The Good Old Days of Lower Security in Washington

In the wake of the Arizona shooting, the National Journal takes an interesting look back at the history of presidential and congressional security, noting it was far more lax then than it is now. Thomas Jefferson had a public reception after his inauguration, and Harry Truman sometimes walked around Washington with just a small detail of Secret Service agents.

“Today, those seem like postcards from a forgotten era. Security concerns have transformed Washington, taking a city envisioned as the physical embodiment of the openness of American democracy and turning it into a garrison town that is increasingly inaccessible to the general public. To take one example, tourists visiting Capitol Hill start their trips by passing through a gauntlet of metal detectors and other screening measures in a $621 million visitors center constructed specifically to better protect what is already one of the most heavily guarded areas of the city.”

DeLay Sentenced to Prison

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) was sentenced to three years in prison.

Austin American Statesman: “The three-year sentence was on the charge of conspiring to launder corporate money into political donations during the 2002 elections. On the charge of money laundering, DeLay was sentenced to five years but that was probated for 10 years.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually. You don’t have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that.”

— Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, in an interview with Global Grind, seemingly admitting that his network isn’t necessarily “fair and balanced.”

Pawlenty Kicks Off Book Tour

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is starting a national tour to highlight tomorrow’s release of his new book, Courage to Stand: An American Story.

Interesting: In the final week of the book tour, he visits New Hampshire for one day and finishes with two days in Iowa, according to the schedule.

Who Wrote the New Obama Novel?

More details about O: A Presidential Novel, forthcoming from an anonymous author.

“The truth only fiction can tell. This is a novel about aspiration and delusion, set during the presidential election of 2012 and written by an anonymous author who has spent years observing politics and the fraught relationship between public image and self-regard. The novel includes revealing and insightful portraits of many prominent figures in the political world — some invented and some real.”

And a not very helpful clue about the author: “The author of O has been in the room with Barack Obama and wishes to remain anonymous.”

Time to Double Down on Democracy

Ezra Klein: “Attacks on members of Congress remain very rare in this country. The last congressman killed while in office was Rep. Leo Ryan, who was murdered in the events directly preceding the Jonestown Massacre. That was in 1978. What we think we know about the events in Arizona suggest it was even more senseless, and thus even less likely to be part of an organized or even disorganized spree that we need to radically overhaul policy in order to defend against. Above all, nothing we do should make it more difficult for citizens and legislators do follow the example of Rep. Giffords and her constituents and meet for an hour on the street corner to participate in the basic give-and-take of representative democracy. It is, if anything, a moment to double down on the democratic traditions that Giffords and her voters inadvertently took such risks to participate in.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“But please look into protection for your family. An attempt on you could bring the republic down.”

— Glenn Beck, giving advice to Sarah Palin in the aftermath of the Arizona shootings.

Obama’s Moment

“Of all the unfulfilled campaign promises President Barack Obama made in 2008, the one that bothers the president most isn’t any squandered policy priority — it’s his failure to re-civilize what he views as an increasingly savage partisan climate,”Politico reports.

The Arizona shootings “present a critical opportunity to a president at a crossroads, a chance for Obama to elevate the debased tenor of politics, much as President Bill Clinton attempted in the aftermath of the 1995 terrorist attack in Oklahoma City. Paul Begala, one of Clinton’s top political advisers during the 1990s, thinks Obama has a genuine opportunity to re-define the nation’s political debate — a promise he first made in his breakout 2004 speech to the Democratic convention -and reclaim moral high ground lost during the last two years of intense partisan combat.”

In Defense of Inflamed Rhetoric

Jack Schafer: “For as long as I’ve been alive, crosshairs and bull’s-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such ‘inflammatory’ words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill… Any call to cool ‘inflammatory’ speech is a call to police all speech, and I can’t think of anybody in government, politics, business, or the press that I would trust with that power.”

Rubio Rejects Running on National Ticket

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he has no interest in becoming his party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, The Hill reports.

Said Rubio: “I’m flattered that people would ask that question, because I think they mean it in a complimentary way. But, by the same token, I recognize that this job — this one job that I wanted, I wanted to be a U.S. senator, not a vice presidential candidate, not a presidential candidate. I didn’t run to use it as a stepping stone, I ran because I wanted to be a U.S. senator.”

First Read: “Pretty definitive, no? Sure, but honestly, what else is he supposed to say? He was just sworn in as a U.S. Senator, and the naming of a presidential team is a year and a half away … It’s not a good idea, not in his best interest, even if you’re interested, to fuel speculation. So don’t read too much into these kinds of statements from potential veeps. Remember, not a single GOP presidential candidate has announced yet.”

No Second Season for Palin’s Reality Show

Entertainment Weekly reports there will be no second season of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, despite pulling in an average of 3.2 million viewers to TLC with her reality show.

“Insiders admit that Palin seemed to enjoy doing the show more than she expected, in spite of the bad press that it generated. But it makes sense why Palin wouldn’t want to commit to another season: If she and her family chose to shoot more episodes, it would surely be interpreted as a sign that she had no plans to run for office. By not doing a second round, Palin would spare TLC the trouble of having to provide her fellow candidates with equal-access time of their own in the event she did decide to run.”

Huckabee Most-Liked of Presidential Contenders

A new Gallup Poll finds Mike Huckabee has the highest net favorable score among Republicans nationwide in a field of potential GOP candidates for 2012, while Sarah Palin is the most recognized. Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are also widely recognized by Republicans, and have favorability numbers similar to Palin’s.

Huckabee Leads in Iowa

Neighborhood Research poll in Iowa shows Mike Huckabee leading the GOP presidential field in the crucial first voting state with 24%, followed by Mitt Romney at 19%, Sarah Palin at 11% and Newt Gingrich at 8%.

Menino Says No One Can Beat Brown

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) told the Boston Herald that no Democrat will be able to beat Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in 2012.

Said Menino: “There’s nobody that can beat him.”

Space Flight by Giffords’ Husband in Doubt

“The shocking gundown of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has left NASA reeling: Her astronaut husband was due to rocket away in just three months as perhaps the last space shuttle commander, and her brother-in-law is currently on the International Space Station,” the Washington Post reports.

“NASA officials said Sunday it was premature to speculate on whether Mark Kelly would step down as commander of the April flight of the shuttle Endeavour. But it was hard to imagine how he could keep up with the grueling training in the next three months, primarily in Houston, and still spend time with his wife of three years, hospitalized in critical condition in Arizona.”

Hispanic Vote Crucial to Republican Future

Writing in the Miami Herald, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) notes only 38% of Hispanics voted Republican in the 2010 congressional elections and center-right candidates have failed to win more than 40% of the Hispanic vote nationally since 2004.

“While the reason for such low numbers is debatable, the way to turn them around is clear: a long-term commitment to outreach and better articulation of our values by conservative leaders. I don’t think 40% of the Hispanic vote can be our ceiling if we plan to impact our nation in the coming decades.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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