Republicans Delete Digital Praise of Bowe Bergdahl Release
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 »
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