Judson Phillips

With a government shutdown likely looming, many Republicans are concerned about the precedent set in 1995 and 1996, when Bill Clinton, then in power, bested the GOP in the politics of two shutdowns. But some conservatives believe that there’s a big difference in their favor this time: the media context, namely the existence of Fox News. “Quite honestly, the major newspapers had a stranglehold on political news in 1995. Now you have cable on both sides,” freshman Congressman Todd Rokita told The New York Times.

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The emergence of "Constitutional conservatism" as a new aspect of right-wing thought is about nine-parts empty slogan and one-part actual idea. When you look at the actual idea, it's fairly scary. Conservatives are correct that the country has changed its original understanding of the Constitution. Those changes have primarily involved making the country more democratic -- we now get to elect Senators, a privilege many conservatives would like to remove. Another change is that the franchise is no longer restricted to white, male property owners.

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Birch and Barry

Washington—Barack Obama's campaign promise of change did not include a pledge to transform American conservatism.

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Weak Brew

Mark Skoda, one of the organizers of the first-ever national Tea Party convention in Nashville, is no revolutionary. “I get irritated when people say, ‘Let’s take our country back.’ We have a country,” he told one interviewer at the three-day-long gathering earlier this month. “In America, we only have to move the dial a little bit. We’re not off the rails.

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Nashville Nation

Sunday, February 7, 3:28 p.m. Among the convention’s several last-minute saves—opening the conference to media, replacing one speaker who fell ill and another who dropped last minute—was bringing on Andrew Breitbart. Convention spokesman Mark Skoda knew the conservative media mogul through their mutual friend Mike Flynn, who manages the Breitbart site BigGovernment.com, and when Marsha Blackburn and Michele Bachmann backed out, Breitbart swooped in to help. At first, Breitbart himself was just supposed to introduce Sarah Palin. But to no one’s surprise, really, his portfolio grew.

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The Tea Party Glossary

Here's one thing about the Tea Party movement everyone can agree on: It's confusing. With decentralization as a core value, the Tea Party phenomenon can seem like a baffling collection of individuals and organizations, often divided against each other. But with its first national convention now underway in Nashville, and as Tea Party groups gear up for campaigns around the country, it's time we met the movement's main players.

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