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Morning Examiner: The Tea Party is here to stay

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

Newsweek, the same magazine that declared “We Are All Socialists Now” after President Obama was elected, reported back in February of this year that, “The Tea Party is Dead.” Just as the Tea Party proved Newsweek wrong at the polls in November 2010, the Tea Party proved Newsweek wrong again yesterday in Indiana.

Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who was backed by grassroots conservative groups like the Tea Party Express, Club for Growth and Freedom Works, beat 35-year incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., in a 60-39 percent landslide. “This race is not about animosity,” he said. “It is about ideas. It is about the direction of the Republican Party. It is about the direction of our country.”

And what is the direction that Mourdock and the Tea Party want to take the country? One need only to look at the issues that divided Lugar and Mourdock  In their first and only debate of the campaign, Mourdock promised to fight all “mandates from the federal government” including corn ethanol mandates that drive up the cost of gasoline. But Lugar defended the ethanol mandates because “producing it on farms here that have meant higher values for corn and certainly higher land values here in this state.”

This is exactly what the Tea Party is all about: ending big government interference in the United States economy regardless of whether or not it might benefit some politician’s home state. For too long, Republicans like Lugar preached free market principles, but then brought home the bacon to their constituents. Replacing Lugar with Mourdock is the Tea Party’s way of saying ‘no more.’

Not that Mourdock can rest easy. He still faces a formidable general election opponent in the form of Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. If Mourdock loses the general election, Republican moderates and their lobbyist friends on K Street will paint the Tea Party as extremists who can’t win elections. They will will try and define the Tea Party movement as the party of Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, and Joe Miller. But if Mourdock wins, the Tea Party will be the center of the Republican Party, embodied by Sens. Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Scott Brown. Republican incumbents will be forced to stick to real limited government principles.

Campaign 2012
North Carolina: By a more than 20-point margin, North Carolina voters approved a state constitutional amendment Tuesday declaring marriage is solely between a man and a woman.

Wisconsin: Government unions suffered a major defeat Tuesday when their chosen candidate to replace Gov. Scott Walker, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, lost to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the Democratic Party. The bitter primary has left Democrats divided heading into the June 8th recall vote.

Obama: Campaigning in Albany, New York, Presdient Obama gave Congress a “to-do list” for them to accomplish before the November election. The list, a mix of tax breaks, subsidies, and jobs programs, was small enough to fit on a post-it note. “It’s about the size of a Post-it Note, so every member of Congress should have time to read it,” Obama said.

Romney: Campaigning in Lansing, Michigan, Mitt Romney accused President Obama of embracing the failed liberal ideas of the past.“President Clinton made efforts to reform welfare as we know it,” Romney said. “President Obama is trying to tirelessly expand the welfare state, with more promises and more programs, more benefits, more spending.”

Massachusetts: The ancestor that Elizabeth Warren claims was Cherokee actually was a member of the Tennessee Militia who rounded up Cherokees from their family homes in the Southeastern United States and herded them into government-built stockades in what was the Trail of Tears.

The New York Times, Liberal Donors’ Plan Worries Top Democrats: Senior leaders of the Democratic Party expressed alarm on Tuesday that a $100 million plan by liberal donors to increase voter turnout would duplicate a similar effort by President Obama’s campaign and squander a chance to fend off an advertising onslaught from Republican groups.

The New York Times, Aggressive Ads for Obama, at the Ready: After months of planning, President Obama’s media team has prepared an aggressive strategy to portray Mitt Romney as insensitive to the plight of working people and beholden to powerful interests. They have researched possible lines of attack and drafted language that can be dropped into an advertisement at a moment’s notice.

The Washington Post, RNC Hispanic outreach director: Romney is ‘still deciding what his position on immigration is’: A Republican National Committee roundtable on Tuesday aimed at highlighting the GOP’s Hispanic get-out-the-vote effort ended up backfiring as the RNC’s director of Hispanic outreach struggled to explain to reporters Republicans’ message to Hispanics when it comes to immigration.

Around the Bigs
The Hill, Low student loan interest rates in limbo after Democrats’ bill stalls in Senate: Republicans defeated a Democratic plan to pay for subsidized college loans by raising taxes on some types of corporations.

The Washington Post, China expels al-Jazeera reporter as media relations sour: China has expelled an American journalist working for the English-language arm of al-Jazeera, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the Qatar-based satellite television network whose broadcasts played a pivotal role in the Arab Spring uprisings.

Righty Playbook
Paul Ryan explains that spending is not the same thing as compassion.

The Weekly Standard‘s Daniel Halper clips video of Joe Biden saying that America was “the problem” in the world before Obama was elected.

At National Review, The Heritage Foundation’s Michael Franc details Obama’s stealth expansion of the welfare state.

Lefty Playbook
The Huffington Post‘s Sam Stein reports that “key players in the progressive universe have reached the conclusion that the 2012 elections can be won only with … a grassroots infrastructure designed to get out the vote.” They will not try to “match conservative groups dollar-for-dollar in television ad campaigns.”

Talking Points Memo explains why Obama hasn’t fully evolved on gay marriage yet.

ThinkProgress‘ Igor Volsky identifies five issues Romney is “ducking.”

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