Tag Archives: tea party

temper tantrum on Capitol Hill … AFL – CIO

I just got a message from our Government Affairs director, Bill Samuel, telling me about a temper tantrumon Capitol Hill.It’s flat-out heartless for lawmakers to go home and enjoy the holidays, while their political posturing causes millions of families across America to suffer anxiety and heartbreak. But House Speaker John Boehner is threatening to do just that.

He says he’ll block unemployment aid and raise taxes on working families—even though 89 senators from both sides of the aisle already voted to extend the aid and keep the tax cut in place.

Failing to extend emergency unemployment aid and middle-class tax cuts is cruel and wrong. Cruel because it takes away a lifeline for families that need it. Wrong because it delivers two massive blows to our fragile economy.

I need you to stop what you’re doing, pick up the phone and dial 1-888-245-3381. Tell the person who answers the phone: “Please pass the Senate’s bill to extend unemployment aid and middle-class tax cuts immediately.”

You can also call House Speaker John Boehner at 202-225-0600. Tell him, “ You and your Tea Party supporters can’t keep hurting the American people just so you can get what you want. Stop this temper tantrum and pass the Senate’s bipartisan bill to extend unemployment aid and middle-class tax cuts now.”

If you want to learn more about the deal, keep reading. I’m forwarding a message from Bill. But the most important thing is for you to pick up the phone, right now.
—–Original Message—–

From: Bill Samuel
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 10:40 AM
To: Richard L. Trumka
Subject: Temper Tantrum on Capitol Hill


As I mentioned this weekend, the Senate passed a bipartisan deal with 89 votes to keep emergency unemployment benefits going for two months and extend middle-class tax cuts.

This was not just a bipartisan deal–it passed with an overwhelming super-majority.

This two-month extension seemed like a done deal. But this morning, we got word that John Boehner and his Tea Party friends are threatening to blow up the whole thing. The Senate has already left town. This is really bad.

The only thing that might be able to save emergency unemployment and middle-class tax cuts is a flood of phone calls from outraged constituents. Can you ask our activists to make emergency phone calls today?

The toll-free number we need people to call today is 1-888-245-3381. People should demand their representative pass the Senate’s bipartisan bill to extend unemployment aid and tax cuts for working families.

They can also call House Speaker John Boehner and tell him the same thing. His number is 202-225-0600.

A House vote is expected as early as 6:30 p.m. eastern time tonight, but people should keep calling in and spreading the word to friends and family in case the vote gets delayed.

I wish I had better news–but with activists’ help we might be able to make this come out OK.

— Bill

NATIONAL SECURITY: GOP Divided On Foreign Policy

Last week, the House Republican leadership released their “Pledge to America” in an attempt to outline the Republican plan for governing. Yet, despite being 45 pages long and having an entire section devoted to national security, “the Pledge” almost completely ignores the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, the words “Iraq” and “Afghanistan” are mentioned only once and that was only in reference to Iran. The failure of the Pledge to address the wars exposes both a shocking disregard for those fighting and dying on the part of Republican-initiated wars, as well as a clear absence of any of the ideas about how to bring these conflicts to an end. It also demonstrates that the Republican Party is now completely divided on foreign policy. The emergence of the Tea Party movement may have energized the right-wing base, but it also has exposed a sharp split over foreign policy between nativist-isolationists and war-seeking interventionist neoconservatives. The only thing that seemingly unites the diverging groups is Islamophobia. The traditional Republican foreign policy establishment of national security realists, once the counter-balancing force to both these strains, have seen their influence in the party rapidly shrink. Much of the disarray is a result of the disastrous Bush years, which has seen national security increasingly emerge as a political strength for progressives, especially after progressives campaigned successfully against the war in Iraq in 2006 and 2008 and with President Obama polling higher on his handling of national security than on other issues. This poses a real challenge for the right. As the Center for American Progress’ Brian Katulis concludes, “The Bush administration’s ‘global war on terror’ and overall reckless approach to foreign policy may end up doing to Republicans what the Vietnam War did to Democrats for many years: leave them stuck in the past as they refight defense policies, internally divided and searching for a coherent message on national security.”

WHAT WARS?: The Pledge’s failure to address the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is striking considering that just a few years after, Bush declared himself a “war president” and Republicans were more trusted on national security than Democrats. There now appears to be no unified GOP position on Iraq or Afghanistan, defense spending, or global engagement. The emergence of the Tea Party movement has exposed a split in which limited government libertarian conservatives clash with those seeking to expand the power and reach of the national security apparatus of the state both at home and abroad. The New York Times‘ Peter Baker writes in Foreign Policy, “When it comes to foreign policy, the unity of the Tea Party stops at the water’s edge. Its leaders are hopelessly divided over everything from the war in Afghanistan and counterterrorism policies to free trade and the promotion of democracy abroad. And with the Tea Party increasingly serving as the Republican Party’s driving force, the schism underscores the emerging foreign-policy debate on the American right. So recently united behind President George W. Bush‘s war on terror, Republicans now find themselves splintering into familiar interventionist and isolationist factions, with the Dick Cheney side of the party eager to reshape the world versus the economic populists more concerned about cutting taxes at home than spending them on adventures abroad.” Katulis notes, “The last time Republicans were so sharply at odds was the party’s debate with its isolationist wing before World War II.” He adds that “dissension in the Republican ranks was on full display in the conservative reactions to the Obama administration’s National Security Strategy this spring. Conservative foreign policy analysts couldn’t decide whether to accuse the Obama administration of plagiarism or treason. Some praised the strategy as a continuation of the Bush administration’s approach; others condemned it as a recipe for weakness and an appeasement of America’s enemies.” The split was also evident when Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele was ferociously repudiated by neoconservative torch-bearers after advocating not to “engage in a land war in Afghanistan.” Yet, as Baker notes, “when nearly half a million Tea Party supporters voted online to define their campaign agenda, not a single one of the 10 planks they agreed on had anything to do with the world beyond America’s borders.”

ISLAMOPHOBIA UNITES: In the eight points put forward in the Pledge’s national security section, there is no plan or concept for how to engage the world. Instead, the one area that appears to unite Republicans is nativist bigotry toward Muslims and Hispanics. Five of the eight points within the Republican plan on foreign policy actually have more to do with immigration policy and keeping people out of America. It is no coincidence that this past summer, right-wing Islamophobic protests emerged across the country, ginned up by a combination of Tea Partiers and neoconservatives. Groups like “Keep America Safe,” led by Elizabeth Cheney and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, sought to stoke fear and hate of Muslims over the Islamic community center in New York and other neoconservatives like Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Studies claim that Sharia law is threatening to take over the U.S. As CAP’s Matt Duss assesses, “in order to reposition themselves to retake the reins of power, the Cheneys must rescue the ‘global war on terror’ from the ash heap of history, and they’re doing this by playing the one card they’ve got: fear. Their larger goal, then, is to resuscitate the neocons’ post-September 11 vision of a world in which the United States, unbound by rules or reality, imposes its will on friend and enemy alike.” These claims also play well off the conspiratorial fears of Tea Partiers who believe that President Obama is a Muslim who wasn’t born in the United States and of those that believe “their country” is being taken away from them by immigrants.

SHRINKING OLD GUARD: One group that is rapidly loosing sway within the Republican Party is the former old guard made up of traditional foreign policy realists. This group includes conservative stalwarts and the Secretaries of State of every Republican President in the last 40 years, including Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Baker, and Colin Powell. While skeptical of international entanglements, they also understand the need for America’s global engagement. Perhaps no other issue exposes how far much of the Republican party has moved to the right than the debate over the New START treaty with Russia. The treaty updates and extends a treaty that was negotiated by President Reagan and ratified under President George H.W. Bush by a senate vote of 93-6. After months of review, it is now likely that the New START treaty will be ratified if brought to a vote. Since the recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote which saw three Republicans Richard Lugar, Bob Corker, and Johnny Isakson vote for the treaty, it should have the support of enough Republicans to reach the 67 votes needed for ratification. While the committee vote on New START was seen as a shocking level of bipartisanship, the mere fact that the treaty has not moved more rapidly through the senate and the level of disagreement on the right is a sign of the declining influence of the Republican foreign policy establishment, which has almost unanimously come out in support of the treaty. New START has the support of Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, Colin Powell, James Baker James Schlesinger, Stephen Hadley, and the unanimous backing of the top brass of the U.S. military. Yet the Republican leadership in the Senate have yet to support it, and the Heritage Foundation,GOP Sens. James Inhofe (OK) and Jim DeMint (SC), and Mitt Romney have all opposed the treaty.

Politics: HuffPost Alert

Obama To Tea Party: ‘Identify, Specifically, What Would You Do?’

September 20, 2010

White House advisers on Monday pushed back hard against a New York Times report that the administration is ready to launch a full-frontal assault on the Tea Party movement as the November elections approach. No such plans are being made, insisted senior advisers. And, sure enough, the Times quickly modified its story into something a bit duller.

In a town hall meeting broadcast live by CNBC on Monday, however, President Obama seemed to be reading off the initial script. Pressed by an audience member to weigh in on what exactly drives the Tea Party, Obama, in no uncertain terms, accused the movement’s members of refusing to talk in specifics.

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Racists make good TV

Have you watched cable news lately? The Tea Baggers are everywhere!

The Tea Party is news because they’ve won a few upset primaries — but let’s be honest — that’s not the only reason they’re getting wall-to-wall coverage.  Honestly, that weirdly racist tinge makes for good TV. Bizarre, wide-eyed accusations of the President and hilariously misspelled signs demanding an English-only country will drive up news ratings. I don’t mind, though. People should know about these extremists.

But the best-kept secret of 2010 is that progressives have won primaries up and down the ballot all across the country — way more than Tea Party. That’s right — Progressive challengers have beat out fabled “Mama Grizzlies” in state after state.

Just this week, progressive champion Ann McLane Kuster won a landslide victory in New Hampshire. Earlier this year, progressives won big upset victories in Pennsylvania with Joe Sestak, in North Carolina with Elaine Marshall and in Kentucky with Jack Conway — and that’s just in U.S. Senate races.

But DFA doesn’t just support Senate candidates. We support progressives up and down the ballot in all 50 states. In fact, 67 percent of all DFA-endorsed candidates won their primaries this year. 67 percent! That’s a great record and we couldn’t do it without you. We depend on small contributions from DFA members to make it happen.

Contribute $10 right now and keep beating the Tea Party this November.

With the 2010 Democratic primaries over, just take a look at the work we did together this season:

  • 43 primary endorsements
    • 15 federal
    • 28 non-federal
  • 67.4 percent of endorsed candidates won their primaries
    • 60 percent of federal candidates won
    • 71.4 percent of non-federal candidates won

We didn’t just endorse candidates who we were sure-things or had big names, either. We endorsed local candidates like Toni Preckwinkle in Chicago. She was a reformer running against a corrupt incumbent for Cook County Board President. It was a tough fight, but she ran a grassroots campaign and scored a landslide win in the primary.

We endorsed winning candidates in tough primaries in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and a whole lot of other states. That’s the DFA strategy at work — electing progressive in primaries across the country to take our country back with people-powered campaigns.

The DFA Strategy worked for progressives in the primaries — Contribute $10 now to finish the job in November.

Can’t get enough? Here’s a few more numbers from 2010 primaries. We endorsed four U.S. Senate candidates, 11 U.S. House candidates, three gubernatorial candidates, four candidates running for other statewide office, 16 candidates for State House or State Senate, and five candidates for county or municipal offices — across 24 states.

That’s 43 candidates total — 29 wins — and we couldn’t done it without you.

Now that the primary season is over, all the focus is on winning in November and finishing the job. We must defeat Tea Party Republicans everywhere and we can’t do it without your support.

Contribute $10 today and beat the Tea Baggers in November.

Come November 3, the only reason the Tea Party should be on TV is for losing a lot of elections.

Working together, we’re going to make that happen. Thanks you for everything you do to move America forward.


Arshad Hasan, Executive Director
Democracy for America

Democracy for America relies on you and the people-power of more than one million members to fund the grassroots organizing and training that delivers progressive change on the issues that matter. Please Contribute Today and support our mission.

Must Read …MMA

Media Matters August 25, 2010

How did the atmosphere of hope and forward progress around the 2008 election turn into today’s toxic stew of anger, paranoia, and distrust?

Why do so many people believe already-disproven falsehoods about President Obama’s birthplace, religion, and ideology?

Why is our news cycle increasingly driven by phony scandals, fearmongering, and political opportunists?

It’s no accident — and Media Matters Senior Fellow Will Bunch explains it in his must-read new book, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama.

Pre-order “The Backlash” today.

Bunch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, reveals the secrets behind the crusade against Obama, exploring how forces like radical militia groups, the Tea Party, pro-gun zealots, and Glenn Beck have combined old-fashioned populist outrage with digital-age phobias to produce a wave of resentment that many have ridden straight to the bank. It’s a well-researched, compelling book uncovering a dangerous political moment that poses legitimate risks to democracy in America. The Backlash hits stores Aug. 31 — but you can pre-order your copy today.

Pre-order “The Backlash” today.

To understand our political environment, you must understand the sources of myths and smears, and the machine that elevates them to the top of our national conversation. With The Backlash, Bunch provides an essential guide.

David Brock

Media Matters for America