September, 2015

Rubio Calls Race with Trump a ‘Freak Show’

Sen. Marco Rubio told NPR that he’s “interested in the back and forth” with Donald Trump, referring to the billionaire’s presence in the presidential race as a “freak show.”

Said Rubio: “He doesn’t like to be criticized. He responds to criticism very poorly. His poll numbers have taken a beating, and he was embarrassed on national television at the debate by Carly Fiorina and others.”

He added: “But this election is not going to be about Donald Trump. He thinks it is, but it’s not about him. It has to be about the issues confronting our country. And my sense of it is that every time issues become prominent, he will say something outrageous or do something outrageous so that he doesn’t have to talk about the issues.”

Biden Would Qualify for Democratic Debates

Vice President Joe Biden “could qualify to participate in the first Democratic debate even if he did not decide to enter the race until debate day, according to participation criteria released by host organization CNN,” the Washington Post reports.

“The news organization’s apparent message to Biden: despite the fact that he remains publicly uncommitted to launching a 2016 presidential run, they’ll keep a spot open for him.”

Quote of the Day

“He’s a master brander. And when you’ve got a lot of people running, and people are trying, you’ve got to make distinctions. Being able to put a personal stamp on it so people identify who you are certainly counts for something, at least in the beginning.”

—  Bill Clinton, in an interview on CNN, saying that he thinks Donald Trump could win the GOP presidential nomination.

Control of the Supreme Court at Stake in 2016

Rick Hasen: “The future composition of the Supreme Court is the most important civil rights cause of our time. It is more important than racial justice, marriage equality, voting rights, money in politics, abortion rights, gun rights, or managing climate change. It matters more because the ability to move forward in these other civil rights struggles depends first and foremost upon control of the Court. And control for the next generation is about to be up for grabs, likely in the next presidential election, a point many on the right but few on the left seem to have recognized.”

Boehner’s Exit Roils the GOP Presidential Race

Rick Klein: “John Boehner was torn down by the same forces that empowered him five years ago. He’s led a group that did not want to be led; he’s been speaker of a House that’s wanted action for its own sake. His exit may calm congressional waters in the short term. But it roils the presidential race, in splits made evident by Republican candidates who are either praising Boehner’s service or calling for his colleagues in leadership to topple along with him. Tea party voters have been Republican voters, but this has been an uneasy marriage from the moment they started to elect individuals to serve in a Washington they profess to hate.”

“Channeling those energies is critical to GOP math these days. Yet these are voters (and interest groups, of course) that don’t respond to top-down leadership decisions. How they respond to a fluid presidential race – with Donald Trump still the frontrunner, outsiders dominant, and some establishment candidates potentially resurgent – could determine the nomination, and perhaps the general election. Boehner’s fate is a lesson, though not a particularly useful one inside a party that’s still at war with itself.”

McCarthy Has a Lock on Speaker

First Read: “As for the race to replace Boehner, it appears that it’s Kevin McCarthy’s race to lose — McCarthy is currently the No. 2 as House Majority Leader. Both Reps. Steve Scalise and Cathy McMorris Rodgers appear to be running for McCarthy’s job as majority leader. Remember, if Scalise (the majority whip) or Rodgers (the No. 4 in House leadership) loses, they get to keep their current post, so both essentially have a free shot.”

“Meanwhile, it’s interesting that Rep. Jeb Hensarling isn’t trying to make a run for speaker (or even Majority Leader). Is he the Texas Hamlet? Perhaps. But maybe his attitude is to see what happens later this year, especially if McCarthy has to make decisions that could alienate House conservatives.”

Christie Scores Big Iowa Endorsements

Chris Christie “will score a major coup this coming week: endorsements from a planeload of Iowa Republicans who pleaded with him to run for president in 2012 but whose interest in his 2016 candidacy had seemed to fade,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“Six of the seven Iowans who hopped into agribusiness millionaire Bruce Rastetter’s private jet last election cycle for a recruitment mission to the governor’s mansion in New Jersey are scheduled to reveal on Tuesday that they’re publicly backing Christie again.”

Trump Would Raises Taxes on the Very Wealthy

Donald Trump “is set to release a tax plan Monday that calls for major reductions in levies on middle-income and poor payers, while increasing taxes on the wealthy and reining in companies that pay less in taxes by moving their headquarters overseas,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The plan will offer a ‘major tax reduction for almost all citizens’ and help stimulate business in the U.S. again… The GOP presidential front-runner is also expected to call for the poorest filers to pay no federal taxes at all while also recommending that corporate levies be reduced.”

Ted Cruz’s Big Moment

“If Ted Cruz is ever going to break through in the Republican presidential primary, the time is now,” Politico reports.

“Cruz’s supporters see the showdown in Congress over Planned Parenthood and the budget — which kicks into high gear this week and could stretch into the winter, on the cusp of voting in early states — as a critical opening for the first-term lawmaker. With the spotlight focused on Congress, they say, it will allow Cruz to make a sustained case to tea party and evangelical voters that he’s the one candidate doing battle in the trenches for their causes, just as many of them are picking a horse in the race. The goal, he and allies stop just short of saying, is to expose his chief competitors for the outsider mantle as pretenders by comparison.”

McCarthy Promises More Confrontation with Democrats

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), “who is quietly locking down support to be the next House speaker, is privately assuring Republicans he’ll take a tougher stand against the White House — and also the Senate GOP leadership,” CNN reports.

“He’s hearing from members angry that the GOP Congress has not advanced the conservative cause more forcefully, and he’s responding with a clear message: He is willing to take a more confrontational stand with the White House and the Senate to achieve the results the party has sought to enact.”

Wall Street Journal: “The most militant House Republicans are expected to be emboldened by Mr. Boehner’s departure, and even less likely to agree to a compromise with Democrats in setting spending levels for the rest of fiscal year 2016.”