POITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/5
Marc Ambinder: “Bush is an ideal Republican presidential candidate. He has a national stature, an enviable record as governor, a solid temperament, and nothing significantly scandalous in his past. He is one of his party’s best voices on immigration.”
“But he is a Bush. That’s going to be a problem. It’s not going to be an insurmountable problem, but the Republican base is definitely wary of the Bush brand and will not embrace him, no matter how hard he tacks to the right.”
An escort who appeared on a video claiming Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) paid her for sex has told Dominican Republic police that she was instead paid to make up the claims and has never met the senator before, the Washington Post reports.
The woman identified a lawyer who approached her and a friend to make the videotape. That man has in turn identified another lawyer who gave him a script for the tape and paid him to find women to fabricate the claims.
President Obama “pushed for quick Senate confirmation of his new picks for budget director, EPA administrator and Energy secretary — although the nature of the positions themselves all but ensures plenty of partisan fireworks on the Hill,” Roll Call reports.
In his new book, Immigration Wars, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) makes a notable reversal on immigration reform, “arguing that creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would only encourage future unauthorized immigration,”Huffington Post reports.
Writes Bush: “It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences — in this case, that those who violated the law can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship. To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship.”
The Cloakroom: After years of deriding the law, even Republicans now see its benefits.
Out this month: More than They Bargained For: Scott Walker, Unions, and the Fight for Wisconsin by Jason Stein and Patrick Marley.
One interesting highlight from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “The top two officials within Obama’s re-election campaign quietly met with key Wisconsin Democrats and union leaders in October 2011 and expressed skepticism about the looming effort to recall Walker and how it could affect the president’s own re-election chances.”
Newt Gingrich spoke to Steve Kornacki about why Republicans felt so confident they were going to win last year’s presidential election:
“I think conservatives in general got in the habit of talking to themselves. I think that they in a sense got isolated into their own little world. So our pollsters, many of whom were wrong about turnout. No Republican pollster thought you could get 87 percent turnout in Milwaukee. You just sort of have to say that to some extent the degree to which we believed that the other side was kidding themselves, it turned out in fact in the real world – this is a part of what makes politics so fascinating – it turned out in the real world we were kidding ourselves.”
Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) told Roll Call he will not take on three-term Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in 2014.
A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll finds Gov. Rick Perry (R) would defeat Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) by a nearly 3-to-1 margin if a Republican gubernatorial primary were held today, 49% to 17%.
“Such a contest might never come: Neither man has declared for that 2014 race, with each saying he will wait until June or later to make a public announcement of his political plans. Perry recently said they have talked and that Abbott wouldn’t run if the governor sought re-election.”
Karl Rove’s American Crossroads released an amusing video slamming President Obama’s outside advocacy arm seeking $500,000 for quarterly meetings with the president’s team.
“Or pay $1 million and you don’t have to meet with Biden–ever!”
Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he will not run for Senate in 2014.
“The news… is not particularly shocking given the difficulties Graves would have faced against some of his more seasoned U.S. House colleagues, but Graves used the interview to make the point — unsolicited and repeatedly — that he still has statewide goals.”
Washington Post: “Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey are so far the only Republicans in the race for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s (R-GA) seat. Democrats are still in search of a standard-bearer, with Rep. John Barrow appearing to be their best hope if he runs.”
Vali Nasr writes about his time working for Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009 and 2010, noting it “turned out to be a deeply disillusioning experience. The truth is that his administration made it extremely difficult for its own foreign-policy experts to be heard. Both Clinton and Holbrooke, two incredibly dedicated and talented people, had to fight to have their voices count on major foreign-policy initiatives.”
“Holbrooke never succeeded. Clinton did — but it was often a battle. It usually happened only when it finally became clear to a White House that jealously guarded all foreign policymaking — and then relied heavily on the military and intelligence agencies to guide its decisions — that these agencies’ solutions were no substitute for the type of patient, credible diplomacy that garners the respect and support of allies. Time and again, when things seemed to be falling apart, the administration finally turned to Clinton because it knew she was the only person who could save the situation.”
Roll Call: “Behind a discreet set of double doors on the first floor of the Russell Senate Office Building lies one of the last oases of what was once the world’s greatest good-old-boys club: the Senate’s members-only gym, one of the few places where members… can just be themselves without fear of repercussions.”
Said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): “The sweat-filled room has now replaced the smoke-filled room.”
The New York Times reports Republicans are now split on Obamacare, immigration and even same-sex marriage. But they remain firm on spending and taxes.
“Four months after Mr. Obama won a second term, the only issue that truly unites Republicans is a commitment to shrinking the federal government through spending cuts, low taxes and less regulation. To have compromised again and agreed to further increase taxes or roll back spending cuts would have left Republicans deeply split and, many of them say, at risk of losing the core of the party’s identity.”
First Read notes that “if everyone gets a break and if the sequester cuts do have impact in the next few months, count us as ones who are a bit optimistic that a Grand Bargain on the budget could be reached in September.”
“Yes, we know that a Grand Bargain has been harder to find than the Loch Ness Monster. But here’s how it could happen: After some breathing room, after both parties let their budget processes play out, and after evidence that the U.S. economy has been negatively impacted by the sequester, both sides could determine that a Grand Bargain is in their interest — Republicans decide they really, really want entitlement reforms and are willing to put up some additional revenue; Democrats decide they really, really want additional revenue and are willing to put up additional entitlement reform. And in September, the president and Democrats will have this response when Boehner and Republicans say, ‘The president got his tax increases.’ They’ll be able to say, ‘The Republicans got their spending cuts.'”
Elizabeth Drew: “As the Republicans search for a new and more electable identity they have a fundamental problem. Ever since they took their major right turn in 1964, they have made a series of bargains in order to strengthen their ranks: the Southern strategy, which validated racism; the Christian right; the Sagebrush Rebellion, which represented big ranching and farming interests as well as the mining industry; and the Club for Growth, a highly conservative anti-tax, anti-spending group that can pour money into primaries to knock off incumbents who don’t vote according to their views. However successful momentarily, this series of deals ultimately cost the Republicans broad national appeal and flexibility.”
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tells Jeffrey Toobin she intends to stay on the court “as long as I can do the job full steam.”
Said Ginsburg: “There will come a point when I — It’s not this year. You can never tell when you’re my age. But, as long as I think I have the candlepower, I will do it. And I figure next year for certain. After that, who knows?”
Time reports on a group of Republicans consultants who believe the the conservative movement does not have what liberals have: “An infrastructure to train and nurture the next generation of campaign operatives and develop cutting-edge techniques. So they decided to take a shot at filling the void, by developing a proposal for a suite of new outside groups that would mimic, and eventually outpace, Democratic efforts.”
“The first part of that ecosystem, for which incorporation papers were filed last week, will be called the Empower Action Group. It is envisioned as a conservative answer to the New Organizing Institute, a place for training and connecting young conservative talent. It will aim to increase the ranks of people with digital, data and organizing know-how working for the GOP.”Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics