a. A deal is at-hand.
b. Forget Les Mis, Obama's presser got Bob Corker's heart pounding.
c. Tom Harkin's heart is also pounding for reasons other than Les Mis.
d. GOP governors still grappling with ObamaCare.
e. Cue the mini-cliffs.
Since every old year isn't to be replaced without a nod to nostalgia...Auld Lang Syne and Happy New Year's.
Monday, December 31, 2012
a. A deal is at-hand.
The Daily Caller spotted Rick Santorum leading a group of unidentified followers around the Capitol today on a sight-seeing tour.
“Man, you guys must be really desperate for someone to talk to,” he said, as reporters staking out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office swarmed around him.
“I wish I knew something,” he said of the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations.
For a record 17th time, Hillary Clinton has topped Gallup's list of Americans' most admired women. As Chris Cillizza points out, that's the 17th time in the last 20 years she's done that.
MOST ADMIRED WOMEN:
1. Hillary Clinton 21%
2. Michelle Obama 5%
3. Oprah Winfrey 4%
4. Condi Rice 3%
5. Sarah Palin, Malala Yousafzai, Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher 2%
9. Aung San Suu Kyi 1%
10. Kate Middleton 1%
As for who's finished first most often, Hillary hits 17, Eleanor Roosevelt hits 13, Thatcher hits 6, Jacki Kennedy hits 5, Mother Teresa a surprisingly low 4, and Golda Meir, Rosalynn Carter, and Nancy Reagan 3 times.
MOST ADMIRED MEN:
1. Barack Obama 30%
2. Nelson Mandela 3%
3. Mitt Romney, Bill Graham, George W. Bush, the Pope 2%
7. Bill Clinton, The Dalai Lama, George H.W. Bush, Ron Paul, and John McCain 1%
As for who's finished first most often among men, it's Eisenhower at 12 times, Reagan and Clinton at 8 times, George W. Bush at 7, Obama 5 times, and LBJ (the president; not the Heat), Nixon, and George H.W. Bush at 4 times.
Albert Martinez, political adviser to Marco Rubio, tells The Huffington Post:
"He's willing to go into spaces that other people aren't," said Rubio political adviser Albert Martinez, mentioning the senator's two appearances on "The Daily Show."
Another venue Rubio should consider? Reddit.
In breaking down this year's winners and losers (in sports, politics, and pop culture), Grantland's Rembert Browne wrote:
Obama hopping on Reddit was possibly the coolest nerd move that's ever happened in the history of the presidency.
.... Obama's final update was "By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience — NOT BAD!" Just incredible.
The fact that merely hopping onto Reddit could sway votes? To use the writer's words, "just incredible."
Schweitzer, earlier this month, on a local radio station:
“I don’t want to sound like a terrorist here, but you give me 20 gallons of propane, I can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time,” the governor told radio host Aaron Flint.
“If there are evil people they can use guns, or as we’ve seen in Russia, they can also use things like propane. You can use natural gas. Five gallons of gasoline and imagine what can happen.”
It's fruitless to compare Hillary Clinton with her lesser known rivals for 2016 since their name ID is so low, but with Joe Biden's huge name ID, a Clinton vs. Biden comparison is meaningful.
And it doesn't look pretty for Biden.
In a new CNN poll, measuring Democrats' attitudes toward '16 candidates, 65% said they were "very likely" to support Hillary in 2016. Only 26% said the same about Biden.
Further, 21% of Democrats said they were "not very likely" to support Biden, while just 8% said the same about Hillary.
So -- to break those results down: There's a +57% gap for Hillary Clinton between her "very likely" and "not very likely" numbers, and only a +5% gap for Biden.
Meanwhile, moving to the GOP side, Paul Ryan sports the best spread between "very likely" and "not very likely" among GOP voters.
His "very likely" number is the highest of all GOP possibilities at 32%, while his "not very likely" is lowest at 12%. That's a +20% gap for Ryan.
Marco Rubio stands at +11%. Chris Christie, meanwhile, is at just +2%.
Interestingly, those are the only three Republican guys with a positive gap.
19% of Republicans say they are "very likely" to support Rand Paul, while 25% say they're "not very likely."
Jeb Bush does even worse. 13% say they're "very likely" to support him, while 23% say they're not.
Finally, Rick Santorum fares poorest with 10% saying they're "very likely" to support him and 28% turning their faces from him.
Here, then, are the top GOP and Democratic candidates when comparing "very likely" support with "not very likely support."
1. Hillary Clinton +57%
2. Joe Biden +5%
3. Elizabeth Warren -10%
4. Andrew Cuomo -14%
5. Deval Patrick -21%
6. Brian Schweitzer -22%
1. Paul Ryan +20%
2. Marco Rubio +11%
3. Chris Christie +2%
4. Rand Paul -6%
5. Jeb Bush -10%
6. Rick Santorum -18%
Jon Huntsman, pushing a "strong dose" of libertarianism in an interview with The Telegraph, and refusing to rule out another run for president.
He said he "absolutely" supported individual states being allowed to implement gay marriage, saying that Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, believed that "equality under the law is an American value".
Mr Huntsman did not rule out a second presidential run in 2016 but said he was not spending his time "looking for some opening that we can fit in".
He said that the three most talked about names for the Republican nomination - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney's former running mate Congressman Paul Ryan - "all deserve high marks individually".
However, he declined to support any of them, saying he believed the party needed to go through "a very competitive process in terms of ideas".
1. Huntsman has been progressive on gay rights for awhile -- even as governor of Utah. Back in the ancient times of 2009, he called on the GOP to accept civil unions -- something that got him in trouble with some Utah Republicans but didn't dim his statewide support.
In fact, even after coming out for gay civil unions, he sported an 80% approval rating in Utah with 67% saying his civil union support made no difference in their opinion of his job performance.
But something he might want to forget is that he supported the state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage when he first ran for governor in 2004.
2. Huntsman didn't necessarily flub as a 2012 candidate because he was too moderate. After all, look at the guy who won.
He flubbed mainly because he was bad on the campaign trail, bad in debates, and simply didn't connect with voters on a visceral level.
That's the Occam's Razor-secret that many -- who love trashing "intolerant", conservative GOP voters -- fail to acknowledge. He wasn't a great national campaigner.
[Hat tip: Ruby Cramer]
Friday, December 28, 2012
a. Obama digs in.
b. Markey gets in.
c. What does Mitt Romney do now?
d. Ramesh Ponnuru defends Bobby on birth control.
e. The NRA is really popular.
Pretty cool... all the vids of U2's "New Years Day" in one place.
One of the few demographic trends favoring Republicans right now is the shrinking share of union voters.
Using exit poll data from the Roper Center, a couple quick things emerge.
a. The union vote has shrunk in every presidential election since 2000.
In Gore vs. Bush, union households made up 26% of the vote. That dropped to 24% four years later; then 21%, and last month, union households only made up 18% of voters -- tied for the smallest number in the modern era of exit polls.
b. Union preference is incredibly consistent.
Here's the union vote for the Democratic nominee this century: 59%, 59%, 59% and 58%.
In the previous six elections, union support for the Democratic nominee averaged 56%, so Democrats are doing slightly better with unions this century than in the previous two decades. That being said, Ross Perot dangles his little asterisk over 1990's data, so it's hard to compare the '90s directly with other elections.
c. 1976 was a banner year for unions.
The Roper Center's exit poll data begins in 1976.
Since then, it's only been downhill for unions.
In 1976, union households made up 29% of the vote and 62% voted for the Democratic nominee.
Neither number has been reached since.
UNION HOUSEHOLD SUPPORT
2012: Obama 58% Romney 40% (made up 18% of voters).
2008: Obama 59% McCain 39% (made up 21% of voters).
2004: Kerry 59% Bush 40% (made up 24% of voters).
2000: Gore 59% Bush 37% (made up 26% of voters).
1996: Clinton 60% Dole/Perot 40% (made up 23% of voters).
1992: Clinton 55% Bush/Perot 45% (made up 18% of voters).
1988: Dukakis 57% Bush 43% (made up 25% of voters).
1984: Mondale 54% Reagan 46% (made up 26% of voters).
1980: Carter 48% Reagan 45% (made up 26% of voters).
1976: Carter 62% Ford 38% (made up 29% of voters).
Now it's reported that Hoboken, New Jersey Councilman, Ravi Bhalla, a Democrat and possible candidate for Jersey's Assembly, might back Chris Christie.
Bhalla said he has not ruled out endorsing Christie.
"I haven't," he told PolitickerNJ.com. "I'm not committed to any candidate. I think the governor is a formidable contender right now. The Democrats need a formidable contender. The governor has done great things for Hoboken. He's been an extraordinary partner with Mayor Zimmer. We want to make sure we have a strong relationship with the governor."
Things have gone very well for Christie, as of late.
The good stuff has been both trivial and substantial: Cory Booker decided not to run against him, Steven Spielberg called him a "hero", his approval ratings topped 70%, an e-book suggested that Romney bore no ill-will over his Obama hug, he scored the highest favorable ratings of any '16 GOPer (substantial), sort of laid the smack down on Jon Stewart and won his praise in the process, scored a meeting with Barack Obama while his colleague to the north, Andrew Cuomo, came up without a face-to-face, passed a conservative litmus test by refusing to set up a state-based health exchange, and now finds pockets of support from Jersey Democratic legislators.
All in all, not a bad, first month of the 2016 presidential season.
That's the spoiler alert for San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro's PSA for the Herothon Marathon for leukemia.
Castro keynoted the 2012 Democratic convention, and could be near the top of any Dem's Veep list in 2016.
I'm a bit late to this, but if you're interested in Marco Rubio and football, let it be known that they're very interested in each other, as Mark Leibovich writes:
After his pregame visit with Coach Shula, Rubio picks up a conversation he was having on the field with the Dolphins’ general manager, Jeff Ireland. Rubio will occasionally call Ireland to discuss vital matters of policy, like whether the team should draft a wide receiver.
“I can be scouting at Alabama, and he’ll be on the phone, like, ‘O.K., they’ve got this guy and that guy and whatever,’ ” Ireland tells me. “And I know he’s not Googling it up, because it’s immediate.”
I ask Rubio if he would switch jobs with Ireland if given the chance. Yes, he says instantly.
“Not me,” Ireland says, just as instantly.
And if Rubio tries to burnish his regular Joe credentials by chatting football in 2016, it's clear he won't have a "varmints" moment.
But Rubio, 41, is legitimate, a serious fan who not only can name the Dolphins’ long snapper (John Denny) but can also tell you that an N.F.L. long-snapper must get the ball to the holder in seven-tenths of a second.
Speaking of "varmints", time doesn't make this clip any less painful.
The AP reports on Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's effort to retire campaign debt.
Warren's chief of staff, Mindy Myers, sent an email to the Democrat's supporters saying the campaign has set a goal of raising another $200,000 by midnight Dec. 31.
In the e-mail, Myers says Warren is ready to be sworn in next week, but needs help paying the campaign's final year-end bills.
Despite raising $42 million, Warren ended the campaign more than $400,000 in the hole.
Marco Rubio releases a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, condemning Vladimir Putin's support for a ban on U.S. citizens adopting Russian children.
“I’m deeply concerned by President Putin’s announcement that he will sign the ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans, and urge the Obama Administration to forcefully condemn this action. Over the last decade, tens of thousands of loving American couples have adopted Russian orphans, providing unconditional love, support and a quality of life otherwise unimaginable in Russia’s crowded orphanages.
.... The Obama Administration should make clear that we will not tolerate orphaned children being treated as political pawns.”
Here's something I didn't know -- Steve Jobs was adopted! Of course, his birth parents weren't Russian, but if they were and if this ban were in place, we might have the iSickle. Of course, the other possibility is that he could have become a world class gymnast.
On Fox News last night, Charles Krauthammer explained why Republicans shouldn't capitulate on any "humiliating" offer from Barack Obama.
"I think the Republicans will surely have a much stronger hand -- assuming we go over the cliff -- assuming Obama stays very hard-line and offers only humiliating conditions and the Republicans resist or do nothing and we go over the cliff.
Then, I think, you're right, the Republicans have a pretty strong hand, because Obama then has to worry about the debt ceiling.
With bravado, he says 'Oh, that's a game I won't play.' He has to play, he's the president."
Today Jonathan Allen has a fairly depressing read on why each side wants to go over the cliff -- it absolves them of any politically onerous compromise and gives them the opportunity to then do popular things once the cliff has wreaked its havoc.
For many Republicans, a cliff dive means blaming President Barack Obama for a big tax hike in the short term and then voting to cut taxes for most Americans next month. That’s an easier sell back home in Republican-heavy districts than a pre-cliff deal that raises taxes on folks making over $250,000 or $400,000, extends unemployment benefits and does little if anything to curb entitlement spending. If they back a bad deal now, they run the risk of facing primary challenges in two years.
For Democrats, the cliff is better than setting a rich man’s cutoff in the million-dollar range — or worse yet, extending the Bush tax cuts for all earners — and slashing Medicare and Social Security to appease Republicans. They, too, see an advantage in negotiating with Republicans who will feel freed from their promise not to vote to raise taxes once the rates have already gone up.
Vid via Mediaite.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
a. Hillary returns (next week).
b. Cruz and Castro.
c. Grandmothers for Obama will be around for 2016.
d. Historic: Blacks might have voted at higher rates than whites.
e. Is Terry McAuliffe the next Mitt Romney?
f. A 5% swing wouldn't have been good enough for Mitt.
Lynn Sweet reports on an intriguing and potentially massive alliance.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is quietly building bridges with two key Republicans who may run for president in 2016 -- Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan -- to forge bipartisan immigration reform legislation.
I've learned that Gutierrez met Thursday with Rubio, the Florida Republican -- and son of Cuban immigrants -- in his Senate office here. On Dec. 12, Gutierrez huddled with Ryan -- the Wisconsin Republican who was Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate -- at his House office.
"What we did was just kind of catch up," Gutierrez told me. Ryan and Gutierrez decided they want to "explore opportunities to work together." Gutierrez, one of the House leaders on immigration issues -- who has kept constant pressure on President Barack Obama to do more -- is crossing the aisle as Republicans need very much to woo the fast growing number of Hispanic voters -- who in large part rejected the Romney/Ryan ticket.
After the election, Gutierrez saw Ryan at the House gym and suggested they get together. Gutierrez did not pump iron with Ryan, who has an intense workout regime. "I was going to the less physical, less ardous workout," Gutierrez told me.
Despite campaigning against Ryan, Gutierrez has a personal relationship with him and when it comes to immigration, Gutierrez says Ryan "wants to do the right thing."
That Romney talked about "self-deportation" -- and Ryan was part of that ticket -- is not an issue for Gutierrez.
[Hat tip: Felicia Sonmez]
At the conservative, grassroots level, opposition to Hillary Clinton is forming quickly over Benghazi (Susan Rice, who?).
Of course, Hillary Clinton doesn't need grassroots conservatives to win, but sometimes stuff on either ideological end can bleed into the middle -- even if it doesn't gush. And Hillary's four year glide with conservatives might be starting to skid a bit.
Here's The Iowa Republican today with "Hillary Clinton leaving State Department in Disgrace."
Three and a half months after a terrorist attack in Benghazi killed four Americans, including our U.S. ambassador, the pile of deceit, lies and cover-ups from our government continues to build. Complicit in all of this is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She will soon leave the state department and likely begin laying the groundwork to succeed Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. Her handling of the Benghazi tragedy should disqualify her from consideration.
Clinton is the overwhelming favorite for Democrats in 2016. Knowing her unquenchable thirst for power, it is a near certainty Clinton will run if she is physically able and thinks she can win. To that end, Mrs. Clinton is doing her best to slip out of her current position as quietly as possible.
Earlier today, Maggie Haberman asked when and whether conservatives would start to hit Hillary again.
Benghazi is looking more and more like the catalyst for a possible anti-Hillary movement.
Fast Company Magazine calls NJ Gov. Chris Christie one of 2012's most successful branding stories.
Many conservatives lost their mind when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was shown giving some love to President Obama a week before the Presidential election, but actually, Christie was giving himself a co-branding advantage.
Co-branding is when two unlikely brands combine forces (think of James Bond and Heineken teaming up in Skyfall) to broaden their bases and gain more exposure. In Christie's case, his bipartisan effort with Obama after Hurricane Sandy sparked a 19-point rise in his approval rating, bringing it to record-breaking heights.
The Tampa Bay Times asks Florida insiders (50 Democrats, 57 Republicans, and 9 independents) which local stud -- Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio -- has a better shot at the 2016 nomination (emphasis added).
• 62 percent expect Bush will run in 2016.
• 55 percent doubt Rubio will run in 2016.
• As to who would be the stronger candidate, it wasn't even close: 81 percent said Bush would be stronger.
"Rubio will make 2016 noises and preparations to increase his profile and lay the stage for himself in case Jeb doesn't run. But if Jeb does decide to run, he will step aside, the same way he has said he would have done had Jeb wanted to run for Senate in 2010. Jeb Bush is heads and shoulders above Rubio, literally," one Republican wrote.
Another interesting result?
The overwhelming consensus was that Rubio would step aside if Bush ran.
Maybe, but the longer Rubio stays in the Senate, the more stale his name becomes. Senate lions < Senate ingenues in the grassroots world.
David Axelrod, chatting with Extra about the possibility of Michelle Obama running for Senate in Illinois.
"She'll find ways to make contributions, I'm sure, but the last thing I think she would do is run for public office."
Meanwhile, Axe found a few seconds to praise Chris Christie.
"Obviously, his handling of that storm has been masterful, and I think he's going to be a difficult guy to beat in 2013."
Here's vid, via Extra.
Mitt Romney and New Gingrich both deified the Clintons during the 2012 race -- primarily to draw a contrast with Barack Obama, but also to hang with the cool kid in school in hopes some of it would rub off on them.
But if Hillary Clinton runs for president, the GOP love can't last for long.
The question, which Maggie Haberman asks in a new piece, is whether the anti-Hillary voices will be as loud as they once were.
In other words, it’s not clear whether the anti-Hillary cottage industry will ever exist the same way it once did.
“Hillary’s not … a high-profile candidate now,” said conservative leader Richard Viguerie. “We’re not thinking Hillary. We’ve got all we can do to handle the Senate Democrats and Harry Reid and Barack Obama.”
....Faith & Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed, who worked to turn out evangelical voters in the last cycle, believes the return of Hillary-hating is a when, not if.
“The intensity of the opposition to Hillary Clinton on the right has abated somewhat during her years at the State Department for obvious reasons,” he said. “She’s been a diplomat, not a candidate. But should she begin to test the waters of a presidential candidacy, there will be renewed scrutiny by both the media and her critics, and at least some of the old dynamic will likely return, perhaps with renewed vigor.”
Two months ago, I would've said the anti-Hillary group would grow, but never reach anything like what it used to be.
But the Benghazi issue, fairly or unfairly, has stirred conservatives up and threatens to turn her into a political figure again -- not a beloved stateswoman -- much sooner than normal.
MD Gov. Martin O'Malley is often dinged for being so transparently ambitious (but really, aren't all politicians that way? Some just hide it better than others).
But there's an innocent charm to this story about his band -- O'Malley's March.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has no planned public appearances this holiday week, with two notable exceptions: an early show and a late show fronting his Celtic rock band.
O’Malley’s March is booked for a pair of concerts Thursday at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, just around the corner from the State House.
And then... apparently the band has an "aging fan base"!
The 6:30 p.m. show is nearly sold out, but tickets remain for the 9:30 p.m. concert — perhaps an indication of the band’s aging fan base.
Here's O'Malley's supergroup, singing "Yes, Sister". Careful, Martin. Legend has it that Chris Cornell lurks in smoky bars across the country, looking for lead singers he can replace.
Considering Barack Obama's job approval ratings have been very strong, post-election, these new numbers from CNN are somewhat underwhelming.
Only 46% of Americans think his second term will be better than his first -- short of the 51% he picked up in the popular vote.
33% say it'll be more of the same, while 22% think he'll do worse.
There's a familiar gap between ideology with Dems likely to think he'll do better in his second term, while Republicans think he'll do worse. 40% of independents say he'll do better.
Speaking of his strong approval numbers, the most recent Gallup poll gave him a 57%/37% approval rating for +20%, and his RCP average currently stands at +12%.
[Photo: White House, Pete Souza]
Thursday, December 20, 2012
I'll be gone Friday through next Wednesday.
Well, I'll either be going to the mystical Pic de Bugarach to wait for the aliens who'll save me from the end of the world or I'll be going to my in-laws for Christmas. Not sure which yet.
Have a great Christmas, and I'll see you before the New Year rolls in.
He watched November 6th's results, and -- in an interview with The Huffington Post -- concedes it's hard to go back to November 5.
On gay marriage, meanwhile, Gingrich argued that Republicans could no longer close their eyes to the course of public opinion. While he continued to profess a belief that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, he suggested that the party (and he himself) could accept a distinction between a "marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state" -- the latter being acceptable.
"I think that this will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with," he said, noting that the debate's dynamics had changed after state referenda began resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage.
"It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states -- and it will be more after 2014 -- gay relationships will be legal, period."
There's been a lot of chatter about the possibility of the GOP shifting on two issues in the wake of the election -- immigration and gay marriage.
Immigration, while enormously complex, at least has one huge element of the base largely supporting reform -- evangelicals. But when it comes shifting on same-sex marriage, it's precisely that element which will fight hardest.
On Fred Dicker's show this morning, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised to unveil gun control proposals in his January 9 State of the State address.
New York is among the most stringent when it comes to gun control, but it's not enough, the governor said.
"In this state, the assault weapon ban has more holes than Swiss cheese," he said.
....When asked if a special session to consider gun laws would happen before the end of the year, Cuomo said: "I highly doubt it."
1. Cuomo plead for the feds do more, because according to Cuomo, state control is only as strong as federal control.
He differs a bit from Hillary Clinton, circa 2008 -- she veered toward the right and seemed quite comfortable with giving states wide latitude in forming gun policy.
2. Cuomo said he owns a shotgun!
Just, as a side-note, that seems to be the hip thing among gun control advocates these days -- to note that you have a gun.
It's somewhat of an immunizing force against concerns that they're bent on confiscating all firearms -- right down to Nerf Blasters.
New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D), an extraordinarily popular four-term governor, tells the Nashua Telegraph he won't challenge NH Sen. Kelly Ayotte in 2016 -- as many Democrats had hoped.
“I have said this often; I have no interest in going to Washington. I respect Kelly and the people who go there, but that is not for me,” Lynch said in an interview.
“I just like being in New Hampshire and have had no future aspirations whatsoever other than being the best governor I could possibly be for the citizens of my state.
“Trust me. I have zero interest in this, now or in the future.”
Lynch, btw, averaged to win his four terms by 24% -- no small feat in the northeast's most conservative state.
NBC New York is reporting that, as expected, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) will run for Senate in 2014, and not governor.
As such, Booker will be taking on a guy from his own party, incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg, for the position. Lautenberg hasn't yet said whether he'll retire or make another bid.
It's hard to say this comes as a huge relief for Chris Christie, because he was beating Booker handily in the polls.
But, realistically, Booker was the only guy who could've turned the governor's race into a race, and now he's making his bid to be a lion-in-training in the U.S. Senate.
Oh, and you can expect a tweet about all this from @CoryBooker this afternoon, the station reports.
[Hat tip: Maggie Haberman]
Occupy New Mexico hits up the offices of NM Gov. Susana Martinez to deliver a stocking full of coal with the hopes of prodding her into Medicaid expansion.
A member of Martinez's constituent services group comes out to meet the protestors, listens respectfully, takes the stocking of full coal, and promises "I'll definitely give this to Governor Martinez." He then offers a few more courtesies and finishes, "I'll make sure this gets to the Governor."
Then the best part -- he takes the stocking full of coal into the office.
If Emily Post were to write a chapter on dealing with the Occupy movement, it would certainly look something like this.
Everyone loves Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), right?
Everyone, that is, except a few pieces of journalism that have had the temerity to ask whether his superstar political chops reconcile with, um... Newark.
The Atlantic Wire does a bang-up job, detailing the few unflattering profiles that have done such (The New York Times, The New Republic, Esquire), and how The Cory Booker Rapid Response Team (himself) fought back.
One particularly noteworthy response from Booker came after an Esquire profile talked about the "lousy housing", "rampant unemployment" and "shitty schools" of Newark.
ENOUGH! Esquire Magazine’s July article “The Battle of Newark” by Scott Raab offers another narrow, clichéd, and grossly insulting misinterpretation of Newark.
So what does this mean going forward?
It means that, going forward, Booker needs to take steps to ensure Newark is going forward or else the Booker Book might get stuck with a more unflattering name.
As Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat and potential '16 candidate, says goodbye to his two-term stay in the governor's mansion, The Great Falls Tribune has a particularly good look at his legacy.
One glaring point -- the guy absolutely infuriated his GOP opponents.
Not because they were necessarily so hostile to his agenda, but because he was continually theatrical and nearly always won the argument, or -- let me rephrase: "Nearly always won the headline."
But a few old foes can't help but admire him these days (in the way you only can once the enemy is leaving, and you don't have to deal with him anymore).
“I have great admiration for the way Brian Schweitzer has gone through is term in office. The state is in great shape right now,” said former Republican Senate president and 2012 lieutenant governor-candidate Bob Keenan of Bigfork.
Those words, coming from Keenan, might cause some Montana political observers to do a double take. After all, Keenan — who served as GOP Senate minority leader in the 2005 Legislature, Schweitzer’s first session after taking office — was one of the governor’s earliest and most vocal critics.
.... “He really has done well,” Keenan said. “I think he’s gotten away with a lot, but he has done a lot of good things. He’s a smart man, I don’t think there’s anybody that would disagree that he is a brilliant politician.”
Here's his most famous moment -- using a branding iron to veto GOP legislation.
The Argus-Leader presses South Dakota's' two Senators, John Thune (R) and Tim Johnson (D) -- as well as its at-large congresswoman, Kristi Noem (R), on potential gun legislation.
The response? Vague statements, which probably isn't a surprise considering Thune gets an A+ from the NRA, Johnson an A, and Noem an A, as well.
In response to requests for comment on new gun control proposals, Thune and Noem released statements that didn’t directly address guns or gun law.
“As we evaluate what happened on that terrible day, we look to better understand ways we can prevent this type of violence from happening again,” Thune said.
Noem said the country needs to “examine the results of ongoing investigations and find the best way forward.”
Neither lawmaker responded to follow-up requests asking for more specific thoughts on gun law, such as whether they’re open to new gun control laws or consider proposals such as banning assault weapons to be unacceptable.
As a long-time Thune observer, I will say this -- that guy has been at the forefront of nearly every battle for gun rights in the past ten years.
It's not my job to say whether that's a bad or good thing, except that I've often pegged it as very good for a GOP primary, and the interesting this is that -- four years from now -- it will probably, once again, be a good thing for a general election.
There's been a jump in support for gun control, but not nearly enough to withstand the immunizing power of time and the fact that -- barring a tragedy in 2016 -- the conversation will likely have veered back to the side of the gun rights crowd.
Consider this -- CBS recently released a poll and headline which read "Poll: Support for stricter gun control at 10-year high."
Yes, 57% backed stricter gun laws, but look below, and you'll find this result: 50% of respondents say stricter gun laws would have had "no effect" on the Newton shootings, while 42% think stricter laws would have helped.
Considering the overwhelming tragedy and prevailing narrative that something has to be done about these guns, you'd expect that to be a lot higher. Not -8%. Not one week after the shootings.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
a. Paul Ryan backs Boehner's "Plan B."
b. Romney's national coalitions director blames a bad ground game.
c. Vogue profiles Cory Booker.
d. How will Benghazi affect Hillary's legacy?
e. Christie 2013 kicks off.
f. Piers Morgan, unhinged.
g. Will Grover get primaried at ATR?
John Boehner's "Cliff Note".
Chris Christie's approval rating keeps going up, according to The Hollywood Reporter:
"Gov. Chris Christie was a hero for me.
He was able to put party politics aside for the greater good. And the fact that he would, right at the end of the election cycle, tell the truth about his gratitude — he was my hero."
Btw, Christie's fav rating is getting perilously close to that point where Dems almost like him as much as Republicans -- no joke.
In Farleigh Dickinson's national survey this week, Christie's fav rating with Republicans was +41% and with Democrats +30%.
That's a slim gap of 11 percentage points.
Compare that with Bobby Jindal who was at +60% with Republicans and -30% with Democrats, and Marco Rubio who was at +69% with Republicans and -30% with Democrats, and you can see just how remarkably small Christie's gap is.
That's not to say there should be a huge gap for a candidate, but ever since his Obama snuggle, Christie has seen a dip in his favorable ratings with Republicans, and drifting into McCain-land, circa 2000, isn't going to be helpful for him in a '16 primary -- no matter how the press would lionize him.
Yes, first things first -- he needs to win his reelection. But at some point, he's going to have to start rubbing Spielberg the wrong way to get the GOP base back in his pocket.
It's just something for him to keep an eye on.
[Hat tip: Caitlin McDevitt]
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will add gun control to his agenda.
The governor said he directed staff to lay out a three-prong plan that includes banning assault weapons and magazines that hold a large amount of ammunition, expanding mental health services and improving school security.
He said the legislation hasn’t been drafted yet, but he will sign a bill to outlaw assault weapons if the General Assembly passes one during its 90-day session beginning Jan. 9.
O’Malley said assault weapons, such as the one the Connecticut gunman used, should be available only to soldiers on the battlefield and law enforcement officers.
“There has been a change of heart and a greater open-mindedness” among lawmakers toward gun control in the last few days, O’Malley said.
He said he did not expect groups such as the National Rifle Association to hold much sway with Maryland lawmakers.
“I don’t believe there are many delegates or senators who are going to be affected by what the NRA says or doesn’t say,” O’Malley said.
Considering Maryland is a deeply blue state (with awful license plates, btw), this should be a slam dunk with the bonus that he shouldn't have to spend much political capital on it.
Marco Rubio, releasing a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, calling on Hillary Clinton to testify on Benghazi.
"The men and women who represent our nation have the right to expect that our government is taking every possible measure to ensure their safety, and it is now clear that a leadership failure at the State Department led to grossly inadequate protection of our diplomats in Benghazi.
I join my colleagues in wishing Secretary Clinton a speedy recovery. However, as she is ultimately responsible for the department and U.S. posts around the world, her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is indispensable to any effort to address this failure and put in place a process to ensure this never happens again.”
A 2016 race between those two?
Talk about history -- Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, and David McCullough as your NBC, ABC, and CBS embeds.
Here's San Antonio mayor Julian Castro on Charlie Rose's show this week, offering three reasons why Texas will be competitive at the presidential level in 6-8 years.
Two are undeniable -- demographics and migration patterns.
As Castro notes, Texas has been a place of economic refuge for many Californians and more Democratic populations from other states. That, in turn, shapes and often changes the political dynamics in the state.
It's a good point.
States like North Carolina have primarily become competitive because of a heavy influx of out-of-staters who bring different political ideologies to the table.
And Texas has been a massive sanctuary for many out-of-staters during this economic time of woe, so it's understandable -- beyond even Hispanic growth -- why its political environment is changing.
"I think that within the next 6-8 years that Texas is going to be a competitive state, perhaps a purple state.... there are three things that are making it competitive.
First, the demographic changes -- in the last ten years, Latinos accounted for 65% of the growth, and their electoral impact is growing.
Secondly, because Texas has done well during this downturn, you have tons of people who have been moving in from California, Nevada, Florida, Colorado, other places that are having a moderating influence on the state.
And then the third is that the Republicans have just gone off the rails, and they're losing the business community little-by-little."
You can watch the video here -- salient part comes about 14 minutes in, although the whole thing is interesting if you're new to Castro. He's got a big career ahead of him, and you could easily see him as a Democratic Veeper in '16.
[Hat tip: FrontBurner]
MD Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has two years left before he's termed out of office, and we're starting to hear quite a bit of chatter about how he'll use those two years.
That's because it'll be his last chance to beef up his resume before a potential presidential run, and EVERYTHING he does between now and then will be viewed through that lens.
So -- it seems like there are two paths for him.
1. Broaden his resume with something that's not a cultural issue. He fought the fight on same-sex marriage and, in the past, on capital punishment, and while it's endeared him to progressives, it's kind of redundant (i.e. passionate social cause).
If he takes the broader door, look for him to focus on transportation or, a little sexier, offshore wind development.
As far as wind development goes, that's at least what Republicans are gearing up to face (emphasis added).
“I don't think he’s done,” said Sen. Edward R. Reilly (R-Dist. 33) of Crofton. “I think he has this personal list of things he wants to accomplish, and he's using these issues to build his national audience.”
Offshore wind development, Reilly said, which has failed twice to make it out of the General Assembly, would be a “jewel in his crown.”
In fact, John Wagner recently wrote that aides are indicating O'Malley will, indeed, make a push for a wind bill.
But having said that, there'll be plenty of pressure to do something more obviously practical -- like developing transportation.
2. The other possibility is that O'Malley could try to follow up on his success with same-sex marriage to prosecute another cultural war -- a fight to end the death penalty.
Nationally, progressive activists are far more interested in his potential work there than with something like transportation.
And there are signs he might choose this cause.
He recently met with the president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, to have a chat about various issues, and the death penalty was the dominant one.
On that score, Jealous emerged saying O'Malley "gets it", but that the governor wasn't making any promises.
Jealous stopped short of claiming a commitment from O'Malley to make repeal a part of his own legislative agenda and to make an all-out effort for repeal. The NAACP chief expressed confidence that by the time the legislature convenes Jan. 9, the organization will have lined up enough votes to show O'Malley the effort can succeed.
“He is asking us to show we still have the support,” Jealous said.
Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for O'Malley, agreed that the meeting went well and confirmed Jealous' account.
“The governor would like to gauge the support for a potential ban and would like to take this information into account as to whether to move forward,” she said. Guillory said the question of whether to incorporate repeal into his 2013 agenda is “still under discussion.”
So this will be interesting -- the more O'Malley indulges death penalty chat with national leaders, the more they're going to expect him to actually do it. And the more they expect him to do it, the more he'll be obligated.
Again, politically, the question is whether he actually needs another social cause for his resume.
So which door -- broaden the resume or double-down on social causes? But doing both is probably too much to ask.
UPDATE: O'Malley met with reporters in Maryland today and spelled out his agenda.
Sure enough, he said "the two areas where we need to do better" are energy and transportation.
That suggests door #1 for O'Malley.
Also, he's going to push for a number of gun control measures. My guess is that -- and not the death penalty -- will be his contribution to progressives on social issues.
The Capital Gazette:
The governor said he directed staff to lay out a three-prong plan that includes banning assault weapons and magazines that hold a large amount of ammunition, expanding mental health services and improving school security.
He said the legislation hasn’t been drafted yet, but he will sign a bill to outlaw assault weapons if the General Assembly passes one during its 90-day session beginning Jan. 9.
More fall-out for NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo over a power-sharing agreement between a rogue Democratic group in New York's state senate and the GOP.
Hazel Dukes of the NAACP said the group was "quite frankly stunned" that Cuomo, who is head of the state Democratic Party, would allow a "blatantly discriminatory group" to take control. Conservative Democratic Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx called the move a power grab like the one in 2009 led by Latino senators, who were promptly branded corrupt.
Two things to note.
1. Cuomo never explicitly endorsed the power-sharing agreement that gave the GOP effective control.
But critics think he's culpable to the extent that he actually endorsed GOP state senators in 2012 and stayed mum on the ensuing power struggle.
Once the struggle was over, he wrote an op-ed that didn't do anything to shut up his progressive critics. He said Democrats had "squandered" their last stint in power and failed to "pass any meaningful reform legislation despite repeated promises."
Oh, and that their "dysfunction was legendary."
2. Cuomo's been taking heat from some progressive activists, nationally, over this -- not to mention from some state Democrats within his own party.
It's hard, though, to peg how much of that will stay with him, considering his 70% approval rating.
Bill O'Reilly and Charles Krauthammer are roughly on the same page regarding assault weapons -- getting them off the streets is fine, but first, show empirical evidence that it actually matters.
One reason why Krauthammer, who supported the assault weapon ban in 1994, doesn't think it matters much?
Too many loopholes in Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons legislation.
"We've done this and it didn't have an effect, and the main reason is that there's so many loopholes. If you look at the Feinstein law -- the one she's now proposing to reintroduce -- she exempts 900 kinds of weapons.
The loopholes here are so enormous that it will have no appreciable effect on the homicide rate.
..... show me a law that will make a difference, and I'll support it."
A complaint about loopholes isn't necessarily the objection you'd expect from the Right. It's important to note, though, that Feinstein hasn't introduced her new gun legislation yet and has promised it will be "updated", so Krauthammer is jumping the gun a bit on characterizing it and seems to be judging it based on its 1994 image.
Time Magazine names Barack Obama its "Person of the Year", and in telling the story of his reelection, you can't help but wonder whether "Trust" was the attribute of the year.
The Obama campaign knew that voters trusted him and were leery of this Romney guy, and they took every opportunity to remind voters of that phenomenon.
In early 2011, David Simas, a former registrar of deeds in Taunton, Mass., who had become a senior White House aide, switched on what might be called one of the largest listening posts in U.S. history. For months on end, two or three nights a week, Simas and his team secretly gathered voters in rented rooms across the swing states, eight at a time, the men separated from the women.
.... Live feeds of the focus groups were shown on computer screens at campaign headquarters in Chicago. The first discovery Simas made held the keys to the kingdom. “Here is the best thing,” he said of Obama when he went back to home base. “People trust him.”
In an age of lost authority, Obama had managed to maintain his. In group after group, the voters told the researchers they believed the President was honest, lived an admirable personal life and was trying to do the right thing. “Here’s what I heard for 18 months,” Simas says. “‘I trust his values. I think he walked into the worst situation of any President in 50 years. And you know what? I am disappointed that things haven’t turned around.’ But there was always that feeling of ‘I am willing to give this guy a second shot.’”
In different rooms, behind different one-way mirrors, Republicans made the same discovery. “There was almost nothing that would stick to this guy, because they just liked him personally,” Katie Packer Gage, Romney’s deputy campaign manager, said after the election.
Btw, props to Time for eschewing the impulse to name either a thing or a fairly obscure, symbolic figure as its "Person of the Year."
It'd seem the instinct would be strong to name someone like "Sandra Fluke" or "Polls" as the "Person of the Year" just to be a little edgy and surprising.
But as they showed in picking George W. Bush for the designation in both 2000 and 2004, you really can't give it to anything other than the president in his election or reelection year.
In my article over on The Hill homepage today, I write about the respective records on guns of what are generally considered the top 3 prospects for each party in '16. That would be: Hillary, Cuomo, and Biden for Democrats; and Ryan, Rubio, and Christie for the GOP.
Rubio, it turns out, isn't quite as gun-friendly as Ryan, and Christie is the least gun-friendly of the three.
On the Democratic side, Hillary moved rightward in her presidential run, Biden has always been one of the fiercest advocates for gun control, and Cuomo looks primed to make it one of his second term causes (although that's constrained somewhat by his argument that states can only do so much without federal help).
Read it here.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
a. Pelosi wants Hillary to run.
b. Why Democrats kind of have a diversity problem.
c. W, after all, got the W.
d. NRA is ready to break its silence.
e. Cory Booker -- still more likely to run for Senate.
Look at how old that main Spin Doctor is now!
New Jersey state senator Barbara Buono (D) is Chris Christie's only declared challenger for governor, and is likely to be the most liberal of the bunch (read the GOP12 cheat sheet on her here).
So how might Buono beat the ostensibly unbeatable Christie? One possibility -- remind voters they're from New Jersey.
Buono, to The Huffington Post:
"We should not accept four more years under a governor who vetoes gay marriage, funding for Planned Parenthood and tries to stack the Supreme Court with justices who share his extreme views."
Of course, Buono also makes an economic pitch, but it's hard imagining that going somewhere when residents are optimistic about the state's direction.
In the most recent Quinnipiac survey, 65% of Jersey residents said they were either somewhat or very satisfied with the way things are going in their state.
When you combine that optimism with Christie's approval rating, it makes for a very tough incumbent to beat (an endorsement from the Laborers International Union of North America was some icing today).
If Buono has a half-court shot, running a race on social issues might be her best play.
In a prepared statement to the Albuquerque Journal, NM Gov. Susana Martinez (R) promises action but offers little in the way of specifics (emphasis added).
"There are some individuals who should never have access to firearms, like criminals and the mentally ill.... In reviewing our state statutes, I will pursue legislation this session to make clear that the state must accurately and promptly provide information on people who have been found mentally ill by a court, or who have been involuntarily committed to an institution,” the governor said.
.... She said a push is needed to ensure national criminal databases have updated information regarding an individual’s mental health status that would be flagged in federal background checks before some gun sales.
This isn't about banning the manufacture of semi-automatic assault weapons or applying more restrictions on what can and can't be sold.
Rather, it's an effort to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and criminals through greater transparency, but those transparent means aren't necessarily new. That doesn't mean it's not practically significant -- it would be -- it just means it's not a philosophical concession.
Martinez, btw, is a strong advocate for gun rights -- as you might guess from this famous video showing her re-qualify for her concealed carry permit.
Last week, I wrote about the youth vote's mass embrace of Democrats that began in 2004 and continues through today.
To remind: Young people picked the correct winner of every presidential election from 1980 to 2000, and backed those winners by margins similar to the overall population.
But in 2004, the youngest set of voters picked the losing candidate (John Kerry) and did so by 13%, and the youth vote continues to skew heavily-Democratic -- something we just didn't see until 2004.
Well, today let's look at another demographic that shifted dramatically in 2004, and that's seniors citizens -- the socks-to-the-knees set.
It just so happens that their mass shift and skew also began in 2004.
A couple interesting things emerge.
a. From 1988 through 2000, seniors voted more Democratic than any other age group.
They were stronger backers of Dukakis (1988), Clinton (1992) and Gore (2000) than any other age group, including young people.
b. Democratic strength with seniors eroded in Bush's reelection run. In 2000, seniors were Gore's biggest backers, but in 2004 they became Bush's biggest backers.
In 2000, seniors picked Gore over Bush, 51%-47%, but four years later, they backed Bush, 52%-47%. In other words, in just four years, they went from being the most Democratic age group to being one of Bush's strongest.
The fascinating this is that 2004 marked the year that young people turned heavily away from the Republican nominee; thus, we saw heavy skews to Democrats and Republicans at the bookends.
So what's all this about?
Well, the ostensible answer is that generations tend to hold their own ideologies. For example, seniors in the 1980's were slightly more Republican than other age groups. Once they died off, the next generation carried its ideologies, and sure enough, the 55 year old Democratic Dems in the 1980's became the 65 year-old Democratic Dems in the 1990's.
All that makes sense. But that doesn't explain the huge swing we started to see in 2004 and that continues until today.
Today's senior vote is heavily Republican, but when this batch of folks was younger, they were relatively split and voted in-line with the nation.
So what change explains the gap?
That's a question for deeper reflection, but the sum of this is that 2004 was a watershed election where seniors began skewing heavily-Republican and young people heavily-Democratic.
Using exit poll data from the Roper Center, here are the raw numbers I used:
SENIOR PREFERENCE IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS:
2012: Romney 56% Obama 44% (more Republican than any age group).
2008: McCain 53% Obama 45% (more Republican than any age group).
2004: Bush 52% Kerry 47% (slightly more Republican than overall popular vote).
2000: Gore 51% Bush 47% (Strongest age group for Gore).
1996: Clinton 50% Dole 44% (slightly more Democratic than popular vote).
1992: Clinton 50% Bush 39% (Clinton picked up substantially more support among seniors than any other age group. It was the only age group where Clinton picked up 50% of the vote).
1988: Bush 51% Dukakis 49% (Most Democratic age group).
1984: Reagan 64% Mondale 36% (that's 5 percentage points more Republican than all age groups, combined).
1980: Reagan 55% Carter/Anderson 45% (slightly more Republican than all age groups, combined)
The screenplay for Rodham is considered one of the top, unproduced scripts in Hollywood right now, notes David Haglund in his conversation with its screenwriter, Young-Il Kim.
He told me that the script begins when Hillary Rodham is selected for the House judiciary committee, and that it ends with the moment that Nixon resigns. During this six or seven month period, Kim told me, Bill Clinton was making his first campaign for political office, running for the U.S. Congress in Arkansas. (He lost.)
Kim said he learned while researching the story that Hillary Rodham “didn’t know whether she wanted to be with Bill or not” at the time, and so the “script focuses on her journey” during this stretch trying to decide whether to join Bill in Arkansas or keep pursuing her career in Washington.
This all happened to take place, Kim pointed out to me, as the Equal Rights Amendment was moving through the state legislatures.
Ron Paul talks to The Hill's Emily Goodin about his imminent, post-congressional life.
“What I’m going to be most pleased about is not getting on and off airplanes and [dealing with] the TSA."
Josh Kraushaar writes about what many are unwilling to admit -- the tea party has contributed substantially to diversity in politics.
SC Gov. Nikki Haley is an Indian-American and was primarily a tea party-backed canddiate.
Incoming South Carolina senator, Tim Scott, is black and a tea party champion.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is Cuban-American, and was also boosted heavily by the tea party.
Incoming Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won a bruising primary on the strength of tea party support.
As Kraushaar notes, in each of those cases, the establishment backed white males for those offices.
It’s ironic that at a time when party strategists are publicly panicking over the party’s need to diversify or face extinction, they’re blind to the reality that if it wasn’t for the much-maligned tea party, the Republican Party would be even more homogeneous than it is today.
I don't expect we'll hear much about this in the future, because it involves too large a concession for those who incorrectly branded the tea party a crass, race-baiting movement.
That gross misrepresentation has obscured the fact that the tea party movement has, more than any party (including the Democratic party), fueled the election of high-profile governors and senators across the country.
Farleigh Dickinson releases a national poll of registered voters, measuring both name recognition and favorability of the leading, Republican 2016 prospects.
1. Chris Christie 55%/20% for +35%.
He gets a +41% from Republicans, +38% with indies, and +30% with Democrats.
2. Marco Rubio 46%/21% for +25%.
He gets +69% from Republicans, +16% with indies, and -21% with Democrats.
3. Bobby Jindal 45%/28% for +23%.
He picks up +60% from Republicans, +10% with indies, and -30% with Democrats.
4. Jeb Bush 32%/30% for +2%.
He gets +44% from Republicans, -6% with indies, and -35% with Democrats.
5. Rick Santorum 31%/37% for -6%.
He gets +42% with Republicans, -10% from indies, and -53% with Democrats.
A few comments.
1. Christie has the broadest appeal with a +30% among Dems that's just unreal. But remember, this is a national poll, so quite a few Democrats likely see him in light of his Obama hug; not his battles with the unions, so that's probably an artificially inflated number.
2. Rubio is much more popular with Republicans than Christie. Again, Christie seems to be reaping crossover rewards, but Rubio is far more popular in the GOP right now with a net approval that's 28 percentage points higher than Christie's within the party.
We could have the makings of a Rubio vs. Christie, Conservative vs. Moderate battle for the nomination.
3. Jeb Bush is still overwhelmed by the Bush name, and I'm not sure he can ever overcome that.
He's got to convince Republicans that he's electable and until the country has a good chance to see him, they'll define him by his last name. And the catch is that the country won't have a good chance to see him unless he wins the nomination, and even then, can you really transform perceptions in a few months' time?
Hillary could start running "Bush is still a Bush" ads in January 2016 to further define him after sewing up her Democratic nomination in January.
4. With Mitt Romney, Republicans got a chance to see what it was like to nominate a guy with negative favorable ratings. Rick Santorum would extend that opportunity in 2016.
4. Why doesn't Paul Ryan show up in the poll? That's a pretty big sin of omission there.
Monday, December 17, 2012
a. Sen. Daniel Inouye passes away.
b. Tim Scott makes history.
c. Birthers pop up in the electoral college ceremony.
d. Gun control is more popular, but still well short of historic highs.
Sen. Joe Manchin, the guy who cut this TV spot in 2010, seems to be softening on some gun control.
Marco Rubio's spokesman, Alex Conant, indicates some give on possible gun legislation.
"In the aftermath of the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Sen. Rubio, like millions of Americans, is looking for public policy changes that would prevent such a horrible event from happening again.
He remains a strong supporter of the Second Amendment right to safely and responsibly bear arms. But he has also always been open to measures that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. The challenge with gun laws is that by definition criminals do not follow the law. For example, Connecticut's gun laws, some of the strictest in the nation, were not able to prevent this atrocity. Nevertheless, he supports a serious and comprehensive study of our laws to find new and better ways to prevent any more mass shootings."
Juan Williams, with quite the ode to Marco Rubio in handing out his annual "lawmaker of the year" award.
He dared to speak about young people — including immigrants and minorities — as important Americans who want to work hard but find it difficult to get an education because they live in bad neighborhoods and have families that are often broken.
Rubio wants those young people to identify with Republicans as the party that wants to give them a hand up.
But Williams' strongest praise centers around Rubio's work on immigration reform.
Unlike other members of his party, such as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Rubio talks about immigration in humane, compassionate terms as an issue affecting people’s lives.
“When you talk about illegal immigration, you’re not talking about plagues of locusts, you’re talking about people,” Rubio told reporters last week.
That daring, refreshing approach from a Republican makes Sen. Rubio my man of the year.
While we're on the topic, check out Alex Leary's look at two Hispanic Republicans who are approaching immigration reform differently.
There's Marco Rubio, who's trying to piecemeal immigration reform and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who's far more interested in comprehensive immigration reform.
Doing it Rubio's way could bring on enough Republicans to achieve a deal. But that approach also provides political cover and could leave important policy in the trash bin.
"I know people that are in the immigration advocacy community are concerned that we'll only pass the easy stuff and leave the hard stuff. I don't want to see that either," Rubio said. "We can figure out a sequence."
The Diaz-Balart approach could repeat past failure.
"They both feel a growing and unavoidable sense of responsibility as Republican Hispanics to lead on this issue," said Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist who is close to both Florida lawmakers. "It's an opportunity for both of them to burnish some legislative credentials."
Democratic San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, a guy who's named has been thrown around as a darkhorse for 2016, is confident that the U.S. will get there.
Q: Today there are more Latinos than African-Americans in the United States. African-Americans have their first President. When will Latinos get theirs?
A: It's by no means a competition to see who gets there first. But I'm confident that with all the progress that the United States has made, people from many different backgrounds will become Presidents in my lifetime.
So I do believe that within the next generation there will be a Latino president, and it will be someone who represents everyone, who is an American president, not a Latino president.
Read the rest of the interview... like Obama, circa 2008, he strenuously avoids partisan language or any whiff of playing the ethnic card.
In fact, he even points out that he's not great at speaking Spanish:
"I still need to improve my Spanish, actually! I understand it better than I speak it."