Politically, we’ve always had eccentric/loony billionaires that occasionally get involved in big campaigns, but this year we’ve spawned herds of them, marching across the landscape, lowing about socialism and leaving behind vast dumps of TV ads and old Newt Gingrich buttons. Dozens and dozens of little Congressional candidates are attached to their hides, waiting to jump off and start new Tea Party epidemics in the azaleas.
We need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, (audience boos) and my dear friend the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain’t on the table. Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.
I don’t know a single Tea Party person who does not despise Mitt Romney to the very core of their being.
– Karen Martin, head of the Spartanburg (South Carolina) Tea Party. This quote is from a great New York Times Sunday Magazine article, The Tea Party’s Not-So-Civil War, describing the strength of the Tea Party in South Carolina. From the article, which is worth a full read:
When you talk to activists around the state, as I did recently during a weeklong visit, you hear a lot about Romney’s record on health care, specifically, and about his ideological squishiness in general. But you also come to understand that the antipathy in Tea Party circles is more visceral. It’s a reaction to what they perceive as Romney’s synthetic and calculating persona, the sense that he somehow embodies everything that’s false and impenetrable about the parties in Washington. And so South Carolina, which will hold its presidential primary Jan. 21, is the place where two powerful political vehicles — Mitt Romney’s establishment-backed campaign and the three-year-old Tea Party insurgency — will collide full force. It’s here where Tea Party activists have expected to assert their influence over the party’s nominating process. For most of them, that means, above all, stopping Mitt.
It could be a very interesting primary next week.
I think about some of the presidents we’ve had on my side of the aisle — Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., go right through them, Eisenhower — they would be stunned.
– Former GOP Senator Chuck Hagel, bemoaning the lack of responsibility of current GOP leadership. Video of full discussion below.
It is critical for politicians and investors alike to distinguish between cause and effect, disease and symptom. Washington has been operating the past few months under the assumption that the United States and our euro-zone economic trading partners are experiencing a debt crisis that must be resolved by exorcising excessive spending in the near term. To Republicans, and even many co-opted Democrats, the debate starts with spending cuts and how much must be done to appease voters and the markets, both now and in November, when the “Gang of Twelve” committee that resulted from the debt-ceiling deal potentially follows through with its mandate…
Tighten the budget via spending cuts, reduce the deficit and voilá — economic growth will blossom.
But while our debt crisis is real and promises to grow to Frankenstein proportions in future years, debt is not the disease — it is a symptom. Lack of aggregate demand or, to put it simply, insufficient consumption and investment is the disease. Debt has been simply an abused sovereign and private market antidote to sustain it. We and our global market competitors are and have been experiencing a lack of aggregate demand for several decades. It is now only visibly coming to a head, as the magic elixir of leverage is drained and exhausted. …
The president and Congress must recognize that an AA-plus country, to remain AA-plus, must focus on growth, not debt reduction, in the short term. We have a debt problem — but primarily a crisis of aggregate demand. A 21st-century Keynes would have recognized this and sounded the alarm, pointing out that policymakers from a fiscal perspective are pointing us toward recession and the destructive 1930s instead of a low-growth but still breathing U.S. economy of the 21st century.
– Bill Gross, founder and co-chief investment officer of the investment management firm Pimco, from an op-ed yesterday in The Washington Post.
You can count me as a 21st (and 20th) century Keynesian.
The entire piece is worth a careful read.
In our view, the difficulty in framing a consensus on fiscal policy weakens the government’s ability to manage public finances and diverts attention from the debate over how to achieve more balanced and dynamic economic growth in an era of fiscal stringency and private-sector deleveraging (ibid). A new political consensus might (or might not) emerge after the 2012 elections, but we believe that by then, the government debt burden will likely be higher, the needed medium-term fiscal adjustment potentially greater, and the inflection point on the U.S. population’s demographics and other age-related spending drivers closer at hand.
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Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 [Bush] tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act. Key macroeconomic assumptions in the base case scenario include trend real GDP growth of 3% and consumer price inflation near 2% annually over the decade.
– Standard & Poor’s, explaining its view of the core problem in the US that lead to its credit rating downgrade. Does anyone think this will lead to greater willingness to compromise on the part of the Republicans?
Update: And if you still think that the refusal of the Republicans to compromise was not at the heart of S&P’s ratings downgrade, check this out from the Wall Street Journal:
The “conclusion was pretty much motivated by all of the debate about the raising of the debt ceiling,” John Chambers, chairman of S&P’s sovereign ratings committee, said in an interview. “It involved a level of brinksmanship greater than what we had expected earlier in the year.”
Here is a fascinating piece written by Michael Lind. He main assertion is that the Tea Party is largely a creature of the South, and its actions are part of a historical trend of former Confederate states who act to de-legitimize the Federal government.
Today’s Tea Party movement is merely the latest of a series of attacks on American democracy by the white Southern minority, which for more than two centuries has not hesitated to paralyze, sabotage or, in the case of the Civil War, destroy American democracy in order to get their way.
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The debt ceiling crisis is the latest case in which the radical right in the South has held America hostage until its demands are met. Presidents Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln refused to appease the Southern fanatics. Unfortunately, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress chose not to follow their example and instead gave in. In doing so, they have encouraged the neo-Confederate minority in Congress to find yet another opportunity in the near future to extort concessions from America’s majority by sabotaging America’s government.
Lind makes a good case.
- Why conservatives ♥ celebrating the Confederacy (thegrio.com)
You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them.
– Joe Nocera, referring to negotiating with the Tea Party, in an op-ed in the New York Times. Well worth a read.
As the Tea Partiers are showing no indications of being willing to compromise at all, the only way a deal can be done is for moderate House Republicans—those who appreciate that default would be hugely damaging for the country—to side with Democrats to pass a bill that the Senate and the president can sign.
– Ian Shepherdson, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics.
I guess we have to take the Tea Party members at their own words. Check out this rather stunning list of core principles of the Oregon Tea Party. Full on nutcases.
Tea Partiers claim they are not racist. But let’s look at two examples.
First, here is an image emailed last week by Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the Orange County GOP committee and Tea Party activist. Below the image she typed: “Now you know why — No birth certificate”
Not racist? You decide.
A second example is this video, wherein the Tea Party member engages in such charming name-calling as “Niggra race pimps” and yet claims not to be racist.
- Republican Tea Partiers just can’t seem to get enough of those Obama/black people/chimpanzee jokes | Crooks and Liars (adelaidegreenporridgecafe.blogspot.com)
- Republican Tea Partiers just can’t seem to get enough of those Obama/black people/chimpanzee jokes (crooksandliars.com)
- Marilyn Davenport Tea Party Activist and Orange County GOP member step down.. (artikleblak.wordpress.com)
- Republican Official Sends Racist Pictures of President Obama (jonathanturley.org)
This official Tea Party Agenda has just leaked out on the Net.