February, 2014

How Clinton Bungled Health Care Reform in 1993

Politico notes that for years after Bill and Hillary Clinton’s health care reform effort failed, “the generally accepted storyline was that they cooked up the health care plan in secret, didn’t work with Congress enough and that’s why it stalled.”

“Not true, according to the documents released Friday, which include transcripts of briefings Hillary Clinton gave to members of Congress and memos from White House advisers. They show that she was constantly being urged to hold more meetings with key members of Congress, including Democrats and Republicans, in early 1993 when the plan was being put together — and she was being advised on how to stroke the egos of individual lawmakers.”

“And yet, the Clinton White House didn’t put the pieces together to see the coming collapse, with Democrats unable to get on the same page and Republicans under pressure to say no to the whole thing.”

Car Stolen After Candidate Leaves Keys Inside

“Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan’s car was stolen after her husband, Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell (D), left the keys inside,” the AP reports.

“Pell was running late for an event when he dropped the keys to the Toyota Prius between the seats of the car, which was parked in front of the couple’s East Side Providence home. Pell could not easily reach the keys. He closed the car door and left with Kwan for the event.”

Democrats Land Top Recruit In Mississippi

Former Rep. Travis Childers (D-MS) “will be announcing he’s running for the Senate, according to two sources familiar with his decision, giving Democrats a chance to capitalize on the Republican division within the state,” National Journal reports.

“Childers, a Blue Dog Democrat, held a solidly-Republican House seat from 2008 to 2010, proving his ability to win over conservative voters despite his Democratic affiliation. Democrats are hoping that conservative state senator Chris McDaniel topples longtime Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in a June primary – a development they believe will make the race highly competitive.”

Brady Will Challenge Ryan for Ways and Means Gavel

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said that he will challenge House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) for the Ways and Means Committee gavel next year, Roll Call reports.

Reigning Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) must relinquish his title next year due to term limits.

Said Brady: “He’s a terrific leader, a good friend. But the point is, I’m qualified and prepared to lead this committee. At the right time, I’m going to make that case to my colleagues. This is all about the ideas and how we can move tax reform, trade, entitlement reform forward, so it’s good to have a healthy competition.”

The ‘War on Terror’ Will Never End

National Journal: “What began as one horrific attack 13 years ago and a simple, 60-word Authorization for the Use of Military Force three days later has morphed all but unnoticed into a war with no name or parameters–against an enemy that the government will no longer even officially identify, on battlefields that didn’t exist when the measure hurriedly passed Congress.”

“The grave but very real danger is that this strangest of wars will never end, certainly not before the expiration of Obama’s second term. And his successors may be left with nearly the entire unresolved mess: an open-ended war authorization and inchoate rules for drone and special operations, the promised-but-never-carried-through closing of Guantánamo Bay, and a National Security Agency that’s still not sure whom or what it can spy on.”

Clinton Gears Up for 2016

First Read: “This week, we witnessed the Clinton Machine beginning to rev up to a level we haven’t seen since 2008. And this means we’re getting a sense of exactly how the Clinton invisible campaign might work the rest of this midterm election year. Consider: Bill Clinton on Tuesday was stumping for Alison Grimes in Kentucky; Hillary on Wednesday was giving a speech in Miami, and she talked some policy (health care); and today a key Clinton-leaning interest group… has released its first web ad that hits back against a potential 2016er — in this case Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) for reviving his attacks on the Clintons over the Monica Lewinsky affair.”

“So Bill will be the campaigner, Hillary will talk policy and try to be the statesman (though we expect her also to campaign for Democrats this fall), and the Clinton-leaning interest groups are going to punch back against any GOP attacks. And oh, it was interesting to see Clinton confidante Harold Ickes back on the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee yesterday as the party begins to lay the groundwork for how its delegate-selection process will work in 2016.”

The Fight for Romney Donors Begins

The Fix: “No one can argue that Mitt Romney knows how to raise money. He collected more than $1.1 billion in the 2012 campaign, relying on contacts he built during his time as Massachusetts governor, head of the Salt Lake City Olympics, years working in private equity, and as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association. And now, with Romney insisting that he will not run again in 2016, literally hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of Republican money is up for grabs — and donors say that they are already being courted by several potential presidential candidates.”

The frontrunner in this race is Jeb Bush: “Every single Romney donor we spoke with this week listed the former Florida governor as their top choice.”

Christie Bridge Scandal Tapes Released

The municipal clerk in Fort Lee,NJ “released 28 hours of 911 tapes from last September’s lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, which has embroiled Gov. Chris Christie’s administration in controversy,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.

“The 32 audio files span four days between Sept. 9, 2013 when the lanes first closed and Sept. 13, when they were opened again.”

Unprecedented Video From Inside the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court “was subject to an unprecedented security breach when a spectator sneaked a video camera into Wednesday’s proceedings and filmed a protester who disrupted an oral argument,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The clandestine footage… is the first known video footage of a Supreme Court proceeding to be made public. It isn’t clear what type of device was used to make the recording.”

Democrats Turn Sexist Remarks Into Fundraising Tools

“In the past few months, Republicans have called Wendy Davis, a Democratic candidate for Texas governor, ‘Abortion Barbie,’ likened Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Senate candidate from Kentucky, to an ’empty dress,’ criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton’s thighs, and referred to a pregnant woman as a ‘host,” the New York Times reports.

“Democrats do not just get mad when they hear those words. They cash in.”

“In fact, they are trying to find even more examples by tracking Republican opponents, their surrogates and conservative news media personalities, then blasting their comments out to supporters to build voter lists and drum up donations, casting aside the well-worn advice to shrug off sexist comments lest they draw attention to gender over issues.”

Gay Rights Divides Republicans

Conservative activists said that they “will continue to press for additional legal protections for private businesses that deny service to gay men and lesbians, saying that a defeat in Arizona this week is only a minor setback and that religious-liberty legislation is the best way to stave off a rapid shift in favor of gay rights,” the Washington Post reports.

However, the New York Times notes “the decision by members of the Republican establishment to join gay activists in opposing the bill reflected the alarm the Arizona battle stirred among party leaders, who worried about identifying their party with polarizing social issues at a time when Republicans see the prospect of big gains in Congressional elections on economic issues.”

“More than anything else, the division was a window into a Republican Party that remains torn on gay rights issues, be it the Arizona measure, same-sex marriage or permitting gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military.”

The Week: How conservatives lost the culture war