Tea party Congress is past its sell date
Time is up on this tea party Congress.
House Republicans like to say that government should be run more like a business. I agree. If I had a business and only 13 percent of my customers approved of my product, I’d go out of business. It is time for them to go.
For more than 20 months, this Republican tea party majority has put millionaires and special interests ahead of Medicare for seniors and jobs for the middle class.
The tea party experiment has failed.
Instead of fighting for middle-class jobs here at home, they fought for tax breaks for big corporations sending jobs overseas.
Instead of protecting consumers from health insurance abuses, they tried 33 times to repeal those protections, even as they kept congressional health care for themselves.
Instead of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, they tried to redefine rape.
Instead of standing up for small businesses, they spent their time trying to shut down Planned Parenthood.
And, instead of protecting Medicare for seniors, they voted to raise health care costs for seniors by $6,400 to give another $250,000 budget-busting tax break to millionaires.
This isn’t a do-nothing Congress, it’s a do-damage Congress. And, now, Republicans have gone on vacation. Instead of working hard for the middle class, this Republican Congress hardly works.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In a little over a month, we have a chance to fire the tea party Republican Congress, and entering the most critical stretch of this campaign, we have momentum.
When we returned from the August recess there was no doubt that Democrats won August. The pick of Congressman Paul Ryan made his Medicare-ending budget the ticketmate for every House Republican and nationalized the Medicare debate. The latest Washington Post/ABC poll showed registered voters oppose the Ryan budget by 33 points (64 percent to 31 percent). Congressman Todd Akin’s outrageous comments reminded voters how extreme Republicans are.
Now Democrats have won September, too. Mitt Romney’s offensive closed-door admission to donors that he doesn’t care about half of the country reinforced that Republicans put millionaires first and the middle class last.
Republicans running for Congress now face a dual down-ticket drag from Romney’s out-of-touch beliefs and his running mate, Paul Ryan whose budget ends Medicare and raises health care costs for seniors, while giving tax breaks to millionaires.
There is no doubt we will reverse the tea party wave. If we have as strong of an October as we had in September, following our game-changing August, we can win the House.
Even conservative analyst Bill Kristol wrote recently in the Weekly Standard that the Republican Majority may be in jeopardy. We have a wind at our back and are leading the congressional generic ballot anywhere from 4 points to 6 points. In July and August we were either tied or leading by 1 points or 2 points in these same polls.
Republican incumbents are on defense and in jeopardy. Our candidates are leading with 29 Democratic candidates in top-tier races ahead or tied against their Republican opponent. On the other hand, our incumbents survived an incredibly tough environment in 2010 because of support from independent and Republican voters, and these Democratic members are in a fundamentally stronger position than Republican incumbents.
Our candidates are surging and expanding our map against flawed and embattled Republicans. Races that are competitive are becoming increasingly Democratic and races that were out of reach are now in play. We now have 53 candidates in our Red to Blue program, more than twice as many as we need to win the majority. Our top-tier challengers are problem-solvers and reformers: a police chief, former mayors, doctors, teachers, small-business men and women and even a NASA astronaut.
These tea party Republicans are way out of step with their districts, leaving them vulnerable. There are 66 Republican-held or newly created seats that President Barack Obama won in 2008, and 16 of them were even won by John Kerry in 2004. It was a tea party tsunami that swept many of these folks into Congress in 2010 and now the wave has receded leaving them high and dry with their voting records.
In the end, though, it’s not about how we win the majority but why Democrats must win. At every opportunity, this tea party Congress has chosen partisanship and politics over problem solving. We are not going to convince them to get the job done for the American people. We have to replace them.
That’s why it’s time to fire this tea party Congress.