What went right and what didn't during the health care fight.
By Ambreen Ali

The tea partyers who waited anxiously outside the Capitol until House Democrats
passed the health care bill late Sunday night were back at work before lawmakers
woke up the next day.

Mark Meckler of Tea Party Patriots, the largest coalition in the movement,
was already in California meeting fellow activists Monday morning. In Georgia,
his colleague William Temple was making calls to Congressional offices.

Since last spring, their grassroots conservative movement has grown alongside
and in reaction to the health care debate. Now, with Democrats putting the finishing
touches on the bill, the activists are trying to draw lessons from their first big legislative
fight and plan for the next.

We asked tea partyers and those who study them what they have learned:

You don't always win.
Even the best grassroots campaign can't guarantee results. Some activists believe
the health care bill would have passed no matter what, but that the tea parties
succeeded by drawing out the debate.

"We almost destroyed it," Temple said of the bill. He credited the town hall
disruptions, national rallies, and Republican Sen. Scott Brown's victory with slowing
down the Democrats' legislative agenda.

Brown's victory in Massachusetts special election in January cost Democrats
their Senate supermajority and dampened the momentum around health care.

Don't give up.
The morning after health care passed, Temple was busy making calls to the
offices of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) to express disappointment for the
lawmaker's yes vote.

"Let’s not be reactive, let's keep our agenda," he said.

Tea party leaders around the country had the same hopeful tone.
Some like Julianne Thompson of the Georgia Tea Party Patriots are backing
state initiatives to temper the national health plan and campaigning for conservative
candidates ahead of midterm elections.

"I believe 1994 will be a mere shadow compared to what is going to happen in
November of this year at the ballot box,"
she said, referring to the midterm elections
when Republicans regained control of the House after four decades.

Be part of the process.
In the weeks preceding the final House vote on health care, some tea partyers
switched from picketing outside the Capitol to meeting with those inside.

Thompson said Members paid more attention to the activists willing
to sit down with them.

"It's easy for them to look outside and see a rally going on and go back
into their office and ignore it,"
she said. "When you have a line of 50
people waiting in your office, that's something you can't ignore."


Mark Williams of Tea Party Express in California said his group is focused on
"infiltrating the political party infrastructure." He encourages tea party
members to run for local offices and positions within the political party committees.

He is heading to Nevada this weekend, where he will introduce former Alaska
governor Sarah Palin at a kickoff event for a 40-day bus tour to Washington, D.C.

"We have to take over from the grassroots up," he said.

Vote.
Many tea party leaders are setting their eyes on the November election,
when they hope to punish the lawmakers who passed the health bill.

"Elections have consequences. We're where we are at today
because of the last election,"
Meckler said.

Dominate the debate.
The hundreds of tea party activists who picketed outside Capitol Hill
in the final week of the debate may not have swayed enough lawmakers
against the bill, but they drew attention.

"[The protest] paints a stark picture in the mind of the American public
that you have a Congress that's completely out of touch with the people,"

Meckler said.

That was the idea behind an early tea party success: the town hall disruptions.
Conservatives showed up to local meetings with protest signs and angrily shouted
at the lawmakers who were laying out the health plan.

Instead of talking about the bill's details, people focused on the protesters.

"The tea party people were able to shout down what was being said about
the health care plan,"
said David S. Meyer, a University of California at Irvine
professor who studies protest movements.

Control your own.
Since there is no official tea party group, pretty much anyone can start a local
tea party or show up to a rally. That has been both a boon for the movement
and its Achilles' heel.

Leaders were put on the defensive when a handful of activists shouted racist
and homophobic epithets at Democratic lawmakers last week.

"We all have an obligation to distance ourselves from any kind of racism or bigotry," Meckler said. He added that his group, the Tea Party Patriots, has zero tolerance
for such behavior.

"If someone like that shows up to our rallies, they are unceremoniously removed,"
he said. Meckler noted that not all tea party groups have that policy.

Use resources wisely.
Not every activist can afford to leave their jobs and come to Washington, D.C.,
to lobby. Nor should they.

Modern technology has played an instrumental role in propelling the tea party
movement forward.
Whether it is Facebook groups, the Tea Party Nation social network,
or the many e-mail lists the groups use to coordinate their efforts,
activists have found that they can do a lot from home.

Temple said he encouraged fellow activists in Georgia not to go to
Washington, D.C., this past week.

"Rather than tiring out our own people and spending all our money,
we've got the Internet. We've got phones,"
he said.

Ambreen Ali writes for Congress.org.

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Comment by john anthony william stone on March 30, 2010 at 4:32am
The people presently in power represent no one but themselves.I would not purchase or agree to anything that I did not read and fully comprehend yet that self serving pack of rabble labeled as "congress"seemingly thinks so little of our great nation that they blindly set us all on the road to fiscal oblivion. We truly are stuck with an "Obama"nation.. I Cannot wait till november!!

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Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

ALERT ALERT

Joe Biden Talks To The Dead: – He Worked On Paris Climate Deal With Long-Dead Chinese Leader

Former Vice President Joe Biden mistakenly claimed on Monday that he worked on the Paris Climate Accord with former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping — who died more than 20 years before its signing.

Zach Parkinson  

Joe Biden claimed tonight that he worked with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping on the Paris Climate Accord.

Except the current Chinese President is Xi Jinping.

Deng Xiapoing left office in 1992 and has been dead for 23 years.

Biden made the gaffe while citing his accomplishments in President Barack Obama’s administration.

“One of the things I’m proudest of is getting passed, getting moved, getting in control of the Paris Climate Accord,” Biden said in a speech at the College of Charleston. “I’m the guy who came back after meeting with Deng Xiaoping and making the case that I believe China will join if we put pressure on them. We got almost 200 nations to join.”

Xiaoping served as the leader of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1992, and passed away in 1997. Xi Jinping, China’s current president, came to power 2013 and signed the country onto the 2016 agreement.

In June 2017, President Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement, stating that accord will “undermine the economy” and “puts [the United States] at a permanent disadvantage.”

In addition to the Xiaoping gaffe, Biden bizarrely declared in a campaign speech that he is a “candidate for the United States Senate” and that people could “vote for the other Biden” if they prefer one of his rivals.

“My name is Joe Biden. I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate. Look me over, if you like what you see, help out. If not, vote for the other Biden,” the 77-year-old said at the First in the South Dinner.

Biden’s confusing comments come as Democrat primary candidates are scheduled to debate in Charleston Tuesday evening. The former vice president faces increasing pressure to give a standout performance as his “firewall” in the Palmetto State crumbles in the face of a surging Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The Vermont senator is fresh off a decisive victory in Nevada caucuses on Saturday. Earlier this month, he placed first the New Hampshire primary and won the popular vote in Iowa. In a survey released Monday, the Public Policy Polling outfit said Biden leads South Carolina with 36 percent of support and Sanders is in second at 21 percent.

Hannity: Bernie's beyond gross article

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