Jane Mayer takes on the Koch Brothers [1,2,3] - "For decades, billionaire libertarians Charles and David Koch have spent millions trying to reduce the size of government and slash regulations, making the brothers a target of the political Left and campaign finance reformers. But few people have dug deeper into the Koch empire and family history than New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer, author of the new book 'Dark Money'. Among other revelations, she alleges that the brothers hired private detectives to investigate her after she published articles critical of them. We talk to Mayer about the book and about what the rise of Donald Trump means for the Kochs and their allies." (previously)
Amidst an increasingly unpredictable political season, tonight the Iowa caucuses will finally cast the first votes of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's an outsider vs. establishment war in both parties, as Republican leaders struggle to dislodge Donald Trump and Ted Cruz from the top while Hillary Clinton marshalls her endorsements and long résumé against the populist zeal of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. The best guesses of FiveThirtyEight, BetFair, and Ann Selzer's gold-standard Des Moines Register poll all favor Trump and Clinton, but the race remains very close, and turnout in the demanding and complicated caucus events will be key. Vox provides a helpful video explainer on the process [previously]. Pass the time with FiveThirtyEight's 40-minute elections podcast, and keep an eye on the New York Times live blog of the caucuses for real-time updates once voting starts at 8:00 PM Eastern -- and don't forget to leave your two cents in the MeFi election prediction contest!
Suzy Khimm, The New Republic: The Obama Gap - "Favorable demographics and a charismatic leader aren’t enough to make a majority party. A case study in electoral failure from Florida." [more inside]
Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign - "an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history... These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. Now the Kochs' network will embark on its largest drive ever to influence legislation and campaigns across the country, leveraging Republican control of Congress and the party's dominance of state capitols to push for deregulation, tax cuts and smaller government."
This Is What's the Matter With Kansas: Sam Brownback tried to create a conservative utopia. He created a conservative hell instead. [more inside]
The North Carolina Board of Elections has unanimously overturned a decision Pasquotank County Board of Elections barring barring an Elizabeth City State University senior Montravias King from running for local office. The County Board had ruled that King's on-campus address couldn't be used to establish local residency. [more inside]
In response to Senator Mitch McConnell and his assertion that in 2016, Hillary Clinton will be too old to run for POTUS, Jezebel presents 101 Things Older Than Hillary Clinton.
"Used to be that the idea was 'once every two years voters elected their representatives.' And now instead it's 'every ten years the representatives choose their constituents.'"
Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats. In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats. In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats. The Revenge of 2010: How gerrymandering saved the congressional Republican majority, undermined Obama's mandate, set the terms of the sequestration fight, and locked Democrats out of the House for the next decade. It's not a new problem. But if the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act, it could get a whole lot worse. And the electoral college may be next. (What's gerrymandering, you ask? Let the animals explain. Meet the Gerry-mander. Peruse the abused. Catch the movie. Or just play the game. Previously.)
Charlie Pierce is a longtime sportswriter and author who has, among other things, reported for Grantland, Slate, and the Boston Globe, paneled on more than a few games of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, and fished diapers out of trees as a state forest ranger. He's also made a name for himself as one of the sharpest and most incisive political columnists since Molly Ivins. The lead writer for Esquire's Politics Blog ever since a caustic article on former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell cost him his Globe job, Pierce has churned out an uninterrupted stream of clever, colorful, and challenging commentary on the 2012 election season and its implications for the nation's future, dispatches often seething with eviscerative anger but shot through with deep love of (or perhaps grief for) country. Look inside for a selection of Pierce's most vital works for some edifying Election Eve reading. [more inside]
Paul Ryan. Seven-term congressman for Wisconsin's 1st District. Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. Architect of the controversial Ryan Budget -- a "Path to Prosperity" [PDF - video - CBO] that would slash trillions from the federal budget, sharply curtail taxes on the wealthy, and transform Medicare into a private voucher system. Proponent (vid) -- and renouncer -- of Ayn Rand 's Objectivism. Social Security beneficiary. Hunter. Weinermobile driver. And as of this morning, the 2012 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. [more inside]
With the U.S. Presidential election about 3 months away, and voter ID laws headed to court this Wednesday in Pennsylvania and in other states like Texas and Minnesota, Propublica tells you Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws. A solution to a nonproblem. [Previously] [more inside]
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law. The product of a strict party line vote following a
year century of debate, disinformation, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act would (among other popular reforms) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives (including presidential contender Mitt Romney) is the central question facing the justices today. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state.
But despite the pessimism of bettors, some believe the Court will demur, wary of damaging its already-fragile reputation with another partisan 5-4 decision. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
President Barack Obama will today give the annual State of the Union address. There will be at least three rebuttals in addition to a prebuttal that occurred this morning. The address will be streamed online at Whitehouse.gov. [more inside]
After weeks of fake primaries, fraudulent mailers, special interest moneybombs, and last-minute attempts at voter suppression, Wisconsinites went to the polls yesterday in an unprecedented round of six recall elections targeted mainly at Republican state senators for their support of Governor Scott Walker's controversial union-busting agenda. Five of the six races were called by Tuesday evening, with Democrats taking two of the three they'd need to regain control of the state senate. The lone holdout? A dead heat between incumbent Alberta Darling and challenger Sandy Pasch in District 8 -- the very same district that saw suspicious vote-counting by conservative Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus unexpectedly tip the balance towards Walker ally David Prosser late in the crucial state supreme court race this past April. The protracted count and late-night shift toward Darling coupled with Nickolaus's questionable history soon prompted Democratic officials to make accusations of fraud (later retracted). Control of the senate now lies in the defense of two Democratic seats up for recall next week and the possible wooing of GOP Senator Dale Schultz, the only Republican to vote against Walker's bill. Walker himself will be eligible for recall next spring. [more inside]
Gospel singer Herman Cain's album "Sunday Morning" is now available online. In the fifteen years since the album was originally released the singer and baptist preacher has also found success in the business world, broadcasting, and politics.
It's Election Day in America, and as is so often the case in this fickle land, the results of the 2010 midterm elections are up in the air. Although President Obama's party is expected to suffer significant losses, record numbers of districts remain competitive, and even minute errors in polling could mean the difference between a historic Republican landslide and an unexpectedly robust Democratic defense. At stake are control of not just the Senate and House, but myriad state and local offices, many of which will play key roles in the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race -- and, more subtly but no less crucially, the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process. Much uncertainty surrounds the behavior of the electorate -- how many will turn out, and how informed will they be? To help move those statistics in the right direction, look inside for voter guides, national and state fact checkers, and an assortment of other resources to keep tabs on as the results roll in. [more inside]
The conservative (post-election) Crack-Up. In the wake of their recent defeats, many American conservatives have formed a circular firing squad, with some arguing that the GOP needs a little less GOD, while others say it's just a matter of returning to their roots. At this point, it looks like the party is headed for civil war and electoral disaster. Democrats and liberals may be enjoying the show these days, but what does the future hold for the GOP? (Previously.) [more inside]
Have the wheels come off the straight talk express? At least one sleeping giant woke up today: the NYT finally gives Sarah Palin a thorough vetting and the results aren't pretty. The McCain campaign's aggressive - and many say dishonest - tactics in promoting Palin may have sparked the beginnings of a media backlash. Camp McCain's reaction: We don't care and intend to stay on offense. And about that offense, they will soon have some help: Group With Swift Boat Alumni Readies Ads Attacking Obama. How low will things go? At this week's Values Voters Summit, 'Obama Waffles' with racial stereotypes were all the rage.
Party Faithful. Can the Democrats get a foothold on the religious vote?
Fox, the BBC and CNN have all revealed that Republican US presidential candidate John McCain has picked Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate on his 72nd birthday on the eve of the start of Republican National Convention. Despite being wildly popular in Alaska, Palin has recently been involved in an investigation over whether she dismissed a public safety commissioner because he refused to dismiss her former brother-in-law.
It's official. Obama has won the Democratic Party nomination for the US Presidency. In response, McCain has launched a "verbal sortie" against him and the media has already begun disecting Hillary's campaign.
The hidden factor in Hillary Clinton's rebound: committed Republicans voting in open primaries who want to prolong the messy battle for the Democratic nomination, encouraged by right-wing radio hosts like Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh. Or is Hillary just suddenly more palatable to conservatives than multi-culti Obama?
Conservatives on why the GOP should lose in 2006. Let's quit while we're behind by Christopher Buckley • Bring on Pelosi by Bruce Bartlett • And we thought Clinton had no self-control by Joe Scarborough • Give divided government a chance by William A. Niskanen • Restrain this White House by Bruce Fein • Idéologie has taken over by Jeffrey Hart • The show must not go on by Richard A. Viguerie
Whooops! While making a required filing to the state ethics commission, Ohio Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Blackwell finds Diebold shares in his stock portfolio that he now claims to have bought "accidentally." Yes, that Diebold -- the e-voting company whose chairman promised to "deliver the vote" to George Bush. And yes, that Blackwell, whose state helped deliver the White House to the GOP. Blackwell insists that the humble amount of Diebold stock was in one of those "blind trust" type of arrangements that worked out so rewardingly for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. [newsfilter via RawStory.]
Bush camp solicits race of Star staffer. President Bush's re-election campaign insisted on knowing the race of an Arizona Daily Star journalist assigned to photograph Vice President Dick Cheney.
The jounalist's name was Mamta Popat. She sure sounds like a terrorist.
The jounalist's name was Mamta Popat. She sure sounds like a terrorist.
Frustrated Republicans: President on vacation while Iraq burns got you down? Feeling loyal to the party, ideas, or repulsed by the Dems? Agonizing over voting Bush to stay true? Sign the petition, Maybe you won't have to. And Dems, if you can promise to be open minded in November you can sign as well. via Blogging of the President
How the left's fear of a right-wing Christian conspiracy gets George W. Bush -- and today's evangelical Christians -- all wrong. Alan Jacobs (more from him here and here) suggests that the idea that President Bush's evangelical Christianity has an impact on his politics is really a misunderstanding of Bush, fundamentalists, and evangelicals.
Its a vast left wing conspiracy! It seems that the RNC (Republican national committee) is seeing conspiracy everywhere. There are lots of stand alone groups that have been trying to get rid of this administration before Kerry showed up on the scene, and now that there is a target they want to hang everything on him. Its almost like flattery. Of course it reminds me of when SCO claimed IBM was orchestrating all the bad press about them.
A challenger to Bush for the Republican nomination?
Are We Witnessing A Republican Implosion? The Los Angeles Times has three GOP contenders for governor violating Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment by attacking fellow Republicans. In traditionally Republican Virginia, the Washington Post says a Democrat is well on his way to becoming governor next week. In New Hampshire, Roll Call describes what is to be a very bitter primary against an incumbent GOP senator. And finally, the Robert Novak says the GOP is abandoning its candidate for governor in New Jersey. (More Republican News via Political Wire.)
The Republicans make character assassination an art form. Several people have linked to this already on their sites and I haven't had a chance to update my own yet, but Phil Agre's latest piece about Republican dirty tricks is a must-read. "The past ten days will go down as a turning point in American history. This is what it's like when the far right is taking over your country: the people support Al Gore's policies, but the polls are shifting toward George W. Bush because the media is filled with false attacks on Al Gore's character."
Constitutional Violations Persist in Philadelphia Prisons. Allegedly bad stuff going down at the convention. Did Tom Brokaw mention anything like this before last night's rerun of "Ally McBeal"?
"You just enjoy your television shows, son, and let us run the country!"
"You just enjoy your television shows, son, and let us run the country!"