POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/10
The Wisconsin state Senate passed a measure stripping public unions of most of their collective bargaining rights. The Assembly is expected to vote tomorrow and Walker will sign the bill into law. But that’s far from the end of this major fight.
Ezra Klein: “Expect the protests over the next few days to be ferocious. But unless a judge rules the move illegal — and I don’t know how to judge the likelihood of that — Walker’s proposed law will go forward. The question is whether Walker and the Republicans who voted for it will do the same.”
“Polls in Wisconsin clearly showed that Republicans had failed to persuade the public of their cause. Walker’s numbers dropped, while Democrats and unions found themselves suddenly flush with volunteers, money, and favorable media coverage. And they plan to take advantage of it: Eight Wisconsin Republicans have served for long enough to be vulnerable to a recall election next year, and Democrats have already begun gathering signatures. Now their efforts will accelerate.”
Greg Sargent has a statement from Wisconsin Democrats: “We now put our total focus on recalling the eligible Republican senators who voted for this heinous bill. And we also begin counting the days remaining before Scott Walker is himself eligible for recall.”
Newt Gingrich told supporters on a conference call “we are leaning toward a yes” on a presidential run, CNN has learned.
He said he hopes to announce his bid in late May at noon in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and asked the group for help building a national audience for that event. The campaign itself would be headquartered in Atlanta.
Also interesting: Gingrich expects former Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) to be a co-chair “once we put the campaign together.”
David S. Broder, 81, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post and one of the most respected writers on national politics for four decades, died today, the Washington Post reports.
Dan Balz: “David Broder was the best political reporter of his or any other generation. He defined the beat as it had not been defined before. He spent a lifetime instructing succeeding generations of reporters — never by dictate but always by example.”
A source tells Ben Smith that Sarah Palin would base her possible presidential campaign in Scottsdale, Arizona, close to where Bristol Palin recently bought a house.
“Basing a campaign there would be a provocative rejection of any lingering political cost from those who connect her harsh rhetoric and Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting — a traditional refusal to retreat. It’s also the core of the politically contested, fast-growing new West. And it would also hark back, perhaps not to McCain, more a Washington figure than an Arizona one, but to what now stands as the iconic campaign for many base Republican voters: Goldwater ’64.”
“I hope it doesn’t affect my chances to be his vice presidential pick.”
— Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), quoted by Politico, on saying Donald Trump had “no chance” to win the presidential election in 2012.
A few questions for Ohio News Network’s Jim Heath:
Has Ohio Gov. John Kasich learned any lessons from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in how to handle the public sector unions?
While the demonstrations have been smaller, Ohio has a tougher anti-collective bargaining bill than Wisconsin. SB 5 eliminates collective bargaining rights except for wages. It raises workers costs on pensions and health care. It also makes it illegal for public workers to strike, with possible jail time. Wisconsin exempted firefighters and police from their bill, but they are included in SB 5. Despite the protests, Republican lawmakers are likely to send the bill to Kasich by the end of the month. So perhaps Walker is learning some lessons from Ohio.
How do President Obama’s chances in Ohio look for his re-election? Do the wave of public sector union battles help or hurt him in Ohio?
Obama has made over a dozen trips to the state as president, but his approval rating has been stuck in the mid 40’s for the past year. It is increasingly likely that there will be a ballot referendum on collective bargaining this November. It’s too early to know how that outcome will effect 2012. Ted Strickland was governor in 2008 when Obama won, but until we know the fallout of SB 5 it’s unclear how Kasich may help/hurt the GOP nominee. Still, the biggest factor in how Obama plays in Ohio next year will be the overall economy. Ohio remains one of the top battlegrounds for both parties and the union activism can only help the Democrats.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that Americans believe the United States is on the wrong track by a large margin, 64% to 31%. The move is driven largely by the rise in gasoline prices due to Middle East turmoil.
David Frum doesn’t feel right about the conclusion that Tim Pawlenty has the most plausible path to the Republican presidential nomination, even though he admits that he has “reasoned the same way about Pawlenty, as recently as over dinner last night with a group of close political watchers.”
“And yet … predicting Pawlenty feels like reaching the wrong answer on a math exam. You do the calculation and you arrive at the answer, Pawlenty. You think: that can’t be right… Pawlenty was a fine governor, and I’m sure he would be a fine president. Yet I have never met anybody who is enthusiastic about him, and I’ve met quite a few of the people who work for him. Can you reach the presidency with all around you saying, ‘He’s fine, he’ll do’?”
Newt Gingrich attempts to explain his failed marriages on the fact that he “worked far too hard” but some are not buying it.
David Frum: “It’s not the infidelity. It’s the arrogance, hypocrisy, and — most horrifying to women voters — the cruelty. Anyone can dump one sick wife. Gingrich dumped two.”
Josh Marshall: “There are so many reasons why Gingrich is the lead balloon of presidential politics, but Frum really has this right that the infidelity thing is just something he cannot survive. Not because voters won’t tolerate infidelity — in many circumstances they will — but because the pattern with Gingrich shows a level of hypocrisy, cruelty and emotional immaturity that most people won’t accept in a president.”
First Read: “When you look at the early 2012 presidential battleground map, and then at the early 2012 Senate map, it’s striking how much overlap there is. Winner take all? The Democrats’ control of the Senate is already sitting on a knife’s edge. Consider: Florida, Ohio, and Virginia promise to be three of the most important presidential states next year, and all three could have competitive Senate races. (If Tim Kaine ends up running for Senate, Virginia will probably be next year’s most-watched Senate contest.) But those three aren’t alone: Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin could also have both competitive Senate and presidential states.”
Said Gingrich: “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them. I found that I felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness. Not God’s understanding, but God’s forgiveness. I do believe in a forgiving God. And I think most people, deep down in their hearts, hope there’s a forgiving God.”
A new Bloomberg National poll finds Americans strongly reject Republican efforts to curb bargaining rights of unions whose power they say is dwarfed by corporations.
Key finding: 64% of respondents, including a plurality of Republicans (49%), say employees should have the right to collectively bargain for their wages. 63%, including 55% of Republicans, say states without enough money to pay for all the pension benefits they have promised shouldn’t be able to break those obligations.
The New York Times notes that as Rep. Peter King (R-NY) “seizes the national spotlight this week with a hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims” he faces the fact that “long before he became an outspoken voice in Congress about the threat from terrorism, he was a fervent supporter of a terrorist group, the Irish Republican Army.”
But King said he does not regret his past pro-I.R.A. statements and support.
When questioned about his re-election plans by National Journal, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) asked, “Am I running?”
Kohl then asked “are you are a reporter?” Told “yes,” he walked away without a word.
Meanwhile, Roll Call reports that Kohl “has yet to determine whether he will run for re-election in 2012 but plans to make a decision later this year.”
A new Quinnipiac poll finds Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) gets no honeymoon as voters disapprove 40% to 35% of the job he is doing, with 25% undecided.
Said pollster Douglas Schwartz: “Connecticut voters are in a grumpy mood. Nearly 70% are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the state and no elected official in this survey has an approval rating above 50%. But it’s early. Dannel Malloy has been governor for only two months. The first impression of him is decidedly mixed with many voters taking a wait and see attitude.”
“History may well recall that day went a long way toward re-electing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and making Rep. Dean Heller his partner in the Club of 100, while fundamentally changing the dynamic of the state’s (the country’s) politics. If Ensign had not disclosed his affair that day, freezing Heller’s ambitions to run the following year against Reid, the junior senator might now be the senior senator, preparing a strategy to rush to the head of a lackluster 2012 GOP presidential field.”
The Washington Post says White House chief of staff Bill Daley is working “to repair badly frayed relations between the White House and the Cabinet.”
Though we’ve never heard of the problem before, “both sides were deeply disgruntled. Agency heads privately complained that the White House was a ‘fortress’ that was unwilling to accept input and that micromanaged their departments. Senior administration advisers rolled their eyes in staff meetings at the mention of certain Cabinet members.”
Said Daley: “You hear the same thing: ‘I don’t think we’re used well.I don’t think we’re consulted enough.’ Whether it’s true or not, perception becomes reality, and I think there’s a desire to feel more part of a team.”