October, 2015

Reid Calls on Rubio to Resign

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tore into Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in an interview with Politico, calling on the 2016 presidential contender to resign his Senate seat “as he racks up no-shows on his voting record while campaigning for the White House.”

Said Reid: “Why shouldn’t he? He hates the Senate. Why should the taxpayers of this country and people of Florida put up with having only one senator? Doesn’t seem fair to me.”

When Purists Prevail

Just published: When Purists Prevail by Raymond La Raja and Brian Schaffner.

The authors find that campaign finance reform that focuses on the corrupting influence of big donors also unintentionally favors candidates with extreme ideological agendas.

The solution is to channel campaign contributions through party organizations—rather than directly to candidates—because these organizations tend to be less ideological than the activists who now provide the lion’s share of money to political candidates. Shifting campaign finance to parties would ease polarization by reducing the influence of “purist” donors with their rigid policy stances.

Worse Than the Benghazi Committee?

David Roberts: “The Benghazi committee is not even the worst committee in the House. I’d argue that the House science committee, under the chairmanship of Lamar Smith (R-TX), deserves that superlative for its open-ended, Orwellian attempts to intimidate some of the nation’s leading scientists and scientific institutions.”

“The science committee’s modus operandi is similar to the Benghazi committee’s — sweeping, catchall investigations, with no specific allegations of wrongdoing or clear rationale, searching through private documents for out-of-context bits and pieces to leak to the press, hoping to gain short-term political advantage — but it stands to do more lasting long-term damage.”

Ryan to Use Speakership to Highlight Policy Ideas

Wall Street Journal: “Paul Ryan is a small-government conservative who hopes to use innovative policy solutions to make the GOP a big-tent party again.”

“It hasn’t been easy so far. But many colleagues believe Mr. Ryan now will use the House speakership—far more than his predecessor John Boehner has—to highlight his policy ideas and build public support for them. Even if the prospects for passing big, new legislation are dimming in the current Congress, Mr. Ryan, who won the gavel in a House vote today, will have an eye on using his ideas to make the GOP more competitive in national elections, particularly the 2016 presidential contest.”

New York Times Calls on Christie to Quit

New York Times editorial: “The point is that New Jersey is in trouble, and the governor is off pursuing a presidential run that’s turned out to be nothing more than a vanity project. Mr. Christie’s numbers are in the basement, and he’s nearly out of campaign cash. This is his moment, all right: to go home and use the year left in his term to clean out the barn, as Speaker John Boehner would say.”

Ryan Avoids Pelosi Hug

National Review: “Ryan is well aware of the potential for that distrust to undermine him, and he seemed careful to avoid feeding it on Thursday. When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) moved to hug the new speaker after presenting him with the gavel, Ryan opted for a cordial handshake, instead — thereby avoiding a politically problematic photo-op.”

Survey Says Trump Won Last Night’s Debate

A new Gravis Marketing survey found that 27% of voters think Donald Trump won last night’s GOP presidential debate, followed by Marco Rubio at 21%, Ted Cruz at 17% and Ben Carson at 13%.

On the other side, 26% thought Jeb Bush lost the debate, followed by Rand Paul at 24% and John Kasich at 15%.

The Hill reports that several unscientific online surveys also found Trump as the winner.

Was Jeb Bush Ever a Real Candidate?

Frank Rich: “Bush is finished. I’d argue that he was never a real candidate to begin with, for all the money and Establishment support he attracted. There are three basic requirements for running for president: a cause or causes you vehemently want to advance, the proverbial fire in the belly, and an enthusiastic group of grassroots supporters who want to propel you to the White House. Bush had none of the three. His campaign has been a study in incompetence that has mainly dramatized the candidate’s sense of entitlement.”

“What’s also remarkable is how little Jeb is aware of the changes in his own party. He has seemed perpetually surprised by the heathens in the GOP’s midst. He should not have been. His own father, with his race-baiting Willie Horton campaign against Michael Dukakis, helped invite in the crazies. His brother and Karl Rove gave sotto voce encouragement to the gay-bashing forces of the religious right, and looked the other way as Sarah Palin paved the way for Trump, Carson, and Cruz. Yet Jeb still clung to a belief that the old-school patrician ethos of his parents could run to his rescue in 2016. History will look back at him, if it looks at all, as a world-class fool and the last exhausted gasp of a GOP that no longer exists.”

Rubio Tries to Cool Down Expectations

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) “took a victory lap on Thursday morning after delivering a breakout performance during the raucous third GOP debate, but he was careful to not spike the football,” Politico reports.

“Rubio, who has made a point of keeping a low profile throughout his campaign in a bid to avoid peaking too early, took to the talk shows to bash CNBC for the confrontational debate questions, a widely held complaint among the still-15-candidate-strong Republican presidential field. But he emphasized that the election is still a ways away and passed on an opportunity to double down on Jeb Bush, his former mentor whom he smacked down on the debate stage when Bush tried to attack him for his spotty Senate voting record.”

Paul Ryan Elected the House’s 62nd Speaker

“The U.S. House of Representatives elected Republican Paul D. Ryan as the chamber’s 62nd speaker, catapulting one of its youngest members to the top job in hopes that a policy-oriented, fiscal conservative could give the party a fresh start after years of strife,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Ryan built his candidacy on the promise of a more inclusive House, a pledge responding to dissent among the rank and file that the House has been run in a top-down fashion, with members being asked to vote on legislation they had little time to study and little input in developing.”

Bush Campaign on Life Support

First Read: “The most significant story from last night is that Jeb Bush’s campaign now finds itself on life support, especially after Bush swung and missed when trying to hit Rubio over his Senate voting record.”

“It was the equivalent of a teenager who, after telling the whole school that he was going to fight a classmate at lunchtime, ended up being the one taking the licking. We’ve covered politics long enough to know that a presidential candidate can rise from the dead (John McCain), withstand a bad debate performance (Barack Obama), and shine when it counts rather than months before the first votes are cast (John Kerry). But Jeb Bush is in trouble right now. Big trouble.”

“For Bush, last night’s debate will either be the moment that ended his presidential campaign, or the point when his campaign hit rock bottom (because he can’t go any lower, right?). But to buy time, Team Bush has to do something to calm the campaign’s most ardent supporters — whether it’s new campaign staff or Bush admitting to strategic mistakes.”