April 21st, 2011
04:47 PM ET

Which will cause GOP more problems in 2012: Dems or Tea Party?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite last year's midterm shellacking of the Democrats and record low approval ratings for President Obama, there is a big potential problem for Republicans heading into the 2012 presidential election. Other Republicans.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/04/21/art.tea.party.jpg caption="Last week's 2011 Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party."]
More specifically, the Tea Party; that grassroots movement that helped the GOP win the House last fall and weaken the Democrats' hold on the Senate. These days they are all but driving the Republican agenda. They want big spending cuts and a much smaller government. The thing is a lot of Americans agree with them. And many of the newly-elected lawmakers who ran on those platforms have proven they're willing to stick to the budget-slashing principles even if it effectively paralyzes Congress.

Fifty-four Republicans in the House voted against last week's budget bill and for a government shutdown, a sign that upcoming battles like raising the debt ceiling and reforming Medicare could get very ugly.

The old line establishment Republicans aren't nearly so extreme, and that could become a problem when it comes time for the GOP to run against the Democrats in next year's elections. Potential GOP candidates like Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, and Donald Trump have all made appearances at Tea Party events this month. Others like Mitt Romney and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour have chosen to steer clear of events, while still speaking favorably of the group.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll, just 32% of Americans have a favorable view of the Tea Party, while 46% have a favorable view of the Democratic party and 44% have a favorable view of Republicans.

Here’s my question to you: Which will cause Republicans more problems next year: Democrats or the Tea Party?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democrats • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans • Tea Party
April 21st, 2011
04:45 PM ET

Should U.S. space program be priority in budget crisis?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Buried deep in the $38 billion 2011 fiscal budget bill - that one that was hastily passed by Congress before its spring break and hurried over to President Obama to sign - is a $3 billion provision for NASA to build a new rocket and space capsule. That’s $3 billion for a space ship. Wonderful.

While lawmakers fought for six months over nickels and dimes for programs such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Planned Parenthood and Pell Grants for college tuition, billions had been set aside for a space rocket. So much for all that big talk about cutting spending.

But this is nothing new, according to the political news website Politico. Lawmakers from states where NASA and the corporations typically awarded its contracts operate have long pushed for the continuation of space programs, even when they aren't exactly popular. These are states such as Alabama, Maryland, Texas and Utah.

Lawmakers from those states insist their support of projects like this one stems from the overall importance of the U.S. space program, and they say the value goes far beyond job creation in their own states.

But you've got to wonder how much value a trip to the moon can really provide when the growing debt problem is sinking this country to new lows.

Plus there's that old phrase, "Been there, done that."

Oh and those major U.S. companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin that stand to be awarded big-time contracts to build this rocket and space capsule? They probably have a little something to do with this.

Boeing reportedly spent about $18 million on lobbying last year, and its political action committee contributed more than $2.2 million in the last election cycle. Lockheed Martin spent about $16 million on lobbyists, and its PAC donated more than $3.5 million in 2009 and 2010.

You want to know who really runs the country?

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. space program be a priority during a budget crisis?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy