POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/28
Sarah Palin has accepted an invitation to keynote a Tea Party rally in Iowa on Sept. 3, Real Clear Politics reports.
“All signs now point to September as the month when Palin would throw her hat into the ring, as logistical concerns ranging from fundraising to getting her name on the ballot in various states would likely preclude further delay.”
House Republicans called for the firing of Republican Study Committee staffers after they were caught sending e-mails to conservative groups urging them to pressure lawmakers to vote against Speaker John Boehner’s debt proposal, Politico reports.
Lawmakers in the morning meeting started chanting “Fire him, fire him!” as an offending stood silently at the closed-door meeting.
Said one GOP insider: “It was an unbelievable moment. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) was accused of snubbing President Obama by not accompanying him when he visited the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden but the AP reports internal emails show that Beshear wasn’t even invited.
“The governor, now running for re-election, was mum about that, despite a barrage of criticism from political opponents and pundits. But in Kentucky, where Obama is widely unpopular, Beshear stood to improve his clout with voters by not refuting the perception that he had snubbed the president, even though critics were trying to paint him as unpatriotic and his staffers were worried about the fallout.”
Matthew Dowd: “The best-case scenario for these politicians is not that somebody will ‘win,’ but only that victory can be defined as losing less than someone else. So with no winners in any of this, an increasingly frustrated and anxious public will turn further away from the federal government and our leaders in Washington as a place to find answers. The public has sent wake-up alarm after wake-up alarm to politicians, and many of those politicians keep hitting the snooze button and think they can spin their way out of this.”
“The voters won’t forget and won’t reward any of these politicians no matter what happens. And come the 2012 elections get ready for a reaction, or to paraphrase Doc Holliday from the movie Tombstone, make no mistake, it’s not revenge they’re after, it’s a reckoning.”
Even as House Republican leaders work to retool their debt reduction package and rally the troops with colorful language, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the plan will not get a single Democratic vote in the Senate, dooming it to fail, the AP reports.
Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) called congressional members of the Tea Party “foolish” and “deceiving” for thinking they can withhold their support for any debt ceiling bill — Republican or Democratic — if there is no Balanced Budget Amendment included, ABC News reports.
Said McCain: “To hold out and say we won’t agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the constitution. It’s unfair, it’s bizarre. And maybe some people have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that. Others know better.”
Elvin Lim: “America is the only country in the world that has the luxury of creating an economic crisis when there isn’t one. Ours is the only democracy with a debt ceiling, with the exception of Denmark, which raises its ceiling well in advance of when it would be reached. Economists say that our ‘debt crisis’ is an unforced error, because people are more than willing to lend us money, at pretty good rates. This is the benefit of having a really good credit score.”
“And yet there are some who wish to call the credit card company to voluntarily reduce our credit limit after they just maxed it out. This tells us that politics triumphs economics in this country. That we ended up with so much debt is a result of politics, anyway.”
“Get your ass in line.”
— House Speaker John Boehner, quoted by Politico, telling GOP lawmakers in a closed-door meeting to behind his debt ceiling bill.
Think the debt ceiling debate is tough? Ben Smith notes another difficult one might be when the gas tax is set to expire on September 30.
National Journal reports “one of the louder voices” in the debt ceiling debate belongs to David Addington, “the architect of the George W. Bush administration’s harsh interrogation policies and a former chief of staff for then-Vice President Dick Cheney.”
“Addington has taken on a new role as enforcer of tea party dogma during the intensifying partisan bickering over the debt ceiling. From his perch as the Heritage Foundation’s vice president for domestic and economic policy, Addington is throwing verbal thunderbolts at House Speaker John Boehner’s current debt-ceiling proposal, which he argues will pave the way to tax increases.”
The infamous picture of Rep. David Wu (D-OR) in a tiger costume is good, but the Daily Beast digs up some other good ones, including Christine O’Donnell as a lady bug, Rudy Giulinai in drag, former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Joe Biden.
“In the battle of budget scores, the Senate Democrats deficit reduction bill is the clear winner thus far over an alternative by Speaker John Boehner, which had to be pulled back from a floor Tuesday night for retooling,” Politico reports.
At a Virginia fundraiser, Mitt Romney took the highly unusual step of naming people on his short list for a vice presidential running mate, reports Bearing Drift.
With increasing recognition that neither the Boehner or Reid debt reduction plans can pass both houses of Congress, the Wall Street Journal reports the White House is “crafting alternatives that could be finalized over the weekend and put to a vote Monday or Tuesday.”
“They are trying to develop alternatives combining elements of the Boehner and Reid proposals and another from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) so each can claim a measure of victory. The blend could include caps on appropriated spending, a congressional commission to offer further deficit-reduction and a McConnell-style ‘disapproval mechanism.'”
Meanwhile, First Read says “the odds that the White House could sign a short-term debt extension (by 10 days or so) are MUCH more likely. It’s clear that everyone needs more time. Folks, this isn’t speculation; this is a whisper that is growing louder among the players involved.”
The Deseret News has some interesting comments about Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) by Shaun Casey, a professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary:
“Perry is a cheaper imitation of George Bush … and I think Perry has really studied Bush. But Bush’s brilliance with the religious right was that he did everything behind closed doors. There were no photo-ops, there were no press releases saying I met reverend so and so today. Bush did everything through intermediaries, and so there was no public trail of him reaching out to the religious right. The irony is that here comes along Perry, the dollar-general-store version of Bush, and here he is meeting with these people in public and you start looking at the line up of the people he’s cozying up to in public and all he is doing is setting himself up for trouble later on if by some miracle he actually wins the nomination … Some of these guys are really beyond the fringe — folks who George Bush would have never been caught dead with within a hundred miles of.”
A new Gallup poll finds Mitt Romney is the still the leader for the Republican presidential nomination with 27%, followed by Rep. Michele Bachmann at 18% and Rep. Ron Paul at 11%. All other announced candidates are in single digits.
“Thanks to an inflow of tax payments and maneuvering by the Treasury Department, the government can probably continue to pay all of its bills for several days after Aug. 2, providing potentially critical breathing room for Congress to raise the debt ceiling,” the New York Times reports.
“Scaring the American people is exactly what President Obama is doing. In that bizarre speech that he gave last night, it reminded me of when he insisted that TARP had to be passed — it was life-or-death, at that time, also.”
— Sarah Palin, in an interview on Fox News, arguing against raising the nation’s debt ceiling and apparently forgetting that she supported the TARP legislation as a vice presidential candidate in 2008.
Politico highlights the most overlooked issue in the debt ceiling debate that has the White House most worried: even as lawmakers agree that we must avoid default, the resulting deal may not be enough to prevent the United States from losing it’s AAA bond rating.
“Obama could win and lose at the same time, striking a deal to avoid default but failing to pass muster on the substance of that deal with credit agencies, which could go ahead and downgrade the rating anyway. Financial analysts say such a move would hit Americans with more than $100 billion a year in higher borrowing costs… It would be a psychic blow to a nation that already looks over its shoulder at rising economic powers like China and wonders, what’s gone wrong? And it would give the president’s Republican rivals a ready-made line of attack that he’s dragging the country in the wrong direction.”
How it’s shaping the debate: “It’s a factor influencing Obama’s rejection of a short-term deal… And it’s what gives these little-known firms a powerful club that they’re wielding with gusto over Washington policy-makers. They hope to force a deal that not only raises the debt ceiling but also makes deep cuts in government spending and eats into the nation’s deficit.”
As House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) struggles to unite the Republican caucus behind his debt ceiling proposal, Morning Score notes that he isn’t getting much help from the Republican presidential field.
“Romney: released a statement saying he ‘applauds’ Boehner for his efforts, but stopped short of actually endorsing the plan. Bachmann: called the Boehner plan ‘wrong’ on a visit to Iowa Tuesday afternoon. Pawlenty: originally said he didn’t know enough about Boehner’s plan to make a judgment either way, then released a statement Tuesday evening saying that while he ‘greatly appreciate[s]’ Boehner’s leadership, he does not support the Speaker’s latest plan. Huntsman: had already weighed in on Boehner’s plan Monday, calling it ‘a good step’ toward dealing with the long-term debt issue.”
She’s not a candidate but Sarah Palin also came out against the plan on Fox News saying “we don’t need to retreat now and wave a white flag.”
The Fix: “The vastly different reactions to the bill reflect the uncertain ground the Republican Party is currently on, with the establishment clashing with the tea party and nobody quite certain what an acceptable compromise is — or if compromise is even acceptable at all.”
A new Luntz Global (R) poll in Connecticut finds Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) edging Chris Shays (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 42% to 40%, but well ahead of Linda McMahon (R), 52% to 36%.
If Susan Bysiewicz (D) were the Democratic nominee, she would trail Shays, 48% to 37%, but beat McMahon, 49% to 41%.