October, 2014

Early Voting Numbers Look Good for Democrats

“Democratic efforts to turn out the young and nonwhite voters who sat out the 2010 midterm elections appear to be paying off in several Senate battleground states. More than 20 percent of the nearly three million votes already tabulated in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa have come from people who did not vote in the last midterm election,” according to an analysis of early-voting data by The Upshot.

Why Republicans Keep Saying They’re Not Scientists

New York Times: “”m not a scientist,’ or a close variation, has become the go-to talking point for Republicans questioned about climate change in the 2014 campaigns. In the past, many Republican candidates questioned or denied the science of climate change, but polls show that a majority of Americans accept it — and support government policies to mitigate it — making the Republican position increasingly challenging ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.”

“For now, ‘I’m not a scientist’ is what one party adviser calls ‘a temporary Band-Aid’ — a way to avoid being called a climate change denier but also to sidestep a dilemma. The reality of campaigning is that a politician who acknowledges that burning coal and oil contributes to global warming must offer a solution, which most policy experts say should be taxing or regulating carbon pollution and increasing government spending on alternative energy. But those ideas are anathema to influential conservative donors like the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and the advocacy group they support, Americans for Prosperity.”

Menino is Dead

“Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday,” the Boston Globe reports.

“He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year.”

Most Americans See Country Off Track

A new USA Today poll finds that two-thirds of Americans say the nation “faces more challenging problems than usual; one in four call them the biggest problems of their lifetimes. And many lack confidence in the government to address them.”

“By significant margins, those surveyed prefer congressional Republicans when it comes to dealing with the economy and ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria. By double-digits, they say congressional Democrats would do a better job in handling income inequality and social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage… But the bottom line seems to be that the downbeat mood of the electorate is favoring the GOP, whose backers are more enthusiastic about voting and animated by their opposition to Obama.”

Biden’s Free Family Vacation

Vice President Joe Biden, his wife and 11 other family members spent four nights on vacation this August at a lakeside log cabin overlooking the snowcapped peaks of Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park, Time reports.

“The four-bedroom Brinkerhoff Lodge, where they stayed, is owned and operated by the National Park Service… While visiting the park, Biden held no events, kept no public schedule, and his staff initially declined to answer a reporter’s question about where he spent the night. Last week, after Time uncovered documents confirming his stay at the lodge, Biden’s office said the Vice President planned to personally reimburse the park $1,200 for ‘renting the Brinkerhoff’ for his family’s vacation.”

Ryan Won’t Decide on White House Bid Until Next Year

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) tells the Washington Post he’s in no hurry to make a decision on running for president in 2016.

Said Ryan: “I’ve got all the time in the world. I don’t have some calendar with a red circle. I don’t feel the pressure to do it any other way. I have my own timeline and I don’t let stuff that’s happening around me get to my head. That’s dangerous.”

He added: “I’m not dying to be this or that. I’m more of a cause guy. So I come at this thing from that perspective. I don’t have this insatiable political ambition. But I know how to flip the switch. If you flip the switch, you flip the switch. I know how to do it and what I need to do if I choose to flip it. Right now, the switch has tape over it until 2015.”

What If No One Challenges Hillary?

Peter Hamby: “Democrats of all stripes, including Clinton allies, have predicted for months that the former Secretary of State — who was campaigning for midterm candidates in Iowa on Wednesday — will face some kind challenge in the race for the Democratic nomination if she decides to run. The prospect of a Clinton campaign seems more likely with each passing day.”

“But with the presidential race set to lurch into gear after next week’s midterm elections and no clear alternative to Clinton emerging, there are questions about whether she will be the sole candidate on the ballot.”