Jeb Bush is already feeling the media heat from both sides and he’s barely put a toe in the water. Conservative reaction to his “act of love” interview on immigration was not one of overjoyed approval but perhaps much more telling about what he might face if he really does decide to enter the race is a New York Times piece on his post-governor business ventures. It delves into the business “empire” Jeb has put together since occupying the governor’s office in Tallahassee. There is a directorship in a company that engaged in less than transparent activities in their accounting — How much directors knew is always an issue here but a news item like this doesn’t help — and the money is flowing in. $3 million in fees and stock grants … over almost seven years. Let’s see that would be, less than $500,000 a year? That’s an empire? Is this the sacrifice he would have to endure to have a go at the White House?

Perhaps Jeb Bush has read another NY Times article, helpfully pointed out by Bill Kristol, that talked about a recent White House confab for the truly wealthy. Thomas Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy — Perhaps we could abbreviate it as WHOSIT? — organized a conference/symposium for a hundred or so young heirs to billionaire fortunes where their idealism would have plenty to think about and their checkbooks would of course be more than welcome. With the help of Nexus, a group that wants to work with the next generation of philanthropists and their trust funds, they discussed issues like water quality in Puget Sound. I’m not sure Jeb Bush’s son, who is part of his “empire”, was invited to the event. Not only that, it was closed to the press, save for the article written by a member of the Johnson family; yes, the ones who founded Johnson & Johnson, who was naturally enough, an invited guest. No, the tough press scrutiny is reserved for those who slug away in the $50,000 a speech bracket. And that’s fine, but it seems Jeb Bush is a long way from empire as he decides if it’s worth it to run in 2016.

One of the key messages of the Tea Party movement is its anti-establishment viewpoint. As the Tea Party is certainly acknowledged to be a vocal part of the fiscally conservative Republican base, its support of a candidate will impact the primary race.

Let’s begin by level-setting what the ‘establishment’ is: “An order of society as [in] a group of social, economic, and political leaders who form a ruling class (as of a nation)”, or “a controlling group”.

As there has recently been significant banter around amongst the candidates as to who is an ‘establishment candidate’, let’s examine this by quantifying the time each candidate spent as part of the elected political ruling class, particularly of the nation, to see who is truly ‘establishment’ and if the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party supports this ideal.

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The “Tea Party” rose at a time when the political landscape in American had seen President George W. Bush’s administration begin a series of bailouts for failing businesses and President Obama Barack continue this legacy. Many conservatives and libertarians were extremely frustrated by what they viewed as the government far over-stepping its bounds. Then on February 19, 2009 an impassioned speech on CNBC’s by analyst Rick Santelli became a rallying cry for many of those in these frustrated constituencies. Santelli raved: “This is America. How many of you people (turning to the traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor) want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills? . . . We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up at Lake Michigan, I’m going to start organizing!”

The video went viral and “Tea Party” websites went up all over the internet, representing groups large and small. As it was a decentralized, individual, and small group driven movement, the Tea Party has never had a specific agenda. Characterized largely by conservative and libertarian themes, it is clearly an anti-establishment movement promoting smaller government and fiscal responsibility.

However, today the Tea Party is dead.

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If you were born in the 1960s, educated in the 1970s, and emancipated from parental dependence in the 1980s, the ideological differences between Democrats and Republicans were clearly defined. Democrats favored high taxes, government regulation, and wealth redistribution. Republicans advocated low taxes, limited government, and private charity. During the 2000s those lines were blurred. 

Republicans gained control of the federal government for the first time in memory. For conservatives the results were underwhelming. The hope was for Republicans to curtail government’s growth and influence. Instead, they expanded the federal role in education, healthcare, airport screening, and law enforcement. Budget deficits grew, partially due to wars fought for righteous reasons but with murky objectives, and partially due to tepid efforts at entitlement reform.  Read more

Vice President Joe Biden sticks his foot in his mouth so often that he’s developed athlete’s tongue. The news flash comes when Biden doesn’t say something eccentric, unpredictable, or just plain stupid. So it was no great revelation to hear he’d accused Tea Party Republicans of behaving like terrorists during the debt limit debate. It’s also no surprise that he denied making the comment that everyone within earshot clearly heard. 

That’s just Joe being Joe, right? He has a long history of uttering inanities at the worst possible moment. Sometimes his gaffes unintentionally reveal hidden truths. While Biden was merely blowing his usual hot air with his “terrorist” comment, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) can’t make the same claim. He pulled a “Biden” in the same meeting, and inadvertently revealed a not-so-secret truth about Washington politics.  Read more

Steny Hoyer’s time as the House’s second in command is complete. But he didn’t accept his demotion quietly. Instead he delivered a psychological evaluation of TEA Party activists. Dr. Hoyer’s diagnosis: “My presumption is they have unhappy families.” 

Thank you Dr. Hoyer. Your keen insight has revealed the true mental state driving the TEA Party. TEA Partiers hate their mothers. They have low self-esteem due to incessant emotional and physical abuse suffered at the hands of their domineering fathers. Likely as not they want to wed their siblings, or perhaps their family pets. The root causes of their familial dysfunctions are limitless. But obviously TEA Partiers were forced to eat too many Brussels sprouts when they were young.  Read more

You don’t think she might actually run in 2012? You Betcha!

Senator Graham has never been a conservative darling and folks like Glenn Beck have been taking their shots for a long time. But why go out of your way to pick a fight with the only political movement generating energy right now? Even if you think the Tea Party movement isn’t sustainable, why say it out loud and make yourself an even bigger enemy? Is Graham stupid or just sloppy?

Graham: Tea Party ‘unsustainable’

Sen. Lindsey Graham says the Tea Party movement is ‘unsustainable.’

(CNN) – Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is frequently at odds with conservative activists in his own state, predicts the Tea Party movement will eventually “die out” despite the political energy it’s generating during this midterm election year.

In an interview with the New York Times Magazine posted online Thursday, the South Carolina Republican lamented the state of his party and doubted whether the Tea Party movement will survive.

“The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country,” Graham told the magazine, recounting his private meetings with members of the movement. “It will die out.”

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