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]
"DES MOINES, IA – Word must have gone out early, either by word of mouth, or by all those social media platforms that conservatives have discovered since 2008, or perhaps by that strange wingnut telepathy only practiced by the true initiates who know all the conjuring words. (People could make Lois Lerner jokes secure in the knowledge that every single person in Iowa who would find them funny was somewhere in the hall.) In any case, the rhetoric at the Iowa Freedom Summit, hosted by Steve King and Citizens United, was startlingly muted. Oh, they hit all the proper notes. Liberty! Constitution! American exceptionalism! And the melodies were consistent; the first few bars were gloomy as they meandered through the many failures of the current administration, many of them largely imaginary, and then the final movement was all sunshine and rainbows and Republican promises of a brighter day. Every speech was like a Requiem Mass that concluded with a rousing chorus of 'Tomorrow.'" Charles P. Pierce of Esquire has some colorful choice words to say about the recent Iowa Freedom Summit.
The Absolutist: [The New Yorker] Jeffrey Toobin profiles the current state of Ted Cruz.
Ron Paul's 2012 campaign implicated in bribery scandal. On the eve of the 2012 Republican Iowa Caucuses, US Rep. Michele Bachmann alleged that Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson informed her that he had switched his support to Rep. Ron Paul's presidential campaign after being promised a large sum of money. Ron Paul personally denied these claims, but emails and documents were recently leaked, with proposals for the Ron Paul campaign to pay up to $208,000 to Sorenson, his staffers, and his PAC. More damning, a recorded phone call has been released, in which Sorenson admits to being bribed, and implicates Jesse Benton, Ron Paul's former campaign manager, 2010 campaign manager for Rand Paul, and now, the manager of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's 2014 campaign.
The Republican Party is in a bind on immigration; after being saddled last year with a presidential nominee who notoriously suggested "self-deportation" as a solution to the issue and earning a mere 27% of the Latino vote, it was widely expected that the Republicans would find a way to appeal to that important—and growing—voting bloc. They may well yet, but it currently appears that the bill recently passed by the Senate is most likely dead on arrival in the House, to the satisfaction of certain voices on the right. But compare the rhetoric of 2013 with the remarks made by then-candidates Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush at a forum in 1980 and consider how far the Republican Party has shifted...
An awkward moment in politics. (YouTube) While campaigning in a New Hampshire diner, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spotted local Bob Garon, a regular to the diner, eating his breakfast while wearing a Vietnam veteran's cap. “Vietnam veteran!” Romney greeted Bob, as he slid down onto the diner seat for a little chat. Unfortunately for Mitt, Bob was dining there that morning with his husband, and had to explain to Bob that his husband didn't deserve any of the benefits he fought for, and that the makers of the Constitution held marriage to be between a man and a woman. (Which doesn't really explain Mitt's great-grandfather Miles and his wives Hanna, Caroline, Catherine, Alice, and Emily, but stilll...)
A released FAA investigation describes how in October last year, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) deliberately landed his plane on a closed runway, and then caused the plane to "hop" over terrified construction workers and their vehicles. More recently, Senator Inhofe has taken to the Senate floor in praise of his friend (and friend of C Street), deposed Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo. [Previously, previously]
A political party urges Miami voters to use absentee ballots because electronic voting has no paper trail and cannot "verify your vote." The Democrats? Nope -- the Florida GOP.
With Jack Ryan dropping out of the Illinois Senate race due to the sex club allegations, who should replace him on the ballot? For one group of Illinois Republicans, there's only one man for the job, a man who already has plenty of name recognition and knows a little something about winning...Mike Ditka.
Al Sharpton... Republican stooge? A Village Voice investigation finds that his presidential campaign is being financed and staffed by Roger Stone, "the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount in 2000." Article details some interesting financing arrangements and reveals that Stone has bragged that he gave Sharpton the ax handle he waved at a NAACP meeting to denounce Democratic racism. Sharpton wants to teach the Democrats a lesson (as he did in helping to elect Republican Mike Bloomberg mayor of New York), and Republicans are anxious to help create a division with black voters. But black voters must have seen through him, refusing to give him the South Carolina victory he needed to speak for them at the convention.