August, 2014

Quote of the Day

“I had the chance of running. I didn’t win. Someone else has a better chance than I do. And that’s what we believe, and that’s why I’m not running. And you know, circumstances can change, but I’m just not going to let my head go there.”

— Mitt Romney, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt.

Worst Comeback Attempt Ever

Former Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), “who served in Congress from 2011 to 2013, officially lost his hapless comeback bid Tuesday, falling short in the Republican primary election in Florida’s 26th district,” National Journal reports.

“It may have been the worst congressional comeback attempt of all time. Rivera lost the nomination, but he dominated the headlines. Throughout the race, he faced questions about his role in an alleged 2012 campaign finance scheme, sparred with the media, and even briefly suspended his campaign for unclear reasons–only to restart it just two weeks before the election.”

Obama Will Bypass Congress on Climate Agreement

“The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress,” the New York Times reports.

“In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.”

“To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a ‘politically binding’ deal that would ‘name and shame’ countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.”

McDonnell Apologizes for Taking Gifts and Money

New York Times: “Five days of grueling, often contentious testimony by Bob McDonnell, the former Virginia governor accused of corruption, ended Tuesday with an apology from Mr. McDonnell for accepting so many gifts and so much money, but an emphatic denial that he had conspired with his wife to sell his office.”

“The federal trial, already 22 days long, could go to the jury as early as Wednesday.”

Rubio Hints at Government Shutdown Over Immigration

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) says that Republicans will fight unilateral action by President Obama on immigration through the budget process, the Huffington Post reports.

Said Rubio: “There will have to be some sort of a budget vote or a continuing resolution vote, so I assume there will be some sort of a vote on this. I’m interested to see what kinds of ideas my colleagues have about using funding mechanisms to address this issue.”

“After Congress returns on Sept. 8, lawmakers will have just 10 working days to come to consensus on a continuing resolution to fund the government or risk a shutdown… Adding immigration to the debate would complicate matters further and potentially trigger a domestic crisis on the eve of the Nov. 4 midterm elections.”

Is Obamacare Helping Some GOP Governors?

Sam Wang notes that Republican governors who supported Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion are being rewarded for it in recent polls.

“According to these data points, Republican governors who bucked their party’s stance and accepted the policy are faring better with voters–in these races, an average of 8.5 percentage points better. Considering that crusading against Obamacare has been a core part of the G.O.P. playbook, this 8.5-point difference may come as a surprise. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that voters’ sentiments are driven entirely by health-care policy. Think of the Medicaid expansion as a ‘proxy variable,’ one that is predictive of stands on many other issues.”

Behind Rick Perry’s Indictment

“The trail to Rick Perry’s indictment began with way too many drinks and a drunken-driving arrest for Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County district attorney, that was captured in embarrassing detail on videotape,” the New York Times reports.

“But the conflict between Republicans who control state government and the Democratic district attorney’s office has been playing out for years, forming a complicated back story to the unfolding legal drama known as the State of Texas v. James Richard ‘Rick’ Perry.”

Iowa is a Toss Up

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds Bruce Braley (D) barely leading Joni Ernst (R) for U.S. Senate, 42% to 41% with third party candidates splitting 5%. In a straight head to head the two are tied at 42%.

“This represents a significant tightening from PPP’s last poll in May when Braley led 45/39, but is consistent with most public polling since the primary.”

GOP Odds of Taking Senate Grow

The Upshot now gives Republicans a 67% chance of winning control of the Senate.

“Recent polls are one big reason. As we discussed last week, the latest evidence from Georgia has been favorable for Republicans. In West Virginia, polling continues to suggest that Natalie Tennant, the Democratic secretary of state, is a long shot to win. In Alaska — an important state for Democrats to hold — a Rasmussen poll released on Monday suggested the race was close. (Polls from Rasmussen were Republican-leaning in 2012, but these house effects are not very consistent between cycles. This cycle, we estimate Rasmussen polls have been perhaps a little more Republican-leaning than those of the typical pollster, but not much.)”

Republicans Much More Optimistic Ahead of Midterms

Pew Research: “With just over two months before the midterm elections, Republican voters are widening the ‘expectations gap’ with the Democrats. About six-in-ten (61%) Republican and GOP-leaning registered voters think their party will do better than in recent elections — roughly double the share of Democrats (32%) who feel similarly about their party’s chances.”

“This gap has not reached the same levels of the GOP’s margin before their large 2010 gains or the Democrats’ expectations in their 2006 sweep of both houses of Congress.”

The Second Most Important Race This Year

Noam Scheiber: “Everyone knows the most important political race in the country this fall is the race that determines control of the U.S. Senate… But what’s the second most important election in the country? You might be tempted to say it’s another competitive race like Louisiana, Arkansas, or Colorado. But I’d argue that the second most important election isn’t a Senate race at all. In fact, it’s one whose winner won’t even hold office in Washington, at least not right away. It’s the campaign for governor of Wisconsin, which pits incumbent Scott Walker against Mary Burke, a little-known executive at the bike manufacturer Trek. And it could shape U.S. politics for years to come.”