Tea partiers are opposed to federal spending, healthcare reform, Wall Street banks and dinners featuring steak and lobster. They don't like Democrats or even Republicans. What are they for? Can they organize to make a political difference in this election year? We look for some answers as the Tea Party convention opens in Nashville. Also, Toyota dealers gear up for the big recall -- which now includes Prius' brakes, and as the deficit rises, the federal government is now picking up almost 50% of all healthcare spending.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Toyota has recalled some 5.3 million vehicles but not the Prius, the hybrid symbolic of engineering excellence. Early today, the company publicly conceded there are problems with braking systems on the 2010 Prius. Hours later, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation. Kate Linebaugh is in Detroit for the Wall Street Journal.
Kate Linebaugh, Reporter, Wall Street Journal
Spending on healthcare has grown to a record 17.3% of the nation's entire economy, and the federal government could be picking up more than half as soon as next year. Those stunning figures are the work of independent actuaries at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called CMS. Noam Levey reports for the Los Angeles Times.
Some polls show hypothetical Tea Party candidates with more support than Democrats or Republicans, but the key word is “hypothetical.” As the Tea Party Convention begins today in Nashville, it's not clear that any candidate could get away with claiming “Tea Party” association. Republicans are trying to focus their anger, but tea-partiers lump both major parties into one, hated Establishment. Why have so many original organizers pulled out of this week's convention? Will Sarah Palin damage her image by appearing and taking a big fee? Will the convention define a political movement or dramatize differences that can't be resolved?
Kate Zernike, New York Times (@kzernike)
Tony Shreeve, member, American Patriotic Taxpayers
Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch (@TomFitton)
John Hawkins, RightWingNews.com (@johnhawkinsrwn)
David Weigel, Slate.com (@daveweigel)