Mitt Romney was the keynote speaker when the Tea Party Express rolled into Concord, New Hampshire, and staged a rally at Rollins Park Sunday evening. But the former Massachusetts Governor and current presidential candidate had plenty of competition when it came to informing and entertaining the crowd of about 200 people who turned out to hear about the battles to be fought and the issues at stake in the 20012 elections. The crowd heard from Tea Party organizers, lesser known presidential candidates, and singers voicing patriotic lyrics to country and rap beats.

"Limited government's the only solution/ Our only foundation should be our Constitution, " a rap singer insisted.

"Our children and our grandchildren, they never will forget," lamented a country singer, "how we sold out for a little change and left them all in debt."

But through most of the evening singing the blues gave way to shouts of optimism and predictions of another change at the polls in November.

As media attention intensifies about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s run for the presidential nomination, an activist in Tyler, Texas, was prompted to say "More checking under the hood needed before we buy the car," according to the Dallas Morning News (DMN).

The article focused on Perry’s comments at a Border Summit speech in south Texas (8-22-01), days before the 9-11 attacks, about bi-national health insurance — Texas-funded coverage for both U.S. and Mexican border residents. The governor’s statement favored a study, required by the Legislature, about "the feasibility of bi-national health insurance.”

The DMN continued, "Katherine Cesinger, spokeswoman for Perry’s campaign, downplayed the topic of bi-national health insurance. 'A bill was passed by the Legislature that authorized a study to look into this issue, which ultimately concluded there were numerous barriers to accomplishing that idea, and the Legislature took no further action on this concept,' she said." However, in spite of the Legislature’s failure to act, Perry made clear his willingness to funnel Texas’s assets to Mexico. He stated in his Summit speech,

Daily Caller editor Peter Tucci has noticed that many Republican candidates for President have made scant mention of the U.S. Constitution on their campaign websites, despite the fact that the Constitution is a key part of the Tea Party movement.

"I thought it would be interesting," Tucci wrote, "to see what the Republican presidential candidates’ campaign websites have to say about the Constitution. Surprisingly, in many cases the answer is: nothing."

By Tucci's count in his "Constitution-less conservatives" article, here are the number of mentions of the U.S. Constitution on the candidates' websites:

Republican firebrand Sarah Palin tore into Barack Obama, the "permanent political class, " and unnamed practitioners of "crony corporate capitalism," but made no mention of her  yet undeclared candidacy for President during a 40-minute speech at a Tea Party rally in Indianola, Iowa, on Saturday. But on another of her frequent visits to the state whose caucuses begin the delegate selection for the party's national convention, the  former Alaska Governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate sounded very much like a contender for the top of the ticket 2012, as she widened her attack to include Republicans as well as Democrats and offered a five-point plan for revitalizing America.

"Here's my plan," she told the roughly 2,000 people standing on a rain-soaked field to greet and cheer on the popular champion the Tea Party movement with frequent chants of "Run, Sarah, Run! " Calling for "sudden and relentless reform," Palin outlined a plan for the repeal of "ObamaCare," elimination of "burdensome regulations," undefined reform of entitlement programs, elimination of federal corporate income taxes, and the development of domestic energy resources.

Nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Mark Levin is an outspoken critic of Congressman Ron Paul.  Levin labors tirelessly to convince the members of his audience that Paul suffers from a condition of poverty that has ravaged his intellect no less than his moral character.  Paul is no kind of conservative, “the Great One” informs us: besides advocating a foreign policy that is supposedly as idiotic in conception as it promises to be ruinous in effect, Ron Paul is an “anti-Semite.”

Readers of this column know that this isn’t the first time that I have addressed the Paul Derangement Syndrome that has overtaken the good doctor’s Republican critics.  It also isn’t the first time that I have singled out Levin as a textbook case of this disorder.

There is a reason for this.

That both the substance of Paul’s thought as well as — especially! — the manner in which he tends to articulate it should elicit objections from his fellow partisans is an unremarkable phenomenon.  Quite recently, I wrote an article in which I showed the respects in which my own political philosophical orientation — conservatism — is fundamentally at odds with that of Paul.  The difference, though, between, say, Jack Kerwick and Mark Levin, is that Levin can’t resist the impulse to couch his criticisms of Paul within a pile of abusive names that he reserves for the man; I, on the other hand, feel no such compulsion.

Republican Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina spoke on September 1 with reporters via a conference call. The Governor accused President Obama, who will give a “Jobs Speech” to a joint session of Congress next week, of being “cowardly” when it came to jobs for South Carolinians.  The National Labor Relations Board in April filed a complaint against the Boeing Corporation for planning to transfer an airline production plant for the 787 Dreamliner to South Carolina.

Governor Haley pulled no punches with her remarks: “This president works for us. This president owes us an answer. This president owes Boeing an answer. This president owes every business in this country an answer on what he thinks of the NLRB. If he is supportive of them, say he is supportive of them. If he thinks what they are doing is wrong, say what you think is wrong. But to be silent is cowardly and is just something that is unacceptable for the president of our country.”

The Governor also said what she thought of the NLRB: “It’s a rogue agency that has a bully mentality that is absolutely un-American. I don’t know any other way to say it.”

With all six of its National Guard's Black Hawk helicopters still deployed in Iraq, flood-devastated Vermont received help from neighboring New Hampshire and distant Illinois this week in bringing relief to residents stranded in 13 communities after flooding caused by last weekend's Tropical Storm Irene washed out hundreds of the state's roads and bridges.

On Monday, the New Hampshire National Guard sent over two of its Black Hawk helicopters, which transported Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate and Vermont's Gov. Peter Shumlin, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch on a survey of flood-damaged areas in the state. On Wednesday the first of eight helicopters on loan from the Illinois National Guard arrived to help with the distribution of food and other supplies as Vermonters continued to struggle with the after effects of the storm that flooded homes, business, and government offices. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn ordered the helicopters and 95 members of the Illinois Guard to Vermont from Rome, New York, where they had been sent to assist in flood relief efforts in that state.

About 200 National Guard members from Maine and 50 from West Virginia were also enroute to Vermont, the Boston Globe reported on Friday.

Was Texas Governor Rick Perry for ObamaCare before he was against it? Today Perry rails against the healthcare law, calling it “the closest this country has ever come to outright socialism” in his 2010 book Fed Up, where he also declared the individual mandate “a total outrage.” If elected President, he says, he will use an executive order to repeal or block as much of ObamaCare as possible.

But 18 years ago, Perry, then Texas Agriculture Commissioner, penned a letter to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton that opened: “I think your efforts in trying to reform the nation’s health care system are most commendable.” Perry then asked Clinton to “give particular attention to the needs of the nation’s farmers, ranchers, agriculture workers, and other members of rural communities,” noting that many of them were uninsured and faced shortages of healthcare services. “Again,” Perry wrote in conclusion, “your efforts are worthy.... Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.”

The Daily Caller, which posted a copy of the letter, asked Perry’s presidential campaign about the candidate’s 1993 praise for “HillaryCare.”

Just days before Hurricane Irene hit American shores, Texas Representative and Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul declared that FEMA should stay out of the recovery efforts that were inevitable. Paul has been a long-time critic of the agency, and as a general rule, believes that most federal agencies (i.e., those that do not serve a purpose delegated to the federal government in the Constitution) should be done away with as they are unconstitutional and typically inept. However, this particular declaration of Paul’s drew some tense ire over the course of the last few days, as well as some support.

Last week, Rep. Paul said that FEMA is far more detrimental to recovery efforts than beneficial because “all they do is come in and tell you what to do and what you can’t do,” and add billions to the deficit.

On August 30, Paul appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper to defend his comments, where he made the following statement:

We’ve only had [FEMA] since 1979 and they don’t have a very good record. These natural disasters are very dangerous, so I don’t understand why we would turn it over to a federal bureaucracy.

The White House announced Thursday that it is building a new webpage, entitled "We the People," designed to give Americans the ability to digitally create and sign petitions to propose various government actions, particularly regarding job creation.

This new government tool will be available at the White House website, and it is "a new way to petition your government to take action on a range of important issues," says the narrator in a White House video. "It’s a new way for your voice to be heard in our government," Macon Phillips, the White House director of digital strategy, suggested.

"When I ran for this office, I pledged to make government more open and accountable to its citizens," President Obama proclaimed in a taped announcement, and this new tool will provide Americans with "a direct line" to the White House for issues they are concerned about. Critics say the timing of the new project is not coincidental, as it comes at a time when the President and congressional Democrats are eagerly discussing how the federal government can promote job growth — through legislative action.

WhiteHouse.gov has the details on how the petitions will work:

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