October 4, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - For the first two years of Barack Obama's presidency, Rep. Kevin McCarthy traveled the country recruiting and coaching anti-establishment, tea party-backed candidates for the 2010 election. Many of the candidates recruited by McCarthy and his fellow Republican "young guns" - Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin - went on to win, creating a GOP majority and propelling the amiable congressman from Bakersfield into the No. 3 post in the House leadership, majority whip, whose job is to count votes and "whip up" support for the party's positions.
October 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - For most of the last two decades, Republicans such as Rep. Patrick Meehan, who represents a politically competitive district near Philadelphia, have been the odd men out in a House caucus dominated by conservatives such as those aligned with the tea party. But with Congress' deadlock resulting in the first government shutdown in more than 17 years, Meehan and like-minded colleagues may be the ones who decide how - and when - the standoff ends. "This whole Congress has been on Cruz control for the last two or three weeks," said Meehan, referring to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
October 1, 2013 |
Because the No. 1 priority of House Republicans is to cater to the fantasies of their tea party constituents, the federal government has been shut down. The loony legions that drive Republican primary elections now are driving the United States toward calamity. Weirdly, the continuing funding resolution that the Republicans have refused to pass is a seriously conservative budget plan far closer to what House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan asked for than what President Obama would have liked.
September 26, 2013
Re "GOP senator digs in heels," Sept. 25 While on the surface Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) appears to be a loose cannon in acting out his contemptuous agenda against the Affordable Care Act, one must admire his insane rants and deeds for what they illustrate. Cruz is the new face of the tea party, and he will be a constant reminder of just how out of touch with reality he and his backers really are. One can only hope that Cruz continues his inane march to the point that even the most low-information voters see fit to dump both him and the party that so vehemently supports nothing for the middle class and everything for the wealthy.
September 26, 2013 |
Ted Cruz may not have killed Obamacare with his 21-hour speech on the Senate floor this week. He may not have endeared himself to most of his Republican colleagues, who think his grandstanding wasted precious time. He may not have done anything good for the country, given that his extended harangue has made a government shutdown more likely. But he probably did something good for one person: Ted Cruz. The freshman Republican senator from Texas is an upstart, a renegade and a destructive force -- not the kind of personality that generally does well in the tradition-bound United States Senate.
September 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has repeatedly rescued Republicans in their fiscal fights with the White House. But not this time. At least not yet. The seasoned McConnell has distanced himself from tea party renegades in his party, spurning the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to halt funding for the government unless President Obama ends the Affordable Care Act, the nation's new healthcare law. “I just don't happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare,” McConnell said as the Senate opened Tuesday.
September 23, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- With the federal government heading toward a possible shutdown Oct. 1, one might expect Congress to be racing the clock to avert that outcome. Not exactly. Congress tends to resolve tough problems only at the final hour, when all other avenues have narrowed. This latest round of brinkmanship, led by tea party Republicans trying to block President Obama's Affordable Care Act, appears to be on that same track. The tea party conservatives have vowed to block any effort to provide money for federal agencies after the end of the current budget year unless Obama agrees to a measure that would stop his signature healthcare law from going into effect.
September 23, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- As the deadline draws closer for large parts of the federal government to begin shutting down, backers of the nation's three major political factions have very different views on whether their representatives should compromise or hold firm. By more than a 3-to-1 margin, Republicans who identify with the tea party said they want lawmakers who agree with them to “stand by their principles, even if that means the government shuts down,” according to a new Pew Research Center survey . By contrast, majorities of Republicans who do not identify with the tea party, as well as most Democrats, said they want lawmakers who agree with them on the issues to “be more willing to compromise, even if that means they pass a budget you disagree with.” Democrats took that position, 76%-18%, while non-tea party Republicans said so 54%-38%.
September 22, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - With one week left before a possible government shutdown, congressional debate has exposed deep divisions within the Republican Party, pitting tea-party-backed conservatives against their colleagues. Budget moves orchestrated by tea party leader Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas have encountered outright hostility from fellow Republican senators who say his strategy does not appear to have an endgame. "I didn't go to Harvard or Princeton, but I can count," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)