Lawmakers Think Voters are More Conservative

A fascinating new study finds that politicians significantly overestimate the conservatism of their constituents on several key issues, including universal health care and same-sex marriage, the Huffington Post reports.

For example, a survey of voters found they supported gay marriage and universal health care by 10 percentage points more than their own politicians had estimated in a separate survey. For conservative politicians, the spread was near 20 percentage points.

The authors conclude: “Most politicians appear to believe they are representing constituents who are considerably different than their actual constituents.”

Former GOP Lawmaker Slams Boehner

National Journal reports that disgraced former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) makes dramatic accusations against Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in his new memoir, Sideswiped.

Writes Ney: “If the Justice Department were ever to make John produce receipts for his addiction to golf just for the years from 1995 to 2004, he would be hard-pressed to comply. John got away with more than any other Member on the Hill.”

Dealing with Bush

Samuel Goldman: “It takes a long time for political parties to recover from defeat. Since winning suggests that they’re doing something right, it takes even longer to recover from victory. Because it reassured Republicans that aggressive war, fiscal policies that favor the rich, and the ideologically-inspired transformation of beloved domestic programs were fundamentally popular, the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004 was like a drug that relieves symptoms without treating the underlying disease. Conservative intellectuals must help the GOP break its dependence on these dangerous nostrums — and its continuing allegiance to the doctor who prescribed them.”

Bush Quietly Lays Groundwork for Campaign

BuzzFeed: “If Jeb Bush decides to convert his media tour into a presidential bid in a couple years, he won’t have to look far for a campaign staff: The well-funded education foundation he runs out his office in a Miami hotel is stacked with former political operatives, a large communications team, and a rapidly growing staff whose work stretches into 40 states.”

“It is common practice for undeclared presidential candidates to build a campaign infrastructure under the guise of a political action committee, but Bush appears to be laying the groundwork for a potential campaign through his foundation.”

Brennan Clears Hurdle After White House Concession

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12 to 3 to confirm John Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, “hours after the White House agreed to provide more information on the legal basis for targeted killings of Americans believed to pose a terrorist threat,” the New York Times reports.

“The vote, in a closed committee meeting, clears the way for Mr. Brennan, a 25-year C.I.A. veteran who has been President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, to be confirmed by the full Senate later this week.”

Lawmaker Worries Divorce Makes Girls Promiscuous

Seven Republicans in the Iowa House are pushing a bill to prohibit parents of minor children from getting a “no fault” divorce, Radio Iowa reports.

Rep. Tedd Gassman (R) explained the issue is “near and dear” to his heart because his daughter and son-in-law recently divorced, putting his granddaughter at risk.

Said Gassman: “There’s a 16-year-old girl in this whole mix now. Guess what? What are the possibilities of her being more promiscuous? What are the possibilities of all these other things surrounding her life that a 16-year-old girl, with hormones raging, can get herself into?”

Booker Has Earned $1 Million in Speaking Fees

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) has earned about $1 million from public speaking engagements during his seven years in office, the New York Times reports.

Said Booker: “Even though I am entitled to keep it, after Uncle Sam takes his share and after I’ve given away hundreds and hundreds of thousands, I’ve kept very little of it, if any.”

The Power of Boehner

Noam Scheiber: “Yes! Boehner is goofy, poorly informed, and frequently incoherent. He often sows confusion among the very people he’s supposed to be leading. But despite this–or perhaps because of it–he has been remarkably effective at saving the Republican Party from complete self-destruction. Through heroic improvisation, he’s avoided the global economic apocalypse House Republicans are so intent on provoking.”

“Under the circumstances, Boehner has, in fact, been a raging success. I hesitate to call him ‘sophisticated’ because that would imply a level of self-awareness and reflection I’m not sure he’s capable of. But the man’s instincts are damn-near impeccable.”

Christie Rips Washington

In his classic style — and on camera — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) blasted political leaders in Washington: “I don’t have the first damn idea of what they’re doing down there.”

See more…

When Politics Comes Down to Simple Math

Ryan Lizza: “A fundamental fact of modern political life is that the only way to advance a coherent agenda in Washington is through partisan dominance. When Obama had large Democratic majorities in Congress during his first two years in office, he led one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. After he lost the House, his agenda froze and the current status quo of serial fiscal crises began. Like it or not, for many years, Washington has been most productive when one party controlled both Congress and the White House.”

“The boring fact of our system is that congressional math is the best predictor of a President’s success. This idea is not nearly as sexy as the notion that great Presidents are great because they twist arms in backrooms and inspire the American people to rise up and force Congress to bend to their will. But even the Presidents who are remembered for their relentless congressional lobbying and socializing were more often than not successful for more mundane reasons–like arithmetic.”

Bush’s Poorly Timed Flip Flop

The stunning reversal by Jeb Bush on supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants “comes down to a colossal political miscalculation,” National Journal reports.

“When Bush and co-author Clint Bolick were writing the book during the 2012 presidential campaign, the GOP was veering far to the right. Republican nominee Mitt Romney had staked out a hardline position against illegal immigration, blasting his primary rivals as pro-amnesty and promoting ‘self-deportation’ for undocumented workers. Bush sent the book to the printer before Christmas – weeks before a handful of Senate Republicans embraced a sweeping overhaul that, like the proposals backed by Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, would allow illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.”

“In other words, Bush’s party unexpectedly moved a lot faster than the book publishing world.”

The Miami Herald quoted an angry adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential run: “Where the hell was this Jeb Bush during the campaign?”

More Blame Republicans for Sequester

A new CBS News poll finds Americans blame the Republicans in Congress more for the difficulty in reaching agreement on automatic spending cuts that took effect last week.

Key findings: 38% place more blame on the Republicans in Congress for the failure, while 33% blame President Obama and the Democrats in Congress more. Nineteen percent volunteer that they blame both sides.

Obama Lets Cabinet Play Bigger Role

President Obama, “facing a limited window of time to enact an ambitious second-term agenda, is rounding out his Cabinet with relative outsiders and empowering them with more policymaking responsibility than secretaries had during his first term,” the Washington Post reports.

“The appointees and others named in recent weeks mark a departure for Obama, who stocked his first-term Cabinet with politicos but has recruited more business executives and other outsiders for his last four years. The new nominees are expected to play an expanded role in helping develop executive actions and other policy initiatives, according to officials who detailed the second-term plans.”

With his EPA and Energy nominees unveiled yesterday, the New York Times notes they “send an unmistakable signal that the president intends to mount a multifaceted campaign in his second term to tackle climate change by using all the executive branch tools at his disposal.”

GOP Still Sniping Over 2012

Politico: “Each week brings a new diagnosis of the party’s woes. Karl Rove says it’s candidate quality. Mitt Romney chief strategist Stuart Stevens argues Democrats have won over minority voters through government programs like Obamacare. Some Bush White House vets say it’s the GOP’s trouble understanding how to approach a changing electorate. Techy conservatives blame the party’s inferior social media presence and outdated voter targeting and data-mining.”

“With fault to go around for allowing a president mired in a weak economy to handily win reelection, the finger-pointing and blame-shifting from various corners are showing no sign of abating.”

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

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