The Biggest Political Story of 2012

Dan Froomkin: “Post-mortems of contemporary election coverage typically include regrets about horserace journalism, he-said-she-said stenography, and the lack of enlightening stories about the issues.”

“But according to longtime political observers Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, campaign coverage in 2012 was a particularly calamitous failure, almost entirely missing the single biggest story of the race: Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth.”

McCain to Join Foreign Relations Committee

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told The Cable that he will join the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ahead of confirmation hearings for whomever President Obama nominates to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

NBC News: “U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is reportedly a finalist for Secretary of State. McCain has been a main critic of Rice’s, stemming from her appearances on Sunday shows following the attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including an ambassador. But McCain’s move may not be all about Rice. Because of Republican Conference rules, he is term-limited as ranking member of the Armed Services Committee.”

RNC to Investigate What Went Wrong

The RNC “is rolling out a plan to review what worked and what didn’t for the party in the 2012 cycle,” Politico reports.

“The plan is to focus on: campaign mechanics, fundraising, demographics, messaging, outside groups, campaign finance, the national primary process and, last but not least, what the successful Democratic efforts revealed about the way forward, and recommend plans for the way forward.”

However, BuzzFeed reports that two of the people leading the effort — former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer and Republican committeeman Henry Barbour — pushed the narrative that the polls were skewed, and Mitt Romney would ultimately prevail.

Haley Will Not Appoint Placeholder

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said that she would not appoint a “placeholder” to fill the seat of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) when he leaves in January, the Washington Postreports.

The announcement bolsters speculation that Haley will appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC), “a well-liked conservative with ambitions for higher office.”

A new Public Policy Polling survey in South Carolina finds Stephen Colbert tops the list of who voters would like to see appointed at 20%, followed by Tim Scott at 15%, Trey Gowdy at 14%, Jenny Sanford at 11%, Henry McMaster and Mark Sanford at 8%, Jeff Duncan and Joe Wilson at 5%, and Mick Mulvaney at 4%.

The Coming Conservative Revolt

Jonathan Chait: “In the immediate wake of the election, Republicans felt so stunned — in no small part because they had deluded themselves into expecting victory — that it seemed momentarily possible that the party’s long march to the right may halt or even reverse. But the future of the party is already taking shape, and that future will be, in some form or fashion, a conservative reaction against the Republican leadership that has sold them out. The smarter Republicans have already shaken off the trauma of electoral defeat and begun positioning themselves to capitalize.”

The Dick Morris Scam?

Paul Waldman takes another look at Dick Morris and his Super PAC, “an organization whose entire purpose is to raise money, and its expenditures involve raising money and finding new donors. And not, say, getting Mitt Romney elected.”

“Perhaps there’s a more innocent explanation for all this, but the way it looks is that 1) People (should we call them ‘marks’?) donate money to Morris’ super PAC; 2) he pays that money to Newsmax for ‘fundraising’; then 3) Newsmax turns around and pays the money back to Morris, for access to his list of donors. Perhaps Newsmax takes a cut, or perhaps the list is their cut, because these people can then become marks for all kinds of future scams.”

The Destructive Role of Big Money

Wonk Wire highlights how money is still ruining elections even if it isn’t necessarily deciding them.

Why Republicans Will Cave on Tax Rates

Byron York: “First, many in the GOP do not believe that raising the rate on top earners from 35 percent to 39.6 percent (the rate before the Bush tax cuts) would seriously damage the economy. Second, they know that most Americans approve of higher taxes on the top bracket, and President Obama, having campaigned and won on that platform, seems dead-set on higher rates. Third, they fear that if the government does go over the cliff and Democrats propose re-lowering taxes for everyone except the highest earners, Republicans would be in the impossible position of resisting tax cuts for 98 percent of the country on behalf of the top 2 percent.”

Cuomo Refuses to Say if He Would Back Clinton

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) refused to get pinned down on whether he would endorse Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2016, Politicker reports.

Said Cuomo: “There’s a long way away. We just elected a president… There’s no doubt that she’s incredibly popular, she’s got incredible support….She’s going to have to make her decision.”

Boehner Worries About Possible Challenge

Should a deal to avert the fiscal cliff “go sour,” National Review reports the buzz is that Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) may challenge House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for the speaker’s gavel.

Said one aide close to the House leadership: “Price is the person we’re all watching. We know he’s frustrated, but we don’t know much else.”

Majority See No Deal on Fiscal Cliff

Even as progress is reported in the fiscal cliff negotiations, a new poll for The Hill finds a clear majority of voters expect President Obama and Congress will fail to reach a deal, 58% to 39%.

First Read: “If the plan is to get something passed by Friday, Dec. 21 (right before the Christmas holiday), then the legislation has to be written by Dec. 18. And that means that Obama and Boehner must reach an agreement by Dec. 14-15, if there’s going to be a deal. So the time for posturing and P.R. is over.”

Most Back Path to Citizenship

A new Politico/George Washington University Battleground poll finds that 62% of those surveyed support an immigration reform proposal that would allow illegal or undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship over a period of several years. Thirty-five percent oppose it.

“The poll reveals significantly greater overall support, 77%, for an immigration law that allows the children of illegal or undocumented immigrants to earn the right to stay here permanently if they complete a college degree or serve in the military. Just 19% oppose this key element of the so-called DREAM Act.”

Wonk Wire: Our immigration policy is “national suicide.”

Fiscal Cliff Deal in Sight

“The contours of a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff are becoming increasingly clear. But progress has been slow, and time is running out for leaders to seal an agreement and sell it to restless lawmakers who so far have been given little information,” the Washington Post reports.

“Lawmakers say action this week is vital if Obama and Boehner hope to win approval by the end of the year for complex, bipartisan legislation that would raise taxes, push down social-safety-net spending and lift the federal debt limit.”

Wonk Wire has more on a possible deal.

Meanwhile, the  Wall Street Journal reports Republican leaders “are pushing what looks like a relatively painless method of slowing federal spending, one that alters how the government calculates annual cost-of-living increases for an array of programs.”

Experience Matters Again

New York Times: “The 2010 election, with its throw-the-bums-out, antigovernment furor, swept into office a host of people who had no government experience. There was an exterminator, a dentist, a youth minister and a pizza man. But this year, voters sent many of those people packing.”

“In their place will be a class of career bureaucrats and policy wonks who, after two years of intransigence and dysfunction on Capitol Hill, make up what could be characterized as the anti-antigovernment wave.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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