National Party News

National Party News

Coming soon: The government shutdown sequel?

Democrats and their supporters are warning that should the GOP take control of Congress, watch for Government Shutdown II. The warning also includes a helpful hint to Republicans that a shutdown will damage their party and its leaders, as the last one, in November 1995, damaged then-Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.).

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has been on a tear on this subject. On “Hardball” last week, Matthews warned, “[M]ake no mistake, if this new band of Republicans grabs control of Congress, they’ll force another government shutdown.” Later in the show he played a clip of Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, drawling, “If the government shuts down, we want you with us.”

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The Tea Party’s false steps

The Tea Party movement is marginalizing itself with its actions in Delaware.

The movement has been enormously influential and effective because it has been clearly defined by fiscal and small-government issues that cut a wide swath through the electorate. In Delaware, the Tea Party is making a significant departure from the very set of core issues that has drawn in a broad spectrum of voters and new voters, and instead seems to be defining itself by issues such as abortion and gun rights.

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GOP’s Civil War 2010 — a prelude to 2012

How bad can the civil war get? We may find out Tuesday in Delaware. Mike Castle should have walked to the GOP nomination — that is, until Sarah Palin and her merry Tea Party men decided to back Christine O’Donnell.

To put this into perspective, Castle was all but a lock to win: a moderate Republican who would have won if not for the fact that by Tea Party standards Castle is a Das Kapital-reading, want-to-take-your-guns-away-and-tax-you-to-the-nines liberal. It almost makes you laugh, as a Democrat, how the GOP is engaged in a never-ending, brutal civil war over ideological purity. From the Florida governor’s race to the Alaska Senate contest, from the Nevada Senate to the Utah Senate and from Colorado governor to now Delaware Senate, the Tea Party is on a warpath not against Democrats but Republicans. The question is, Where will it end? I have the answer. It won’t until 2012 (maybe).

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The enthusiasm gap

August was disastrous for the Democrats — more bad economic news, President Obama effectively throwing politically vulnerable Democrats under the bus by inserting himself (clumsily) into the controversial debate over construction of a mosque near Ground Zero and polls showing that, indeed, the Democratic majority may be gone.

The new Gallup poll showing Republicans with a 10-point advantage, the largest lead ever registered for the GOP in the history of the poll, was a serious blow. It was especially shocking because the two parties had been neck-and-neck in the poll for months and Democrats had even led by six points in July.

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A strategy for the Democrats for the final 60 days

Doom and gloom are the watchwords for the Democrats these days. Conventional wisdom has it that we are going to get skunked in the November elections and that the pendulum is going to swing pretty far back. Charlie Cook is predicting big losses, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball today has the Republicans gaining 47 House seats and coming perilously close to taking over the Senate, and Democratic pollsters have that hangdog look.

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Nelson Hultberg and the Tea Party movement

Since February 2008, we have been seeing a rise across America of entirely new directions as states demand the federal government stay within the realm appointed to it by the Constitution and demand accountability. But as angry voices take up the cudgel, the original messages get blurred and forgotten. The Tea Party’s new ideas were regularly talked about for years in Libertarian circles before they became cool by people such as Nelson Hultberg, a prolific writer from Texas. He has written a new book called “The Conservative Revolution: Why We Must Form a Third Political Party to Win It.” Recently, Hultberg was interviewed by Ron Holland of The Daily Bell. As a major Tea Party bash occurs in Washington, D.C., this weekend, here are some thoughts from this original thinker:

Holland: Is the Tea Party making progress in your estimation?

Hultberg: “Neo-cons like Newt Gingrich and pseudo-conservatives like Dick Armey have moved their organizations to co-opt the Tea Party revolutionaries into the Republican Party. This is the kiss of death. Gingrich, Armey and their cohorts are the epitome of what is wrong with the conservative movement in America. They pay only lip service to freedom's ideals. When it comes time to match the rhetoric with action and adherence to principle, they cave in like a homeless alcoholic in face of saloon music and the smell of whiskey. It's pitiful how Republican Party stalwarts delude themselves into believing they are fighting "a great fight for freedom" while throwing trillions to the banking oligarchs and steadfastly refusing to address the immigration invasion. The lures of "celebrity" and "social approval" have consumed their integrity of thought. They want too much to be revered by the ghouls of Wall Street, as if riding in black limousines with thieves is somehow honor. They want too much to be invited to palace dinners at the White House. Thus usurpation and shameful profligacy become tolerable tools of trade.”

What we need today, says Hultberg, is the restoration of the Jeffersonian/Burkean blend of libertarian-conservatism that built our nation during the first 125 years up through World War I.

“ . . . neo-conservatives hate what the ‘libertarian-conservative’ movement is all about,” says Hultberg. “They go out of their way to smear conservatives who believe in individual rights, limited government, federalism and a mind-our-own-business foreign policy. But this is to be expected; they are collectivists. They hate the whole idea of individualism, and the self-reliance that sustains it.”

Regarding Ron Paul: “But the battle to light ‘brushfires of freedom in the minds of men’ that Samuel Adams spoke of has been launched. The Ron Paul Revolution ignited it, and, hopefully, there will be no stopping it. We are politically libertarian because freedom requires a strictly limited government, but we are culturally conservative because freedom requires the inculcation of objective moral values into the young. Freedom does not mean the anarchical fetish of ‘doing your own thing’ as the pure libertarian seems to think. Freedom is meant for ‘doing the right thing’ as Albert Jay Nock espoused. We believe, with Jefferson, in the rights of man, but we believe with Burke that ‘men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites.’"

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Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and the battle for the Republican future

When Newt Gingrich said that the Muslims seeking to build the Islamic center in New York were radical Islamists, he was bearing false witness and dramatizing what will become a great battle for the Republican soul.

This battle is steeped in the lineage of modern Republican and conservative history, with leading roles played by transcendent figures such as William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

There is an enormous contest under way in American politics, not only between Democrats and Republicans, but between Republicans who favor the politics of inclusion, such as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Republicans who favor the politics of division, such as former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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The summer of hate

Those of us who are somewhat past puberty remember the Summer of Love. How much we recall depends on what we each ingested recreationally but the consensus is that it did happen.

It defined a generation, but for those who missed out, a little background: It was actually spread over two years of sex-drug-and-rock-and-roll, from the 1967 release of the Beatles' incredible “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album to the musical glory and excess of Woodstock in 1969.

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Republicans want a return to George W. Bush

The way to know a phony Tea Party person versus a sincere Tea Party person is to watch which of them will attack Republicans for pushing hard to return to the policies of George W. Bush.

Republicans in Congress want more Bush policies. They supported Bush policies yesterday. They support Bush policies today. The want more Bush policies tomorrow. The same Bush policies that caused the deficit, caused the recession and caused the bailout begun by George W. Bush.

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The new trophy wife

Gone are the days when a rich and influential man would desire an opera star for a status wife, as Aristotle Onassis did, or a Russian ballerina, as Keynes did. What the successful and status-conscious newly rich and influential man would want today in a trophy wife is a senator or possibly a Supreme Court justice. A lowly congresswoman wouldn’t even get you into the middle-range country clubs.

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