Meanwhile, Down Ticket …

I don’t really read Margaret Carlson much but she had some interesting down ticket tidbits on Bloomberg that made me wonder if the tea bagging madness was going to carry on for a few more elections. They keep nominating and electing candidates that behave like case studies in an abnormal psychology textbook.  Unfortunately, their primary raison d’etre appears to be gumming up the national works and saying completely insane things.

Last week, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who alerted reporters that he was visiting a Chick-fil-A the day before the election, overwhelmed Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, the veteran establishment candidate, to win the nomination to replace retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Dewhurst’s sins? He was Governor Rick Perry’s right-hand man and an occasional sponsor of bipartisan legislation. The most effective ad against Dewhurst accused him of being a moderate.

Three months ago conservative Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock beat six-term incumbent Senator Richard Lugar, the compromiser who’d forgotten his roots. Nebraska State Senator (and rancher) Deb Fischer beat Attorney General Jon Bruning in Nebraska in an upset to go up against Bob Kerrey, the former governor and senator, on Election Day.

Each victor campaigned against Washington insiders who had impermissible contact with the enemy. Nominating your most conservative candidate in the primary is more satisfying than letting another weak one get in. And if these candidates do get elected, inactivity is preferable to approving legislation that even contemplates the possibility that any American could get so much as a food stamp he is not entitled to.

Take Connecticut, the Yankee bastion of village squares and town-hall meetings. In the race to replace retiring Senator Joe Lieberman, the purist wing of the Republican Party prefers entrepreneur Linda McMahon, who has never run anything but a soft-porn wrestling empire, over former Representative Chris Shays, who was close to former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Reaching across the aisle from time to time — he voted for campaign- finance reform, for instance — helped lead to Shays’s defeat in 2008.

At the time, the loss left the House without a single Republican from New England. McMahon first ran for Senate in 2010, when her primary victory over former Representative Rob Simmons, a respected moderate with two Bronze Stars, essentially ceded the race to the Democrats. Now, despite losing to Richard Blumenthal two years ago, McMahon is getting a second chance.

She won the party endorsement in May, but Shays managed to scrape together enough votes to challenge her for the nomination. The primary election is next Tuesday. It will take a miracle for Shays to defeat a self-funded candidate blanketing the state with softly lit ads that present McMahon as a job creator. Airbrushed out is the fact that she got wealthy in part by making professional wrestling even more vulgar. To the play- acting in the ring, she added storylines involving necrophilia and intrafamily violence starring her husband, Vince, and daughter, Stephanie.

Remember, these are the people that are bringing us the Muslims-in-the-State House Witch Hunts right now. I’d even argue that Michelle Bachman’s not the biggest nut in the can.  Florida’s Allen West seems to live in an alternative reality also. People like this use to wind up in sanitariums, not state houses.   (WATCH: MoJo’s video roundup of “Shit Rep. Allen West Says.”)

It’s mid-April and momentarily West, the Republican congressman from Florida’s 22nd District—an imaginatively carved Tetris piece stretching from West Palm Beach to the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale—will take the stage at the Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party in Wellington. He’ll call the tax on tanning salons enshrined in the Affordable Care Act “racist,” the president “an abject failure,” and, directing his assembled battalion’s attention to a small group of placard-bearing liberal protesters, ruminate on his sanity: “They say Allen West is the craziest person that ever set foot on the House floor! Let me tell you who’s the craziest person to truly ever set foot on the House floor. That’s President Barack Hussein Obama.”

For now, though, everyone wants a piece of West and his Honda VTX 1800R retro cruiser. West poses for photos at a short remove, offering a firm grip and flashing an undeniably charming, gap-toothed grin. “A true patriot,” gushes a woman in a red tank top, to no one in particular. “A true patriot!”

His vest is black leather like his boots, and it’s covered in patches—”Rolling Thunder: First Amendment Demonstration Run, Washington, DC, Inc.” across the back, “Christian” on the front. Tucked in the right breast pocket is a copy of the Constitution.

“He’s our local rock star!” says a voice in the crowd. She’s holding a copy of a book about radical Islam for which West wrote the foreword. The cover features a flaming Islamic crescent and star behind the Statue of Liberty. She grows gravely serious. “Just protect him, God. Protect him, Lord.”

So, what would a few more folks as crazy as West do in the Senate?  Would they make Rand Paul look reasonable?

Tea Party Candidates are up for US Senator in Ohio, Wisconsin, Texas, and Missouri among other states.  NPR looked at the gains in a variety of states.

Suddenly, some are describing the Tea Party as resurgent, just months after it seemed all but irrelevant.

But political scientist Alan Abramowitz says both characterizations are inaccurate.

“In general, the Tea Party has a pretty negative image among the general public, but it remains, I think, a very potent force within the Republican Party,” he says.

Abramowitz, who teaches at Emory University, says polls peg Tea Party approval at just 25 percent among the public at large but he says, “When you have a Republican primary electorate, you have a group of voters who are quite conservative and in many cases a majority of those Republican primary voters identify with the Tea Party movement.”

But that only shakes things up when the Tea Party votes as a block. That’s what worked for Cruz and Mourdock. The Republican presidential primaries were a different story. There were simply too many candidates staking a claim to Tea Party votes.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaking in Iowa before the state’s caucuses said her conservative coalition was made up of the Tea Party movement of which “I am one.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a similar declaration. Others sought Tea Party support as well, but in the end the GOP’s presidential nominee will be Mitt Romney, the father of the Massachusetts health care plan that became Obamacare, and the GOP candidate the movement was least happy with.

Amy Kremer, of the Tea Party Express, says the group’s voters will turn out this fall, even if the big motivation is not support for Romney but dislike of President Obama.

“I think that you’ll see the people rise up and … work really hard to make sure that he is a one-term president,” she says.

The Tea Party can also say it made many Republican candidates, including Romney, move to the right to secure their nominations this year. After the Supreme Court’s health care decision, the GOP candidate immediately expressed his disapproval of Obama’s health care plan, saying if elected he would repeal the law.

The movement also boasts a direct connection to the other big story of 2012 — money. From its beginnings, it’s had ties to such wealthy conservative donors as the Koch brothers. It’s big institutional ties include groups such as FreedomWorks led by Dick Armey, the former majority leader of the House of Representatives.

Is this the force behind the Ryan VP candidacy? The Charlotte Observer has a good piece up on their “evolution” at the state level.

ATLANTA Tea party activists in Georgia helped kill a proposed sales tax increase that would have raised billions of dollars for transportation projects. In Pennsylvania, tea partyers pushed to have taxpayers send public school children to private schools. In Ohio, they drove a referendum to block state health insurance mandates.

These and other battles are evidence of the latest phase of the conservative movement, influencing state and local policy, perhaps more effectively than on a national level. Tea party organizers are refocusing, sometimes without the party label, to build broader support for their initiatives. The strategy has produced victories that activists say prove their staying power.

“I call it Tea Party 2.0,” said Amy Kremer, a Delta flight attendant who leads Tea Party Express. The California-based group, co-founded by GOP strategist Sal Russo, claims it’s the largest tea party political action committee.

The movement first showed its strength in Washington in 2009 as an umbrella for voters angry over President George W. Bush’s Wall Street rescue and President Barack Obama’s stimulus package and auto manufacturer bailout, as well as the health care debate.

The tea party has helped elect members of the House, but they’ve contributed to the stalemate on Capitol Hill. No single Republican presidential candidate captured tea partyers’ wholehearted support, despite angst over Mitt Romney and his moderate record while Massachusetts governor. Without a clear rival, Romney, author of the state health care overhaul that served as a model for Obama’s, emerged from a crowded field to challenge the Democratic incumbent in November. Romney gave the hard right at least a symbolic win by announcing Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, a tea party hero, as his running mate Saturday.

They seem to be a bunch pron to cults of personality.  Many of them also run in the religious right circles.  Most appear to be white.  They also don’t appear to be the sharpest tacks in the toolbox.  The question is can they do to the US Senate what they’ve done to the US House?  How long with this little group of crazies get their run of the Republican party before the Wall Street Crowd tires of them all?

38 Comments on “Meanwhile, Down Ticket …”

  1. dakinikat says:

    The Legendary Paul Ryan
    Mitt who?
    By Jonathan Chait

  2. bostonboomer says:

    The Democrat running against Paul Ryan put up a diary at dailykos.

  3. ecocatwoman says:

    You know how many of us are frequently trying to figure out why people vote how they do, often against their own self interest? Or how some nut jobs, like Bachman or Allen West, could get elected? I just listened to NPR’s TED Radio Hour and one of the featured speakers was Dan Gilbert, a Harvard psychology professor. This part, at the end of the interview, struck me as relevant to the conundrum of elections:

    In other words, yes, some things are better than others. We should have preferences that lead us into one future over another. But when those preferences drive us too hard and too fast because we have overrated the difference between these futures, we are at risk. When our ambition is bounded, it leads us to work joyfully. When our ambition is unbounded, it leads us to lie, to cheat, to steal, to hurt others, to sacrifice things of real value.

    When our fears are bounded, we’re prudent, we’re cautious, we’re thoughtful. When our fears are unbounded and overblown, we’re reckless and we’re cowardly.

    You can watch his TED talk at this link, or click on Transcript to read the full interview from NPR. The ambition part could also be a clue to the Wall Street debacle.

    • RalphB says:

      That makes sense in a way and I think the hugely overblown reaction to OWS from some quarters was due to irrational fear. Fear of the “OMG, look what those dirty hippies are doing. They can’t do that.” variety.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Fear has been the driving force from the Right: Muslims, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, illegal aliens, socialism, communism ad finitum. Even if you examine the rise of fundamentalist Christians – it’s the vengeful god of the Old Testament bringer of floods & plagues, not the compassionate prince of peace, Jesus, of the New Testament.

  4. pdgrey says:

    I was reading FDL, Daniel Altman interview, this comment jumped out .

    Daniel Altman August 12th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Okay, how about this: Paul Ryan actually denied that a default could damage the economy (

    • pdgrey says:

      Daniel Altman was interviewed on FDL, Sabotoge: How the Republican Party Crippled America’s Economic Recovery. Also, to keep from reading all comments. Brad Delong makes a comment @ 73 and Daniel Altman response was:

      Daniel Altman August 12th, 2012 at 3:26 pm
      In response to delong @ 73

      That’s the most powerful argument I’ve heard yet for QE3. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that QE3 will work.

      Brad Delong comment,

      delong August 12th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      Can I embed a graph in this thing? Apparently not…

      Let me put it this way: the core price level now is 4% below what people back in 2007 expected it to be. The core inflation rate now is not the 2.5%/year that people thought the Fed was aiming at back in 2007 but rather 1.5-2%/year for the foreseeable future. That means that at a ten-year horizon prices are undershooting their pre-crisis expected values by 11.5%.

      That is one hell of a deflation to put into effect in a modern economy that is in the middle of a deep balance-sheet recession. Whatever dangers come from excessive credit easing (which are somehow never specified) are dwarfed by the dangers of making everybody’s debts they owe in 2017 worth 11.5% more than had been previously expected.

      • RalphB says:

        Thank goodness for Brad Delong and our own Dakinikat. It’s so good to see common sense at work these days.

      • dakinikat says:

        DeLong is right on this. What is wrong with people that think inflation is going to be a problem when you’re in the middle of a demand led recession, ass slow recovery? That ain’t the frigging problem!!! That’s like econ 101 … it’s not even all that complex!

  5. RalphB says:

    Speaking of Brad Delong …

    In Which I Disagree with Josh Barro on Paul Ryan: Arithmetick Has to Be Primary: “Hey Rocky! Watch Me Pull a Rabbit Out of This Hat!” Blogging

    Josh Barro says that Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan isn’t all bad–that Ryan “has also been willing to go out on a limb for useful but unpopular fiscal ideas”. In the past thirty-five years I have seen lots of Republican “willing to go out on a limb for useful but unpopular fiscal ideas”, but in each case the problem is that the limb they go out on does not add up arithmetically. They propose unpopular but useful fiscal ideas in the overall context of a plan that is best summarized as: 2+2=576.

    That never works.

    It did not work in 1981. It did not work in 1989. It did not work in 2001. It did not work in 2003. It did not work in 2005.

    Arithmetic has to be primary. And, with Ryan, it simply isn’t.

    The post only gets better from there.

    • dakinikat says:

      Good for him!!

    • ecocatwoman says:

      2 + 2 = 576. ROTFLMAO. Ooooh, I think I hurt myself & I’m having trouble getting off the floor.

    • dakinikat says:

      Okay, I don’t find Ryan anything but misguided. He’s not thoughtful and he’s certainly not good looking! He has that creep factor out the whazoo! Look at those eyes and tell me you don’t see a serial killer lurking there! EEEEEWwwww. He’s a knee jerk Bircher with that sanctified Fetish worship thrown in. How is that thoughtful at all?

    • pdgrey says:

      Thanks for the link, RalphB. And Dak, I agreed the Brag Delong, too. I brought it over here because it was buried deep in the comments.

  6. pdgrey says:

    By the way that Matt Stroller crap was discussed, too.

    perris August 12th, 2012 at 3:38 pm
    In response to frmrirprsn @ 86

    Obama needs the crazies so he can cut social security and Medicare while you and Bill Press tell us how much worse the alternative is.

    indeed, a must read

    Yea, it’s a must read if you want to be slapped in the face with the truth. They both want to cut the safety net. So now it’s just a matter of which way you fall off the post.

    • RalphB says:

      Spare me the butthurt former Obots who are now firebaggers. They should just get in the reject tent with Stoller.

      • pdgrey says:

        RalphB, they a everywhere. It hurts my head.

      • RalphB says:

        I know it hurts my head to and is a pain in the rear. Those folks used to think all Obama had to do was “give a speech” to get things done. 😉 Oh, if that were only the case,

  7. RalphB says:

    Senator Wyden says Vulture/Voucher are lying about collaborating with him!

    Ron Wyden Distances Himself From Paul Ryan, Says Mitt Romney Is ‘Talking Nonsense’

    “Governor Romney is talking nonsense,” Wyden said in an emailed statement Saturday night. “Bipartisanship requires that you not make up the facts. I did not ‘co-lead a piece of legislation.’ I wrote a policy paper on options for Medicare.”

    Wyden noted he had spoken and voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget. “Governor Romney needs to learn you don’t protect seniors by makings things up, and his comments sure won’t help promote real bipartisanship,” he added.

    • pdgrey says:

      great comment in that link.


    • RalphB says:

      Duncan Black:

      The Education and Jobs Of Paul Ryan, According To The Wiki

      Public high school.
      Public university.
      Worked for family business.
      Congressional staffer, with service jobs for additional money.
      Speechwriter for Jack Kemp.
      Staffer for Sam Brownback.
      Member of Congress.

      Capitalism, just as Rand envisioned.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Ryan is a virtual unknown in swing state Florida.

    ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — A conservative rock star in the marbled halls of Congress, Paul Ryan — his ideas, his politics, his very name — was just barely beginning to register at the Spot Cafe off State Road 16 here Sunday.

    Rick Paul, said one diner, was a brilliant vice presidential choice. Mike Ryan, said another, would surely boost Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and help “save the country.” At last, said Jim Smith, 74, Romney made a decision that solidifies his conservative credentials.

    “Paul — from Kentucky?” Smith said, referring to the junior Kentucky senator, Rand Paul. “Definitely a good move. I didn’t support Romney in the primary, but I will now with Paul in there.”

    • RalphB says:

      Those are our voters. Yuck!

      • pdgrey says:

        I live 50 miles south of Saint Augustine and have worked there. It’s much worse than that. There is actually a long standing joke that they are all inbred. I know this sounds judgemental and I don’t want to sound like that. But I worked in a night club as a musician for 20 years in Saint Augustine , the number of people I met were all related by blood or marriage and the number of children that had the same mother or father it became hard to keep up with when you are trying to remember names. And trying to remember the family feuds kept me on my toes so not to start a bar fight.

      • pdgrey says:

        I wanted to clarify I did not work in any night club on State 16. 16 is on the outskirts of Saint Augustine. Most of those bars are what most people would call roadhouses or honky- Tonks, not that I haven’t checked them out. I remember one called The High Chaparral. It had a dirt floor. After the nightly fights, stabbings, or shooting nothing to clean up. I suspect if they were talking to anyone there, they don’t know any better. Haa, the colour of historical Saint Augustine.

  9. dakinikat says:

    What Wisconsin Journalists Want You To Know About Paul Ryan

    • pdgrey says:

      OMG, just like Dick Cheney but with good hair! Personally I can’t look at Ryan’s Eddie Munster hair line.

  10. northwestrain says:

    “Ironically, Ryan came to national attention trying to dismantle the very program that helped him go to the college of his choice, pushing an even more radical version of President Bush’s Social Security privatization plan, which failed. He has since become the scourge of the welfare state, a man wholly supported by government who preaches against the evils of government support. He could be the poster boy for President Obama’s supposedly controversial oration about how we all owe our success to some combination of our own hard work, family backing and government support. Let’s say it together: You didn’t build that career by yourself, Congressman Ryan.