Last night on CNN, Larry King discussed the rise of the tea parties with a variety of guests and featured footage from last weekend’s lobbyist-organized Tea Party Express rally in Searchlight, NV. Dana Loesch, a tea party organizer from Missouri, and another tea party organizer, Wayne Allyn Root, joined King for the discussion. Root and Loesch decried the “unprecedented” and “unconstitutional” reach of a health care mandate. However, King noted that programs like Social Security are mandatory and asked if the tea parties would like to “do away with” that program as well. Both tea party organizers enthusiastically said “yes, absolutely” and added that a compromise would be at least privatizing the system:
KING: Would anyone turn away Social Security now? Would you do away with it?
LOESCH: I would, yes.
KING: You would?
LOESCH: Yes, absolutely.
KING: Would do you away with it, Wayne?
ROOT: I’d certainly like to. At best, I do away with it because I could find better ways to spend and save my own $15,000 a year.
As many observers have noted, tea party fervor has infected the modern Republican Party. The Republican Budget Road Map, championed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and a growing number of GOP lawmakers, would appease the tea parties by slashing entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security through cuts and privatization. Unfortunately, King did not discuss the billionaire-backers of the tea parties, like David Koch, who similarly wants to do away with Social Security.