The Latest Tea Party Darling


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Guest Blogger

Lost in the headlines about the Fiscal Cliff and the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, was the gubernatorial appointment to the United States Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jim DeMint.  Sen. DeMint was arguably the Tea Party’s Senator and his impending departure from the Senate to accept the position to head up the Heritage Foundation would have left a gaping hole in the Tea Party’s influence in the Senate.  There is nothing to worry about because South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley named Tea Party Congressman Tim Scott to replace DeMint in the Senate.  Rep. Scott was just elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and has already made a big name for himself in the Tea Party world by suggesting that President Obama should be impeached if Obama attempted to go around the House of Representatives during the last debt ceiling fiasco!

Rep. Scott should fit into Sen. DeMint’s shoes very nicely.  Mr. Scott has gone out of his way to back unlimited access to guns and could not imagine a world without Billion dollar subsidies to the big oil companies. “Scott and his Republican allies in Congress voted repeatedly last year to protect more than $50 billion in taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil corporations. When ThinkProgress asked Scott whether it was fair to do that, especially at a time when oil companies are earning tens of billions in profit every quarter, the Tea Party freshman defended the industry: “fair is a relative word,” said Scott.”  Think Progress  Let me make sure that we understand Rep. Scott’s position here.  He has no qualms over giving billions to the oil companies, but this same man of the people, proposed a bill in 2011 that would kick an entire family off of food stamps if it was “discovered” that one family member had gone out on a strike!

“Much of the bill is based upon verifying that those who receive food stamps benefits are meeting the federal requirements for doing so. However, one section buried deep within the bill adds a startling new requirement. The bill, if passed, would actually cut off all food stamp benefits to any family where one adult member is engaging in a strike against an employer:

Think Progress

This bill would have not only put needy families in even more financial distress, it would have had a chilling effect on the rights of workers to engage in collective bargaining with their employers.  I thought that the Tea Party was supposed to be patriots for the people and a defender against Big Government takeovers and intrusions into our lives.  You can imagine my shock when I discovered that Rep. Scott was a co-sponsor of the bill that would strip food stamps from needy families while at the same time gladly handing out billions to large oil corporations.

This same Tea Party “patriot” when he was a South Carolina state representative  backed a proposal to cut South Carolina’s entire HIV/AIDS budget that ended up negatively impacting the lives of more than 2,000 South Carolina citizens who were HIV positive.  Without these needed funds, the ill citizens would have increased difficulty in paying for their life saving medications.  Rep. Scott was undeterred by the fact that these fellow South Carolina citizens might actually die without these funds.  It didn’t matter to him that his state was one of the worst states in the nation for AIDS cases.

Soon to be Senator Tim Scott is also a staunch defender of the so-called  “traditional marriage” and solidly anti-gay.  Of course, that has nothing to do with his decision to back the bill to strip the HIV/AIDS funds from the budget!  Rod 2.0

This man of the people was backed in his election bid to the Congress by Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee.  With friends like that, his radical and out of touch agenda is not a surprise.  From Rep. Scott’s resume, it seems that South Carolina will be getting a Jim DeMint twin and the far-right policies that Sen. DeMint espoused are safe in his hands.  Rep. Scott, as suggested earlier, is also a very big supporter of unregulated guns.

“In his one term in the U.S. House and his tenure in South Carolina politics, Senator-Designate Tim Scott (R-SC) has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s strongest opponents of gun restrictions. On his campaign website, the card-carrying NRA member notes his strong support of the right to bear arms and promises to fight attempts to weaken gun rights “in any way.”  Think Progress

I think Sen. DeMint will be pleased that a chip off of the old block will be replacing him in the United States Senate.  However, in a Congress that is almost totally dysfunctional, is Senator Designate Scott really the right way to go?  What do you think about any Senator taking such a harsh stance on gun control or on gay rights?  When a majority of gun owners agree that common sense gun controls are needed, how can a United State Senator be so out of touch with his fellow gun owners?  Is this really a prime example of corporate money getting what it pays for?  What do you think of our latest United States Senator?  Merry Christmas to all!!

55 thoughts on “The Latest Tea Party Darling”

  1. I’d like to know how the person calling himself ‘Ralph Adamo’ on this site and spouting BS more or less fulltime across the internet earns his living. I am guessing as a paid lobbyist or employee of a right-wing ‘think tank,’ that oxymoron.

  2. Unusually excellent article. A template for other journalists.
    Other than power. it was not clear to me what issues they were quarreling over. ?????

  3. rafflaw,

    Here’s a very interesting article about Dick Armey, FreedomWorks, and the money behind some tea party groups:

    FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard
    By Amy Gardner, Published: December 25

    The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.

    Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

    The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.

    Stephenson, the founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a director on the FreedomWorks board, agreed to commit $400,000 per year over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s agreement to leave the group.

    The episode illustrates the growing role of wealthy donors in swaying the direction of FreedomWorks and other political groups, which increasingly rely on unlimited contributions from corporations and financiers for their financial livelihood. Such gifts are often sent through corporate shells or nonprofit groups that do not have to disclose their donors, making it impossible for the public to know who is funding them.

    In the weeks before the election, more than $12 million in donations was funneled through two Tennessee corporations to the FreedomWorks super PAC after negotiations with Stephenson over a preelection gift of the same size, according to three current and former employees with knowledge of the arrangement. The origin of the money has not previously been reported.

    These and other new details about the near-meltdown at FreedomWorks were gleaned from interviews with two dozen current and past associates, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to talk freely.

    The disarray comes as the conservative movement is struggling to find its way after the November elections, which brought a second term for President Obama and Democratic gains in the House and Senate. Armey said in an interview that the near-meltdown at his former group has damaged the conservative cause.

    “FreedomWorks was the spark plug, the energy source, the catalyst for the movement through the 2010 elections,” Armey said, referring to the GOP midterm sweep. “Harm was done to the movement.”

    Stephenson, 73, declined a request for an interview. Matt Kibbe, the group’s president, and Adam Brandon, its senior vice president, declined to discuss the issue.

    “I don’t comment on donors,” Brandon said. “He’s on our board, he’s a board member like anyone else. That’s it. I see him at board meetings.”

    Stephenson, a longtime but little-known player in conservative causes, is a resident of Barrington, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago known for its affluence and sprawling horse estates such as his Tudor Oaks Farm. He founded the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in 1988 following his mother’s death from bladder cancer, according to the for-profit company’s Web site and his public remarks. Stephenson also holds investments in a broad portfolio of other businesses, including finance and real estate companies.

    Stephenson has a passion for libertarian politics stretching back to the 1960s, when he attended seminars featuring “Atlas Shrugged” author Ayn Rand and economist Murray Rothbard, according to those who know him at FreedomWorks. Like Armey, Stephenson was an early supporter of Citizens for a Sound Economy, the conservative lobbying group founded by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch in 1984 that split into FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity 20 years later. The Kochs, known for bankrolling a variety of conservative causes, kept control of AFP, while Stephenson and Armey stayed with FreedomWorks.

    FreedomWorks has been on a remarkable run in recent election cycles, growing its annual budget from $7 million to $40 million in just a few years and helping lead the tea party movement against Obama’s agenda. The group was among several that rose up last week in opposition to a failed proposal from House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to raise federal taxes on millionaires.

    The group played a crucial role in ushering a wave of tea party candidates into office in recent years, staging rallies, hawking books and videos, and organizing media appearances with conservative personalities such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

    “I’ve enjoyed my association with FreedomWorks,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who defeated incumbent Bob Bennett with help from the group. “Matt Kibbe and Dick Armey endorsed me early in my candidacy for the U.S. Senate, and they were a big help to me.”

    Despite such testimonials, FreedomWorks has struggled with accusations that it is an “astro­turfer” — a national organization of big-money donors that swept in to lay claim to an independent movement.

    According to public records, FreedomWorks received more than $12 millionbefore the election from two corporations based in Knoxville, Tenn.: Specialty Investments Group and Kingston Pike Development. The firms were established within a day of each other by William S. Rose III, a local bankruptcy lawyer.

  4. AY,

    You have a good idea for nasty things. How indeed could it not be.
    Particularly as he wants to stick it to his own color compatriots, in such eyecatcihing ways.

    On a strict logical basis we would have to say the same of white teabaggers doing their own poor in with their contemplated measures of savings.
    Now wouldn’t we? But then we call it just politics.

    Now Gene will tell me that is an example of false equivalency, and he may be right. He usually is.

    And a merry one to you.

  5. Betty Kath,

    Been there, done that—-although it was in Thailand in 1965.
    Of course, we were building ONLY military bases for ourselves.
    But the contractors got rich anyway.

    Ironically, there are hundreds of buildings: skyscrapers, abandoned military bases, etc which dot the lands of former CCCP dominated countries.
    Particularly the skyscrapers are prominently placed, eternal reminders of the suppression in those times, and a symbol of a threat to democracy today.

    Warsay has a well-hated example.

    Thanks for exposing, I suppose, little known aspects of a useless drain on our taxes.

  6. Bruce,

    I know there is a need for rationalizing government. Bureaucracy is a pig which needs to be leaned. And the budget deficits and national debt should also be reduced.

    So we agree on the goals, but not on the way to do it. And a constant deficit spending, along with things like the Iraq and Afghan wars financed OFF the budget, is not a way to diminish the national debt if you would prioritize that.

    The politicians much prefer these issues of deficits and debt to the real issues.
    The major issue is our complete dominance by the MCI complex, am tempted to call it a conglomerate. And it dominates politics our economy, and our need for jobs in your and my town.

    How do we downsize the military without causing a recession? A long process: militarily, economically, and technically. And lots of items on the table for discussing and horse trading. But the lobbyists hold most of the cards, making it an almost impossible game.

    With the reduction of terrorist acts and their numbers, the chief legal counsel of DoD, signaled in a speech in LONDON, that the days of chasing terrorist with the milítary is on the near horizon. That event passed without notice in our media, but not in the UK. But it is a fact. So the MCI looks for a new way to replace the terrorist market by turning to USA and having us all declared potential terrorists, and thus worthy of surveillance and engaging the military against all laws in conflicts here(?) in the USA. The NDAA was a move in that direction.

    So do we exhaust ourselves by wars of pacification, laughable programs of nation-building, and continue to kill children causing more recruits to stream to the ranks of our opposers?

    Wars take money which could be spent on caring for our own—-that is one of my motivations.

    What are your motivations?



  7. Guess someone doesn’t like my objection to the content.

    The United States is spending $92 million to build Afghanistan a new “Pentagon,” a massive five-story military headquarters with domed roofs and a high-tech basement command center that will link Afghan generals with their troops fighting the Taliban across the country.

    But when Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak asked for a bigger office in the building — a change that would cost about $300,000 — he got a firm “no” in response. These types of changes cost time and money, U.S. military officials said, and in Afghanistan, both are in ever-shorter supply.

    “We could do them, but we’re not going to do them,” Col. Andrew Backus, the director of engineering for the NATO command in charge of training and equipping the Afghan security forces, said of the Afghans’ proposed revisions. “What we’re going to do is finish the project with strict change control and turn it over to the Afghans. And if they want to change it, then they can change it.”

    The military headquarters building is one of the most prominent public symbols of America’s ongoing financial commitment to Afghanistan. Even at this late stage of the war, with American troops beginning their withdrawal, the U.S. government is still working its way through a $10 billion menu of construction projects aimed at bolstering the Afghan security forces. Of the 1,150 buildings planned, more than 600—or more than half—have been completed, with a total value of $4 billion.

    In addition to the Defense Ministry headquarters, the United States is building a $54 million Kabul headquarters for the Interior Ministry, which oversees the Afghan police, as well as a $102 million base for the military’s 201st Corps in eastern Afghanistan.

  8. Bruce 1, December 24, 2012 at 4:00 am

    You lefties act as though the Tea Party are a bunch of radicals, when basically all they want to do is quit spending money we don’t have and lower the deficit. you folks want to raise the debt limit and keep spending and can’t stand anyone that’s aganist it. Liberal politicians have spent us into debt we can’t payoff.

    Bruce, The deficit is the difference between what comes in and what goes out in the budget. The debt is the deficit (plus interest) that is carried over, year to year. Congress is in charge of deciding what money is spent and what it is spent for. The debt limit ceiling is to allow the government to actually pay the bills that Congress has already put on the credit card. The debt ceiling doesn’t limit spending, it limits the ability to pay what’s already been spent.

    The problem I have with the Tea Party’s approach to spending is that it’s hell bend on killing the programs that do the most for the most people and continue the spending for programs that are too expensive and that do the most damage to the most people. Social security is something that we all contributed to while we were working (disclaimer: I rely on my SS check for basic necessities), it is not broke and any problems with it can easily be fixed by eliminating the ceiling where payments stop. Privatizing it will kill it, and, eventually, all those who rely on it.

    Corporate welfare needs to be cut but, no, only welfare for real living breathing people is to be cut. You mention military spending needs to be cut. We agree on that but I think you jumped to the other side on that. I don’t hear that from most Tea Party folks.

    “Liberal politicians have spent us into debt we can’t payoff.”

    If you’ll take a closer look at the facts you’ll find that the both parties are responsible for the spending, with the spending much higher during times that the Republicans are in control. After all, we’re paying more for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, etc. (I include Israel b/c we are supplying them with the armaments for its wars) than we pay for all the “entitlements” for the people combined. We’re paying for thousands of drones that will be increasing deployed across this country in the next year or so.

  9. Bruce.

    Your sound bites are increasing. Hardly a fact in post. Not even original comments or opinion. The gaps in lack of thinking get larger and larger.

    Take one example. Have you ever examined the text of the NAFTA trade treaty? Nope?
    Can you realize that your solution of getting the jobs to come home because of high tariffs is not solidly based.

    My own view is that such actions would cause the now international American companies no harm at all. They would develop new markets overseas to replace us. They thereby would help develop these countries, or the products won’t sell.

    The fate of America I wiill leave to Tony C. to explain. My economiss are not adequate.

    I guess we would wither behind our tariff walls, like most high tariff countries do. No tariff trading is fine in itseelf but leads to exploitation, of natural resources, hindered national development and exploitation of starvation economies in other nations.

    We are fast developing our own one here, with no freedom of action on the labor market, moving the social burdens to society while reducing and impeding the programs of food stamps and Medicaid, and action radius socially.

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