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Karl Rove Strikes Back, Defends Reputation as Democrat’s Favorite Super-Scary Hate Object

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Source: POLITICO

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[VIDEO] Prince of Darkness Karl Rove on How Trump Should Handle ‘Legitimacy’ Question 

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Trump Is the Democrats’ Dream Nominee 

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He could win the primaries but would get creamed in the presidential election.

Karl Rove writes: Donald Trump’s call on Monday for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” is unlikely to blow up his campaign. No matter how outrageous his statement seems to most Americans, his supporters apparently eat up stuff like that.

“His antics—calling his GOP competitors ‘losers’ and ‘clowns,’ insulting Sen. John McCain for having been captured in Vietnam, mocking a reporter with a disability, crudely attacking Fox News’s Megyn Kelly—have made it difficult for him to grow his base.” 

Forty-six percent of Mr. Trump’s backers say that their minds are made up and won’t change before the primaries, according to a Dec. 2 Quinnipiac poll. Only 33% of Ted Cruz’s supporters, and 23% of Marco Rubio’s, say that they are sure of their choice.

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“The picture for the general election is even bleaker. The Donald’s favorability rating in the Quinnipiac survey was the worst of the 12 Democratic and Republican candidates tested.”

Apparently no matter what Mr. Trump does, he continues to poll generally in the mid- to high-20s, with an occasional survey PANTSUIT-REPORTputting him in the 30s. In mid-August he dipped to 22% in the Real Clear Politics average, but he hasn’t fallen below that mark since. This high floor, however, is matched by a low ceiling.

His antics—calling his GOP competitors “losers” and “clowns,” insulting Sen. John McCain for having been captured in Vietnam, mocking a reporter with a disability, crudely attacking Fox News’s Megyn Kelly—have made it difficult for him to grow his base. Almost as many Republicans (26%) told Quinnipiac that they will “definitely not support” him in the primaries as said they back him (27%).

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“All these numbers combine to make Mr. Trump the weakest Republican tested by Quinnipiac in head-to-head matchups against Mrs. Clinton.”

The picture for the general election is even bleaker. The Donald’s favorability rating in the Quinnipiac survey was the worst of the 12 Democratic and Republican candidates tested: 35% favorable to 57% unfavorable. That was lower even than Mrs. Clinton’s 44% to 51%. Dig into the demographic breakdowns and Mr. Trump’s numbers look abysmal. Sixty percent of independents dislike him, along with 69% of voters aged 18-34, 84% of Latinos and 87% of blacks.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

He and Mrs. Clinton were the only two of six candidates to be upside down on Quinnipiac’s question about honesty. The pair were nearly tied: 35% found the real estate mogul trustworthy and 59% did not; 36% trusted the former secretary of state and 60% didn’t. A Nov. 22 Fox News poll showed similar results. Mr. Trump was seen as honest and trustworthy by 41% of voters, and not by 55%. Mrs. Clinton’s numbers were marginally worse, at 38% honest, and 58% not. Read the rest of this entry »


‘A Real Edward R. Murrow Moment’

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Campaign Cowboys

Headline Quote: Megyn Kelly

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[VIDEO] George Will: GOP May Get a Surprise from Democrats’ Get-Out-the-Vote Effort

editor-commen-deskBefore we dismiss Will’s warning, let’s recall that during the last election cycle, while many influential conservative talking heads were forecasting a Mitt Romney victory, George Will submitted an early prediction that Obama would win. His contrary analysis was met with a collective groan. Karl Rove (who would have a legendary election-night meltdown) and Dick Morris (Morris’ Fox broadcast career effectively ended in the wake of his laughable Mitt Romney landslide claims) were in full triumphalist mode. Will’s unpopular early forecast, siding with Democrat polling predictions, that Barack Obama’s campaign organization would prevail and hand the GOP a loss, was regarded by Romney supporters as treasonous. And by many others (myself included) as a valid warning, but prematurely defeatist.

“This big-name list of losers should be tattooed on the sweaty palms of every GOP operative drawing a paycheck, and haunt the fever dreams of every conservative talking head in the green room.”

Will wasn’t just playing Johnny Raincloud. He was just among the few with his reading glasses on straight that week. Untainted by wishful thinking, Will called it correctly. But even his resolve didn’t last. Sadly, George Will caught the fever, and as election night drew closer, he, too, predicted a Romney landslide.

Blood on the playbook: whether the pundits are right or wrong, the banks still cash their checks

Blood on the playbook: whether the pundits are right or wrong, the banks still cash their checks

[Romney Landslide: Here Are the Biggest Names Predicting It & How It Will Happen]

That’s a Nov. 4th, 2012 list of the men who walked the plank, and made the wrongest election prediction in modern history. Conservative enthusiasts in need of a cold shower should revisit this list. In fact, this big-name list of losers should be tattooed on the sweaty palms of every GOP operative drawing a paycheck, and haunt the fever dreams of every conservative talking head in the green room.

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Perhaps hardened by that defeat, Will would prefer to be less vulnerable this time around. Similarly, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume was on a panel yesterday bitterly mocking the GOP’s misreading of the” voter enthusiasm gap” as a reliable election predictor. Hume sarcastically observed that a depressed, demoralized, unenthusiastic vote counts just as much as an enthusiastic vote. He’s right. The key thing is the actual voting. The GOP’s challenge to the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote supremacy is in the spotlight. And the GOP’s catch-up efforts remain unproven.

Then there’s the wild card. Though neither Will or Hume mentioned this — but we’ve reported on it here — that doesn’t even account for opponent advantages gained in close races by voter fraud.

So let’s update those sports metaphors: If the GOP doesn’t succeed in taking the Senate, it may not be only because of an inadequate “ground game”, or because the GOP “fumbled the ball”. It will also be because they aren’t employing special teams (legitimate vote boosting efforts, locally-organized vote fraud schemes, take your pick) and because election referees aren’t empowered to do their job. When no penalties are called on an opponent’s violations, it’s harder to win. Points won and lost in these hidden margins aren’t officially measured, but can change the outcome of the game. And can produce — or contribute to — some unhappy surprises.

“At this point in the campaign, they’ve saturated people with broadcast ads, so the utility of the last political dollar is pretty small. The return on ‘Get out the vote’ may be much larger, and we may get a surprise this year.”

From last night’s item at The Corner:

Republicans are too focused on how much money is being spent on ad buys in the final weeks of the election cycle, warned George Will. Instead, they should be wary of Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts, which upended Republicans in the 2012 elections, he said on Tuesday’s Special Report. Read the rest of this entry »


15 Most Annoying Expressions in Politics

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For RealClearPoliticsCarl M. Cannon writes: Irritating phrases and words are not confined to political circles, or solely to Washington, although here in the nation’s capital they burrow in and proliferate like obsolete, but entrenched, government programs. This is a call to arms to fight them—but only metaphorically.

15: “WAR ON [FILL IN THE BLANK]” Syria’s civil war has produced 2.5 million refugees and a death toll of 160,000, a tragedy that has galvanized neither major political party into action. So next time a Democrat brays about the so-called Republican “war on women” or a Republican trumpets the Obama administration’s “war on coal,” tell them you’ve seen what real war looks like—and ask what the U.S. can do to stop it.

14. “TAX HIKE” It’s not a “hike.” What are you going to do, put it in a knapsack and take it for a walk? It’s a tax increase. This usage was coined by headline writers because it’s shorter. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who often employs this phrase, has no such excuse.

13. “RIGHT-WING” This term is bandied about carelessly, usually as a pejorative. In “The Devil’s Dictionary,” Ambrose Bierce defined “conservative.” Here is the entry, in its entirety: “CONSERVATIVE, n. a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.” The converse of “right-wing,” a label freely applied to Fox News and countless Republican elected officials, is not “liberal,” it’s “left wing.”

12. “FRANKLY” Rhett Butler made this word famous, but when politicians preface their remarks with “frankly” (or “candidly”), they don’t give a damn about being frank or candid. Usually, it means they’re about to tell a whopper—or recite a talking point. Listen for this usage from now on. It’s a self-administered lie detector.

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11. “TALKING POINTS” Pols who recite self-serving spin written by others while answering basic questions about their jobs are essentially reading the stage directions. It suggests they are too lazy to invent their own fibs or excuses—or that they work for control freaks who don’t trust them to know their own subject matter. This is a discordant trait in a high-ranking official, such as U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice or anyone who attended top-notch schools, which also fits Rice. She was a history major at Stanford and a Rhodes scholar with a master’s degree and a doctorate from Oxford.

10. “DOCTOR” In the White House compound and certain media precincts, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden is referred to as “Dr. Biden,” usually in reverential tones. This is understandable—who wants to be called “the second lady”? But, like Susan Rice, Jill Biden has a PhD, not a medical degree. It was also a secret password in the Bush administration to affix “Dr.” in front of another foreign policy official surnamed Rice. Susan Rice, Condoleezza Rice, and Jill Biden are accomplished people, but the old-time newsroom rule is best: If someone isn’t licensed to take your tonsils out, you don’t have to call ’em “Doc.”

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[This next one is my personal favorite example of an annoying, overused word–I hear it a lot from POTUS, and also, Brit Hume]

9. “LOOK…” Almost as soon as he arrived in Washington, Barack Obama adopted the off-putting Sunday talk show habit—used promiscuously by Karl Rove—of starting sentences with the word “Look.” Two months after his inauguration, things got so bad that Jimmy Fallon sought to discourage its proliferation by producing a montage, set to music, of Obama saying “Look…” 26 times in an hour-long news conference. To a layman, it sounds like Obama is really saying, “Look here, moron…” But two UCLA professors told Anya Sostek of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that this preamble isn’t as patronizing as it sounds. Manny Schegloff says Obama is signaling that he’s about to provide background information as part of his answer that informs his policy position. His colleague Steven Clayman adds that Ronald Reagan often began answers to questions with the word, “Well”—as a way of preparing listeners for a different answer than they might expect. Or so say Dr. Clayman and Dr. Schegloff.  Read the rest of this entry »


Lois Lerner Emails: Nothing Digital Ever Dies

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For RealClearPoliticsCarl M. Cannon writes: In 2007, while co-writing a magazine piece with Silicon Valley author and entrepreneur Michael S. Malone on best Information Age practices for politicians, I coined a phrase Malone instantly dubbed “the Cannon Codicil.”

 “…mismanaging emails and thinking you’ve lost them forever are two different animals…”

Postulating that electronic messages, like diamonds, last for forever, Cannon’s codicil simply holds that “Nothing digital ever dies.”

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“…most, if not all, of the missing emails from Lois Lerner and her six IRS comrades with their fried hard drives have presumably been preserved elsewhere.”

Although inspired by the water torture Democrats were then inflicting on Karl Rove over his missing Republican National Committee emails, mostly I was being metaphysical. But now, with the Internal Revenue Service claiming it has lost tens of thousands of emails from Lois Lerner and six of her IRS subordinates, the question in Washington is whether such a thing is technologically possible.

“There is no such thing as completely disappeared emails.”

The interest in those emails is not academic. Lerner is the former government official who oversaw the division in the IRS that was apparently targeting conservative non-profits for stalling and harassment. “I did nothing wrong,” she testified before Congress, but that’s about all she’d say. Lerner deflected further inquiry by invoking the 5th Amendment privilege against incriminating herself in criminal wrongdoing. Read the rest of this entry »


New House GOP Report Reignites IRS Scandal

Too late now to plead the Fifth?

John D. McKinnon writes:  A new report by House Republicans concludes that former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner engaged in wide-ranging, politically motivated efforts to hamper conservatives’ use of tax-exempt organizations.

“Can you please send me a copy of the Crossroads [GPS] application? Lois wants Judy to take a look at it so she can summarize the issues for Lois…”

— IRS email from mid-2011

The report by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Ms. Lerner “believed the political participation of tax-exempt organizations harmed Democratic candidates, she believed something needed to be done, and she directed action from her unit at the IRS.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Donations to Karl Rove’s Groups Drop 98% after Targeting Tea Party

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Tony Lee reports:  After wasting nearly $325 million during the 2012 election cycle with nothing to show for it and then declaring war on the Tea Party, donations to Karl Rove‘s three Crossroads groups decreased by 98% last year. The groups reportedly raised a paltry $6.1 million combined in 2013.

“Rove’s organization has been so tarnished among the conservative base that candidates fear donors will not contribute to any group associated with him.”

Read the rest of this entry »


WAR: Chamber of Commerce to Spend $50 Million to Crush Grassroots Candidates

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Wynton Hall writes:  On Christmas Day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it plans to spend at least $50 million to “support establishment, business-friendly candidates in primaries and the general election, with an aim of trying to win a Republican Senate majority.”

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce top political strategist Scott Reed. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

GOP establishment officials hope to elide Tea Party challenges by shrinking the nomination process down to a tight four-month window replete with penalties for states that shirk the rules.

The WSJ reported that Republican leaders “hope a less restive Republican caucus will allow the House to pass a farm bill and push ahead on at least incremental overhauls of the immigration system.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Washington Post Profile of Megyn Kelly Makes it Exactly Nine Words Before Saying ‘Eyelash Extensions’

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Fox News’ Rising Star

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This is a bizarre profile. It starts with four paragraphs of fetishistic narrative of Kelly’s pre-show cosmetic work. Of course. Why not begin the story by treating her like a model rather than a journalist? This is the Washington Post. Even more unsettling, Dan Zak indulges in writerly self-reflection, interrupting his profile of Kelly with a surreal inner dialogue, writing about writing about his subject. Is he writing about himself? Or his subject?

Is it in part to excuse his shallow observations? Or these stylistic flourishes are meant to help sell the story? Or he had trouble during the deadline, and lost his way? Or because Megyn Kelly‘s overpowering personality and rapid success unnerved him?  Part of me hopes it’s the latter.

 (I have a few more comments at the end of the profile, after the jump, about the media’s earth-shattering Megyn Kelly trumped-up ‘Santa Claus’ controversy.)

Megyn Kelly is a force of nature, that’s for sure. Actually it’s not a bad profile. Maybe this is how Dan Zak writes all the time. I’ll let the reader decide. He begins with cosmetics, cosmetics, cosmetics, but ends  up with an engaging profile that’s fair and fun to read.  How many words before he mentions eyelash extensions? I count nine. 

Megyn Kelly, who started her career as a lawyer, is now the host of “The Kelly File.” The show debuted just over two months ago…now she’s the # 2 person on cable news’s # 1 channel.

Dan Zak writes: The anchor who might beat Bill O’Reilly gets her eyelash extensions applied one at a time, with tweezers and dabs of glue, about 90 minutes before showtime, right after a motorized gun sprays foundation over her face, neck, shoulders, collarbone and sternum, wiping out a galaxy of light freckles that spreads across her —

Would you write this way about a man?

About O’Reilly himself?

At least that’s what Megyn Kelly might ask at this point. Kelly, 43, is the host of “The Kelly File,” a live TV program that airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on the Fox News Channel, where she interrupts and challenges guests whenever they resort to talking points or petty distractions. It debuted just over two months ago, and so far its ratings among 25-to-54-year-olds have exceeded those of The O’Reilly Factor six times. In November, her first full month in prime time after years in daytime, Kelly was second only to O’Reilly in the overall ratings, which means she’s the No. 2 person on cable news’s No. 1 channel.

“It’s like working on a supermodel every day — a brilliant supermodel,” says makeup artist Maureen Walsh, as she air-brushes Kelly’s skin from milky white to Technicolor.

The small makeup room is hot from the blow dryer. Pen in hand, Kelly, a former corporate lawyer, reads an article headlined “For Democrats in 2014, the Web site is still the problem,” her eyes zipping over text as Maureen smudges heavy plum-colored eye shadow on her lids.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Self-Inflicted Wounds of Bare-Knuckle Governing

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Carl M. Cannon writes: As the partial government shutdown headed into the weekend, Organizing for Action, Barack Obama’s permanent campaign operation, urged followers to use Twitter to send a message to House Speaker John Boehner: “Enough Already!”

“Speaker Boehner can end the shutdown right now,” OFA told its followers. “Tweet at him to make sure he knows we’re going to be holding him accountable for trying to sabotage the economy.”

This message went out the day after Obama’s own blistering attack on the GOP, in which he insisted shrilly that House Republicans—he named Boehner specifically—were solely to blame for the shutdown. If the president’s appearance in Rockville, Md., had all the trappings of a campaign speech, that’s exactly what it was. The question is why: Barack Obama, after all, isn’t running for office again. Read the rest of this entry »


A Cruz Missile Launch, Like a Light, Shows the Cockroaches Scurrying

bigassroach“Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have, whether they can muster the support or not in this round, ensured the GOP cannot begin collaborating with the Democrats to fix what the voters want repealed.”

A curious moment happened on Fox News Sunday. Chris Wallace told Karl Rove that a number of Republicans in Congress had sent him opposition research on Ted Cruz once Fox announced Cruz would be on.

Rove responded. He said this was all happening because Cruz and Mike Lee had not worked out strategy in the regular Senate Republican Conference lunches on Thursdays. Rove said that was what was supposed to happen. Except that for a year now, Senate Republicans have routinely leaked the proceedings of those meetings to the New York Times and Washington Post in ways designed to harm Cruz, Lee, and others who side with them. Read the rest of this entry »


Could Anger At the IRS Unite Democrats And the Tea Party?

 

Rep. Chris Van Hollen has a proposal he says can assuage both the tea party’s concerns over IRS overreach and progressives’ fretting over the flood of anonymous campaign cash unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

His plan: Sue the IRS.

The Maryland Democrat  announced Wednesday that he is suing the agency, as well as the Treasury Department, to demand a change in the way they evaluate nonprofits that proclaim themselves to be “social-welfare” organizations.

The IRS currently allows such organizations—a class of power players known as “tax-exempt 501(c)4s,” whose ranks include Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the Obama-aligned Priorities USA—to dabble in political advocacy, so long as they keep such activities secondary to their general charitable work.

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies? Rivers and seas boiling? Forty years of darkness? Earthquakes, volcanoes…Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria?

Read the rest of this entry »


Oddly, the IRS didn’t seem interested in large 501s

If the IRS was really interested in cleaning up the issue of political groups abusing tax-exempt status to conduct partisan warfare, what kind of groups would they go after?  Which targets would give more bang for the buck, almost literally?  Hint: It would be those groups that accrue enough resources to have a large impact — the major players in the 501s that raise large amounts of cash through deductible donations and then turn those assets into regional or national campaigns.  Smaller players wouldn’t really be worth it … if reform and justice are your primary motivations.

And yet, the IRS effort between 2010 and the presidential election last November exclusively targeted small start-ups opposed to the administration’s agenda whileleaving the big players alone, the Associated Press reports today:

There’s an irony in the Internal Revenue Service’s crackdown on conservative groups.

The nation’s tax agency has admitted to inappropriately scrutinizing smaller tea party organizations that applied for tax-exempt status, and senior Treasury Department officials were notified in the midst of the 2012 presidential election season that an internal investigation was underway. But the IRS largely maintained a hands-off policy with the much larger, big-budget organizations on the left and right that were most influential in the elections and are organized under a section of the tax code that allows them to hide their donors.

“The IRS goes AWOL when wealthy and powerful forces want to break the law in order to hide their wrongful efforts and secret political influence,” said Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat who is among a small Senate group pushing campaign finance reform measures that would force these big outside groups to disclose their donors. “Picking on the little guy is a pretty lousy thing to do.”

Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity were among those that spent tens of millions of dollars on TV ads and get-out-the-vote efforts to help Republicans. Democrats were aided in similar fashion by Priorities USA, made up of former Barack Obama campaign aides, and American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, an opposition research group led by a former adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

And yet those groups so far have escaped investigations into whether they have crossed the blurry line under the law between what constitutes a tax-exempt “social welfare” organization that is free from donor reporting requirements and a political committee subject to taxes and disclosures.

Why might that be? Groups like American Crossroads and Priorities USA can afford to defend themselves, even if we entertain for a moment the fantasy that this IRS would go after a group of former Obama advisers.  Bullies don’t pick on those who can effectively defend themselves.  Also, these groups get a lot of attention, and starting a war with Karl Rove would have exposed this effort a lot more quickly than anyone in the IRS or the Obama administration might have wanted.

Had these enforcement efforts actually been legitimate, the IRS would have wantedthat kind of attention.  The fact that they actively avoided accruing it speaks volumes about its perceived legitimacy even among its perpetrators.

This tells us, then, that the IRS wanted to target conservative groups who couldn’t afford to defend themselves, and who could be easily intimidated out of organizing for their agendas.  That’s not a strategy for reform or enforcement, but simply a brute-force bullying effort in order to sideline grassroots opposition to the current administration.  Contra the AP, that’s not irony at all, but corruption and abuse.

Even those hardly sympathetic to the victims in this case are making that case.  Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley from New York told Fox News that former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman lied to Congress when he denied any of these activities were taking place:

Following the House’s opening investigative hearing into the IRS’s revelation that it gave extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, Crowley was asked if he believed Douglas Shulman lied to Congress.

“I think Mr. Shulman did,” said Crowley in an interview with Fox News. “My understanding is that it was common knowledge if they were going after political groups back then.”

Crowley was referencing a 2012 House Ways and Means Committee hearing in which Shulman, in response to questions from Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), held that the IRS was not targeting specific groups applying for tax-exempt status.

“There’s absolutely no targeting,” said Shulman at the time.

The encounter raised suspicions for Boustany as well, who recounted the incident during the same  interview with Crowley.

“He said, absolutely not. He categorically denied it,” recalled Boustany on Friday. “But he was aware of what was going on during this time frame because we know that [a] senior technical advisor had already been sent out to Cincinnati to investigate what was going on and to report back.”

Lying to Congress in the course of a committee hearing and/or investigation is a felony whether under oath or not, which carries a potential five-year sentence.  Perhaps Shulman might have some interesting revisions to add to his two earlier appearances before Congress on this matter, especially if it becomes clear that either the Department of Justice or (more likely) a special prosecutor has a room at Club Fed in mind for him.

via Hot Air


LEFT-WING PARANOIA CONFIRMED: Republicans Engaged in Widespread Voter Suppression

…by suppressing their own voter turnout

Thankfully, armies of dedicated investigative reporters, prime-time anchors at news divisions of mainstream networks and cable news organizations, progressive activists groups, and voting rights advocacy groups will be working tirelessly to uncover this corruption, report on how it distorted 2012 election results, and valiantly seek justice…

Oh. Wait. It worked out well for their candidate, so it’s not news. Never mind.

How the Romney Campaign Suppressed Its Own Vote