Republicans Scrub Early Digital Praise of Bergdahl Release, Senate Democrats Go Silent


Republicans Delete Digital Praise of Bowe Bergdahl Release

For MashableBrian Ries writes: 

At least three prominent Republicans appeared to offer praise on Twitter for the rescue of American POW Bowe Bergdahl — only to later backtrack, scrubbing their tweets or websites of any mention of the soldier after questions arose over the prisoner swap that freed him.

Republicans have widely criticized the Obama administration for swapping five high-level Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl, who many believe defected from his base because he was unhappy with the U.S. military’s actions in Afghanistan.

But before those criticisms mounted, some members of the GOP didn’t hesitate to welcome Bergdahl’s release with open arms…(read more)


Senate Democrats Go AWOL

They had Obama’s back on the Bergdahl/Taliban trade. Now they’re walking away.

For The Weekly StandardJohn McCormack and Michael Warren write:

On Sunday, Senator Claire McCaskill gave a full-throated defense of the president’s decision to release five Taliban commanders from the Guantanamo prison in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. “We saved this man’s life. The commander-in-chief acted within his constitutional authority, which he should have done,” McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, told Fox News host Chris Wallace. “I’m very proud that we have no POWs left in Afghanistan and the president should be proud of it also.”Claire_McCaskill-zipper

But following multiple reports that Bergdahl deserted his post and soldiers died searching for him, McCaskill will no longer say she still supports the deal she was “very proud” of just 48 hours ago….

“It depends on all the facts and circumstances of the case,” Levin added. “I’m not going to give you a conclusion in the case because I don’t know all the circumstances.”

Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York declined to comment when asked if it was a good deal. In addition, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Chris Coons of Delaware, and Mark Begich of Alaska said they’re reserving judgment.

The only senator who explicitly supported the deal on Tuesday was Majority Leader Harry Reid(read more)


[VIDEO] Goldberg: Polls Show Voters Intensity on the Anti-Obamacare Side


White House Backs off Anti-Gun Activist Surgeon General Nominee Push Amid Backlash From…Democrats

Dr. Vivek Murthy outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.REUTERS

Anti-gun Activist Dr. Vivek Murthy outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.REUTERS

With the midterm elections looming, vulnerable Democrats may be moving even further from the White House by refusing to support yet another of President Obama’s hand-picked nominees.

The latest nominee facing trouble with Senate confirmation is Dr. Vivek Murthy, a Harvard Medical School physician and a strong political ally, tapped for the post of U.S. surgeon general.

“While the Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on Dr. Murthy, I have already told the White House I will very likely vote no on his nomination if it comes to the floor.”

— Sen. Mark Begich

The White House is still backing its controversial nominee but acknowledges that officials are “recalibrating” their strategy — amid vocal GOP opposition, waning support from Senate Democrats and concern about back-to-back defeats. Earlier this month, the administration failed to win Senate support for its nominee to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division, Debo Adegbile.

Begich has also expressed concerns about the 36-year-old Murthy’s political advocacy and inexperience as a practicing physician.

Like Adegbile, Murthy is facing strong opposition on several fronts. The nominee is being targeted by the National Rifle Association for his support for gun control. Such opposition has created a tough situation for Senate Democrats facing re-election a year after the NRA led efforts to defeat Obama’s push for new firearms restrictions.

As a result, the White House doesn’t want to create more problems for vulnerable Democrats by asking them to take a hard vote now.

Read the rest of this entry »

Vulnerable Dems want IRS to Step Up Attacks on Conservative Opposition Groups


Alexander Bolton  reports:  Senate Democrats facing tough elections this year want the Internal Revenue Service to play a more aggressive role in regulating outside groups expected to spend millions of dollars on their races.

In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, the Democrats are publicly prodding the agency instead of lobbying them directly. They are also careful to say the IRS should treat conservative and liberal groups equally, but they’re concerned about an impending tidal wave of attack ads funded by GOP-allied organizations. Much of the funding for those groups is secret, in contrast to the donations lawmakers collect, which must be reported publicly.

[Jonah Goldberg has a book about How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas at Amazon]

One of the most powerful groups is Americans for Prosperity, funded by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. It has already spent close to $30 million on ads attacking Democrats this election cycle.

Read the rest of this entry »

Memo to GOP: ‘Let them face the music; let them reap the consequences’

In politics, there’s not much worse than being wrong and weak at the same time.

With each fruitless effort to correct the uncorrectable, the vulnerable Senate Democrats effectively will be acknowledging that they were wrong to begin with.

Make Democrats clean up their own mess

Quin Hillyer writes: Democrats are pleading for help, in the face of the implosion of Obamacare. House Republicans confronted with these pleas should listen to those who say: “Don’t do something; just stand there.”

It was Obama and the Democratic Senate who caused the disaster now unfolding. Specifically, Democratic red- or swing-state senators such as Mary Landrieu (La.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Mark Pryor (Ark.), and even Al Franken (Minn.) provided key votes to adopt the monstrosity without a single ballot to spare. Let them face the music; let them reap the consequences. And let them try to fix what’s utterly unfixable.

If they want to delay the individual mandate, fine: They can go first. If they want to fix the grandfathering rules so that people who want to keep their plans really can do so, fine: They can go first on that, too. Let them figure out the details. Let them try to make it work. The House can always vote to add its assent once the Senate has acted — all while noting, accurately, that even the delay or the grandfathering fix won’t make the whole of Obamacare successful or popular.

Read the rest of this entry »

THAT Explains it: The Death of the Political Middle, in One Chart

Looking for the political middle in Congress? It’s gone.

Check out this amazing chart  courtesy of Bill McInturff of GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies — that uses National Journal’s vote ratings to illustrate the decline and near-disappearance of the political middle over the past three decades.


In 1982, there were 344 Members whose voting records fell somewhere between the most conservative voting Democrat and the most liberal voting Republican in the House. Thirty years later, there were 11. That means that in 1982 the centrists — or at least those who by voting record were somewhere near the middle of their respective parties — comprised 79 percent of the House. In 2012 they made up 2.5 percent of the House. So, yeah.

Read the rest of this entry »

Flipping the Senate


Michael Barone writes: What’s the outlook for the 2014 Senate elections? As in 2010 and 2012, the Republicans once again have a chance to overturn the Democrats’ majority.

Much attention has been focused on whether Republicans this time will nominate candidates capable of winning key races, which they failed to do in the two previous election cycles. But another interesting question is how Democrats will try to hold onto seats in Republican-leaning states even as Barack Obama maintains his strong tilt to the political left. Read the rest of this entry »

Gun-control Democrats Paying Price, Not Gun-rights Republicans

By Ed Morrissey

Surprise, surprise, surprise … or not. Democrats seem poised to relearn an old lesson in the 2014 midterms, which is that gun control is a losing message. In fact, some of them are already learning it — thanks to their own side:

When Congress in April defeated an effort to strengthen the national background-check system for gun sales, it was mostly on the strength of Republican opposition. Less than two months later, proponents of stricter gun laws have decided that a small number of Democrats will make more productive targets.

In the Senate, all but four Republicans opposed the background-check measure. They have emerged mostly unscathed by the various campaigns advocating for stricter gun laws in the wake of the December attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 schoolchildren and teachers. …

In a letter to more than 1,000 donors, Bloomberg called out the four Democrats — Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.). “Instead of rising above politics to pass a law that would save lives,” he wrote, the four senators “sided with a gun lobby increasingly out of touch with Americans’ priorities.”

“The next time these four Senators want you to support them with donations to their campaigns, tell them you cannot,” Bloomberg wrote.

By asking campaign donors to withhold funds, the deep-pocketed mayor went against the will of his congressional Democratic allies, who tried but failed to secure enough GOP support for the gun bill and have warned that public criticism of vulnerable Democrats who voted against the bill will result in Republican gains and less of a chance to enact new gun laws.

First, the strategy of the gun-control advocates — especially Bloomberg, but also Barack Obama and leading members of the Democratic Party — practically guaranteed failure. They whipped up anger and demagogued on the Newtown and Aurora shootings in order to push solutions that would have addressed neither of those tragedies. If all they wanted were expanded background checks, they could have reached out to the NRA and some of these red-state officeholders in the House and Senate to craft a rational approach to that, without waving the bloody shirt constantly. Instead, they pushed for another irrational “assault weapons” ban that would have addressed only a tiny slice of homicides, even though Connecticut already had such a ban at the time of the Newtown massacre, while advocates slimed opponents as massacre cheerleaders.

Next, of course, came the IRS scandal and the exposure of the NSA surveillance programs. Remember when gun-control advocates like Joe Scarborough and Piers Morgan thought that it was irrational to fear that the government would exploit background checks to threaten gun owners? Good times, good times. No one’s laughing about expanding government power on Second Amendment issues when it’s become apparent that some abuses on the First (and possibly Fourth) Amendments have been taking place.

Under those circumstances, what red- or purple-state officeholder really wants to go back to constituents and argue that the government can be trusted to expand tracking of gun sales between family members, and to take guns away based on arbitrary definitions that have nothing to do with realistic relative lethality? They’re going to have enough trouble with these voters distancing themselves from colleagues who went all in on the demonization of gun owners while demanding more government control as the IRS and possibly the NSA was running amok. All the money in Bloomberg’s bank accounts won’t compensate for that problem.

Democrats learned the lesson in the 1990s: gun control is a loser, electorally as well as practically, as cities like Chicago and Washington DC constantly prove. It’s going to be an expensive lesson to relearn, even apart from Bloomberg’s cash blizzard.

via Hot Air