POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/5
Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, decided to take a hard line against illegal parking. Calling the tank the city’s “best solution,” Zuokas has been seen totaling illegally parked cars in the city.
He’s an obvious candidate for the Tea-Party!
A new New York Times/CBS News poll finds a record 82% of Americans now disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job — the most since the question was first asked in 1977, and even more than after another political stalemate led to a shutdown of the federal government in 1995.
Overall, 72% disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the negotiations, while 66% disapproved of the way Democrats in Congress handled negotiations. The public was more evenly divided about how President Obama handled the debt ceiling negotiations: 47% disapproved and 46% approved.
United States debt shot up $238 billion to reach 100% of gross domestic product after the government’s debt ceiling was lifted, AFP reports.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) says he is planning to run for a sixth term and has begun fundraising for his 2014 campaign, the AP reports.
Kerry “also dismissed rumors he was positioning to be appointed secretary of state” if President Obama is re-elected in 2012.
First Read has a good look at the efforts the various Republican presidential campaigns are undertaking to boost their performance at the Ames straw poll, which takes place nine days from now on Aug. 13.
Andrew Sullivan: “America has hit a wall. Its long term growth trend faltered at the end of the last century and has flatlined and then collapsed in this one, as Nate Silver grimly reminds us… It is not as bad as the Great Depression (that’s the only good news), but it is the next worst thing…”
“Sorry, but elixirs won’t change this. We have no money for them. There are things we can do – agree on long-term debt-reduction, reform taxes, cut the defense budget, hope education can help middle and lower middle class Americans compete better on a global stage. But until we get used to this new period of austerity, and accept it, we will bang our heads against walls.”
“I’ve learned in politics that it pays to be stubborn and stick to your guns.”
— Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), quoted by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, while adding “nothing will make you more popular with the editorialists and intelligentsia than compromise.”
A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds the approval rating for Congress is just 14%, the lowest rating ever found in the poll and one of just three times that congressional approval has slipped below 20%.
The other two times? Congressional approval was 18% in March 1992 and 19% in June 1979.
The Fix: “If (and that’s a big “if”) that mood holds through November 2012, we could be looking at a political cataclysm of epic proportions.”
Ezra Klein: “The standard theory is that nothing happens. Congress simply gridlocks. It paralyzes. The standard theory is wrong.”
“The reality is that when Congress can’t agree to act, extracongressional action happens. Special panels are set up to cut costs in health care and reduce the deficit. The Federal Reserves takes on a larger role in economic policy, the Environmental Protection Agency takes on a larger role in climate policy, and the Department of Education takes on a larger role in education policy. Government doesn’t stop working so much as it stops working the way it was designed to work and begins innovating ad hoc methods of getting things done.”
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Sunland Park, New Mexico Mayor Martin Resendiz (D) claims he was drunk when he signed nine contracts with a California company that is now suing the city for $1 million.
A new Inside Michigan Politics poll find Democrats leading in three of the Wisconsin state senate recall races, one currently held by a Democrat and the other two currently held by Republicans.
The latest National Journal Political Insiders poll finds Republican and Democratic operatives agree that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is Mitt Romney’s biggest threat for the GOP presidential nomination if he gets into the race.
The New York Times reports that the major campaign fundraisers who helped fuel the 2000 and 2004 victories of President George W. Bush have so far held back from donating in the 2012 cycle, as “Fewer than one in five of Mr. Bush’s Rangers and Pioneers, the elite corps of ‘bundlers’ who helped Mr. Bush smash fund-raising records in his two runs for the White House and remain the gold standard of Republican fund-raising, have contributed to any of the current Republican candidates.”
“No Republican candidate for president this year has yet shown the kind of broad appeal that rapidly drew the party’s donor establishment to Mr. Bush early in his first run… While the eventual nominee will have an opportunity to unite donors now dispersed among the sprawling primary field and benefit from the pools of money backing conservative causes, none of the candidates have yet assembled the kind of big-check network that could be confident of keeping up with the fund-raising machine built by President Obama… And some large bundlers, unsatisfied with the presidential field, are choosing to place their bets with the party’s Congressional wing or with independent expenditure groups.”
The Hill looks at one reason why President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) were able to work so well together on the debt ceiling, even as others consistently attempted to disrupt their efforts: they both have “cool heads.”
“President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) are, in this respect, outliers in today’s hyper-partisan political climate. They prefer to get business done with a minimum of fuss, in an era when others seem to prefer…a little more conversation and a little less action… But, whether or not each man’s partisans are always satisfied by his performance, the fact remains that both got a deal done on the debt-ceiling. It was an achievement that carried considerable risks along the way.”
“It’s a bad deal, but it’s a done deal.”
— House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), quoted by the Daily Beast, on the agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
NBC News: “A mystery company that pumped $1 million into a political committee backing Mitt Romney has been dissolved just months after it was formed, leaving few clues as to who was behind one of the biggest contributions yet of the 2012 presidential campaign. The existence of the million-dollar donation — as gleaned from campaign and corporate records obtained by NBC News — provides a vivid example of how secret campaign cash is being funneled in ever more circuitous ways into the political system.”
A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds 39% of Americans approve of the debt ceiling agreement that President Obama signed into law this week with 46% opposing it.
Key finding: Only 33% of independent voters approved of the deal, while 50% disapproved.
First Read: “But if you want evidence that conservative opinion leaders (Limbaugh, Red State, DeMint) might have more sway over Republicans and conservatives than liberal opinion leaders (Krugman, Daily Kos, Bernie Sanders) have over Democrats and liberals, check out these numbers. According to the poll, 64% of Republicans and 64% of conservatives opposed the deal. By comparison, 58% of Democrats and 51% of liberals supported it. Bottom line, at least per this poll: More Democrats and liberals sided with Obama. than with the liberal opinion elite.”
As Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) looks increasingly likely to jump into the Republican presidential primary with a splash, Politico notes that “in private, in some quarters of the party a sense of apprehension has set in about the prospect of another Texas governor’s candidacy.”
“Even operatives who believe Perry would bring significant assets to the 2012 campaign — his job-creation record among them — acknowledge there are real doubts about whether a brash, Southern hard-liner like Perry can win votes in the crucial swing states needed to capture the White House… many Republicans express alarm about the possibility of nominating a man whom several compared to a Saturday Night Live caricature — ‘Will Ferrell doing a George W. Bush imitation,’ as one state GOP chairman said.”
While the consensus has been that President Obama “is so skilled a politician — and the eventual GOP nominee so flawed or hapless — that he’d likely be re-elected,” Politico notes the fundamentals point to a much harder fight ahead.
“Gallup pegs his approval rating at a discouraging 42 percent, with his standing among independents falling nine points in four weeks. His economic stats are even worse. The nation has 2.5 million fewer jobs today than the day Obama took office, a fact you’re sure to hear the Republicans repeat. Consumer confidence is scraping levels not seen since March 2009.”
President Obama is celebrating his 50th birthday in Chicago today.
The Los Angeles Times quotes the president at a fundraiser last night: “And it’s true that I turn 50 tomorrow, which means that by the time I wake up I’ll have an email from AARP asking me to call President Obama and tell him to protect Medicare.”
A correction to an item yesterday: President Obama is younger than any of his announced Republican challengers, except for Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) who was born in 1965.
In a confidential memo circulated to donors this week, Jon Huntsman’s campaign manager “mapped out a nomination strategy that relies heavily on raising the former Utah governor’s profile among primary voters and drawing contrasts with his “very weak” field of Republican opponents,” CNN reports.
A separate polling memo dismissed early national polls as “utterly useless” tools for predicting the Republican nominee.
Meanwhile, a “blistering internal feud” in the Huntsman campaign “is erupting into public view, with dueling camps trading charges and an exodus of campaign officials,” Politico reports. A longtime family friend says that Huntsman’s wife and father “fret that his presidential prospects have been threatened by the turmoil — and he places the blame on John Weaver, Huntsman’s controversial chief strategist.”
A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds President Obama’s job approval rating is a negative 44% to 51%. Florida voters also say by a 50% to 42% margin that the president does not deserve to be reelected.
Said pollster Peter Brown: “President Obama’s numbers in the key swing state of Florida have gone south in the last two months. The debt ceiling deal is not making any difference in that decline and any bounce he got from the bin Laden operation is long since gone. The president’s drop off is huge among independent voters who now disapprove almost 2-1.”
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “is expected to stay through the president’s term after intense White House pressure,” the New York Times reports.
President Obama and White House chief of staff William M. Daley have been urging Geithner to stay, “not only for continuity when the economy has weakened and to avoid an all-but-certain confirmation fight in the Senate over a successor, but also because Mr. Obama has developed a close rapport with Mr. Geithner. Whether the president persuades Mr. Geithner to stay will be a central development for the White House as it girds for a re-election race expected to turn on the economy and the continuing battle of the budget with Republicans.”