Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has nothing but praise for the tea party.
“I am a Republican, but I believe strongly in the tea party — and I love the people of the tea party,” Trump told WPTV-News Channel 5 on Thursday during the Palm Beach County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner. “I love many of the things they represent — and you know what? They love me.”
Hundreds of national and local GOP officials and supporters attended the dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. The annual event comes as the Republican Party grapples with remaking itself and broadening its base after the drubbing it took in the 2012 presidential election.
And Trump had plenty of advice on how the GOP should move forward.
On immigration reform, for instance, Trump told WPTV-Channel 5: “Something has to happen, but the Republicans are going to have to be very careful. Look, we can’t give away our great country.”
Several plans for comprehensive immigration reform have been put forth in recent weeks, including one by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and another by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators, which also includes Rubio. The proposals have been attacked as de facto amnesty programs.
Turning to the nation’s economy and its $16.4 trillion debt, Trump said: “We will soon have over $17 trillion in debt, a number no one ever dreamed possible. We are losing our economic power.
“China will soon be the biggest economic engine in the world,” the real-estate mogul told WPTV. “We won’t be.”
Trump ruled out the idea of running for president via a third party. “No, I wouldn’t head it up, but the Republicans are going to have to get very smart or there is going to be a third party.”
And, on the longstanding birther issue with President Barack Obama, Trump was the most vocal to WPTV.
During the campaign, he offered $5 million to the charity of the president’s choice if he released his college transcripts. Obama dismissed the challenge.
As such, would Trump ever drop the matter?
“No, I’m not. I don’t do that at all. I offered millions and millions of dollars to show some record,” he told WPTV. “He didn’t show the records.
“I would certainly not put that to bed — and neither would about 50 percent of our people.”
A tea Party spokesperson stated it is nice to be loved but we just hope Donald is not the kiss of death for us.
Conservative scholar, talk radio host, and former Reagan administration official Mark Levin said conservatives need to first overthrow the Republican establishment to more successfully take on President Barack Obama and the institutional left.
“We cannot get through Obama and the left until we get through the Republican Establishment,” Levin said, railing against establishment consultants who attack the base and politicians who know nothing of “Burkean reform” because they have spent their whole careers “clawing their way to the top.”
In a talk at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday with his mentor, former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, for whom Levin served as Chief of Staff, Levin said the Republican Party is, “devouring the conservative movement,” and the old bulls need to step aside in favor of a new generation of conservatives who are fluent in conservatism.
“It’s time for the old bulls to get out of the way and for the fresh faces who believe in conservatism and liberty and originalist principles to step up,” Levin said, criticizing those like House Speaker John Boehner for “yielding territory” to the left in negotiations.
Levin said the Tea Party consists of constitutionalists, libertarians, Evangelicals, and those who are against the rigged establishment, beltway culture that for too long has not embraced conservatism and, as a consequence, lost national elections (George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney).
“The Tea Party is the only thing that stands between liberty and tyranny,” Levin said. “We have to defeat the Republican establishment mush in Washington, D.C.”
Levin also named the establishment media organizations and institutions on the right that he said were not helping advance the conservative cause.
He said, “in a lot of our media outlets,” there are “a lot of old, dreary people who are just around all the time” who “reject” Reaganism.
Levin named Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard, who recently called for more tax increases; and the National Review, the Washington establishment publication that vigorously supported Mitt Romney in the primaries, Levin said, in many ways, has “become a mouthpiece for the Republican party.”
Levin said the Republican Party will go the way of the Whig Party if they do not put out more “cutting-edge intellectuals and artistic” spokespeople for the conservative cause that transcends race or class.
Shortly after President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Levin wrote Liberty and Tyranny, which sold over a million copies despite not being reviewed and being completely ignored by mainstream media outlets and programs.
The prescient book not only clearly articulated what would eventually turn out to be the Tea Party’s opposition to Obama’s statism (Levin knew what Obama was going to do before even Obama) but was also symbolic of how, in the new media age, books and ideas could commercially succeed without the legacy media institutions of yesterday that no longer act as gatekeepers.
To appeal to young people and minorities with conservatism, Levin said Republicans needed to call on parents and grandparents to have an impact on young people and appeal to their sense of liberty and anti-authoritarianism.
He said this “bottom up federalism” can appeal not only to young people but to minorities.
Levin noted that capitalism is the plan and the strategy is the constitution, and that was the foundation of Reaganism.
He said after Reagan, George H.W. Bush lurched to the left rather than “build up Reaganism” and the party and the conservative movement has not been the same since.
Levin also said ethnic front groups who want more balkanization instead of assimilation are also threats and need to be called out.
In talking about Republican institutions, Levin said the Republican National Committee needs to be managed better because, simply put, “when you lose, you gotta bring some other people here.”
“Backbenchers need to go to the front,” Levin said, noting that the frontbencher establishment class has been trying to “clean out” conservatives who do not toe the moderate, establishment line.
Levin said Obama would inevitably overreach on many fronts during his second term. For instance, Levin predicted Obama would try to break down America’s sovereignty by working with the United Nations on a global tax and committing America to more international military arrangements.
“The people are going to rise up,” Levin said.
When discussing the future of conservatism, Levin highlighted in particular Texas Senator-elect Ted Cruz and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, among others.
“I love Sarah Palin,” Levin said.
“You see how intelligent she is?,” Levin asked, noting that Palin is nothing like the caricature of her on the left and in the mainstream media.
Levin said Palin should be given credit for effectively and enthusiastically articulating the conservative cause, even though she has been attacked by the mainstream media and the Republican establishment.
“Yet, she still rallies the base a hundred times more than these people telling us what we are supposed to do,” Levin said.