Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party’

Man Who Used to Work for Dan Backer: “How We Killed the Tea Party”

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

The headline on “How We Killed the Tea Party” overstates the case, but the movement isn’t what it once was, or could have been. And it does identify a major culprit:

As we watch the Republican Party tear itself to shreds over Donald Trump, perhaps it’s time to take note of another conservative political phenomenon that the GOP nominee has utterly eclipsed: the Tea Party. The Tea Party movement is pretty much dead now, but it didn’t die a natural death. It was murdered—and it was an inside job. In a half decade, the spontaneous uprising that shook official Washington degenerated into a form of pyramid scheme that transferred tens of millions of dollars from rural, poorer Southerners and Midwesterners to bicoastal political operatives.

What began as an organic, policy-driven grass-roots movement was drained of its vitality and resources by national political action committees that dunned the movement’s true believers endlessly for money to support its candidates and causes. The PACs used that money first to enrich themselves and their vendors and then deployed most of the rest to search for more “prospects.” In Tea Party world, that meant mostly older, technologically unsavvy people willing to divulge personal information through “petitions”—which only made them prey to further attempts to lighten their wallets for what they believed was a good cause. While the solicitations continue, the audience has greatly diminished because of a lack of policy results and changing political winds.

I was an employee at one of the firms that ran these operations.

After stating that, I wasn’t at all surprised to see this: “For 18 months ending in 2013, I worked for one of these consultants, Dan Backer, who has served as treasurer for dozens of PACs, many now defunct, through his law and consulting firm.”

Yep, Dan Backer, who I’ve been sounding the scam alarm about since 2014. Backer has been running scam PACs like Patriots for Economic Freedom, Conservative Action Fund, Stop Hillary PAC, and a host of others.

And Backer is now cashing in on Donald Trump’s name:

This cycle, Backer and MacKenzie have kept Trump’s lawyers busy. Despite Trump’s constant protests about “corrupt” super PACs, MacKenzie started “Patriots for Trump” and Backer founded “TrumPAC.” MacKenzie shuttered Patriots when the Trump campaign complained, although the Facebook page remains active. The campaign persuaded Backer to change TrumPAC’s name to “Great America PAC.” But the PAC begged off requests to shutter and “refund any funds raised” based on Trump’s candidacy. Jesse Benton, Great America’s chief strategist and formerly a Ron Paul operative, explained the PAC would remain active because Trump would need “a robust and effective finance organization … after he secured the nomination.” By law, the campaign can have no say in how this “finance organization” spends its money, though its website still prominently features the candidate and his trademark slogan. It pledged to raise $20 million dollars before the Republican convention.

And yes, I wrote about Great America PAC as well.

Evidently Scott MacKenzie is puling the same scam. “An analysis found 10 conservative PACs whose treasurer was Scott MacKenzie spent 92 percent of the $17.5 million they raised on operating expenses, and less than 1 percent on candidate support.”

The lesson, yet again, is never donate to a random email or mail solicitation, and when you do donate, use a candidate’s direct donation page.

(Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

LinkSwarm for March 18, 2016

Friday, March 18th, 2016

I hope you’re not too hung over from St. Patrick’s Day (and didn’t get stabbed to death on the Ides of March). Here’s a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Marco Rubio says that Ted Cruz is the only conservative left in the race. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • John Boehner calls Ted Cruz “Lucifer.” With that even-tempered perspective, it’s impossible to figure out why he’s no longer Speaker…
  • Ted Cruz unveils his national security coalition. Media reports on this have been particularly poor…
  • African-Americans living in poor neighborhoods cannot rely on Democratic leaders to take the decisive steps needed to ameliorate the problem as long as the Democratic Party can take the black vote for granted. The question, then, is how long can Democratic Party leaders and candidates continue to rely on African-American voters before African-American voters take matters into their own hands.”
  • No amount of primary wins will make Hillary Clinton’s email troubles go away.
  • And if the FBI doesn’t get her, the NSA might. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.”
  • Got to hand it to Donald Trump: this is an effective ad. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Jews leave France in record numbers. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Obama Administration finally comes out and admits that the Islamic State has committed genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shiites. That’s like Harry Truman finally declaring the Holocaust genocide two years after the liberation of Auschwitz…
  • Putin takes his toys and goes home.

    Contrary to his expectations of finding a pliable ally in Iran, he found the Iranians in control, glad to borrow his air force, arrogant and disdainful in Damascus (and Baghdad) and well on the path to dominating a vast stretch of strategically vital territory. And Iran has no interest in playing junior partner to anyone—least of all a traditional Christian enemy.

    Suddenly, Putin had a vision of a nuclear-armed, radical-Shia empire on Russia’s southern flank. Those Iranian missiles that can reach Israel? They can reach major Russian cities, too.

    Putin’s initial bet on Shia Iran also backfired by turning the Islamic world’s Sunni majority against him — not least Saudi Arabia, which can continue to hold down the price of oil and gas, punishing Russia’s economy far more than it wounds American fracking efforts. And Sunni terrorists have taken a renewed interest in Russia.

  • Hellfire missile intercepted in-route to Portland, Oregon.
  • Minimum wage hike causes fast food restaurants to start investing in automation. Just like conservatives said it would.
  • Texas Public Policy Foundation vs. Bureau of Land Management is now TPPF and The State of Texas vs. BLM. (More background here.)
  • Penny Arcade on Gawker:

    Gawker is poison AIDS cancer. In the same way that the Cross is the symbol for the redemptive power of Christ’s blood, Gawker is the symbol of a metastasized social media. Gawker is Nidhogg, the dragon which gnaws at the root of the World Tree. The causes they enunciate are tarnished, just for being in their mouths.”

    I don’t wish ill on anyone who works there, obviously. I mean, I guess their every action technically does sustain a legitimately evil beast of legend, some Revelations type shit, and they ruin lives for profit whenever they aren’t simply wasting your time.

  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton rules that state contractors must continue using E-verify.
  • Everything you know about Altamont is wrong. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • The story behind that memorial mural on the pillar at the Lamar underpass right before Fifth Street.

    Lamar Mural

  • Man the pollen in the air is really bad this time of year in Austin…
  • Dog shows up safe a month after being presumed lost at sea. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Will the last Elvis impersonator to leave Las Vegas please turn off the neon.
  • Ted Cruz Explains Why Republicans Lose

    Saturday, September 26th, 2015

    Once again Ted Cruz has articulated the problems the Republican grassroots has with Republican congressional leadership:

    Sen. Ted Cruz delivered a blistering critique of Republican leadership Thursday, just hours before lawmakers held what he described as a “show vote” attempting to end Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding.

    The Texas Republican summoned a handful of reporters, including The Daily Signal, to his Senate office to blast his own party for surrendering on the issue before even attempting to fight President Barack Obama and Democrats.

    “The reason why Republicans always lose these fights is because Republicans assume Barack Obama is the Terminator—he will never stop, he will never give up—and Republicans surrender at the outset,” Cruz said.

    Snip.

    This isn’t the first time Cruz finds himself amid a fight with leadership over a government shutdown. Two years ago, he rallied conservatives in their quest to defund Obamacare. The government closed for 16 days.

    Cruz said Republicans failed to learn from that experience. The following year, he noted, many Republicans campaigned against Obamacare, and the GOP won a landslide election to take control of the Senate and expand its majority in the House.

    “In 2013, when we were fighting against Obamacare, all the Washington graybeards went on television and said over and over again, ‘This is a catastrophic mistake. This will hurt Republicans.’ The Wall Street Journal opined that Cruz is the minority maker,” he told reporters.

    “Not only did it not happen, it was exactly the opposite. It was one of the most overwhelming tidal-wave victories in history. And the No. 1 issue … was Obamacare,” Cruz said. “And it does not occur to Republican leadership there is any possible connection between energizing and mobilizing millions of Americans across this country and then winning a tidal-wave election on that exact issue in the very next election.”

    Republicans want representatives that will fight for conservative principles and stop the reckless growth of big government liberalism, not preemptively surrender to Democrats so they can stay in office as tax collectors for the welfare state. That’s why Boehner was pushed out as speaker, and that’s the Tea Party will keep primarying incumbents until they start voting like Republicans when it actually counts.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    An In-Depth Look at Scam PACs

    Monday, March 2nd, 2015

    If you remember my pieces exposing Conservative Action Fund, Conservative America Now and Patriots for Economic Freedom as scam PACs, you know it’s an ongoing concern.

    Now Right Wing news has done an in-depth piece on 17 high-profile PACs, only three of which gave more than 50% of the money raised to candidates. It was particularly disappointing to see Tea Party Express use only miserable 5% of the funds raised on candidates and campaigns.

    Read the whole thing, including their caveats about the difficulty in measuring spending from some groups.

    Eric Cantor Goes Down in Flames; Will He Take Amnesty With Him?

    Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

    Tonight is primary night in Virginia, and in Virginia’s 7th congressional district, and with 75% of districts reporting, House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor is losing to underfunded tea Party challenger David Brat by about 56% to 44%.

    Cantor used to be a reliable conservative, but the overwhelming issue in this race was Cantor’s support for the thin “Dream Act” wedge of illegal alien amnesty. Republican voters, blue collar workers and Americans in general have stated over and over again they’re opposed to illegal alien amnesty, but Democrats, big business lobbyists, certain Hispanic groups and squishy establishment GOP moderates keep pushing it.

    Attention all Republican office holders everywhere: Supporting illegal alien amnesty is a career-ending move.

    Also, it appears that reports of the Tea Party’s death have been greatly exaggerated…

    What UKIP’s Big Election Win Means

    Saturday, May 24th, 2014

    The UK Independence Party (universally known as UKIP) won a big victory in UK Council and European Parliament elections.

    I’ve been struggling with how to frame the significance of UKIP’s victory without committing the sort of ghastly “distant observer” mistakes that Europeans do when analyzing American political results (such as the British liberal who confidently assured me that Texas was becoming a blue state).

    Fortunately, Peter Oborne in The Spectator has done the task far better than I could have, so I’m going to break with blogging tradition by quoting whopping great swathes of his analysis.

    When [UKIP head Nigel Farage] emerged as a force ten years ago, Britain was governed by a cross-party conspiracy. It was impossible to raise the issue of immigration without being labelled racist, or of leaving the EU without being insulted as a fanatic. Mainstream arguments to shrink the size of the state, or even to challenge its growth, were regarded as a sign of madness or inhumanity — hence Michael Howard’s decision to sack Howard Flight for advocating just that during the 2005 election campaign. The NHS and Britain’s collapsing education system were beyond criticism. Any failure to conform was policed by the media, and the BBC in particular.

    Meanwhile, the three main political parties had been captured by the modernisers, an elite group which defied political boundaries and was contemptuous of party rank and file. As I demonstrated in The Triumph of the Political Class (2007), politicians suddenly emerged as a separate interest group. The senior cadres of the New Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties had far more in common with each other than ordinary voters. General elections were taken out of the hands of (unpaid) party activists and placed in the hands of a new class of political expert. Ed Miliband’s expensive American strategist, David Axelrod, who flew into London on a fleeting visit to the shadow cabinet last week, is an example.

    In this new world, the vast majority of voters ceased to count. The new political class immediately wrote off all voters in safe seats — from unemployed ship-workers in Glasgow to retired lieutenant colonels in Tunbridge Wells. Their views could be disregarded because in electoral terms they were of no account. This callous attitude brought into existence a system of pocket boroughs in parts of Scotland, driving traditional Labour voters into the hands of the SNP and (as can now be seen clearly with hindsight) jeopardising the union. The only voters that political modernisers cared about were those in Britain’s approximately 100 marginal seats — and even the majority of those were considered of no significance. During the 2005 general election I went to see the co-chairman of the Conservatives, Maurice Saatchi, who boasted that barely 100,000 swing voters in the marginal seats mattered to him. Saatchi reassured me that the Conservative party had bought a large American computer that would (with the help of focus groups) single out these voters and tell them what they needed in order to make them vote Conservative.

    The majority of national journalists, for the most part well-paid Londoners, were part of this conspiracy against the British public. They were often personally connected with the new elite, with whom they shared a snobbery about the concerns of ordinary voters.

    Immigration is an interesting case study. For affluent political correspondents, it made domestic help cheaper, enabling them to pay for the nannies, au pairs, cleaning ladies, gardeners and tradesmen who make middle-class life comfortable.

    These journalists were often provided with private health schemes, and were therefore immune from the pressure on NHS hospitals from immigration. They tended to send their children to private schools. This meant they rarely faced the problems of poorer parents, whose children find themselves in schools where scores of different languages were spoken in the playground. Meanwhile the corporate bosses who funded all the main political parties (and owned the big media groups) tended to love immigration because it meant cheaper labour and higher profits.

    Great tracts of urban Britain have been utterly changed by immigration in the course of barely a generation. The people who originally lived in these areas were never consulted and felt that the communities they lived in had been wilfully destroyed. Nobody would speak up for them: not the Conservatives, not Labour, not the Lib Dems. They were literally left without a voice.

    To sum up, the most powerful and influential figures in British public life entered into a conspiracy to ignore and to denigrate millions of British voters. Many of these people were Labour supporters. Ten years ago, when Tony Blair was in his pomp, some of these voters were driven into the arms of the racist British National Party and its grotesque leader Nick Griffin. One of Britain’s unacknowledged debts to Nigel Farage is the failure of Griffin’s racist project. Disenfranchised Labour voters tend to drift to the SNP in Scotland and Ukip in England.

    Read the whole thing.

    Mark Steyn has some choices quotes on the meaning of UKIP’s victory as well (as he almost invariably does):

    A casual observer might easily assume the election was being fought between Farage’s UKIP and a Tory-Labour-Liberal-Media coalition.

    (snip)

    The British media spent 20 years laughing at UKIP. But they’re not laughing now — not when one in four electors takes them seriously enough to vote for them. So, having dismissed him as a joke, Fleet Street now warns that Farage uses his famous sense of humor as a sly cover for his dark totalitarian agenda — the same well-trod path to power used by other famous quipsters and gag-merchants such as Adolf Hitler, whose Nuremberg open-mike nights were legendary. “Nigel Farage is easy to laugh at . . . that means he’s dangerous,” declared the Independent. The Mirror warned of an “unfulfilled capacity for evil.” “Stop laughing,” ordered Jemma Wayne in the British edition of the Huffington Post. “Farage would lead us back to the dark ages.” The more the “mainstream” shriek about how mad, bad, and dangerous UKIP is, the more they sound like the ones who’ve come unhinged.

    UKIP is pronounced “You-kip,” kip being Brit slang for “sleep.” When they write the book on how we came to this state of affairs, they’ll call it While England Kipped. A complacent elite assured itself that UKIP would remain an irritating protest vote, but that’s all. It was born in 1993 to protest the Maastricht treaty, the point at which a continent-wide “common market” finally cast off the pretense of being an economic arrangement and announced itself as a “European Union,” a pseudo-state complete with “European citizenship.” The United Kingdom Independence party was just that: a liberation movement. Its founder, a man who knew something about incoherent Euro-polities, was the Habsburg history specialist Alan Sked, who now dismisses the party as a bunch of “fruitcakes.” As old-time Perotistas will understand, new movements are prone to internecine feuds. UKIP briefly fell under the spell of the oleaginous telly huckster Robert Kilroy-Silk, who subsequently quit to found a party called “Veritas,” which he has since also quit.

    But Farage was there at the founding, as UKIP’s first-ever parliamentary candidate. In 1994, a rising star of the Tory party, Stephen Milligan, was found dead on his kitchen table, with a satsuma and an Ecstasy tab in his mouth, and naked except for three lady’s stockings, two on his legs and one on his arm. In his entertaining book, one of the few political memoirs one can read without forcing oneself to finish, Farage has a melancholy reflection on Milligan’s bizarrely memorable end: “It was the sad destiny . . . of this former President of the Oxford Union to contribute more to public awareness — albeit of a very arcane nature — by the manner of his death than by his work in life.” That’s to say, the late Mr. Milligan more or less singlehandedly planted the practice of “auto-erotic asphyxiation” in the public consciousness — since when (as John O’Sullivan suggested here a while back) the Tory party seems to have embraced it as a political philosophy.

    At the time, Milligan’s death enabled a by-election in the constituency of Eastleigh. Farage stood for UKIP, got 952 votes (or 1.4 percent), and narrowly beat the perennial fringe candidate Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony party, which, in a perceptive insight into the nature of government, was demanding more than one Monopolies Commission (the British equivalent of the Antitrust Division). While waiting for the count, Lord Sutch said, “Oi, Nige. Let’s go for a drink, shall we? The rest of this lot are a bunch of wankers.” In the BBC footage of the announcement of the results, Mr. Farage appears to be flushed and swaying slightly. Let Kilroy-Silk split to form a breakaway party called Veritas; Farage is happy to be in vino. He is a prodigious drinker and smoker. I can personally testify to the former after our Toronto appearance. As to the latter, not even Obama can get away with that in public. But Farage does.

    The wobbly boozer turned out to be the steady hand at the tiller UKIP needed. He was elected (via proportional representation) to the European Parliament, which for the aspiring Brit politician is Siberia with an expense account. Then, in 2010, Farage became a global Internet sensation by raining on the EU’s most ridiculous parade — the inaugural appearance by the first supposed “President of Europe,” not a popularly elected or even parliamentarily accountable figure but just another backroom deal by the commissars of Eutopia. The new “President” was revealed to be, after the usual Franco-German stitch-up, a fellow from Belgium called Herman van Rompuy. “Who are you?” demanded Farage from his seat in the European Parliament during President van Rompuy’s address thereto. “No one in Europe has ever heard of you.” Which was quite true. One day, Mr. van Rompuy was an obscure Belgian, the next he was an obscure Belgian with a business card reading “President of Europe.” But, as is his wont, Nigel warmed to his theme and told President van Rompuy that he had “the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk.” A few days later, having conferred in their inner sanctum, the Eurocrats ordered Farage to make a public apology. So he did — to low-grade bank clerks for having been so ill-mannered as to compare them to President van Rompuy. He was then fined 2,980 euros (about $4,000) for his impertinence, since when he has referred to the European president as Rumpy-Pumpy, a British synonym for a bloody good shag.

    (snip)

    As I understand it, at some point in the last decade a Labour prime minister exited 10 Downing Street by the back door and a Conservative prime minister came in through the front. And yet nothing changed. And the more frantically Tory loyalists talk up the rare sightings of genuine conservatism — Education Secretary Michael Gove’s proposed reforms! — the more they remind you of how few there are.

    And, even more than the policies, the men advancing them are increasingly interchangeable. I lived in London for a long time and still get to Britain every few months, but I can barely tell any of these guys apart. They look the same, dress the same, talk the same. The equivalent British shorthand for “the Beltway” is “the Westminster village,” which accurately conveys both its size and its parochialism but not perhaps the increasingly Stepfordesque quality of its inhabitants. The Labour, Liberal, and Tory leaders all came off the assembly line within 20 minutes of each other in the 1960s and, before they achieved their present ascendancy, worked only as consultants, special advisers, public-relations men. One of them did something at the European Commission, another was something to do with a think tank for social justice — the non-jobs that now serve as political apprenticeships. The men waiting to succeed them are also all the same. There are mild variations in background — this one went to Eton, that one is heir to an Irish baronetcy — but once they determine on a life in politics they all lapse into the same smarmy voice, and they all hold the same opinions, on everything from the joys of gay marriage and the vibrant contributions of Islam to the vital necessity of wind farms and the historical inevitability of the EU. And they sound even more alike on the stuff they stay silent on — ruinous welfare, transformative immigration, a once-great nation’s shrunken armed forces…

    (snip)

    On the Continent, on all the issues that matter, competitive politics decayed to a rotation of arrogant co-regents of a hermetically sealed elite, and with predictable consequences: If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones. As noted, Farage is too funny to make a convincing fascist, but, with the great unwashed pounding on the fence of their gated community, the Westminster village have redoubled their efforts.

    (snip)

    On the Continent, on all the issues that matter, competitive politics decayed to a rotation of arrogant co-regents of a hermetically sealed elite, and with predictable consequences: If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones. As noted, Farage is too funny to make a convincing fascist, but, with the great unwashed pounding on the fence of their gated community, the Westminster village have redoubled their efforts.

    (snip)

    Farage is a close student of the near-total collapse of the intellectually bankrupt Canadian Conservative party in the early Nineties, and its split into various factions. The western-based Reform party could not get elected nationwide, but they kept certain political ideas in play, which moved the governing Liberals to the right, and eventually enabled them to engineer a reverse takeover of the Tory party. UKIP, likewise, is keeping certain important, indeed existential questions in play, and it’s not inconceivable that Farage, who regards himself as a member of “the Tory family,” could yet engineer a reverse takeover of whatever post-Cameron husk remains half a decade down the road.

    Again, read the whole thing. (Which should be taken as a given for any Steyn piece. And since I’m swiping enormous chunks of his prose today, also consider buying some of his stuff.)

    One sign of how scared the political establishment is of UKIP is that the government is actually funding an advertising campaign against them.

    Here in the United States, both Republicans and Democrats should take a good, hard look at UKIP’s rise. Many of the “forbidden” topics UKIP is raising there (big government, control by a small cabal of elites, immigration) are animating the Tea Party (and even, to some extent, parts of Occupy).

    Reports of the Tea Party’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

    Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

    There have been a lot of wishful thinking thumbsucker pieces from liberal media outlets proclaiming that the Tea Party is done, finished, a spent force. (Here’s an example.)

    And indeed, those looking only at some top-line races in Texas (like Katrina Pierson’s failed attempt to take down Pete Sessions) might find tend to agree.

    However, a look at all the races (including many down-ballot) shows that the Tea Party is alive and well.

    Start at Lt. Governor. Dan Patrick says he followed the Ted Cruz blueprint and leaned heavily on the Tea Party. “If you have a candidate who will work and at least enough resources to fund a statewide race then and you have the credentials, the tea party will bring you to victory.”

    Texans for Fiscal Responsibility’s Michael Quinn Sullivan sees conservative victories up and down the ballot:

  • The most liberal Republican in the Texas Senate lost.
  • Conservative ranks in the Senate are swelling.
  • Every House conservative won re-election (with re-enforcements coming from the open-seat races).
  • House incumbents affiliated with Speaker Joe Straus lost big.
  • Statewide races saw the TFR-backed candidates earning commanding leads going into run-offs.
  • Sullivan goes on to cite Don Huffines defeating John Carona, Brooks Landgraf defeating Austin Keith, and the defeats of Straus allies Bennett Ratliff, Ralph Sheffield, Linda Harper-Brown, Diane Patrick and Lance Gooden.

    This AP piece touts Tea Party success in Texas, but is lamentably short on details.

    Even liberal fossil Paul Burka says that “If there was a clear winner in last night’s election, it was the tea party,” noting the defeats of Joe Straus allies Harper-Brown and Ratliff.

    So too at the national level. The enthusiastic response to Sarah Palin’s speech and other Tea Party favorites shows that the movement is far from dead.

    Which is not to say huge obstacles don’t remain. The Tea Party still hasn’t built up their financial networks enough to reliably take on big-money incumbents, and even in Texas, previous Tea Party gains were insufficient to wrest the Speakership from Straus (who just spent $2,578,942.72 to retain a job that pays $7,200 a year). But the Tea Party movement is still very much alive and kicking, much to the chagrin of RINOS, democrats and the media…

    David Barton to Primary Cornyn?

    Thursday, November 7th, 2013

    National Review is reporting that evangelical historian David Barton is considering a primary challenge to John Cornyn?

    Can he take out Cornyn?

    I don’t see it:

  • Barton is well known in evangelical circles, but not outside of them. Despite the endorsements of various Tea Party groups, I don’t see him playing well among fiscal conservative, business conservatives, or libertarian-leaning Republicans, and he can’t win the nomination without significant support from those groups.
  • Despite the media’s love of a good Republican primary fight, Barton has the profile of someone they would enjoy attacking a whole lot more. Imagine them dragging every “fundamentalist Dominionist” panic attack piece out of the closet.
  • Most historians, including many conservatives, have been extremely critical of Barton’s history. Greg Foster at First Things (hardly a hotbed of liberal thought), writes of a Barton piece on Locke that it “contains a number of incidental factual errors that don’t even advance his thesis, indicating that his inability to write reliable history stretches beyond ideological cheerleading and into outright incompetence.”
  • Barton strikes me as a figure that would be divisive among Republicans (much less among regular voters) for all the wrong reasons. He also strikes me as the only name floated as a possible Republican challenger to Cornyn who could actually lose to a Democrat in 2014.

    Update: A day late and a dollar short. Barton announced yesterday he’s not going to run. D’oh!

    LinkSwarm for October 21, 2013

    Saturday, October 19th, 2013

    Busy weekend, with lots of non-political stuff, so here’s last week’s LinkSwarm this week:

  • The Tea Party helped launch the shutdown because the GOP establishment failed so utterly to limit bloated government.
  • Well, that’s a scary chart. (Via Instapundit.)
  • Is ObamaCare increasing premiums in all 50 states? Nonsense! Only in 45.
  • “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it suck it when it’s cancelled due to ObamaCare.”
  • They’re tracking a huge amount of ObamaCare enrollment data over at http://www.enrollmaven.com/.
  • Number of people who have bought private insurance through ObamaCare in Oregon: 0. You’d think there would be more than that, what with the widespread dysentery and all…
  • Add New York doctors to those experiencing the Obamacare fail.
  • And the ObamaCare situation is worse than you thought.
  • Who won the shutdown? Ted Cruz.
  • Cruz wins Values Summit Presidential straw poll.
  • Also receives a warm welcome coming home to Texas. “After two months in Washington, it’s great to be back in America.”
  • Young people in Japan just can’t be bothered to have relationships or children. I wonder if any Guardian readers noticed that the declining birth rates in such a society must inevitably doom their European-style cradle-to-grave welfare states…
  • Missed this earlier: Australian University bans entire run of student newspaper for cartoon critical of Islam. (Indirectly via Popehat.)
  • Tea Party members have a better than average grasp on science. And of course, we all know liberals don’t understand debt…
  • Jews start leaving France.
  • Dilbert creator Scott Adams on success: “Goals are for losers.”
  • Heard a grapevine report that “the Austin American-Statesman has offered early retirement to 34 reporters and editors.” No linkable source yet.
  • The man who stole Christmas sentenced to prison.
  • Remembering the dark years of the Jennifer Plague.
  • A look at the strange goings-on of the Grambling football team. Honestly, unless the university is completely and utterly broke, it sounds like someone in the administration was embezzling funds and is now trying to cover their tracks…
  • U.S. does Mexico a solid in that game where you kick that round ball.
  • Can Anyone Successfully Primary John Cornyn?

    Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

    There’s been a lot of criticism of John Cornyn in Tea Party circles over his failure to back Ted Cruz in procedural votes on the ObamaCare defunding fight. Given that, the muttering over someone primarying Cornyn have grown much louder.

    Can anyone take Cornyn? It’s something of a tall order. He had some $6 million on hand as of the July reporting period, and any potential candidate will have a much latter start than Ted Cruz had when he beat David Dewhurst.

    I queried a few people more tied-in than I, and three names of possible Cornyn challengers came up:

  • U.S. Congressman Louis Gohmert was the most popular choice. Gohmert is a solid conservative, and Mark Levin has even put up a Draft Congressman Gohmert for U.S. Senate page on Facebook. The drawback is that Gohmert isn’t wealthy enough to self-fund, and his East Texas district puts him far away from the Houston and Metroplex fundraising pools that would be necessary to fund a statewide campaign.
  • U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul was a very close second. McCaul is widely considered to be “conservative enough” (and has an ACU rating of 91%) and with a personal fortune estimated to be around $300 million (his wife is the daughter of the founder of Clear Channel), he could clearly self-fund. McCaul was considering a Senate run in 2012, but ultimately opted against it.
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willet has also been mentioned as a possible candidate, and he’s well-respected among conservatives. But stepping from the Texas Supreme Court to the U.S. Senate is a tall order (Cornyn did it via a stint as Texas Attorney General), and Willet has joked about not being rich, so self-funding is probably out for him as well.
  • (Unmentioned by anyone, but someone who’s family connections would bring instant media coverage: George P. Bush. But name recognition and family connections only take you so far. Bush would go from an overwhelming favorite for Land Commissioner to a distinct underdog in a Senate race, plus there’s no guarantee he would be any more conservative than Cornyn. And Tea Party opinion of the Bush Dynasty is not exactly one of, shall we say, unrestrained affection.)

    It’s going to be a tall order to take out a sitting U.S. Senator, barring scandal or even more deviation from conservative principles. But of those mentioned, McCaul probably has the best shot to beat Cornyn.