Social Security Fight Exposes Democratic Divide On Populism

Here’s a post by Mara Liasson of NPR News at http://keranews.org/ about how the Social Security fight has exposed the Democrat divide on the subject of populism.

American politics is having a populist moment, with voters angry and frustrated with all big institutions in American life.

The backlash against big government found its expression on the right with the Tea Party. The tensions between that movement and the Republican establishment have been on full display.

This week saw similar tensions arise among Democrats, starting with an op-ed on Monday in The Wall Street Journal by the leaders of the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way. The headline calls economic populism a “dead end for Democrats.”

“We wrote this because there needs to be a serious discussion — and this seems to be the right time to have it — about what we’re going to be doing with entitlements and investments in this country,” says co-author Jim Kessler. “There’s a belief, I think, on one end of the party — not with everybody but with some — that we can have it all, we can expand entitlements and we can have investments. And our view is that’s just not realistic.”

Kessler’s op-ed also took aim at populism as a political strategy, warning Democrats not to follow Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts over the populist cliff. Warren is a hero to those in the liberal wing of the party who see her as the scourge of Wall Street.

The op-ed got a furious response from Warren and her supporters, including Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

“Third Way is a corporate-funded think tank,” Green says. “In contrast, the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party speaks to the overwhelming majority of Americans that really want an economy that looks out for the Little Guy. And for them to take on both Social Security and Elizabeth Warren in their piece was pretty outrageous.”

A Battle Leading To 2016

Like all intraparty feuds, this one can seem a little exaggerated. After all, both Third Way and the progressive groups support the Dodd-Frank Wall Street-regulation bill, and they both support raising taxes on the wealthy.

On Social Security, both want to increase the amount of income subject to payroll taxes, although Warren and her allies would raise it more. But the center and the left do part ways on the new push by progressives to expand Social Security benefits.

“Seniors have worked their entire lives and have paid into the system, but right now, more people than ever are on the edge of financial disaster once they retire — and the numbers continue to get worse,” Warren said on the Senate floor in November. “That is why we should be talking about expanding Social Security benefits — not cutting them.”

This new populist energy in the Democratic Party is fueled by growing frustration over income inequality, a shrinking middle class and the sense that Wall Street escaped responsibility for the financial crisis.

Future ‘Key Questions’ For Democrats

Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Joe Trippi says what’s happening now is the beginning of an intraparty battle that will go on for the next three years, as Democrats prepare for the 2016 election. Trippi, who ran the 2004 populist campaign of Howard Dean for president, says the battle will be fought along the ideological fault line that divides centrist Democrats from progressives.

“Obama’s masked that,” Trippi says. “His success at winning two elections in a row has kind of masked that division in the Democratic Party, pushed it under a little bit, particularly now as 2016 nears. There isn’t somebody to bridge that gap … and you’re going to start seeing that division come out in the open a little bit.”

Any successful Democratic presidential candidate will have to rise on the support of both wings, just as Barack Obama did, and Bill Clinton before him. But Green says that any candidate will be vetted by the progressive grass roots.

“At the end of the day, whoever the Democratic nominee is will have to answer key questions, like are you going to cut Social Security benefits or are you going to embrace this new consensus position that’s growing for Social Security benefit expansion?” Green says. “Will you hold Wall Street more accountable and reform it more, or will you be in their pocket?

“Every Democrat will have to answer those questions, including Hillary Clinton. And if she answers wrong on those questions, there will be a lot of political space left for some insurgent Democrat to run and potentially pull another Obama.”

Warren says she won’t be that insurgent: She says she plans to serve out her full term in the Senate — just as Obama promised, before he changed his mind.

Keep your eye on the prize

Keep your eye on the prizeAttacking or defending the Tea Party Movement has become the focus of the political news this seasons. Whenever a Tea Party-backed candidate either wins or loses pundits all over comment.

If a candidate wins with the aid of the Tea Party movement then the Tea Party Movement is considered to be alive and kicking. If a candidate loses then according to the mainstream media the Tea Party Movement is all but dead.

The media and the left simply don’t realize that the Tea Party Movement is simply informal groups that coalesce around a particular candidate for primaries and general elections.

The general public has a false understanding of the Tea Party Movement because the media likes to interview Tea Party “leaders” who sometimes act as if they can control all of their “members”. This is the furthest thing from the truth.

Most Tea Party “members” are independent individuals who usually have a narrow focus. They’re against high taxes or government surveillance or some other libertarian/conservative gripe.

The Tea Party Movement has slowly coalesced with the Republican Party. They are now a segment or wing of the party rather than a group apart from the party.

The Tea Party Movement now needs to understand that in politics you can’t be a sore loser. If you are then bad things happen like the election of Barack Obama.

In 2010 the Republican Party lost four winnable races in Nevada, Delaware, Missouri and Indiana. If the party had won those races we would be looking at only the need to win two seats for the majority. Instead, we need to win six seats for the majority.

The Tea Party Movement needs to keep its eye on the prize. By controlling the House and the Senate the Republicans can throttle Obama’s left-wing agenda. They can negotiate better deals with the White House.

All that we need is unanimity of purpose between the Republican Party and its adopted child, the Tea Party Movement. But the party must reciprocate.

The Republican Party is spending three times as much money on advertising against other Republicans and Tea Partiers as the spend against their Democrat opponents. And that’s not right.

The RNC needs to get a handle on the intraparty spending because it wastes valuable resources that would be better used against Democrats. It’s long past time that everyone on the right recognizes that the real enemy is the Democrat left not the Republican Party or the Tea Parties.

The Tea Party’s critics still don’t understand it

Can you hear us nowThe left of center media mouthpieces are of two minds about the Tea Party movement. On the one hand they are constantly depicting the demise of the Tea Party.

At the same time and many times on the same day, the very same outlets are castigating the Tea Party as a group of crazed, extreme right-wing racists.

They can’t have it both ways, even though they constantly try. The real story is stranger than the fiction that the mainstream media is pushing.

The Tea Party sprang up in 2009 as an anti-tax movement. TEA actually means Taxed Enough Already. At first it was primarily composed of middle-class folks from 40 on up.

Various chapters, if you will, sprang up spontaneously from coast to coast. There was no central controlling headquarters then nor is there one now. Everybody is on their own.

Each group is free to advocate for any position that they wish to. Some chapters have concentrated on local issues. Other chapters work on national issues. Some concentrate on tax-and-spend issues while others highlight government waste.

Their positions range the full spectrum of American politics: taxes, Bill of Rights, current events. Wherever a chapter sees a issue worth pursuing they go after it.

But their critics simply don’t get it. They seem to think that the Tea Party is a monolithic bloc that has the power of a steam roller. That couldn’t be farther from actuality.

There is no unified party platform because the Tea Party is not a unified party. It is a movement of like-minded people who see that there are problems in America.

The Federal government is too big, too powerful and too free with our money. It really doesn’t matter which party is in power, although the Republicans are marginally better that the Democrats. Both parties have colluded to raise the national debt from $10.5 trillion to $17.5 trillion in red ink.

Both parties have been willing to kick the can down the road on numerous occasions over the past 5 1/2 years. Both parties are addicted to ‘bright, shiny things’ to spend the taxpayer’s money on.

We all know that the Democrats are capable of spending boatloads of money on social programs. But the Republicans are not slackers in the spending department.

Right now the only brake that these spendthrifts have on them is the Tea Party movement and their allies in the Republican caucuses in the Congress.

In some respects the Republican establishment is no longer what it once was. Rather, it have become leavened with the Tea Party philosophy: small government, low taxes, low spending.

After the 2014 and 2016 elections the Tea Party movement may simply be a wing within the Republican Party rather than a separate entity. But for the time being is a loose movement of like-minded people who believe that they can rescue their country from the abyss of liberalism.

You’re a Racist if…

Al Shapton accuses Republicans of RacismHere’s a post from my other blog: http://allthingspoliticaltoday.com/ that was published yesterday.

…you don’t believe that Barack Obama is a secular Messiah. What, you don’t believe that he can lower the oceans and single-handedly fix our climate problems? Then you’re a racist.

You’re a racist if you don’t believe the Democrat Party has all the answers. If you don’t believe in ObamaCare then you’re a racist. READ MORE

What’s More Important: Ideological Purity or a Majority in the Senate

Paul Revere's RideAs the 2014 election cycle moves along the Tea Party Movement needs to make a critical choice. Is it more important for Republican candidates to be ideologically pure or do we want a majority in the Senate?

During the 2010 and 2012 election cycles Tea Party-favored candidates like Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock underperformed and cost the Republican Party control of the Senate.

Elections have consequences and last week Harry Reid used the so-called :nuclear option” in the Senate. It allows him a clear field to confirm all of Barack Obama’s judicial nominees by a 51-vote majority rather than the former 60-vote threshold.

All of the losers above were ideologically pure but in every case they defeated a candidate who would have done considerably better in the general election. What’s more important, a 100% agreement on every issue or 80% agreement and a Senate seat?

The Democrats are salivating to defeat the Tea Party-endorsed Republican candidates and turn back the conservative tide. But if we don’t win with viable candidates the Democrats will continue pass laws like the Affordable Care Act and confirm extreme judicial appointees.

Not every Republican is a believer in the Tea Party philosophy. Not everyone is as pure as the driven snow when it comes to ideology. Some are pragmatic, problem solvers who simply never was endorsed by the Tea Party movement.

If they’re in favor of limited government and low taxes, then I will vote for them every time rather than see a Democrat win that seat.

So what’ll be: victory with 80% purity or defeat with 100% purity. It’s your choice and understand like the poem says: the fate of the nation may be depending on your vote.

This is how Liberals explain ObamaCare

Here’s a video from MRCTV.org that gives you the full flavor of liberals justifying the rollout of ObamaCare so far. You’ll notice that one respondent said that he wanted a single payer system all along so he’s not too concerned about this disaster.

Others deny knowledge of the current events in the face of wall to wall coverage of the rollout. One guy said that the “wealthier classes” didn’t want poor people to have healthcare. Doesn’t he understand that no one in America is denied healthcare?

This video was shot in Greenwich Village, the most liberal neighborhood in Manhattan.

 

 

It’s All The Republicans’ Fault

This post has been reprinted from allthingspoliticaltoday.com

At last, the Democrats have arrived at their plan to explain the the failure of the ObamaCare website to function properly: it’s all the Republicans’ fault. Starting with Todd Purdum on Politico the Democrat echo chamber has tried to lay the blame for the failure to launch on the Republicans. The first paragraph in Purdum’s post on Friday says it all until he gets to the last line:

To the undisputed reasons for ObamaCare’s rocky rollout — a balky website, muddied White House messaging and sudden sticker shock for individuals forced to buy more expensive health insurance — add a less acknowledged cause: calculated sabotage by Republicans at every step.           READ MORE

 

Why the Democrats don’t have an internal civil war

Tea Party protesters 2Over the last several months the mainstream media has been on fire over the differences within the Republican Party. Rinos are pointing fingers at the tea partiers, conservatives and libertarians accusing them of destroying the party with their actions.

Democrats have called the tea partiers anarchists (Harry Reid), incendiaries, racists and even Confederates (Charles Rangel). The media has mostly joined this Greek chorus of vituperation, piling on with vicious accusations.

The left and their accomplices in the media believe that the Republicans should go along to get along in budget talks. After all, why would the conservative Republicans want the Federal government to watch its spending while the Obama administration has skyrocketed the national debt by almost 70%?

Meanwhile, its strangely quiet in the Democrat Party, particularly in the Congress. Everyone quietly goes along with the party line and supports most anything that the Obama administration puts forward, with minor exceptions.

Why is that? Well, if you recall the Democrat Party had a rather strong and active “Blue Dog” wing that included many conservative Democrats. These were members who believed in a strong national defense and fiscal conservatism.

But today there are only a few “Blue Dogs” residing in the Congress. They were swept away over the last two election cycles. They were elected from districts that did not support Barack Obama and eventually the voters preferred Republicans to Republicans-light.

When the Democrats jammed through the money-wasting stimulus package and ObamaCare without a single Republican vote, the “Blue Dogs” voted for them along with the rest of the Democrats.

Well, actions have consequences and the conservative Democrats were voted out and into the dustbin of history. The Congressional Democrats are now basically a liberal/progressive party, except at election time.

The once-diverse Democrat Party, the party of John F. Kennedy and Henry “Scoop” Jackson, no longer exists. It now belongs to George Soros, Moveon.org and the far-left environmentalists.

Nancy Pelosi, their House majority leader, represents the most liberal district in the United States and that pretty much says it all. There is no counterbalance to their extremist policies.

Obama’s War on Coal, they’re all in. Obama’s cut-and-run, lead-from-the rear strategies in the Middle East and North Africa, the Democrats are marching in lockstep with him. The Keystone pipeline, don’t build it and let the Chinese buy that oil. In fact, make it difficult to drill anywhere in the United States.

In order to have an internal civil war in a political party you need to have differences of opinion that promote discussion. The Democrats have none of that. They’re like the faceless automatons from George Orwell’s 1984.

Talking points are distributed and everyone reads along. Watch them on television. Each says that exact same thing. Take the ObamaCare website fiasco.

Every Democrat says that the website that took 3 1/2 years to build will have complete functionality by the end of November. I doubt that any of them know a thing about web design. They just believe everything on that sheet of talking points. After all it came from Barack Obama, their fount of all wisdom.

Of course, around election time the Democrats who are from red districts or states try to morph into “Blue Dogs” taking about national defense, lower taxes and reining in the government. But it’s only talk. Actions speak louder than words and almost all of them still vote as their leaders instruct them. Don’t be fooled next year.

IRS Suppression of the Tea Party Swung 2012 Election

In 2010 the Democrat Party was shellacked according to none other than Barack Obama. The Tea Party Movement boosted Republican turnout by between 3 and 6 million additional voters.

Realizing the power of the new political movement it appears that the Internal Revenue Service ramped up its persecution of the Tea Party in order to suppress its turnout in the next election.

According to a new study by the American Enterprise Institute — “Do Political Protests Matter? Evidence From The Tea Party Movement” found that the movement brought out millions of additional voters but was then stalled by the IRS’ tactics.

According to co-author and AEI economist Stan Veuger: “The founders, members, and donors of new Tea Party groups found themselves incapable of exercising their constitutional rights, and the Tea Party’s impact was muted in the 2012 election cycle.”

He added: “The data show that, had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 to 8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.”

Given all of the evidence Veuger says that we need to be suspicious of the government’s story about the IRS and its penchant for blaming “rogue” agents and mistakes. It appears that the IRS set out to suppress the Tea Party Movement.

I’m not one for grand conspiracy but allow me to present my hypothesis. The Democrats were well and truly beaten by the Republicans in 2010 losing 60 seats in the House and two seats in the Senate. In addition, over 700 Democrat state legislators were defeated.

The Republicans took control of a majority of state legislatures in a year when reapportionment was occurring. This meant that the Republicans gained an institutional advantage at the local and House level.

It appears that bureaucrats either with or without White House direction decided to make life tough for the Tea Party. They made them jump through hoops to get a non-profit certificate that allowed contributors to make tax-deductible contributions to their organizations.

With the delay of this status, the effectiveness of the Tea Parties was severely curtailed to the benefit of the Democrat Party and the Obama campaign. In the end Obama was reelected after using a bagful of dirty tricks to increase his advantage.