Tag Archives: tea party

Hundreds of tea party activists hear Carr, Ted Cruz dad at Nashville rally

The father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz didn’t explicitly endorse Joe Carr for the U.S. Senate at a tea party rally that brought hundreds of activists to Nashville on Saturday, reports Andy Sher. But the two were “clearly on the same page.”

Carr, a state representative from Lascassas who’s hoping to knock off Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in the Aug. 7 primary, denounced Democratic President Barack Obama as a “tyrant.”

In his own speech, Pastor Rafael Cruz, who fled Cuba decades ago, likened Obama to former Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro. Cruz’s son, Texas’ junior senator, is beloved by many conservatives.

And both men praised the writers of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution as divinely inspired.

So it went at the “We the People Rally” sponsored by the Nashville Tea Party that drew activists from across the state.

…Carr lashed out at Alexander for voting last year to cut off Sen. Cruz’ filibuster aimed at defunding what Republicans call Obamacare.

“Lamar Alexander voted for cloture [ending debate], Pastor Cruz, to stand in the way of your son to defund Obamacare,” Carr charged.

Rafael Cruz also attacked Obamacare, calling it “a law nobody wanted,” even though a number of powerful interest groups including labor and some businesses backed it.

“What about ‘we the people?'” Cruz asked. “That’s what that 22-hour filibuster by my son was about. It was about ‘we the people.'”

He didn’t mention Alexander, and Nashville Tea Party President Ben Cunningham later said Cruz wasn’t there to make an endorsement.

“That’s not his role,” Cunningham said. “His role, as he defines it, is to motivate people to get involved. And that’s what he does.”

But activist Bill Dockery, who attended, said he got the message that Cruz was making an implicit endorsement of Carr.

“He was,” Dockery said. “We knew that.”

Palin, Santorum speak at Sevierville tea party rally

Four stalwarts of the nation’s conservative movement exhorted an appreciative Sevier County tea party crowd of several hundred Thursday night to stay true to their principles, reports the News Sentinel.

The event had the feel of a pep rally at times, as the speakers cheered the U.S. as the greatest nation on earth. Then each laid out a litany of things wrong with the country, from failure to adhere to Christian governance to multiple scandals to the breakdown of the traditional family to excessive political correctness.

All of it to the cheers of the mostly middle aged-to-senior crowd at the Sevierville Convention Center.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Sen. Rick Santorum, former U.S. Rep. Allen West and former Judge Jeanine Pirro all spoke of their antipathy to big government, the welfare state, weak foreign policy and much more.

Each in turn brought the tea partiers to their feet repeatedly with hot-button lines and anti-Obama rhetoric. The speeches touched a nerve of anger that permeated the room.

In scattershot remarks, Palin, conservative America’s “Momma Grizzly,” said it is up to the tea party to “stop the fundamental transformation” of the U.S. which she accused President Obama of having initiated.

She called the tea partyers an “army of believers” and said they should be ready to “take back” the nation.

Palin also noted there are “some good guys in Washington” but she said they need “reinforcements.”

That sentiment was echoed by Santorum, a former presidential candidate, who added that the tea party exists because America has “walked away” from the principles of the Founding Fathers.

“This is the only country in the history of the world,” he said, “that recognizes that rights come from God. Government is there to protect God-given rights.”

He referred to the tea party’s political opposition as “left-wing lunatics” and he challenged the crowd to “refuse to lose.”

After Cantor and Cochran, is it tea party time in TN?

The defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia has tea party people excited in Tennessee and elsewhere, reports Michael Collins.

Cantor’s downfall, coupled with U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran being forced into a primary runoff against a tea party challenger in Mississippi, could energize Tennessee’s tea party movement, which has set its sights on another high-profile target, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Alexander’s campaign said Wednesday that Brat’s David-vs.-Goliath victory over Cantor won’t change his own campaign strategy.

“Sen. Alexander is doing what he’s always done: staying connected with Tennessee and being the best senator he could be,” said his campaign spokesman, Brian Reisinger.

While Alexander’s team has been watching other races around the country, “every race runs on its own two legs,” said Tom Ingram, the senator’s former chief of staff and a general consultant to his campaign.

“Our race is a guy who has been serving Tennessee in the same hardworking, loyal fashion for years as governor and as a senator and staying connected, listening to and representing the interests of his constituents and trusting them to make the right decision on election day,” Ingram said.

Alexander’s most serious challenger in the Aug. 7 primary, state Rep. Joe Carr, interprets the tea party’s recent victories as signs of an energized, fed-up electorate.

“From Virginia to Mississippi, a transformational change is underway that is being led by a true grassroots movement,” Carr said in a statement shortly after Brat’s victory over Cantor.

The Carr campaign said it already is seeing signs of a rejuvenated tea party in Tennessee. “We have seen an influx over the last 12 hours of people signing up to volunteer, people coming into our office and wanting signs and bumper stickers, wanting to know how to help,” said Carr’s campaign manager, Donald Rickard. “It has really been overwhelming.”

Still, political analysts caution against drawing any parallels between Cantor’s and Cochran’s races and Alexander’s re-election bid.

For starters, national political figures haven’t rallied around Carr the way they did Cantor’s and Cochran’s opponents, said Bruce Oppenheimer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University.

While huge campaign spending could not save Cantor, money is more often than not a potent weapon in a political campaign, and one where Alexander has a significant advantage. Alexander’s campaign had more than $3 million in the bank at the end of March, the last period for which reports are on file with the Federal Election Commission. Carr, by contrast, had just $466,000.

Zelenik seeks to shore up tea party support for DesJarlais

Chas Sisk has done a rundown on the 4th Congressional District Republican primary, including a move by Lou Ann Zelenik to shore up support for incumbent Scott DesJarlais over the currently favored challenger, state Sen. Jim Tracy.

The veteran state senator launched his campaign for Congress nearly a year and a half ago, but he has spent most of his time tying up the endorsements of prominent Republican leaders, tapping donors for contributions and keeping his spending low.

The next two months will show whether Tracy, a former high school baseball coach and college basketball referee, has drawn up the right game plan. It would take a major shift in fortunes for him to lose.

Tracy says his campaign is running much better than four years ago, when he came close to joining DesJarlais as a freshman in Congress. He finished third in what was then the 6th Congressional District, less than a percentage point behind winner Diane Black and runner-up Lou Ann Zelenik.

Zelenik, who continues to wield influence in tea party circles, now says she’ll try to mobilize activists on DesJarlais’ behalf. Whether that will shake up the race remains to be seen.

“Jim’s raised a lot of money,” Zelenik said. “I think it’s going to take steadfast support to get him (DesJarlais) over.”

After a decade in the state legislature, Tracy’s weakness could be a long legislative record, which includes votes and statements on everything from abortion to education to President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package. His past positions can seem at odds with his current ones.

An experienced politician, Tracy has answers ready. And he will have the upper hand in placing those answers before the voters in the 4th Congressional District, which stretches from the southern border of Davidson County to the eastern suburbs of Chattanooga, across 16 counties and through three media markets.

Tracy has raised more than $1.2 million. He had spent just over $300,000 through March, mainly on advisers, leaving him with more than $900,000 in the bank. DesJarlais has less than $200,000 on hand.

AP story from RNC meeting in Memphis: Tea Party not over, but maybe winding down?

By Philip Elliot and Laurie Kellman, Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s too early to say the tea party’s over.

But with a Senate majority in reach, the Republican Party and its allies are using campaign cash, positions of influence and other levers of power to defuse what they consider challenges by weak conservative candidates before the 2014 midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race. The party is cherry picking other candidates, including some who rode the tea party wave to a House majority in 2010. Some of those lawmakers are getting boosts from the very establishment the class vowed to upend.

It all adds up to an expensive and sweeping effort by national and state Republicans to blur the dividing line between factions that many believe cost the GOP the Senate majority and prolonged the 2012 presidential nomination fight. “We can’t expect to win if we are fighting each other all the time,” said Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.

This year, Republicans are within six seats of controlling the Senate. If they win Senate control and keep their House majority, even deeper frustrations would await President Barack Obama in his final two years in office.

By changing rules at the presidential level and showering money and support on candidates in North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan and more states, Republican leaders are trying to drum out tea party-approved candidates they consider flawed — like ones who were seen as costing the GOP winnable Senate seats in Delaware, Missouri and Nevada in recent years.
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Columnist: Medicaid non-expansion shows Haslam’s ‘failure to manage tea party extremists’

Excerpt from a column in the Jackson Sun by Tom Bohs, bearing the headline ‘2014 could be the year, or not, of the tea party:’

On the TennCare expansion front, for example, the reality of Haslam’s failure to manage tea party extremists is beginning to trickle down to real people.

I had a call this week from a reader who sincerely wanted to know what all of the fuss was about regarding TennCare expansion, and The Jackson Sun’s editorial argument that Haslam is failing to lead.

…It seemed clear from our discussion that the (caller’s) daughter would have been included in the category of people to be covered by TennCare expansion. Until she was able to get her income up again, she would have gotten her health insurance paid for under the terms of the Affordable Care Act.

My discussion with the reader revealed a person who was hard working, showed great concern for the daughter who was out of a job, and understood the importance of personal responsibility and of people having health insurance.

But, thanks to radical tea party politics, this person still will have to struggle to spend $200 per month to do the responsible thing for a daughter who likely would have qualified under Affordable Care Act TennCare expansion rules.

I am not a tea party opponent. Having come of age during the 1960s, I understand radical social and political tactics. And the tea party again is proving that they work. I get that. But I also understand that at some point, radicalism must be tempered by reality. We all couldn’t find peace by moving to hippie communes and smoking dope in the ’60s. I doubt that we all can start wearing three-cornered hats and throwing common sense, political compromise and good government into Boston Harbor to make America better place to live.

Alexander says he’s not trying ‘something different’ (as in learning right to avoid tea party anger)

Sen. Lamar Alexander said he’s not going to try an end-run to the right to avoid an upset from a Tea Party movement challenger even though accused of not being conservative enough by some, reports the Johnson City Press.

“What I’ve tried to do is what I said I would do when I ran,” Alexander said Friday during a brief interview with the Johnson City Press’ editorial board before a jobs talk at Johnson City’s Carnegie Hotel. “The people of East Tennessee know me pretty well, so if I tried to be something different this year, they wouldn’t think much of me. I’ve got conservative principles and an independent attitude, and I spend my time trying to get results in Washington.”

…Although he is known for crossing the aisle in the Democratic-controlled Senate, Alexander portrayed himself as a pragmatist, who’s more concerned with enacting workable legislation than making political statements.

“I think most Tennesseeans know very well that I’m a conservative who tries to get results,” he said. “I’ve done my best on the major issues that come before the Senate, and I think it’s up to anyone else to say what they would do instead.”

Earlier this year, the weekly political magazine the National Journal named Alexander the eighth least-conservative Republican member of the Senate in 2012, based on his bipartisan voting record.

Recently, one of Alexander’s votes that brought him the most grief from more radical figures was his approval of a comprehensive immigration reform bill authored by eight of his fellow senators. He defended the position, saying the bill fixes an obviously broken system by increasing border security, while providing a legal source of seasonal labor that much of the country’s economy depends upon.

“If we don’t do anything, we’re just freezing in place amnesty for 11 million people who are illegally here,” he said. “The legislation we voted for identifies them and does what you usually do with people who break the law, you penalize them, you fine them and you put them on a probationary status.”

The senator also said the two-week government shutdown over defunding portions of the Affordable Care Act in October was an obvious mistake.“We had a disagreement over tactics on the government shutdown,” he said.

“I’m not in the shut-down-the-government crowd, I’m in the take-over-the-government crowd. I want to elect six more Republican senators and a Republican president and change the health care law and fix the debt and secure the border for immigration. You can’t do that unless you have a majority and persuade independent voters — of which there are a lot in East Tennessee — that they can trust you with government.”

DesJarlais questions tea party group endorsing Tracy

Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is criticizing GOP challenger Jim Tracy for saying in an email he was “proud” to get support from the head of the Tea Party Leadership Fund, reports the Chattanooga TFP.

“I want to give you a heads up,” the congressman said Tuesday in a letter to supporters. “It seems my opponent has gotten involved in a group whose business is defrauding members of the Tea Party.”

DesJarlais said Tracy’s letter “touts the fact that Todd Cefaratti, founder of the Tea Party Leadership Fund, believes that Tracy is ‘exactly the type of person that the people of Tennessee’s 4th District need to be their voice.’”

But DesJarlais said “a lot of folks in our community reached out to me to say they had a lot of concerns over this group. Well, they were right!”

Tracy reported receiving a $1,000 contribution from the group in his third quarter campaign disclosure.

In a statement, Tracy said, “With all the mistakes Congress is making, Congressman DesJarlais ought to spend more time worrying about running the country well than running me down.”

DesJarlais cited concerns various other tea party groups have raised about how much money Cefaratti raises actually goes to candidates. He noted “CBS reported that Mr. Cefaratti owns a business that specializes in mining contact information and reselling the leads to clients in the reverse mortgage industry.”

That apparently refers to a 2010 report by KPHO in Arizona, a CBS affiliate, that questioned another group tied to Cefaratti, JoinTheTeaParty.us. The report identified Cefaratti as its director and said the organization had spent $181,000 on website advertising.

With ‘anemic’ TN Democrats, Republicans can quarrel safely

Excerpt from a Bloomberg piece on the emerging Republican civil war:

To improve their odds, Tea Party leaders are fine-tuning their strategy by targeting incumbents in states where Democrats have little or no chance of winning in the general election. In 2012 and 2010, the movement nominated weak or flawed Senate candidates in Indiana, Missouri, Delaware and Nevada who were defeated in the November general elections, dashing Republicans’ chances for taking over the chamber.

That’s part of the calculation in challenging Republican Senator Lamar Alexander in Tennessee, where no Democrats hold statewide office, said Michael Leahy, a Republican activist. State Representative Joe Carr announced in August he would run against Alexander in next year’s primary.

Leahy is helping to organize volunteers to knock on doors tomorrow in the state and urge voters to protest Alexander’s support for ending the Washington impasse by backing Carr.

“Whoever wins the primary in Tennessee is going to sail to victory,” Leahy said in an interview. “Democrats are anemic here.”

Tea party support for Joe Carr not unanimous

Though state Rep. Joe Carr has the backing of “Beat Lamar,” (previous post HERE), his support from tea party activists is far from unanimous.

Excerpt from a Tennessean report:

The pick of Carr, however, followed a Sunday convention in Nashville among tea party organizations that showed that Carr is not a consensus pick for the right.

The Coalition for a Constitutional Senate, a separate group whose members from more than 60 Tennessee tea party organizations overlap with those of Beat Lamar, held a round of votes where it ultimately endorsed Carr over three lesser-known candidates. Carr collected only 59 percent of the vote during the first round of voting.

Other candidates considered by those who voted were Danny Page, Jerry Davis and John McDaniel. Twenty-seven groups were present, less than half the overall membership.

Still, Erik Stamper, a Sumner County tea party activist who leads the coalition, said Carr easily won more than 70 percent of the vote in the final of three rounds Sunday, which he said was the goal for gauging a consensus selection.

The results of the vote fuel skepticism about the viability of Carr’s uphill challenge to Alexander and whether the state lawmaker would be able to draw unified support from tea party conservatives.

..Monday, Carr expressed confidence that PAC support would be coming later in the campaign in advance of next August’s Republican primary, which he assured is “on their radar.” He also said he’s happy with his showing at the coalition meeting, noting that many people abstained in hopes that the vetting process would go longer.

“I’m not displeased at all,” Carr said. “In fact, it exceeded my expectations.”

Note: The Coalition news release is below
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