Wednesday, January 04, 2012

After the Iowa Caucus:

Eric Ericson of Red State, who badly wanted Perry to re-emerge as a viable candidate, remarks:
Bachmann must drop out. Frankly, it makes sense for Perry to do so as well except for one issue.

If Rick Perry drops out of the race it will be the ultimate failure of the tea party movement to see the race come down to two or three big government conservatives.

... the tea party has failed because it has surrendered itself into the hands of Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich ...
Considering all the attention given to the Tea Party - especially on right wing radio and the Murdoch presss - it's surprising that it may end up having very little impact in 2012. They don't have a candidate. Santorum is a G. W. Bush-era Republican, Gingrich is pre-Bush. Neither are bona fide Tea Party types.

Real Tea Party politicians are mostly in the House (Ryan, Cantor, and first-termers that were elected in 2010) or holding state-wide office (Walker, Snyder, LePage ). None of national stature. Maybe their time will come, or maybe their time is passing. Hard to say which.


The Tea Party may flock to Ron Paul as the closest candidate to their cause if Perry and Bachmann drop out. But as the Japanese shepherd said when the A-Bomb was dropped, "Let's get the flock out of here."

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 1/04/2012 3:13 AM  

There never was a "Tea Party." There was only an effort by Dick Armey and Co. to rebrand the right wing of the GOP after the horrendous failures of the Bush Cheney administration. The so-called "Tea Party" was presented as a grassroots movement, but it was actually a top-down corporate effort to bullshit angry voters into disavowing the Bush years and hating Obama.

By Anonymous Death Panel Truck, at 1/04/2012 2:58 PM  

While I tend to agree with Death Panel Truck, I still have a lot of questions:
1) Wasn't Rand Paul elected with Tea Party support?
2) Is Rand Paul not a libertarian daddy?
3) How do the the Tea Partiers and the libertarians mesh?

By Anonymous Rockie the Dog, at 1/04/2012 4:10 PM  

If the GOP, AM radio and FOX broadcast enough hysteria over guns, God, gays, Muslims and minorities, the teabaggers will vote in November.

Just like they did for Bush II.

By Blogger JeffKay, at 1/04/2012 6:21 PM  

Ericson's first commenter hits the nail on the head. Bush failed to leave a successor, but the obvious Republican successor to John McCain was Sarah Palin, without whom McCain would have lost to Obama like Mondale lost to Reagan. Since Palin has declined to step into the meat grinder this time, there really is no "tea party" candidate. But that may not be important. Tea Partiers can be counted on to vote against Barack Obama. The only danger there is a third party to split the anti-Obama vote.

I think that the real effect of the Tea Party was felt in the state and local midterm elections. Republicans took over the House, but they absolutely slaughtered Democrats at the state and local level. Republicans took over, I believe, 17 state legislative bodies and huge numbers of local offices. Those state and local offices are the "farm teams" for future national politicians, and a lot of Democrats who might have been strong House or Senate candidates in the next decade or two will not be there to run because they were thrown out of office in 2010.

One of the things that the Tea Party organizers did at their big events was hold seminars on "how to become a Republican precinct committeeman." Turns out that there were thousands of vacant precinct positions around the country that were taken, uncontested, by Tea Party activists. Precinct committeemen vote to fill the party positions at the county level, and the candidates endorsed by the local party usually win the primaries. The result was that a lot of Tea Party candidates were swept in at the local level. From the national perspective, this was virtually invisible, but it is potentially hugely important because the next generation of state candidates, and following generation of national candidates will come from this crop of local freshman politicians.

I think that the real measure of the Tea Party will be whether the Democrats can retake the state legislative bodies and especially the local offices that they lost in 2010. If they can, then the Tea Party may have run its course. But if the Democrats suffer another bloodbath in the state and local elections, then the Democrats are going to have serious problems with their depth charts when it comes to finding successors to retiring Congressmen and Senators, and the Tea Party movement will become cooked deeper and deeper into the Republican party. Meanwhile, the grass roots "leaderless movement" of the Democratic party is still trying to shut down Burger King instead of Occupying Precinct Committee positions.

By Anonymous jms, at 1/04/2012 10:15 PM  

So when so-called "Tea Partiers" register, under what party do they register?

The GOP.

They're just right-wingers running for their lives from the Bush/Cheney train wreck. They're still Republicans; they just don't want to identify as such. When Dick Armey came up with a clever new appellation, they happily donned it, hoping no one would notice. It's like when a fugitive assumes an alias - he's still the same person using a different name.

Rockie: I'm not very familiar with Rand Paul's views. Is he as isolationist as daddy, or is he more in line with traditional Republican orthodoxy?

I'd like jms to tell us why the "Tea Partiers" weren't out protesting the huge Bush/Cheney deficits prior to January 20, 2009. Where were they? Or do deficits only matter when there's a black Democrat in the White House?

By Anonymous Death Panel Truck, at 1/04/2012 11:31 PM  

jms has difficulty recognizing a spent tea bag, which weakens with each use. Mitt and Rick are not Tea Party favorites, as were Perry, Newt and Michelle. Ron Paul may be the last hope of the Tea Party despite (or perhaps because?) of Paul's racist/anti-semitic newsletters. Are libertarians prepared to unite despite the shortage of telephone booths?

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 1/05/2012 3:15 AM  

I'd like jms to tell us why the "Tea Partiers" weren't out protesting the huge Bush/Cheney deficits prior to January 20, 2009. Where were they? Or do deficits only matter when there's a black Democrat in the White House?

Here you go.

They weren't protesting the deficit because it was 1/10th the size of Obama's deficit, and under Bush, the deficit peaked in 2004 and was about to be balanced in 2008, when all hell broke loose.

Turns out that this graph was overly optimistic. We are actually stuck with $1.5 trillion deficits, and look at how the deficit goes into exponential runaway around 2012 due to the mounting cost of servicing all this new debt.

That's the economic concerns of the Tea Party. If Obama had wrestled the deficit back to Bush levels, there would be no Tea Party, and Democrats would control the House and Senate, with Obama cruising to reelection.

But you knew that. Racism doesn't explain that graph. You can do better than that, DPT. Right?

Shag: Yes, old teabags get weak. That's why the Tea Party has been planting fields of tea trees across the country; to ensure that there will be new crops of new, potent tea every year as the years go on.

Also, Perry lost his chance to be President when he miscalculated with that "Strong" ad. He tried to embrace the social conservatives, but lost the Tea Party vote entirely while the social conservative vote went to Santorum. The Tea party movement is about fiscal conservatism, not social conservatism. you guys are only spinning yourselves.

By Anonymous jms, at 1/05/2012 6:39 AM  

Which is why there weren't any racist signs seen at Tea Party rallies, it was all because of the money.

Balanced in 2008?

It was Dick Cheney who said,
"Deficits don't matter", wasn't it, mjs?

By Blogger Dark Avenger, at 1/05/2012 8:48 AM  

jms seems to be suggesting with this:

"That's why the Tea Party has been planting fields of tea trees across the country; ...."

that Tea Partiers are, deep down, conservationists. Of course, all tea trees do not produce tea leaves used to brew tea. Perhaps global warming will enhance the growth of the various kinds of tea trees here in the U.S. that jms suggests are being planted here by Tea Partiers.

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 1/06/2012 3:42 AM  

Did I claim that no one brought a racist sign to a tea party rally? Of course not. When thousands of people take to the streets with homemade signs, they are going to run the spectrum from brilliant to despicable. I could make the same claim for anti-semitic signs at Occupy rallies. The left does just as good a job at the right at that game. We can play it on youtube if you think it will prove anything.

A more accurate gauge of "what the movement is about" is to look at the wide shots of the rallies where you can see dozens or hundreds of signs. Do that, and it becomes obvious that the tea party rallies are about economic and constitutional issues, and the OWS rallies are about blaming all bankers and the super rich for the nation's problems, not just the Jewish ones.

As far as the Dick Cheney quote, I'm puzzled. The entire agenda of the Obama administration has been to behave as if deficits don't matter. Are you agreeing with him? Suggesting that he is not a tea partier? You are probably right.

Perhaps we can agree that big deficits matter more than small deficits, and that at some unagreed upon point they deserve to dominate the national conversation and attention. The Tea Party feels that the country has reached that point right now, but clearly no one here does.

Perhaps someone could give me some opinion on at what point the deficits would cause them concern? $10 trillion per year? $100 trillion? $1 quadrillion? Or is there absolutely no limit?

By Anonymous jms, at 1/06/2012 7:24 AM  

jms, deficits cause concern when A) gov't borrowing gets big enough to crowd out private borrowers in the credit market, which manifests in a rise in interest rates. Interest rates are low, we aren't there.
B) when we have normal levels of unemployment
C) when revenues are not at a fifty-year low as a percentage of GDP. After all, deficits are expenditures minus revenue. If there's untapped revenue sources, they have the same impact as spending.

Cmon, you know this.

By Anonymous ribber, at 1/06/2012 8:06 AM  

deficits cause concern when

A) gov't borrowing gets big enough to crowd out private borrowers in the credit market, which manifests in a rise in interest rates. Interest rates are low, we aren't there.

Of course interest rates are low. They are being deliberately kept low through manipulation by the Fed, not through normal market forces. The government has to do this. If they took their finger off the scale and let interest rates rise to where they are supposed to be, the government would be unable to roll over the debt and would have to either default or overtly monitize the debt. They are using the banks to covertly monitize the debt -- instead of selling bonds to the Fed, they've put the banks in the middle. The Fed loans money to the banks at zero interest, and the banks buy the bonds. This, by the way, is the only reason that banks are making "record profits" -- Obama has effectively given them a cut of the national debt. What the banks aren't doing is making loans to small businesses. Of course not. Why should they? Loaning money to small businesses is risky.
Why not buy 100% safe treasury bills instead and make huge profits? Because interest rates have been throttled down to virtually zero by the Fed, you can't look at them as a diagnostic measure. You have to look at who banks are loaning money to. Overwhelmingly, they are loaning money to the government and not to private borrowers. They are crowding out private borrowers, but in a novel way.

B) when we have normal levels of unemployment

Why? Because when you have high levels of unemployment, Keynes prescribes government spending? This is an appeal to a failed theory. The stimulus didn't work. It didn't "jump start" the economy. I've asked this here before and I'll ask it again. When has a massive stimulus ever worked in a free market economy? Even Keynes said that the theory only applied to command economies. I suppose that if our fiscal policy manages to collapse and destroy the private sector, we might wind up with a Soviet-style command economy under which to test a Keynesian stimulus, but based on the economic record of countries that have gone that route, I'm not enthusiastic about the experiment.

C) when revenues are not at a fifty-year low as a percentage of GDP. After all, deficits are expenditures minus revenue. If there's untapped revenue sources, they have the same impact as spending.

Revenues are dropping as a percentage of GDP for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with leaving "untapped revenue" on the table. The population is dropping into lower tax brackets as salaries wither. The 99 week unemployment benefits are placing a disproportionate load on the expenditure side. Social Security has crossed permanently into the red and the entitlements are bleeding out money.

What untapped revenue sources are you talking about by the way? Are you talking about the Bush tax cuts that Obama keeps trying to expire? And money left in people's pockets has the "same impact" on the economy as money spent on government projects?


You avoided my question, so let me rephrase it. How long can this go on? Can this buildup of Federal debt go on forever? There's a truism that goes around the conservative blogs -- "If something can't go on forever, it won't." It seems pretty obvious that the government has painted itself into a corner with debt, and even their own projections show the deficit quickly reaching exponential runaway. Is this sustainable or not, and if not, how will "it won't" manifest itself?

You offer weak reasons not to worry.

By Anonymous jms, at 1/07/2012 5:07 AM  

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