Archive for March 5, 2012


March 5, 2012

Kasich Turns Down Federal Disaster Aid

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) turned down federal disaster relief, even as governors in Indiana and Kentucky welcomed the help for their tornado-ravaged towns, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Said Kasich: “I believe that we can handle this.”

When Local Politics Play Nationally

The Hotline: “What happens out west does not always stay out west. Rep. Norm Dicks’s (D-WA) decision not to run for re-election is a boon for Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). Dicks is the ranking member on the powerful Appropriations Committee, and Kaptur is next line behind him. Her position does not guarantee she will succeed Dicks on the committee, but it does help her argument in Ohio’s 9th District primary by giving her another reason to argue that she should remain in Congress.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Mr. Boehner comes out and says, Rush’s language was inappropriate. Using a salad fork for your entree, that’s inappropriate. Not this stuff… And it was depressing, because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran, but they’re afraid of Rush Limbaugh.”

— George Will, on This Week, ripping Republican leaders for their weak response to Rush Limbaugh calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut.”

The AP reports that seven national advertisers have now pulled their ads from Limbaugh’s radio show.

Lawmakers Secretly Working on “Grand Bargain”

“A small, bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the House and Senate are secretly drafting deficit grand bargain legislation that cuts entitlements and raises new revenue,” The Hill reports.

“Sources said that the task of actually writing the bills is well underway, but core participants in the regular meetings do not yet know when the bills can be unveiled… The talks are so sensitive that some members involved do not yet want to be identified.”

Quote of the Day

“It’s pretty straight forward in my view. If Barack Obama gets re-elected, Iran will have a nuclear weapon and the world will change if that’s the case.”

— Mitt Romney, quoted by National Journal, answering questions at a pancake breakfast in Georgia.

Putin Wins Russian Presidency

Russian voters “overwhelmingly granted Vladimir Putin a six-year term as president on Sunday, a long-predicted outcome that set the stage for a far more suspenseful post-election confrontation between Mr. Putin and opposition groups,” the New York Timesreports.

“Early returns showed Mr. Putin winning about 60 percent of the vote, comfortably above the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.”

Washington Post: “Well before the polls had closed, independent election monitors as well as the Communist Party reported numerous instances across the country of multiple voting, abuse of absentee ballots and obstruction of election observers… Electoral fraud was so rampant during December parliamentary voting that all but the most minor irregularities during this election are sure to be seized upon by opposition organizers.”

Santorum Holds Small Lead in Tennessee

A new Rasmussen survey in Tennessee finds Rick Santorum just ahead of Mitt Romney, 34% to 30%, with Newt Gingrich at 18% and Ron Paul at 8%.

A new American Research Group poll shows Santorum leading Romney, 35% to 31%, with Gingrich at 20% and Paul at 9%.

Dirty Tricks in the 1960 Campaign

Just published: The Gumshoe and the Shrink: Guenther Reinhardt, Dr. Arnold Hutschnecker, and the Secret History of the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon Election by David Robb.

New York Post: “In a foreshadowing of the Watergate break-in, Nixon’s team infiltrated the offices of two of Kennedy’s doctors in June 1960 and rummaged through them, looking to support rumors that the young candidate was, in fact, gravely ill. Once Kennedy and his campaign were alerted, they went into full-on attack mode, with Kennedy’s father, Joe, tasking none other than Frank Sinatra to hire the best private eye he could find.”

Another Poll Shows Brown Leading Warren

A new Western New England University poll in Massachusetts shows Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) with a solid lead over challenger Elizabeth Warren (D), 49% to 41%.

It’s the latest in a series of polls over the last two weeks showing Brown with a lead.

Said pollster Tim Vercellotti: “Warren needs to shore up her base of support among Democrats and make progress with independent voters if she is to close the gap with Brown. As it stands now, Brown is in a strong position to win re-election.”

Santorum Has Small Edge in Ohio

A new NBC News/Marist poll in Ohio shows Rick Santorum just ahead of Mitt Romney among GOP primary voters, 34% to 32%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 15% and Ron Paul at 13%.

“A Romney win, following his victories last week in Michigan and Arizona, would cement his front-runner status and keep him on his path (no matter how rocky it’s been) toward capturing the GOP presidential nomination. But a Santorum win would signal that his close second-place finish in Romney’s native state of Michigan wasn’t a fluke, and it would likely ensure that this Republican nomination battle remains competitive — perhaps through April and maybe even June.”

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Santorum and Romney tied at 32% each

Reimagining Watergate

The New York Times reviews Watergate: A Novel by Thomas Mallon.

“What Mallon captures particularly well is the fundamental weirdness and mystery at the center of the scandal. Who was trying to achieve what with those break-ins? And why? Given how ineptly they were carried out, could the sloppiness have been intentional — either as a result of double agentry or as individual self-­sabotage? In these pages, even those closest to the events remain bewildered by their smallness — their ridiculousness, even — and their contrastingly outsize and ruinous consequences.”

George Will: “In his practiced hands — this is not his first fling at historical fiction — the festering mess of 1972-74 becomes almost fun, actually funny, and instructive about how history can be knocked sideways by small mediocrities.”

Rush Limbaugh Apologizes

Rush Limbaugh issued a statement apologizing for calling a Georgetown law student a “slut” for her congressional testimony on birth control.

“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke… My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”

More Caucus Problems Reported

About 1,500 people were turned away from Republican presidential caucuses in Kennewick, WA after rooms at a convention center reached capacity this morning, the Mid Columbia Tri City Herald reports.

Previous caucuses this year in Iowa, Maine and Nevada have also suffered from significant problems.

Ancient Advice Holds True for Today’s Politicians

Dave Weigel reads How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians by Quintus Tullius Cicero and finds the tips hold up for the current presidential race.

“These candidates must have classics scholars on staff, because a close read of Cicero reveals they’re following his counsel.”

Sperm are People Too

The Wilmington, Delaware city council passed a resolution calling on state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to pass laws granting “personhood” rights to eggs and sperm, theWilmington News Journal reports.

The resolution — introduced by councilwoman Loretta Walsh in an admittedly “tongue-in-cheek” way — seeks laws that forbid men from destroying their semen. She said it was designed to call attention to “the absurdity of men making health decisions for women.”

Dressing Down for the Presidency

Joe Queenan: “I was watching the Georgetown-Notre Dame basketball game Monday night and was struck by how dapper the coaches looked. And not just the coaches, but the assistant coaches. And the assistant-assistant coaches. Fancy shirts. Classy ties. Elegant suits…”

“Then I switched over to Rick Santorum giving a speech somewhere, and he was sporting the usual undone dress shirt, with no tie, with the generic blue-jeans thing going on. Which is basically the same choreographed man-of-the-people look as Mitt Romney, only with more of a J.C. Penney’s twist. The Casual Friday Look. The Would-Be Maverick Look. The Hapless on the Hustings Look. The look that says: I went all the way to K Street and all I got was this lousy shirt.”

“You’re running for the most important office in the entire world, and here you are dressing like somebody working the night shift at Wal-Mart.”

Santorum Still Ahead in Oklahoma

A new American Research Group survey in Oklahoma shows Rick Santorum leading the GOP presidential field in next week’s primary with 37%, followed by Mitt Romney at 26%, Newt Gingrich at 22%, and Ron Paul at 9%.

Romney Offered His Health Care Law as a Model

BuzzFeed digs up an op-ed by Mitt Romney in 2009 which argues that President Obama’s health care reform effort should look at “the lessons we learned in Massachusetts” including using the individual mandate as an incentive for people to buy insurance.