Romney’s flip flopping, speech in Florida, December 2011.

            “Gov. Romney has claimed to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain and people are wanting to know, is there proof of that claim? And was it U.S. jobs created for United States citizens?” ~ Sarah Palin, Hannity, January 2012

            “I’ve never seen a guy change his position so many times, so fast, on a dime.” ~ Rudy Giuliani, MSNBC, December 2011

            “.. all those changes give me pause.” ~ Rudy Giuliani, February 2012

            “Those of us who believe in free markets and those of us who believe that in fact the whole goal of investment is entrepreneurship and job creation, we find it pretty hard to justify rich people figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company, leaving behind 1,700 families without a job.” ~ Newt Gingrich, January 8, 2012

            “There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for President, but they didn’t. I think Mitt Romney would be a fine President, and he’d be way better than the guy who’s there right now.” ~ Republican Senator Marco Rubio, wishing there were another candidate to pick from, The Daily Caller, March 2012

            “He may not be Mr. Personality, uh, you know, this is a guy who gives a fireside chat and the fire goes out.” ~ Former GOP Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, endorsing Romney and then announcing how bland and boring Mitt is, News Channel 8 interview, March 2012.

            “Pick any other Republican in the country. He is the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” ~ Rick Santorum, calling Mitt Romney the worst Republican anyone can possibly pick to be the nominee, Racine, Wisconsin, March 2012

  • Bruce94

    Today’s conversation reminds of an argument between two cousins on how to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic–the Titanic being a GOP with national aspirations (i.e. capable of retaking the Senate or Presidency). The moral and intellectual bankruptcy was clearly demonstrated in the last national election and clarified in today’s conversation (thanks, On Point, for once again bringing into focus). On the one hand, we have the 31-year old Heritage hack with no experience as an elected official and, on the other hand, an experienced politician who at least brings a semblance of common sense to the challenge of representing a constituency and governing. Listening to their exchange, I couldn’t avoid thinking that the GOP has been mired in a narcissistic alternate reality imposed upon it by groups like Heritage Action, Club for Growth and FreedomWorks. How can anyone in his right mind seriously argue that the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 does not embody conservative principles and a compromise in which Progressive values took a much larger hit:

    • William

      The President of the USA lied for nearly 3 years about one of the most important issues for Americans and that is ok with you?

  • Shag_Wevera

    I don’t care for the positions of the tea party, but I’m glad they exist. I wish there were even more parties engaged in our political process. Hell, I’d like a parliamentary democracy.

    • dust truck

      We could only praise their existence if we had a parliamentary democracy. Unfortunately with our two-party system, they’re given way too much power to wreck everything. (Which, of course, is what they want.)

      • pete18

        Heaven forbid that the party in power has an opposition to hold it in check.

  • David Rodney

    The Tea Party successfully pushed me out of the Republican party. First in my family for four generations to switch parties. I can see through the gloss, Needham.

    • dust truck

      Same here, I was GOP since the Reagan landslide and I still admire Reagan today, but as much as these Tea Party nuts like to pretend they’re the party of Reagan, they’re NOTHING like him.

    • pete18

      Which of the Tea Party positions was it that made you take this extraordinary move?

      • David Rodney

        Actually, it was the no-tax pledge that the Republicans signed. That’s when I learned of the name Boehner (I’m fairly apolitical). Not that I’m a fan of taxes, but I found it frustrating that some willful movement of know-it-alls (the Tea Party) would corner members of the legislature into binding their own hands. This is still a world where one can never truly know what’s around the next corner.

        • pete18

          I see. I think people who are not casual republicans take a different view because they believe they are overtaxed and the government spends way too much. No-tax-pledges make it easier to hold politicians accountable. It’s much too easy for politicians to raise taxes when they can’t control spending and it’s way too easy for government to increase spending. I see very few instances where
          there would be actual cause for raising taxes over cutting spending and if there were, a principled conservative could make the case for breaking the pledge. I don’t see the danger there unless you’re already predisposed to raising taxes in the first place.

          • dust truck

            The no tax pledge has nothing to do with accountability than it does with an attempt by Southern States and the “Southern Strategy” to destroy the Union 150 years after the Civil war ended. As a New England Republican (who unfortunately can’t even vote for my party anymore because of the insanity) I cannot support the Southern Strategy because it would betray everything that my predecessor did to SAVE the US.

          • pete18

            If it has nothing to do with accountability then it must not have much power to stop politicians from raising taxes, so why are you afraid of it?

            You should read this article about the “Southern Strategy” before you get too high up on your “Republicans are racists, Democrats are liberating angles,” horse: http://www.redstate.com/dan_mclaughlin/2012/07/11/the-southern-strategy-myth-and-the-lost-majority/

          • dust truck

            Wow, nice strawman there. Did I say anything about “Republicans are Racist”? Or do you normally assume any criticism of the south implies accusations of racism?

            I have a bigger problem with the calls to secceed from the Union and to undermine everything that Northeastern Republicans have fought for since Ike.

          • pete18

            That was implied with your “Southern Strategy” comment, which is normally used as an attack to insinuate political racism, since the whole theory is based on using racial politics as a way of garnering white southern votes. You also said it was somehow preventing everything that was done to “save the US.” Hard to draw any other conclusion from those comments, but maybe you could clarify your concerns and then I can respond.

            What is it that you think the Republicans are doing that amounts to a “Southern Strategy” that would be “undermining the US” and what is the great damage being done by asking office holders to sign a “no-tax” pledge?

          • Salvor Hardin

            The accountability you are referring to when politicians sign a no-tax pledge switches accountability from the voters where it belongs to a group of radicals who have taken over the party. In the late 1990’s American’s for Tax Reform (ATR) began to develop a stranglehold on the Republican party using their no tax pledge as a requirement for being a Republican in many parts of the country. If you did not conform to the ATR requirements you were effectively shut out of the Republican party.

            Throughout the history of this nation taxes have been raised when needed to pay the bills of the United States. This no-tax pledge has turned the Republican Party into the “Deadbeat Party” where they can fantasize that spending that has already occurred somehow doesn’t have to be paid back. That cutting taxes will force spending reductions. So just when we started two wars we cut taxes which is exactly the opposite policy the United States has followed throughout its history. Every cent that we have borrowed and will borrow will have to be paid back with tax dollars.

            The no-tax pledge turns lawmakers into lackeys who must do the bidding of a group of zealots who are accountable to no one. People that believe in this type of pledge are not conservatives.

          • pete18

            The reason the ATR has any power is because their positions are popular with Republican voters. Your theory that candidates who don’t sign the pledge are “shut out” of the Republican party is complete nonsense. They are certainly less likely to win elections, because not raising taxes is one of the prime tenants of Republican voters, but to suggest this is a minority position forced onto candidates by some radical cabal, is a fantasy turned into a democratic talking point.

            “So just when we started two wars we cut taxes which is exactly the opposite policy the United States has followed throughout its history.”

            You do realize that Federal revenues went UP to historic highs after the Bush Tax cuts were passed.

          • Salvor Hardin

            I have heard that Federal revenues went “UP” as well and it is just as much a myth today as it was then. From 1994 to 2000 tax revenues increased by 50%. And revenues increased constantly year by year. From 2001 to 2007 they increased by 25% and revenues actually decreased year by year from 2001 to 2004 during the extended recession and didn’t start recovering until 2005.

            http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

            Now I don’t blame all of the drop on the tax cuts as the recession had an effect just as the late 90′s increases in revenue and the late 2000′s increases in revenues had more to do with the internet bubble and housing and credit bubbles respectively. And obviously all of the 2005 to 2008 increases in revenues were totally wiped out in 2009 and tax rates were the same.

            There is NO evidence that tax rates at the level we are currently taxed at have a significant effect on investment. That did have validity when tax rates were at up to 92% in the 50′s and 60′s but the tax rates now are certainly manageable.

            Again having a principal that taxes cannot be raised under ANY circumstances until the end of time is a radical position without historical precedent. All previous Republican president’s who did raise taxes when needed would not be welcome in the party today. Just because it has now become current orthodoxy in the party does not make it any less extreme.

          • pete18

            It’s not a myth that revenues went up after Bush the tax cuts, it’s confirmable data: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

            It started at 16.2 % of GDP in 2003 and was up to 18.5 % in 2007. That is well above the annual average.

            Raising taxes at that point, at the height of a recession, would have been more likely to decrease revenues.

            The revenues that were wiped out in 2009 had nothing to do
            with the tax rates so I’m not sure why you brought that up.

            I understand your position, because you see taxes and spending in a different light than I do. You see some great danger in officeholders not being able to raise taxes, which you view as something that needs to be done often. My guess is that you generally see a need for more federal spending, not less. For you, a reluctance to raise taxes brought on by voter pressure is a problem. That’s certainly a defendable position if that’s your view on taxes.

            However, I said before, I think it’s much too easy for politicians to raise taxes when they can’t control spending, and
            government’s appetite for increased spending beyond inflation is a chronic and problematic condition. I see very few instances where there would be actual cause for raising taxes over cutting spending and if there were that dire a need for taxes to be raised, a principled conservative could make the case for breaking the pledge and not suffer the voters wrath. That’s why I think the pledge is a good check.
            It makes the officeholder have to face a high threshold before considering the
            tax option.

            But ultimately, it’s the voters that
            keep representatives in check, not Grover Norquist, and that’s as it should be.

          • Salvor Hardin

            pete18: “It started at 16.2 % of GDP in 2003 and was up to 18.5 % in 2007. That is well above the annual average.”

            That is exactly what I mean by myth which is even more apparent when using GDP. Your 16.2% revenue starting point in 2003 was over 4% lower than the high point of 2000 (pre-tax cut) where revenue was 20.6% of GDP. And your 2007 value of 18.5% means that it finally caught of to the revenue level of 1995 which was 18.4%. I can’t see any way to parse those numbers to say that revenue was “UP” after the tax cuts. They should properly be compared to the 2000 value which means they were “DOWN” after the tax cuts and never fully recovered.

            You can only claim them being up from the much lower revenue percentages after the tax cuts. and it took 4-5 years after the start of the tax cuts to get to that 2007 level. And even the 2007 levels were almost entirely due to the housing and credit bubble that I mentioned which is also why I mentioned the 2008/2009 crash because there is no evidence that the increases in revenue during the Bush years had a thing to do with tax cuts since revenue only started to seriously increase with the housing and credit bubbles.

            I voted for George W. Bush during both elections and would vote for him again. But his position on taxes was total bunk. During the recession he claimed that his tax cuts were the only thing that would get the economy moving again and when it finally did several years later he then claimed all of the increase on the tax cuts of course and then said then that taxes couldn’t be increased at that point because that was the only thing keeping the economy going. The 2008/2009 crash also proved that was incorrect.

            There is no evidence that tax cuts are a significant factor in economic growth. If you look at the actual figures in the economic chart I linked to it shows that revenue increased when taxes were increased and revenue dropped when taxes were cut. Simple cause and effect.

            pete18: “However, I said before, I think it’s much too easy for politicians to raise taxes when they can’t control spending, and government’s appetite for increased spending beyond inflation is a chronic and problematic condition.”

            While this is now the standard Republican position today I don’t see that it has been effective at all in controlling spending. Republican’s start off with an absolutist position on taxes that they are off the table. So the only thing they can offer Democrats is how much they’re willing to cut and really don’t have anything else to negotiate with. So you don’t control spending and you just get more debt since revenues are totally off the table.

            And the Democrats would be idiots to ever agree to a tax cut or a tax deal of any kind with the Republicans since according to their solemn vow once taxes go down they can never go up again for all time regardless of the circumstances.

            The Republicans had to get “permission” from Grover Norquist to vote for the budget deal at the beginning of the year that raised only the higher tax rates because if that was agreed to then taxes would have increased for everyone. The no-tax pledge is in my opinion very destructive and doesn’t allow for the Congress to exercise their good judgment that some taxes can be increased when needed. The voters have always had the power to keep their representatives in check without a pledge to the ATR. If the pledge was removed I don’t think that there is any chance that Republicans would start wildly increasing taxes considering the views of their constituents and they could at least get rid of some of the special tax breaks they were handing out in the last two decades.

          • John Cedar

            Consider the facts that politicians don’t tell the truth and a whole bunch of GOP members voted to raise taxes after signing it. You can see that the objection to Norquist’ pledge as the final straw, is disingenuous and then it turned to “he helped create them”.

        • John Cedar

          You should be proud to be such a unique thinker. Everyone else hates the GOP for their stance on gay marriage and for their attempts to put any kind of limit on infanticide…er I mean “reproductive rights”. It is good to know that you care more about getting money for the government than you care about those “social issues”.

          • dust truck

            As a former member of the GOP who always believed that the government should stay out of people’s lives the issues of using the government to tell people who they can love or what they do with their bodies is the exact OPPOSITE of anything that my party ever represented. It is you, and your Tea Party, who forced me out.

          • John Cedar

            You are a simpleton and probably a liar. There are only two parties to choose from and the GOP is the better choice for at least the last five years. It is people like you, who pushed me out of the donkey party of freestuff.

          • dust truck

            Poe’s law. I can’t tell if you’re sarcastic or insane. Seriously, if you ever were a member of the Democratic party, there is NOOooooo way you could have anything in common with todays GOP unless you received a blow to the head.

            Ohhhh… wait you were a Dixiecrat, eh? You must have joined up with the GOP when they started supporting the Confederates plans to destroy the Union.

          • John Cedar

            The fact that the republicans you named are all in favor of “freedom of marriage” is just proof that the republicans choose leaders that are more “evolved” on the issue than the official DNC platform was, and Obama’s official position was, up until abou18 months ago. Maybe you are just a hypocrite and not a liar or a simpleton.

        • William

          The TP did not make anyone pledge no tax increases. That was Grover and he hates the TP.

          • dust truck

            That’s exactly the problem William. Grover may not agree with the TP, but he helped create them with his ridiculous tax pledge, which the TP was trumpeting a lot during the 2010 elections… and now he’s complaining that they don’t play fair. It’s beyond insanity.

    • William

      Really? Why? …you loved Obama calling the TP terrorists? hostage takers? bring a knife, or his famous
      “If you want to keep your doctor you can?”…what is so great about the Liberals? Cutting spending and downsizing government is such a bad thing?

  • jsmetz

    My public radio station is on all day, so I hear all kinds of points of view through the day. Guys who are always saying “Look!” or “Look here,” or “Look, here’s how it is.” Are always reading conservative scripts. Who is writing these scripts, and who is paying to have them written?

    • hennorama

      jsmetz — that irritating phrase knows no political party boundaries.

      A quick search using Google book’s Ngram Viewer shows a veritable explosion of usage [of the word "look"], nearly doubling since 1980:

      https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Look&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=0&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2CLook%3B%2Cc0

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        The explosion started with the demise of Look Magazine (1937-1941).

        ;)

        • jsmetz

          OK. I got it. Another interesting point of view, and good joke, on this business of using “Look, here’s how it is!” Look was also a picture magazine like Life, not too much heavy reading involved. It all makes sense now as a meme for the arrogant.

        • hennorama

          WftC — you miskeyed a 7 as a 4. (LOOK lasted longer.)

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Thanks.

          • hennorama

            WftC — YW, of course. Wee awl make missteaks.

      • jsmetz

        Nice observation. Thanks. Maybe I could generalize to say that anybody who uses that construction is reading from somebody else’s script. It is just that I seem to hear it mostly from guys who represent the Heritage Institute, Club for Growth, and those other rich old white guy organizations. Interesting, also, that Ronald Reagan, the conservative icon, was first elected in 1980.

        • hennorama

          jsmetz — thank you for you response, and your kind words.

          The usage of “Look …” at the beginning of a response is a personal pet peeve. If you listen for it, you will find it is not limited to any political persuasion,

          “Look …” has a confrontational, coarse, and slightly rude sound to my ear, and seems strange as a technique in this sort of structured conversation. After all, the host is eliciting a direct response from the guest, often by name. It’s not as if the guest needs the extra emphasis of “Look …”

          Exactly when it became part of the pundit’s phrasebook is unclear, but it certainly seems more prevalent during this period of extreme political divisiveness.

          Thanks again for your kind words.

          • John Cedar

            It seems like I have heard our president frequently start to answer interview question with the word “look”.

    • dale_dale

      Global Feudalism’s flying monkeys are mostly dispatched from any number of thinks tanks and academic centers. These are just the ones Google contributes to, as we found out a couple weeks ago:

      American Conservative Union

      Americans for Tax Reform

      CATO Institute

      Federalist Society

      George Mason University Law School Law and Economics Center

      Heritage Action

      Mercatus Center

      National Taxpayers Union

      R Street Institute

      Texas Public Policy Foundation

      http://billmoyers.com/2013/12/04/dont-be-evil-google-funding-a-slew-of-right-wing-groups/

      And of course there’s the grandaddies American Enterprise Institute and Club for Growth.

      The mainstream ‘liberal’ media’s current right-wing crushes seem to be Yuval Levin and Tyler Cowen, very smooth, mostly numerate, no mouthbreathing or obvious anti-intellectualism that typifies most of the elected GOP jokers and movement hacks. Pay attention to their arguments and presentation style, they’re the next wave of gilded age apologia and they’ll be anchored to the Sunday morning shows before long.

  • deanrd

    You have Rick Santorum calling Obama a “snob” in front of a cheering Republican crowd for wanting Americans to have an education. Then you had Mitt Romney wanting to bring immigrants here with degrees to help start businesses because the GOP base didn’t want to be snobs. Millions will be losing unemployment. People who were working but whose jobs were shipped overseas. A trend that started under Bush with Republicans blocking any effort to stem the flow. And Americans keep voting for these nutzso’s. Well, if we put them into office to “finish the job” started under Bush, we deserve what we get.

    • cook4668

      Correction… The Conservatives are at odds with the RINOs. Yeah all those Republican companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft send all their jobs overseas … Idiot. If memory serves me, and it does, none of those mentioned are Republican.

    • William

      Why extend unemployment payments with the recession over and 7 percent unemployment? Clinton signed NAFTA so he owns that “shipping jobs” overseas. Obama signed a new trade deal with South Korea. How many American cars being shipped to China or South Korea these days? Nutzo’s?. Really”

      “If you want to keep your Doctor or current medial insurance you can”…

      Which nut said that?

  • crawleyville

    A basic and entirely incorrect point in your discussion is that of referring to the ‘tea party’ as the “Republican base”. A base by definition is the reliable majority — the center — and not the ultra-conservative faction of the main party.

    • HonestDebate1

      The Tea Party is not an ultra conservative faction.

      • jefe68

        True, they’re a nutty out to lunch ultra conservative faction.

  • Sy2502

    As a woman, I agree to many things you said, but not all. It’s always dangerous and simplistic when one tries to reduce a group of people to a single-issue voter block. I like to think us women have greater depth of thought than that.

  • William

    Tax cuts bad? Talk to Obama since he extended the Bush tax cuts twice. Trickle down economics not working? Talk to Obama since he said the “shovel ready ” jobs were not so “shovel ready”..which sort of kills off the idea of government spending “trickles down”. Don’t like religion or people that attend church? Better not tell the Muslims that or they will come after you.

    • Zack Smith

      Don’t let reality stop you right?

  • William

    Sure, Sandra Fluke is the poster child for the new liberated woman that every parent wants their daughter to become when they go out into the world.

    • jefe68

      Ah yes, out of the keyboard from the poster boy of ignorance and intolerance.

  • Cacimo

    LaTourette needs a reality check. Without the Tea Party Democrats would have control of the House.

    • Cutler Hamilton

      Nah bud, you need the reality check. Without the Tea Party, the Republicans could have swept the Senate and got the Presidency in 2012. They need to learn to stay on point with their fiscal worries and put much less emphasis on social policy that contradicts modern society. Religion is great for some people who feel they need it. It’s not to be used as an excuse to exempt an employer from providing health insurance for their employees or to try to push an agenda that makes one feel “closer to God”.

  • hennorama

    Completely Off Point:

    Happy 77th Birthday, Pope Francis!

  • JGC

    I’ve been going on the Heritage Action site from time to time over the past couple of months. For their “Daily Actions” or other postings, there often are zero comments, or maybe just mine and/or a few others. It does not seem to be well supported as a spontaneous or grass roots project.

    That makes me wonder: who exactly supports Heritage Action? Financially and otherwise?

    • hennorama

      JGC — per their CEO, “50,000 Americans” fork over some $$.

      But as Samuel Goldwyn said, “include me out.”

      • JGC

        So 50,000 Americans give some money (out of some 330-millionish Americans), and almost none of them can be bothered to make a comment on the Heritage Action site in support of their positions.

        No wonder Boehner is finally giving them the back of his oddly tanned hand.

        • hennorama

          JGC — I don’t think HA’s target audience are the sort of people who would make comments on their site.

          • JGC

            What do you mean? We have 2 or 3 Koch brothers who probably are the major $ contributors behind HA, and then maybe another dozen or two conservative millionaire contributors; I don’t expect they are making comments on the site (although that would be fun!) but why wouldn’t the small donors or other “concerned citizens” participate in their forums?

            I am not part of the Twitterati, so I don’t know if that is a preferred avenue of partiipation for their audience. For such an “in your face” organization, Heritage doesn’t seem to engage ordinary people in a consistent way.

          • JGC

            P.S. Hennorama:

            I got an e-mail yesterday from Mike Steffon, Director of Membership at WBUR. Remember when you won my quiz a while back and I made a donation to WBUR as your grand prize? I directed it to the Member Challenge fund, and I am sorry to say that Steffon was asking me if I wanted my donation back, because the WBUR listeners fell short of making the challenge by $20,000 (He said the Challenge was $150K but they only collected $130K in pledges.) : (

            Anyway, I redirected the donation to the general fund to support WBUR programming. (I heard Tom Ashbrook needs a new coffee mug!) On the other hand, it is nice to know that the Member Challenge actually means something and is a rules-based motivating tool with consequences. I always kind of wondered about that, what would happen if the listeners didn’t meet the challenge.

          • hennorama

            JGC — I think HA’s target audience is policy makers and the big donors you describe, not the general public.

  • marygrav

    The T-Party is a Fifth Column within the Republican Party. It is there to establish a name for itself and sweep out the stars and then form its own Third Party when its backers feel that they’ve destroyed the GOP.

    I am no fan of the GOP, but I understand that something is badly wrong within the Party. Obstructionism will not win elections, nor is it a way to govern a country. It seems that the T-Party is at war with the American People and are using the Republican Party for cover. In fact it is a Democratic Dream Team. We could not do better if we tried.

    But here is the rub: The World Is Watching. They understand that it is RACISM that is binding the GOP to the T-Party. Therefore WE NEED NO OUTSIDE enemies, we will destroy ourselves.

    John Boehner has finally put his zipper in the front of his pants and is willing to speak to the POWER that has overtaken the GOP. He has lost his fear of losing his job and reclaimed his manhood. Perhaps he has been studying Civics and understands that the United States is at risk from the fascist elements which has invaded the Republican Party.

    The T-Party members with their SAFE SEATS are gangsters operating like the Mofia making offers that the real conservatives in the Republican Party cannot refuse. Organized crime and criminals now sit in the House of Representatives. Politics is about compromise; not obstruction. This is how the Nazis took over Wiemar and Stalinism took over the Soviet Union.

    When the T-Party talks about Civility; they mean that the people must be quite while they Dictate and ignore Common Ground. They talk about Ad homienum Attacks when ever anyone becomes wise to their game.

    Unless the Republican Party pitches out the T-Party like the infection like it is, the GOP will become irrelevant.

  • Zack Smith

    Steve LaTourette is an establishment hack and everything wrong with DC politics. Party before principle is his creed evidently. There’s no point in electing his centrist Republicans that are just the GOP-side of the establishment one-party that owns DC.

  • pete18

    I’m amazed at all the people here who find the Tea Party more troubling and threatening to their way of life than the continued good news about that horrendous and unpopular policy forced through by the democrats :

    “I asked a prominent New York insurance broker about Sue’s situation.

    “Most of the networks on the exchanges are not national. Off the exchange, there a few that provide national coverage,” he said. “Any plan will cover emergencies. But if you need routine medical services, they will not be covered when you leave your local area, and on the old plans they were.”

    “You can’t solve the problem by buying travel health insurance,
    because that’s only for medical emergencies. And this restriction means that a large portion of the population will have their insurance as a consideration for their mobility, which they never had before.”

    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/12/more_obamacare_devastation.html#ixzz2ntJAoml2

  • alexdino

    They played a clip by a senator during this show that displayed exactly the kind of flawed thinking that drove the GOP to the gov shutdown. The senator said something along the lines of “you tell us there’s no shot, well this country wasn’t founded by people who tried only when victory was a sure thing” No shot and not a sure thing are not the same thing. One is 0% probability, the other is simply less than 100%. The tea party doesn’t seem to understand how to differentiate between these two.

    • pete18

      Kinda’ like having senators tell you they need to pass a bill to find out what’s inside?

      Is that the clear thinking that shines in comparison?

      • alexdino

        Thanks for your complete non-sequitur, however, I never said anything about whether I support the democratic party (of six years ago by your choice of quotes). But thanks for reminding me of another element of the “thinking malaise” that currently infects the tea party, pointing out a past instance of wrong (of someone else, no less) does not invalidate the criticism at hand. But keep on keeping on in your world, I wonder how dark and scary things seem when it is this difficult to interpret the world around you.

        • pete18

          Very scary. I do leap to the conclusion that most Tea Party bashing comes from supporters of the Democratic party.
          Maybe you can come clean and show me that you’re the exception to the rule.

          It’s actually the democratic party from less than four-years ago, but what’s two-years among friends who have such great skills in interpreting the world around them?

ONPOINT
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Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
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