A Tea Party Patriots leader is slamming President Obama for "co-opting" the language of free-market advocates while pushing his agenda of wealth redistribution in his State of the Union address and for brazenly vowing to act unilaterally on a variety of issues if Congress doesn't back his agenda.
National grassroots coordinator Keli Carender is also firing shots at congressional Republicans for not resisting Obama more vigorously. She alleges the party's response to Obama's speech that was short on specifics.
Several times during his speech, Obama extolled the hard work and creativity of American business owners and entrepreneurs. At the same time, he proposed a lengthy list of roles he believes the federal government ought to play in improving our economy, such as demanding an increase in the minimum wage and restoring emergency unemployment benefits that expired in December. He also urged government involvement in energy, education and other sectors.
"He definitely co-opts the language of free markets and people who support free markets to sell his big government policies. I just find it ironic that he uses our language but means something completely different when he uses it," said Carender, who saw a lot of divisive rhetoric coming from the president.
"The way that we see it is that he's basically trying to divide the citizenry based on income when the real inequality that people need to be paying attention to are the people in D.C., the elected people, the bureaucrats, the government employees and the citizens of America.
"Their housing values are better. They have better perks. They have better benefits, better salaries. If you work for the government, you can get your student loans wiped out and you don't have to worry about them. We don't have that deal out here in America," Carender said.
"There's so much inequality that comes out of Washington, D.C., that any inequality between people that happen to make a different amount because they have different jobs here in America is just dwarfed by that inequality," she said. "He's not addressing the really bad inequality, which is people that are supposed to serve us kind of flipping the script so we serve them."
Conservatives are already furious with President Obama for they consider unconstitutional decisions without the consent of Congress, from implementing much of the DREAM Act to put children of illegal immigrants on the path to citizenship to his changing of various parts of the new health law, such as the onset of the employer mandate to unilaterally allowing insurance companies to keep selling coverage that the new law deems to be illegal.
On Tuesday, Obama boldly proclaimed that his administration would act in several areas, with or without congressional authorization, on issues ranging from pollution standards to gun rights to federal contractors and their wages.
Carender said Obama's approach to his office and the bravado with which he uses it left her nearly speechless.
"It was breathtaking," she said. "He's not the first president to do that but he has definitely done it the most, and he has also done it the most brazenly. He doesn't care because he knows no one is going to hold him accountable. The press won't hold him accountable, and the Republicans in Congress aren't going to hold him accountable. Every time he defies the Constitution and the separation of powers, he diminishes their authority, which is incredibly dangerous. Our founders definitely warned against an all-powerful executive."
Carender has positive and negative reviews of the Republican response offered by House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. On the plus side, she said the top-ranking woman in the Republican House leadership seemed able to connect well.
"I thought she was able to be personable. I thought that was good. For once it was somebody that had a pulse and seemed to relate to people. I think she seems like a very nice person. She obviously has a very nice family. I think the story of her son with Down Syndrome is great, and I know it makes liberals crazy, so that's great," said Carender, who also noted that Rodgers missed an opportunity to offer specifics on what the party would do differently than Obama. She said that was a stark contrast to the speech by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in his message sponsored by the Tea Party Express.
"The people representing the tea party aren't afraid to put out more specific proposals or to take on the issue of the president usurping Congress' power," she said.
"The GOP response was a little more bland, a little more broad, not real specific. It really doesn't challenge the president on what he's doing unconstitutionally. It makes me very happy to see that the tea-party leaders in Congress are unafraid. Regardless of what anybody's going to say about them, they're going to stand up for what's right and they're going to put it out there and be proud of it," Carender said.
She dismissed criticism that addresses by Lee and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., muddied the Republican message in the wake of Obama's speech, calling it "bogus conventional wisdom" and asserting that the political arena needs more voices rather than fewer.
She also said Tea Party Patriots will remain very active in this election year and are gaining in strength, contrary to pundits on both sides who claimed the movement would be a temporary phenomenon.
"People thought we were going away after a couple of years or three years, and all of a sudden we're coming up on our five-year anniversary.
"I hope they understand that we're just not going away. 2014 will be a big year and so will 2015, and so will 2016 and so will 2017. We're just going to keep plugging away until we have been able to persuade hearts and minds that our solutions are the ones that will help Americans grow and prosper and achieve their dreams," she said.