March 09, 2014
: "The common wisdom holds that the GOP 2016 presidential race will boil down to a joust between the 'establishment' and the 'insurgents.' ... It has only one small problem. It is wrong."
"Exit and entrance polls of Republican primaries and caucuses going back to 1996 show that the Republican presidential electorate is remarkably stable. It does not divide neatly along establishment-versus-conservative lines. Rather, the GOP contains four discrete factions that are based primarily on ideology, with elements of class and religious background tempering that focus. Open nomination contests during this period are resolved first by how candidates become favorites of each of these factions, and then by how they are positioned to absorb the voting blocs of the other factions as their favorites drop out."
Mitt Romney "has invited his debate prep advisers and senior campaign aides to his mountaintop chalet in Park City, Utah, for a weekend of skiing later this month," the Washington Post
"The reunion of Romney's political brain trust comes amid a burst of positive buzz about the former Massachusetts governor -- from favorable reviews of "MITT," the Netflix documentary about his campaigns, to chatter among some powerful GOP donors about another Romney presidential campaign in 2016."
"But Romney has been adamant in saying he will not run for president a third time. And his aides insisted this month's reunion in Park City is not a 2016 strategy session."
: "Democrats could get walloped in the November elections. The party gets sleepy and distracted in the midterms. And its supporters simply may not show up to vote."
"Those aren't hopeful predictions from Republicans. They're the dire warnings of President Obama, who is seeking to gin up enthusiasm for the midterm elections from party activists already looking toward the 2016 race to replace him."
Said Obama: "I hope that just because I'm not on the ballot that people aren't going to take it easy this time, because the ideas I care about and am fighting for are on the ballot."
"Well all I would say is what I was saying earlier in the week was simply that I thought that in the middle of a major international crisis that some of the criticism - domestic criticism of the President ought to be toned down while he's trying to handle this crisis. My own view is, after all, Putin invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president. Nobody ever accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force."
-- Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in an interview on Fox News
The Conservative Political Action Conference ended with a speech
from Sarah Palin that was interrupted with chants of "Run Sarah Run."
It's definitely worth watching.
"This weekend is a big one for the juggernaut Hillary Clinton for President shadow campaign. Ready for Hillary, the super PAC building her grassroots army-in-waiting, swarmed Iowa's Democratic county conventions with 250 volunteers to sign up new supporters on Saturday, offering buttons and bumper stickers in return for valuable voter contact information," Time
"The group's website is getting a big makeover this weekend, complete with two elements that symbolize how the backers of Clinton '16 are borrowing as much as they can from the triumphal Obama campaigns."
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's (R) book
is for sale at state park gift shops, the Greenville News
It's an improper use of state resources, according to the campaign of Vincent Sheheen (D), Haley's Democratic opponent, as she campaigns for a second term.
A new Des Moines Register poll
in Iowa finds President Obama's job approval rating in Iowa "has ticked down yet again to 36%, setting a record low for his presidency."
"That's 1 percentage point worse than in December, when the news was full of reports about the malfunctioning website for his signature health insurance law, his broken pledge that Americans could keep their current health insurance plan if they liked it, and his so-far fruitless calls for comprehensive immigration reform."
"As conservative activist groups stirred up trouble for establishment Republican Senate candidates in 2010 and 2012, party leaders in Washington first tried to ignore the insurgents, then tried to reason with them, and ultimately left it to primary voters to settle the matter," the New York Times
"This election season, Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are taking a much harder line as they sense the majority within reach. Top congressional Republicans and their allies are challenging the advocacy groups head on in an aggressive effort to undermine their credibility. The goal is to deny them any Senate primary victories, cut into their fund-raising and diminish them as a future force in Republican politics."
Said McConnell: "I think we are going to crush them everywhere. I don't think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country."
"The annual Conservative Political Action Conference came to a raucous and buoyant end Saturday as thousands of tea party activists cheered on former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who closed the gathering with a full-throated denunciation of President Obama and urged conservatives to embrace their views more fiercely than ever," the Washington Post
"But over the course of its three days, the event put on display how factions within the Republican Party are still struggling to find a path out of the wilderness, illuminating the gap between the GOP's resolutely conservative grass-roots and a party leadership eager for a more moderate approach."Politico
looks at the winners and losers of CPAC.
March 08, 2014
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) demolished his competition in the 2014 CPAC presidential preference straw poll, winning 31% of the vote -- nearly three times the total of second-place Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the AP
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) suffered a huge drop from last year, falling from 23%
and second place to 6% and seventh place.
"The normally sharp-shooting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have misfired on Thursday when he took to the stage at the Conservatives Political Action Conference brandishing a gun," the Louisville Courier-Journal
"The gun was actually an award from the National Rifle Association for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) who is retiring because of medical problems. But the image of McConnell walking out, waving the gun over his head, went viral."
"It shouldn't surprise anyone that he didn't look natural. A search of Courier-Journal
archives and the Internet found no other photos of McConnell holding a gun... His campaign refused to say if McConnell hunts, shoots targets or even owns a gun..."
Sasha Issenberg, author of The Victory Lab
, on the secret science behind modern campaign strategy:
Mark McKinnon, co-founder of No Labels
, on how to break the partisan gridlock:
Subscribe via iTunes
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A new Chicago Tribune/WGN poll
in Illinois shows the Republican governor's race is tightening, with Bruce Rauner (R) leading with 36%, followed by Kirk Dillard (R) at 23%, Bill Brady (R) at 18% and Dan Rutherford (R) at 9%.
: "Ana Alliegro, the gal pal of former U.S. Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), was arrested and informally extradited Friday from Nicaragua to Miami, where a federal grand jury charged her in a four-count indictment for her alleged role in a campaign-finance scheme tied to the one-time congressman."
"Alliegro had fled to Nicaragua in 2012 as the FBI began investigating her and Rivera in a scheme to steer and conceal $82,000 in illegal campaign contributions to a no-name congressional candidate, who appeared to be doing Rivera's political dirty work. That candidate, Justin Lamar Sternad, subsequently pleaded guilty to breaking federal campaign-finance laws and lying about it."
"For more than 40 years, Iowa voters have played a vital role in picking the nation's president, culling the field of hopefuls and helping launch a fortunate handful all the way to the White House," the Los Angeles Times
"Now, a swelling chorus of critics is mounting a fresh challenge to Iowa's privileged role, targeting especially the August straw poll held the year before the election, which traditionally established the Republican Party front-runner. Increasingly, critics say, the informal balloting has proved a meaningless and costly diversion of time and money. Some GOP strategists are urging candidates to think hard before coming to Iowa at all."
The Wall Street Journal
reports there are "a large group of House and Senate candidates this year whose family names are familiar to voters. As the sons and daughters of former politicians, they are banking that their famous names will boost their recognition among voters and, in many cases, reinforce the message that they are allied more with their home states than with their political parties."
New York Times
: "A heightened political awareness, and a healthy self-regard that they could do a better job, are drawing a surprisingly large number to the power of elective office... With a few exceptions, these physician legislators and candidates -- there are three dozen of them -- are much alike: deeply conservative, mostly male, and practicing in the specialty fields in which costs and pay have soared in recent years."
March 07, 2014
"Senate Republicans aren't just widening their path to the majority with each new seat added to the competitive map, they're also increasing the odds Democrats will have to spend money in states beyond the top battlegrounds," Roll Call
"Faced with such a lopsided map this cycle, Senate Democrats were undoubtedly budgeting to spend in at least 10 states... But as Republicans continue to fill their candidate roster in potentially competitive races -- most recently adding Rep. Cory Gardner in Colorado -- it means more money Democrats may have to spend on seats not among their most vulnerable."
A new Robert Morris University poll
in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) way head in the Democratic race for governor with 51%, followed by Allyson Schwartz (D) at 17%, Bob McCord (D) at 13% and Kathleen McGinty (D) at 9%.
Meanwhile, just 21% of likely voters suggest they plan to vote for Gov. Tom Corbett (R) while 40% suggested they would vote for the Democratic candidate. Another 12% would vote for another candidate and 27% are undecided.
"Foster Friess, the wealthy conservative businessman who became a political fixture after funding former Sen. Rick Santorum's presidential campaign in 2012, says he wants the Pennsylvania Republican to run again," Huffington Post
Said Friess: "Anything he does, I'm for. He is the most wonderful human being on the face of the earth."
Failed U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (R) called for the imprisonment -- "not just symbolic firings" -- of former staffers involved in New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie's (R) Bridgegate scandal, Huffington Post
American Bridge, the Democratic tracking and opposition research outfit, plans to devote "up to three dozen trackers with video cameras" to Las Vegas if the Republican party chooses it as the site for their convention, Politico
Said a source: "American Bridge's plans would scatter trackers with video cameras from one end of the Strip to the other and would include a rapid response war room in the city to turn the footage into instant products -- even potentially television ads -- exposing whatever activities and hypocricies they catch on film."
"They have been near delusional in thinking the Cold War was over. Maybe the President thinks the Cold War is over, but Vladimir Putin doesn't and that's what this is all about."
-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by TPM
, on President Obama's foreign policy.
: "The poll shows that the health-care law is still unpopular (34% say they support it, versus 45% who oppose it), and Republicans have the advantage in the political environment (42% prefer a GOP-controlled Congress, 41% want a Democratic-controlled one). But the poll also finds that most of the law's provisions (insurers can't reject people because of pre-existing conditions, parents can keep their children on their plans through ages 26) are very popular, although the BIG exception here is the law's mandates. Indeed, after respondents hear these details of the law, it becomes more popular (39% support it, 41% oppose)."
Also interesting: "Only 28% of respondents believe the law should be totally eliminated; 54% say it should be fixed; and 17% say the law should be kept in place as is. If you wanted to know why many Republicans are beginning to back away from repeal, here's your answer."