“Playing Tea Party movement for suckers”

I rarely use the phrase “thinking conservatives” anymore, since there seem to be so few left. But there are still a handful, and one of them has written an enlightening piece about the idiotic kerfuffle over the Burlington Coat Factory mosque in Lower Manhattan.

Writing in a conservative Washington newspaper called the Washington Examiner, libertarian Gene Healy argues that the dust-up is a distraction so that conservative voters won’t notice that Republicans don’t want to do the hard and unpopular work of cutting spending. Healy, a vice-president at the libertarian Cato Institute, writes:

The “mosque” controversy isn’t about property rights or religious freedom. It’s a bogus issue seized by the GOP establishment to distract the rank-and-file from the party’s reluctance to shrink government. . .

You see, cutting government is hard, and often unpopular. No surprise, then, that Boehner would rather play urban planner than embrace Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s “road map” for shrinking middle-class entitlements.

Faced with difficult choices, the alleged party of small government always retreats to the lazy politics of Kulturkampf. Hey, that guy’s a “card-carrying member” of the ACLU! Ask me about my flag-burning amendment!

John Cornyn, R-Texas, head of GOP efforts to take back the Senate this fall, plans to make the Park51 “mosque” a major campaign issue. It’s all too typical: Feed the rubes conservative identity politics, and, with luck, they’ll be too distracted to notice you’ve grafted a Republican “K Street Project” atop the same old edifice of Big Government.

The establishment Right wants to play the Tea Party movement for suckers. It remains to be seen whether they’ll play along.

If any of you conservatives have the gumption to think for yourselves, his entire piece is worth a read.

258 comments Add your comment

Mike K

August 18th, 2010
3:33 pm

@ctucker
Healy makes some good points and, though you didn’t mention it, he’s also quite critical of Obama on this issue. You also didn’t illustrate his larger point – that government spending needs to be cut and few talking heads or politicians (with the notable exception of Paul Ryan) are willing to discuss that hard reality in detail.

As he points out, that’s a much bigger issue that this mosque controversy.

Kamchak

August 18th, 2010
3:34 pm

If any of you conservatives have the gumption to think for yourselves, his entire piece is worth a read.

But…but…but…that would go against the whole purity pledge thingie.

HDB

August 18th, 2010
3:36 pm

It’s ALWAYS been evident that the GOP uses division to gain power and to feed their wealthy constituents rather than to do the RIGHT thing and govern for ALL of the people!! From black people and the “Southern Strategy” in the ’60s to Hispanics and Muslims in 2010……

Time to get past the smokescreen and deal with reality, people!!!

I'm Here From The Government And I'm Here To Help

August 18th, 2010
3:42 pm

He’s a RINO, I bet he don’t even call his french fries, freedom fries….

AngryRedMarsWoman

August 18th, 2010
3:46 pm

Worth repeating

Mike K
August 18th, 2010
3:33 pm
“You also didn’t illustrate his larger point – that government spending needs to be cut and few talking heads or politicians (with the notable exception of Paul Ryan) are willing to discuss that hard reality in detail.”

Mike K

August 18th, 2010
3:48 pm

@AngryRedMarsWoman
I somehow doubt that many of the liberals here will want to talk about that.

Sick&Tired

August 18th, 2010
3:51 pm

The sad thing is that many Tea Party followers don’t realize that their chosen leaders will not do anything to improve the economy once elected. Healthcare will not improve, immigration will not improve, education will not improve, unemployment will not improve… their tax responsibilities will not improve. They are being sold a bill of goods and only a few select know it.

To DO NOTHING, means nothing will improve.

JohnnyReb

August 18th, 2010
3:52 pm

Ms Tucker, I have noticed the tone and name calling directed to the Right in your articles has escalated as Obama slips further in the polls and hopes of the Dems retaining control of Congress becomes only a dream.

Sick&Tired

August 18th, 2010
3:56 pm

The money wasted at the DOD would be a great place to start cutting, but we can’t seem to get past our shadow and the illusion of the boogey man.

andygrd

August 18th, 2010
4:00 pm

Ms. T states “I rarely use the phrase “thinking conservatives” anymore, since there seem to be so few left.” I know what you mean; I have been waiting for one “thinking liberal” to show up and debate. It is really hard for a conservative to do a battle of wits with a liberal, when the liberals only come half prepared……

AngryRedMarsWoman

August 18th, 2010
4:01 pm

@Mike K – but we can still keep trying to get them to. :)

granny godzilla

August 18th, 2010
4:03 pm

Guys,

Namejacking the troll is not a good thing.

(funny yes, good no)

Please don’t.

On topic….

There does seem to be tea partier born every minute….

Eds

August 18th, 2010
4:05 pm

Follow Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” and your Mama won’t be able to collect her Social Security check until she’s 70 and her Medicare coverage will turn in to vouchers that won’t even pay for her eyeglasses prescription. Ask Grandma how much she likes her Medicare “entitlement”, I guarantee you she would turn her shotgun on the first person who threatened to take it away.

The only folks who will profit from Ryan’s Roadmap is the wealthy who will receive huge tax cuts and we see how well tax cuts for the rich have “helped” the economy.

ctucker

August 18th, 2010
4:07 pm

andygrd, On the subject of a battle of wits, are you going to respond to Mr. Healy’s essay?

I'm Here From The Government And I'm Here To Help

August 18th, 2010
4:07 pm

I love bumper stickers!

Kamchak

August 18th, 2010
4:09 pm

Namejacking the troll is not a good thing.

Not me Granny Godzilla.

Smarter

August 18th, 2010
4:09 pm

Well said Sick&Tired. They think by putting another GOP in office that things will suddenly change? George had 8 years to impact illegal immigration. He didn’t. George had 8 years to impact the creation of jobs. He didn’t. George had 8 years to decrease the deficit. He didn’t. As I recall, Clinton left him in pretty good financial shape. But you have to remember…that unnecessary Iraqi war DID run this country into billions of debt. At least Obama’s government spending is being used to keep the unemployed afloat AND corporations afloat. Conservatives talk out of both sides of their mouth. If Obama had done NOTHING to save the banks and GM, they would have persecuted him for that too saying he ALLOWED the country to collapse. No matter what, they are going to bad-mouth and criticize Obama.

Mike K

August 18th, 2010
4:11 pm

@granny godzilla
“Namejacking the troll is not a good thing.”

I don’t think that anybody namejacked Kamchak. Did I miss that?

Pogo

August 18th, 2010
4:11 pm

“Republicans don’t want to do the hard and unpopular work of cutting spending”. This woman must be on drugs. Look at what her party the democrats are doing. A democrat doesn’t can’t concieve of the phrase “Cut in spending”.

Worthless blog with a worthless author who is hopelessly entrenched in class warfare and racial politics. Basically worthless.

Cynthia is a dinosaur. She is a relic. Her time is past. It has been over for the Cynthia’s for a long time. What is unbelievable is that the AJC editorial board would continue to let her contribute. Of course, they do have to exist in Atlanta where we are now finding out that the public school system which is dominated and controlled by mostly blacks is totally corrupt. And this was at the detriment to their students which are also mostly black. Anything for the cause, right Cindy?

Kamchak

August 18th, 2010
4:13 pm

George had 8 years to impact illegal immigration. He didn’t. George had 8 years to impact the creation of jobs. He didn’t. George had 8 years to decrease the deficit. He didn’t.

But he had a Democrat congress to deal with starting in 2007, so he couldn’t get any thing done.

ctucker

August 18th, 2010
4:13 pm

Pogo @ 4:11 p.m., I need to institute a new rule:Read before you rant. That’s what Gene Healy wrote!

Paul

August 18th, 2010
4:14 pm

“I rarely use the phrase “thinking conservatives” anymore… But there are still a handful, and one of them has written an enlightening piece …Writing in a conservative Washington newspaper called the Washington Examiner, libertarian Gene Healy…”

Ummm, Ms. Tucker….. ‘conservative’ does not equal ‘libertarian.’

So there are still no ‘thinking conservatives’ on the horizon, but there are analytical libertarians, and, evidently, more than a few progressives who don’t know the difference.

ctucker

August 18th, 2010
4:14 pm

Sick & Tired, I’m all for cutting defense spending.

Kamchak

August 18th, 2010
4:14 pm

I don’t think that anybody namejacked Kamchak. Did I miss that?

Used to happen on a daily basis, sport.

Thanks for noticing.

Smarter

August 18th, 2010
4:16 pm

For all you Obama “lynchers”….what IF he had done nothing to rescue the banking industry or GM? Just wondering what would have happened. Economic collapse into a 1920’s style depression and complete erosion of Wall Street? How many millions of Fortune 500 jobs would have been eliminated had Wall Street been allowed to bankrupt? Then what? More government spending to help those unable to find work? The return of soup kitchens? Families living off one potato cooked in 5 cups of water just so it has flavor. What the man, Obama, did is save this country and your butts. @ Government…so you have this fancy smancy agency. Conservatives love talking that trickle-down theory. Yes you are right for once. Because once 30% unemployment in this nation took hold, there would have been no one to USE your services and the trickle-down buck would have stopped with you, forcing you out of business. No jobs, no customers. No customers, no money. No money, no company. And then you get to fold and join the others in line at the soup kitchen.

Smarter

August 18th, 2010
4:17 pm

kamchak…he had a republican congress for 6 years of his 8 years…you”re better than that. Come on.

Eds

August 18th, 2010
4:17 pm

Pogo – wrong – you are the dinosaur. What is really unbelievable is that you know how to work a computer. I doubt you understand anything else that happens in the real world.

teamguy

August 18th, 2010
4:17 pm

I’m still in shock that a Libertarian would be quoted on this blog. Just doesn’t seem to fit somehow. Does that mean you’ll be voting for John Monds in November?

Mike K

August 18th, 2010
4:18 pm

@Kamchak
“I don’t think that anybody namejacked Kamchak. Did I miss that?
Used to happen on a daily basis, sport.
Thanks for noticing.”
———————————————————
No problem, sport. I’ll make a note of it.

Drifter

August 18th, 2010
4:19 pm

The GOP is definitely not the party of small government…8 years of Bush taught me that.

Mike K

August 18th, 2010
4:21 pm

@ctucker
“Sick & Tired, I’m all for cutting defense spending.”
——————————————————–
Just not Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, Social Security, Welfare, Unemployment, or the hundreds of billions spent on “discretionary” federal spending. After all, those things are all necessary, but the military is just a waste of money. It’s not like the Chinese have been developing a new generation of advanced anti-air craft carrier missiles.

Mike K

August 18th, 2010
4:22 pm

@Drifter
Unfortunately, you may be right.

ctucker

August 18th, 2010
4:23 pm

Mike K, Sure I’m for cutting Medicare. Obamacare is paid for, in the bill.

ctucker

August 18th, 2010
4:25 pm

Paul, I think libertarians would consider themselves conservative on most issues. I’m using original definitions here, not labels hijacked by various partisans.

Tundra Dude

August 18th, 2010
4:25 pm

Before 9-11 was the Burlington Coat Factory part of the WTC……??
Of course not. So why now is it on Ground Zero property…or “Greater Ground Zero”?
I had a hunch this issue was serving as some sort of distraction.

I thought Wall Street’s Blue Team was in charge….so why would the Red Team be expected to make spending cut proposals….??

Kamchak

August 18th, 2010
4:27 pm

Smarter

Of course I know that, it’s just difficult to express sarcasm in writing.

As to your later point about “….what IF he had done nothing to rescue the banking industry or GM”–I’m beginning to believe that it probably would have been better to have experienced that pain as I don’t think Wall St. learned any lessons about the dangers of risky gambling.

Cynthia stinks

August 18th, 2010
4:27 pm

…and a courtesy flush would be appreciated.

Mallory

August 18th, 2010
4:27 pm

I don’t like Boehner, but is it possible he’s just playing to fools who think he’s in opposition? Biding time for Republicans in November?

Behind the scenes?

NYT–In this highly charged election season with both houses of Congress at stake, not a lot of politicians are lining up publicly behind Mr. Ryan. He is, nonetheless, suddenly a rising star in some corners. And like many other politicians whose ideas were once considered extreme, only to later be mainstream — like Ronald Reagan — Mr. Ryan is seen as on the leading edge of something.

Why? His “Roadmap for America’s Future,” an elaborate (critics say drastic) plan that aims to erase the federal debt by 2063, simplify the tax code and significantly alter (his critics say eviscerate) Medicare and Social Security. When asked to handicap the 2012 Republican presidential field, Sarah Palin called Mr. Ryan “sharp.” Newt Gingrich dubbed him “extraordinarily formidable.” And, in a column, George Will imagined him as vice president to a President Mitch Daniels (now the Republican governor of Indiana).

Paul Ryan is the man!

Mike K

August 18th, 2010
4:27 pm

@ctucker
Glad to hear you’re for cutting Medicare (even if nothing else besides defense). By the way, there’s a difference between “paying for a bill” and cutting spending. Obamacare was “paid for” with substantial tax increases as well as spending cuts. On net, it increased total federal spending by, I think, around $400 billion (over 10 years).

JohnnyReb

August 18th, 2010
4:27 pm

According to a new report from The Heritage Foundation, if future taxes are held at the historical average, spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will consume all revenues by 2052. Yes, the writing is on the wall for both parties. However, it is difficult to understand how the Left can belittle Republicans when their champion in the white house will have spent more in 20 months than Bush spent in eight years, and little to nothing to show for it.

Smarter

August 18th, 2010
4:28 pm

Mike K…what IS the answer then for people with no healthcare and no jobs. We just let them starve? Die? Live in the streets? Cutting the DOD would eliminate another Iraqi War guffaw made by the Bush Administration and cause any administration to VERIFY facts before they got trigger happy and wasted tax payer dollars overseas on an uncessary war. But don’t forget…Cheney was in bed with Haliburton and certainly benefitted financially from that war.

Pogo

August 18th, 2010
4:30 pm

On another note, the mummified Nancy Pelosi called for an investigation of the citizens of this nation that oppose the NY mosque. That’s right Nancy, investigate the 70% of the American population that opposes this mosque. I think old Nancy and Cindy would love to silence for good any of those that disagree with them and their progressive agendas (ref. Cindy’s embarassing, juvenile attack on Glenn Beck earlier today). Cindy should only hope to have the influence Beck has. I don’t particularly like Beck but I cannot say that I have ever found him to be liar. He is more a historian than a demagogue. And the liberals/progressives hate true American history more than anything because throughout American history their policies always lead to hard times for the citizens. And all the while they are telling them they are on “their side” and they are for the “working man”.

Just goes to show out of touch with reality the democrats and the progressives really are. Depressing, isn’t Cindy? The only thing left in you progressives “bag o tricks” is to lash out in bitterness. Of course, that is the way it has always been for the leftists. And more and more the desperate Democrats like Cindy and Jay and a host of others ones are doing it. They are drowning in vitriole.

Just remember, November 2010 is coming. November 2012 is coming to. And you are going to lose, lose, lose.

Drifter

August 18th, 2010
4:31 pm

Libertarians aren’t necessarily conservative, they just believe in letting people do what they want as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else (aka freedom)…and that includes controlling their own money…something the GOP doesn’t believe in.

granny godzilla

August 18th, 2010
4:33 pm

Mike K

From Global Issues

US military spending accounts for 46.5 percent, or almost half, of the world’s total military spending

US military spending is 7 times more than China, 13 times more than Russia, and 73 times more than Iran.

US military spending is some 44 times the spending on the six “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) whose spending amounts to around $16 billion.

US spending is more than the next top 14 countries at least.
The United States and its strongest allies (the NATO countries, Japan, South Korea and Australia) spend something in the region of $1.1 trillion on their militaries combined, representing 72 percent of the world’s total.

The six potential “enemies,” Russia, and China together account for about $169 billion or 24% of the US military budget.

So we spend all this money and have to fight F22’s being made,
and China, Mike K says, is making anti carrier missles…..

Gates is calling for big spending cuts in the military budget,
and he’s right.

Refugee Rom

August 18th, 2010
4:34 pm

“I rarely use the phrase “thinking conservatives” anymore, since there seem to be so few left.”

“If any of you conservatives have the gumption to think for yourselves, his entire piece is worth a read.”

These two comments are just play vulgar and ill mannered. I’m not one myself, but there are plenty of thinking conservatives. I have also found them to be in support of the mosque from conservative principles.

Smarter

August 18th, 2010
4:35 pm

Kamchuk, my 4:16 post attempted to make Conservatives think about the repercussions of Obama NOT having bailed out Wall Street. Of course Wall Street didn’t learn anything. Do you think they would learned anything even with a collapse? The SAME CEO’s and their BOD cronies would still be sitting at their thrones, approving each others compensations, sitting on each other’s boards, while a good majority of its employees would have been filing unemployment payouts. What Obama did is save the rank and file…the vast majority of ANY companies employees! Rank and file can be defined as anyone, professional or not, who doesn’t get to sit in that sweet corner, window office with a nice view.

Mallory

August 18th, 2010
4:36 pm

More from the same NYT article, Ms Tucker.

Representative John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, the minority leader, has praised Mr. Ryan but said the Roadmap would not be a part of the Republican agenda this fall.

“There are parts of it that are well done,” Mr. Boehner told reporters last month. “Other parts I have some doubts about, in terms of how good the policy is.”

See what I mean? would not be a part of the Republican agenda this fall.

Kamchak

August 18th, 2010
4:37 pm

Libertarians aren’t necessarily conservative, they just believe in letting people do what they want as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else (aka freedom)…

That is exactly the definition of the Goldwater conservatives, but they found that their message didn’t resonate with enough voters to get him elected so they got into bed with the evangelicals.

The tea-partiers are likely to make the same move.

Smarter

August 18th, 2010
4:37 pm

@ Pogo…well they did declare 2012 the end of the world. Another GOP admin would certainly bring those fears to fruition!!

Paul

August 18th, 2010
4:38 pm

Ms Tucker

Thanks for the response. Most libertarians I know definitely reject the ‘conservative’ label. Many feel it’s the Left that’s hijacked their label, treating it as they do as synonymous with with ‘conservative.’

Ask a conservative if they consider legalizing drugs, greatly cutting defense, leaving people alone to live their lives, not interfering with their sex lives or making gender or sexual orientation distinctions as ‘conservative positions’ and I think you see my point.

Same as asking liberals if they will take action to cut defense, greatly reduce the role of gov’t, back off on regulatory agencies, etc to be ‘liberal’ positions.

From Mr. Healey’s article:

“President Obama insisted that Muslims have the “same right to practice their religion as anyone else” and can build a mosque near the former World Trade Center site.”

The Pres spoke of Constitutional rights, but I don’t believe he commented on what the Muslim community should do – Ms Tucker’s earlier thread headline to the contrary.

“It’s a bogus issue seized by the GOP establishment to distract the rank-and-file from the party’s reluctance to shrink government.”

Is that why the Pres backed off his remarks? Is that why Sen Harry Reid said it should be built elsewhere?

“There’s plenty of hypocrisy to go around, though.”

No kidding.

“You see, cutting government is hard, and often unpopular. No surprise, then, that Boehner would rather play urban planner than embrace Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s “road map” for shrinking middle-class entitlements.”

I’ve no doubt most Republican politicians would run screaming when asked for specifics of what they’d cut. It’s telling, though, that it’s a Republican (Ryan) who’s put specific proposals on the table. Do Democrats have a counterpart to Rep Ryan?

Now I’m waiting for the other article – the one on how Democrats refuse to run on their two-year record come November, instead planning to run against Bush and use any other issue (like this) to divert attention from the record. The one that, just a few months ago, they trumpeted as superior to any other Congressional record.

In that sense, The establishment Left wants to play the Liberal base for suckers. It remains to be seen whether they’ll play along.

Oh, and where, again, are Democratic proposals for reforming the budget? The proposals that were so helpful that the Pres had to appoint an independent commission to come up with ideas?