Hillary Clinton

GOP’s ’16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

GOP's '16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

Elizabeth Warren, Ted Cruz (Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts/AP)

Salon

After Romney’s 2012 loss, pundits raved about the GOP’s new leaders. But two years later, Democrats have the edge

In the wake of President Obama’s re-election in 2012, reporters found one soothing source of solace for the GOP. “One race the Republicans appear to be winning is the one for the deepest bench of rising stars,” wrote the Washington Post, and plenty of folks followed up. Democrats, meanwhile, had nobody on the bench but Hillary Clinton – a formidable candidate if she were to run, but that wasn’t even certain.

Beyond Clinton, there seemed to be a wasteland populated by ambitious governors no one had ever heard of (Martin O’Malley), some who were well known but not widely liked (Andrew Cuomo). Oh, and Brian Schweitzer.

The Republican list, meanwhile, seemed almost infinite: blue and purple state governors like New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and Virginia’s Bob McConnell, and Tea Party senators like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Romney’s ambitious, “wonky” running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, had his fans, as did former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Even Texas Gov. Rick Perry, recovered from back surgery and sporting hot new glasses, could have another life in 2016.

But in two years, the situation has almost reversed itself. Promising GOP governors – McDonnell, Christie, Walker – find themselves dogged by scandal. The Tea Party trio of Paul, Cruz and Rubio still vies for media attention and right wing adoration, but Rubio’s immigration reform work doomed him on the right. Unbelievably, Paul is widely labeled the frontrunner (but don’t tell that to Cruz), while the party establishment and neocon hawks search for an alternative. Despite all that impressive talent, Mitt Romney leads the pack in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, in what’s widely being reported as trouble for Hillary Clinton, because that’s the narrative the media know best, it turns out there are a bunch of popular and maybe even formidable Democrats. Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren wowed the crowd at Netroots Nation. (Check out this great New Yorker Biden profile if you want to know how the VP is keeping his options open). The Netroots buzz inspired the Washington Post’s Phillip Rucker and Robert Costa to survey the landscape of Democrats who’ve put a toe or more in the water for 2016.

We learned that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is visiting Iowa (it is only one state away), while New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has a book coming out. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is said to be huddling with donors, believing the party could use a dose of red state common sense.

This is all framed as mildly ominous news for Hillary Clinton – the headline is “With liberals pining for a Clinton challenger, ambitious Democrats get in position” — but Klobuchar, Gillibrand and Nixon have all endorsed Clinton, and Warren has encouraged Clinton to run while insisting she won’t do so herself. The only Democrats listed who may still run even if Clinton does too are O’Malley and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.

Regardless of the intent of the framing, the Rucker-Costa story actually pointed up the vitality in the Democratic Party, where lively debates over income inequality and foreign policy have so far fallen short of creating bitter divisions and factions, at least so far. Again, contrast that with the GOP, where Ted Cruz seems to be staking his 2016 hopes on his ability to humiliate every party leader and make sure Republicans will never make inroads with the Latino population. He’s blocking bipartisan emergency legislation to deal with the border crisis, and pushing to reverse President Obama’s deferred action on deportation for young people brought here by their parents.

Meanwhile Warren, the progressive elected the same time as Cruz, is touring the country campaigning for Democratic Senate candidates, even some who are more centrist than she is, like Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes and West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant.  She’s focused on growing the Democratic Party, not cutting down colleagues who are less progressive.

So: the GOP’s right wing firebrand is a loose cannon who is completely out for himself, while the Democrats’ left wing firebrand is working amiably with party leaders and deflecting talk of a primary challenge to Clinton. In the end, the rising number of possible alternatives to Hillary Clinton is a sign of Democratic strength, even if the media tends to bill it as weakness.

Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee. So why is anyone else running?

Television actor and Glee star, Chris Colfer, left, poses for a photo with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a book signing event at Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

One thing is certain, Hillary will be considered the presumptive nominee until she announces whether or not she will run…

The Washington Post – Chris Cillizza

This week’s evidence came in the form of two polls – conducted by NBC and Marist College — of Democratic voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.  In Iowa, Clinton led Vice President Joe Biden 70 percent to 20 percent. In New Hampshire, Clinton led Biden by an even wider 74 percent to 18 percent. (That’s not to pick on Biden; he was the strongest of Clinton’s possible challengers.) Clinton’s approval ratings in those polls are stratospheric; 89 percent of Iowa Democrats have a favorable opinion of her while 94(!) percent of New Hampshire Democrats say the same.

“Hillary Clinton — if she runs — is going to have a cakewalk to the Democratic nomination, no matter how many political observers might want to see a race,” wrote NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann. “She’s going to win the Democratic nomination, whether she faces actual primary opposition or not.”

Yup.  And yet, it’s a near certainty that Clinton will face some sort — or sorts — of primary opposition. Which begs the question: Why?

To answer that, it’s important to remember that not everyone runs for president to win. Some run to promote a cause or a set of beliefs. Others run because timing dictates they have to.  Still others run in hopes of improving their chances of either winding up on the ticket alongside Clinton or with a prominent spot in her Administration.

When it comes to 2016, the largest group of potential challengers to Clinton come from the “cause” category.  Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders seems intent on running, largely to push his belief in the need for serious campaign finance reform. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is circling the race, hoping to provide a liberal alternative — and a more populist perspective — to the contest. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is term limited out as governor at the end of this year and undoubtedly thinks a credible run for president might bolster his chances of a spot in a Clinton Administration. Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer just seems to want back into the political game and, like Dean and Sanders, thinks there is room for a populist messenger to make a little noise in the field. (He’s right.)

Below are my rankings of the 2016 field. Remember that if Clinton runs, she wins.

Tier 1 (The Clinton wing)

* Hillary Clinton: Still think she hasn’t made up her mind about running?  Check out what Clinton told Charlie Rose in an interview this week: “We have to make a campaign about what we would do. You have to run a very specific campaign that talks about the changes you want to make in order to tackle growth, which is the handmaiden of inequality.” Soooo….she is running.

Tier 2 (If she doesn’t run, these are the frontrunners)

* Joe Biden: The Vice President badly wants to run.  Just look at his travel schedule, which this week included a keynote address at Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of liberal online activists. And, his allies insist that his decision on the race has nothing to do with what Clinton decides. But Biden didn’t get this far in politics by being dumb; a race against Clinton is damn close to unwinnable for him — and he knows it. If Clinton for some reason decides not to run, Biden is in the next day.

* Martin O’Malley: The Maryland governor is getting some nice press in early primary states. And he is working those states like no one else on the Democratic field. Because O’Malley can’t really afford to wait four (or eight) years to run, I expect him to be in the race no matter what Clinton does. But, even his most optimistic supporters would have to see that bid as a chance for him to improve his potential as a vice presidential pick for Clinton.

Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts Senator is the only person who could credibly mount a challenge to Clinton. But, she’s not going to do it.  While Warren is on the record saying she will serve out her six year Senate term, which expires in 2018, I am hard-pressed to see how she would pass up a run if Clinton took a pass.

Tier 3 (Maybe running. But not winning)

Howard Dean: Dean has the presidential bug.  In 2004, he looked like he was going to be the Democratic presidential nominee — until people started voting. In 2013, Dean predicted Clinton would have a primary opponent and he may see himself as that person.

Bernie Sanders: Of everyone not named Clinton (or O’Malley) on this list, the Vermont Socialist Senator is doing the most to get ready for a presidential bid. No one — including Sanders — thinks he will win but his fiery style and liberal positions could make things uncomfortable for Clinton.

* Brian Schweitzer: Don’t say I didn’t warn you about Schweitzer’s tendency to stray off message. The former Montana governor proved he isn’t yet ready for primetime in a recent interview with National Journal’s Marin Cogan, making impolitic comments about California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor.  Schweitzer apologized but the damage was done. Schweitzer effectively doused any momentum he had built for a presidential bid.

Tier 4 (The four or eight more years crowd)

Andrew Cuomo: The New York Governor has a presidential bid in him but it’s not going to be in 2016. If anything, he has moved further away from a bid rather than closer to one as 2016 has drawn closer.  In 2020, Cuomo will be 62 — right in the sweet spot when it comes to presidential bids.  In 2024, he would be 68, the same age Hillary Clinton will be if she is elected in 2016.

* Kirsten Gillibrand: Like Cuomo, Gillibrand is an ambitious New Yorker who almost certainly will run for president at some point in the future. At age 47, she has plenty of time to wait and, as she has done over the past few years, use her perch in the Senate to build her liberal resume for an eventual national bid.

Deval Patrick: Patrick raised some eyebrows a few months back whenhe had this to say about Clinton’s coronation as the Democratic nominee: “She’s an enormously capable candidate and leader. But I do worry about the inevitability thing, because I think it’s off-putting to the average…voter.”  It seems very unlikely that the Massachusetts governor will take the plunge against Clinton but his resume in the Bay State could make for an intriguing profile in four or even eight years.

10 things you need to know today: July 16, 2014

A woman cries as Palestinians flee their homes in Gaza.

A woman cries as Palestinians flee their homes in Gaza. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The Week

Israel resumes air strikes after Hamas rejects cease-fire, Buffett gives away a record $2.8 billion, and more

1. Israel launches more air strikes after Hamas rejects truce
Israel resumed its air strikes in Gaza on Tuesday after Hamas, which runs the Palestinian territory, rejected a cease-fire plan proposed by Egypt and approved by Israel’s security cabinet. Israel warned that Hamas “would pay the price,” and urged tens of thousands of Palestinians to leave their homes in northern and eastern Gaza, suggesting their neighborhoods would be targeted next. A fresh barrage of rockets from Gaza killed one Israeli man. [The Dallas Morning News]

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2. Buffett gives his biggest annual charity gifts ever
Investment billionaire Warren Buffett donated a record $2.8 billion in securities to charity this year, according to a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. The contributions, which went to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four Buffett family foundations, brought his contributions to $18.7 billion over the eight years since he pledged to give nearly half of his wealth to the foundations in annual gifts. [Omaha World-Herald]

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3. Typhoon kills 10 in the Philippines
At least 10 people were killed on Tuesday when a powerful typhoon struck the Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, knocked down trees, telephone wires, and power lines as it cut across the main island, Luzon, south of Manila on Wednesday. [Reuters]

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4. Officials impose fines for wasting water in California
California authorities approved drastic new water conservation measures on Tuesday to help the state handle historically low levels of rainfall this year. The new rules include fines of up to $500 per day for watering a garden, washing a car, or rinsing a sidewalk. Gov. Jerry Brown had already declared a drought emergency. “People don’t understand the gravity of the drought,” State Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said. [The New York Times]

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5. Nigeria catches a top Boko Haram commander
Nigerian police said Tuesday they had arrested a top Boko Haram commander, Mohammed Zakari. Police spokesman Frank Mba said Zakari, 30, was wanted in the recent killings of seven people. Nigeria has launched a push to round up members of Boko Haram, which is fighting to establish a state under sharia law. Boko Haram has been blamed for kidnapping hundreds of schoolgirls in recent months. [Xinhua]

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6. Survey finds that 2.3 percent of Americans are gay or bisexual
About 2.3 percent of U.S. adults are gay or bisexual, according to the annual National Health Interview Survey, which was released Tuesday. Gay or bisexual men and women far more likely to suffer anxiety or engage in self-destructive behavior than their straight peers. It was the first time questions about sexual orientation were asked in the annual survey. [Al Jazeera]

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7. Police free hundreds of abused children from group home in Mexico
Mexican police rescued 452 boys and girls from a children’s home where they were allegedly sexually abused and forced to beg in the streets. More than 130 adults were also rescued. The owner of House of the Big Family facility in the state of Michoacan was arrested along with eight employees. “I’m in utter dismay because we weren’t expecting the conditions we found at the group home,” local governor Salvador Jara said. [BBC News]

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8. SpaceX gets approval for private spaceport
The Federal Aviation Administration has granted approval to Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to build the nation’s first private rocket-launching site, in Cameron County, Texas. SpaceX wants its own launch facility to give it more control so it can meet its ambitious schedule. It plans to send up 12 rockets a year from the site. The company plans to use the site to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical launch vehicles, and other rockets. [Space.com]

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9. Jon Stewart tries to get Hillary to reveal her 2016 plans
Hillary Clinton withstood a grilling by Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, but she avoided shedding any light on whether she had decided to run for president again in 2016. The appearance came as Clinton wrapped up a tour to promote her book, but Stewart joked: “She’s here solely for one reason: to publicly and definitively declare her candidacy for President of the United States.” Clinton did say she wanted an office with “fewer corners.” [CNN]

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10. Jeter helps the American League win his last All-Star game
The American League beat the National League 5-3 in the 85th annual MLB All-Star game on Tuesday night. This year’s game was the last for New York Yankees star shortstop Derek Jeter and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, both of whom are retiring at the end of the season. Jeter got a three-minute ovation when he left the game in the fourth inning after getting two hits. “It was a wonderful moment,” Jeter said. [The Boston Globe]

Bill Clinton: Where Was GOP Outrage About Killed Diplomats Before Benghazi?

Former President Bill Clinton |no attribution

Mediaite

During his wide-ranging interview on Meet the Press today, Bill Clinton briefly addressed Benghazi, which will undoubtedly be a hot button issue for Republicans against Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton wondered why, when diplomats were killed during the Bush administration, Republicans didn’t say a word.

David Gregory brought up Benghazi and how it’s become the one issue Republicans seek to link to Clinton’s wife leading up to 2016. He noted that Republican criticism suggests that Benghazi wasn’t just mismanagement, but so egregious a scandal that it alone disqualifies Clinton to be president.

Clinton responded by calling Republicans hypocrites for one-sided outrage.

“When ten different instances occurred when President Bush was in office where American diplomatic personnel were killed around the world, how many outraged Repulbican members of Congress were there? Zero.”

Watch the video below, via NBC:

‘Obviously blessed’ Hillary Clinton has released 30 years of tax returns. Romney? McCain?

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney | Reuters

Daily Kos

Republicans have their queen of the 1 percent. In the wake of her flip comments about having been “dead broke” and not “truly well off,” the GOP and its conservative echo chamber are portraying Hillary Clinton as the reincarnation of Leona Helmsley. Hoping to provide additional fodder for the right, Bloomberg News suggested estate tax supporter Hillary is a hypocrite because of the ways the Clintons manage their finances to reduce their estate tax exposure. The right-wing research group America Rising notified its email list that Secretary Clinton “might be advised to take a lengthy sabbatical from her $200k per pop speaking tour and private shopping sprees at Bergdorfs to try and reconnect with what’s happening back here on Earth.”

Of course, it is the GOP hoping the American people slept through the last decade here on planet Earth. After all, it was President George W. Bush, then worth $21 million, who described his plan for life after the White House, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” And as it turns out, the Clintons have released more than 30 years of tax returns, which means their finances—unlike those of the Romneys and McCains—are no secret.

To be sure, Hillary and Bill Clinton are “obviously blessed.” As the New York Times reported during the 2008 presidential primaries, between 2001 and 2008 the Clintons earned a whopping $109 million, almost all of it from speaking fees and book royalties. But because almost all of their earnings are taxed as regular income, the Clintons disproved Leona Helmsley’s motto that “only the little people pay taxes.”

During that time, theClintons paid $33.8 million in federal taxes and claimed deductions for $10.2 million in charitable contributions…In releasing seven years of tax returns, plus a summary of income for last year, the Clinton campaign noted that the couple had disclosed all their income tax records since Mr. Clinton was governor of Arkansas…”The Clintons have now made public 30 years of tax returns, a record matched by few people in public service,” said Jay Carson, a campaign spokesman. “None of Hillary Clinton’s presidential opponents have revealed anything close to this amount of personal financial information.”

Certainly not John McCain or Mitt Romney. And while the details of their finances remained secret, their plans to dramatically slash their own tax bills were quite public, as you’ll see below.

Thanks to the wealth of his beer heiress wife Cindy, John McCain had the luxury to forget how many homes he owns. But with his proposals to cut income tax rates for the wealthy, slash the capital gains tax rate in half and eliminate the estate tax, President McCain would have delivered a massive windfall to his family for years to come.

Then, of course, there was Mitt Romney, the GOP’s once and possibly future White House hopeful. Worth at least a quarter of a billion dollars, the son of an auto company magnate ran on a platform of keeping as much of it away from Uncle Sam as possible.

Thanks to lax campaign laws that tilt the playing field in favor of the rich, Mitt was able to spend $45 million of his own money in his losing effort to secure the GOP nomination in 2008. Hoping to become John McCain’s running mate, he parts with the loss of a fifth of his net worth and over two decades of tax returns. As Brian Williams pointed out during a January 2012 debate, “You said during the McCain vetting process you turned over 23 years which you had at the ready because, to quote you, you`re something of a packrat.” But in 2012, the American people only get two because, as Mitt helpfully explained two years ago:

“I don’t put out which tooth paste I use either. It’s not that I have something to hide.”

Of course, Mitt Romney had a lot to hide. For starters, few Americans would describe themselves as “part of the 80 to 90 percent of us” who are middle class, when just the “not very much” $374,000 he earned in speaking fees in 2011 put him in the top one percent of income earners. As I noted back in 2012:

It’s bad enough that the $250 million man Romney pays less than 15 percent of his income to Uncle Sam each year, a rate well below most middle class families. Worse still, the notorious “carried interest” exemption for private equity managers Romney wants to preserve taxes him not at the ordinary income rate of 35 percent but at the capital gains rate now half of what it was only 15 years ago. (As it turns out, most of Mitt’s millions each year come from his controversial former employer, Bain Capital.) On top of his Cayman Island investments and past Swiss bank accounts, Romney has created a $100 million trust fund for his sons – tax free. Thanks to some (apparently legal) chicanery on the part of his former employer, Mitt has also accumulated an IRA worth a reported $100 million. (The Romney camp even complained about that, worrying that recent tax code changes has “created a tax problem” for the former Massachusetts governor and asking, “Who wants to have $100 million in an IRA?”) And largely unmentioned, Mitt wants to eliminate the estate tax, a change that would not only save his clan over $80 million, but more than pay for the $45 million of his own money he spent on his 2008 campaign.

Neither McCain nor Romney paid anywhere near the Clintons’ 30 percent tax rate from 2001 to 2008. For his part, in 2012 Romney boasted that over the previous decade, “Every year, I’ve paid at least 13 percent, and if you add, in addition, the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.” Of course, if you added the Clintons’ $10 million in contributions to their own and other charities, why the number gets well above 20 percent—times two.As the Washington Post reported, in 2000 the Clintons were in debt to the tune of $10 million. Thanks in part to those stratospheric speaking fees, by 2004 those debts were paid off. Regardless, Hillary Clinton is going to need a better approach to putting her newfound status as “truly well-off” if she wants to succeed her husband in the Oval Office. She might start by borrowing from Bill’s script. As he put it in 2004:

“You might remember that when I was in office, on occasion, the Republicans were kind of mean to me. But soon as I got out and made money, I began part of the most important group in the world to them. It was amazing. I never thought I’d be so well cared for by the president and the Republicans in Congress. I almost sent them a thank-you note for my tax cuts – until I realized that the rest of you were paying for the bill for it, and then I thought better of it.”

Republicans trying to paint any Democratic presidential candidate as “out of touch” with every day Americans should think the better of it, too.

NBC’s David Gregory Falls Silent In The Face Of Debunked Benghazi Myths

David Gregory

Media Matters

NBC’s David Gregory pointed a series of questions about Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 Benghazi attacks to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), allowing Paul to attack Clinton with the long-debunked smear that she was aware of the need for additional security forces at the Benghazi compound yet denied the requests.

On the June 22 edition of NBC’s Meet The Press, host David Gregory posed a series of questions on Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, but failed to correct Sen. Paul’s false smears that Clinton refused requested security. While discussing the possibility of Clinton running for president in 2016, Gregory asked Sen. Paul about whether “the prosecution of foreign policy,” is “the main argument” against Clinton’s candidacy. In his response, Paul invoked the debunked myth that Hillary Clinton refused “multiple requests for more security” in the months leading up the attacks.

Later in the interview, Gregory asked whether Benghazi is “disqualifying” for Clinton’s potential 2016 candidacy, again allowing Sen. Paul to claim that Clinton “was not responsive to multiple requests for more security.” Paul concluded that the American people “want a commander in chief that will send reinforcements, that will defend the country, and that will provide the adequate security,” implying for a third time that Clinton refused security she knew was necessary to the Benghazi compound:

See video here…

But Sen. Paul’s smear is based on an old, discredited right-wing media attempt to blame Hillary Clinton for the deaths of U.S. personnel in the Benghazi attacks that originated with an April 2013 Republican Report. The report claimed that an April 2012 cable, sent under Clinton’s name, was a “critical cable” that called for reductions in security in response to to the U.S. ambassador’s request for additional security resources. The report’s evidence that the cable came from Clinton was that it bore her signature, though as Media Matters noted at the time, “several news outlets reported that it is routine for outgoing messages from the State Department to be sent under the secretary’s name without the secretary’s direct involvement.”

Sen. Paul’s claims have been discredited for quite some time — Clinton’s signature was standard for every cable, and does not indicate her direct involvement in the cable. As Foreign Policy magazine pointed out:

It’s not clear who in the State Department sent the April 19 response. But as a general rule, “every single cable sent from Washington to the field is sent over the secretary of state’s name,” a former State Department official noted, adding, “Though they are trying to make this new, it’s not. After 30+ hearings and briefings, thousands of pages, this has all been addressed.”

In September, House Democrats corrected the Republican report, explaining, “The Committee has now obtained the cable referenced by Chairman Issa, and it includes a pro forma line with former Secretary Clinton’s name, similar to millions of other cables sent from the State Department.”

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, who spent nine years covering the State Department, wrote that “every cable from an embassy bears the ‘signature’ of the ambassador — and every cable from Washington bears the ‘signature’ of the secretary of state,” concluding that “Issa has no basis or evidence to show that Clinton had anything to do with this cable — any more than she personally approved a cable on proper e-mail etiquette. The odds are extremely long that Clinton ever saw or approved this memo.” Additionally, in an interview with Media Matters, a former 27-year foreign service officer and Accountability Review Board member corrected the claims, saying, “Every single cable going out is signed ‘Clinton,’ it is the normal procedure… Millions of cables come into the operation center every year, not thousands, millions. And they are all addressed Hillary Clinton.”

Sunday Talk: Nothing to see here

attribution: Star Wars

 

Daily Kos

President Obama’s second term has largely been defined by his regime’s futile efforts to divert attention from the series of Hurricane Katrina-level scandals engulfing them.During the past month, el presidente has employed various Jedi mindtricks (and the Chewbacca defense), hoping to deflect criticism over the VA and Benghazi scandals.

In the case of the former, Obama broke with longstanding US military policy and did everything possible to return a POW to America.

In the case of the latter, he captured the person responsible for the 2012 attack on our consulate—a rather laughable attempt to make us forget that he’d either been unwilling or unable to capture the terrorist mastermind.

This also had the added goal of boosting Hillary Clinton’s book sales, which I’m fairly certain is an impeachable offense.

Morning lineup:

Meet The Press: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX); Former Undersecretary of Defense Michele FlourneyRoundtableE.J. Dionne (Washington Post), David Brooks (New York Times), Katty Kay (BBC) and Former Congressional Candidate Erika Harold (R-IL).Face The Nation: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); Former Deputy Director of the CIA Mike MorellRoundtableTavis Smiley (PBS), Robin Wright (Wilson Center), David Ignatius (Washington Post) andJohn Dickerson (CBS News).

This Week: Former Vice President Dick Cheney (R); Supreme Court Justice Sonia SotomayorRoundtableGreta Van Susteren (Fox News), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Terry Moran (ABC News).

Fox News Sunday: House Majority Leader-Elect Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); Tea Party Attorney Cleta Mitchell; Former Democratic House Staffer Julian EpsteinRoundtable:George Will (Washington Post), Judy Woodruff (PBS), Michael Needham (Heritage Action for America) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Watergate Journalists Bob Woodward & Carl BernsteinRoundtable: Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, Republican Pollster Kristin Soltis Anderson, Democratic Strategist Penny Leeand S.E. Cupp (CNN).

Evening lineup:
60 Minutes will feature: a report on the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt (preview); a report on the proliferation of small commercial drones equipped with cameras over America (preview); and, an interview with blind virtuoso Marcus Roberts, whose playing has inspired a whole generation of jazz musicians (preview).

Captured Benghazi Mastermind Says Attack Was Revenge For Video

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Stock Photo

The GOP doesn’t want to give the POTUS credit for anything.  So they will declare that this is a planted lie by the Obama administration or say the captive is lying.

Liberals Unite

So one of the things that has been driving Conservatives absolutely nuts is anyone suggesting that Benghazi had anything to do with a video. It seems that the mere mention of the word “video” in a Benghazi discussion sends them right over the edge.

But from the beginning, the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have been saying that initially they thought that the terrorist attacks in Benghazi could have been fueled, at least in part, to an anti-Islamist online video that was made in the United States. That is why Susan Rice went on to all of those Sunday morning talk shows immediately following the attacks and mentioned it.

Now since then, Republicans have been relentless about insisting that the video had absolutely nothing to do with the Benghazi attacks, and that anyone suggesting otherwise was obviously only trying to contribute to some kind of cover-up.

Well, now there’s someone else talking about the video. And he’s no Liberal. Nope, he’s actually the terrorist mastermind himself, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, who was captured by the U.S. on Sunday.According to the New York Times, Khatallah said that he was motivated by the video and wanted revenge against Americans.

Republicans Have a Big Bubba Problem: Clinton is The Most Admired POTUS of Last 25 Years

bill-clinton-cops

Priceless…

PoliticusUSA

With the Clinton political brand poised for a resurgence in 2016, the last thing Republicans needed was a new polling showing that Bill Clinton is the most admired president of the last 25 years, but that is exactly what they’ve got.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg Survey found that Bill Clinton is the runaway most admired president of the last 25 years. Forty-two percent of respondents picked Clinton. President Obama came in at 18%, George W. Bush got 17%, and George H.W. Bush was close behind at 16%.

Normally, these sorts of polls make for nice historical arguments as to who was the better president, but with Hillary Clinton likely running in 2016, her husband’s runaway win in the POTUS admiration contest takes on an entirely different dimension. Republicans had already been trying to deal with former President Clinton’s popularity by reviving the Lewinsky scandal, which shows that Republicans have learned nothing. Every time, they bring up Lewinsky, Clinton gets more popular.

Bill Clinton’s massive popularity only makes things more difficult for Republicans. Former Clinton is just admired. He is extremely credible. When he gets in front crowds, and starts talking about what the country needs to do to get the economy going, people listen. Clinton is popular across age groups. He is one of the few political figures that can bridge the divide between red and blue states.

The biggest problem for Republicans is that are going to have to contend with both of the Clintons on the campaign trail. Former president and former Sec. of State Clinton both the ability to both draw a big crowds and the media all across the country. The Republican nominee will be outnumbered two to one every day on the campaign trail. The fact makes one appreciate the political talents of Barack Obama, who faced these same odds, and overcame them during the 2008 Democratic primary.

Republicans are flipping out already over Hillary Clinton running, but one of their biggest problems in 2016 may be the presence of her husband. Republicans have a big bubba problem. If the Clintons hit the campaign trail firing on all cylinders, 2016 could be another blowout win for Democrats.

7 reasons the Democratic coalition is more united than ever

Hillary Clinton |Andrew Burton Photo

Vox

Last weekend, Ross Douthat penned a provocative column arguing that Democrats should be thankful for the super-star power of Hillary Clinton because without her the party could be in severe trouble. Much of the subsequent debate has involved speculation about likely possible outcomes of the 2016 general election, about which I think the best one can say is that it will probably depend on the objective state of the world over the next 18 months.

His more intriguing idea was a vision of a deeply divided Democratic Party that, absent the presence of a star candidate, would likely fall apart: “the post-Obama Democratic Party could well be the Austro-Hungarian empire of presidential majorities: a sprawling, ramshackle and heterogeneous arrangement, one major crisis away from dissolution.”

This, I think, is completely wrong. The Democratic Party could easily lose the next election, but the coalition as a whole is more durable and robust than it’s ever been for reasons that go much deeper than Hillary’s popularity.

1) Hillary seems inevitable because Democrats are united

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Edward Kimmel/Flickr

Hillary Clinton’s celebrity status and stature in the party combined with the lack of appropriately credentialed and charismatic alternatives put her head and shoulders ahead of the competition. But if the party faced a major policy divide, someone or other would emerge to champion it. Perhaps someone who would lose! But someone.

Today we have the opposite situation. It is impossible to mount a coherent anti-Clinton campaign because there is no issue that divides the mass of Democrats. If she were to unexpectedly decline to run, some other figure (perhaps Joe Biden, perhaps Martin O’Malley) would step into the void and lead the party on a similar policy agenda.

2) 2008 was about Iraq

Subsequent events have tended to obscure this, but the 2008 Democratic Primary was, among other things, a major argument about foreign policy. Hillary Clinton had supported George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and Barack Obama had not. Obama’s appeal, obviously, stretched beyond this fact. But his core substantive argument against Clinton dealt with Iraq in particular and foreign policy doctrine more broadly.

Crucially, both sides of the argument agreed that an argument was taking place. Clinton hit Obama as weak and naive for his willingness to undertake direct negotiations with leaders of rogue states and charged him with being unready to keep the nation safe in an emergency.

The 2008 campaign directly echoed the 2004 primary between the less-compelling figures of Howard Dean and John Kerry. Many of Obama’s key primary-era foreign policy aides — people such as Susan Rice and Ivo Daalder — had been Dean supporters, and the arguments and recriminations between Obama-supporting and Clinton-supporting foreign policy hands were vicious.

That Clinton ended up serving as Obama’s Secretary of State makes this look a bit ridiculous in retrospect. But it seemed very important at the time.

The 2008 campaign directly echoed the 2004 primary between the less-compelling figures of Howard Dean and John Kerry. Many of Obama’s key primary-era foreign policy aides — people such as Susan Rice and Ivo Daalder — had been Dean supporters, and the arguments and recriminations between Obama-supporting and Clinton-supporting foreign policy hands were vicious.

That Clinton ended up serving as Obama’s Secretary of State makes this look a bit ridiculous in retrospect. But it seemed very important at the time.

3) The banking picture is muddled

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Valerie Jean/FilmMagic

Many intellectuals who care passionately about regulation of the financial services industry would like to believe the Democratic Party is deeply divided between a bankster-friendly establishment and its populist critics.

There is something to this, but really much less than the proponents of schism-ism think.

Crucially, the allegedly bank-friendly faction of the party doesn’t accept this account of where they stand.They see themselves as having shepherded a massive bank regulation bill through congress, and as constantly fighting on multiple fronts — inside bipartisan regulatory agencies, in the courts, at international meetings, in congressional negotiations — to get tougher on the banks.

And the financial services industry agrees! Ever since the Dodd-Frank debate began, the financial services industry has poured enormous sums of money into GOP congressional campaigns and the effort to beat Barack Obama.

People who follow the issue closely will know that there are some very real disagreements about the details of bank regulation. And there are some even realer disagreements about atmospherics, rhetoric, and overall feelings about the financial sector. And even Obama has, selectively, engaged in populist anti-finance rhetoric when it suits his purposes.

Broadly speaking a non-specialist voter is going to see that any plausible 2016 nominee is going to push for tighter bank regulation, will be opposed by the bank lobby, and probably won’t accomplish everything she tries for due to GOP opposition.

4) Everyone agrees on inequality

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David Shankbone/Flickr

Twenty years ago, Democrats were divided on the question of inequality with moderates largely accepting the Reaganite precept that some loss of equity was a reasonable price to pay for faster economic growth. Today, all Democrats think that inequality is out of control (heck, the CEO of Goldman Sachs thinks inequality is out of control) and that it should be addressed through tax hikes on high-income Americans.

Clearly, different people are going to differ on the details. But congressional Republicans have also made it clear that securing any tax hikes is going to be a very difficult political battle. Any Democratic nominee will try to raise taxes on the rich if she wins, and any Democratic President will end up in a huge fight with the GOP about it.

5) K-12 education doesn’t matter enough

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Jkrincon/Flickr

For an example of the kind of issue that does divide the Democratic Party, look no further than K-12 education. The Obama administration has pursued an “education reform” agenda that features calls for more charter schools, and for more linkage of teacher compensation and job security to test results. Many Democrats around the country agree with Obama about this. But many other Democrats around the country agree with teachers unions that this is entirely backwards, and there should be fewer charter schools and less reliance on test-based assessments of teacher quality.

This is the kind of tug-o-war with one faction pulling one way and another faction pulling the other way that really does tear a party apart.

Except it’s not an important federal issue. Not because education isn’t important, but because the federal government plays a relatively modest role in America’s K-12 education policy. The education divide can be quite explosive and state and local politics (witness the disputes between Bill de Blasio and Andre Cuomo in New York) but it just isn’t important enough on the federal stage to lead to a major schism.

6) Demographics aren’t destiny

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American Federation of Government Employees/Flickr

The much greater demographic diversity of the Democratic Party coalition may give it an illusion of fragility. Talk during recent primary campaigns of “wine track” versus “beer track” Democrats further amplifies that sense. But a look at the congressional caucus’ behavior reveals a party that is dramatically more united than at any time in the past hundred years. Defections come overwhelmingly from outlier legislators representing very conservative states like Arkansas or Louisiana.

What you would expect to see from a party torn apart by demographics is elected officials who put together very different voting records. But even though Jerry Nadler (Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side), Peter Welch (in Vermont), and Maxine Waters (South LA) represent very different people they vote in very similar ways. And you see that on most big issues Democratic Senators representing the contested terrain in the Midwest, Southwest, and Virginia vote together with those from the Northeast and the Pacific Coast.

Rustbelt legislators back Obama’s EPA regulations, and comprehensive immigration reform was unanimously endorsed by Democratic Party Senators. American politics is becoming more ideological, and the Democratic coalition is increasingly an ideological coalition that happens to be diverse (and, indeed, that upholds the value of diversity as an ideological precent) rather than a patchwork of ethnic interests or local machines.

7) American politics is getting nastier

Partisan_animosityAs a recent Pew report on polarization showed, completely apart from substantive policy issues both Democrats and Republicans are increasingly alarmed by the other party’s agenda. This alarmism in fact stronger on the GOP side, but it’s quite strong — and growing — on the Democratic side as well.

This seems like an unhealthy trend for the country, but it’s excellent news for party cohesion. Splits require not just internal disagreement, but a relatively blasé attitude toward the opposition.

None of this means that victory is somehow assured for Democrats in 2016 — far from it. But it does mean that the coalition is at no risk of collapse. The kind of electoral mega-landslides that happened in 1964 or 1980 where one party’s candidate gets utterly blown away simply can’t happen under modern conditions.

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