Democrats and Republicans are pivoting on issues faster than a bipolar swing dancer on a merry-go-round. Republicans are now big government protectionists. Democrats support free trade and states’ rights. It’s like the two parties switched bodies! It’s almost as if… they were FREAKY-FRIDAYED!
On political parties and control.
The claims in the Daily Beast story are completely 100% unsubstantiated
Mollie Hemingway writes: This week, a group of Republican senators led by Tom Cotton of Arkansas (pictured above, with a kitten, in Iraq) issued a very brief open letter to the leaders of Iran explaining the differences between mere executive agreements and international treaties ratified by the Senate. It’s a fairly basic letter that includes reminders about the Constitutional system under which we operate. I couldn’t begin to speculate why, but the media lost their collective minds over this letter. Along with other Democrats and progressive activists. You can read the breathless, outraged, totally-over-the-top headlines if you’d like to see this melt-down in action.
Now, that’s fine. That’s their business. To be completely honest, and not that you care, I’m not the biggest fan of such letters myself. I mean, they’re not as bad as Nancy Pelosi going to Syria to undermine Bush’s foreign policy, Jimmy Carter helping North Korea get nuclear weapons, Ted Kennedy secretly asking the Soviets to interfere in the 1984 election or any of the many other interjections we’ve seen, but I think it’s generally a good idea to yield to the president on foreign negotiations, even if it’s a really bad president who couldn’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag if the stakes involved, oh I don’t know, going ahead with Iran as a nuclear power.
“What he sure as MOTHERFREAKING FREAK doesn’t say is that he’s a senator, that he thought it was a dumb idea to sign the letter, that he signed it and then realized it was a bad call or that he represents the ‘some’ in the headline.”
But let’s look a little deeper at just one part of this media campaign against Republican senators. It comes from Tim Mak of the Daily Beast and it looks like he’s got an explosive story:
Whoa. Check that out. Republicans now “admit” that the letter was “a dumb idea”! That’s huge. And “some Republicans who signed on” are now “realizing” it was a bad call? I can’t wait to read this story — taglined “HINDSIGHT” for extra flair — can you?
“Other than this low-level staff aide who didn’t even say he thought the letter was a bad idea, much less a dumb one, we have two Republican Senators who always opposed the letter and then also a Democratic Senator who didn’t like the letter…”
What are their names? Which of the senators are changing their minds and “admitting” and “realizing” that the media were right after all? Who are they?
Oh dear. That’s … weird. Very weird.
“So, in other words, we have a story that in no way supports the headline. Not even close…”
Hunh. Tim Mak’s story doesn’t even claim a single senator changed his mind. Not even close. Yikes.
Um. So it turns out that the only people quoted in the story against the letter are people who always opposed the letter. There’s also a quote from an unnamed, completely anonymous “Senate Republican aide” who doesn’t in any way say anything even remotely close to the claims made in the headline or anywhere else in the piece. Read the rest of this entry »
Hiding Politically Unpopular Policies from Voters, Obama Puts Top Priorities in their Proper Place: The Back of the BusPosted: October 18, 2014
“This whole place is paralyzed. Everything was kicked down the road.”
President Obama is taking time out from his much-trumpeted “year of action” to observe a period more important to his Democratic allies in Congress: the season of campaigning.
One by one, the Obama administration is setting aside key priorities, in the hope that voters won’t do the same to his fellow Democrats.
“We wish they would be as good as their rhetoric. We want them to step up and deliver. If they don’t, who’s going to?”
— Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch
Immigration reform, once deemed a pressing back-to-school item, will wait at least until the winter holidays.
Enrollment in Obamacare will start six weeks later than last year.
The climate will warm at the same rate, with new regulations pending. [Reality check: Globe hasn’t warmed in 19 years]
“It looks like the president and the Democrats are playing politics with people’s lives.”
— Frank Sharry, America’s Voice, one of many pro-amnesty, open-borders pressure groups.
The latest addition to the not-to-do list came this week, when the White House put off an announcement on the president’s nominee for attorney general, a pick he has been privately thinking about a long time.
White House aides smile and defend the strategy, saying privately that they’re trying to be sensitive to the concerns of Democrats, especially senators in tough election races.
“He promised me a dollhouse. Democrats are playing politics with everything! I hate Obama!”
— Daughter of celebrity Obama fundraiser
The White House is trying to avoid being held responsible for Democrats losing control of the Senate in the midterm election in three weeks, especially when administration officials still hope to get a few things done during the final two years of Obama’s presidency and will need help from Democrats who remain in office. Read the rest of this entry »
Private, except, well, it appeared in Politico. Which means A. Politico needs a dictionary, or B. (more likely) Ted Cruz fully intended the comment to be public, but indirectly, using an easily-accessible Washington D.C. news organization like Politico as a gullible tool to be fed information to.
Republicans are turning the Democrats’ own playbook against them.
Two years after Democrats held the White House by painting Mitt Romney as a callous plutocrat, the GOP is borrowing a page from the same populist playbook. In close contests around the country, Republicans are hoping to gain an edge in the battle for control of the Senate by hammering Democrats as the party of the rich.
In Iowa, the Republican Super PAC American Crossroads has run three TV ads this month highlighting Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley’s fundraising links to liberal billionaire Tom Steyer. In Colorado, another outside GOP group, American Commitment, slammed Democratic Sen. Mark Udall for the same ties. In Kansas, advisers to Republican Sen. Pat Roberts are attacking a wealthy independent challenger (who Democrats tacitly support) for insufficient financial disclosures, and are raising questions about his “business dealings in the Middle East and the Cayman Islands.”
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Patrick O’Connor reports: When President Barack Obama addresses the nation Wednesday to outline his plan for combating Islamic militants destabilizing the Middle East, his audience will have a stronger appetite for foreign engagements than it did back in the spring.
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found 27% of registered voters would like to see the U.S. play a more active role in world affairs, up from 19% back in April. A plurality of 40% still believes the U.S. should be less active on the world stage, but that is down from 47% in April.
Full results of the poll will be released at 6:30 p.m ET Tuesday.
Republicans, in particular, are decidedly more inclined to support a more robust foreign policy. In April, 45% of self-identified Republicans wanted the U.S. to be less active in the world, while 29% said the country should be more active. In the September survey, Republicans wanted the U.S. to play a greater role in world events by a margin of 41%-34%.
Similar swings occurred among conservatives and people with post-graduate degrees. Read the rest of this entry »
This article is an example of why Michael Barone is considered indispensable among political reporters and media wonks. Even for the blog surfers and unreformed political news junkies like the rest of us, he’s the guy to read this election year. It’s a long one, worth investing time in. In a sweeping but brisk history of a half-century of party evolution, Barone summarizes both Republican and Democratic party transformations over the years. Read a sample below, for more, read it all here.
For the Washington Examiner, Michael Barone writes: America’s two great political parties are constantly transforming themselves, sometimes in small increments, sometimes in sudden lurches. They respond to cues sent to them by voters — which can range from attaboy! to fuhggedaboutit — and to the initiatives of party leaders, especially presidents.
“When you have a rush of hundreds of thousands of previously uninvolved people into electoral politics, you get a certain number of wackos, weirdos and witches. But you also get many new people who turn out to be serious citizens with exceptional political skills.”
But when the other party has held the White House for an extended period, the transformation process can be stormy and chaotic. Which is a pretty apt description of the Republican Party over the past few years. Its two living ex-presidents, the George Bushes, withdrew from active politics immediately after leaving the White House, and its two most recent nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney, say they are not running for president again, although they do weigh in on issues. There is no obvious heir apparent and there are many politicians who may seek the 2016 presidential nomination. More than usual, the opposition party is up for grabs.
“Mainstream media will inevitably emphasize the discontentment in the Republican Party that originated in the second Bush term and flashed into prominence soon after Obama took office. It will tend to ignore the discontentment in the Democratic Party that are raging with increasing intensity.”
As the cartoon images of elephant and donkey suggest, our two parties are different kinds of animals. Republicans have generally been more cohesive, with a core made up of politicians and voters who see themselves, and are seen by others,
as typical Americans — white Northern Protestants in the 19th century, married white Christians today. But those groups, by themselves, have never been a majority of the nation. The Democratic Party has been made up of disparate groups of people regarded, by themselves and others, as outsiders in some way — Southern whites and Catholic immigrants in the 19th century, blacks and gentry liberals today. Our electoral system motivates both to amass coalitions larger than 50 percent of voters. Democrats tend to do so by adding additional disparate groups. Republicans tend to do so by coming up with appeals that unite their base and erode Democrats’ support from others. Read the rest of this entry »
Meet the Other New Democrat Todd Akin
The greatest country on earth is being bullied from within. Actions of Republicans in congress are worse than #ISIL.
— JT Smith (@jt4congress2014) September 2, 2014
The Democratic Party’s New Standard Bearer has Officially Arrived on the National Scene
This is the only video the Alabama Congressional candidate has on his campaign account:
The unsinkable Representative Charles B. Rangel appeared on C-SPAN over the weekend. Why unsinkable? Well, in 2010 the House of Representatives censured the New York Democrat by a vote of 333 to 79 (when the body was still majority-Democratic) for violating 11 ethics rules and “bringing discredit to the House.” The New York Times called it a “staggering fall” for the senior Democrat. But fall/shmall, he’s since been reelected and will retire at his leisure.
While chatting with Brian Lamb, Rangel dropped a few falsehoods as casually as cigar ash. This isn’t to pick on Rangel; he’s just illustrative. His assertion — that the Republican and Democratic parties “changed sides” in the 1960s on civil rights, with white racists leaving the Democratic party to join the Republicans — has become conventional wisdom. It’s utterly false and should be rebutted at every opportunity.
It’s true that a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act to passage. But who voted for it? Eighty percent of Republicans in the House voted aye, as against 61 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans favored the law, but only 69 percent of Democrats. Among the Democrats voting nay were Albert Gore Sr., Robert Byrd, and J. William Fulbright. Read the rest of this entry »
The Hammer: Immigration Executive Action ‘a Loser from Beginning to End’ for Obama, but Concedes Obama is Impeachment-ProofPosted: August 14, 2014
From The Corner:
…The “calculation” that this executive action could be “impeachment bait,” “a way to make the Republicans do the one that could save [the Democrats] in this election,” seems to have failed, says Krauthammer…
“I do think that if the president were to legalize 5 million illegal immigrants by fiat, that is a violation of the constitution that I think would reach the level of impeachable…”
“ …Nonetheless, it would be insane for Republicans to go ahead and do that.”
William Kristol weighs in:
…the overwhelming reason to kill the bill is that it’s not going to become law anyway. The president and the Senate leadership have made clear they’ll never accept it. So what’s the point of passing it? Leadership’s answer is—well, we’ll get credit for trying to do something. But will they? From whom? The mainstream media? Then the media will focus on what further compromises the GOP leadership will accept in September, on why Republicans won’t go to conference with the original Senate bill or parts of it, and on splits in GOP ranks about immigration…
…The president’s approval rating is slipping to historic lows. Let it continue to slide. Don’t bail him out by jamming though a bill that divides Republicans, will confuse voters, won’t become law anyway, muddies responsibility for the border fiasco, and takes the spotlight off what should be the focus of the August recess–President Obama’s failed policies and Congressional Democrats’ support for them…(read more)
“Such misconduct need not be an indictable wrong. It could involve dereliction of duty, lies to Congress or the public about serious matters, the failure to honor an oath.”
I see this as sort of a ridiculous gambit by the president and his political team to try and change the narrative, raise money, and turn out their base for an upcoming election that they feel is not going to go their way… [The Republicans’ differences with the White House do] not rise to the high crime and misdemeanor level.
Wrong. To repeat, “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a British term of art borrowed by the Framers, does not refer to penal offenses. It refers to what Hamilton called “the misconduct of public men, or in other words . . . the abuse or violation of some public trust.” Such misconduct need not be an indictable wrong. It could involve dereliction of duty, lies to Congress or the public about serious matters, the failure to honor an oath (such as the oath to execute the laws faithfully), and any conduct that intentionally undermines the governing framework that safeguards our liberties and security (the president, of course, takes an oath to preserve the Constitution).
- The border is being overrun and the president, far from taking action to stop it, is encouraging it.
- Illegal aliens are being smuggled throughout the country by the federal government without notice to the states.
- The president refuses to enforce the immigration laws. The president is usurping the power of Congress to confer federal benefits on aliens.
- The president is unilaterally rewriting Obamacare, the drug laws, and other congressional statutes that are inconvenient to him.
- The president willfully lied to the country to get Obamacare enacted and to get reelected.
- The commander-in-chief took no meaningful action to protect Americans before and during the terrorist siege of Benghazi, and then he and his administration willfully lied to the country about the cause of the massacre in order to get reelected.
- The president has used the federal bureaucracy to harass and punish his political opponents. Evidence of the IRS’s wrongdoing has been destroyed.
- Evidence about the Justice Department’s Fast & Furious scandal, which resulted in the murder of a Border Patrol agent, has been withheld from Congress — with the attorney general held in contempt.
- The VA cooked its books to conceal the mistreatment of our veterans, some of whom died.
It is perfectly understandable — indeed, it is wise — for Republicans to explain that there is no prospect of removing President Obama from power because you’d need lots of Democratic votes in the Senate and the Democrats will protect President Obama no matter how lawlessly he conducts himself. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Pelosi on CNN: Wait, I Was Told I Could Bash Republicans, Why Do We Have to Talk About NEWS? We’re Out of Time?Posted: July 27, 2014
White House Officials: ‘Very Significant’ Immigration Executive Actions Needed for the ‘Survival of the Democratic Party’Posted: July 26, 2014
From The Butcher’s Notebook: White House officials said on Friday that President Barack Obama will enact “very significant” executive actions on immigration at the end of summer, “not because it’s good for America, but because it’s essential for the survival of the Democratic party.”
“American voters are beginning to figure out that progressive policies don’t work, because they’re not designed to work. There’s only so long we can get away with this before voters rebel, and special interest groups stop donating money. We can’t change American’s minds about this. We can’t win the argument, so we have to change the voters,” said a Democratic campaign official, speaking informally, on the condition of anonymity. “Can we get another drink over here?”
“The president assured us that pissing off Republicans is personally more important to him than policy success.”
“Look. We may not be able to change the voters overnight. But we can sure as hell accelerate the process, by granting citizenship to the Democratic voters of tomorrow,” adding “without it, the Democratic party has no hope in hell of surviving past the next twenty years.”
Sitting in a corner booth in the lounge of a Chinese restaurant in suburban Washington D.C., after a few lines of coke, a few tabs of MDMA, a few injections of sodium pentathol, and a fresh round of drinks–mistakenly assuming he was speaking off the record–the senior White House official ventured further.
“Democracy is a means to an end. You need it, temporarily, to get your party in power. Once you do that, you have the tools to undermine it, a stage at a time. Not all at once. Otherwise, people catch on.”
“Look. Our opponents are at a disadvantage, because they’re all hung up on ‘playing by the rules’. You know, the constitution, rule of law, separation of powers, all that idealistic, parchment-paper 18th-century crap. We’re not interested in ‘rules’, and ‘laws’. They are a barrier to our goal of accumulating power. That’s how the big boys did it, before the American revolution.” Read the rest of this entry »
President Barack Obama styles himself a wit, and some of his best material lately has to do with his abuse of his powers.
“Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff,” Obama told a crowd on the Georgetown Waterfront on July 1. “So sue me.” Hilarity ensued.
He cracked them up in Austin last week. “You hear some of them,” he said, referring to Republicans, “‘sue him,’ ‘impeach him.’ Really? Really? For what? You’re going to sue me for doing my job?”
He must have killed in a private meeting last month with activists who were pushing him to waive more immigration laws. According to POLITICO, the president resorted to one his favorite comic riffs: “You’re not going to get me impeached, are you?”
One can only imagine the comedic possibilities in his 9-0 defeat in the Supreme Court in June for his blatantly abusive recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board or any of the court’s other recent unanimous rebukes of his executive overreach.
It takes a truly blithe spirit to play the constitutional deformation of his office, and the ensuing congressional reaction, for laughs…(more)
‘Self-pity is never admirable in a public figure, but it seems to be Obama’s default emotion when the going gets tough…’Posted: June 29, 2014
“They don’t do anything, except block me and call me names.”
“He is a victim of a vast conspiracy that includes everything from global upheaval to a domestic mood going from simmer to boil. If only everybody would just shut up and do what he says, all would be well.”
Facing a horrific expansion of terrorism in the Mideast, a meltdown of public support at home and major rebukes by the Supreme Court, the president remains fixated on No. 1.
“I’m finding lately I just want to say what’s on my mind,” he told a Minneapolis audience Friday, and then ticked off a series of complaints about — surprise — Republicans.
“The actions by the court and Boehner have the potential to remind Obama of the duties of his office, and its limits. Both moves are predicated on the shared belief that America is a nation of laws, not of men.”
“They don’t do anything, except block me and call me names,” he said. “If they were more interested in growing the economy for you and the issues that you are talking about instead of trying to mess with me, we would be doing a lot better.”
He wasn’t finished: “The critics, the cynics in Washington, they’ve written me off more times than I can count. But cynicism doesn’t invent the Internet. Cynicism doesn’t give women the right to vote.”
There you have it: the presidential mind in Year 6. Don’t cry for Argentina — cry for me!
Self-pity is never admirable in a public figure, but it seems to be Obama’s default emotion when the going gets tough. Because everything is about him, the whole world is personal.
For The Insiders, Ed Rogers writes: This was probably the worst week of the Obama presidency so far. President Obama’s foreign policy reboot failed, the economy is in the tank, the VA scandal is a growing cancer on the presidency, criticisms of the administration’s forthcoming gratuitous plan to raise everyone’s power bill via regulations that will essentially shut down coal-fired power plants have already emerged, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned this morning and just a short while ago solid but beleaguered White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he is throwing in the towel. How could things get any worse for Obama and the Democrats?
“With all the debacles, calamities, failures, mistakes and plain old bad policies associated with this administration and the Democrats generally, it’s easy to get lured off-topic… Republicans should not take the bait…”
In terms of impact on the 2014 elections, Obama certainly seems to be doing his part for the Republicans. And as the old axiom goes, never interfere when the opposition is in the process of destroying themselves. Read the rest of this entry »
For The American Conservative, Derek Khanna writes: In 200 years the United States went from being a colonial backwater to being the world’s dominant economic and military power. How did our nation arise from obscurity, break free from the grip of the most powerful empire on earth, and skyrocket to global leadership? With a government focused on innovation—not control.
“…If Republicans understand this and thereby embrace the mantle of innovation, not only will they be expediting a new wave of ingenuity, but they will also share credit with entrepreneurs for the next tech boom.”
Historically, the Republican Party has led on technological innovation. President Abraham Lincoln earned a patent and facilitated the first transcontinental railroad system. President Hoover played a key role in the early development of radio broadcasting, and President Coolidge created our national airways system. Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated NASA and DARPA, while Richard Nixon launched the cable television industry through deregulation. President Ronald Reagan made GPS available for civilian use and greatly expanded science research.
But today policymakers and the regulatory state are smothering the force that allowed us to become the world’s economic superpower. Incumbent industries have co-opted the legal and regulatory systems to go after their competitors, and both political parties have been complicit in this cronyism. Acceptance of these regulatory and legal barriers is a root cause of our abysmal “new normal” of 2 percent annual GDP growth. Read the rest of this entry »
“…This raises an important challenge for Jeb Bush. It should be obvious that, even among Republicans, nostalgia for George W. Bush doesn’t run nearly so high as it did for his father. This is a key difference between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush; Democrats are nostalgic for Clinton, Republicans aren’t for Bush…”
(read Jonah’s article here)
Obama Biographer: “The world seems to disappoint him”
According to the poll, when asked, “Do you think you would feel more safe or less safe with a gun in your house?”, respondents said “more safe” by a margin of 42 to 20 percent.
Broken down by gender, 51 percent of males said “more safe” versus 15 percent who said less safe; 33 percent of females said “more safe” versus 25 percent who said “less safe.” Read the rest of this entry »
“You can have executive orders that implement already existing laws, but what Obama has done in the DREAM Act . . . is unbelievably unconstitutional,” Charles Krauthammer said on Special Report last night.
“He’s done that over and over again on immigration, drug laws, climate change, and, of course, on Obamacare, which he has unilaterally altered lawlessly at least 15 times”
While Republicans met today at a retreat in Maryland and debated immigration reform — with many worrying that, no matter what Republicans pass, President Obama will not enforce it faithfully — Krauthammer looked back on the times the president has failed to faithfully uphold the law.
David Rogers reports: House-Senate negotiators rolled out a $1.1 trillion spending bill Monday night — a giant package that fills in the blanks of the December budget agreement and promises to restore some order to government funding over the next year.
Under pressure from Republicans, the measure keeps a tight rein on new funding for Wall Street regulators and effectively freezes appropriations for President Barack Obama’s health care program at the reduced, post-sequester level.
With Failing Credibility and Lacking Popular Support, Democrats Employ Nuclear Option, in Desperate Suicidal Power Grab. One-Party Agenda No Longer Tempered by Inconveniences Like Separation of Powers or Checks and Balances. Death-Wish Confirmed.
Sarah Mimms writes: When budget negotiations began last month, Democrats felt confident that public opinion surrounding the government shutdown would force Republicans to the table, eager to prove their party could compromise.
But today, there’s little sense of urgency on a budget deal. With less than four weeks to go before the conference committee’s deadline, the public focus has shifted to the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act and pressure on Republicans has subsided.
“The shutdown is history. We are moving forward to try to get the next thing done,” William Allison, a spokesman for House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, said last week.
Asked whether Ryan and others feel pressure to get something done because of the shutdown, Allison was blunt: “Nah,” he said.