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Landrieu’s Loss a Harsh Milestone for Southern Democrats

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TIME

Democrats are dead in the land of Dixie.

With the fall of three-term Sen. Mary Landrieu Saturday, Louisiana will not have a Democratic statewide elected official for the first time since 1876. And the Republican Party will control, as the Associated Press noted, every Senate seat, governor’s mansion and legislative chamber from the Carolinas to Texas.

Congress’ last white Democrat in the Deep South didn’t lose because of a superior opponent, but because of her association with a deeply unpopular President and a health-care law that destroyed the chances to extend other Democratic dynasties this cycle, including Georgia’s Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn.

Landrieu—the daughter of a former New Orleans mayor and the sister to the current one—lost more so than Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy won. Even Cassidy, who cruised to a win Saturday, acknowledges that to some extent. When asked to define the campaign’s turning point, he pointed to…

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Fred Barnes: A Most Pivotal Election

Fred Barnes writes: President Obama is famous for proclaiming a “pivot” to a new issue—to the economy, to jobs, to Asia. By my count he has announced more than 20 pivots during his presidency, invariably to matters that bring political benefits and away from those that don’t.

The story of this year’s campaign in the dozen or so races that will decide who controls the Senate is uncomplicated. Republicans have a single talking point: Their Democratic opponents are partisan clones of Mr. Obama. Democrats often rely on one response: Pivot to an issue that has nothing to do with the president.

The pivot strategy has also been a major feature of Democratic campaigns that conclude with Tuesday’s midterm election. And it is understandable why Democrats have employed it. Redirection is the best response they could comeobama-frown-sm up with to the Republican charge that they are closely tied to Mr. Obama and his policies.

“Watching Democrats struggle to escape Mr. Obama’s ideological grip was the most fascinating aspect of the campaign. They have tried everything from identifying with prominent Republicans to openly rejecting Mr. Obama.”

Democrats would rather not discuss their relationship with the president, much less dwell on it. He is unpopular and so are his major policies (ObamaCare, national security, the economy). So candidates pivot to another issue. We saw this strategy at work in Louisiana’s Senate race last week. Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu , trailing Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in most polls, suddenly raised the explosive issues of racism and sexism. She insisted that racism makes Mr. Obama unpopular in Louisiana and sexism causes her re-election to be a struggle.

“Over the weekend, Mr. Obama was still trying to pivot, this time to make the campaign agenda more liberal.”

Pivoting can be a clever strategy—when it works. And no Democrat has been more effective at adopting it than Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Six months ago, she was viewed as vulnerable, even doomed. Not only had she voted for the president’s health-care law, but she had also declared publicly that North Carolinians could keep their current insurance policies and doctors. For a while, she hid from reporters to avoid talking about her vote. Read the rest of this entry »


November Surprise: Decisions on Immigration, Iran and Other Hot Issues that were Delayed for Political Reasons will be Coming Soon

APTOPIX White House Sunrise

The problem, as the Founders saw it, is to prevent the president or Congress from acquiring unchecked power, as they will inevitably try to do. The solution was to divide powers between the executive and the legislature and hope that they would be constrained by countervailing institutional interests. But Harry Reid is a “party man,” not a “Senate man.”

Mr. Lipson is a professor of political science and director of the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security at the University of Chicago.

Charles Lipson writes: With the midterm elections looming, the White House has delayed controversial decisions and appointments. That makes sense politically. The administration doesn’t want to force Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Michelle Nunn, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, or other embattled Democrats to defend presidential actions right now, or worse, to oppose them publicly. But as soon as the voting is done (perhaps after runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia), several big shoes will drop. Here are the most likely ones.

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Obama’s Post-Election Policy Blowout

1) Immigration. How many millions will the president let in? On what terms? One hint: The Department of Homeland Security recently ordered more than four million green cards and visas for next year and says it might order another 29 million for future years.HarryReidClock

“All of these matters have been high-profile and potentially deeply divisive. That is precisely why the White House is postponing any announcements. When the administration finally does speak, it will unleash a political storm, even if Democrats hold the Senate.”

The cards would give immigrants who are here illegally the right to continue living and working in the U.S. legally—and perhaps receive a variety of federal and state benefits. Should the president unilaterally issue these cards, there will be a brutal debate over the wisdom of this policy, whether it extends to welfare benefits, and whether the president has the constitutional authority to issue so many cards without specific congressional approval.

 “If Republicans win, those winds will reach hurricane force, since the president will likely try to ram everything through a lame-duck Congress. If that happens, consider boarding up the windows.”

2) The next U.S. attorney general. The president wants a crusader on progressive causes and a reliable firewall to protect him, just as Eric Holder has done. Rumor has it that he wants Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who has been the point man on racial preferences. Read the rest of this entry »


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

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To the Surprise of No One, The U.S. Delays Review of Keystone XL Pipeline

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is extending indefinitely the amount of time federal agencies have to review the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department said Friday, likely punting the decision over the controversial oil pipeline past the midterm elections.

“This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable.”

— Sen. Mary Landrieu (D)

The State Department didn’t say how much longer agencies will have to weigh in but cited a recent decision by a Nebraska judge overturning a state law that allowed the pipeline’s path through the state, prompting uncertainty and an ongoing legal battle. Nebraska’s Supreme Court isn’t expected to rule for another several months, and there could be more legal maneuvering after that. The delay potentially frees President Barack Obama to avoid making a final call on the pipeline until after the November election.

In an ironic show of bipartisanship, prominent Democrats from energy-dependent states joined Republicans in blasting the Obama administration for delaying the decision once again.

“The agency consultation process is not starting over. The process is ongoing, and the department and relevant agencies are actively continuing their work in assessing the permit application,” the State Department said in a statement.

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Republicans were quick to blast the latest delay in a review process that has dragged on for more than five years. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Obama of kowtowing to “radical activists” from the environmental community, while House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the decision “shameful” and said there were no credible reasons for further delay. Read the rest of this entry »


When DETROIT is Complaining About a Corrupt and Dysfunctional White House, You KNOW Things Are Bad…

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THE DETROIT NEWS on Obama’s endless ObamaCare delays:

The serial delays of Obamacare are coming so rapidly and for such obviously political reasons that the White House is barely even trying to mask its real mission of protecting vulnerable Democrats in the mid-term elections.

In announcing the latest postponement this week — this one allowing individuals to keep their existing health insurance policies through 2016 — the Obama administration carefully credited Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Udall of Colorado, Ron Barber of Arizona and 10 other vulnerable Democratic lawmakers.

All face tough reelection fights in the fall in races in which Obamacare is a key issue.

While it may be politically expedient, rewriting a law passed by Congress simply to avoid ballot box consequences is an outrageous abuse of executive power.

Yes, and it’s illegal and unconstitutional. So where are the lawsuits?

Instapundit» THE DETROIT NEWS on Obama’s endless ObamaCare delays…


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

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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 »


For Democrats, Obamacare Unfolding Like a Greek Tragedy

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Photo via Vincenzo Camuccini

Noah Rothman writes: A great tragedy is unfolding within Democratic ranks. The party and their leader, President Barack Obama, are scrambling to mitigate the damage the Affordable Care Act is doing to the Democratic brand. In their rush, they are striking glancing blows against a law which is already teetering on its unsound foundations. In a Euripidean twist, it is Democrats, not Republicans, who are meting out potentially fatal blows to the project which had once represented their greatest hopes.

Passed along party lines by appealing to methods unbecoming of the democratic process, the president secured his signature achievement in 2010. It was all downhill from there. A scandalous number of waivers, carve-outs and bailouts later, the ACA went into effect in October amid the self-flagellating protests of Republicans. Defeated at last, the law’s opponents stepped aside. Without a distraction, the press and the public focused on the effects of the law itself. What they saw was grotesque.

Read the rest of this entry »


Walls Close in Around Obama

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BEN SHAPIRO writes:  On Wednesday, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a bill in the Senate that would allow Americans to keep their health insurance plans for a limit of two years. “I have repeatedly said that the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect,” Udall said, “and it will need to be improved as it is implemented.” Udall already wants to push off the open enrollment deadline on the Obamacare health exchanges until the end of May.

But Udall’s plan isn’t the only one in the offing. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has introduced the “Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act,” co-sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Kay Hagen (D-NC), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). That act does not set a two-year deadline on how long people can keep their insurance. As Ezra Klein of The Washington Post points out, “Obamacare’s premiums would rise.” But Landrieu’s office ominously called the bill a “transitional fix.”

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 »