POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/12

Why Karl Rove May Fail

Nate Silver suggests Karl Rove’s latest effort to fund “electable” candidates in Republican primaries may actually fail.

“An analysis of Republican Senate primaries in 2010 and 2012 suggests that money is usually the least pressing problem for the incumbents and other establishment-backed candidates whom Mr. Rove’s group might be inclined to support. Instead, some insurgent candidates won their races despite having been at more than a 10-to-1 fund-raising disadvantage heading into the primary.”

“Does that mean there is literally no benefit to having more money in a Republican primary? Not exactly… there is a modest but positive correlation between the share of the funds that went to the establishment candidate and that candidate’s margin of victory or defeat. However, the relationship is much weaker than it is in general elections for the Senate, when fund-raising totals have about twice as much power to predict the margin between the Democratic and Republican candidates.”

Fox News: Rove under fire from the right.

GOP Renews Push for Balanced-Budget Amendment

“Frustrated by the months of non-stop budget fights, Senate Republicans are set to mount a fiscal counteroffensive this week with the reintroduction of a balanced-budget amendment,” National Review reports.

“According to a Senate GOP aide, the legislation would cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP. It would also require a supermajority for tax hikes and debt-limit increases.”

Greg Sargent: “Requiring a supermajority on the debt ceiling is the direct opposite of fiscal responsibility: Since the debt ceiling only constitutes authorizing borrowing to pay bills already incurred by Congress, it could set spending by regular majority rule (as it currently does), while requiring a supermajority to borrow the money necessary to pay the bills it racks up. It would make default — and widespread economic havoc — more likely.”

GOP Likely to Hold Up Hagel Nomination

Roll Call: “The Senate panel overseeing Pentagon nominations plans to hold a vote Tuesday on the contentious nomination of Chuck Hagel to become Defense secretary, and while the panel may vote along party lines to recommend confirmation to the full Senate, some GOP lawmakers are expected to hold it up.”

Cuomo Losing His Mojo?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “has veered sharply away from the reform and pro-business policies he followed during his first two years in office and is ‘adrift’ on a course of murky proposals, frequent indecision, and political obsessions focused on re-election next year and the presidency in 2016,” insiders tell Fred Dicker.

“The insiders, some of whom have known Cuomo for decades, said the governor has become so obsessed with maintaining what until recently were record-high job-approval ratings that he has refused, for fear of alienating politically potent liberal voting blocs, to make tough decisions to cut costs for fiscally troubled local governments, reduce regulations to attract businesses, and approve hydrofracking for natural gas.”

SNL’s Unaired Sketch Mocks Senate Republicans

Saturday Night Live planned a skit making fun of the Senate Republicans’ grilling of defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel but it was cut from the show at the last minute.

It was released later online.

See more…

Former Florida GOP Chief Pleads Guilty

Former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer pleaded guilty “to charges of money laundering and theft, avoiding trial in a case that could have potentially embarrassed former Gov. Charlie Crist and much of the state’s Republican elite,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.

“As part of the deal, Greer faces a maximum of 42.6 months in prison. Sentencing is scheduled March 27.”

Grayson’s Big Swing

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) told Roll Call that the House historian “informed him the victory, a 43-point swing from his 2010 loss, was the biggest comeback in history of the House. His lesson from the experience is to press on, full steam ahead.”

What Americans Want in the State of the Union

A new Quinnipiac poll finds President Obama “should focus on the economy in his State of the Union Address, 35 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Another 20 percent say the federal deficit is the top priority, with 15 percent citing gun policy and 12 percent listing health care.”

Meanwhile, two-thirds of people say they’re either “likely” or “very likely” to watch.

White House Insists Focus Has Remained on Jobs

Ron Fournier: “White House officials tell me they feel stung by coverage of the inaugural address. Reporters highlighted the president’s left-leaning stances on immigration, gun control, climate change and gay and women’s rights. Obama’s aides argue that he devoted more inaugural address language to the economy, jobs and the deficit than all other issues combined. Still, the perception remains that Obama lost focus on the economy — the top issue in the minds of most voters. So look for an address Tuesday tilted heavily toward policies pledging action on joblessness, growing the economy and expanding the middle class, White House officials said Friday. The other issues will be discussed, aides said, but there will be no mistaking that Obama’s paramount concern is the economy.”

Hagel Nomination Lingers

The Senate Armed Services Committee could vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary as soon as Tuesday, “but Republican aides reacted to that idea by suggesting that some members could walk out in protest,” Politico reports.

First Read notes that while Hagel still has the votes to be confirmed “any day that goes by when there’s not a vote isn’t a good day for him.”

Obama Plans Aggressive Speech

President Obama’s State of the Union speech “will be less a presidential olive branch than a congressional cattle prod,” Politico reports.

“Emboldened by electoral victory and convinced the GOP is unwilling to cut deals, Obama plans to use his big prime-time address Tuesday night to issue another broad challenge at a Republican Party he regards as vulnerable and divided, Democrats close to Obama say.”

“He’ll pay lip service to bipartisanship, but don’t expect anything like the call for peaceful collaboration that defined his first address to a joint session of Congress in 2009, they say.

Is Rubio the Answer for Republicans?

The Washington Post says Sen. March Rubio (R-FL) “is indeed a politician of unusual gifts. But the spotlight that has fallen on this relatively new arrival to the national scene says as much about the state of the Republican Party as it does about the 41-year-old senator. And it remains to be seen whether he represents the solution to the GOP’s problems, or whether the party’s sky-high hopes in an untested newcomer are just another measure of its drift.”

Paul Waldman: “But you can only be the Next Big Thing for so long, and there’s really only one way to become your party’s savior: win the White House. If immigration reform passes, Rubio will probably be given credit on the right. But what if, in 2014, Republicans do no better with Latino voters than they did in 2012? That might make them decide that moderating their stance was a waste of time. Or it might make them decide they need Rubio more than ever.”

Obama Weighs Executive Actions

President Obama “is considering a series of new executive actions aimed at working around a recalcitrant Congress, including policies that could allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages, provide new protections for gays and lesbians, make buildings more energy-efficient and toughen regulations for coal-fired power plants,” theWashington Post reports.

“The moves underscore Obama’s increasingly aggressive use of executive authority, including 23 administrative actions on gun violence last month and previous orders that delayed deportations of young illegal immigrants and will lower student loan payments.”

AP: “This is what ‘Forward’ looks like. Fast forward, even. President Barack Obama’s campaign slogan is springing to life in a surge of executive directives and agency rule-making that touch many of the affairs of government.”

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