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Archive for Saturday, April 16, 2011

Likely Republican contenders plot tea party strategies

April 16, 2011

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— It’s a tricky time of courtship.

As the tea party turns 2, the still-gelling field of Republican presidential contenders is the first class of White House hopefuls to try to figure out how to tap the movement’s energy without alienating voters elsewhere on the political spectrum.

Look no further than this weekend’s events marking the tea party’s second anniversary to see how the candidates are employing different strategies. Some will be out front as the tea party stages tax day rallies across the country. Others, not so much.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, an establishment Republican making a play for tea party support and clamoring to be heard over bigger names, is among those jumping in with both feet. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is being more coy.

Pawlenty joined a gathering on Boston Common — in the city where colonists staged the 1773 Tea Party revolt against the British government — and earlier in neighboring New Hampshire. And he’s headed for Iowa a day later for similar appearances that are likely to include “Don’t Tread on Me” banners and tirades against Washington spending.

Pawlenty led a crowd here in chanting “Yes, he did!” — a negative take on Obama’s “Yes, we can!” campaign slogan — as he listed what he called Obama’s broken promises to halve the federal deficit, contain health care costs with GOP aid and prevent 8 percent unemployment.

“Thank you for being modern-day Paul Reveres, sounding the alarm and being the patriots who are going to lead the effort to take back our country,” he said, echoing an earlier appearance in Concord.

For his part, Obama said he welcomed the activists’ work to “force some questions to the surface about who we are as a people, and what can we afford and what kind of government do we want.”

“Obviously I have very different views than many in the tea party and certainly they would say they have very different views from me in terms of the proper role of government in our society,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press, “but my general view is that the more engaged the American people are, the more focused they are, then the better off our democracy will be over the long term.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, perhaps the Republican most closely identified with the tea party, is slated to attend a weekend tea party rally at the Wisconsin Capitol, the site of recent protests over legislation that would strip union rights for most public workers.

Tea party darling Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, all but drafted into the race by tea partyers, plans to share the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse with another of the movement’s favorite daughters, Gov. Nikki Haley.

And little-known businessman Herman Cain, who is hoping tea party backing can make him more than a longshot, planned to hit rallies in New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan and Texas.

“A sleeping giant — we the people — has awakened, and it’s not going back to sleep,” Cain said. “We the people are still in charge of this country, no matter what you decide to call us.”

Real estate magnate Donald Trump, who says he’s serious about running, picked a tea party rally in Boca Raton, Fla., to make his stand.

And former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told a crowd on the New Hampshire Statehouse’s lawn that the 2012 election is a choice between the nation’s founding fathers or Obama.

“Are we a country that is again going to believe in ourselves, in free people, in limited government, so we can transform the world and leave our country better than we found it?”

Comments

jonas_opines 3 years ago

"try to figure out how to tap the movement’s energy without alienating voters elsewhere on the political spectrum."

I'm not so sure that's at all possible.

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mloburgio 3 years ago

                        "Republican Tea Party Contract on America"                                                        1. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Health Insurance Reform)

Put insurance companies back in charge, repeal tax credits for small businesses, allow insurance companies to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions and to drop coverage when a person gets too sick and make prescription drugs for seniors less affordable.

  1. Privatize Social Security or phase it out altogether

Turn the guaranteed retirement benefits of America's seniors over to Wall Street CEOs by putting Social Security at risk in the stock market or, as some Republicans have called for, phase out Social Security altogether and end a program millions of American seniors rely on for their survival.

  1. End Medicare as it presently exists

Phase out and end Medicare as it presently exists for future generations of seniors -- ending Medicare's guaranteed healthcare benefits for more than 40 million American seniors -- and replace it with a voucher system which will result in higher premiums and fewer services for seniors.

  1. Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil

At a cost of nearly $700 billion, extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and big oil, which are set to expire and which have and will continue to explode the federal budget deficit.

  1. Repeal Wall Street Reform

Roll back the toughest consumer protections ever enacted, allow banks to continue to grow too big to fail, and ensure that predatory lenders continue to utilize their most abusive practices.

  1. Protect those responsible for the oil spill and future environmental catastrophes

Cap liabilities for those responsible for environmental disasters like the Gulf oil spill and let companies like BP decide which victims deserve compensation for the disaster and what the timeline for relief should be.

  1. Abolish the Department of Education

Put the big banks back in charge of student loans and put an end to federal assistance for public schools.

  1. Abolish the Department of Energy

End America's investments in a clean-energy future and disband the organization responsible for oversight of nuclear materials.

  1. Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency

Gut the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act -- which together protect our kids from air pollution and keep drinking water safe -- and disband the watchdog that holds polluters accountable.

  1. Repeal the 17th Amendment

Take away your right to pick your U.S. Senator.

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