One of the actions that the Heritage Foundation has taken recently to cement its shift from conservative think tank to right-wing political bludgeon was to bring on as its chief economist Stephen Moore, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer who is fluent in Tea Party dogma.
In a speech to the Tea Party Patriots convention today, Moore did not disappoint. He advocated eliminating the departments of Education, Energy and Commerce and burning the entire tax code in a bonfire and replacing it with a regressive flat tax or national sales tax. As a starting point he suggested, “Let’s make the entire south of America, south of the Mason-Dixon line, let’s make it one gigantic income-tax free zone.”
Moore further displayed his preference for politics over policy when he recounted a meeting he had with congressional Republicans earlier this week at which he told them, “Whatever question you are asked, on whatever subject it is – Ukraine, the Middle East, what’s happening in social policy – the first answer is, ‘Well, of course we have to repeal Obamacare.’”
Finally, Moore said that he was “sick” of “the class warfare of the left.”
“You know, it’s interesting, in America there’s only one group you can legally discriminate against in America anymore: rich people,” he said.
As Brian noted earlier today, the Tea Party is no longer even pretending that it is focused exclusively on economic issues and not the culture wars. A case in point: At today’s Tea Party Patriots fifth anniversary convention today, Breitbart News author Sonnie Johnson was met with a standing ovation for a speech at which she insisted that President Obama is a Marxist who may or may not believe in God, but definitely thinks “God must be dethroned.”
“Karl Marx had two main goals: to destroy capitalism and to dethrone God,” Johnson said. “So when you hear the leader of progressivism, aka American Marxism, say that you are doing 'God’s work,’ understand he means it. He means you’re taking over God’s work. God must be dethroned.”
“If God is in all of these things,” she said, referring to government services, “why are the Ten Commandments not allowed in the social services building? If God is in all of these things, why is there even a question if Little Sisters of the Poor have to pay for abortion? If God is in all of these things, do we have to ask him where he stands on marriage? “
“I have to ask sometimes, ‘What God are you serving?’” she said of the president. “But that’s not my place, and kind of, truthfully, I don’t really want to know.”
In an interview with Janet Mefferd yesterday about his call for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder, pastor William Owens insisted that President Obama is “anti-Christian” and the worst president in at least the last 75 years.
“We elected the wrong black president,” Owens said. “His strategy was, ‘If I get the Catholic Church, I can get all the churches because of their size; let’s knock them off, we’ll get all of them.’ He’s anti-Christian, he stands up for no Christian values whatsoever.”
Owens told Mefferd that he’s refraining from calling for the impeachment and removal of President Obama because he wants the president to leave a legacy of backing marriage equality and being the worst president ever: “Since he took this bold position and he wants to leave a legacy, we’re gonna see that he does leave a legacy, that he does leave the legacy that he did more to demoralize this country than anybody, any president, any administration since I’ve been here and I’m seventy-five years old.”
On today's "WallBuilders Live" radio program, David Barton responded to a question from a listener asking if he thought that President Obama might declare a state of emergency so that he could cancel the 2016 elections and serve a third term in office.
Barton said that he didn't think that such a scenario was very likely, but used the question to assert that nobody voiced this sort of concern about Presidents Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. The fact that people are asking such questions now, Barton said, is a sign that Obama is "lawless."
"It's interesting that this is the question that is asked by people when they find their presidents to be lawless," Barton declared. "If you have a president who is not lawless, you don't ask the question. You know that Ronald Reagan is not going to do a third term; he followed the Constitution. You know that George Bush, you may not like all that he did but he stayed with the Constitution in a very public way ... Nobody debated that he was going to change the Constitution for himself, for his own benefit. The fact that you have this question indicates something of the nature of the presidents with whom you're dealing ... Asking the question is the character of the leader who is in office at the time":
The Treasury Department warned in the midst of last year’s government shutdown [PDF]: “A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic: credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse…. Because the debt ceiling impasse contributed to the financial market disruptions, reduced confidence and increased uncertainty, the economic expansion was no doubt weaker than it otherwise would have been.”
One problem might be that Tea Party leaders seem to have no clue what they are talking about.
Tea Party politicians dismissed concerns about failing to raise the debt limit — with one Tea Party-aligned congressman arguing that such a move would help the economy — and didn’t seem to grasp the fact that “raising the debt ceiling simply lets Treasury borrow the money it needs to pay all U.S. bills and other legal obligations in full and on time” and isn’t a “license to spend more.”
Similarly, a Bloomberg News poll found that 93 percent of Tea Party Republicans believe the federal budget deficit is growing, even while it is rapidly shrinking.
Myth #2: Tea Party Wants Entitlement Cuts
We keep hearing about how the Tea Party will lead a push to cut entitlement programs, but Tea Party members are disproportionately entitlement program benefactors. A New York Times/CBS poll found that Tea Party members are more likely than others to claim that they or a family member receives Social Security benefits or is covered by Medicaid, and 62 percent believe “the benefits from government programs such as Social Security and Medicare [are] worth the costs of those programs.”
According to a McClatchy-Marist poll, 76 percent of Tea Party supporters oppose Social Security and Medicare cuts while 70 percent said they were against cuts to Medicaid.
“[W]hat many of the Tea Party candidates have found is that when push comes to shove, their backers want to protect their entitlements as much as the next guy,” writes Shikha Dalmia of the Reason Foundation. “In fact, much of the fury of the Tea Partiers against government stimulus and bailouts might have less to do with any principled belief in the limits of government and more to do with fear of what this will do to their own entitlements.”
As Alex Seitz-Wald reported: “We know that in fact the IRS targeted lots of different kinds of groups, not just conservative ones; that the only organizations whose tax-exempt statuses were actually denied were progressive ones; that many of the targeted conservative groups legitimately crossed the line; that the IG’s report was limited to only Tea Party groups at congressional Republicans’ request; and that the White House was in no way involved in the targeting and didn’t even know about it until shortly before the public did. In short, the entire scandal narrative was a fiction.”
Many Tea Party leaders -- including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann, Mike Lee, Jim DeMint and Glenn Beck -- are also favorites of the Religious Right. The GOP victories in the 2010 midterm election brought about what the Daily Beast called “one of the most religiously conservative [House of Representatives] in recent history” and Republican politicians in Congress and state legislatures immediately pursued a crackdown on abortion rights.
Pew found that just as “the Tea Party is much more Republican and conservative than the public as a whole… Tea Party supporters also tend to take socially conservative positions on abortion and same-sex marriage.” Tea Party activists oppose marriage equality and abortion rights at rates nearly identical to Republicans at large, and are just as likely to cite religion as the driving force on their stances on such issues.
A 2013 American Values survey observed that the majority of Tea Party activists “identify with the Christian Right,” and a study by political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell found Tea Party members to be “disproportionately social conservatives” with a penchant for the “overt use of religious language and imagery.” “It thus makes sense that the Tea Party ranks alongside the Christian Right in unpopularity,” they added.
Myth #5: Tea Party Has Wide Popularity
Tea Party politicians like to fashion themselves as champions of a broadly popular movement that has supporters across partisan lines. Bachmann thinks the Tea Party represents “virtually 90 percent of America” and a poll of Tea Party supporters found that 84 percent agree that “the views of the people involved in the Tea Party movement generally reflect the views of most Americans.” Beck even believes that most Americans are in the Tea Party and to the right of the GOP.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said this week that he will join efforts to impeach of Attorney General Eric Holder over his stance on marriage equality, citing a petition by the Coalition of African-American Pastors and accusing Holder of trying to “thwart” the Constitution by not defending the Defense of Marriage Act.
Of course, the Obama administration would be far from the first administration to decline to defend an unconstitutional law, with Republicans and Democrats alike doing the same in the past.
Several Republicans have already proposed a resolution seeking Holder’s impeachment.
“More lawlessness from a lawless administration; Attorney General Holder should not advise other attorneys general to violate their oaths of office. These elected officials have a duty and a solemn obligation to defend their states’ laws and Constitution - not allow ideology and politics to cloud their legal decisions. Whatever one’s personal opinions on the Second Amendment, the Internal Revenue Service, controlled substances, the freedom of the press, or even marriage, an Attorney General simply can’t pick and choose the laws or parts of the Constitution he or she would like to defend.
“In recent years, I have grown increasingly concerned by Holder’s actions – and those of others in the Obama Administration - to disregard the laws and the Constitution they have sworn to defend. I am not alone in these concerns. Dozens of my colleagues have called upon Holder to resign. Dozens have asked the President to remove Holder from office. Additionally, on June 28, 2012, 255 members of the U.S. House of Representatives held Mr. Holder in Contempt of Congress. It is the Attorney General’s job to uphold the Constitution and the law - not ignore it, nor rewrite it, nor encourage other attorneys general to thwart it.
“This has gone on far too long. The lawlessness at the Department of Justice - of this Administration - must end now. That is why I am announcing today my co-sponsorship of H.Res. 411, which introduces five articles of impeachment against Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.”
David Barton recently spoke at Victory Family Church in Decatur, Texas where he delivered his standard presentation about how every single aspect of American life and society ought to be governed according to the Bible, and that includes putting an end to things like "gender bender" days at elementary schools because "the Bible says you absolutely cannot do that."
"The Bible explicitly condemns cross-dressing," Barton said. "That's not just a cute little thing that happened at school, that's a biblically-addressed issue":
The Tea Party Patriots are having a convention today to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the movement, and one prevalent theme in the morning session was denying the fact that the Tea Party represents any racist ideas. Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho said of his own election, “You know these Tea Party patriots are so racist, they decided they wanted a Puerto Rican Mormon.”
Another speaker, Jeffrey Lord, a former Reagan administration official who is now an editor at the American Spectator, told the audience that accusations of racism in the Tea Party are hypocritical because it was Democrats who supported slavery and segregation.
Trinity Broadcasting Network host Kim Clement says that God is raising up a leader who will “kill the giant of socialism” and “the giant of human secularism.”
In a performance on Saturday, the musician/self-proclaimed prophet told his audience that this godly politician will come up against Satan, who is “doing everything in his power to put a witch in the White House” with a “Jezebel” spirit.
Concerned Women for America senior fellow Janice Shaw Crouse is once again saying that she is furious that President Obama would dare criticize the harsh Ugandan law that makes being gay a crime punishable with life imprisonment.
In a statement today, Crouse tried to claim that she doesn’t necessarily support the Ugandan law, she just thinks that people are wrong to oppose it.
She writes that Obama’s denunciation of the anti-gay law shows that he only cares about “special interest campaigns” and “special rights, not human rights,” and represents “an affront, even a mockery, of those Judeo-Christian values that have been the foundation of virtually all Western civilizations across time and cultures.”
Last week, I was called by a reporter who said he wanted to interview me about President Obama’s statement that “homosexuality is a human right.” He said that the president’s recent comments about the situation in Uganda elevated homosexuality to the level of a “human right” or a “universal fundamental freedom.” My remarks were simply that the president of the United States has the responsibility to represent the entire nation. When he states his personal beliefs and values and presents those as representative of the United States of America, the full force of his office is behind those statements. It is clear that the beliefs of the president about “human rights” are controversial in his own country and offensive to many both in the U.S. and abroad, and serve to promote the political homosexual agenda worldwide. Claiming that homosexuality is a “human right” is an affront,¬¬ even a mockery, of¬¬ those Judeo-Christian values that have been the foundation of virtually all Western civilizations across time and cultures.
That critique is not an endorsement of Ugandan law. Concerned Women for America (CWA) supports the human rights of everyone, including homosexuals. The president should have criticized brutality (though he has not done that in some other notable international incidents) without embracing and promoting the political agenda of a relatively small special interest group.
The basic principles of religious liberty and freedom of speech are the context in which I criticized Mr. Obama. In this respect, Mr. Obama has been “arrogant,” and his actions have constituted “cultural imperialism.” One of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) core issues is “national sovereignty,” and we defend the sovereignty of our own country, as well as that of other nations. We are an American organization, and our involvement in other nations is solely on the issue of national sovereignty and the other core issues (like Family and Life) that we share with our international colleagues. We analyze the statements of public officials, including the president, as they touch on our core issues; we have suggested that the president should forcefully condemn nations that violate the civil rights of homosexuals and women, but that approach is significantly different from the president’s endorsing and promoting the special interest campaigns of “homosexual rights” and “women’s rights” activists — campaigns that are political in nature and ask for approval rather than acceptance, that ask for special rights, not human rights.