POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/26

The Slow March to Gridlock

The New York Times has a great piece on the U.S. Senate’s slide into gridlock, including how a procedure designed to speed things up called filling the tree led to even more filibusters.

“The increased use of the tactic, which had previously been rare, is part of the procedural warfare that has reached a zenith over the past two years in the Senate. Republicans threaten to filibuster and propose politically charged amendments, Democrats fill the amendment tree, and Republicans filibuster in retaliation.”

“The tactic initially meant to speed bills has instead helped slow them down. The Senate — the legislative body that was designed as the saucer to cool the House’s tempestuous teacup — has become a deep freeze, where even once-routine matters have become hopelessly stuck and a supermajority is needed to pass almost anything.”

Quote of the Day

“I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in an interview on ABC News, on his willingness to break his pledge not to raise taxes.

Republicans Face Unexpected Challenges in the South

President Obama finished more strongly in the South than any other Democratic presidential nominee in three decades, “underscoring a fresh challenge for Republicans who rely on Southern whites as their base of national support,” the Washington Postreports.

“Obama won Virginia and Florida and narrowly missed victory in North Carolina. But he also polled as well in Georgia as any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, grabbed 44 percent of the vote in deep-red South Carolina and just under that in Mississippi — despite doing no substantive campaigning in any of those states.”

“Much of the post-election analysis has focused on the demographic crisis facing Republicans among Hispanic voters, particularly in Texas. But the results across other parts of the South, where Latinos remain a single-digit minority, point to separate trends among blacks and whites that may also have big implications for the GOP’s future.”

Democrats Jockey for Pennsylvania Governor

“The Democratic sweep at the top of Pennsylvania’s ballot has so energized the party that three prospective candidates are already sending out strong signals of interest in contesting Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election bid two years from now,” the APreports.

Tom Wolf (D), Tom Knox (D) and John Hanger (D) have all said they are seriously considering seeking the 2014 Democratic nomination or have already decided to run. Former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) also said he is “very interested” in returning to public service but would not discuss his plans for 2014.

Ruling out a gubernatorial campaign: Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and former Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

The Democratic Agenda

Rahm Emanuel: “Too much post-election analysis has focused on voter demographics and campaign mechanics, leaving Democrats in danger of drawing the wrong lessons from our electoral success.”

“Demographics alone are not destiny. There is nothing in this year’s election returns that guarantees Democrats a permanent majority in the years to come. President Obama and the Democratic Party earned the support of key groups — young people, single women, Latinos, African Americans, auto workers in the Rust Belt and millions of other middle-class Americans — because of our ideas. But we cannot expect Republicans to cede the economic argument so readily, or to fall so far short on campaign mechanics, the next time around. So, instead of resting on false assurances of underlying demographic advantages, the Democratic Party must follow through on our No. 1 priority, which the president set when he took office and reemphasized throughout this campaign: It is time to come home and rebuild America.”

Obama Aides Eye Jobs as Lobbyists

“With President Obama’s reelection a done deal, headhunters are expecting worn-out administration aides to look for new jobs in the influence industry,” The Hill reports.

“Several Obama aides started making post-election plans well before November, holding discussions with executive search firms in Washington as early as this past spring. Their stock has risen since Obama’s victory, but they face a tough job market on K Street, where belt-tightening has become the norm.”

Trump’s Kids Urged Him to Tone it Down

Donald Trump’s hatred of President Obama “allegedly led his three eldest kids to do an Obama-vention before the election. Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka discussed telling their dad to calm down, then decided collectively to approach Trump and ask him to turn it down a notch with the presidential bashing,” the New York Daily News reports.

Said a source: “The three of them met and went to see their dad in his Fifth Ave. office. They showed a lot of respect, but told him he’s worked too long and too hard to build up the reputation he has. They understand completely he’s always been outspoken and that he likes attention, but this is too much.”

Arafat to be Exhumed

The body of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is to be exhumed on Tuesday, the BBCreports.

His body is to undergo tests to find out whether his death in Paris in 2004 was caused by poisoning. Arafat’s medical records say he had a stroke resulting from a blood disorder.

Daily Beast: “The move comes just four months after an Al Jazeera documentary revealed new Swiss findings of unusually high levels of the deadly radioactive isotope polonium-210 on Arafat’s last personal effects. It is seen as a last-gasp effort to finally solve the mystery of his November 2004 death in France.”

Jeb Bush Mulling Presidential Bid

New York Times: “Mr. Bush is said by friends to be weighing financial and family considerations — between so many years in office and the recession his wealth took a dip, they said, and he has been working hard to restore it — as well as the complicated place within the Republican Party of the Bush brand.”

“After Mitt Romney’s defeat by a Democratic coalition built around overwhelming support from Hispanics and other fast-growing demographic groups, many Republicans are looking for a candidate who can help make the party more inclusive without ceding conservative principles — and no one is the subject of more speculation at this point than Mr. Bush.”

“To his supporters, Mr. Bush is the man for the moment. His wife, Columba, was born and raised in Mexico. He speaks Spanish and favors overhauling the immigration system in a way that would provide a route to citizenship for people already in the country illegally but otherwise law-abiding.”

Tea Party Seeks to Regroup

Wall Street Journal: “The tea-party movement is trying to regroup after taking some licks in this month’s elections. Several groups already are setting their sights on 2014 congressional races, in which they plan to promote their preferred candidates and hope to weed out Republicans they consider insufficiently conservative.”

“Many tea-party activists say they remain dumbfounded by the Nov. 6 defeat of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and favored GOP candidates for the Senate, and opinions are swirling over how the movement should push forward.”

How Obama Orchestrated a Ceasefire

Ynetnews notes that while little was heard from President Obama during the military confrontation between Israel and Hamas, behind the scenes, while visiting Burma and Cambodia, he was working overtime to pressure both sides into agreeing to truce.

“Throughout his trip in South East Asia he was constantly on the phone with both Morsi and Netanyahu, before and after his meetings with the leaders of China and Japan. The president even made time to speak with both leaders during a dinner held as part of a summit of East Asian leaders.”

“His goal – creating the conditions needed for a ceasefire. Publically he praised Morsi and Netanyahu, and behind the scenes he was pressuring them to bring the conflict between Israel and Hamas to an end.”

Tax Credits for Fetuses

Wonk Wire notes that GOP lawmakers in Michigan have proposed a tax credit for unborn fetuses, less than a year after they eliminated a tax credit for children.

Chambliss Says He Won’t Be Bound by Tax Pledge

As Congress faces negotiations about averting the “fiscal cliff,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) told WMAZ-TV that he’s not willing to be bound by the anti-tax pledge he once signed.

Said Chambliss: “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”

When asked if he thought anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist would hold it against him during his next re-election bid in 2014, he said he probably would.

“But I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist.”

How the Obama Campaign Polled

Mark Blumenthal takes a deep dive into the Obama campaign polling operation and notes they never conducted a nationwide survey.

Instead, it conducted polls across 11 battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin) at regular intervals throughout the campaign. These were supplemented by state tracking polls and parallel surveys to refine its microtargeting models.

Campaign manager Jim Messina says this gave him a deeper understanding of “how we were doing, where we were doing it, where we were moving — which is why I knew that most of the public polls you were seeing were completely ridiculous.”

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