October 16, 2012

More From Politico’s Alternative Universe: 2012 Is a ‘Non-Tea Party Year’

Jake Sherman at the Politico is suffering from the same detachment from reality I found his colleague Anna Palmer in this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).

Palmer’s piece asserted that an election win by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney would herald the return of l-l-l-lobbyists, who have supposedly (not actually) been a rare presence in the pristine and pure Obama administration. Sherman’s affliction is just as serious, if not moreso, as in an item posted Monday evening, he characterizes 2012 as a “non-Tea Party year,” and seems to believe that everyone who disapproves of the job Congress has been doing must be to the left of House Speaker John Boehner. Hilarity follows the jump:

John Boehner agenda put to test in swing districts

The dash for control of the House this year is muddled by massive population shifts, redrawn districts and a spate of retirements.

But in a pair of House races here in New Hampshire, those variables are all stripped away. What’s left is one the purest barometers in the nation of the agenda of John Boehner’s rightward shifting, tea-party fueled House Republican majority.

Here’s the question: Can lawmakers from middle-of-the-road districts survive in a non-tea party year, and after two years of governing that’s dragged congressional approval ratings to record lows?

Granite State voters — a rightward-leaning but pragmatic bunch — have a chance for a do-over. Returning Republicans Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta to Congress would be a vote of confidence in Boehner’s House. If Democrats Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster prevail — they’re both waging comebacks after losing two years ago — it would be a show of buyer’s remorse and cast doubts on Boehner’s ability to forge a lasting, and robust GOP majority.

It’s a stark test, in two truly swing districts, of the Democratic attacks — and Republican retorts — to changes to Medicare, Medicaid and federal spending.

“I think it’s quite clear for the viewers that if you are part of the 9 percent who think that Congress is working well, then I think Congressman Bass is your candidate,” Kuster said in a debate last week sponsored by WBIN television in Derry. “I’m talking to the 90 percent of people who believe that Congress is dysfunctional right now.”

All of this is sheer fantasy.

The influence of people with what has been described as “Tea Party Values” (small government, fiscal sanity, regulatory restraint) in this, the movement’s first presidential test, promises to be huge. As Dustin Hawkins noted at Breitbart’s Big Government site late last month, they number roughly 41 million (31% of the likely voters), according to an AP-GfK poll which was not exactly predisposed to find them or treat them fairly. It seems safe to say that the percentage of this group which will vote is greater than that of the average likely voter, and that the New Hampshire contingent’s predisposition to consider voting for someone running to the left of the two incumbent GOP congressmen named above is low.

Sherman and by inference the two Granite State Democratic congressional candidates rest their “non-tea party year” claim almost entirely on Congress’s low approval rating (Sherman could also have cited the GOP’s aversion to using the term “tea party” at the Republican National Convention, but that’s more a reflection of GOP establishment cowardice than it is of Tea Party weakness). Horse manure. Tea Party-sympathetic voters and many others probably totaling close to half the electorate, if not more, aren’t upset at Congress and Boehner because they have governed too far to the right, but because they are largely seen as having too often buckled or and sold sensible conservatism short.

Only someone inhabiting Politico’s alternative universe could believe that this is a “non-party year.” Ted Cruz (Texas Tea Party fave who whipped the establishment’s candidate in the state’s U.S. Senate primary), Deb Fisher (Nebraska, ditto), Richard Mourdock (Indiana, ditto), along with the horde of Democratic candidates for the House and Senate who didn’t want to be seen in the same zip code with President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, would disagree, and are correct.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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