August, 2014

GOP Report Says Party Intolerant to Women

A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past,” Politico reports.

“Women are ‘barely receptive’ to Republicans’ policies, and the party does “especially poorly” with women in the Northeast and Midwest… It was presented to a small number of senior aides this month on Capitol Hill, according to multiple sources involved.”

Both Parties Brace for Obama Immigration Decision

“Both political parties are in a state of high anxiety over the possibility that President Obama will allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the country, fearing that White House action on the issue could change the course of November’s midterm elections,” the Washington Post reports.

“In the past few days, Democratic candidates in nearly every closely fought Senate race have criticized the idea of aggressive action by Obama. Some strategists say privately that it would signal the president has written off the Democrats’ prospects for retaining control of the chamber, deciding to focus on securing his own legacy instead.”

The ISIS Economy

“The Islamic State runs a self-sustaining economy across territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, pirating oil while exacting tribute from a population of at least eight million, Arab and Western officials said, making it one of the world’s richest terror groups and an unprecedented threat,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“That illicit economy presents a new picture of Islamic State’s financial underpinnings. The group was once thought to depend on funding from Arab Gulf donors and donations from the broader Muslim world. Now, Islamic State–the former branch of al Qaeda that has swallowed parts of Iraq and Syria–is a largely self-financed organization.”

GOP Lawmaker Threatens Government Shutdown

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said “the threat of another government shutdown could be Republicans’ leverage to pass border security and immigration legislation this fall,” the Des Moines Register reports.

Said King: “If the president wields his pen and commits that unconstitutional act to legalize millions, I think that becomes something that is nearly political nuclear… I think the public would be mobilized and galvanized and that changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution and how we might deal with that.”

What to do in Syria?

First Read: “Strikingly, it was exactly a year ago when Washington was debating about what to do in Syria — back then, it was over the Assad regime’s chemical weapons. A year later, Syria is once again in the news — this time over whether to strike ISIS in the region. Of course, the circumstances are different. Assad’s chemical weapons weren’t viewed as the same threat to the United States that ISIS is (if unchecked). And a year ago, when it wasn’t election season, members of Congress were eager to debate whether to authorize limited airstrikes in Syria.”

“Today, in the midst of campaign season, many politicians (though there are some exceptions like Sens. Tim Kaine and Bob Corker) are notably silent on the subject… Despite those differences, the larger storyline is the same between Aug. 2013 and Aug. 2014: Syria remains the Obama administration’s most difficult foreign-policy problem. (How do you curb the Shiite Assad regime? How also do you stop the Sunni ISIS militants there?) And Syria presents the danger that if you start getting involved, it becomes hard to stop. ”

Crist Wouldn’t Be First Party Switcher Elected in Florida

Morning Line: “If Charlie Crist wins the governorship — for the second time — this fall he would become the first governor in Florida history to ever win as a member of two different parties… Crist would also be only the second Florida governor in 117 years — and only the second since it achieved statehood — to serve two non-consecutive terms. Gov. William Bloxham served as governor from 1881 to 1885 and was later elected again 12 years later… Crist, though, would not be the first party-switcher in state history to serve as governor. Three Florida governors before him actually switched parties before holding office, but none to the Democratic Party.”

Roll Call: How and when to switch political parties

Boehner Haters Head Back to Congress

Bloomberg: “Ten of the 12 House Republicans who didn’t support John Boehner’s 2013 selection as speaker are cruising to November victories, despite the business community’s attempts to knock some of them off.”

“It’s an ominous twist in the Republican civil war between the Tea Party and the business community. Neither side had enough power to annihilate the other, so the fight goes into the 2016 presidential campaign. The House rebels could thwart the work of Senate Republican candidates, who were backed by corporate cash and have promised to move legislation.”

GOP Candidates Credit Koch Brothers for Their Rise

“Three top Republican Senate candidates heaped praise on the political network built by the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch during a secretive conference held by the brothers this past summer,” the Huffington Post reports.

“For all three, the association with the Koch brothers’ network is likely to provide kindling for their opponents, who have already argued that the Republicans are steered by deep-pocketed conservatives.”

Hagan Doesn’t Avoid Obama

Rick Klein: “The pictures of Sen. Kay Hagan greeting President Obama in Charlotte weren’t on the Charlie Crist level. (That level of political infamy ranks alongside the Joe Lieberman-George W. Bush embrace, history enshrined by Crist’s victory in the Democratic primary for governor Tuesday.) Yet how Hagan handled the presidential visit suggests a realization that while Obama can’t and won’t help virtually any endangered Democrat this year, the president’s negative effects are already baked into the electoral cake.”

McConnell Explains Plans to Shut Down Government

The Nation has audio of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) telling a room of conservative activists how Republicans will shut down parts of the government if they gain control of the U.S. Senate.

Said McConnell: “So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board (inaudible). All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it…”

Ex-Lt. Governor Rips Scott in New Book

In a new book, former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) “describes the misery of being in a ‘boys’ club’ led by Gov. Rick Scott (R), who showed no interest in her ideas to reach out to black and Hispanic voters and whose staff members treated her shabbily, the Miami Herald reports.

“Her story hits bookstores on Wednesday — her birthday. By coincidence, her grievances about Scott will spill into public view on the very day he will launch his general election campaign for a second term.”