January, 2015

GOP Holds Edge if Electoral College Deadlocked

Kyle Kondik: “The coming presidential election will provide an interesting test as to whether Democrats do have a durable Electoral College advantage, particularly if political science forecasting models suggest that the Republican nominee should win the election but he or she fails to do so.”

“That said, Republicans are not without at least one Electoral College edge in 2016. While the Democrat needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency — a majority of the 538 available — the Republican only needs a 269-269 tie to win. That’s because, in the event of a tie, the newly elected House will pick the president.”

Fight Against Gay Marriage Moves to Local Officials

“As the nation waits for the Supreme Court to decide whether same-sex marriages should be legal nationwide, another, more mundane front has opened in the wedding wars: the offices of the state and local officials who perform civil marriages and issue licenses,” the New York Times reports.

“Republican state legislators in Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have introduced bills this year that would prohibit state or local government employees from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, despite federal court rulings declaring bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in those states. The bills would also strip the salaries of employees who issue the licenses.”

Cruz Says Lynch Nomination Shouldn’t Get a Vote

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Roll Call that attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s immigration views were “dangerous” and questioned whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) should even have the chamber consider her nomination.

Said Cruz: “That is the decision the majority leader is going to have to make. I believe we should use every constitutional tool available to stop the president’s unconstitutional executive action. That’s what Republicans, Republican candidates all over the country said over and over again last year.”

Perry Says Criminal Case Won’t Stop Him

Rick Perry (R) said that a judge’s decision to allow the criminal case against him to continue will not affect his decision on running for president in 2016, The Hill reports.

Said Perry: “No, we’re going to continue on. As a matter of fact, I’m just back from South Carolina, where we had great crowds and a lot of enthusiasm, after I spent two days in Iowa with, again, an opportunity to talk to people.”

Republicans Urge Elizabeth Warren to Run

Conservatives are talking up a possible Democratic presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren, the New York Times reports.

“The tactic says much about the 2016 landscape for Republicans. A crowded field of people who say they are considering running for president — including Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts — has emerged. That means the party is expecting a bruising ideological battle for the nomination.”

“An easy path to the nomination would allow Mrs. Clinton to potentially enter a general election with more funding than the Republican nominee, who would have had to spend heavily to beat a wide field of competitors.”

Romney to Attack Clinton

Mitt Romney “will make his most forceful public case yet against likely Democratic contender Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions in a speech Wednesday at Mississippi State University. According to his prepared remarks, Romney, who said earlier this month he is ‘seriously considering’ another White House bid, will seek to tie the former Secretary of State’s record to that of President Obama,” Time reports.

Romney is to say: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation. The Middle East and much of North Africa is in chaos. China grows more assertive and builds a navy that will be larger than ours in five years. We shrink our nuclear capabilities as Russia upgrades theirs.”

Lawmaker Changes His Mind on Abortion

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who has taken pro-life positions, wrote in the Akron Beacon Journal that he changed his mind on abortion after talking with his female constituents.

Said Ryan: “These women gave me a better understanding of how complex and difficult certain situations can become. And while there are people of good conscience on both sides of this argument, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families.”

Walker Not Worried About Being Bland

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said that he “is seriously considering running for president because he sees gaps in the field of likely Republican candidates, and that he doesn’t have a problem with being branded as bland or uncharismatic,” the AP reports.

Said Walker: “The media is going to peg any prospective candidate with a tag. I’d rather have bland or uncharismatic than dumb or ignorant, or corrupt or any of the other things that they could label other would-be candidates out there, or old for that matter.”

Red States Hurt Most By Federal Budget Cuts

“As Washington has tightened its belt in recent years, the budget cuts have sliced most deeply in states where President Obama is unpopular,” according to an analysis of federal spending by Reuters.

“Between the 2009 and 2013 fiscal years, funding for a wide swath of discretionary grant programs, from Head Start preschool education to anti drug initiatives, fell by an average of 40 percent in Republican-leaning states like Texas and Mississippi. By contrast, funding to Democratic-leaning states such as California and politically competitive swing states like Ohio dropped by 25 percent.”

Though Congress sets overall spending levels, the Obama administration determines where much of that money ends up.”

Republicans Will Vote to Repeal Obamacare Again

Morning Line: “House Republicans, leadership aides confirm, will move forward with a bill on full repeal of the health care law, something Republicans have done half a dozen times now. (They have voted more than 50 times on measures relating to changing the law, including six times for full repeal). So why are Republicans doing this again? Frankly, because newly elected freshmen members haven’t voted for it before, and they want the opportunity to do so.”

Wonk Wire: Americans still want Obamacare perks

Obama Pulls Proposal on College Savings Plans

“President Obama, facing angry reprisals from parents and from lawmakers of both parties, will drop his proposal to effectively end the popular college savings accounts known as 529s, but will keep an expanded tuition tax credit at the center of his college access plan,” the New York Times reports.

First Read: “There are two big lessons here: One, it shows why tax reform is so hard; you touch one popular tax break (even if it makes ton of economic/efficiency sense), and folks will scream bloody murder. Two, it’s a story about the political/journalist class. Raise your hand if you have one of these 529 accounts for your children or grandchildren… the benefits under the program are disproportionately skewed to Americans earning six figures or above — who represent just a sliver of the population. Still, we’re surprised the White House didn’t see this blowback coming when it first proposed the plan.”

“Yet there’s another story here, too: That the White House yanked it so quickly — especially while the president was overseas — suggests it’s still holding out hope to strike some sort of tax deal with congressional Republicans. If you want to see tax reform happen in the 114th Congress, the speed of the Obama White House’s retraction might give you hope.”

Huckabee Complains of ‘Trashy’ Women at Fox News

Mike Huckabee said that while in New York for his Fox News show, he experienced significant culture shock from all the “trashy” women swearing in a professional setting, Politico reports.

Said Huckabee: “In the South, or in the Midwest, there in Iowa, you would not have people who would just throw the F-bomb or use gratuitous profanity in a professional setting. In New York, not only do the men do it, but the women. My gosh, this is worse than locker-room talk. As we would say in the South, that’s just trashy.”

Romney Moves to Sell California Home

Mitt Romney “is taking steps to shed some of his property, including retaining a broker who is currently showing the La Jolla home to potential buyers, according to a Romney aide. The aide would not disclose the asking price or explain why the former Massachusetts governor and his wife, Ann, want to sell the home after more than four years of city permitting, hearings, and construction,” the Boston Globe reports.

The home features the now infamous car elevator that dogged Romney’s 2012 presidential bid.

Home Court Advantage No Longer Matters

“As aspiring Republican presidential candidates compete for donor support, the old rules no longer apply,” National Journal reports.

“Gone is any vestige of respect for ‘home turf,’ a now-abandoned campaign ethos that at times made candidates think twice before seeking support from their rivals’ home states or previous financial backers. Instead, 2016 is a free-for-all, where candidates not only ignore boundaries, they also actively seek out their rivals’ supporters in a bid to crowd them out of the competition for cash.”