Posts Tagged ‘tea party’
Last week, the Internal Revenue Service informed the House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means that they had “lost” nearly three years worth of emails from Lois Lerner, the disgraced IRS official at the center of the scandal involving the IRS targeting of conservative and tea party groups, because her computer crashed. Naturally, many were skeptical of the claim given its questionable convenience.
Many also arrived at the logical conclusion that if the IRS had actually “lost” Lerner’s emails, then surely they would be able to recover them from the emails of other officials at the IRS that she was communicating with. Yet, today the IRS announced that it has also “lost” the emails of six other high-level officials at the center of the investigation into the suppression of conservative groups by the agency.
The Obama administration promised to be the most transparent administration in history, little did we know this would mean they could make things disappear entirely. Given the convenient details of the misplaced emails this is clearly not a computer problem, as the IRS claims. This is a fundamental failure of leadership at the highest levels and a betrayal of the nation’s trust. ‘It’s a glitch’ may as well be the 21st Century version of ‘I am not a crook.’
As Charles Krauthammer said, “Nixon was a piker to the Obama Administration when it comes to concealment, hiding, or pretending that they can’t find stuff.”
Think about it. Why didn’t Nixon use the excuse that the recording system crashed? Maybe he wasn’t as corrupt as our current administration.
The overly convenient and lousy excuses coming from the Obama administration are generally reserved for guilty adolescents and banana republics. It’s clear that the administration has moved from obstructing the activity of conservative and tea party groups to stonewalling Congress by whatever means necessary.
The rampant cover-up by the IRS of its targeting of conservatives is beyond outrage. If this were a Republican administration, Democrats would have already drawn up articles of impeachment. You doubt that? Democrats introduced six different impeachment resolutions during President George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House. Republicans have introduced exactly zero impeachment resolutions against Obama.
I think it is past time for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the IRS from top to bottom. It’s clear that a deceitful administration will not police itself.
There was a seismic event on Tuesday night in the 7th District of Virginia as sitting U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost in a landslide to a virtually unknown tea party candidate. It’s quite rare for a Member of leadership to lose an election. The most recent examples are when John Thune beat Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle for the Senate in 2004 and when Speaker Tom Foley lost to George Nethercutt in 1994. Before that, you have to reach all the way back to 1952, when the sitting United States Senate Majority Leader lost to a young, upstart businessman named Barry Goldwater.
Sometimes politics is just crazy interesting. Cantor losing is crazy interesting.
How did it happen?
The immediate conventional wisdom being pushed by the D.C. chattering class is that Cantor’s willingness to support comprehensive immigration reform was THE reason. Conventional wisdom is pushing the narrative that the tea party is racist and will not tolerate anything but the strictest enforcement bills coming out of Washington.
Immigration may have played a role, but it was far from the only – or even biggest – reason for Cantor’s loss.
Fundamentally, the reason Cantor lost is because he came to embody all that base Republican voters despise: ladder-climbing insider, close ties to K Street and Wall Street, too focused on Washington, and generally being out-of-touch with his district.
Cantor’s schedule on Election Day is the perfect microcosm of what went wrong. Most candidates I have worked for – including candidates for Governor, Senate, House, down to state legislature – spend Election Day getting out the vote. That means going to headquarters and joining volunteers making calls to voters, stopping at a few polling locations and shaking hands, etc.
Cantor started the day doing a fundraiser in D.C. Then stayed in D.C. until votes concluded around 3 p.m. Then, drove down to his district, presumably in time for the “victory” party. There was no personal touch of voters in the district. No urgency of making sure he did everything he could to ensure victory.
Secondarily, he lost because he thought he could bury his opponent with TV and did nothing to build grassroots support. In fact, he worked against much of the grassroots in the district by trying to replace various precinct and party leaders with loyalists.
His ads tended to be over the top or too cute by half – and over-using the “liberal college professor” claim. Even his positive ads were over-produced – the best ads politicians can do for themselves most of the time is look right into the camera and talk to voters like adults.
The biggest shock of the night was how shocked he and his team were by the outcome. You only get stunned in politics when you don’t have your finger on the pulse of what is going on around you.
I’m sure there will be mountains of analysis done on top of what has been written so far, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals: if you lose touch with your constituency and get caught up in the insider game in Washington, it can catch up with you.
In 2010, one of the first casualties among moderate Republicans was Utah Senator Bob Bennett, who could not muster enough support among GOP State Convention delegates to even give him an opportunity to be on the primary ballot. It was a stunning blow to the establishment and there was immediate speculation that Utah’s other Senator – Orrin Hatch – was next.
However, Hatch saw the hand writing on the wall and has been, as they say, “workin’ it hard” for the last 18 months to ensure he doesn’t suffer the same fate as Bennett.
It worked. In Saturday’s Utah State GOP Convention, Hatch not only received enough votes to get into the primary, but came within a hairs-breadth of winning the nomination outright (60% of the vote is needed to win outright, Hatch reportedly received just over 59%).
Here’s the headline of the AP story: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch forced into primary fight
And here is the lede of the story:
U.S. Sen. Sen. Orrin Hatch has been forced into a primary fight for his seventh term.
Hatch failed to get the needed 60 percent of delegate votes during Saturday’s Utah Republican convention that would have made him the outright GOP nominee.
A more accurate headline might have been: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch Happily Gets into primary fight
Say what you will about Sen. Hatch – he recognized what he was facing and has done a pretty remarkable job of turning his fortunes around in a pretty short amount of time.
The bad news for those who opposed Hatch in the convention is that if they couldn’t beat him there, they aren’t going to beat him anywhere.
April 15 of an even numbered year is always an interesting day. Yes, it’s tax day, which is awful for those of us who work hard to earn a living for our families, but it’s also when FEC 1st quarter reports are due, and these will be good indicators of how races shape up.
To add to the mix this year is a massive wave of tea parties.
More to come tomorrow…