The Next Ted Cruz: Meet the Tea Party Idol Who Could Oust a Top House Republican
After their government shutdown and debt ceiling stand-off ended in disappointment, some Tea Party groups are turning their sights on avenging their perceived betrayal in next year’s Republican primaries. Here’s one to watch: in Southwest Pennsylvania, right-wing Coast Guard retiree and real estate developer Art Halvorson is out to oust incumbent Bill Shuster, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and inherited the seat from his father in 2001. Shuster voted for the Boehner-backed deal that ended the shutdown; Halvorson is endorsed by RedState’s Erick Erickson and the Madison Project PAC, which last summer was already running ads slamming Shuster for voting “eight times” to raise the debt ceiling.
If Tea Party challengers like Halvorson pull off upsets next year, what kind of candidates - or congressmen - will they be? In a wide-ranging Monday interview, Halvorson told Salon that “nothing would have changed ” if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised, advocated weaning Americans off of “dependence” on Medicare and Social Security, and bemoaned the end of the gold standard. He also had harsh words for Barack Obama (“easily intimidated” and prone to “anger”), John Boehner (not “man enough”), and even Paul Ryan. A condensed version of our conversation follows.
How are you saying they did that?
They did it by creating stories, creating incidences where people were personally affected, where pain was felt. Shutting down the national parks and arresting people and kicking people out of their homes, because they happened to be located within the boundaries of the national parks…
Who was kicked out of their homes?
There were - well, you’re familiar with all the various stories of private property. I don’t want to get into those details. I’m just citing some open source examples. I hope that’s not where this interview is going…
How many Republicans do you think will lose their seats in primaries because of the way this deal went down?
I have no way of knowing…I think the tide is shifting though… There’s a poll that came out last week I saw that 60 percent of people said that they wanted to clean house - including their own representative…
Where was that poll from?
I believe I saw it on Drudge Report. But I don’t know who did the poll.