April 19, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Perhaps you should revolt."

-- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, quoted by the Knoxville News Sentinel, to a law school student who questioned the constitutionality of the federal income tax.

Lawmaker Claims Uninsured Rate Has Gone Up

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said that he believes the uninsured rate in his state has increased since implementation of Obamacare, the Huffington Post reports.

Said Huelskamp: "It's hard to get accurate numbers on anything. But the numbers we see today is that -- as I understand them -- we believe there are more people uninsured today in Kansas than there were before the president's health care plan went into effect. And I thought the goal was to bring more people into insurance."

This Week on the Podcast

Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, gives us a deep dive into Arkansas politics:

Pollster Anna Greenberg looks at three key voting groups for the 2014 midterms -- unmarried women, young voters, and minorities:

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April 18, 2014

Clinton Conspiracy Memo is Released

The famous Clinton White House document known as the "conspiracy commerce memo" has finally surfaced in a batch of documents released by the Clinton library, Politico reports.

"The memo, which details how right-wing conspiracy theories made their way into the mainstream press, was written in 1995 and first acknowledged by the White House in 1997. The idea of a 'conspiracy' was also famously referred to by Hillary Clinton in 1998, when she cited a 'vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he ran for president.'"

Quote of the Day

"I wish we had an alternative. You know what's unfortunate? It's for the next six months, we're going to go into an election knowing that we're not going to do anything to address health care because we've gone so far for the last three years saying 'no,' that we don't have an alternative to say 'yes' to. And I think that the American public, when they go to vote, they're going to look at credibility before they look at substance."

-- Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), quoted by Think Progress, on Republicans running against Obamacare in the midterm elections.

Roberts Would Crush Sebelius

A new Rasmussen poll in Kansas shows Sen. Pat Roberts (R) solidly ahead of potential challenger Kathleen Sebelius (D) in a U.S. Senate match up, 54% to 37%.

Boehner Still Wants Immigration Reform

Wall Street Journal: "Speaker John Boehner and other senior House Republicans are telling donors and industry groups that they aim to pass immigration legislation this year, despite the reluctance of many Republicans to tackle the divisive issue before the November elections. Many lawmakers and activists have assumed the issue was off the table in an election year. But Mr. Boehner said at a Las Vegas fundraiser last month he was 'hellbent on getting this done this year,' according to two people in the room."

Big Problem Ahead for Republicans

First Read: "What do you do with the eight million Americans who now have insurance on the exchanges, and with the 24 million Americans who are projected to be on the exchanges by 2017 (the next time there's the possibility of a GOP president)? What about the millions more who have insurance via expanded Medicaid or via their parents' insurance? And how do you advocate repeal and replace when you don't have a detailed legislative alternative (that's scored by the Congressional Budget Office)? Come 2015 and 2016, Republican presidential candidates could very well find themselves in an unsustainable position -- having to campaign on a repeal message in the primaries (because that's what GOP voters want), but then having to face a general electorate that's more hostile to the idea (because repeal doesn't poll well outside the GOP)."

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Abbott Way Ahead in Texas

Despite other polls showing a closer race, a new Texas Tech poll finds Greg Abbott (R) way ahead of Wendy Davis (D) in the race for governor, 54% to 25%.

Reactions to Obamacare Enrollment Surge

Wonk Wire has the latest on President Obama's surprise announcement yesterday:

Most Think Obama Lies

A new Fox News poll finds 37% think President Obama lies "most of the time," while another 24% say he lies "some of the time." Twenty percent of voters say "only now and then" and 15% "never."

Which States Get Screwed by the Electoral College?

Ryan Cooper: "I assumed that since the least populated states are the most preposterously over-represented, the largest states, like California and Texas, would suffer the most when compared against the ideal of a 'one-person, one vote' standard..."

"Wait, Pennsylvania is number one?"

Crist Loses Another Campaign Spokesman

Charlie Crist's (D) new campaign spokesman quit after less than a week on the job "to pursure other opportunities," the Miami Herald reports.

"This is a potential leading indicator of why some establishment Democrats, namely those who wanted Sen. Bill Nelson to run, were so nervous about Crist. Like a gifted athlete, Crist relies on his own talents. But he resists coaching. He doesn't always take good advice. He acts spur of the moment. His campaign is more of a cult of personality compared to Scott's campaign, which is more like a disciplined business start up."

House Democrats Put Up the Defenses

"House Democrats, battered by Koch brothers ads and facing a grim outlook for the midterms, are providing the clearest indication yet of how they plan to respond: By shoring up imperiled incumbents and only the most promising challengers, but most likely leaving some of the party's upstart hopefuls to fend for themselves," Politico reports.

"The aim of the strategy, detailed in nearly two dozen interviews with party officials and strategists, is a tacit acknowledgement of the ominous political environment Democrats are up against this year. The goal is to stop Republicans from padding their 17-seat edge and keep the party within striking distance of the majority in 2016, a presidential election year that could well be more favorable to Democrats."

Monkey Cage: How big could the GOP majority get?

Mitt Romney Returns to the Spotlight

Washington Post: "After retreating from public view following his crushing loss to President Obama in the 2012 election, Romney has returned to the political stage, emerging as one of the Republican Party's most coveted stars, especially on the fundraising circuit, in the run-up to November's midterm elections."

"He may not direct a high-powered political-action committee or hold a formal position, but with the two living former Republican presidents -- George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush -- shying away from campaign politics, Romney, 67, has begun to embrace the role of party elder, believing he can shape the national debate and help guide his fractured party to a governing majority."

Americans Differ On Why People are Poor

A new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that 44% of Americans think poor people are poor mostly because of a lack of opportunities, while only 30% said it's mostly because of their individual failings.

"While Democrats and independents in the new survey were more likely to think the rich, poor and unemployed got where they are mostly due to outside circumstances, Republicans in the poll largely said the opposite. They tended to think the poor are poor because of individual failings, rather than lack of opportunities (48% to 23%), and that they have a poor work ethic rather than good jobs being unavailable to them (49% to 21%)."

Tweet of the Day

Super PACs Try Positive Ads

"Outside political groups, long known for their negative advertisements featuring ominous music and foreboding narration, are trying something new this campaign season: a pivot to the positive," the New York Times reports.

"Some of the best-known 'super PACs' and outside groups... are making an effort to also cast their candidates in an appealing way instead of solely attacking opponents."

"The shift is the product of several factors -- the renewed hope that positive commercials can break through the advertising clutter; lessons of the 2012 presidential race, when Mitt Romney and outside Republican groups largely failed to offer an alternate message to an onslaught of negative spots; and the increasing prevalence of stock footage made public by campaigns that makes producing positive ads easier."

As Many As 14 Competitive Senate Races

Wall Street Journal: "Control of the Senate hangs in the balance with the November elections less than seven months away. Pollsters believe as many as 14 seats could be competitive, and Republicans need a net pickup of six seats to take control of the upper chamber. But each state has its own dynamics, tensions, and - ultimately - economies."

Sean Trende: "I'm not 100 percent confident that Republicans will gain seats. In fact, when I analyzed the Senate races in February, my simulation created a few scenarios where Republicans did, in fact, lose seats."

Axelrod vs. Messina

"The British general election next year will pit one Obama campaign mastermind against another," the Washington Post reports.

"Jim Messina, who managed Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, had already signed up last August to consult for Prime Minister David Cameron and the ruling Conservative Party. Now, David Axelrod, architect of Obama's rise from first-term senator to the White House, will be working for the opposition Labor Party."

Clinton's Book Has a Title

Hillary Clinton's forthcoming memoir of her four years as secretary of state will be titled Hard Choices, the Washington Post reports.

The book is being billed as Clinton's "inside account of the crises, choices, and challenges that she faced during her four years as America's 67th Secretary of State, and how those experiences drive her view of the future."

New Polls Show Many Close Senate Races

Here are some new polls from Harper Polling (R) on key U.S. Senate races:

Arkansas: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 39%, Tom Cotton (R) 39%

Colorado: Sen. Mark Udall (D) 45%, Cory Gardner (R) 43%

Louisiana: Bill Cassidy (R) 47%, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) 43%

Michigan: Terri Lynn Land (R) 43%, Gary Peters (D) 40%

Montana: Steve Daines (R) 42%, Sen. John Walsh (D) 35%

April 17, 2014

8 Million People Signed Up for Obamacare

President Obama announced that "eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and that 35 percent are under the age of 35, countering the criticism that it would attract mainly older and sicker people," the New York Times reports.

"Obama also said that millions of the enrollees had purchased private insurance for the first time, strengthening the administration's case that the new health law was expanding coverage, not simply moving people from one insurance plan to another."

Said Obama: "This thing is working."

Wonk Wire has more on the surprise announcement.

Every Member of Congress Gets Porn in the Mail

"Since 1983, Larry Flynt has sent the monthly magazine he founded, Hustler, to each and every member of Congress," National Journal reports.

"The dirty mag comes in a plain manila envelope, fairly undetectable to the poor intern or staffer tasked with opening the mail. And every month, there it is: Hustler, featuring dozens of naked or scantly dressed women, vulgar comics, and articles, some satirical, on politics, society, and sex."

"It's not like members of Congress haven't tried to stop the magazines from coming. They just can't stop it legally."

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