POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/12

Kristol Urges Republicans to Break Tax Pledge

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol urged the Republican Party to accept new ideas, “including the much-criticized suggestion by Democrats that taxes be allowed to go up on the wealthy,” the Huffington Post reports.

Said Kristol: “It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. It really won’t, I don’t think. I don’t really understand why Republicans don’t take Obama’s offer.”

He added: “Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile?”

Jackson May Face Jail Time

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) might step down before the end of the year as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors investigating possible misuse of campaign funds, CBS 2reports.

“Under terms of the deal, Jackson would resign for health reasons, plead guilty to misusing campaign funds and possibly do jail time. He’d have to repay any campaign funds that were converted for personal use, and serve at least some jail time.”

The Decline of the Christian Right

New York Times: “Christian conservatives, for more than two decades a pivotal force in American politics, are grappling with Election Day results that repudiated their influence and suggested that the cultural tide — especially on gay issues — has shifted against them. They are reeling not only from the loss of the presidency, but from what many of them see as a rejection of their agenda. They lost fights against same-sex marriage in all four states where it was on the ballot, and saw anti-abortion-rights Senate candidates defeated and two states vote to legalize marijuana for recreational use.”

“The election results are just one indication of larger trends in American religion that Christian conservatives are still digesting… Americans who have no religious affiliation — pollsters call them the ‘nones’ — are now about one-fifth of the population over all… The younger generation is even less religious: about one-third of Americans ages 18 to 22 say they are either atheists, agnostics or nothing in particular. Americans who are secular are far more likely to vote for liberal candidates and for same-sex marriage. Seventy percent of those who said they had no religion voted for Mr. Obama…”

Online Polls Fared Very Well

Nate Silver finds that some of the most accurate polling firms this election cycle were those that conducted their polls online.

“The final poll conducted by Google Consumer Surveys had Mr. Obama ahead in the national popular vote by 2.3 percentage points – very close to his actual margin, which was 2.6 percentage points based on ballots counted through Saturday morning. Ipsos, which conducted online polls for Reuters, came close to the actual results in most places that it surveyed, as did the Canadian online polling firm Angus Reid. Another online polling firm, YouGov, got reasonably good results.”

“Perhaps it won’t be long before Google, not Gallup, is the most trusted name in polling.”

Why Republicans Didn’t See It Coming

Politico: “Democrats had argued for months before the election that Republican polling was screening out voters who would ultimately turn up to support Obama. In fact, Obama advisers said, if you applied a tighter likely voter screen to Democratic polling — counting only the very likeliest voters as part of the electorate — you could come up with results similar to what the GOP was looking at.”

“By assuming that only the most enthusiastic voters would actually show up, Republicans greatly overestimated their national position. Operatives and activists rejected public polling data that showed substantially more voters identifying themselves as Democrats in states like Ohio and Virginia, giving Republicans an unwarranted sense of confidence that crumbled last Tuesday.”

Boehner Urges Republicans to Fall in Line

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told his GOP members on a conference call that their party lost the elections, badly, “and while Republicans would still control the House and would continue to staunchly oppose tax rate increases as Congress grapples with the impending fiscal battle, they had to avoid the nasty showdowns that marked so much of the last two years,” the New York Times reports.

“Members on the call, subdued and dark, murmured words of support — even a few who had been a thorn in the speaker’s side for much of this Congress.”

Karl Rove and His Super PAC Press On

Despite a terrible showing on Election Day, Karl Rove believes that American Crossroads and its more secretive issue-advocacy arm, Crossroads GPS — which allows donors to remain anonymous — are here to stay, the Washington Post reports.

“Rove is pondering new missions for Crossroads to address weaknesses laid bare by the GOP’s back-to-back failures to win the White House and the fact that the party fell short when expected to win back the Senate.”

“Where until now it battled only in general elections and against Democrats, Crossroads is considering whether to start picking sides in Republican primaries. The idea would be to boost the candidate it deems most electable and avoid nominating the kind of flawed and extreme ones who cost the party what should otherwise have been easy Senate wins in Florida, Missouri and Indiana.”

Campaign Innovation from the Incumbents

Sasha Issenberg: “It is no coincidence that in both 2004 and 2012 the engines of radical innovation were the campaigns of incumbent presidents. We tend to underappreciate how radically different a presidential re-election is from any other enterprise in American political life. It is the rare chance for candidates to disrupt the cycle of short-term, election-year priorities and invest in their own research agendas instead of being forced to follow a consultant-driven marketplace.”

Huntsman for Secretary of State?

White House officials suggest Jon Huntsman (R), the former Utah governor, Obama’s ambassador to China and Republican presidential candidate, might be a candidate for Secretary of State, the AP reports.

“Huntsman is still widely respected by the administration even if he’d hoped to unseat Obama. Choosing Huntsman would allow the president to claim bipartisanship while putting an Asia expert in the job at a time when the U.S. is focusing more attention on the world’s most populous continent.”

KSL-TV: “The speculation caught many political observers off guard. Some told us that taking another job in the Obama administration might make it hard, if not impossible, for him to run as a Republican again for the White House.”

GOP Collapses in California

California has entered “a period of Democratic political control so far-reaching that the dwindling number of Republicans in the Legislature are in danger of becoming mere spectators at the statehouse,” the AP reports.

“Democrats hold the governorship and every other statewide office. They gained even more ground in Tuesday’s elections, picking up at least three congressional seats while votes continue to be counted in two other tight races… The party also secured a supermajority in one, and possibly both, chambers in the Legislature.”

Said GOP strategist Steve Schmidt: “Republican leaders should look at California and shudder. The two-party system has collapsed.”

Democrats Fear Kerry Would be Replaced by Brown

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) bid to become Secretary of State may be in jeopardy, ironically, because of Kerry himself, BuzzFeed reports.

When Kerry ran for president in 2004, state Democrats “changed the law to for replacing retiring members, stripping then Gov. Mitt Romney of his ability to appoint a new members and putting in a place a special election process. Kerry obviously never needed a replacement, and perhaps fittingly, following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy the new law resulted in the state electing Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican.”

“And with Brown on his way out thanks to Elizabeth Warren, he is considered an odds-on favorite to take a special election against the current crop of Democratic contenders.”

One option: Democrats could change the law back to allow the governor to appoint a successor.

Allen West Loses But Won’t Concede

Rep. Allen West (R-FL) refused to concede after the state concluded that challenger Patrick Murphy (D) held a lead beyond the margin needed for an automatic recount, the APreports.

West was elected in 2010 on a wave of tea party support and has since had a constant string of headline-grabbing statements, from calling congressional Democrats communists to saying President Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and others should “get the hell out of the United States.”

Going Ugly Early

Paul Begala: “Our goal was to take Romney’s greatest strength–his business record–and make it a weakness. We were given a road map by none other than the late, great Ted Kennedy. As the 2008 election was approaching, I paid the senator a visit. I thought Romney might be the GOP nominee, and Kennedy gave me a tutorial on how to beat him. Don’t underestimate Romney, Kennedy said. He’s smart and resourceful and will say anything, take any position. Kennedy recounted how his campaign team tracked down employees of companies that had been shut down after being bought by Bain Capital. Shamelessly copying Kennedy’s plan, we interviewed dozens of laid-off ­middle-class working people. Their stories were emblematic of the collapse of the middle class: factories closed, health benefits canceled, lives ruined.”

“My old friend, former Georgia governor and senator Zell Miller, taught me that ‘a hit dog barks,’ but Romney remained silent. I am still amazed that Romney did not respond. He allowed our little, underfunded super PAC to define him as Gordon Gekko. Without his business record, Romney was left with nothing but his charm.”

Romney Quickly Losing Facebook Friends

Soon after Mitt Romney conceded the presidential election, more than 55,025 Facebook users have “unliked” Romney, at a rate of about 847 an hour, according to Mashable.

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