This post originally appeared at ThinkProgress. A significant number of Republicans are beginning to rally around the idea of shutting down the government if they control Congress next year. Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) and Steve King (R-IA) have openly called for a shutdown, while Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and RNC Chairman Michael Steele have given their tacit endorsements. The last time Republicans shut down the government, right after taking power in 1995, the government lost $800 million and millions of Americans were denied or delayed access to Medicare, Social Security, national parks, and other federally-funded programs. Undaunted, Tea Party darling Joe Miller is pitching his tent in the government-shutdown camp. Miller, currently locked in a three-way Alaska Senate race, has already generated significant controversy after it was revealed that his wife received unemployment benefits that he believes are unconstitutional and he personally received Medicaid benefits that he believes are unconstitutional. Now, Miller is not only endorsing a government shutdown if he is elected, but also told National Review Online’s Robert Costa that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has put the option “on the table”:
“I think there’s an understanding that the mood of the nation has changed in such a way that there is not going to be toleration of business as usual. If that means shutting down the government, so be it. I mean, we’ll do what it takes,” [Miller] says. “I think that we will have enough like-minded people coming into D.C. that we’re actually going to be able to accomplish something.” But is Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP leader, open to the possibility of shutting down the federal government? “There was a comment made at breakfast this morning about shutting down the government, and he reacted in a positive way,” Miller says. “I’m not going to quote him, but I think that he recognizes that that’s on the table.”
McConnell’s office has since responded that the Republican Leader “has not called for shutting down the government.” However, McConnell’s spokesman was silent on whether or not the option is on the table, as Miller asserted. In his interview, Miller also called for war with Iran if they did not cease their nuclear ambitions, saying “we will do what we can militarily to take care of that.” However, moments later, Mr. “Noun, Verb, and Unconstitutional” hedged on actually toppling the Iranian government because that would not be “constitutionally authorized.” For those keeping score, Miller has now added nation-building to his growing list of things he views as unconstitutional, including Social SecurityMedicareunemployment benefitsMedicaid, and the minimum wage.
This post originally appeared at Think Progress. Following the death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) this summer, a special election was called to serve out the remainder of his term in the Senate. The November contest will pit Gov. Joe Manchin (D) against perennial candidate John Raese (R). Recent polling has shown a competitive race in the Mountain State. Yesterday, Raese appeared on the Matt Lewis show, a conservative talk radio program. When Lewis asked Raese about his background and his life experience, Raese offered this straight-faced response:
LEWIS: Tell us a little bit about you and your business experience and how you got here. RAESE: I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it. I think that’s a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country, which is a key part of my program.
Listen here: Last year, all persons inheriting less than $3.5 million (99.75% of all Americans) were not affected by the estate tax. Apparently, Raese is also campaigning the old-fashioned way: catering to the ultra-rich.
Update: On equality issues, Raese is opposed to the repeal of DADT and supports a Constitutional Marriage Amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Update: Lowell Weicker, a former Republican congressman from Connecticut, said the state GOP “can’t find men or women that have come through the chairs to get to where they are. They find people with a wad of dough who just try to buy the office.”
This post first appeared on Think Progress. In June, Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) became one of the first incumbent Republicans to be knocked off by an insurgent Tea Party candidate. Although he maintained a 93 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, primary voters deemed Inglis to be insufficiently conservative. In an interview with Mother Jones, Inglis said that one of the reasons for his defeat was because he refused to demagogue like other conservatives in the House. In one instance during the primary, Inglis was chastised simply for not calling President Obama a “socialist.” He also noted that many of the GOPs criticisms regarding Obama’s response to the economic crisis were motivated by racism:
Instead, he remarks, his party turned toward demagoguery. Inglis lists the examples: falsely claiming Obama’s health care overhaul included “death panels,” raising questions about Obama’s birthplace, calling the president a socialist, and maintaining that the Community Reinvestment Act was a major factor of the financial meltdown. “CRA,” Inglis says, “has been around for decades. How could it suddenly create this problem? You see how that has other things worked into it?” Racism? “Yes,” Inglis says.
Inglis also had particular criticism of House GOP leader John Boehner and GOP whip Eric Cantor, whom he accused of being unwilling to “summon the courage” to stand up to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Tea Partiers.