POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/8
“The usual Rumsfeld critics (including some in the Bush family circle) are rushing to categorize it as a ‘score-settling’ account, but that’s a predictable (and tedious) judgment. At the heart of Mr. Rumsfeld’s book is an important critique of the Bush administration that has been largely missing from the debate over Iraq. The dominant narrative to date has been that a cowboy president and his posse of neocons went to war without adequate preparation and ran roughshod over doubts by more sober bureaucratic and strategic minds.”
“What Mr. Rumsfeld offers is a far more believable account of events, one that holds individuals responsible for failures of execution… If nothing else, this gives historians something valuable to ponder as they work on an honest appraisal of the Bush years.”
Ben Smith notes there is a video of Ronald Reagan endorsing Haley Barbour which, of course, will be hard to top if made into a 2012 GOP primary campaign ad.
The script: “I’d like to take a moment to talk with you about our country’s future and a very special leader – Haley Barbour. The problems of the 1980’s are rapidly changing and demanding new solutions and fresh vigorous ideas. I’ve learned first hand that Haley Barbour has the intelligence, courage and experience to make a great United States Senator. These are difficult times but slowly and surely we are making America prosperous again. With leaders like Haley Barbour we can look to the future with confidence and hope.”
The Washington Post reports that ABC has ordered a pilot episode of Georgetownfrom Josh Schwartz, the creator of shows like the O.C. and Gossip Girl.
The show will most likely be “about idealistic 20-something aspiring politicos who come to Washington to juggle their personal and professional lives, and discover along the way that the ideals that brought them to our nation’s capital don’t always match Washington reality.”
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and his wife, U.S. District Court Judge Marjorie “Midge” Rendell, announced in an e-mail that they will be “living separately” now that they have left the Governor’s Mansion, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.
“But don’t let that prevent anyone from sending them invitations to the same party, the parting couple advised. The split after four decades of marriage is ‘amicable’ and they won’t find it awkward or uncomfortable to socialize together.”
“The Democratic Leadership Council, the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years, is out of money and could close its doors as soon as next week,” Ben Smithreports.
The DLC “tried — but has failed — to remake itself in the summer of 2009, when its founder, Al From, stepped down as president. Its new leader, former Clinton aide Bruce Reed, sought to remake the group as a think tank, and the DLC split from its associated think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute. But Reed left the DLC last year himself to serve as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff…”
With the Iowa caucuses just a year away, the Des Moines Register gives a good rundown of what the prospective candidates are doing in the Hawkeye State.
Politics PA reports on rumors that former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), who lost the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race to Pat Toomey (R) last year, is considering a run for governor in 2014.
“When I was a child, President Ronald Reagan was the nice man who gave us jelly beans when we visited the White House. I didn’t know then, but I know it now: The jelly beans were much more than a sweet treat that he gave out as gifts. They represented the uniqueness and greatness of America – each one different and special in its own way, but collectively they blended in harmony.”
— Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ), writing for Politico.
Rich Lowry argues former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) should run for president in 2012 instead of possibly waiting until the next cycle.
“By 2016, a bumper crop of Republican talent will be poised to storm the national stage. Marco Rubio not only will be the hot new thing out of Florida, he’ll be seasoned. Chris Christie will be ready. A host of senators and governors — freshly minted in the 2010 elections, so it’s too soon for them to run now — will be ready to go. Jeb will not be such a predominant figure in such a robust field. The crop of prospective GOP candidates this time reflects the downdraft in Republican fortunes in 2006 and 2008. Jeb would loom all the larger for it.”
“After the election, I sat down with my consultants, and their names were John Walker, James Beam and Jose Cuervo, my Hispanic consultant. When I finished with them I was done with that consultation.”
— Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith, quoted by the St. Petersburg Times, not taking the bait to discuss mistakes made in the recent governor’s race.
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) has signed a publishing agreement to author a graphic novel, titled March, which will tell the story of the Congressman’s involvement in the civil rights movement and other human rights efforts, Roll Call reports.
Forced to make painful cuts this year, one Connecticut lawmaker says “they should start off by cutting the General Assembly in half,” the Hartford Courant reports.
“The 36-member Senate and the 151-member House of Representatives would be sliced in half, but the terms of the lawmakers would increase from two years to four.”
In an interview with Politico, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) acknowledged that Republicans were “not yet” ready to take on President Obama in the 2012 presidential election.
Asked who he likes among the current crop of Republican contenders vying to take on the president, McDonnell smiled and replied: “I like them all.” He then laughed and looked over to an aide. “That’s what I was supposed to say right?” he said.”
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) will announce tomorrow she’s leaving Congress to head the Woodrow Wilson Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C., according to NBC News.
Former two-term Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) “is being encouraged to seek the GOP nomination for president in 2012 and is actively considering the possibility,” the Birmingham News reports.
One person encouraging Riley to run is MSNBC host Joe Scarborough: “I believe there is a great void in the Republican Party still to be filled. I still believe that the eventual Republican nominee and just maybe the next president has not yet declared an interest in running.”
Politico: “He is doing it by exploiting some of the most longstanding traits among reporters who cover politics and government — their favoritism for politicians perceived as ideologically centrist and willing to profess devotion to Washington’s oft-honored, rarely practiced civic religion of bipartisanship.”
“Despite his spokeswoman’s protestations, Kerry has made no secret of his interest in serving in the Obama administration. He was vetted to be Obama’s running mate before the president chose Joe Biden to be his vice president. Afterward, Kerry waged a none-to-subtle campaign to be secretary of state before Obama tapped Clinton, his former rival for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination… Since then, Kerry has immersed himself in his Foreign Relations Committee work, even while steadily expanding his portfolio as an unofficial administration emissary.”
After struggling to draw interest from Republicans in 2008 with its early presidential primary caucus, Nevada is trying again in 2012, with binding, proportional and Republican National Committee-approved caucuses to draw the candidates out west. But Politico notes that doubts still linger that this will do the trick.
“Yet, there’s already evidence that the state again is being treated like chopped liver. More potential GOP candidates have traveled to Israel this year — three — than to Nevada… The Nevada presidential scene could still heat up. But if it doesn’t, the reasons would be partly logistical: no other early state requires a five-hour flight from the East Coast. It also would be partly political: If Mitt Romney runs, the other candidates would have a hard time challenging his deep base of support in the state he won by more than 40 points in 2008. But if they don’t play, Romney’s win will look like a gimme.”
Meanwhile, Jim Geraghty thinks the story is jumping the shark, remarking (with some flare): “Egads! It is February 7, 2011, and yet no one has yet stopped by for their Precinct Caucus scheduled for February 18, 2012! Clearly, this is a most newsworthy snub.”
A new Vanderbilt University poll finds Tennesseans are lukewarm on President Obama — less than 44% approve of his job performance — but they prefer him slightly to Sarah Palin in a hypothetical 2012 presidential matchup, 42% to 37%.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is hugely popular in New Orleans, told Reuters he might pursue a career in politics once his playing career is over.
Said Brees: “Definitely, politics fascinates me, I find it very interesting. I guess, when you look at all the issues and certainly in the current economic times, at times you hate to see both parties going at each other like they do. You feel at times, man this is counter-productive, why can’t we just stick to the issues? Why can’t we just work to resolve some of the problems that our country has and the rest of the global economy has and (focus on) ways that we can help?”
The AP provides the backdrop for President Obama’s speech today to the Chamber of Commerce, noting that lately the two have been “highlighting areas of common ground and expressing a joint commitment to creating jobs,” a marked shift from 2010.
First Read: “Part of this détente is due to the White House’s realization that Obama can’t win re-election if he’s perceived as anti-business (even though that charge doesn’t pass the smell test with the Dow above 12,000 and with corporations raking in big profits). Similarly, the Chamber probably realizes that it can’t be seen as anti-Obama if there’s a good chance he remains president for the next six years (as several high-profile companies have quit the group since it launched its attacks on the Obama White House and its legislative priorities). So in that respect, the speech today is as important to the Chamber as it is to Obama.”
Condoleezza Rice: “She’d never served in a senior administration position” — a lack of experience that showed in her lack of organization in putting together critical meetings.
Colin Powell: “Did not, in my view, do a good job of managing the people under him. There was a lot of leaking out of the State Department, and the president knew it. And it was unhelpful. And most of it ended up making the State Department look good. We didn’t do that in the Pentagon. I insisted we not do it.”
Open Secrets points out that 85 people have already filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to run for the presidency in 2012. Among them are President Emperor Caesar, Jonathon the Impaler Sharkey and Rutherford Bert Hayes.
“Perhaps the closest we get to a maybe-was-household-name-in-a-few-households-about-20-years-ago candidate is Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, an organization that sprung to prominence during the 1990s as it attempted to shut down abortion clinics across the nation. Terry filed a statement of candidacy on Jan. 18, and he’s running as a Democrat.”
Said Brinkley: “Today’s Republicans created this fantasy role of Reagan as anti-government. He was really Reagan of government efficiency… He was never talking about doing away with Medicaid, Medicare, or abolishing HUD. It had more to do with trimming the federal budget.”