A new Rasmussen poll finds Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) approval rating has plummeted since the November election to 35% to 54% — a stunning reversal from last August, when his approval rate was 50% to 32%.
The Week: So what happened to Ryan’s once-shining star?
Just published: The End of Power: Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be by Moises Naim.
“We know that power is shifting: From West to East and North to South, from presidential palaces to public squares, from once formidable corporate behemoths to nimble startups and, slowly but surely, from men to women. But power is not merely shifting and dispersing. It is also decaying. Those in power today are more constrained in what they can do with it and more at risk of losing it than ever before.”
On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, Gawker published former President George W. Bush’s private email address.
Roll Call: “At the White House and in the Capitol, sequestration has nearly faded from view as an issue, with no compromise in sight to roll back automatic spending cuts that were supposed to bring a doomsday scenario but so far have been met by shrugs across the country.”
Wonk Wire: The invisible hand of sequestration.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “plans to start shopping a book proposal to publishers, seeking to enhance her national political stature while promoting what she considers the cause of her public and legal career: protecting the middle class from abusive financial practices,” the Boston Globe reports.
“The book’s working title is Rigged… and she expects it to offer a first-hand account of her battles in Washington to rein in the sorts of predatory lending and Wall Street excess that victimized everyday Americans.”
“Democratic heavy-hitters — including Bill Clinton — are quietly trying to woo a new candidate to jump into the race to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, even as actress Ashley Judd is taking steps toward launching a star-studded campaign of her own,” Politico reports.
“With fears growing in some Democratic quarters over Judd’s potential candidacy, some prominent Democrats in the Bluegrass State are beginning to set their sights on 34-year-old Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state. Among Grimes’ attributes: She lacks political baggage since she’s served barely a year in office, and she hails from a well-connected family influential in Kentucky Democratic politics. But it’s not at all certain if she’ll jump into the race.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) leads current Gov. Rick Scott (R) by 12 points in a possible 2014 match up, 52% to 40%.
Key finding: Scott’s approval numbers have seen no improvement over the last two months, even after his decision to allow Medicaid expansion in Florida. 33% of voters continue to approve of the job he’s doing to 57% who disapprove.
We’ll have another poll from Florida in the morning.
As President Obama departs for Israel tonight and Vice President Biden returns from Rome, “there will be about a 20-minute window when the nation’s two highest-ranking elected officials will not be on U.S. soil,” the Washington Post reports.
“Luckily, there is no reason to panic. This brief gap does not trigger a succession crisis, as White House officials are quick to point out.”
And Speaker John Boehner’s office “declined to comment on the fact that he might spend a quarter of an hour as the top American official on U.S. soil, or how he might take advantage of that brief home court advantage.”
Senate Democrats are preparing to move ahead with a gun control bill that doesn’t include a ban on hundreds of specific assault weapons and parts, the Washington Post reports.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) told Roll Call that the ban will not pass but that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised her an up-or-down vote on the measure.
Larry Sabato and Kyle Kondik: “Obama’s greatest setback to date has been the 2010 midterm elections. Gains that Republicans scored in the House and Senate still circumscribe his agenda. It is no surprise, then, that the Obama White House wants to achieve something no other president has ever done: Retake full control of Congress in a midterm… Yet as next year’s battle for Congress begins to intensify, the odds favor the Republicans holding the House and getting yet another shot at the Senate.”
Stu Rothenberg: ” At this point in the cycle, Democrats probably need to put at least another two dozen additional districts into play… and hold most of their own vulnerable seats to have a chance of netting 17 seats in the midterm elections. It’s a very tall order.”
Charlie Cook: “It may not be too melodramatic to say that over the next couple of years, the Republican Party faces a fork in the road. Following one path, the GOP can seek to address what has gone wrong, the narrowness of the party’s appeal, and the intolerance that has alienated so many minority, female, young, and moderate voters that Republicans have a hard time prevailing in federal races outside of carefully drawn conservative enclaves. Taking the other road could lead the party over a cliff in 2016, in much the same way Barry Goldwater led Republicans to disaster in 1964.”
Even though the RNC autopsy report clearly favored primaries over caucuses, the Des Moines Register doesn’t see any problems for the Iowa caucuses.
“The report… seems to bode well for the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. It doesn’t specifically call for keeping Iowa first, but it gives a nod to tradition.” It then cites the actual language: “Recognizing the traditions of several states that have early nominating contests, the newly organized primaries would begin only after the ‘carve-out’ states have held their individual elections.”
But the Boston Globe notes that if Iowa “switches to a primary, it would disrupt a sort of gentlemen’s agreement with New Hampshire that has allowed the two states to operate in relative harmony.”
The New York Times reports the issue of Iran will top President Obama’s agenda when he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Public disagreements between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu over how to deal with Iran have waned in recent months. This comes from a combination of the president’s repeated warnings to Tehran; Iran’s strategy of not crossing Israel’s red lines while continuing to build its nuclear program; and changes in Israel’s political landscape, which have weakened Mr. Netanyahu and made a unilateral military strike less likely.”
National Journal: “Back in 2004, it was a given that a presidential candidate couldn’t win the Democratic nomination — let alone the general election — while supporting gay marriage. Less than decade later, Democrats understand they have no chance at winning without supporting gay marriage.”
Bloomberg has an excellent series on the GOP’s lock on the House of Representatives.
“One big reason the Republicans have this edge: their district boundaries are drawn so carefully that the only votes that often matter come from fellow Republicans.”
“The 2010 elections, in which Republicans won the House majority and gained more than 700 state legislative seats across the nation, gave the party the upper-hand in the process of redistricting, the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional seats. The advantage helped them design safer partisan districts and maintain their House majority in 2012 — even as they lost the presidential race by about 5 million votes.”
Said Limbaugh: “The Republicans are just getting totally bamboozled right now. And they are entirely lacking in confidence. Which is what happens to every political party after an election in which they think they got shellacked.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “is endorsing a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants, a significant move for a favorite of tea party Republicans who are sometimes hostile to such an approach,” the AP reports.
In a speech to be delivered later this morning, the potential 2016 presidential candidate will say, “If you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you.”
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) “has been in political trouble since news reports revealed hepressured a former patient of his to get an abortion after they had an affair, details that emerged during divorce proceedings. Later, after he won reelection, reports showed he and his wife had agreed to have two abortions before their divorce,” National Journalreports.
“But unlike some other scandal-wracked politicians like Anthony Weiner, Eric Massa, or Eliot Spitzer, DesJarlais hasn’t become an outcast at all. Republican leaders haven’t punished him. He still holds positions on the Agriculture and, yes, the Oversight and Government Reform committees. Even more glaring: He’s getting fundraising assistance on Tuesday from six influential colleagues, including three committee chairmen (GOP Reps. Darrell Issa of California, John Kline of Minnesota, and Frank Lucas of Oklahoma) and two potential Senate candidates (Kline and Rep. Tom Price of Georgia).”
A new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that just 12% of Americans said that they or someone they know was wounded in the Iraq war and only 6% said they know someone who was killed in the Iraq War.
While 52% of Americans said they at least know someone who served in combat in Iraq, 44% reported no personal connection at all to those who did the fighting and dying there.
“Senate Republicans have a thorny dilemma regarding President Barack Obama’s nomination of Thomas Perez as Labor secretary, especially now that the GOP apparatus has begun to redouble its efforts to reach out to minorities,” Roll Call reports.
“If Republicans block Perez, they risk undercutting the Republican National Committee’s brand-new diversity push and getting mired in fights over voting rights and immigration. But if they allow his nomination to go through, they risk blowback from their base.”