POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/8
The National Journal Political Insiders poll finds both sides of the aisle say there is now a high likelihood that the government will shut down over the weekend.
On a scale of zero to 10 — with zero being no chance at all — Republican Insiders were the most pessimistic, with 53% putting the odds at “7” or greater, while 49% of the Democratic Insiders rated the chances of a government shutdown that high.
A new Roanoke College poll in Virginia finds George Allen (R) leading Tim Kaine (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 32% with another 23% undecided.
Kaine had not formally announced his intentions when the poll was conducted, but it was widely believed that he would run.
Update: Washington Post Polling Director Jon Cohen warns to be cautious of this poll. “Results were adjusted only for gender, and the resulting sample is not representative of Virginia’s racial composition, its age structure or regional population densities. Each of these factors is related to partisan preferences.”
A new Council of State Governments survey finds the average compensation for a state governor is $130,595, with New York the highest at $179,000 and Maine the lowest at $70,000.
Out this summer: Life of the Party: A Political Press Tart Bares All by Lisa Baron.
The Washington Post says the book by a former press aide to well-known Republicans — including Ralph Reed, Darrell Issa and Christine Todd Whitman — “panders to lurid curiosity. It is filled with material sure to interest columnists who trade in the gossip of this town’s bold-faced names, as well all those politically ambitious (and anonymous) underlings who roam the halls of government. Think Chelsea Handler, but aimed at 20somethings with ‘staff assistant’ in their title.”
“I actually think that getting the nomination will be more difficult than beating the president.”
— Donald Trump, in an interview with Extra.
Mark Halperin: “He has no Democratic challenger (so far), and none of the major Republicans jockeying to run against him have officially entered the race. But Obama’s strategists want to open local offices in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada to make contact with swing voters and make mischief with the GOP opposition. And with Obama’s online donations likely to lag behind their 2008 pace (his policies and the realities of White House life have turned off some liberal supporters), the President’s money gatherers need to start banking checks. The mind-boggling target: $1 billion.”
With the threat of a government shutdown looming, First Read takes a look at which federal workers are considered “essential” and keep on working.
“There’s an exception to the law, however, for the ‘voluntary services’ of federal employees who are needed to handle ’emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.’ This language has tended to be interpreted very broadly — to cover well over half of all federal employees… So it boils down to this: In a shutdown, federal employees cannot volunteer to come to work, unless their jobs are considered essential. And if they are essential, their ‘volunteering’ is mandatory.”
The Washington Post reports that former Sen. George Allen (R-VA), who is looking to reclaim his old seat in 2012, has found himself in hot water after he asked NBC 4 reporter-anchor Craig Melvin, a tall African American, which position he played. The problem? Melvin never played a sport.
The incident is reminiscent of 2006, when Allen originally lost his Senate seat after using the slur “macaca” to refer to a rival campaign staffer.
Politico notes that while there are many parallels between the government shutdown of 1995-1996 and the current funding impasse, what is missing is a “president, a House speaker and a Senate majority leader who actually want it.”
“The three figures at the center of the spending impasse — Barack Obama, John Boehner and Harry Reid — aren’t the chest-pounding types, a la Newt Gingrich in 1995, or the kind to gamble on a big political pay-off, a la Bill Clinton… Obama has never shown patience for the Washington dance… Boehner, a classic backroom pol, is viewed as reasonable by many Democrats. The White House decided weeks ago to pursue a strategy of engagement with him, rather than confrontation.”
The latest WSJ/NBC News poll finds support for Sarah Palin has collapsed nationally with just 25% of Americans now viewing her positively and 53% viewing her negatively.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told constituents this morning that he expects a government shutdown, National Journal reports.
Later, on the Senate floor, Reid said, “The numbers are basically there. But I am not near as optimistic — and that’s an understatement — as I was 11 hours ago.”
Though the latest WSJ/NBC News poll shows Donald Trump is tied for second in the GOP presidential race, First Read advises “don’t let the Trump shiny metal object distract you from what could be a more significant story: Michele Bachmann. In a smaller five-way trial heat (featuring Romney, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Barbour, and Bachmann), Romney leads with 40% of Republican primary voters, followed by Newt at 20%, and T-Paw at 12%. But among those describing themselves as VERY CONSERVATIVE, Bachmann leads that field. If Trump is an asteroid who could turn into a pebble, Bachmann could be a snow ball that could turn into an avalanche.”
The New York Times observes that President Obama “is so intent on trying to elevate himself over the partisan feuds of the day that he sometimes refers to Democrats in the third person, as though he is not the leader of the party. It remains an open question whether the distance he seeks to place between himself and Democrats on Capitol Hill — his own version of triangulation — will attract independent voters or antagonize members of his party.”
The House of Representatives defeated an amendment to a bill that “would have put the chamber on record backing the widely held scientific view that global warming is occurring and humans are a major cause,” reports The Hill.
The amendment, which stated that “Congress accepts the scientific findings of the Environmental Protection Agency that climate changes is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare,” failed by a near party-line vote of 184 to 240. The only Republican to vote for the amendment is Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), while three Democrats voted against it.
Though a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests the American public is divided over who they would blame for a government shutfown, Nate Silver makes an important point: “most voters are not expecting a shutdown, so if one were to occur, the political winds could go from being nearly still to gale-force in a hurry.”
He adds that “getting the attention of a voter who is disengaged from politics is no easier than getting the attention of a teenager who is playing with an Xbox. Then again, a shutdown might be the equivalent of the only worthwhile solution: pulling the power cord.”
“My family is very clear that I do not look good in a toga.”
— Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, quoted by the Chicago Sun Times, rejecting the claim that Chicago will go from “King Richard” Daley to “Emperor Emanuel.”
Using computer analysis, Harvard University professor Gary King found that senators spend about 27% of the time just taunting each other, the Washington Postreports.
He also found that taunting was most common in members from safe districts.
A regular golfing buddy and high school friend of President Obama was among four people arrested during a prostitution sting operation, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.
President Obama and Congressional leaders said that “a late-night White House bargaining session produced no budget breakthrough that would avert a government shutdown this weekend but agreed the two sides had narrowed the issues in efforts to strike a deal,” the New York Times reports.
Ezra Klein: “The two sides know where the money in the budget is. If we were really just looking behind the couch for coins, this would be finished already. But that’s not what we’re doing. Boehner has got the Democrats beyond his opening bid. He may be able to get a few billion more out of them, but that’s about as far as they’ll go.In most situations, that would be good enough. But perhaps not here. So Boehner is trying to show that he’s fought for more cuts until the final minute. He wants a deal to look like labor, like effort, like the best bargain a tough negotiator could strike. But even he doesn’t know if House Republicans will accept what comes out of that room. What he does know, however, is that if they reject it, and a shutdown comes, they will be blamed.”
However, a new Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll suggests Americans “are divided over who they would fault for a shutdown, with 37% blaming congressional Republicans, 20% blaming Democrats and 20% blaming Mr. Obama.”
A new Suffolk University poll in Massachusetts finds Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) remains virtually untouchable in matchups against all but one potential Democratic challenger — former Rep. Joe Kennedy (D), who comes closest to catching Brown but has said that he will not run.
Key finding: 55% of voters said that Brown deserves to be reelected, and 56% said they agreed that Brown has kept his promise to be an independent voice in the U.S. Senate.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Mississippi finds Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) cruising towards re-election. He beats even the most popular possible Democratic challengers by double-digits.