POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/5

Christie Maintains His Momentum

Despite pledges by New Jersey Democrats to push back harder, the New York Timesnotes Gov. Chris Christie (R) has once again “gotten his way largely through sheer aggressiveness, flexing the muscles of an office often called the nation’s most powerful governorship in a way that his predecessors did not.”

“Christie has made extensive use of his veto powers, reined in public authorities that once operated like fiefs, ignored traditions in judicial appointments, and personally directed efforts to draw a Republican-friendly legislative map. He has wielded the bully pulpit with a talk radio host’s skill, using both humor and withering criticism while loudly defending unpopular cuts.”

The New Antiwar Republicans

Jill Lawrence: “Say you’re among the growing number of Americans who want U.S. troops to come home from Afghanistan soon. There are at least three candidates in the 2012 presidential race who are on your wavelength, and President Obama isn’t one of them.”

 

How Wall Street Haunts Obama

Frank Rich says President Obama’s “failure to demand a reckoning from the moneyed interests who brought the economy down has cursed his first term, and could prevent a second.”

“What haunts the Obama administration is what still haunts the country: the stunning lack of accountability for the greed and misdeeds that brought America to its gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression. There has been no legal, moral, or financial reckoning for the most powerful wrongdoers. Nor have there been meaningful reforms that might prevent a repeat catastrophe.”

“The fallout has left Obama in the worst imaginable political bind. No good deed he’s done for Wall Street has gone unpunished. He is vilified as an anti-capitalist zealot not just by Republican foes but even by some former backers… The bigger political problem is that a far larger share of the American electorate views him as a tool of the very fat-cat elite that despises him. Given Obama’s humble background, his history as a mostly liberal Democrat, and his famous résumé as a community organizer, this would also seem a reach. But the president has no one to blame but himself for the caricature.”

Gingrich Sees Niche Issues as Key to Comeback

Newt Gingrich is using niche topics — such as Alzheimer’s disease, military families’ concerns and pharmaceutical issues — as part of his strategy to win over “passionate patches of the American electorate” and resuscitate his flailing presidential campaign, theWashington Post reports.

“By offering himself as a champion of pet causes, Gingrich believes he can sew together enough narrow constituencies to make a coalition — an unconventional one, yes, but a coalition nevertheless.”

French Divided on Strauss-Kahn Political Return

A new Le Parisean poll finds that 49% of French voters think that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn should one day return to politics while 45% said he should not.

Meanwhile, the Daily Beast looks at whether Strauss-Kahn could make a comeback.

Quote of the Day

“This is all about him being a bully and a punk. I wanted to punch him in his head.”

— New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeny (D), in an interview with the Newark Star Ledger, on Gov. Chris Christie (R).

He added that Christie reminds him of Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life, “the mean old bastard who screws everybody.”

An Early Look at 2012 Campaign Logos

With the caveat that Joseph Hughes thinks President Obama’s 2008 campaign logo is in the upper echelon of brand marks — “Nike territory. Apple territory. Volkswagen territory.” — he takes an interesting look at the logos currently used by the Republican presidential hopefuls.

“Overall, I would argue that, from a design perspective, nothing in these comes remotely close to the memorability inspired by the Obama icon. To be sure, though, that’s a nearly impossible goal to reach. Still, no matter Obama’s 2012 opponent, he or she will have to at least get close. If I had to pick a best and worst, my best would go to Huntsman and my worst to Pawlenty. Despite what I said about Huntsman’s logo, there is a lot of potential. I’m curious to see where it goes — provided the candidate is in the race long enough to go there. As for Pawlenty, that logo is just embarrassing.”

Paul Plans Filibuster Over Debt Ceiling

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told C-SPAN that he will lead a Senate filibuster to force debt ceiling negotiations into the open.

Said Paul: “We’ve had not one minute of debate about the debt ceiling in any committee. We haven’t had a budget in two years. We haven’t had an appropriations bill in two years. So I’m part of the freshmen group in the Senate that’s saying, ‘no more.'”

“Next week, we will filibuster until we talk about the debt ceiling, until we talk about proposals.”

Another Do-Nothing Congress

Chicago Tribune: “The 112th Congress is on pace to be one of the least productive in recent memory — as measured by votes taken, bills made into laws, nominees approved. By most of those metrics, this crowd is underperforming even the ‘do-nothing Congress’ of 1948, as Harry Truman dubbed it. The hot-temper era of Clinton impeachment in the 1990s saw more bills become law.”

 

Pawlenty and the RC Cola Paradox

Nate Silver tries to develop a more nuanced view of the challenge that Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty faces, noting that “because he sits so close to the middle of the field, he has more competition to worry about.”

“The danger for a candidate like this is that he gets overshadowed. Instead of being the consensus choice, he finds himself with very little breathing room… Put differently, Mr. Pawlenty is not intrinsically well differentiated from his opponents. A lot of voters might find him acceptable — but the types of voters who find him acceptable will also tend to find a lot of other candidates acceptable.”

“What a candidate like this needs is a good marketing strategy. Since someone like Mr. Pawlenty doesn’t distinguish himself on the basis of the fundamentals, he instead needs to stand out on the basis of superficial factors. Think about other products that are poorly differentiated from one another, like Coke or Pepsi or Bud Light and Miller Lite. These are exactly those products that tend to invest the most into their marketing budgets… Mr. Pawlenty…has to compete against the big brands — and the risk is that he’ll become the next Schlitz Beer or RC Cola.”

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