Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Tea Party poopers

A man holds a sign during a March 24 Tea Party Patriots rally in Washington calling for the repeal of the 2010 healthare law. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

All that Tea Party support in 2010 for the 87 House Republican freshmen seems to have come with a price — and now it’s time to collect.

Representative Michael Grimm found his office filled with activists wanting to know why he hadn’t done more to slash government spending and why he had voted to raise the U.S. debt limit. He too is frustrated, the former Marine told them, but you just can’t shut down government and stop paying the soldiers.

There is Tea Party talk that the freshmen have become corrupted by Washington and part of the bureaucratic fabric that they very much despise. By one account, two-thirds of the freshmen have compromised while only 20 or so have maintained the zero tolerance Tea Party line on spending.

Alas, the Tea Party could end up giving the Republican freshman class of 2010 more grief than the Democrats heading toward the November elections. If 2010 was the year the Tea Party emerged as a political force in Washington, 2012 will be the year that determines whether the movement can live with itself on Capitol Hill.

McCain sees India, U.S. teaming up against “troubling” China

SUMMIT-WASHINGTON

As President Barack Obama begins his visit to India, his erstwhile rival John McCain is voicing hope that Washington and New Delhi will tighten up their military cooperation in the face of China’s “troubling” assertiveness.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told a think-tank audience in Washington on Friday that the two huge democracies were natural allies in the quest to temper China’s ambitions.

“While India and the United States each continue to encourage a peaceful rise for China, we must recognize that one of the greatest factors for shaping this outcome and making it more likely is a robust U.S.-India strategic partnership,” McCain said.

An honest assessment of Afghan mistakes, but what is next?

It is encouraging that the U.S. administration finally seems to be getting a handle on what went wrong in Afghanistan these past eight years.

What is less encouraging is the fact there seems little political appetite around the globe to fix the mess.AFGHANISTAN

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s report is a stark and honest assessment of the war in Afghanistan.

First draft: Michael Phelps takes cue from politicians

Take note politicians. Michael Phelps might have some pointers for you.

PHELPS/He won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, but swimmer Phelps sounded more like a┬ápolitician than an athlete in a morning TV interview today — repeatedly admitting he had made mistakes but sidestepping any direct admission that he had smoked marijuana.

In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show Phelps, who was banned from swimming for three months after a picture was published of of him smoking a “bong” pipe at a party last November, said he had made a “bad mistake”, a “stupid mistake” and showed “bad judgement.”

Asked directly if he had been smoking pot Phelps just said: “It was a bad mistake. I mean, we all know what, you know, what you and I are talking about. It’s a stupid mistake. You know, bad judgment. And it’s something that, you know, I have to, and I want to teach other people not to make that mistake.”

American troops put their money on Obama

WASHINGTON – Republican John McCain‘s warning that Barack Obama isn’t ready for the awesome job of commander-in-chief may not be registering with a key constituency: the American military.troops.jpg

According to a study released by the Washington watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics, U.S. troops, and especially those deployed abroad, are talking with their wallets and saying they want Democrat Obama as the next president.

Obama has received nearly six times as much money from troops deployed overseas at the time of their contributions than McCain and the “fiercely anti-war Ron Paul,” another Republican presidential candidate, CRP said.