Tales from the Trail

Coffee Party USA takes on the Tea Party

America’s conservative Tea Party movement may be on the boil, but the left is brewing up its own version in The Coffee Party USA.

The movement has launched itself on the social networking site Facebook where it has acquired more than 50,000 fans over the past month. You can see some news reports and commentary about it here and here and here.

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Under the battle cry “The Coffee Party USA: Wake Up and Stand Up” it is asking people to host a Coffee Party event on their March 13 “kick-off.”

“What’s your favorite spot for a cup of coffee or Sunday brunch? Enter it here along with what time on March 13th you plan to meet, and you are a Coffee Party coordinator! We are volunteers, working to restore our capacity as Americans to engage a civil and respectful conversation about public policy. As with any disagreement, the first step is sitting down to talk,” it says.

Like the Tea Party — a conservative movement opposed to big government and President Barack Obama’s agenda which takes its name from an 18th century American revolt against British colonial rule — the Coffee Party claims to be “100 percent grassroots.”

Romney says Obama doesn’t deserve a passing grade

Mitt Romney gives Barack Obama an ‘F’ for his performance as president. But that’s not because the former Republican presidential candidate still wants the job — at least, he’s not ready to say yet whether he wants it or not. USA-POLITICS/

“I’m not going to give him a passing grade for the year,” Romney said of Obama on NBC’s Today show.

Sure, the economy was in free-fall a year ago and is now growing. Sure, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is back above 10,000. Sure, the U.S. no longer seems headed for a new depression.

McCain says he was misled, but not everyone agrees

BOSNIA/

John McCain says he was misled by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson into supporting the Wall Street bailout.

“We were all misled,” the Arizona Republican told NBC’s “Meet the Press” over the weekend.

Misled in what way?

With the economy showing every sign of burning to the ground, McCain says Paulson told Congress the Bush administration wanted to buy up toxic mortgages blamed for the conflagration. But he turned around and gave the money directly to Wall Street.

Republicans declare Healthcare Summit victory

USA-HEALTHCARE/A day after President Barack Obama’s nationally televised healthcare summit, Republicans are out declaring victory.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn said the summit was good for the American public. Good, that is, for the public to hear the Republican argument and see Obama lose his usual cool, particularly during the highly publicized exchange with his former presidential election adversary, Sen. John McCain.

“It was good for the American people see him kind of become a bit agitated,” the Tennessee Republican told MSNBC.  “There were a couple of times that maybe he did get a little bit frustrated, and that’s good for the American people to see.”

Conservative Rubio pulls ahead in Florida Republican primary

USA-Politics/Crist

Conservative Republican Marco Rubio is building a lead over moderate Governor Charlie Crist in Florida’s Republican Senate primary, a contest highlighting the perils facing party moderates in this rambunctious election year, a poll shows.

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Republican primary voters released this week showed Rubio, a former Florida House Speaker, with 54 percent support against Crist’s 36 percent. A poll in January had Rubio ahead by 13 points.

The primary race has echoes in Arizona, where veteran Senator John McCain faces his strongest challenge yet from fiery conservative J.D. Hayworth, who is attacking his “moderate record” on taxes, social issues and the bank bailout.

Hillary says Congressional gridlock challenges U.S. world stature

USA/The partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Congress during much of the Obama administration may have far-reaching implications for America’s stature in the world, according to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton said U.S. partners overseas have been confused about the Senate’s inability to approve President Barack Obama’s appointments to top diplomatic jobs, including assistant secretary of state positions and ambassadorships.

“It became harder and harder to explain to countries, particularly countries of significance, why we had nobody in position for them to interact with,” Clinton told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Obama budget plan for fiscal year 2011.

Younger Americans lean toward liberalism but Obama support lags

USA/

Today’s young Americans are the most likely of any generation to identify themselves as liberals. But their political enthusiasm for President Barack Obama and the Democrats appears to be waning.

That’s one finding in a wide-ranging Pew Research Center poll of so-called “Millennials,” the 18 to 29 year olds now making the passage into adulthood.

Young voters overwhemlingly supported Obama in 2008 in hopes that he would change the way Washington works. But more than a year into the Obama presidency, their political enthusiasm has cooled with the realization that Washington is still the same. Three in 10 blame Obama for the failure, while more than half say the president’s opponents and special interests are responsible.

Ron Paul: The Once and Future Conservative Favorite

USA-POLITICS/PAULRep. Ron Paul today seems to be little more than a voice crying in the wilderness of Republican politics. But the Texas libertarian and 2008 presidential candidate may have a lease on the future of the Republican Party’s conservative wing, at the age of 74.

Paul, the big winner in the presidential straw poll at the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference, ascribes his victory to young people who don’t like the way the Republican establishment is handling things.

“Right now, I think there is a disconnect with the people, especially with the next generation,” he told MSNBC.  ”They feel like the burden is being dumped on their shoulders and I think that’s what the vote represented, a lot of young people saying they don’t like what’s happening.”

A ‘Cougar’ may be stalking Bayh’s empty Senate seat

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After rocking the house for decades, could Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp rock the U.S. Senate?

Some Democrats think so and they’re trying to draft him as a possible replacement for departing Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.

“Don’t laugh, O.K.? I’m very serious,” Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the left-leaning weekly magazine, The Nation, told MSNBC this week. “He’s a heartland son of Indiana.”

Obama sounds the alarm for clean energy

OBAMA/President Barack Obama sounded the alarm on Tuesday as he made his push for more nuclear power in the U.S. energy mix — literally.

He toured an electrical workers union training center in Maryland before announcing the multibillion-dollar plan. During the tour, he talked to workers being trained in computer-assisted design, examined power management technology and fire alarm systems.

“You can pull one if you want,” Rhett Roe, a union member who has been teaching since 1985, told the smiling president as they stood before a wall filled with bright red alarm boxes.