POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/21

A Party at War with Itself

Stu Rothenberg: “The Republican Party continues to fracture more seriously than I expected following last year’s re-election of President Obama.”

“Instead of uniting the GOP’s various constituencies against the president’s agenda, Obama’s re-election seems to have encouraged Republicans to spend much of their time harping on their internal disagreements and fighting over how the party should be positioned for 2016 and beyond.”

Obama Caught on Open Mic Disparaging Congress

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked if President Obama was counting on some rest and relaxation during his trip to Israel, the president quickly said, “It’s good to get away from Congress.”

David Hawkings: “The jape was caught on an open mic and appeared in no official transcripts, underscroring the perception that Obama is never more candid than when he’s lamenting his troubles back home in conversations abroad — and doing so with a foreign leader on the curious assumption that no one’s listening in.”

See more…

Senate Faces Politically Tough Votes

Roll Call: “The first vote-a-rama on a Senate budget resolution in four years offers each party a chance to force the other to cast politically treacherous votes, and both sides are lining up for the opportunity, which could begin as early as Friday.”

Obama Considers Foxx for Transportation

President Obama is considering appointing Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (D) for secretary of transportation, Bloomberg reports.

“Obama also is considering Deborah Hersman, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board, for the position… The president is considering candidates from within the transportation department as well.”

Quick Change in Support for Gay Marriage

A new Pew Research survey the rise in support for same-sex marriage over the past decade is among the largest changes in opinion on any policy issue over this time period.

The survey finds that “much of the shift is attributable to the arrival of a large cohort of young adults – the Millennial generation – who are far more open to gay rights than previous generations. Equally important, however, is that 14% of all Americans – and 28% of gay marriage supporters – say they have changed their minds on this issue, often because they have a family member or friend who is gay.”

Political Parties Rarely Make Big Shifts

Seth Masket: “The Democrats’ shift from being the party of white supremacy to the party of civil rights was pretty much a singular act in American political history. Parties rarely pull off a major shift on a hot-button issue (that’s what killed the Whigs in the 1850s), and indeed it was a very costly shift for the Democrats, breaking their electoral lock on the southern states and ultimately ending their four-decade run of controlling the House of Representatives. To be sure, parties do evolve slowly on some issues, but the parties are much better defined by consistency than change.”

Big Majority Supports Public Spending for Jobs

A new Gallup poll finds that public support for new federal spending to create jobs is, asGreg Sargent puts it, “simply overwhelming.”

Key findings: 72% support federal spending “to put people to work on urgent infrastructure repairs” and 72% support a “federal jobs creation law that would spend government money for a program designed to create more than 1 million new jobs.”

The Worst Memory in American Politics

After comparing his past statements to his current ones, Steve Benen gives the award to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

(“Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.” John Kenneth Galbraith  fvm)

Two Very Different Budgets on Track for Approval

USA Today: “Congress is on track to approve competing party-line budget blueprints as well as legislation to fund the government and prevent a shutdown March 27, but new found fiscal momentum on Capitol Hill is a temporary reprieve from the budget battles that will renew this year. The Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate will approve respective ten-year budget plans with vastly different views on spending, taxes and entitlement programs before adjourning for a two-week spring recess.”

GOP Opposition to Immigration Reform Weakens

“Republican opposition to legalizing the status of millions of illegal immigrants is crumbling in the nation’s capital as leading lawmakers in the party scramble to halt eroding support among Hispanic voters — a shift that is providing strong momentum for an overhaul of immigration laws,” the New York Times reports.

Wonk Wire: Prospect for immigration reform brighten.

Democrat Could Win if Sanford is Nominee

John Fund says that many believe former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) could lose the congressional special election — assuming he wins an upcoming runoff — “to a Democrat — especially a business-oriented woman such as Colbert Busch. Her platform is pitched perfectly toward moderates: protecting retirement benefits, an expansion of engineering and science education and reducing the deficit by eliminating waste.”

Said pollster Pat Caddell: “If Sanford is the final GOP candidate he could lose a 58 percent Romney district based on his weakness with women voters over the affair he had while governor.”

The Week: Is Mark Sanford vs. Stephen Colbert’s sister political gold?

Religious Right Snubbed by RNC Report

McKay Coppins: “Some leaders of the religious right are openly worried this week after a sprawling 98-page report released by the Republican National Committee on how the party can rebuild after its 2012 implosion made no mention of the GOP’s historic alliance with grassroots Christian ‘value voters.'”

“Specifically, the word ‘Christian’ does not appear once in the party’s 50,000-word blueprint for renewed electoral success. Nor does the word ‘church.’ Abortion and marriage, the two issues that most animate social conservatives, are nowhere to be found. There is nothing about the need to protect religious liberty, or promote Judeo-Christian values in society. And the few fleeting suggestions that the party coordinate with ‘faith-based communities’ — mostly in the context of minority outreach — receive roughly as much space as the need to become more “inclusive” of gays.”

Obama Asks Budget Director to Stay On

President Obama has asked Jeff Zients to stay on as acting budget director, “a move that takes him out of the running to become trade chief,” Reuters reports.

“Zients would stay in his current role until the confirmation of Sylvia Mathews Burwell, whom Obama has nominated to lead OMB.”

Rand Paul Won’t Help GOP Win Younger Voters

Nate Cohn: “While some might interpret his strength among younger voters as a sign that the GOP could benefit from a more libertarian tone, 59 percent of young voters believe that the government ‘should do more.’ Young voters are libertarian on cultural issues, but Paul is pro-life and against gay marriage. Even if young voters were libertarian on economic issues, the GOP’s small-government message attracts many of the same voters persuaded by economic libertarianism, without the cost of questionable ideas like ending the Fed. If Paul’s proposals for restraint abroad and marijuana at home would help Republicans, the party would be best served by attaching those proposals to a more traditional conservative, not Rand Paul.”

Obama Turns to Executive Power

President Obama “came into office four years ago skeptical of pushing the power of the White House to the limit, especially if it appeared to be circumventing Congress,”McClatchy reports.

“Now, as he launches his second term, Obama has grown more comfortable wielding power to try to move his own agenda forward, particularly when a deeply fractured, often-hostile Congress gets in his way.”

Crist Holds Big Lead Over Scott in Florida

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida shows former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) tops current Gov. Rick Scott (R) by 16 points, 50% to 34% among registered voters if the 2014 election were today.

A PPP poll released yesterday found Crist with a 12 point lead.

First Read calls Scott “the most endangered governor in the country as we head into next year’s midterms.”

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