June, 2014

Boehner Lawsuit Months in Planning

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced last week “that he would spearhead a House lawsuit against the president to challenge, in his view, the Obama administration’s unconstitutional overreach of its executive authority and abrogation of laws passed by Congress,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“Obama and congressional Democrats are calling the move a political stunt because of the timing of the announcement, which came less than five months before the midterm elections. But Boehner actually started putting the lawsuit together in January.”

“Six months ago, at the speaker’s direction, House leadership aides began consulting with legal scholars and Republican staff on the House Judiciary Committee in preparation to jumpstart legal action.”

Rebuffing Inouye May Cost Abercrombie His Seat

As he lay dying in 2012, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) asked Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) to appoint Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), “a protégée and the daughter of a gas station owner here, to fill his seat. But Mr. Abercrombie, a fellow Democrat, disregarded that deathbed request, choosing his lieutenant governor, Brian Schatz, as the interim senator instead,” the New York Times reports.

“Eighteen months later, the decision to defy one of the most popular politicians in Hawaii history has come back to rock Mr. Abercrombie and the Democratic Party, setting off a backlash that threatens to topple both Mr. Schatz and the governor — who had already been struggling during an occasionally tumultuous first term — in the Democratic primary on Aug. 9.”

Rob Ford Returns to City Hall

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford “makes his return to city hall on Monday, when he plans to address reporters in his office directly. What he won’t be doing, which his spokesman confirmed Friday, is answering reporters’ questions,” the Globe and Mail reports.

“Over the past year of Mr. Ford’s scandal-plagued mayoralty, he has routinely refused to respond to questions regarding drug use, a police investigation targeting him, complaints to the integrity commissioner, and questionable behaviour at city hall.”

Can Clinton Relate With Average Voters?

Politico: “Hillary Clinton is having a very hard time being rich. After two weeks of verbal gaffes and unflattering headlines, Democratic operatives, political historians and counselors to the nation’s wealthy agree that Clinton’s current strategy — acting like she’s not incredibly rich and made her money the old-fashioned way — is not working and needs to change. Fast.”

Meanwhile, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey finds Clinton “is widely viewed by Democrats as empathetic to average
Americans, but independents are split on whether she can relate to their
problems.”

How Clinton Won Over the Left

The New Republic: “Two other factors dovetailed with Clinton’s personal efforts at reconciliation. First was the remarkable overlap between her and Obama’s worldviews, which made them natural allies… The second was Team Obama’s realization that it had enemies, even inside the administration, and they didn’t look much like Hillary Clinton.”

“The logic of Clinton’s rapprochement with the Obama crew also explained her rehabilitation across the rest of the party. Clinton’s willingness to join the Cabinet boosted her favorability rating more than 10 points among Democrats between late 2008 and early 2009. And with the party largely united on everything from tax cuts to entitlements to climate change to health care, there was no ideological rift to come between her and any particular faction.”

Tea Party Turns Sights on Export-Import Bank

The Washington Post reports the Tea Party’s new target is the Export-Import Bank, “the little-known government agency provides tens of billions of dollars annually in financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. planes, trucks and other goods.”

“What began as a pet issue for a handful of conservatives is now turning the GOP on its head. The fight over the obscure agency has pitted traditional lawmakers backed by big corporations against tea party conservatives, who, still fuming over bank bailouts of 2008, insist that supporting free markets is not the same as supporting business interests.”

U.S. Deepens Role in Iraq and Syria

“The Obama administration ended the week deeply immersed in stemming crises in Iraq and Syria as it launches a new strategy that American and Arab officials acknowledge could be risky for the U.S. and its closest Mideast allies,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Days of high-stakes Middle East diplomacy on a trip Secretary of State John Kerry completed Friday, combined with a $500 million plan for supporting Syrian rebels announced the day before by the White House, outline a markedly expanded U.S. role in the region’s chaotic security and political landscape.”

Virginia Republicans Find Unity Elusive

Washington Post: “Ever since Dave Brat dethroned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor this month, the political newcomer has vowed to bring together the warring factions of the Republican Party. But a dramatic showdown in a Republican committee meeting in Brat’s congressional district this week shows that Brat — and the party — have a long way to go.”

“Cantor loyalists who still sit on the 7th District Committee outmaneuvered Brat supporters to strip the committee of most of its budget — nearly $400,000. In a savvy bit of parliamentary procedure, they voted to send the money to national GOP organizations based in Washington — leaving empty-handed the conservative activists who planned to use the money to build a get-out-the-vote operation to complement Brat’s fledgling campaign.”

Challenger Says Lawmaker is a Body Double

Oklahoma congressional candidate Tim Murray (R) has announced he plans to contest this week’s primary election of Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) saying “it is widely known” that Lucas “is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look alike,” KFOR reports.

Murray says on his website that Lucas was executed in Ukraine in 2011.

Lucas responded: “Many things have been said about me, said to me during course of my campaigns. This is the first time I’ve ever been accused of being a body double or a robot.”