March, 2015

Pence Digs In Over ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) dug in his heels, supporting the “religious freedom” legislation he just signed and refusing to support nondiscrimination protections, the Indianapolis Star reports.

“Pence struggled under persistent questioning from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday morning as he went on air to defend the law… One thing Pence was clear about, however: He will not support language that would bar discrimination. The performance Sunday morning, on national television, marked an apparent about face from Saturday, when he told The Indianapolis Star that he would support new protections.”

Bloomberg quotes Pence: “We’ve been under an avalanche of intolerance and I’m not going to take it lying down. We’re not going to change the law.”

Wonk Wire: Why the outrage?

Warren Lobbies House Democrats Against Obama

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is meeting with House Democrats in an effort to push back against President Obama’s trade agenda, The Hill reports.

“The liberal senator met Tuesday with a group of House Democrats before administration officials were to meet with a larger of group of Democrats to discuss the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process, one of the most controversial issues in two trade deals that the Obama administration is negotiating.”

Politico: Top liberals call for Warren candidacy

Ted Cruz Is No Barry Goldwater

“Before and after Sen. Ted Cruz announced his presidential candidacy on Monday, many pundits compared him to U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Arizona Republican whose White House bid crashed and burned in 1964. But though Cruz and Goldwater both emerged from the party’s conservative wing — and faced accusations of extremism from political enemies — that’s where the similarities end,” the Arizona Republic reports.

Said Sen. John McCain: “They don’t know Barry Goldwater, the people who make that comparison.”

Bush and Walker Offer Very Different Messages

New York Times: “Mr. Bush, a privileged scion who married a Mexican woman and boasts of being bicultural, reflects his polyglot adopted hometown, Miami, and state. He is telling Republicans, in effect, that they must accept a changing country: that the path to the presidency will be found through appealing to voters who may not look like them, and with a standard-bearer whose state and immediate family resemble tomorrow’s America.”

“Mr. Walker, a small-town minister’s son who met his wife, a Milwaukee native, at a Wisconsin barbecue joint, is a product of one of the most politically and racially polarized regions of the country, metropolitan Milwaukee. He has succeeded by confronting his adversaries and by generating soaring levels of support from his fellow Republicans in a state they have failed to carry in a presidential race for more than three decades. The party’s way forward, by Mr. Walker’s lights, lies in demonstrating toughness in the face of intense opposition from the left and mobilizing those who are already inclined to support conservatism.”

Senate GOP Stuck on Lynch Nomination

The nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General “has laid bare the difficult politics confronting the new Republican majority. Lawmakers have found nothing in Ms. Lynch’s background to latch on to in opposition, and many are loath to reject the first African-American woman put forth to be the nation’s top law enforcement officer,” the New York Times reports.

“But, they say, their constituents have told them that a vote for Ms. Lynch affirms Mr. Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which she has said she finds lawful.”

“A confirmation vote for Ms. Lynch, delayed longer than any other attorney general nominee in three decades, is vexing for a Republican Party seeking to counter accusations that it is indifferent to women and minorities.”

O’Malley Attacks Dynasty Politics

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) attacked both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, CBS News reports.

Said O’Malley: “I think that our country always benefits from new leadership and new perspectives. Let’s be honest here, the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust that to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“My base is really beyond just evangelicals. I think the untold secret is a lot of the support that I have, and that I anticipate I will have, is from the working-class, blue-collar people who grew up a lot like I did – not blue-blood, but blue-collar.”

— Mike Huckabee, quoted by The Hill, brushing off the challenge to his base in the GOP presidential race from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The Hinge Moment

Doug Sosnik: “Next year’s election is the midpoint between 1992 when the current phase of presidential politics began and 2040, which is around the time that most projections have us approaching a majority-minority country, one in which no race will constitute the majority of Americans.”

“While the 2016 presidential election is likely to reflect the last remnants of this bygone era, the candidate running for president in 2016 who best understands how the country is changing and runs a campaign based on the America of the future rather than the America of the past is most likely to be our 45th president.”

Ex-GOP Official Says Cough Medicine Made Him Do It

Former South Carolina Republican Party chief Todd Kincannon was accused of threatening his wife but he blames the medicine he was taking for a respiratory condition, the Charleston City Paper reports.

Said Kincannon: “I’m the kind of guy who never goes to the doctor. I finally went and was prescribed something called Benzonatate for my cough. I’d never taken it before, and took it for the first time last night. Basically, I went completely crazy after taking it. I don’t even remember all of it.”

O’Malley Remains Mostly Unknown

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is in Iowa again but “almost everyone… said they knew very little, if anything, about O’Malley,” CNN reports.

“That confusion crystallizes the central challenge O’Malley faces if he decides to pursue a long-shot run for the Democratic presidential nomination. He must find a way to dent the Clinton political machine and prove that he’s a competitive candidate — not just a backup for progressives who would rather see Elizabeth Warren in the White House.”

“And it’s in Iowa where O’Malley must stake his ground. Failure here would almost certainly doom his campaign. But if he manages to do better than expected — or even stage an upset — O’Malley could emerge as a real challenger for Clinton.”