March, 2015

Mike Pence, Then and Now

“Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.”

— Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), on his campaign website in 2000.

“I don’t support discrimination against anyone. I don’t support discrimination against gays and lesbians or anyone else. I abhor discrimination.”

— Gov. Mike Pence (R), quoted by the Indianapolis Star at a press conference addressing his controversial “religious freedom” law.

Staffer Killed Himself Over Unemployment

Spence Jackson, spokesman for the late Missouri gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich (R), “apparently faced unemployment in the wake of his boss’ suicide last month. And that, according to a note Jackson left, was the reason he took his own life Friday,” the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

Jackson left a suicide note saying in its entirety: “I’m so sorry. I just can’t take being unemployed again.”

Menendez Expects Indictment Tomorrow

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is expecting a federal indictment Wednesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“Menendez has been traveling, but is expected to be back in New Jersey tomorrow and people around him expect the long-awaited corruption charges to be brought then. The case is being handled by the Department of Justice in Washington, but a grand jury has been meeting in Newark.”

The GOP’s Warning Signal?

Jill Lawrence: “​If there’s one takeaway from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s ‘religious freedom restoration’ debacle, it’s that Republicans ignore today’s cultural environment at their peril. Conservatives can continue to live in a bubble if they want to, but they should expect blowback, because outside that bubble is a far different reality.”

“Maybe Pence simply decided to cross his fingers and hope for the best. Or maybe, cosseted in the Christian right echo chamber, he was oblivious to how all of this would be received in the wider world. Either way, his action, and its reflection on his party, is about as forward-looking as the revived Republican hostility to immigration reform. Forget about the future, it doesn’t even acknowledge the world as it exists today.”

Fellow Governor Calls Pence a ‘Bigot’

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) lashed out at Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) in an interview with MSNBC and called him “a bigot” for supporting a law he says allows discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Said Malloy: “When you see a bigot you have to call him on it.”

He added: “The reality is the governor’s not a stupid man, but he’s done stupid things. Signing this law and, quite frankly, promoting this law knowing exactly what it was going to do was an incredibly stupid thing for him to do.”

Our Lost Constitution

Coming next month: Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

“Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution’s most indispensible provisions. He shows their rise. He shows their fall. And he makes vividly clear how nearly every abuse of federal power today is rooted in neglect of this Lost Constitution.”

Pence Will Amend ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Embattled Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) took a second crack at trying to “clarify” his state’s controversial new “religious freedom” law, the Indianapolis Star reports.

Pence concluded “we’ve got a perception problem” and said “it will be helpful to move legislation this week to amend the law to make it clear that it does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone.”

Brad Phillips: “The bottom line? If you have to call a press conference to clean up a bad media interview during the biggest political crisis of your career, you have a self-imposed media disaster on your hands.”

Wonk Wire has a good round up of views on the controversy.

Will Triangulation Work for Hillary?

Daniel Drezner observes that “the nascent Clinton campaign is going to borrow from the 1990s campaign playbook and try triangulation as a campaign strategy. Foreign policy is definitely an arena where Clinton can easily sound more hawkish than the Obama administration but less hawkish than the entire GOP field.”

“Furthermore, as the Obama administration tacks leftward on various issues — Isareal, net neutrality, inequality — it makes it easier for Clinton to do this. All she has to do is stand still on her policy positions and act like a moderate. The more centrist she seems compared to Obama, the better for her campaign. And because for one reason or another there’s no serious primary challenger in the Democratic camp, Clinton does not need to engage in the conservative policy outbidding that’s currently taking place on the GOP side of the ledger.”

Battle Lines Drawn in Indiana

First Read: “The political battle lines have now been drawn in the first cultural fight of this very early presidential contest, with all the major Republicans backing Indiana’s controversial religious-liberty law, and with Hillary Clinton opposing it. But there are some differences among the GOP candidates: Jeb Bush states that Indiana’s law is being misunderstood and it’s not discriminatory, while Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio flat-out argue that people of faith (and by extension, the companies they own) should be able to live out their lives according to their religious beliefs.”

“Yesterday, we wrote that the Indiana law has produced a split between two major parts of today’s Republican Party — social conservatives and big business. Well, we know which side the GOP candidates are on. They’re with social conservatives.”

Wonk Wire has a good round up of views on the controversy.

Bill Clinton Says ‘House of Cards’ Is 99% Real

Bill Clinton “practically serves as a series advisor” to the Netflix’s House of Cards, according to Gotham.

Said actor Kevin Spacey: “He tells me, ‘I love that House of Cards. Kevin, 99 percent of what you do on that show is real. The 1 percent you get wrong is you could never get an education bill passed that fast.”

LaHood Won’t Say If He’ll Redecorate Schock’s Office

llinois state Sen. Darin LaHood (R) “declined to say whether” he would repaint “the red walls of the current Capitol Hill office” of Rep. Aaron Schock (R) if he wins the special election for Schock’s seat, the State Journal-Register reports.

Said LaHood: “That’ll be a good problem to solve if I’m fortunate enough to get elected.”