Bennet Slams “Nihilist” Tea Party

Not to be missed, Huffington Post yesterday:

In a recorded conversation at an LG[BT] event in Denver, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet slammed Tea Party activists’ views on government as “ludicrous,” “appalling” and “nihilistic.”

Expanding upon comments regarding Colorado’s TABOR laws, which severely limits the resources available to state government, Bennet launched into a broader philosophical debate in which he expressed dismay at a philosophy that he feels lacks a sense of “responsibility to the next generation.”

Bennet described the commitment of past generations of Americans to investing in the country’s future, and deplored an ideology that opposes such commitment.

“Who do you think built the road that you traveled here on? Who do you think built the bridges and the sewers and the waste-water systems and invested in the higher education system that we now have. They built that stuff from scratch!… Our parents and our grandparents. And we can’t even maintain it?!”

Amusingly, this recording of Michael Bennet was released by the GOP-leaning blog WhoSaidYouSaid, whose self-described speciality is catching Democrats on camera saying things they will come to regret later. Presumably, they thought they had a live one.

Thing is, Bennet’s never going to regret this little dose of reality. It’s exactly what he should be doing, confronting the “Tea Party” movement and their wacky, reactionary notions of what America stands for head-on. If we were Bennet we’d make slamming the “Tea Party’s” ill-informed prattle part of every stump speech. The Pat Caddells of the world won’t like it, but others will find the message they’ve been waiting for all these months of pointy hats and Glenn Beck weeping. As for the “Tea Partiers” themselves? They were never going to vote for Bennet anyway.

80 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    Rs think this reflects poorly on Bennet?  The fact that he makes sense? Although I’m sure the Rs who never planned to vote for him will continue to plan to…not vote for him.  Gee, how damaging. Gotcha, Bennet!

  2. Laughing Boy says:

    The Tea Party folks aren’t protesting taxation for infrastructure – they’re protesting entitlement spending.  

    • Middle of the Road says:

      Tabor is Under Assault and Needs Your Help!

      HCR10-1002 is an amendment to the State Constitution to PERMANENTLY ignore TABOR all in the name of Education.  The State House Education Committee hearing is Monday at 1:30pm in the Old Supreme Court Chambers. Supporters of this bill plan on filling the chamber with parents & children to plea for this to pass.

      Although education is important to all of us, we know the unintended (or intended?) consequences paralyzing TABOR can have on Colorado’s tax payers.  We would ask that our state government cut spending and reduce waste in the thousands of others areas available within government before enacting an all out assualt on TABOR.

      If you can make it to the Capital tomorrow to testify on behalf of TABOR, I ask that you do so.  Again the hearing will be Monday, April 19th at 1:30pm in the Old Supreme Court Chambers.

      If you are unable to be there, please contact the members of the House Education Committee and express your concerns.

      And in their awesome email newsletter, they also voice their opposition to the recent attempt here in Colorado at election reform law, at the Cap and Trade bill in the US House, EPA Regulation…I think they moved on from just entitlement spending a long time ago.  

      • Laughing Boy says:

        Dumb spending.

        I don’t see them complaining about infrastructure spending in particular, which is What Bennet is using as his direct example.

        While TABOR negatively affects infrastructure spending in years like this, it protects us from California-like insanity, which is a good thing.

        • Ralphie says:

          about increased motor vehicle fees to pay for transportation.

          • Laughing Boy says:

            I’m not active in the Tea Party, but I’d vote for an infrastructure tax increase.  I would have been for the stimulus if it included meaningful infrastructure spending as a percentage of the total amount.

            You’re supposed to make the case, and have the voters approve it.

            • The realist says:

              I don’t.  The closest we’ve come is the TABOR timeout, not a tax increase.  There are good reasons no one has put something like that on the ballot – not worth their time.

              Some of us live in places where we have been successful in increasing local taxes for particular needs, such as affordable housing, open space.  But statewide – not likely.

              • DavidThi808 says:

                The voters in this state want to be asked for each tax increase. And this bill is a complete end run around TABOR, because they could then push all education funding off TABOR and the remainder easily stays under the limits.

              • Laughing Boy says:

                I don’t want to piss off my math Prof., but isn’t $180 billion 22% of $787 billion?

                And no, even 36% is garbage.

                • sxp151 says:

                  So it’s out of $599 billion.

                  Are you seriously saying $180 billion on infrastructure, which you theoretically agree is important, is “garbage”? That’s 180,000,000,000 dollars.

                  It’s not infrastructure spending unless you spend money on it. What did you want us to spend, chickens?

                  • sxp151 says:

                    Goddamn I’m dumb sometimes.

                    $787 total stimulus budget

                    $288 in tax cuts


                    $787-$288 = $499 in spending.

                    WSJ says $180 of that is infrastructure.

                    180/499 ~ 36%.

                    Always show your work, you won’t get partial credit otherwise.

                    • redstateblues says:

                      That’s a lot of infrastructure. Maybe LB is saying there should have been fewer tax cuts and more spending on infrastructure?

                    • Laughing Boy says:

                      Still affect the cost of the stimulus, right?

                      PS, I’d never call you stupid, because you’re not.

                    • ardy39 says:

                      There’s a cost associated with tax cuts?

                      What are you, LB, some kind of liberal?


                    • Laughing Boy says:

                      But some tax cuts create economic growth.  Not these.

                      I appreciated the dialogue the other day.  I have a couple of links I wanted to get your take on, but I didn’t want to post them so that it looks like posturing.  Could I email them to you?  If not, no worries at all.  My email’s in my profile if you’re interested, but again, won’t take it personally if you’re not interested.

                    • ardy39 says:

                      ‘Cause my second question was “what are you, some kind of liberal?” to which you may (or may not) have answered “certainly.”  J/K

                      You know, that diary is about to roll off the page, so you could put any links you’ve got there.

        • Middle of the Road says:

          That old chestnut never wears thin for you, does it? How many states now have had a similar bill like TABOR on their ballot and defeated it? I guess they all just wanna be Californians.  

          • Laughing Boy says:

            Post the article I sent you…

            Too Late!!!

            The unions’ political triumphs have molded a California in which government workers thrive at the expense of a struggling private sector. The state’s public school teachers are the highest-paid in the nation. Its prison guards can easily earn six-figure salaries. State workers routinely retire at 55 with pensions higher than their base pay for most of their working life. Meanwhile, what was once the most prosperous state now suffers from an unemployment rate far steeper than the nation’s and a flood of firms and jobs escaping high taxes and stifling regulations. This toxic combination-high public-sector employee costs and sagging economic fortunes-has produced recurring budget crises in Sacramento and in virtually every municipality in the state.

            How public employees became members of the elite class in a declining California offers a cautionary tale to the rest of the country, where the same process is happening in slower motion. The story starts half a century ago, when California public workers won bargaining rights and quickly learned how to elect their own bosses-that is, sympathetic politicians who would grant them outsize pay and benefits in exchange for their support. Over time, the unions have turned the state’s politics completely in their favor. The result: unaffordable benefits for civil servants; fiscal chaos in Sacramento and in cities and towns across the state; and angry taxpayers finally confronting the unionized masters of California’s unsustainable government.

        • sxp151 says:

          36% of the spending in the stimulus package was for infrastructure. Republicans politicians and the militant wing called it all pork.

        • BlueCat says:

          They aren’t protesting entitlement spending they enjoy such as medicare.  The are protesting plenty of non-existent  things like concentration and re-education camps, death panels, that Obama  isn’t a citizen, that Obama plans to take away everybody’s guns, that Obama is going to ban ordinary, go to your favorite fishing hole type fishing.

          Huge numbers of them rail against taxes while collecting (besides medicare) medicaid,  social security, unemployment, COBRA.  The fact that so much of the bail out loans have been repaid is news to them.  The fact that jobs have been saved is news to them.  Heck, the fact that Obama isn’t Nazi/Communist/Socialist by any reasonable definition of any of those terms, that he isn’t anywhere close to being just like Hitler or Stalin, that he  doesn’t side with terrorists is news to them.

          The fact that the published copy of his birth certificate is exactly like the copies that most of them and everyone else uses for official purposes is news to them. I don’t see any evidence of the kind of fact gathering or application of reason that you claim for them by making any fine distinctions.  They certainly don’t express those distinctions.

          All that aside, if you think Bennet’s words will harm him with anyone who might even consider voting for him in the first place, you are quote wrong.  Quite the opposite.  

        • Voyageur says:

          Legislative Reubkucans generallky fought the FASTER program, which was about saving our highways.  They are basically against everything now.

        • Colorado Pols says:

          It’s not like the Tea Party has a platform or anything.

        • shrubHugger says:

          I am still waiting for a repub or a tea partier to answer that. The only areas of government that we can cut that aren’t a) constitutionally protected or b) federally mandated are K-12 and Higher Ed. And the rest of misc gov only takes up 311 million dollars and thats not even close to what has to be cut in order to balance the budget.

          Tabor is poison for this state.  

          • ClubTwitty says:

            The point is ‘cut wasteful spending’ polls well.  

            It’s not about governing, that’s boring and basically primarily a vehicle to bestow largess on friends and favored clients contributors constituents.  Its about sitting in the Governor’s chair and finally being able to grow the mustachio back.

    • sxp151 says:

      If you asked them about spending, they’d say they support infrastructure spending theoretically, but that every particular infrastructure spending project just happens to be pork.

      Bennet is exactly right, and good for him.

      • DevilishlyModerate says:

        But when it comes time to make difficult decisions as to which programs they are going to cut they are speechless. They’re too scared to mess with Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, etc. Pretty funny paradox if you ask me.

        They’re all talk, no action.  

    • ClubTwitty says:

      “Keep government out of my Medicare!”

      • BlueCat says:

        just to be contrary. Yeah right, they only oppose entitlement spending.  That’s so easily and demonstrably false, I’m pretty sure LB can’t really believe it.  

        They’re fine with entitlement spending if they’re getting any of it, that is if they are even aware that such things as medicare are entitlements.  Anyone can see that it is mainly about not being able to accept the reality of President Obama, a pretty bland centrist, for whom they harbor a completely irrational level of primal hatred, a level that wasn’t seen on the right even for Clinton while they were trying to hound him out of office. The similarity between the two is that they’re both practical centrists, not liberals, much less socialists. The  most obvious difference (or second most) is that Obama is a exactly the kind of devoted husband and father the family values crowd (the huge Palin wing of the TP) is supposed to admire so much.

        Sure, some of it is about opposing their definition of big government. Some of it is about Ron Paul style libertarianism.  But most of the signs, vitriol and most popular talking points and forwarded e-mails have nothing to do with anything fiscal or anything at all beyond hating the whole idea of a President Obama in the White House and dreaming up completely fictional excuses for that foaming at the mouth hatred to put forward in place of most obvious one.  

        • parsingreality says:

          …GI Bill of Rights, higher education while in the military, preference in government hiring, the Medicare/caid taking care of Mom while they are out protesting, the risky accounts saved by the FDIC, oh, I’m just getting warmed up……..

        • Ralphie says:

          Because he has his principles.

          They may not be the same as mine, but they’re his and he’s welcome to them.

          • BlueCat says:

            based on the obviously false assumption that these self contradicting nonsense mongers have some system of principles that conforms to anything approaching internal logic, be the basis for it right or wrong.  They simply don’t.

            With tea partiers, it isn’t conservatism or libertarianism. It isn’t any semi-coherent “ism” at all. Since I believe LB does have some sort of a coherent system of principles, I suspect his defense based, on stubborn refusal to notice that they just don’t make any sense and aren’t espousing anything cogent, arises mainly from LB style contrarianism. You know…like when he  decided to support Obama!  Remember that?

  3. Sir Robin says:

    I’m all for calling out the bullshit seen anywhere, regardless whether it’s the Tea Party, Malkin, Bachman, Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, etc.  

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    First off, Bennet just climbed in my book. That is beautiful, just beautiful.

    Second, this will sell with the voters in the middle. They understand and support leaving our children a better world. And they respect a fighter.

    This is powerful. And the Republican candidates have no answer to this that the swing voters (who will decide the election) will find compelling.

    Wow, wow, wow!

  5. StrykerK2 says:

    I’ve been a critical voice of Bennet’s (and will probably remain so), but I will give credit where it’s due; I’m glad to see the Senator stand up for democrats.

    It’s too bad Pols didn’t see the need to post a frontpage diary when Romanoff did the same about a week ago:


  6. HikingTheAppalachianTrail says:

    Since Sen. Bennet was addressing a GLBT crowd, a recent NYT poll of Tea Party supporters shows that 57% of them support either civil union or marriage for gay couples.  

    I’m not expressing an opinion.  I just thought it was interesting.

    Here’s a link (p28):…  

  7. DevilishlyModerate says:

    I’m so tired of always hearing the loudest and craziest person in the room. It’s too bad folks with common sense aren’t more active and unruly. Good to see someone sticking it to them for once.  

  8. RedGreen says:

    Denver Direct has this video of Romanoff calling out the Tea Party and others April 17:

    • ClubTwitty says:

      It’s his campaign and supporters that bother me.  I worry he is sabotaging his own political talent and future.

      • Automaticftp says:

        I agree with you completely.  How he has let things get to this point is baffling.

        • BlueCat says:

          the buck stops with the candidate.  HRC’s campaign, in perpetual disarray, was an indication that she might not have the leadership skills for the job, either that of winning the election or of being an effective president.  Romanoff’s campaign engenders the same doubts.

          I think he bit off more than he could chew.  He doesn’t seem to have what it takes to go from state legislator in a completely safe district to a run for statewide office in a purple state.  

        • Ray Springfield says:

          He has his supporters attack and slander, and then says he cannot control them.

          He makes attacks clearly at Sen Bennet and the President and then says that since he didn’t name names it’s not an attack and that his relationship with the President is just fine (to placate the Obama backers in his camp.)

          For example, in Boulder his supporters screamed “fascists” at Bennet supporters and Brandon Schaffer for praising Bennet for being a family man. Certainly Andrew Romanoff is not against families and men who have children. He could say he dislikes the implication of Shaffer’s rematrk, but should denounce his supporters for screaaming fascist. Brandon Shaffer is not a fascist, and neither are Bennet backers. Any civil rights advocate knows the difference between

          fascism and someone favoring married people for office. I know of Jewish Bennet backers in Boulder that came back and stated that they simply will not vote for him unless he denounced that behavior. There are immigration rights advocates that will not   vote for him if he is the nominee unless he admits that the 2006 legislation was morally wrong.

          Romanoff never corrects his supporters. I believe he eggs them on. His campagin has been the most mudlsinging in memory, and if he is the nominee I believe that he will lose

          by a large margin.He will then go to work for his families NGO out of the ocuntry and leave the rest of us to live with a conservative Senator for 6 years.

    • MADCO says:

      How could that be true?

      I thought the AR “challenge” was about them disagreeing?

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      Must’ve had a moment of clarity after firing Pat Caddell, who he had hired to court the Tea Party. I call bullshit on the merits.

    • The realist says:

      How any Dem can be so critical and negative about Romanoff (as are many commenters here) is beyond me.  This state would be exceptionally fortunate to be represented by him in the US Senate, or in any other position.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      His remarks are outstanding regarding the uptick in violence and rhetoric. Well said and well done, Andrew.

      And why oh why does every politician have to put up with some rotten kid screeching in the background?  

      • Ralphie says:

        Because they’re the future of this country?

      • DaftPunk says:

        I took my 11 month old to Rep DeGette’s town hall last September, and he sat quietly on my lap for twenty minutes in our tenth row seats as we waited for the talk to start, and he let loose no more than two minutes into her speech.  We hustled it out and I spent the rest of the time pushing him around in a stroller at the back of the hall ’til he fell asleep.

        It was worth it to hear her say:

        Last I heard, abortion is legal medical care, and there’s no reason that poor women have less right to legal medical care than anyone else!

  9. Ray Springfield says:

    He could start by admitting that the 2006 special session was discriminatory adn morally wrong. . Enough is enough. Colorado is not much better than Arizona in racial profiling as a consequence of legislation that he crowed about.

    A true civil rights champion says that profiling was wrong, is wrong, and forever will be wrong.

    Sadly, we don’t get that from politically expedient Andrew Romanoff.

  10. Ray Springfield says:

    Hit the  wrong response button

  11. Gilpin Guy says:

    the Tanya Harding treatment from these kneehilists.

  12. Half Glass Full says:

    This sounds great, sounds courageous… and is smart.

    Bennet realizes that the Tea Party is by and large simply the far right wing of the Republican Party… there’s a great analysis of it at

    Bennet is making sense, and if he can make points like that against Norton/Buck, he’ll win in November.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.