Tea party's one goal starts to fracture the GOP

Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Tea party
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - 12 days and counting to see if the right-wing opposition to the Affordable Care Act will bring about another government shut down.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it's another risky act in the world of high-stakes political theater.


It seems almost too incredible. The Republican Party here in Michigan and in Washington gauges what it does out of fear of the tea party.

Not because the tea party has so many members, but because it has oodles and oodles of money.

Money it is willing to spend when the least bit offended by a candidate here or there who steps over a line drawn by the tea party.

Remember Senator Tom Casperson? He's the conservative Michigan Republican from the U.P. who finally switched his vote two weeks ago so the State Senate could pass Medicaid expansion.

Well, that extra healthcare is a part of the Affordable Care Act.

That means Obamacare.

As a result, Casperson is already being targeted by the tea party.

Congressman Aaron Schock is a conservative Illinois Republican who two years ago voted to increase the debt ceiling and last year said 'yes' to a last-minute spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

He, too, is being targeted by his friends in the tea party. So are ten of his colleagues.

The tea party is funded by people like Americans For Prosperity,  a Koch Brothers enterprise, and by less transparent groups like the Club For Growth, or the National Liberty Federation, and others, who don't have to tell us where their money comes from.

As noted in the New York Times yesterday, these people—these right-wing conservatives—are now spending more money attacking Republicans than Democrats are. Imagine that!

Forget the fact our economy is still on shaky ground, that our middle class is disappearing, that our educational system stacks up poorly against other wealthy countries, or that we have a host of other problems at our feet.

The tea party has one goal: To repeal or defund Obamacare. Forget the fact there have been more than 40 failed efforts in Congress already to do just that. Each one voted down.

These radical conservatives are therefore prepared, instead,  to shut down the government.

What happens in a shutdown? For starters, Social Security checks would most likely not be mailed.

Non-essential government employees would be furloughed. Parks and embassies would be shut down.

On-going projects would be put on hold. Contractors would not be paid. And it would open the door for concerns about our government defaulting on its bond obligations.

If that happened it would put the United States on a level with the city of Detroit.

The world financial community see us as a sadly out of control joke of a country on the brink of blowing its legs off.

Polls indicate the majority of Americans would blame Republicans in the event of a shutdown.

But the cash-rich tea party is willing to risk that in the name of getting rid of Obamacare, a fools errand if ever there was one.

To begin with, any legislation would have to get the President's signature. And that is simply not going to happen.

This morning, the Wall Street Journal called this wingnut war a kamikaze mission. The conservative National Chamber of Commerce is urging House Republicans to back off. Even Karl Rove said today he thinks the whole defunding effort is self-defeating.

Undaunted, the tea party continues its march toward shutdown.

It appears the only way Americans can shed themselves of this yoke called the tea party is to turn out in huge numbers on election day and quite literally vote against any candidate being supported by them.

And for moderate republicans to stand up for themselves.

The word moderate is not a dirty word.

Its time to tell the tea party and all of its wealthy backers to stop wasting our time.

In this corner, I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on November 27, 2015 08:32 GMT


UNDATED (AP) --The Super Bowl of shopping has had an early start again this year, but most of the action is expected today.

Early numbers aren't out yet on how many shoppers headed to stores on Thanksgiving, but it's estimated that more than three times the number of people will venture out to shop on the day after the holiday known as Black Friday.

Overall, the National Retail Federation expected about 30 million to shop on Thanksgiving, compared with 99.7 million on Black Friday. A total of about 135.8 million people will be shopping during the full four-day weekend, compared with 133.7 million last year. And the retail association expects sales overall for November and December to rise 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion compared with the same period last year.

But people may not be in the mood to shop much this year. Unemployment has settled into a healthy 5 percent rate, but shoppers still grapple with stagnant wages that are not keeping pace with rising daily costs like rent. And years later, they still insist on the deep discounts they got used to retailers offering during the recession.


Japan's jobless rate at 20-year low; consumer spending drops

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's jobless rate fell to a 20-year low in October, but consumer spending and incomes also edged lower as the tight labor market failed to spur significant increases in wages.

The government reported Friday that unemployment in the world's No. 3 economy dipped to 3.1 percent in October, compared with a rate of 3.4 percent in September.

Consumer spending, meanwhile, fell 2.4 percent from the same month a year earlier, while average incomes fell 0.9 percent.

Japan's inflation rate also was lower in October, with core inflation excluding volatile food prices down 0.1 percent for the third month in a row.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for a 3 percent increase in the minimum wage to accelerate inflation by raising consumer demand through higher incomes.


MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia plans to retaliate against Turkey for the downing of a warplane by imposing sanctions, cutting economic ties and scrapping major investment projects.

Since the plane was shot down Tuesday in disputed circumstances on the Syria-Turkey border, Russia has restricted tourism, left Turkish trucks stranded at the border and announced the confiscation of large quantities of Turkish food imports.

On Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (dih-MEE'-tree med-VYEH'-dyev) ordered his government to draft sanctions against Turkey within the next two days.

The sanctions are to include restrictions on deliveries of food and other products as well as labor and services.

Russia is the largest destination for Turkey's exports, and the two countries are bound by plans for a new gas pipeline and strong trade in food and tourism.

Overall, the nosedive in relations threatens billions of dollars of international trade.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A weaker global economy -- and a slowdown in China -- will likely dampen some of the growth in air travel over the next two decades.

The International Air Transport Association says the number of airline passengers is expected to double to 7 billion by 2034. That figure marks a decrease from a prior forecast of passengers totaling 7.4 billion in 2034, reflecting lower economic growth in China that will likely reduce demand for travel and potentially limit airplane orders for manufacturers Boeing and Airbus.

Despite the lower forecast, China is expected to add 758 million new passengers for a total of 1.2 billion flyers. Those gains would likely mean that China surpasses the United States as the world's largest passenger market by 2029.

Washington Times