Responses from Lew and Koskinen are due on February 13, 2014.Jan 31, 2014 1:42 PM PT
Via Mike Luckovich
Bryan Preston, PJ Media: Republican Fools Are About to Throw 2014 Away:
Preston makes the argument I’ve been making for about a year. There is something deeply wrong with the GOP’s priorities. They seem to be devolving from the “Stupid Party” to the “Weapons Grade Stupid Party.”
Weapons-grade stupidity is exactly what John Boehner is flaunting. He is flying his idiot flag high.
This video started making the rounds yesterday. It shows employees at a small business in a swing state coping with the damage that Obamacare will do to them. Their reaction can be boiled down to, Obama lied and my bank account died. Similar videos could be produced showing similar effects on about 93 million Americans who now find themselves in similar circumstances.
They could be cut in with the moment from this week’s SOTU address, in which all of the Democrats stood proudly to applaud Obamacare.
Add to that, the fact that Obamacare’s rollout in Maryland has been so awful that the Democrats there — it’s a one-party Democrat state, by the way — are using Obamacare as a weapon against each other. Obamacare’s unpopularity is on the rise nationally. More Obamacare regulations and taxes are on the way. Obama himself is such popular fellow that Democrats like Mark Begich and Kay Hagan don’t want to be seen with him. Obama’s approval rating keeps sinking. The majority have tuned him out. Even labor unions are mad at him. Meanwhile, on the other end of the country from Alaska, the Democrats’ new darling, Wendy Davis, is proving to be one of the worst candidates for office of the 21st Century. Davis is making Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend’s run for gov in Maryland a few years back look like a dream ride. Davis is making the much-derided failed Tea Party candidacies look like they were run by Lee Atwater and James Carville together. Her awful campaign could be tied not only to all Texas Democrats, but to Democrats elsewhere.
Let’s not forget the plethora of scandals that should be providing low hanging fruit for the GOP to be swiping at instead of gagging on immigration reform – an issue that is on the bottom of the list of conservative priorities, right now. This administration is not following our current immigration laws, for crying out loud. The whole idea of immigration reform should be sh*t-canned until the border is secure, and there is an administration in place than can be trusted. End of story.
Immigration simply is not a priority issue for 97% of the country. It doesn’t rank higher than about 15 out of 20 in issue priorities. It is not going to move votes toward the GOP — most of those who have the hottest hopes for immigration reform aren’t Republicans — but it may move a lot of voters into not moving at all this fall. Pushing immigration now is an excellent way for the GOP to convince lots of its voters that there is no point to voting. That attitude will not only hurt the GOP as it tries to re-take the Senate, it will hurt down ballot candidates all over the country. Picking this immigration fight now is the worst thing the Republicans could be doing. Yes, it will bring in cash from the Chamber of Commerce and business interests. It will not help them solidify or motivate the base and it will not help motivate independents. It won’t even help with the Hispanic vote. Hispanic voters care about jobs and hate Obamacare just like everybody else.
The Weekly Standard: Sessions Warns House GOP: Immigration Bill Is Bad Politics, Bad Policy:
Yesterday afternoon, before President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Senator Jeff Sessions’ staff hand-delivered to each Republican member of the House an important memo on the so-called immigration reform bill being debated on Capital Hill. The 3-page document, written by Sessions, argues that pushing the current immigration legislation forward is bad politics, bad policy, and that there’s a better way for Republicans.
Sessions believes House Republicans are at risk of falling into President Obama’s trap. “[A]ccording to news reports, House Republican leaders are instead turning 2014 into a headlong rush towards Gang-of-Eight style ‘immigration reform,’” writes Sessions. “They are reportedly drafting an immigration plan that is uncomfortably similar to a ‘piecemeal’ repackaging of the disastrous Senate plan—and even privately negotiating a final package with Democrat activists before consulting with their own members.”
It’s bad politics, Sessions writes. “In the rush to pass an immigration bill, there has been a near absence of any serious thought about the conditions facing American workers. The last 40 years has been a period of record immigration to the U.S., with the last 10 years seeing more new arrivals than any prior 10- year period in history. This trend has coincided with wage stagnation, enormous growth in welfare programs, and a shrinking workforce participation rate. A sensible, conservative approach would focus on lifting those living here today, both immigrant and native-born, out of poverty and into the middle class—before doubling or tripling the level of immigration into the U.S.
You can read his entire memo at the link.
Jonathan Strong, Big Government: DID SHOWDOWN KILL BOEHNER’S IMMIGRATION DREAMS?
Immigration is the zombie of political issues–even when it is dead, it is still alive. The combination of the Democratic Party, business interests, and a GOP operative class yearning for its promise of improved standing with Hispanic voters means that you can never really count it out.
That said, it is hard to imagine Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) moving forward after yesterday’s closed-door showdown. According to estimates from those who were in the room–both in favor of moving forward and against–the dozens of GOP lawmakers who spoke were at least 80-20 against bringing a bill to the floor this year.
There is a palpable sense of disappointment among those interested in moving forward. In private conversations, the word that is used is that the meeting was “predictable.” The same people in the GOP conference who kept Boehner from moving on a bill in 2013 are just as opposed in 2014.
Immigration hawks, meanwhile, sense they scored a major victory.
“I don’t understand why House leadership would bring this issue up now,” Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina (R) tells me, adding, “After yesterday, that feeling is strengthened based on the overwhelming pushback from Conference meeting attendees.”
Boehner himself, despite having almost single-handedly resurrected immigration reform from life support over the last two months, was surprisingly tepid in his remarks to the conference.
He even suggested this is just not in the cards.
On to the IRS:
The Washington Times: IRS rules change seen as limiting free speech for nonprofit organizations:
Conservative groups are mounting a major resistance effort against the Internal Revenue Service’s post-tea party targeting scandal rules, which are designed to clamp down on outside groups’ ability to organize as nonprofits and still play a role in political conversations.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell fired a major shot Thursday, taking to the chamber floor to say the rules amount to a declaration of war on free speech and vowing the GOP will try to block them.
“Every American needs to know about this abuse of power,” said Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “Let me be clear: What the administration is proposing poses a grave threat to the ability of ordinary Americans to freely participate in the Democratic process.”
“We have seen that this administration cannot be trusted with the authority they have,” he said. “Why give them more?”
Mitch McConnell: Proposed IRS Regs Would Squash Free Speech:
Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, took to the Senate floor to lambaste the Obama Regime for its “thuggish attempts to shut down its critics.”
He said the arrogance of what is being attempted with the rule change, “incredible” and “literally breathtaking”; “Democrats think that 2014 is shaping up to be a tough year for them politically, so instead of trying to persuade the public that they have the best answers to the problems we face, they try to shut everybody else out of the political process – they try to shut them up – and they have no problem using the powers of the government itself to do it less than a year after presiding over one of the biggest abuses of government power in modern memory.”
McConnell went on to state that “every American needs to know about this abuse of power. Let me be clear – what the administration is proposing poses a grave threat to the ability of ordinary Americans to freely participate in the Democratic process. Rather than reform the IRS and root out any hint of corruption or targeting of political opponents, they’re now proposing to codifying it.”
He concluded by addressing the president directly; “ordinary conservatives across the country aren’t buying the idea that you’re some kind of pragmatic problem solver instead of a liberal ideologue who seems more interested in shutting down your critics, than working with us to address the nation’s most urgent problems.”
Bryan Preston, PJ Media: PHOTO: Wendy Davis Awkwardly Holds Ann Richards’ Shotgun For Some Reason:
So the other night, this would be Tuesday while the majority of the Texas political press were locked out, the Wendy Davis campaign thought it would be a good idea to make their candidate look more “badass.”
This is the unfortunate result.
Patrick O’Hannigan, The American Spectator: AIDED AND ABETTED BY EXTRATERRESTRIALS:
American astronomer J. Allen Hynek shuffled off this mortal coil in 1986, but I wonder what he would have made of this week’s State of the Union address, which as far as I can tell vindicated a good bit of his research. Hynek tried to codify relative strangeness by outlining differences between “close encounters” of the first, second, and third kinds. His 1972 book explaining that classification impressed filmmaker Steven Spielberg back in the day, and could be understood as an ascending scale of oddity, depending on whether you saw an unidentified flying object, noticed that the UFO had an effect on your environment, or swore on top of the two previous impressions that an inexplicably animated creature of some sort was also present.
Hynek’s taxonomy for encounters with extraterrestrial life makes as good an interpretive key for what happened on Capitol Hill earlier this week as any other. Consider this: When Scott Pelley of CBS News summarized President Obama’s forthcoming year as “He will work with Congress where he can, and bypass Congress where he has to” before asking CBS colleague Bob Schieffer how he (Bob) “thought that would play” among Republicans, Bob all but copped to extraterrestrial origins. Speaking of President Obama, Schieffer solemnly assured viewers that “He has not done that [bypassed Congress] in the past; He has used executive power sparingly.” This might mean that Schieffer, a veteran journalist, is unfamiliar with the definition of “sparingly,” but it seems more likely that off-Earth newscasts told him nothing about the president’s cavalier treatment of everything fromrecess appointments to enforcement of immigration law to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama’s once-impressive collection of shadow cabinet “czars” was also created by Executive Order, but nobody on the CBS News team covering the SOTU mentioned that, or raised a powdered eyebrow when President Obama said, “We’re working to redesign high schools.” This country’s founding fathers never played that kind of smallball, and how by the way would a great American like Davy Crockett have “kilt him a bear when he was only three” if his every boyish instinct — however apocryphal — had been squelched by federally mandated “Early Childhood Education”? Where is the Weekly World News when we need it? Start looking for tentacles!
News Channel 3: Neighbors Say Planned Parenthood’s Billboard Goes Too Far:
(Memphis) A Planned Parenthood billboard has only been up a week in one South Memphis neighborhood, but some people there already want it to come down.
They say the billboard, which includes the message “Getting It On Is Free” and a picture of a condom, is too graphic.
“I was shocked. I was appalled that anyone would put up a picture of condom,” said Karen Wallace.
Karen Wallace works at a church nearby and has to drive by the billboard every day.
She said what is worse it’s right next to an elementary school cross walk.
“The graphic was not necessary the message was enough,” said Wallace.
The Volokh Conspiracy: MSNBC flap: New evidence on the political views of mixed-race adopted and step-families:
Not surprisingly, there is no statistically significant left-right political differences in the proportion of adopted or step-families that are in mixed race households. Indeed, among families with step-children or adopted children, 11 percent of conservatives were living in mixed race households compared to 10 percent of liberals living in mixed-race households.
Similarly, 9.4 percent of Republicans living in step- or adopted families were in mixed-race households, compared to only 8.8 percent of Democrats in such families. (Again, this small advantage for Republicans is not large enough to be statistically significant).
If one breaks things down further by both party and political orientation, only 7.7 percent of liberal Democrats and 3.6 percent of moderate Democrats lived in mixed-race adopted or step-households, compared to an insignificantly different 10.6 percent of conservative Republicans.
Thus, there is no evidence in the GSS data that Republican, conservative, or conservative Republicans who were living with step-children or adopted children were less likely to live in mixed-race households than Democrats, liberals, liberal Democrats, or moderate Democrats in adopted or step-families. Indeed, in each instance the point estimates for living in a mixed-race household were insignificantly higher for the right side of the spectrum than for the left side.
As Matt Welch suggests at Reason, when some in the press think they are attacking bigotry, they are instead spreading it themselves.
she is the New York Times’ go-to gal when they want a silly attack made on conservatives or the Tea Party. So it doesn’t surprise me she fails to mention Wildstein’s possible emotional investment (and his possible legal investment) in this until her final sentence.
The former Port Authority official who personally oversaw the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in the scandal now swirling around Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Friday that the governor knew about the lane closings when they were happening, and that he had the evidence to prove it.In a letter released by his lawyer, the official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago.
“Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some,” the letter added.
Whatever the truth of the claim, we now know that Christie’s version of events will be challenged by at least one of the other players. (And Bridget Kelley also seemed to signal her desire to fight back, as her friends told the New York Times (IIRC) that she was a “team player” and wouldn’t exercise her own judgment because, you know, she’s Catholic.)
Thanks to @DrewMTips.
* I’m not sure about this, because I’m not as race-obsessed as Kate Zernike or MSNBC, but I think Jason Matera is actually Puerto Rican by descent.**
Which makes White Whitey-White Kate Zernike’s immediate thought — he’s not speaking with the upper-class Non-Regional Diction that all my white Manhattan friends use, and therefore, his DistastefullyEthnic accent must be a grotesque parody of minority — sort of racist in and of itself, doesn’t it?
Can’t say that I care too much about this one way or the other. I lost interest in Christie around the time of the 2012 Republican convention.
Politico: Dear America, I Saw You Naked:
This former TSA agent has done the nation a huge service by exposing what goes on behind the scenes at the airport screening checkpoints. And it is every bit as bad as we feared.
I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.
Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group—a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security.
There I was, an aspiring satire writer, earnestly acting on orders straight out of Catch-22.
I quickly discovered I was working for an agency whose morale was among the lowest in the U.S. government. In private, most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency’s day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.
My latest at The Conversation:
Bill Ayers, the unrepentant former leader of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group and avowed (“small c”) communist, has admitted on numerous occasions over the past five years that he wrote “Dreams from My Father,” for which Barack Obama has taken full credit. Jan 31, 2014 9:28 AM PT
After twelve hours of deliberations, an Italian appeals court convicted former exchange student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito on murder charges, Thursday night.Jan 30, 2014 6:24 PM PT
Look – I know Harry Reid was totally sincere when he said a couple of days ago that vulnerable Democrats want to campaign with Obama. Jan 30, 2014 12:57 PM PT
In response to The Most Clueless Person on the Internet:Jan 30, 2014 10:45 AM PT
In response to Mark Murray must go:Jan 30, 2014 8:27 AM PT
At a Senate Judiciary hearing, today, Sen. Ted Cruz took the opportunity to grill U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the DOJ’s eight month investigation into the IRS’s improper targeting of conservative groups. Jan 29, 2014 1:23 PM PT
In response to Harry Reid: ‘Vulnerable Democrats’ Want to Campaign with Obama (Video):Jan 29, 2014 11:39 AM PT
Democrat senators who are vulnerable in 2014 are looking forward to campaigning with the president according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who suggested as much to CNN’s Dana Bash in an interview that will be aired, tonight.Jan 28, 2014 1:11 PM PT
Ted Cruz released this video today highlighting the President’s continued “lawless and abusive” disregard of the Constitution.Jan 28, 2014 11:57 AM PT
When the president announces his executive order raising the minimum wage for workers under new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour at tonight’s State of the Union address, it will be one of the biggest applause lines of the night on the Democrat side. Jan 28, 2014 9:33 AM PT
In response to Hillary Says Benghazi Attack Was ‘Unpredictable’ and ‘Unforeseen’ Event:Jan 27, 2014 3:51 PM PT
Senator Ted Cruz is full of great ideas for the president to use in his State of the Union speech, Tuesday. Although the probability of Obama actually taking his advice is approximately 0% – you have to admire Cruz for trying.Jan 27, 2014 1:06 PM PT
On the eve of Obama’s State of the Union Speech, his signature achievement still remains grossly unpopular with the American people. The latest AP poll shows that 66% disapprove of the law – and there’s no reason to believe the numbers will get better this year, as millions more people are dropped from their plans. Jan 27, 2014 11:57 AM PT