Political Miscellania

Thursday, May 6, AD 2010

A round up of various political items of interest:

1. We lead off with the above video.  Contessa Brewer, MSNBC’s representative journalist for the empty-headed bimbo demographic, is just so darned ticked off that the Time’s Square Would Be Bomber turned out to be a jihadist and not, presumably, some more politically correct villain.  This perhaps is of limited political significance, other than to demonstrate yet again that MSNBC should only be viewed for purposes of unintentional humor.

2. David Obey (D. WI.) announced his surprise retirement.  When Obey was first elected to Congress in 1968 I was 11 years old.  Needless to say, it is long past time for him to be moving on to other things after 42 years, but his retirement this late in the campaign season indicates to me that this was not planned far in advance, and probably was due to the fact that he was facing a tough race and the prospect of the House flipping to the Republicans. This is bad news for the Democrats as it puts one more Democrat seat in play and is yet another sign of the political disaster awaiting the Democrats in November.

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19 Responses to Political Miscellania

  • I do not rejoice over Obey’s retirement because I have not yet seen who the most likely replacement is. LifeNews.com rates Obey as “pro-abortion” (http://www.lifenews.com/state5071.html), which may be accurate, but not terribly precise.

    An issue-by-issue analysis (http://www.ontheissues.org/House/David_Obey.htm) showed he had a mixed voting record on the issues of abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Far from perfect, but for me, it’s important that his replacement be better on the issue of abortion and a large number of pro-life issue. The pro-life voters in that district need to step up early and make sure that at least one candidate on the ballot in the general election will be a pro-life voice in the House.

  • Go Colonel West!

    Does this mean I can be a patriot without being a racist now, if I like this guy? Is that acceptable? Or is he a self-hating black, so if I like him, that means I hate blacks?

    I need a thought cop to tell me what to think! Preferably someone who does the freshman initiation at the dorms of the state universities.

  • The likely Republican candidate for Obey’s seat is Sean Duffy, a pro-life Catholic.

  • The seat is likely safe for the dems. I’m not sure how much Duffy’s MTV celebrity will help him, because the district trends older. The bigger disadvantage is that he is an unknown in Wausau, Stevens Point, and Wisconsin Rapids, cities in counties that make up 170,000 of the district’s 650,000 people. Douglas County (Superior) is the other big county with 43,000, and I don’t think a Republican has every carried the county. Obama carried it 63/32.

  • “The likely Republican candidate for Obey’s seat is Sean Duffy, a pro-life Catholic.”

    A pro-life Catholic with a fine-looking pro-life Catholic wife.

    http://www.rachelcamposduffy.com/

    😉

  • She, I mean he has my vote.

  • I like Duffy. Since I’m a Chicago native I don’t see why the fact that I don’t live in Obey’s district should impair my abilty to vote for him. He has my votes.

  • Colonel West, has admitted to torture and says he’d do it again.

  • Colonel West, has admitted to torture and says he’d do it again.

    That strikes me as an example of how “torture” has come to be treated as a generic political bogeyman rather than a serious moral or humanitarian issue. There’s a wide gulf between West’s actions and the sort of things rightly condemned in regards to Guantanamo, etc. The NY Times piece of West actually gives a very balanced view of the incident:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/politics/27WEST.html?ex=1400990400&en=71d7b26fe2922d57&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND&pagewanted=all

    I don’t know enough about West and his positions (much less his opponents in the primary) to know if I’d vote for him if I were in his district, but the increasing mis-use of torture as a political football only serves to cheapen a real humanitarian issue, probably making real torture more rather than less likely.

  • From the NY Times article:

    “one soldier punched him several times”
    “the translator kicked him in the shin and told him he needed to confess before Colonel West showed up to kill him”
    “Colonel West cocked his gun”
    “Soon, the soldiers began striking and shoving Mr. Hamoodi”
    “They were not instructed to do so by Colonel West but they were not stopped, either”
    “Eventually, the colonel and his soldiers moved Mr. Hamoodi outside, and threatened him with death. Colonel West said he fired a warning shot in the air and began counting down from five. He asked his soldiers to put Mr. Hamoodi’s head in a sand-filled barrel usually used for clearing weapons. At the end of his count, Colonel West fired a shot into the barrel, angling his gun away from the Iraqi’s head, he testified.”

    Oh, yes. Critics of Col. West deserve all the scorn we can heap on them.

  • The parts of the article that struck me were:

    In August, Colonel West learned from an intelligence specialist of a supposed plot to assassinate him, which would endanger the soldiers who traveled with him, too. The plot reportedly involved Mr. Hamoodi, a police officer who occasionally worked for the Americans. Although Mr. Hamoodi is a Shiite Muslim, and most attacks against Americans were carried out by Sunnis loyal to Saddam Hussein, some police officers do cooperate with the insurgents and several have been accused of attacking foreigners.

    Colonel West said he initially thought “the information was a joke.” But a week later several of his officers were ambushed when he was supposed to be traveling with them. A roadside bomb sheared off the back panel of a Humvee, and a firefight ensued. None of his men were seriously hurt, but Colonel West began taking the risk of an assassination seriously.

    Intent on foiling a reported plot to ambush him and his men, Colonel West, a battalion commander, made a calculated decision to intimidate the Iraqi officer with a show of force. An interrogation under way was going nowhere, Colonel West said in an interview, and he chose to take the matter into his own hands.

    “This could get ugly,” he told his soldiers. But, he said, he imposed limits: “This man will not be injured and he will not have to be repaired. There will be no blood and no breakage of bones.”

    Still, Colonel West wanted the Iraqi policeman, Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi, to think “this was going to be the end” if he did not divulge what he knew. So Colonel West presided over what he considered a time-sensitive interrogation that grew steadily more abusive until he himself fired a pistol beside Mr. Hamoodi’s head.

    “There are rules and regulations, and there’s protecting your soldiers,” Colonel West said, sitting by a man-made waterway behind his family’s new home in a Florida subdivision. “I just felt I’d never have to write a letter of condolence home to a `rule and regulation.’ ”

    “The fact is, I made a choice, the choice had consequences and I accept that,” he continued.

    But, he added, the events of that hot, dusty night still disturb him: “I’m not some bully who goes around threatening men’s lives. Certain things we have to do in war are outside our character.”

    Mr. Hamoodi said he did not really blame the Americans for “arresting and torturing me.” Obviously, someone had informed on him, he said, and they had to act on the information they obtained. Still, he trembles now when he sees a Humvee and he no longer trusts or works with the Americans.

    Soldiers testified that they felt safer when Colonel West was in charge. The interpreter, who works for a private contractor, said that “the American soldiers were protected by the tribes” in the area because of Colonel West’s good relationship with the community, and that the situation became more dangerous and chaotic after he left.

    The military decided against court-martialing Colonel West. He was fined $5,000, and he submitted his resignation, which becomes effective this summer, when he will retire with full benefits.

    Colonel West said he had spent many months grappling with disorientation, wondering, “What is my purpose now, my reason for being?” Shortly after he arrived back in the United States, he got a lucrative job offer from a private contractor to return to Iraq, he said, but he was not interested. Instead, he decided to start again in the world of education.

    He is awaiting placement in a high school in Broward County and, he said, he prays that God will see to it that he gets a spot in one of the low-performing, predominantly black schools, where he can try to make a difference. Ever the striver, he plans to begin studying for a master’s in education so he can advance into administration “within five years.” he said. [the article is from 2004]

    I’m not prepared to say whether West was right in his actions, but if someone reads the whole article and simply comes out with a 2D portrait of “that guy is a torturer”, it strikes me that person is reading more through an ideological lens than a human one.

  • Contessa Brewer,

    Another self-loathing American.

    Thank goodness for the Internet because stuff like this would have never been shown for what it is, garbage.

  • It’s not political. I watched the video Don posted and I was honestly impressed so I googled him and found out he’s an unrepentant torturer. I too don’t know if he’s any better or worse than his opponent but that kind of killed the enthusiasm.

  • Colonel West first came to my notice when he sacrificed his career to save his men. I completely support what he did, and I admire his willingness to take his punishment without whining about it. Of course, a man can be a hero and lack any political skills. However, West has since demonstrated that he possesses such skills in spades. Oh and to short circuit the parade of horribles: no I would not have supported West shooting the suspected terrorist. However, frightening him, in order to foil a possible ambush, although against regulations, strikes me as a moral act.

  • Thanks for watching MSNBC (as penance, I presume), Don, so I don’t have to. I’ve never watched it, nor had I ever heard of Contessa Brewer before your post. Things are worse than I thought.

    Donald R. McClarey for SCOTUS.

  • “Donald R. McClarey for SCOTUS.”

    Thank you Cathleen, although I have as much chance of being nominated for SCOTUS as I do of being elected Miss America. Besides, I’ve thus far successfully resisted all efforts to get me into a black robe at the trial court level, since I enjoy simply being an attorney. (Also, as I remarked on one occasion, me being on the bench might be one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse!)

  • Maybe not a sign of the Apocalypse, but it sure would be fun to read your opinion of something like the “sweet mystery of life” passage.

  • Yeah j. christian, Kennedy has a bad case of Black Robitis. Too many people after they put on a black robe forget that, at best, they are smart attorneys and begin to consider themselves Platonic Guardians called upon to make decisions for everyone else.

    Of course the best comment in regard to this type of judicial buffoonery was made by Scalia in his magnificent dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the decision which reaffirmed Roe:

    “What makes all this relevant to the bothersome application of “political pressure” against the Court are the twin facts that the American people love democracy and the American people are not fools. As long as this Court thought (and the people thought) that we Justices were doing essentially lawyers’ work up here–reading text and discerning our society’s traditional understanding of that text–the public pretty much left us alone. Texts and traditions are facts to study, not convictions to demonstrate about. But if in reality our process of constitutional adjudication consists primarily of making value judgments; if we can ignore a long and clear tradition clarifying an ambiguous text, as we did, for example, five days ago in declaring unconstitutional invocations and benedictions at public high school graduation ceremonies, Lee v. Weisman, 505 U. S. ___ (1992); if, as I say, our pronouncement of constitutional law rests primarily on value judgments, then a free and intelligent people’s attitude towards us can be expected to be (ought to be) quite different. The people know that their value judgments are quite as good as those taught in any law school–maybe better. If, indeed, the “liberties” protected by the Constitution are, as the Court says, undefined and unbounded, then the people should demonstrate, to protest that we do not implement their values instead of ours. Not only that, but confirmation hearings for new Justices should deteriorate into question and answer sessions in which Senators go through a list of their constituents’ most favored and most disfavored alleged constitutional rights, and seek the nominee’s commitment to support or oppose them. Value judgments, after all, should be voted on, not dictated; and if our Constitution has somehow accidently committed them to the Supreme Court, at least we can have a sort of plebiscite each time a new nominee to that body is put forward. Justice Blackmun

    not only regards this prospect with equanimity, he solicits it, ante, at 22-23.

    * * *

    There is a poignant aspect to today’s opinion. Its length, and what might be called its epic tone, suggest that its authors believe they are bringing to an end a troublesome era in the history of our Nation and of our Court. “It is the dimension” of authority, they say, to “cal[l] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” Ante, at 24.

    There comes vividly to mind a portrait by Emanuel Leutze that hangs in the Harvard Law School: Roger Brooke Taney, painted in 1859, the 82d year of his life, the 24th of his Chief Justiceship, the second after his opinion in Dred Scott. He is all in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer, and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment. Perhaps he always looked that way, even when dwelling upon the happiest of thoughts. But those of us who know how the lustre of his great Chief Justiceship came to be eclipsed by Dred Scott cannot help believing that he had that case–its already apparent consequences for the Court, and its soon to be played out consequences for the Nation–burning on his mind. I expect that two years earlier he, too, had thought himself “call[ing] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”

    It is no more realistic for us in this case, than it was for him in that, to think that an issue of the sort they both involved–an issue involving life and death, freedom and subjugation–can be “speedily and finally settled” by the Supreme Court, as President James Buchanan in hisinaugural address said the issue of slavery in the territories would be. See Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States, S. Doc. No. 101-10, p. 126 (1989). Quite to the contrary, by foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish.

    We should get out of this area, where we have no right to be, and where we do neither ourselves nor the country any good by remaining.”

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-744.ZX4.html

  • I should have said thanks earlier to Blackadder for the information he provided.

Terror Suspects and Citizenship

Wednesday, May 5, AD 2010

Senator Lieberman says he plans to introduce a bill which would expand the provisions which already exist in law for removing U.S. Citizenship from those who serve in the military of another country, in order to also strip citizenship from anyone who acts in cooperation with a designated terrorist organization. I could, perhaps, see certain situations where this might be appropriate. If a US citizen was captured in a combat zone, fighting for some non-state-entity which had been designated a terrorist organization, I could see designating that person an enemy combatant — for the same reason that it makes sense to do so with non-citizens who are fighting U.S. forces in combat zones without belonging to the military of a specific country. Our rules for dealing with P.O.W.s don’t really work when applied to people fighting for non-state entities, since there’s no organization to eventually accept peace and end the way with terms and exchange of prisoners.

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3 Responses to Terror Suspects and Citizenship

  • Better still, just charge them with treason with its attendant punishments.

  • Why should every attack have to be on a massive scale for you to consider it an act of war? I can see why you might require one to establish the fact of war, e.g. Pearl Harbor, but if that’s what you need, just look at 9/11. By now, it should be abundantly clear to even the most obtuse, that war on us has been declared by a segment of the world’s Mohammedans, typified by Al Qaida and the Taliban. This Times Square clown was clearly acting either on behalf of or in sympathy with the latter. Had he succeeded, he could have done at least as much harm as your average foot soldier captured on the battlefield does. The motivation, tactics and potential impact of such jihadists make them quite different from “ordinary criminals”. They should be dealt with accordingly.

NY Mayor Bloomberg Thinks Times Square Bomber is a Tea Party Terrorist

Tuesday, May 4, AD 2010

The cognitive dissonance on the Left is amazing.

Last night on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric interviewed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a non-affiliated party member, and asked him his thoughts on who it was that planted the bomb in New York’s Times Square and what were the motives behind it.

Mayor Bloomberg’s comments are incredulous to say the least (emphasis mine):

Home-grown, maybe a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill…”

…the health care bill Mr. Bloomberg?

As in the Tea Party Movement participants?

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33 Responses to NY Mayor Bloomberg Thinks Times Square Bomber is a Tea Party Terrorist

  • Tito, please, he says maybe which is quite different from your title’s assertion. This isn’t a gotcha quote.

  • Doofus.

  • I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt – he was sort of pushed on it by Couric – but he would have been better off just saying “I don’t know.” For better or worse Bloomberg is not the kind of politician to shy away from controversy. This would be a “for worse” occasion.

  • The profiling of the Left.

  • I’m not sure Bloomberg is really a leftist. If I’m not mistaken, he was recruited by the GOP to run for NY Mayor. He’s even praised the Tea Party movement: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/mike_hails_activists_Ppj6WY4VgIWDF00PPQAzXM .

  • Politicians say dumb things. He should have declined to speculate without knowing any of the facts. I suppose his guess is somewhat revealing about how wealthy independent New Yorkers view the rest of the country, but he wasn’t going out of his way to claim Tea Partiers were responsible, just making an ill-advised guess.

  • Bloomberg opposed ObamaCare. But blaming liberals is just so much fun!

  • Actually a joke. But if you want to read what some Leftists thought, go here:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×8255994

  • Bloomberg endorsed ObamaCare back in October restrainedradical.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2009/10/bloomberg-backs-obamacare.html

    Throughout his political career Bloomberg has normally attempted to be on all sides of most political issues at one time or another.

  • Just one more bit of leftist wackiness on this matter. Here a poll on a leftist site that had 63% of respondents claim it was a right-wing militia, tea partiers or the religious right making anti-abortion statement that was to blame:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/3/863170/-A-poll:-The-identity-of-the-Times-Square-bomberUPDATE

  • Bloomberg is not a leftist, but he behaves like a doofus when he reveals his moronic “cultural elite” bias about the relative risks from Islamic extremists versus Americans who oppose ObamaCare. Stupid. Just stupid.

    John Henry is correct that speculation sans facts is always dangerous, but the irrationality of his speculation is nonetheless revealing.

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  • “The cognitive dissonance on the Left is amazing …”

    Indeed. Mayor Bloomberg is so cognitively dissonant that he’s been a registered Republican for the past decade or so.

    I’m pleased that the NYPD slam-dunked Dick Cheney on this one. Good work, guys. Didn’t need waterboarding to catch this criminal, eh?

  • Bloomberg is extremely popular among conservatives in NY. Not so popular among liberals.

    http://thepage.time.com/transcript-gingrich-gov-patrick-mayor-bloomberg-on-meet-the-press/

    “I’ve given the president a lot of credit for taking on the issue; but it’s Congress that’s writing this legislation, and they are not willing to go near the things that will contain costs, which is immigration reform, tort reform, asking the question of whether or not we can afford certain tests and whether they really are cost beneficial.”

    “You know, if you really want to object to something in this bill, number one, I have asked congressperson after congressperson, not one can explain to me what’s in the bill, even in the House version. Certainly not in the other version. And so for them to vote on a bill that they don’t understand whatsoever, really, you got to question how–what kind of government we have. Number two, when they talk about bending the curve, as, as the governor said, bending the curve is a flimflam euphemism for increasing costs, but we’re going to say we’ll do it at slightly lower rate than we would have otherwise.”

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/bloomy_blasts_NnKbVENqYhDiXJNmaVFXEM

    “It’s a system we can’t afford in total in this country, and a system that’s not delivering the kind of health care that we want.”

  • “Mayor Bloomberg is so cognitively dissonant that he’s been a registered Republican for the past decade or so.”

    Before he ran for mayor Todd he was a down the line Democrat. In 2007 he changed his partisan affiliation to independent.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/19/mayor-bloomberg-quits-the-gop/

    As for his stances on the social issues Todd, they certainly seem to be taken out of your party’s playbook:

    “Bloomberg supports abortion rights, stating: “Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right and we can never take it for granted. On this issue, you’re either with us or against us.” He has criticized pro-choice politicians who support pro-life candidates. His comments may have been directed at New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a supporter of abortion rights who supported Bob Casey, who is pro-life, in the 2006 Senate election.

    Bloomberg tends to be liberal about his policies towards many social issues. He supports governmental funding for embryonic stem cell research, calling the Republican position on the issue “insanity.” He also supports same-sex marriage with the rationale that “I think anybody should be allowed to marry anybody”.”

  • Bloomberg is pretty much a clone of Rudy Giuliani who was similarly a big government, republican-in-name-only.

    Yeah: Giuliani NY GOP’er – pro abortion, big government, gun control (when a jihadi shot up the Empire State Building, Rudy screamed for more gun control!) and every other cultural/socially liberal, immoral crap sandwich.

    Both are hated because of their (weak) fiscal conservatism and community policing to protect citizens from liberal constituencies.

    And, like their liberal cousins they only have to employ against their imagined enemies (e.g., tea party small government propoents) ad hominems, insults and lies.

    My advice to five-foot-nothing mike: spend your $12 billion NOW! You can’t take it with you. It will burn.

  • There are two things that Tea Party people have in common with Muslim terrorists. One is that neither group is shy about announcing what they are all about, and secondly, liberals in government and in the media don’t believe them. Tea Partiers say they want less government spending, lower taxes and more freedom. Islamists say “death to Israel, death to America, Allahu Akbar, we will establish sharia law in your country”.

    I believe the Tea Partiers when they say “this is what we are about.” I believe the Islamists when they say “This is what we are about.”

    But the liberals in government and the media say that what the Tea Partiers are about is racism, violence and intimidation. Likewise they totally ignore the Islamists call for killing of infidels and make up something like “these really nice family guys who just want a better way of life, economic and social justice,” which also ignores the fact that most of these guys are rich, well-educated and like to treat women like used condoms.

    Incidents like this latest one are stark examples which illustrate the use of the official narrative in place of factual elements.

  • Bloomberg is a richer, wiser, nicer (at least outside of politics), and more independent version of Giuliani. I wouldn’t want to put him in a position where he can appoint Supreme Court justices or direct foreign policy (he’s a solid Republican there whereas I am not) but as mayor I’d proudly vote for him every time as would probably most of the commenters here if they lived in NYC.

  • “but as mayor I’d proudly vote for him every time as would probably most of the commenters here if they lived in NYC.”

    I would sooner vote for the scum that I scraped off my shoe today than Bloomberg.

  • I would sooner vote for the scum that I scraped off my shoe today than Bloomberg.

    Ah, but would you sooner vote for a Democrat?

  • I’d write in “Scum” BA, and pray it wasn’t taken as a vote for Bloomberg.

  • Ok, so, from this combox, it’s safe to assume that neither liberals nor conservatives wish to claim Bloomberg as one of their own, while they both wish to pawn him off as a member of the other side. Gotcha.

  • The ‘POINT’ is Mini-mike’s knee-jerk, calumnious accusation that people who disagree with the big brother agenda/narrative are (worse than) terrorists. That’s right out of the Obama/Alinsky war plan against America.

    I’m convinced you aren’t getting into Heaven if you vote Democrat or RINO.

    I can walk from my house into NYC (Queens). I couldn’t have voted for anyone except the RtoL candidate.

    Donald (sic, I know) Dinkins pretty much paved the street for RINO’s (Giuliani/Bloomberg) as mayors of NYC, “Moscow on the Hudson.”

    Wonder if Patterson will do it for gov and Obama will do the same for POTUS.

  • Actually, Gov. Patterson is the adult in the room in the State Capitol.

  • Paterson is a child. A not-too-bright child. I don’t know a single New Yorker who likes the guy.

    http://gothamist.com/2010/02/19/paterson_bombshell_story_reveals_go.php

  • either liberals nor conservatives wish to claim Bloomberg as one of their own, while they both wish to pawn him off as a member of the other side.

    That’s not uncommon for politicians representing the opposition party in a predominantly liberal or conservative state. No one claims Ben Nelson is a liberal hero; Romney, you’ll recall, had a hard time pivoting from Gov. of Massachusetts to national GOP figure. There is a blurring of the dark blue state GOP and the red state Dems; as a result, partisans of both sides don’t recognize them as one of their own.

  • Paterson is a child. A not-too-bright child. I don’t know a single New Yorker who likes the guy.

    That is becuase you’ve never met

    1. Megan McArdle; or

    2. Yours truly.

  • What an incredibly stupid and incendiary thing to say!

    About like calling pro-life people (the ones who do not support the killing of the unborn which takes 3500 American lives daily) terrorists.

    Learn who the real enemy is.

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  • Henry,

    He does say “maybe”.

    It’s in my posting.

  • Katie Couric and Mayor B;oomberg just proved that this was going to be a more sinister cover up. Faisal Shahzad was going to get away with his terrorist attempt. The media (in a joint effort with the liberal left and elected democrats) was going to blame the Tea Party for terrorist attempt on NYC because of Health Care Bill. It just goes to show to what extent Mayor Bloomberg, Katie Couric, and others will go to discredit the Tea Party movement. Many Dmocrats are trying to discredit the Tea Party movement in order to protect their seats in congress and the White House.

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