September, 2015

Bush Struggles to Calm Donors

“For the past week, Jeb Bush’s campaign advisers have been using a new data point to convince nervous donors that he’s still the candidate to beat — Bush’s lead in the political prediction markets,” Politico reports.

“Just one problem: Beginning Sunday night, PredictIt, the biggest of the online sites and the one referenced last week by top Bush advisers and confidants, placed Marco Rubio ahead of Bush at the head of the GOP pack. The sudden evaporation of yet another data point in his favor explains the tension in and around Bush’s campaign this week on the eve of the third quarter FEC fundraising deadline.”

House GOP Remains Very Divided

New York Times: “The right flank of John A. Boehner’s party may have pushed him out of the House speaker’s chair, but it will take members of every faction of the House Republicans to choose his successor. As the scramble to replace Mr. Boehner — and fill the leadership posts beneath him — begins in earnest this week, a few dozen members who spent several years tormenting the speaker feel deeply empowered in determining the outcome.”

“But while they may have effectively deposed Mr. Boehner, their own authority is in no way assured.”

The Trump Dilemma

New York Times: “The Trump campaign may be a win-win for Trump, but it is a monstrous dilemma for a lot of other people. It is a dilemma for the Republican Party and a dilemma for the people Trump is running against. They would love to dismiss him as a sideshow and declare his shark jumped, except he keeps dominating the campaign and the conversation, and they have no clue whether to engage, attack, ignore or suck up in response. It is a dilemma for the elected leaders, campaign strategists, credentialed pundits and assorted parasites of the ‘establishment.’ They have a certain set of expectations, unwritten rules and ways of doing things that Trump keeps flouting in the most indelicate of ways. And, of course, it is a dilemma for the media, who fear abetting a circus.”

Cruz Denied Attempt at Protest Vote

Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) colleagues “ignored his attempt to disrupt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to fund the government without attacking Planned Parenthood. In an unusual rebuke, even fellow Republicans denied him a ‘sufficient second’ that would have allowed him a roll call vote,” Politico reports.

“Then, his Republican colleagues loudly bellowed “no” when Cruz sought a voice vote, a second repudiation that showed how little support Cruz has: Just one other GOP senator — Utah’s Mike Lee — joined with Cruz as he was overruled by McConnell and his deputies.”

Rick Klein: “Now, deep into the presidential campaign, the suspicion is that Cruz is trying to use the Senate and its procedures to separate himself from the loathed institution he occupies a seat in. The message back from his colleagues is that they’re not going to help. Anyone can take a shot at the establishment. But the establishment is more than capable of fighting back.”

Schumer and Ryan Discussing Infrastructure Deal

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is in talks with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) “to deliver a major infrastructure bill that’s eluded Congress for a decade,” Politico reports.

“The discussions to marry international tax reform with transportation investment are not close to yielding a deal yet and already face serious skepticism from Republicans and Democrats, for policy and political reasons. But Schumer and Ryan are forging ahead, meeting twice in the Capitol this month to advance a blueprint that Schumer floated this summer alongside Portman. The Schumer-Portman team-up is notable because the Ohio senator faces a tough reelection next year, one of several races that will determine whether Schumer becomes majority leader in 2017.”

McConnell Faces New Challenge Without Boehner

“The departure of John Boehner as House speaker leaves Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on uncertain ground, without a battle-tested House partner from the Republican establishment and facing newly emboldened conservatives,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. McConnell has publicly shown no signs of being rattled as the new guard of House Republicans have asserted themselves—sometimes even criticizing him directly from across the Capitol. But the terrain he must negotiate on issues like government spending is about to change abruptly, with new House leaders who could create complications.”

Limbaugh Doesn’t Believe There Is Water on Mars

Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe the news that there’s water on Mars and says it’s just part of “the liberal agenda,” Politico reports.

Said Limbaugh: “OK so there’s flowing water on Mars. Yip yip yip yahoo. Hey, you know me, I’m science 101, big time guy, tech advance it, you know it, I’m all in. But, NASA has been corrupted by the current regime. Don’t know how long it’s going to take, but this news that there is flowing water on Mars is somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda.”

Limbaugh admitted that he wasn’t entirely sure what the agenda was but was going to “assume it would be something to do with global warming.”

Wrigley Passes on Run for Governor

North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley (R), “who recently admitted to an extramarital affair, announced today that he will not run for governor in 2016,” the Fargo Forum reports.

Said Wrigley: “While Kathleen and I have been heartened by the many expressions and promises of support for a 2016 campaign for governor, we have concluded that the onset of a campaign is not consistent with the current needs of our family.”

Both Parties Head Into 2016 with Big Risks

“The Republican Party heads into the 2016 White House race with a negative image and policy stances out of step with those of the broader public, while Democrats are backing a front-runner who continues to lose steam with all parts of the electorate,” a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

“Election Day is still more than a year away, but the latest survey illustrates the sizable hurdles confronting both parties in a campaign that already has brought continual surprises and defied predictions.”

Are Republicans Giving Up in Kentucky?

The Republican Governor’s Association has stopped running television ads for Matt Bevin (R) in Kentucky with a little more than a month to go until Election Day, the AP reports.

“The association has spent $3 million on six ads for Bevin, mostly attacking his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, for supporting the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama… The move is a blow for Bevin, who has aired just one TV ad after spending more than $1 million of his own money to win a four-way Republican primary in May.”

Hastert Negotiating a Plea Deal

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) “is negotiating a possible guilty plea to charges he agreed to make $3.5 million in hush-money payments to cover up wrongdoing from decades ago,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

“The plea negotiations, revealed Monday during a hearing in federal court, are the first indication that the bombshell charges brought against the Republican powerhouse might never be fully aired at trial… Though the indictment only hints at the alleged wrongdoing, federal law enforcement sources have told the Tribune that Hastert was paying to cover up sexual abuse of a Yorkville High School student years ago.”