Let me stipulate that the IRS targeting of tea party groups is deeply disturbing and Eric Holder's Justice Department is politicized, swaggering and incompetent. Distrust of government is deep in the American DNA, and the Obama administration has often managed to justify it.But asserting that American intelligence agencies are part of a conspiracy that somehow includes a national gun registry, drone surveillance and Lois Lerner crosses a line. It is one thing to oppose the policies of the administration; it is another to call for resistance against a "regime" and a "police...
Laura Ingraham was not happy with Karl Rove on her radio show Monday.
Rove criticized Rep. Michele Bachmann on Sunday's "This Week," saying that she "did nothing" as chairman of the congressional Tea Party caucus. His remarks came on the heels of her announcement that she will not be running for re-election.
Ingraham responded to the comments, saying "We didn’t need Karl Rove taking a swipe at Michele Bachmann. That was classless. We’ll get into that as well — classless. You know, pick on me Karl, OK? She’s on her way out. For someone to say she’s never done anything for conservatism, she has never done anything, she doesn’t do anything — she’s bowing out. I mean, do you have to stomp on the political grave of Michele Bachmann? Does that really make Karl Rove feel better about himself?"
"You know what happened in the last election?" Ingraham continued. "I wouldn’t be throwing stones at other people and their contributions to conservative thought, thank you very much."
Rove found himself with egg on his face on election night last November. He disputed Fox News' call that Obama had won, only to be proven wrong. After spending millions on GOP candidates in the election, his super PAC American Crossroads also saw just a one percent return on its investments. The group was later criticized by Tea Party activists, who accused it of "squandering hundreds of millions of dollars" and being "inept."
The liberal line about the IRS and other administration scandals in the last week has been that even if there was some low-level wrongdoing, an American public that is worried about the economy isn't really interested in any of it. They are convinced that the only people willing to connect the dots between the demonization of the Tea Party by President Obama and the liberal press and the IRS's targeting of conservative groups are Republican partisans. As Seth wrote on Friday, Democratic complacence is based on the idea that Republicans are overreacting to the current scandals in...
For the past five years, our nation has been distracted by those on the far right -- from the Tea Party activists to Republican politicians who have cowered in the face of primary challenges from their right. Their stonewalling on issues from Obamacare to gun control and immigration, along with the refusal to engage in reasonable compromise on even the most modest proposals has deepened and widened the partisan divide in our country.
Even though most Americans are moderate in their views, the extremes of the political spectrum get the most attention and, therefore, more clout. And let's be honest about this -- the far right has much more influence than the far left. The Tea Partiers and their ilk hold far greater sway over the Republican party than the far left does over the Democratic party. Even the Democrats derided as "socialists" by the right pursue much more moderate and flexible positions than the ideological right.
As a country, we have wasted too much time over the past five years fretting over the concerns of a small group of right-wingers. From health care to immigration to gun control, America should have long ago tackled these problems with common-sense, practical approaches, rather than getting mired down in ideological debates. Everyone from the business community to our international allies recognizes that this ideological bickering and the resulting national stalemate only harms America.
So what can we do about it? First and foremost, ignore the ideological drumbeat from the right. We've heard them out, considered their views and even incorporated some of those views into our national consensus. But we must also realize that ideologues will never be satisfied or tamed, and we should quit trying.
But what about the Republican party, which seems to be held captive to the far right? That is a more complex issue, since we need a responsible opposition party to craft a reasonable consensus. For the moment, that responsible opposition does not exist. Congress is deadlocked, and the hands of the president are largely tied in addressing national issues. To make matters worse, the midterm elections of 2014 don't promise any grand reshuffling, with the Republicans expected to maintain their majority in the House.
So are we destined, for at least several more years, to national policy deadlock? Probably, yes. However, there are some silver linings to this cloud. And they lie in the states. In my state of California, for example, we now have a Democratic governor and legislature that are moderate in their approach to social issues and responsible on fiscal matters. California is passing stricter gun control laws, promoting education reform, pro-actively implementing Obamacare, and taking measures not only to improve the lives of its citizens, but also to compete effectively in a global marketplace. In other words, California -- and states like it -- are moving ahead, despite the national policy gridlock.
Compare this with many of the "red" states, who are spending their time and resources fighting Obamacare, gun control, immigration reform, gay marriage and other issues that are near and dear to the hearts of the far right. Who would have imagined that state governors would be turning down money from the federal government to improve the health and welfare of their citizens? It demonstrates the triumph of ideology over common sense.
For a long time, those of us in the "blue" states have fretted over how to free our red-state brethren from the clutches of the far right. I know, those in the red states will argue that they are not in the clutches of anybody, but they are wrong. By far the majority of Republican elected officials in red states were put there by the fewer than 10 percent of the citizens who voted in the Republican primary. And those 10 percent are overwhelmingly to the far right of the spectrum.
We can no longer expend time and resources trying to bridge the red state/blue state gap. On a national level, it will happen naturally as the older, white Republican voters are outvoted by a younger, minority and more progressive electorate. But in the meantime, we as a nation should not be held captive by a red-state contingent who are themselves held captive by a tiny minority of their own voters.
One can expect the policies of the red-state politicians to backfire in the near future. Their stubborn positions on Obamacare are self-defeating, and eventually they will have to be bailed out by the federal government -- which means the rest of us in primarily blue states. We should be willing to help our fellow citizens if that is the price of preserving our nation. Certainly none of our disagreements are worth fighting another Civil War over. However, in a time when our greatest challenge is to pull together to compete in a global economy, we should not waste another minute trying to mollify the concerns of a reactionary, ideological few.
Let’s stipulate that it’s totally uncool for IRS agents to single out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny. But let’s also stipulate that it’s totally absurd for Tea Party groups, as well as liberal groups and any other blatantly political groups to qualify as tax-exempt “social-welfare organizations.”What social-welfare organization really means, in the Tea Party context, is “tax-exempt political organization that doesn’t have to reveal its donors.” It’s a dodge. In other contexts—the...
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced early Wednesday that she will not seek a fifth term in office.
The decision to bow out of the 2014 race was announced in a YouTube video on the congresswoman's Website and on her Facebook page.
Although Bachmann didn't give an exact reason for her departure, she explained that an 8-year term in the House was enough.
"The law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years, and in my opinion, well, eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific Congressional district," Bachmann said.
The conservative lawmaker also made it clear that her decision not to run had nothing to do with the ongoing ethics investigation about alleged misconduct during her failed presidential campaign in 2012.
"It was clearly understood that compliance with all rules and regulations was an absolute necessity for my presidential campaign," Bachmann said. "And I have no reason to believe that that was not the case."
Bachmann has served in the House since 2007, and is the first Republican woman to represent the state of Minnesota in Congress. She sits on both the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Financial Services, and is the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus.
WATCH THE VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENT ABOVE
At one end of the Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., in the expanse between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, the Bush administration authorized a memorial to World War II.
Sander Levin: Says the inspector general for the IRS said there was "no political motivation" and "no outside influence" for targeting of tax-exempt applications from tea party groups<br />
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree: The IRS screwed up, big time, when it watched for phrases like "tea party" to trigger extra scrutiny of groups seeking tax-exempt status. But there’s a partisan disagreement over whether it was merely an ill-conceived time-saver for overworked Ohio staffers or a sinister White House plot to hamstring conservative groups before an election. ("It's the IRS targeting-gate!" said New York Republican Tom Reed.) Rep. Sander Levin, a long-serving Democrat who’s the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, said after a May 17 hearing that evidence is ...>> More
WASHINGTON -- So far, voters don't seem to be abandoning President Barack Obama over controversies gripping the Beltway world. But White House aides are tempting fate with their reluctant, piecemeal and contradictory disclosures of what they knew and when they knew it, especially about a report on the Internal Revenue Service's 18-month effort to target tea party and other conservative groups for special scrutiny.The aides either have forgetten or are unable to implement the basic lesson of scandal control in Washington: Get the full story out -- all of it -- as fast as you can...
President Obama demanded and received the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS on Wednesday. The agency gave special scrutiny to conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status, which is reserved for “social welfare” organizations. Many Explainer readers have asked the obvious question: What social welfare functions do Tea Party groups perform?
Following news that the IRS subjected conservative and tea party groups applying for tax exempt status to additional scrutiny, most Americans now have a negative opinion of the agency, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
According to the new poll, 59 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the IRS, while 21 percent said they have a favorable opinion. Another 20 percent said they weren't sure.
The survey found that most Americans have heard at least a little bit about the IRS unfairly scrutinizing conservative groups, but that few are paying close attention. Thirty-six percent of respondents said that they had heard a lot about the IRS subjecting conservative groups to additional scrutiny, and another 41 percent said they had heard a little about it. Twenty-three percent said that they had heard nothing at all.
Forty-three percent of respondents to the survey said that they are very concerned that the government might use the IRS to target political enemies, while another 25 percent said they were somewhat concerned. Another 15 percent said they were not very concerned, and 5 percent said they were not at all concerned.
Still, an even greater share of respondents said that they were at least somewhat concerned that some organizations might abuse their nonprofit status for personal or political gain, with 42 percent saying they were very concerned and 36 percent saying they were somewhat concerned.
Republicans and independents in the survey were particularly likely to have a negative opinion of the IRS, with 76 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of independents saying that they had an unfavorable opinion. Democrats were more closely divided, with 34 percent saying they had a favorable opinion and 39 percent saying they had an unfavorable opinion.
In fact, a 48 percent to 29 percent plurality of Republicans and a 41 percent to 33 percent plurality of independents said that the IRS should be eliminated entirely, while Democrats said they were in favor of the agency's continued existence by a 62 percent to 20 percent margin. Overall, 35 percent of respondents said that the agency should be eliminated, and 42 percent said it should continue to exist.
The poll was conducted May 13-14 among 1,000 adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
Larry Nordvig, executive director of the Richmond Tea Party, appeared on Fox News on Tuesday to comment on how his group dealt with extra scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service ahead of the 2012 election.
"It feels kind of creepy to be on somebody's enemy list, especially when it's the government," Nordvig told Fox's Greta van Susteren.
Nordvig went on to outline the questions his group faced in order to receive a tax exemption. According to Nordvig, the IRS requested a list of donors and wanted to know members of the group and whom they associated with.
"The purpose of government is to protect our rights. ... Instead they are aggressively coming after us in a very, very tyrannical way," Nordvig said.
When asked whether this was a small incident, Nordvig added, "I just don't believe anybody could go rogue in a cubicle. ... This was coordinated from somewhere else."
Watch a clip of Nordvig's interview above.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder says he's ordered a Justice Department investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny.
He said the FBI was coordinating with the Department of Justice to see if any laws were broken.
At a news conference Tuesday at the Justice Department, Holder called the practice, in his words, "Outrageous and unacceptable."
Holder's comments come a day after President Barack Obama said that, if the agency intentionally targeted such groups, "that's outrageous and there's no place for it."
Steven Miller, the IRS acting chief, has acknowledged "a lack of sensitivity" in the agency's screenings of political groups seeking tax-exempt status and insisted those mistakes won't be repeated.
On Wednesday, the National Review's Robert Costa reported that freshman Senator Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite from Texas, is considering a presidential campaign. Apparently, Cruz's supporters argue that he would be a “Barry Goldwater type” who could reconnect the party with its base—except with “better electoral results.” Outdoing the GOP's 1964 nominee would not, of course, be much of an accomplishment: Goldwater won only 38 percent of the popular vote against Lyndon Johnson. That's why Costa's report sparked mockery...
Like most Americans, I have been hurt by the tragedy in Boston. We all were touched by these horrific events.
I say that to show you what popped up on the corner of my Facebook feed this morning:
Former Florida Congressman and Tea Party leader, Allen West paid money to the social media giant to run a self-promoting ad campaign to get his heartfelt opinion of the tragedy out... naah, who are we kidding, it's to build an audience and make money!
People will argue that there is altruism here and he truly cares about what happened, and I'm sure he does, but capitalizing on a tragedy to build an audience for yourself is just plain wrong.
Remember when the GOP made such a big deal of President Obama's 'taking advantage' of Hurricane Sandy to 'look like a hero,' right before the election? Where would taking advantage of a terrorist attack to build an audience rank for them?
To be fair, this ad comes from the Next Generation: Standing Up for Our Future campaign which West is a part of... so the blame can probably be shifted around... which with enough bad press it will be.
Oh, did I mention that I'm a Republican? I'm disgusted by organizations like this who are willing to capitalize on tragedy to build a name and voice in the public. Every person who has clicked like to them on Facebook or donated to them should reconsider their actions.
If you want a next generation of Republican, someone who stands up for America's future, maybe you should start by not taking advantage of it's incredible loss.
Shame on you Allen West and shame on you Next Generation: Standing Up for Our Future. I consider myself the Next Generation of Republican... but I'm not one of you.
Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler (who has since resigned from the organization) might be a conservative at heart, but this recent exchange with Joan Blades (co-founder, MoveOn.org) at Seattle's Citizen University conference is an inspiring reminder that "right" and "left" share a lot more common ground than people might think.
Sen. Rand Paul, the tea party favorite and possible 2016 presidential candidate, is raising money for a conservative gun rights group that's targeting fellow Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
The news media has been focused on the woes of the Republican Party. But Stanley Kurtz thinks it's Democrats who are more likely to tear themselves apart.The often-bitter disputes within the GOP between Tea Party insurgents and the "Establishment" tend to be over how far and how fast to travel down a particular road. Among Democrats, there is sharp disagreement over which road to take.
There are various ways to describe the civil war rising inside the Republican Party: insiders versus outsiders, pragmatists versus true-believers, establishment versus Tea Party.