POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/30

A Second Republican Party

David Brooks: “It’s probably futile to try to change current Republicans. It’s smarter to build a new wing of the Republican Party, one that can compete in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic states, in the upper Midwest and along the West Coast. It’s smarter to build a new division that is different the way the Westin is different than the Sheraton…”

“Would a coastal and Midwestern G.O.P. sit easily with the Southern and Western one? No, but majority parties are usually coalitions of the incompatible. This is really the only chance Republicans have. The question is: Who’s going to build a second G.O.P.?”

Will Immigration Reform Help Republicans?

Harry Enten: “The only swing states in which Latinos make up the same or a greater percentage of the electorate than nationally are Colorado, Florida, and Nevada. A modest improvement for Republicans in these states could make a difference in a close election. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but the majority of swing states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are more likely to be determined by African-American and non-Hispanic white voters.”

Kerry Confirmed

The Senate overwhelmingly approved Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as the next secretary of state, 94 to 3, the Washington Post reports.

He will formally take over from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday.

Will Immigration Reform Pass This Time?

Alex Altman: “How long has it been since lawmakers went before the cameras to announce a bipartisan deal — without the hunted look of hostage victims? Perhaps since they launched a similar bid to overhaul the U.S. immigration system. Those efforts, from 2005 to 2007, and again in 2009 and 2010, were led by many of the same Senators spearheading the push that was launched on Monday. The bills produced in those doomed efforts look eerily similar to the new framework released by the Senate’s so-called Gang of Eight. Schumer touted the outline as a ‘major breakthrough,’ and through the prism of Washington’s polarized politics, it was. It also carried a whiff of Groundhog Day.”

“Despite Monday’s rare bipartisan bonhomie, the Gang of Eight will have to navigate a raft of competing interests: House Republicans worried about primary challenges, a tug of war between business and labor, Hispanics unsatisfied by the arduous and murky path to citizenship. Then there are the looming brawls over the budget and gun control, which could poison whatever cross-aisle goodwill exists.”

Most Don’t Want Perry to Run Again

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that Texas voters — even Republicans — have had enough of Gov. Rick Perry (R).

The poll finds that only 31% of voters think Perry should seek reelection next year, compared to 62% who think it’s time for him to step aside. He’s also among the most unpopular governors in the country, with only 41% of voters approving of him to 54% who disapprove.

Vitter Remakes Himself

Since an embarrassing sex scandal in 2007, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) “has lain low, ducking reporters at the Capitol and largely avoiding the media spotlight,” Politico reports.

“But Vitter has weathered a Category 3 public relations disaster that would have ruined most politicians. Voters shrugged at the scandal and overwhelmingly reelected him to a second term, and polls show he leads the field of potential candidates in the 2015 governor’s race. And he even has a new super PAC supporting him.”

Broad Support for Women in Combat

A new Pew Research survey finds 66% of Americans support allowing women in the military to serve in ground units that engage in close combat, while just 26% are opposed.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced he would life the ban on women in combat last week.

Booker Sees Bigger Role for a Senator

BuzzFeed has a good profile of Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) who says if he becomes a U.S. Senator he “would call for a reinvention of the role: to act in addition to and outside of a Senator’s official duties as prescribed in the Constitution, to push for urban and criminal justice reform, and to stay on Twitter.”

Said Booker: “Look, I’m not different from most Americans who catch glimpses of what goes on down there and and worry what is going on in that body. But I’ve evolved about how that body can make changes on the issues I’m passionate about.”

He adds: “So I’m telling you right now. If a snow storm hits and I’m here, I’ll be on Twitter saying, ‘Hey, who needs help.’ And I’ll get out in my four-by-four and be able to band together more volunteers than most people could.”

Hagel’s Path Looks Clear

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) tells Roll Call “that so far, he has not counted a single Democratic ‘no’ vote on the question of whether former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel should be confirmed as Defense secretary.”

Patrick Readies Pick to Fill Kerry’s Seat

With Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) likely to be confirmed as Secretary of State today, the Boston Globe reports on Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s (D) potential picks to temporarily fill Kerry’s seat.

“Patrick has suggested he will choose a woman or a person of color to reflect the changing face of politics in Massachusetts. Top contenders are said by political insiders to include his former chief of staff, William ‘Mo’ Cowan, and Victoria ­Kennedy, Edward M. Kennedy’s widow.”

“Politically connected Democrats do not believe that Barney Frank, former US representative, who has openly urged Patrick to appoint him, will get the interim Senate job. Patrick and his political advisers have bristled at Frank’s public pursuit of the job.”

Why Nevada?

President Obama gave his much-anticipated immigration speech this afternoon in Nevada.

First Read: “So why is the president giving his speech in Las Vegas? There is no state that better epitomizes the power of the Latino vote in American politics than Nevada. In 2010, Harry Reid won 69% of Latinos in his race against Sharron Angle, according to the exit polls, saving his Senate seat from a GOP that was convinced was theirs for the taking. And two years later, Obama won 71% of that vote — matching what he received nationwide. The three states that have moved the most dramatically in presidential contests since 2004 have been Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, and it’s due primarily to the Latino vote in all three states. (New Mexico is not even remotely a purple state anymore.) In Nevada, in particular, Latinos make up 27% of the state’s population and 19% of the voters in the 2012 election. Translation: The Latino influence in the state has even more room to grow.”

Treasury Approved “Excessive” Pay at Bailed Out Firms

An inspector general’s report found the U.S. Treasury Department approved “excessive” salaries and raises at firms that received taxpayer-funded bailouts during the financial crisis the Washington Post reports.

The report said Treasury “approved all 18 requests it received last year to raise pay for executives at American International Group Inc., General Motors Corp. and Ally Financial Inc. Of those requests, 14 were for $100,000 or more; the largest raise was $1 million.”

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