POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/3/11
The Hill reports that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says that he won’t investigate the White House for allegedly offering a job to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) to keep him out of a Senate race, but wants to look at the broader problem.
Said Issa: “We’ve discovered the problem is bigger than that — it’s bigger than President Obama. Bush’s people said, ‘We did the same thing.'”
Issa had earlier called for a special prosecutor to investigate the incident.
New York Times: “President Obama has accomplished something extraordinary during his Hawaiian escape from Washington: his White House has gone dark for more than a week.”
“Analysts say Mr. Obama’s Hawaiian disappearing act carries little political risk, in part because the public has just watched him slog through a difficult but productive lame-duck session of Congress.”
While Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has become a champion of conservative principles — going so far as to found a Tea Party caucus in the House — that wasn’t always the case. A video shows Bachmann speaking to Michigan Republicans about “how she shed her youthful Democratic roots and became a Republican.”
The story: “Until I was reading this snotty novel called Burr, by Gore Vidal, and read how he mocked our Founding Fathers. And as a reasonable, decent, fair-minded person who happened to be a Democrat, I thought, ‘You know what? What he’s writing about, this mocking of people that I revere, and the country that I love, and that I would lay my life down to defend…I knew that that was not representative of my country. And at that point I put the book down… I looked out the window and I said, ‘You know what? I think I must be a Republican. I don’t think I’m a Democrat.'”
When President Obama appointed Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) as ambassador to China, it seemed an elegant way to tie up a potential 2012 Republican rival.
Not so fast, reports Newsweek: “Asked whether he is prepared to rule out a run in 2012 (since it would require him to campaign against his current boss), he declines to comment. The winking response — about as close to a hat-in-ring announcement as you’ll get from a sitting member of the incumbent’s administration — could just be a hollow cry for attention. But sources close to Huntsman (who requested anonymity to speak freely without his permission) say that during his December trip to the U.S., he met with several former political advisers in Washington and Salt Lake City to discuss a potential campaign.”
Said one supporter: “I’m not saying he’s running. But we’re a fire squad; if he says the word, we can get things going fast.”
Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun emerged as the sole major African-American candidate for Chicago mayor when Rep. Danny Davis dropped out in the name of unity, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The shake-up came after meetings among African-American leaders attempting to field a single contender to improve the odds of electing a black mayor.
Nate Silver takes a look at Sarah Palin’s chances to win the Republican presidential nomination and concludes that they look “somewhat less favorable to Ms. Palin than they did a year ago.”
“In particular, it should be alarming to her how quickly some figures in the Republican establishment have turned against her. It is probably not a coincidence that these attacks began to escalate shortly after this November’s elections, in which Republicans were perceived as having sacrificed several Senate seats, like in Delaware and Nevada, because of having nominated unelectable candidates.”
Joe Miller (R) announced he is ending his legal fight over Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat, conceding the race to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the AP reports.
“He was widely seen as the favorite for winning in the fall election. But then Murkowski re-emerged as a wild card, launching a long shot write-in campaign. Miller’s own campaign began to unravel with revelations about his past and the handcuffing of a journalist by his security overshadowing his message of limited government and fiscal restraint.”
Charles Krauthammer: “Obama knows he has only so many years to change the country. In his first two, he achieved much: the first stimulus, Obamacare and financial regulation. For the next two, however, the Republican House will prevent any repetition of that. Obama’s agenda will therefore have to be advanced by the more subterranean means of rule-by-regulation.”
“But this must simultaneously be mixed with ostentatious displays of legislative bipartisanship (e.g., the lame-duck tax-cut deal) in order to pull off the (apparent) centrist repositioning required for reelection. This, in turn, would grant Obama four more years when, freed from the need for pretense, he can reassert himself ideologically and complete the social-democratic transformation – begun Jan. 20, 2009; derailed Nov. 2, 2010 – that is the mission of his presidency.”