The extent of the party’s 2012 failure has finally sunk in:
The Republican National Committee is reviewing the party’s deficiencies, particularly in technology and grass-roots organizing, that contributed to Mitt Romney’s sound defeat last year. The excuses and grievances that several top Republicans offered up after the election have been supplanted by pledges to strengthen the party.
“We need to get people organized and learn from what Obama did,” said Mike Duncan, a former national party chairman who now represents Kentucky on the committee. “ We’ve got to reverse engineer what they did and leapfrog to the next cycle.”
… Republican leaders acknowledged the urgent need to make the party more welcoming to a broader cross-section of Americans, particularly women, Hispanics and blacks.
The consensus is that this was a failure at the top of the Republican Party:
Republican officials from across the country said a new tone is needed, and they called on the party to take cues from its 30 governors rather than become consumed by Republicans’ differences in Washington.
But, as Joan Walsh points out in a new analysis at Salon, using LA Gov. Bobby Jindal as an example, this strategy reveals a new Achilles’ heel or two for the Party of Reagan:
The man hailed by the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza for his readiness to “speak truth to GOP power” in a tedious speech to the Republican National Committee Thursday night is anything but a rebel or renegade. One night before his big 2016 star turn, Jindal was forced by national outrage to reverse himself on what is one of the ugliest GOP policy decisions in an ugly decade: cutting Medicaid funding for hospice care. His health secretary actually announced the decision Wednesday night as hospice backers gathered for a mournful candlelight vigil.
Good timing; continued attention to Jindal’s hospice cruelty might have made it tough for him to be the new public face of what he hopes will be the diversity-friendly GOP.
Yet Jindal’s other cruel cuts are set to stand – cuts to battered women’s shelter programs, to higher education, preschool programs, anti-truancy efforts and a range of other efforts to make life better for low-income people. Meanwhile Jindal wants to replace the state’s income tax with more regressive sales taxes.
Meet the new GOP, just the same as the old GOP…
Speaker of the House, John Boehner has some ‘splainin’ to do…
It’s hard to overestimate the significance of what happened — or, more accurately, didn’t happen — on the House floor tonight.
Roughly 24 hours after publicly pledging that the House would pass a bill that would extend the current tax rates for all but those earning $1 million or more, Speaker John Boehner was forced to admit defeat — putting out a statement explaining that the legislation lacked the requisite support to bring it up for a vote on the floor.
To be clear: This was a gambit by Boehner designed to be a show of force to President Obama. This was Boehner putting himself out on a limb in hopes wavering members would follow him. This vote mattered to Boehner.
And he lost it.
It’s not clear what the fallout within the chamber will be — there is no obvious challenger to Boehner as Speaker but one could, of course, appear in the wake of this moment — but here’s what we now know:
1. Any bargaining power Boehner had with Obama — or hoped to have — is gone. The goal of passing “Plan B” was to be able to say to the president and Senate Democrats that House Republicans were the only people who had passed something that would avert the fiscal cliff. Now, not so much. Obama already had the upper hand in these negotiations — he was reelected just over a month ago — and Boehner knew it. What happened on the House floor tonight made a bad bargaining situation for Boehner that much worse.
2. The Republican party is in a bad place. Boehner is, ostensibly, the leader of the GOP right now since he is the Republican foil to the President. When that leader can’t rally a majority of votes in a chamber his party controls for a proposal he has made clear is personally and politically important to him, it suggests one thing: no one is at the controls. It’s also the latest indicator that the party is deeply divided between establishment types like Boehner who are trying to find the best deal possible and the base of the party who isn’t interested in making those sorts of compromises.
3. Boehner has lost control of the narrative. The next few days will be filled with stories about how this happened and what it means for Boehner. There are – and will be more — quotes from conservative types questioning why he even sought to bring the bill to a vote. There will be those privately — and maybe publicly — raising concerns about his political relevance. Boehner has been around the political block before and knows all of this is coming. And, if a deal gets reached at some point between now and Dec. 31, he will likely (and smartly) declare victory and try to move on. But the next ten days (at least) are going to be very rough for him — and on Republicans more broadly.
Rep. Todd Akin, the right-wing U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri, made matters worse for himself last week when he complained about Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D) capacity to be “ladylike.” It led the usually understated Chris Cillizza to marvel at Akin’s “devastatingly bad candidacy.”
It can, however, get worse.
In this undated clip, we see Akin fielding a question from a voter who asked about the congressman’s vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. “Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?” the audience member asked.
Ordinarily, the standard line from far-right officials is that women aren’t paid less than men, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Akin, however, seemed to suggest wage discrimination simply isn’t a problem for government to address.
“I believe in free enterprise,” Akin said. “I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If someone wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.”
In other words, we don’t need anti-discrimination laws at all. As far as this U.S. Senate candidate is concerned, if a woman takes a job and gets paid less than men doing the same work, it’s her fault — laws just aren’t necessary.
Unless Missouri Republicans have a plan to disenfranchise women between now and Election Day, I suspect there will be quite a gender gap in this race.
Incidentally, an Akin campaign consultant last week also compared Akin to cult leader David Koresh. It was apparently intended to be complimentary.
Update: How tarnished is Akin’s reputation at this point? Democrats have begun using him against other Republicans as far away from Missouri as New York.
In my opinion, the media needs to report the real news and not just what’s happening in Washington or who gave the most millions to the latest super-pac.
So yes, I completely agree with the HuffPo’s Michael Calderone‘s article…
Romney’s up. Obama’s down.
That’s the takeaway from much of Friday’s media coverage of another disappointing monthly jobs report and unchanged unemployment number of 8.2 percent. Like clockwork, political reporters quickly sized up whether the addition of 80,000 jobs in June would help or hurt President Barack Obama’s chances of keeping his own job, rather than the broader impact on millions of unemployed Americans.
The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza tweeted that June’s number presents a “major political problem for Obama.” He later suggested in a blog post that any hope the president “will be able to run for reelection bolstered by an improving financial picture is rapidly disappearing.”
Kicking off MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” host Chuck Todd said that “another disappointing jobs report puts more pressure on the president with just four months until election day.” On Twitter, Politico’s Ben White said the report is “not good news for Obama.”
In covering the campaign horse race, reporters often make snap judgements following statements, reports, or “gaffes” that are mostly forgotten days later amid the stream of non-stop election coverage.
Earlier this week, the consensus among reporters was that Team Romney was down, following adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s comment that the individual health care mandate is a “penalty” rather than a “tax.” Similar to health care — where the media focused more on the politics of the bill rather than its contents — the jobs numbers could be reduced to a win or loss in a long election season.
But as the summer holiday week came to a close, Team Obama was on the defensive, as Friday’s news was ruled a tough blow for the president — at least according to the news media.
“The U.S. unemployment rate remained flat in June, which is bad news for President Obama,” began an ABC News piece.
Continue reading here…
Newt, Newt the marriage brute…
It’s no secret to anyone who has paid even passing attention to the 2012 Republican presidential race that Newt Gingrich has been married three times.
But, revelations today from his second wife, Marianne, that Gingrich wanted an “open marriage” have the potential to pick the scab off of the former House Speaker’s personal life less than 48 hours before the South Carolina presidential primary.
“I think it opens up the portal more widely on the whole character issue,” said one senior Republican strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly. “If this were one incident of domestic strife it would one thing but this demonstrates a pattern so I think it could be really bad.”
Throughout the race, Gingrich has been open about his personal foibles, which include an extramarital affair with his current wife, Callista, while still married to Marianne.
Asked today about the allegations made by his second wife, Gingrich called them “tawdry and inappropriate”. And, in a statement released by the campaign, Gingrich’s two daughters from his first marriage said: “The failure of a marriage is a terrible and emotional experience for everyone involved. Anyone who has had that experience understands it is a personal tragedy filled with regrets, and sometimes differing memories of events. …We will not say anything negative about our father’s ex-wife. He has said before, privately and publicly, that he regrets any pain he may have caused in the past to people he loves.”
Polling done last month suggested that most voters didn’t care much about Gingrich’s personal life. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) in a December Washington Post-ABC News poll said Gingrich’s “marital history” made no difference in their vote; four percent said it made them more likely to vote for him, 19 percent said it made them less willing to cast a ballot for the former House Speaker.
At issue is whether voters will regard Marianne Gingrich’s comments as largely old news delivered by someone with whom the former Speaker has no relationship or whether her allegations will lead to a re-examination of his personal life.
The former analysis could actually help Gingrich, turning him into something of a sympathetic figure. We saw that sort of scenario play out in South Carolina in 2010 when gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley was hit by allegations of an extramarital affair . She fought back aggressively and instead of it hurting her campaign, it strengthened it.
Continue reading here…
I got a feeling that Sarah Palin daring comedienne Kathy Griffin to “come to Alaska” (on Fox news no less) didn’t help her “presidential” image at all…
A new poll shows the Mama Grizzly’s popularity among Republican voters reaching new lows. What’s behind the slump?
1. Republicans don’t want her to run
Her “shadow campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential campaign has been almost completely mismanaged,” says John Ellis at Business Insider. She’s been mired in “politically useless controversies,” like her Gabrielle Giffords “blood libel” moment, offered “incoherent” comments on the revolts in the Middle East, and failed to address her biggest issue: “She lacks the experience and knowledge necessary to serve as president.”
2. She’s too polarizing
“It has long been clear that Palin is a polarizing figure amid the overall electorate,” say Chris Cillizza and Jon Cohen in The Washington Post, but this poll suggests she may be just as polarizing for some of the voters she would need the most to win the nomination, should she seek it.
3. Palin has issues with Republican powerbrokers
The former Alaska governor’s problem is “her obvious disdain for Republican elites,” says Jamelle Bouie in The American Prospect. They were willing to put up with her last year, but with the elections looming, the conservative Powers That Be have been “gradually distancing themselves from Palin.” Now it seem that their dislike for her “has trickled down to the grassroots.”
4. Republicans actually never liked her that much
“The conservative Republican honeymoon with Sarah Palin, now widely reported to be over, never really existed,”says Shaun Muller at The Moderate Voice. It was “a mere fig newton of the imagination of neocons with stiffies like William Kristol who believed that the former half-term governor ‘would change politics as we know it.’” Many mainstream Republicans were less than thrilled with John McCain’s choice in a running mate, but they put on a happy face.