Virginia Kills Surprise Redistricting Plan

The Virginia Speaker of the House William Howell (R) “has ruled that the surprise changes that the Senate made to redistricting legislation are out of order, dealing a blow to GOP hopes to redraw districts,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

“Senate Republicans pushed through the plan on a 20-19 party-line vote on a day when Democrats were down one member because Sen. Henry Marsh III (D) attended inauguration ceremonies for President Barack Obama in Washington on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. ”

The Frozen Field

Marc Ambinder: “The Democratic Party has two tiers of candidates. In order for the second tier of candidates to even conceive of running, then the first tier has to step aside. That first tier, of course, is occupied by Clinton. Her intentions are unknowable, but trust me when I tell you that, to the extent that the Democratic Party still has reliable donors and committed activists, the lion’s share are hoping Clinton runs and are ready to endorse her immediately. She is the 800-pound gorilla in a pantsuit. No one moves until she does.”

Geithner’s New Gig

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who stepped down last month, is joining the Council on Foreign Relations as a distinguished fellow, the New York Times reports.

Lawmaker Wants to Require Students to Read Ayn Rand

Idaho state Sen. John Goedde (R), chairman of the Education Committee, introduced legislation to require every Idaho high school student to read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shruggedand pass a test on it to graduate from high school, the Spokane Spokesman-Reviewreports.

Said Goedde: “That book made my son a Republican.”

The NRA’s Enemies List

John Avlon uncovers the National Rifle Association’s enemies list.

“Richard Nixon would be embarrassed to find that his once sinister form of score-keeping has been revived so promiscuously by the NRA. But there is some redeeming social value here: The list illustrates an organization that has become hermetically sealed from society at large, so caught up in conservative debates that it has forgotten how to connect with Main Street America.”

The Week: “The rogues gallery includes some unsurprising entries, such as the American Civil Liberties Union. But it seems almost no organization or person has escaped the NRA’s gaze, including the AARP, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the National Association of Public Hospitals, and the Police Foundation.”

Celebrating the Filth of Politics

Marc Ambinder: “Politics without dirty deals is not politics. It’s something else. It’s not something we’ve seen here; there are no historical antecedents for it. Purely deliberative reasoning, shorn of self-interest, is an academic exercise. Let it by all means by an aspirational ideal. Call out cynicism where you see it, but don’t lump all cynicism and opportunism together. Be wary of judging what is with what you think must be. If humanism on a grand scale is your goal, you aren’t going to get there without getting mud on your jersey.”

Holding Pundits Accountable

Harry Enten: “I’m not a big one for Schadenfreude but I confess to feeling a little frisson on hearing the news that Dick Morris was not getting his contract renewed by Fox News. It’s not that I wish Morris ill tidings; it’s that I want pundits to be held accountable for their incorrect forecasts… Morris’ [2012] performance earned him the title of ‘Worst Pundit of 2012’ by Pundit Tracker. That’s an impressive achievement considering all the competition. In mathematical terms, Morris was wrong 80% in his prognostications: if you had placed a dollar bet on each Morris prediction in a prediction market, you would have lost 70% of your money.”

Lawmaker Compares Homosexuality to Heroin Addiction

Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) told TMZ that teaching people how to protect themselves from HIV was an attempt to push the gay agenda “down everybody’s throats.”

Said Campfield: “You know, you could say the same thing about kids who are shooting heroin. We need to show them the best ways to shoot up. No, we don’t. Why do we have to hypersexualize little children? Why can’t we just let little kids be little kids for a while? Why do we have to have little kids be…?”

Budget War is Back

Roll Call: “This time, the scale may be smaller but the game is the same — in the president’s eyes, either congressional Republicans agree to more new tax revenue or they will bear responsibility for the economic damage and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs from the sequester taking effect.”

However, First Read notes the White House “is prepared to see Congress work the old-fashioned way: The Senate passes a budget (with White House input), the House passes a budget (maybe all of this done before the August recess at the latest), and then the House and Senate actually negotiate a budget to send to the president for his signature. So no more Boehner-Obama talks, no more Biden-McConnell discussions.”

Insiders Divided on GOP’s Woes

The latest National Journal Political insiders poll finds that 57% of Democrats chose “policy prescriptions” as the area in which Republicans need the most improvement, while Republicans were far more divided, picking messaging as the top problem at 33%.

Obama Makes Unconventional Pick for Interior

President Obama will nominate the head of the outdoor retail chain REI to head up the Interior Department, NBC News reports.

“The choice of CEO Sally Jewell is unconventional one, as the post has been filled in the past by politicians from the West. For example, the last five secretaries have been governors of Idaho and Arizona, a senator and attorney general from Colorado, and a congressman from New Mexico.”

Hagel Confirmation All But Certain

CNN reports there “are now at least five Republican senators who would oppose a filibuster of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, all but ensuring the embattled nominee will be confirmed in the coming days.”

Daniel Larison: “We won’t know what the final confirmation vote tally will be, but by my count there are at least 20 Republicans that will definitely vote against Hagel and there are only two definite Republican yeas. Even if all of the remaining Republicans voted to confirm, that would still mean that nearly half of the Senators from Hagel’s own party are voting the other way. It isn’t surprising when the president’s opposition votes in large numbers against a nominee from the president’s party, but in this case Republicans are going out of their way to repudiate one of their own mostly because he is not enough of a jingoist and saber-rattler. Hagel will almost certainly be confirmed, but along the way Senate Republicans are confirming everyone else’s worst fears about their foreign policy views.”

Ex-House Members Spend Leftover Campaign Funds

Former House members “are spending their leftover money to pay for everything from luxury cars to foundations that bear their names,” USA Today reports. “The practice is legal but raises questions among government watchdogs about whether these accounts are used as political slush funds.”

“Federal rules bar former lawmakers from using leftover campaign money for their personal use, but a review of new reports show their contributors’ dollars pay for a wide range of expenses. Of the 82 House members who were defeated or resigned from the last Congress, more than one in four had more than $100,000 remaining in their campaign accounts at the end of 2012.”

Scott Plans to Spend $100 Million for Re-election

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) “is preparing to defend his Florida governorship with the most expensive reelection campaign in state history, drawing up plans for a battleship-sized political operation aimed at overcoming the Republican’s deep personal unpopularity,”Politico reports.

“The anticipated price tag, according to sources familiar with Scott’s plans: $100 million.”

Republicans Move to Soften Image

“After years in which the Republicans’ answer to almost every question was to reduce spending and lower taxes, some of the party’s most influential voices are beginning to suggest that it is time to take a broader — and softer — focus,” the Washington Postreports.

“The latest to join that movement is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who in a speech on Tuesday called for Republicans to ‘focus our attention really on what lies beyond the fiscal debates’ and to create ‘conditions for health, happiness and prosperity.’

Majority Support for Most Immigration Reforms

A new Gallup poll finds “at least two-thirds of Americans favor each of five specific measures designed to address immigration issues — ranging from 68% who would vote for increased government spending on security measures and enforcement at U.S. borders, to 85% who would vote for a requirement that employers verify the immigration status of all new hires. More than seven in 10 would vote for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now living in this country.”

Meanwhile, a new ABC News-Washington Post poll finds public approval of President Obama’s handling of immigration has jumped to a career high “buttressed by majority support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and, much more broadly, endorsement of stricter border control.”

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

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