POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/20
“It’s going to take a while for the news media to realize that you’re covering something that happens once or twice in a century, a genuine grass-roots campaign of very big ideas. I expect it to take a while for it to sink in.”
— Newt Gingrich, quoted by the Associated Press.
Poll Watch Daily notes a Fox News poll asked whether Osama Bin Laden “was greeted by 72 virgins in Heaven or did he meet a more negative end?”
The findings: 80% of respondents said he had met a negative end and just 3% believed he was greeted by the virgins while 17% admitted they didn’t know.
Democrats, Republicans and independents, for once, were all in agreement: no virgins.
Citing “extraordinary circumstances,” Republicans successfully filibustered their first judge nominated by President Obama, Roll Call reports.
Just six years ago, GOP leaders tried to do away with judicial filibusters altogether, but on Thursday they used the filibuster weapon that had been honed by Democrats in President George W. Bush’s first term to defeat Goodwin Liu’s nomination to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
First Read: “Even GOP Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham — who had been part of the so-called Gang of 14 that negotiated a deal to prevent judicial filibusters and defer to a president’s choice except in “extraordinary cases” — voted against Liu.”
The AP obtained a memo from CIA director Leon Panetta warning employees “that leakers will be investigated and possibly prosecuted after a flurry of reports in the media about the technology and methods used to track and ultimately kill Osama bin Laden.”
As Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) mulls a presidential bid, she told MinnPost that “she’s gone cover-to-cover on The Politician, a book written by a former John Edwards staffer that details the lengths Edwards went to in order to cover up an affair even as his wife was fighting a recurrence of cancer. She also read Game Change, an in-depth account by a pair of veteran political reporters of the 2008 election that allegedly convinced South Dakota Sen. John Thune’s wife that she wanted no part of a presidential bid.”
“The candidate smiled patiently, crinkling the crow’s-feet around his eyes. He’d heard this before. ‘Don’t confuse being loud with being strong,’ Pawlenty told him. The man began to protest — something about threatening to shoot illegal immigrants at the border — but Pawlenty gently interrupted him. Republicans had to pick their fights wisely, he said. ‘You and I already agree with each other. The question is, The people we need to get — how do they respond? We need to reach out and get new people to join the team.'”
Update: Michael Crowley, the author of the piece tweets, “No he did not — that is a misread.”
A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds that just 28% of registered voters say most members of Congress deserve re-election, tying the low point in the trend set last year.
Implications: “The anti-incumbent mood that led to sweeping changes in Congress after the 2010 elections persists, and the accompanying change in House leadership has not fundamentally altered the way Americans view Congress. Thus, incumbents remain vulnerable heading into the 2012 election cycle, though perhaps not quite as vulnerable as in 2010, given that voters are now more inclined to say their own member deserves re-election.”
When President Obama lays out his vision for the Middle East in a speech today, theWall Street Journal notes “he will also be tacitly drawing attention to another upheaval: Tumult in the Arab world has accelerated a shift in the standing of Washington’s foreign-policy power players.”
“The Obama White House has moved to exert greater civilian control over the military, challenging the views of the top brass in some areas, officials say. At the same time, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department, together with a more assertive White House National Security Council, has taken a lead in crafting America’s response to the greatest geopolitical challenge since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
Underscoring this shift: Obama’s choice of venue to deliver the address: the State Department.
It sounds like an update to his 2002 book by the same name.
Nate Silver: “More than 40 percent of John McCain’s voters in 2008 were from the South. Thirty-six percent of Republican National Convention delegates will come from the region. And yet the Republicans, despite the party’s most wide-open field in the modern primary era, may lack a single Southern candidate with a realistic chance at the nomination.”
“My TV is off. If you worried about Washington expectation-setting, you’d never get anything done.”
— White House Communication Director Dan Pfieffer, quoted by CNN, remarking on the notion that the “stakes are high” whenever President Obama gives a speech.
“I wouldn’t subject myself or my family to what I see as the savagery of presidential politics.”
— Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, in a 2009 C-SPAN interview, dismissing a possible presidential bid.
Felix Salmon: “But here’s what I don’t understand: we’ve already reached the debt ceiling. At this point, Geithner can point at just about anything and say that it’s an expenditure we can’t afford right now, and we’ll have to put it off until the debt ceiling is raised. Why doesn’t he just do that with all Congressional salaries? If the House Republicans had to live without pay between now and when the debt ceiling is raised, that would surely concentrate their minds a bit. And it’s got to be a better idea than the current strategy, which seems to involve Geithner all but begging the Republicans to call his bluff and wait until after August 2 to do anything.”
Jon Huntsman starts a multi-day swing through New Hampshire today as he explores a presidential campaign.
Politico: “So far, Huntsman has only started to outline his campaign message in private, sketching out the themes for his bid in the most general of terms and talking about ’21st Century competitiveness’ in a series of meetings with operatives, fundraisers and lobbyists. Republicans who have heard Huntsman’s closed-door sales pitch describe it as an upbeat, economically-oriented ‘soft sell’ — not entirely different in tone from his May 7 commencement speech at the University of South Carolina.”
The Fix: “And, according to one New Hampshire native and Republican strategist, Huntsman’s first challenge is to differentiate himself in a meaningful way from Romney.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has signed a book deal with the conservative publishing house Regnery to write a book on the need for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
The working title is The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government.
“Lee has received a partial payment for the book, but he declined to say how much it is. That amount will appear on his 2011 financial disclosure.”
Michelle Cottle: “The last dozen or so political and celebrity sex scandals have left me with a strange reservoir of cynicism mixed with astonishment: No longer am I remotely surprised when these masters of the universe cheat, but I continue to be amazed by the sloppy, self-destructive, often moronic manner in which they do so.”
She outlines “some basic rules” for avoiding total humiliation:
“Stick with your own kind. Not to promote class warfare here, but, whenever possible, you should try to cat around with someone who has as much to lose — professionally, socially, or economically — as you do. This will dramatically reduce your chances of being blackmailed or otherwise exposed by your carnal co-conspirator.”
“In the event you do get hit up for cash, do not ask your parents to pay off your lover’s family. This not only makes you look like a louse, it makes you look like a helpless, bed-wetting man-child.”
“Avoid knocking up your on-the-side honey. This sounds like a no-brainer, especially for wealthy, high-profile men with so much to lose. Yet just a few years after the John Edwards circus, Americans are now agog over Arnold’s secret love child. Who knows how many other illicit bundles of joy are out there just waiting for daddy to come clean? Clearly, the abstinence message needs massaging.”
“It is not realistic to expect six members to pull the Senate out of its dysfunction and lethargy. Some will ask why we should have more hope in an open, deliberative process, in which all senators are engaged, when a dedicated few did not succeed. The America I know comes together when tough times call for us to do so. It’s time for the Senate to earn its reputation as the world’s greatest deliberative body and help lead that effort.”
First Read: “But this is worth noting: Coburn’s op-ed does NOT pledge against any tax hikes; in fact, his praise of the Bowles-Simpson recommendations probably won’t make Grover Norquist happy.”
The New York Daily News notes that Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) recent statements about moving up her decision on a presidential run “are the clearest indication yet” that she’s leaning toward a “yes” decision “and come as sources close to Bachmann say she’s more likely to run now that Huckabee, who caters to the same social-conservative base, has pulled out.”
Mark Halperin: “Anarchic. The true contenders break down into three pairs: embattled heavyweights Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, ill-defined welterweights Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman and potential superstars Mitch Daniels and Sarah Palin. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum can scuff up (or knock out) one of the real contenders, but neither can win the crown.”
“Several core GOP constituencies are in danger of being orphaned. Tea Partyers, voters with incomes below $100,000 and religious and social conservatives all don’t see a natural consensus choice. Huckabee and Trump were strong contestants for those groups; if Palin jumps in, she could draw powerfully from all three. Senior Republicans foresee a huge problem if left unsolved, including in a general election.”
Obama adviser David Plouffe has stepped up efforts by the White House to use social media to spread its message, according to Time.
“With the 2012 campaign approaching, Plouffe is looking for every opportunity to sharpen Obama’s edge. He has leaned heavily on the 10-person department that handles digital outreach and launched efforts to interact with the public, including a series called Advise the Adviser, in which citizens are invited to write in policy recommendations. He has also issued calls for Americans to organize roundtables, using online White House tools, to discuss immigration policy…”
“For the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Plouffe’s team created a fake movie trailer in the spirit of the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech, hoping it might go viral. The YouTube video of Obama’s remarks has already been watched more than 8 million times, a bigger audience than that of most nightly network newscasts.”
The cover for Dick Cheney’s memoir, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, was just released.
Daughter Liz Cheney, who collaborated on the memoir, told the Associated Pressthat the book will show his “sense of storytelling and sense of humor,” but also that he has “very strong views and a very clear perspective.”