November, 2015

Remaking Illinois

The New York Times looks at how Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) and his wealthy friends are transforming the state and its politics.

“The families remaking Illinois are among a small group around the country who have channeled their extraordinary wealth into political power, taking advantage of regulatory, legal and cultural shifts that have carved new paths for infusing money into campaigns. Economic winners in an age of rising inequality, operating largely out of public view, they are reshaping government with fortunes so large as to defy the ordinary financial scale of politics.”

On Covering Trump

Molly Ball: “It is fun to be here. Even the reporters, to whose perfidy Trump devotes a substantial chunk of his speech, are having fun-you never know what Trump is going to say, and you get a lot of airtime… Despite all the negativity and fear, the energy in this room does not feel dark and aggressive and threatening. It doesn’t feel like a powder keg about to blow, a lynch mob about to rampage. It feels joyous.”

Trump Says GOP Leaders are ‘Horrible’ Negotiators

Donald Trump said that Republicans should have threatened to close the government during recent budget negotiations with President Obama, Business Insider reports.

Said Trump: “They’re horrible poker players. Horrible.”

He added: “By the way, in 50 years from now, nobody is going to know about Boehner or Ryan or any of these guys if the government closes for a little while. They’re going to know about Barack Hussein Obama. That’s who they’re going to know about. That’s who they’re going to know about.”

Rubio Bets GOP Wants a Younger Face

New York Times: “By running a campaign that emphasizes his youth and appeal as a figure of generational change, Mr. Rubio, in essence, is trying to reverse the roles that Democrats and Republicans have played in presidential elections for the last generation. And he is trying to scramble the identity politics that have taken shape within both parties, particularly after a 47-year-old Barack Obama excited young voters in 2008 with his own message that it was time for dramatic change in Washington.”

“It is a difficult line to walk, especially for a politician who is being attacked as precocious, impatient and too busy furthering his presidential ambitions to show up to work in Washington. Mr. Rubio’s challenge is made more daunting by the fact that he is trying to win the nomination of a party that has grown older, whiter and more conservative. Seeking to become the first Hispanic president, he is the youngest person in the Republican field this year.”

Raising Money to Raise More Money

Los Angeles Times: “Before he entered the race, … Carson signed on to … American Legacy PAC, an organization with ties to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. With Carson as the face of its Save Our Healthcare campaign, American Legacy raised close to $6 million in 2014 – and spent nearly all of it paying the consultants and firms that raised the money. Just 2% was donated to Republican candidates and committees.”

Rubio Says God’s Rules Win

Sen. Marco Rubio told CBN that religious believers must “ignore” laws that violate their faith.

Said Rubio: “In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that. So when those two come into conflict, God’s rules always win.”

Quote of the Day

“This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.”

— President Obama, quoted by Politico, after yet another mass shooting.

A Modern Day Eugene Debs

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s “upstart presidential candidacy is being fueled by voter sentiment that hasn’t been so prominent for nearly a century: a fight between the economic haves and have-nots,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“It’s a stewing sense of unfairness last tapped to broad affect by a couple of his political heroes: socialist presidential candidates Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, each of whom lost five times in the early part of the 20th century. While they faltered on Election Day, they did succeed in pushing the Democratic Party to the left, and some of their policy proposals found their way into President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.”

GOP Candidates Take Different View of Heroin Crisis

Washington Post: “Several GOP presidential contenders have advocated treating the nation’s growing heroin epidemic as a health crisis, not a criminal one. But most stop short of advocating the same approach to other drug laws, notably those involving marijuana and crack cocaine, which disproportionately affect African Americans.”

“Such views highlight the resonance and reach of the opiate epidemic — but also a persistent racial and geographic divide in American politics. The heroin epidemic has overwhelmingly hit whites. It has also skyrocketed to the top of voters’ lists of political priorities in the same bands of America — rural states, the suburbs and notably the early voting state of New Hampshire — that track directly with where Republicans must perform well to win back the White House next year.”

Cruz’s Myth of GOP Presidential Politics

The Economist: “The presidential candidate who has most harmed American politics this year is Donald Trump, a bully who has prospered by inciting rage. Yet from the narrower perspective of the Republican Party, the most dangerous candidate of the 2016 pack may just be Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who is rising in the polls by telling conservative activists a seductive but misleading story about how their party wins elections.”

“Since launching his presidential run, the 44-year-old Texan has built his campaign around a simple pitch: assuring the most conservative third of the Republican electorate, from born-again Christian voters to hardline members of the Tea Party, that they form a natural majority of the conservative movement, and indeed would decide general elections if they would only turn out and vote.”

Since When Did Presidential Candidates Curse?

New York Times: “A little more than two months before the voting begins, the candidates have charged into what appears to be the inaugural profanity primary, wrought by an overstuffed field of competitors vying for attention and the specter of a foul-mouthed Manhattanite perched comfortably atop the polls.”

“The reasons for saltiness seem varied — a play for machismo, perhaps, particularly as national security becomes a chief focus, or a signal of vitality, energy, rawness, a willingness to break through the din.”