POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/22
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) tells the Tennessean that he’s not running for president next year but “maybe someday.”
Said Corker: “Do I think that I have a vision for our country that would be one the American people would support? Yes. Do I think I have the ability to lead and be an executive and to get good people that you could trust, but then also really drill down on the things that matter? Yes. Am I gifted with a lot of rhetorical flair? Not really.”
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (R) has announced that he will seek the GOP nomination for president in 2012.
The Hill: “The greatest impediment to a Johnson bid gaining some traction among the GOP’s libertarian faction could be Rep. Ron Paul (Texas). The two share a similar base of support, and if Paul officially gets in the 2012 race, the Texas Republican would likely overshadow Johnson. Like Paul, Johnson is a fervent opponent of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he rose to national prominence largely as an advocate for marijuana legalization. And unlike Paul, Johnson has made little effort to court the more traditional parts of the Republican Party’s base as he has campaigned in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.”
Now that reports have emerged that Republican leadership is publicly saying it won’t agree to raise the debt ceiling without major spending concessions from Democrats, but privately assuring financial market insiders that the ceiling will be raised,Jonathan Chait suggests the GOP has a winning strategy that could leave Democrats and President Obama with the blame if the sides fail to reach an agreement.
“Once we’ve established the parameters that President Obama is responsible for the massive financial consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling, why not raise their demands up to the point where they’re just slightly less harmful, from Obama’s point of view, than default itself? The current negotiations allow John Boehner to credibly threaten to wreck long-term havoc on the U.S. economy while privately assuring Wall Street he intendeds to do no such thing. He can demand the money while Obama freaks out that the Republicans are going to kill the poor bond market.”
“The hostage takers are actually bluffing. but the bluff has been shockingly effective. If the House can threaten to use its power in ways that cause what even Congress views as massive harm in order to win policy concessions, then Republicans will have seized unprecedented power through a sheer imbalance of nerve.”
The New York Times has a handy graphic showing favorability numbers for a number of possible Republican presidential contenders from the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll. In short: the public simply doesn’t know most of them, another sign that it’s still quite early in the process.
At least 75% of Republican voters and at least 75% of American voters surveyed said they were undecided or didn’t know enough about Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and Jon Huntsman to give an opinion of them. Huntsman is at the bottom of the list, with a whopping 93% of Republicans and 89% of voters from all parties saying they were undecided on him or didn’t know him well enough. The only candidate who gets an undecided/don’t-know-enough figure of less than 25% in both categories of voters is Sarah Palin.
John Avlon interviewed Ed Rollins, who was Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign manager, about whether the man leading most presidential polls will run again this time.
Said Rollins: “He’s receiving quite a bit of counsel and encouragement. He knows he has roughly a June 1 deadline to decide. Personally, it’s my sense that he’ll go for it this time.”
Rollins added: “If he makes a decision in the next several weeks, we’ll have plenty of time to put together a serious campaign team that can be very competitive. I think he’d have a strong chance of winning not just Iowa again but a good show in New Hampshire — followed by wins in South Carolina and Florida. Once you put those states together, you’re well on your way to getting the nomination.”
Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich “says he has assumed a bigger role in his defense and is considering giving his own closing arguments as his retrial on federal corruption charges begins this week,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
He said he is “constantly hounding” his defense team about legal strategies and described his role as a “quasi-law clerk.”
Said Blagojevich: “I can say that my legal team pretty much reacts to my ideas like my law professors did. I’m getting C’s.”
Matt Miller sums it up in one sentence: “The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit.”
Larry Sabato: “With 18 months to go until November 2012, there is exactly one use for a current projection of the 2012 Electoral College results. This is merely a baseline from which we can judge more reliable projections made closer to the election. Where did we start–before we knew the identity of the Republican nominee for president, the state of the economy in fall 2012 and many other critical facts? And so, with that enormous caveat in mind, here is THE MAP.”
“I’ll tell you, right now: No one in the field excites me right now.”
— South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), in an interview with the Associated Press, on her party’s lack of good presidential candidates.
Jonathan Martin has a very smart observation about Donald Trump:
“A latter-day P.T. Barnum with an insatiable appetite for attention and a knack for getting it,Trump has capitalized on two defining and interrelated features of the political-media landscape in the Obama era — the symbiosis between political provocateurs and traffic-conscious news organizations and the rise of a conservative constituency that hungers for voices that will attack President Obama in sharp and unapologetic terms.”
“In addition to the media codependence, there’s another force at work in Trump’s rise: the appetite among an element of the Republican base for a leader who will offer no-holds-barred criticism of Obama.”
First Read: “While the situation there could resolve itself in the next few weeks or months, the stalemate we see there now is the reason why it has the POTENTIAL to be a political problem for President Obama. The longer this drags out with no apparent progress (but horrible headlines like yesterday regarding the two heroic journalists), the harder it will be for an already war-weary American public to have patience.”
Ezra Klein: “A few years ago, cap-and-trade was, if not a consensus position in the Republican Party, then at least one with substantial support… So the question has to be how the Republican Party swung from a position of partial support for efforts to address global warming to unified opposition. But you won’t find the answer by looking into environmental politics. After all, the same thing happened to the individual mandate in health care, which went from being a Republican position in the 1990s and 2000s to a policy Republicans considered an unconstitutional monstrosity in 2010, and deficit-financed stimulus, which Republicans agreed with in 2009 but turned against in 2010. This ‘you’re for it so we’re against it’ phenomenon is increasingly common in politics, and not limited to any one issue. Cap-and-trade is, for now, a casualty of the way party polarization has become policy polarization.”
President Obama will attend the upcoming launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the next to final flight for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, according to The Hill.
Also planning to attend: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), to send off her husband astronaut Mark Kelly, though she “will probably not appear in public” as she continues to recover from a gunshot wound to the head.
The Buzz: “Obama is already scheduled to be in the state, to deliver a commencement address at Miami-Dade College. The two-fer gives him added exposure in a state key to his re-election hopes.”
The new New York Times/CBS News poll finds 47% of Republican voters said they believed President Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was born in another country; 22% said they did not know where he was born, and 32% said they believed he was born in the United States.
The Hill reports that lobbying firms’ financial disclosures for the first quarter of 2011 reveal that “most firms’ earnings either flat-lined or fell off when compared to 2010’s first quarter.”
The reason? Unproductive government is bad for business. “President Obama and the new Republican House have spent more time battling over the budget than crafting the kind of mammoth bills that have a big impact on industry.”
Loopholes: “K Street firms said regulatory work from the healthcare and Wall Street laws is beginning to dominate their days as clients grow concerned about how the measures are being implemented. Not all of that advocacy work has to be reported under the LDA law, since it often involves legal work that is exempt from disclosure.”