POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/24

The Northern Strategy

Ezra Klein looks at President Obama’s massive advantage among black and hispanic voters over a generic Republican candidate in the latest Pew Research poll— he has an astonishing 91-point lead among black respondents — and draws an interesting conclusion about Obama and race.

“Far from marking the end of us-vs.-them elections associated with Richard Nixon’s infamous Southern strategy, the 2008 election was arguably the beginning of its inverse: an electoral campaign where race, because of the skin color of the Democratic nominee, was a central issue, but this time, the ‘racially progressive” coalition proved larger than the racially conservative coalition. Call it the Northern strategy.”

What if Rand Paul Ran?

Steve Kornacki takes a look at a possible presidential bid by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and argues that like Pat Buchanan, Paul could finish strongly in Iowa and even win in New Hampshire.

“If this doesn’t seem like much to shoot for, just remember that for a few weeks in the winter of 1996, Buchanan’s rise was the biggest news story in America. It didn’t last long and it’s largely forgotten now, but it probably provided Buchanan enough thrills to last the rest of his life. And while he was riding that post-New Hampshire wave, he surely believed the ultimate prize was within his reach — even if his party was never going to let it happen.”

Walker Emails Contradict Him

“Seeking a way to counter a growing protest movement, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) cited his email, confidently declaring that most people writing his office had urged him to eliminate nearly all union rights for state workers.”

“But an Associated Press analysis of the emails shows that, for close to a week, messages in Walker’s inbox were running roughly 2-to-1 against his plans. The tide did not turn in his favor until shortly after desperate Democrats fled the state to stop a vote they knew they would lose.”

American Catholics Supportive of Gay Marriage

In the latest poll showing increasing support for gay marriage, the Public Religion Research Institute finds 43% of Catholics in favor of allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, 31% in favor of civil unions, and 22% who said there should be no legal recognition of a gay relationship.

Key finding: 39% of Catholics approve of the church’s treatment of the issue of homosexuality, and 56% of Catholics believe that homosexual sex is not a sin.

 

Giuliani Would Run to Stop a Right Winger

Rudy Giuliani left the door open for a 2012 presidential bid, the Palm Beach Postreports, saying he’d consider running if it looks the GOP might otherwise pick a nominee who is “too right-wing.”

Said Giuliani: “If all we are faced with are candidates that are too far right so that they can’t win the general election, then that’s when I’d reconsider doing it.”

He called President Obama “a very ineffective president but a very effective politician” and said Obama could win a second term “if we put up a candidate that he can isolate as a right-wing candidate, too far-right.”

An Epic Flip Flop

“Exercise a no-fly zone this evening, communicate to the Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone and that the sooner they switch sides, the more like they were to survive, provided help to the rebels to replace him. I mean, the idea that we’re confused about a man who has been an anti-American dictator since 1969 just tells you how inept this administration is.”

— Newt Gingrich on March 7 explaining what he would do in Libya.

“Let me draw the distinction. I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces.”

— Newt Gingrich, earlier today.   (HE CHANGES HIS MIND ALMOST AS QUICK AS HE CHANGES WIVES!)

Stabenow Re-Election Prospects Look Better

More proof a Midwestern backlash against Republicans is helping Democrats: A newPublic Policy Polling survey in Michigan finds Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) standing much improved since late last year. Stabenow now leads all of the Republicans tested against her by double digits.

Where Health Care Stands in the Courts

Nearly two dozen legal challenges have been filed in federal court over the health care reforms signed into law one year ago.

First Read: “And while most have been dismissed on technical grounds, five resulted in decisions on the central issue — whether the law’s requirement that nearly all Americans buy health insurance is unconstitutional. The five cases are pending before federal appeals courts, and one may reach the U.S. Supreme court during its next term. In three of those cases, filed in Virginia, Michigan, and Washington, D.C., judges said the law is constitutional. In the other two, brought by the states of Virginia and Florida, judges said Congress exceeded its powers in passing the law. The lawsuit filed by Florida was backed by 25 other states. Adding Virginia, that brings to 27 the number of states challenging the law’s constitutionality. Six more cases are pending in the lower courts.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Cohen predicts the Supreme Court will issue a ruling on the case during the heat of the 2012 presidential election.

Trump TV

Almost no one thinks he’s serious about running for president, but Byron Tau points out that Donald Trump is “overshadowing the 2012 field in terms of sheer television coverage. For example, Tim Pawlenty has been building up a serious presidential apparatus for months, but nearly all the television networks have devoted far more coverage to Trump’s potential bid.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“This is about as badly run as any foreign operation in our lifetime… This is as badly executed, I think, as any policy we’ve seen since WWII, and it will become a case study for how not to engage in this type of activity.”

— Newt Gingrich, in an interview on NBC’s Today Show, discussing the enforcement of a “no-fly zone” over Libya. (BUT HE WAS FOR IT, BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST IT!)

LePage Orders Removal Of Labor Mural

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history from the lobby of the Department of Labor headquarters, according to WMTW-TV.

A spokesman said the mural was “not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals and some business owners complained.”

Obama Polling Better Than Bush, Clinton

Pew Research notes that President Obama “currently fares as well against a generic opponent in the upcoming presidential election as George W. Bush did in April 2003, a time when Bush’s job approval rating was much higher than Obama’s is today. He also tests considerably better than Bill Clinton did in March 1995.”

Key findings: 47% of registered voters say they would like to see Obama reelected, while 37% say they would prefer to see a Republican candidate win the 2012 election.

Aaron David Miller: “Should Obama win reelection next year, Americans would make not only his day but history as well: It would be the first time in 200 years — since Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe — that the United States has elected three two-term presidents in a row.”

Quote of the Day

“I think the presidency is beneath her. There’s more power in being Oprah Winfrey than in being Barack Obama. It would be my goal for Palin to become Oprah and be the ultimate kingmaker for twenty-odd years.”

— Conservative media whiz Andrew Breitbart, in an interview with GQ, on why Sarah Palin should not run for president.

Still Debating Health Care Reform

On the anniversary of President Obama signing health care reform into law, First Read notes polling “indicates Americans continue to be confused about how the bill will impact them, what’s actually in it, what’s been implemented, and whether it’s been repealed.”

Jonathan Cohn: “We are still having arguments about health care reform. In fact, we are still having the same arguments about health care reform. The Affordable Care Act is law of the land now, yes, but its critics are determined to change that. And while the prospects of repealing it legislatively remain relatively slim, the prospects of repealing at least part of it judicially seem far more realistic than they did in the spring of 2010.”

Romney Preferred Over Huntsman in Utah

A new Exoro Group/University of Utah poll shows Utah Republicans overwhelmingly favor Mitt Romney over Jon Huntsman Jr. as a potential Republican presidential candidate, 65% to 16%.

Republicans Winning Recruitment Race

“In the recruiting battle for 2012 Senate candidates, Republicans are winning by a landslide,” Politico reports. “Just three months into the election cycle, the GOP has locked down heavyweight candidates in seven key Senate races, with top contenders seriously thinking about running in two others.”

“Democrats, on the other hand, are still without a major candidate in Massachusetts and Nevada — two states that present the best opportunities to pick up a seat. And there’s no official word yet on whether Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine will run in a third key race — the open Senate seat in Virginia.”

GOP Leaders Pledge No Tax Increases in Deficit Package

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have pledged that they will not support any deficit reduction package that increases taxes, The Hill reports.

“This promise will make it considerably tougher to get Democrats to agree to a broad deficit reduction package.”

Ezra Klein: “Not to steal Bill Maher’s schtick, but new rule: if you’re not willing to consider tax increases, you’re not serious about deficits. Full stop. Just as rigid pacifists aren’t credible on national defense and dogmatic Christian Scientists are rarely consulted on health-care policy, a politician who has made an ideological vow to refuse to even consider tax increases is not interested in reducing deficits — and that’s true no matter how often they say the word ‘deficits.'”

Trump Will Speak at Iowa GOP Dinner

Donald Trump will make his first Iowa appearance as a possible presidential candidate on June 10 as the headline speaker for the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner, the Des Moines Register reports.

“Top billing for the leadoff caucus state’s premier spring GOP fundraiser is expected to feed speculation about the New York billionaire and reality TV star, just as word did last week when Trump announced plans for a June visit to New Hampshire, the leadoff primary state.”

Trump previously said he’ll make a final decision on a presidential bid in June.

Flake Flips on Immigration Reform

For years, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) “was one of the most reliable Republican champions for comprehensive immigration reform. Not anymore,” the Arizona Republic reports.

“As his campaign for Arizona’s 2012 GOP Senate nomination revs up, Flake is explicitly rejecting his past advocacy for far-reaching legislation that would secure the border, enact a temporary-worker program and give many undocumented immigrants a pathway to legal status.”

“Flake’s stark shift to a harder line is reminiscent of the right turn that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., another one-time champion of immigration reform, took while campaigning for president in 2008 and for re-election to the Senate in 2010. As with McCain, Flake’s moderate record on immigration is widely seen as a political liability in an Arizona GOP primary.”

Dismal Numbers for Kasich

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds that 46% of voters disapprove of the way Gov. John Kasich (R) is handling his job, while just 30% approve.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Kasich has gotten off to a rocky start with Ohio voters, perhaps not surprising given the size of the cuts in public services and state spending that he has proposed. Although there is almost nothing in these numbers that Kasich can point to as evidence of his popularity or that of his proposals, he can take solace from the fact that he has almost four years to turn around public opinion.”

Meanwhile, a We Ask America poll finds Kasich’s 58% disapproving as compared with just 35% approving.

Right Angle

Nevada U.S. House candidate Sharron Angle (R) is writing an autobiography, Right Angle, which will be self-published in April, according to Carson Now.

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