Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party movement’

Did the IRS Win the Election for Obama?

June 24, 2013
Official photographic portrait of US President...

The President? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One rather alarming possibility of the consequences of the IRS delaying tax exempt status and otherwise harassing Tea Party groups is that they were unable to organize as effectively in 2012 as they had been in 2010 and so were less able to bring needed voters to the polls and defeat President Obama. In this article in RealClearMarkets, Stan Veuger discusses the possibility that the White House was behind a deliberate attempt to neutralize political opponents using the power of the state.

The controversy over the IRS’s harassment of conservative groups continues. President Obama’s team continues to blame low-level bureaucrats. Some conservatives suspect a more sinister explanation: that the levers of government were used to attack an existential threat to the president’s 2012 reelection. The president and his party dismiss this as a paranoid fantasy. The evidence, however, is enough to make one believe that targeting Tea Party groups would have been an effective campaign strategy going into the 2012 election cycle.

It is a well-known fact that the Tea Party movement dealt the president his famous “shellacking” in the 2010 mid-term election. Less well-known is the actual number of votes this new movement delivered-and the continuing effects these votes could have had in 2012 had the movement not been de-mobilized by the IRS.

In a new research paper, Andreas Madestam (from Stockholm University), Daniel Shoag and David Yanagizawa-Drott (both from the Harvard Kennedy School), and I set out to find out how much impact the Tea Party had on voter turnout in the 2010 election. We compared areas with high levels of Tea Party activity to otherwise similar areas with low levels of Tea Party activity, using data from the Census Bureau, the FEC, news reports, and a variety of other sources. We found that the effect was huge: the movement brought the Republican Party some 3-6 million additional votes in House races. That is an astonishing boost, given that all Republican House candidates combined received fewer than 45 million votes. It demonstrates conclusively how important the party’s newly energized base was to its landslide victory in those elections, and how worried Democratic strategists must have been about the conservative movement’s momentum.

The Tea Party movement’s huge success was not the result of a few days of work by an elected official or two, but involved activists all over the country who spent the year and a half leading up to the midterm elections volunteering, organizing, donating, and rallying. Much of these grassroots activities were centered around 501(c)4s, which according to our research were an important component of the Tea Party movement and its rise.

The bottom line is that the Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes-more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012. 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 – 8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.

President Obama’s margin of victory in some of the key swing states was fairly small: a mere 75,000 votes separated the two contenders in Florida, for example. That is less than 25% of our estimate of what the Tea Party’s impact in Florida was in 2010. Looking forward to 2012 in 2010 undermining the Tea Party’s efforts there must have seemed quite appealing indeed.

 

The emphasis is mine. Is it possible that the Obama White House and the Obama reelection campaign (which were really the same thing) used the power of the government to suppress voter turnout? Liberals are always accusing conservatives of seeking voter suppression. Given their habit of projection, isn’t it possible that this was their strategy for the 2012 campaign?

Veuger goes on.

Unfortunately for Republicans, the IRS slowed Tea Party growth before the 2012 election. In March 2010, the IRS decided to single Tea Party groups out for special treatment when applying for tax-exempt status by flagging organizations with names containing “Tea Party,” “patriot,” or “9/12.” For the next two years, the IRS approved the applications of only four such groups, delaying all others while subjecting the applicants to highly intrusive, intimidating requests for information regarding their activities, membership, contacts, Facebook posts, and private thoughts.

As a consequence, 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. As Toby Marie Walker, who runs the Waco Tea Party, which filed for tax-exempt status in 2010 but didn’t receive approval until two months ago, recounted recently: “Our donors dried up. It was intimidating and time-consuming.” The Richmond Tea Party went through a similar ordeal, and was only granted tax-exempt status in December, right after the election–three years after its initial request. Its chairman explained the consequences: the episode cost the Richmond Tea Party $17,000 in legal fees and swallowed time the all-volunteer network would have devoted to voter turnout, outreach in black and Latino neighborhoods and other events to highlight the constitution and “the concept of liberty.”

We certainly can’t have outreach in Black and Latino neighborhoods. That might conflict with the narrative that the Tea Party is composed of middle-aged White racists.

It might be purely accidental that the government targeted precisely this biggest threat to the president. It may just be that a bureaucracy dominated by liberals picked up on not-so-subtle dog whistles from its political leadership. Or, it might be that direct orders were given. In any case, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to note that the president’s team was competent enough to recognize the threat from the Tea Party and take it seriously. The Obama campaign has made no secret of its efforts to revolutionize turnout models for the most recent campaign. Its remarkable competence turning out its own voters has been widely discussed, and it seems quite plausible that efforts to suppress the Republican vote would have been equally sophisticated.

We may never know to what exact extent the federal government diverted votes from Governor Romney and thus, how much it influenced the course of a presidential election in the world’s oldest democracy. At the very least, however, Americans of all political persuasions can be forgiven for a little cynicism when the president has the nerve to say, as he did on May 5th in his commencement address to graduates of the Ohio State University: “You’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. You should reject these voices.” And that cynicism, that lack of trust in the country’s governing institutions, becomes harmful quite easily: when the people are asked to have faith in the NSA’s efforts to protect the nation from terrorist threats, for example.

Concerning the revelations of the massive surveilance programs of the NSA, I would think that some such program would be necessary to protect us from terrorists, yet the obvious disdain that the current president has for the concept of liberty and the temptation that any president would have to abuse the access to the kind of information that the NSA has been gathering makes me wonder which is the greater threat, the terrorists or our own government. Also, with the analyses that show that President Obama won re-election by harassing his opponent’s supporters,can we regard the election of 2012 as a stolen election and Obama as illegitimate?

 

Two Revolutions

March 13, 2013

Rand Paul gives his opinion on two recent populist movements, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. I read about his comments at the Washington Examiner.

Speaking yesterday at a National Review breakfast, Sen. Rand Paul R-Ky. explained what he thought about the Tea Party movement vs. the Occupy Wall Street movement, as Jon Ward reports in the Huffington Post.
“The Tea Party, I always say, is more like the American Revolution, and Occupy Wall Street is more the French Revolution,” Paul said.

Paul explained that the Tea Party looked back to the rule of law.

“We hearken back to sort of rules,” Paul said, identifying with the Tea Party. “We weren’t unhappy with people just because they were rich; we weren’t happy with you if you were making money off of our taxes and we were bailing you out. If you were making $100 million, your bank goes bankrupt and all of a sudden we bail you out and you’re still making $100 million — that upset us.”

Occupy Wall Street, Paul suggested was more of an emotional protest.

“I think Occupy Wall Street was more of a generic sort of, ‘We just hate people who have any money, and why can’t they give it to us?’ kind of thing,” he said.

I agree, though I would identify the two movements in slightly different terms, orcs vs. hobbits.

 

I Expect an Apology

November 7, 2011

In light of the increasing lawlessness and violence coming out of the Occupy movement, I wonder when we can expect an apology from the Democrats and the media who kept worrying about the non-existent lawlessness and violence of the TEA Party.

It would also be nice for me personally to get an apology from my idiot liberal brother who compared the Tea Partiers to Nazis, but that will never happen. He supports the idea of political violence, as long as it is on his side.

Occupy Wall Street Anti-Semitism

October 13, 2011

Remember how the Main Stream Media insisted that the TEA party movement was racist, despite all evidence to the contrary. They even imagined that anti-Obamacare protesters shouted racial slurs at members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Amazingly no one managed to capture these comments on video, in an age when everybody has a camera in their cell phone.

Well, Zombie has some pictures of the good people at Occupy Los Angeles over at Pajamas Media. Apparently some of the people at the Occupy protests are just a little well anti-Semitic.

I am not quite sure these people represent 99% of the American population. Maybe 99% of Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

There’s more, including videos at Pajamas Media.

 

 

 

Left Wing Tea Party

August 18, 2011

Ron Radosh wrote an article on Van Jones‘s attempt to build a left wing version of the Tea Party movement. They are calling this one the American Dream Movement and I suppose they will be building a grassroots progressive movement to counter the Koch brothers funded astroturfed Tea Party.

You remember Obama’s departed Green czar, the once self-proclaimed revolutionary Communist Van Jones? Well, the man is back. According to Michelle Goldberg, writing  in The Daily Beast, on July 23 Jones threw a Washington, D.C., party to announce the creation of what he predicts will be the left-wing’s Tea Party, which he calls the “American Dream Movement.” Goldberg writes:

Launched at a July 23 event in New York City that was part rally, party dance party, the American Dream Movement aims to restore the fight for economic justice to the center of progressive politics. On Aug. 9, the movement put out its crowd-sourced “Contract for the American Dream,” a 10-point economic manifesto that called for new investments in education and infrastructure; higher taxes for corporations, Wall Street and the wealthy; and curbs on lobbyists. The next day, it was published as a full-page ad in The New York Times. Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois will soon introduce the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act, legislation based on the document.

Here’s a little more from the Daily Beast.

Like the Tea Party, the American Dream Movement is intended to be open-source, meaning that all sorts of different groups planning all sorts of different actions are encouraged to unite under its banner. But it will also have an umbrella organization, called Rebuild the Dream, which Jones is creating in concert with MoveOn.org. “If the American Dream Movement is the Tea Party, then Rebuild the Dream is Americans for Prosperity or the Tea Party Express,” says Justin Ruben, MoveOn’s executive director.

That’s not the only parallel. The American Dream Movement is intended to put a name on a preexisting political force, just as the Tea Party did. Part of the inspiration for the movement came from the demonstrations against right-wing economic policies in Wisconsin and Ohio. Since then, there have been protests nationwide, some in unexpected places. In April, Montana saw one of its biggest rallies ever when 1,500 people gathered in front of the capitol to protest budget cuts. In July, 800 people demonstrated on behalf of public-school teachers in Ogden, Utah. These protests have received far less attention than the Tea Party. “There’s been an unprecedented wave of activity that’s had no common banner, and so nobody noticed,” says Ruben.

I am not sure that a rally of 1000 or so bussed in union goons is quite the same as the Tea Party, but at least they’re trying. But, I thought the Coffee Party was the Left’s answer, or the One Nation movement, or whatever else they’ve been trying.

This link is far from sympathetic to the Tea Party. I gather the writer feels that Progressives are just to well-informed and sophisticated to follow a movement so simple-minded. They are right about the cultural differences though. The reason the Tea Party is unlikely to be matched on the left is simply because the Tea Party does a much better job of expressing  American values and ideals. Most people on the Left, the kind who go in for the Coffee Party, etc. sound like they just emerged from a time warp from the 1930’s Soviet Union.

Conservatives are Hobbits, Liberals are Orcs

August 15, 2011

There has been a certain amount of controversy generated by this article in the Wall Street Journal in which tea partiers are called Hobbits.

But what none of these critics have is an alternative strategy for achieving anything nearly as fiscally or politically beneficial as Mr. Boehner’s plan. The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

John McCain took up this theme and read from the editorial while speaking on the Senate floor. I know both McCain and the Wall Street Journal meant to be derisive of Tea Party efforts to at least address our out of control spending before raising the debt ceiling, but considering that the Hobbits were the good guys who defeated Sauron, I’ll take the term as a compliment.

The Hobbits of Middle Earth are hard-working, quiet and contented people. They obey the laws and respect legitimate authority. They reverence the family and tradition. They do not go out of their way to seek adventures or trouble but they are as fierce as a dragon when cornered. They do not back down when threatened. They vigorously opposed Saruman’s redistribution schemes. In other words they are like conservatives, especially the Tea Party variety. The people who make up the Tea Parties are not the sort who spend their lives going out to protests. Like Hobbits, they would rather stay at home in the Shire. But, when the Dark Lord threatens all that is good in Middle Earth, they reluctantly go off to fight.

Hobbits on their way to a Tea Party

Orcs are dirty, crude and foul-mouthed. They are violent and seek out fights. They do not revere family or tradition but worship only raw power. This is why they willingly follow every evil creature who plagues Middle Earth. They do not like to work for themselves but prefer to take from other. They are liberals. Like Orcs, liberals are foul-mouthed and crude. (Tune into MSNBC if you don’t believe me.) They don’t care for tradition or the family or even the rule of law. And, like orcs, liberals blindly support every genocidal dictator who comes into power.

Liberals

So, there you have it. You can choose for yours, but I would rather be a Hobbit than an Orc, whatever John Grima McCain has to say.

 

Timothy Furnish at Pajamas Media takes all of this a lot further than I have with The Middle Earth Guide to Campaign 2012.

 


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