Archive for the ‘Harry Reid’ Category
Juan Williams’ column is filled with faulty premises. Here’s the first of Williams’ faulty premises:
Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) strategy for defeating Democrats in the final two years of the Obama administration is clear: divide and conquer.
There’s no doubt that Democrats are divided over Keystone. What Williams didn’t detect is that the people are incredibly united on the issue. Almost 70% of registered voters support building the Keystone XL Pipeline. A pathetic 25% of registered voters oppose building it.
If Democrats want to listen to the environmental activist wing of the Democratic Party, that’s their right. If Democrats want to ignore the will of the American people, that’s their option, too. Just don’t try telling me that that’s divide and conquer. That’s giving people the option between doing the right thing and playing partisan politics.
Now he is testing Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) ability as minority leader to hold Senate Democrats together in opposition to a Republican agenda favoring the pipeline, halting immigration reform, lowering corporate taxes, and seeking to destroy Obamacare.
If significant numbers of Senate Democrats are willing to join with Republicans to force presidential vetoes, McConnell wins. He gains the power to paint himself as the good guy working across political lines. And he will smear the remaining Democrats as members of an out-of-the-mainstream party in the grips of leftist ideologues — Obama, Reid, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and possibly Hillary Clinton.
Sen. McConnell’s agenda this year consists of passing lots of things that 70+ percent of the American people support. Pundits call that picking off the low-hanging fruit. It’s the stuff that President Obama and Sen. Reid ignored the past 4 years.
It isn’t surprising that Republicans have a different agenda than President Obama and Sen. Reid. President Obama and Sen. Reid frequently thwarted the will of the American people. They weren’t just characterized as out-of-the-mainstream ideologues. It’s that President Obama and Sen. Reid have been out-of-the-mainstream ideologues.
In 2010, the American people spoke with a clear voice that they didn’t like President Obama’s and Sen. Reid’s agenda. This past November, they spoke with an even clearer voice. They rejected President Obama’s and Sen. Reid’s agenda.
Rather than listen to the American people, President Obama said that he isn’t interested in the American people’s agenda. President Obama and the Democrats have forcefully said that they’re interested only in their agenda.
Hooray for Sen. McConnell for putting the Democrats’ feet to the fire. It’s time to find out if they’re aligning with the American people or with the Democrats’ special interest allies.
When Ed Henry questioned WH Press Secretary Josh Earnest about Jonathan Gruber’s statements, Earnest’s reply was stunningly dishonest:
ED HENRY: While you’ve been here, the President has been here, there’s videotape from Jonathan Gruber, who was one of the architects when the law came out. Among the things he said was that the bill was originally written in a “very tortured way,” in his words, to kind of mislead people about the taxes in the law and other parts of the law. He went on to say, “A lack of transparency was a huge political advantage for the President…” in terms of selling it to the American people.
I thought it was just the opposite. Didn’t the President promise unprecedented transparency? Why would one of the architects of the law suggest that you were misleading people?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I’m not sure, frankly, Ed. The fact of the matter is the process associated with writing and passing and implementing the Affordable Care Act has been extraordinarily transparent. We all sat through many town hall meetings and discussions where this piece of legislation was vigorously debated by people on both sides. There was even a meeting that the President convened at Blair House with Republicans to discuss this policy proposal. It was, as you know, broadcast by C-SPAN.
There was a steadfast commitment by this administration to make sure that people had good insight into the benefits of the law. The fact is we spent a lot of time talking about one of those benefits. And that is the fact that individuals could receive tax credits from the federal government to make their health care costs more affordable. The fact is, I think it’s actually Republicans who haven’t been particularly transparent or even honest about the true impact of those.
That’s a breathtakingly dishonest statement, especially in light of John Fund’s article for the WSJ at the time:
For Their Next Trick . . .
By John Fund
Updated Dec. 23, 2009 12:48 p.m. ET
Look for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to try to circumvent the traditional conference committee process by which the different versions of health care reform passed by each house will be reconciled. If so, it will be the latest example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory.
When Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi rewrote the ACA from what it looked like after multiple committee hearings, they did so exclusively in their offices and without a Republican in sight. If that’s Mr. Earnest’s definition of being “extraordinarily transparent”, then he needs a dictionary. Here’s the definition of transparent:
Capable of transmitting light so that objects or images can be seen as if there were no intervening material.
Here’s the definition of extraordinary:
Highly exceptional; remarkable.
One of the 2 chief architects said that a lack of transparency was essential to passing the bill. That directly and emphatically contradicts Josh Earnest’s statements that the process was remarkably visible for all to see. But that isn’t enough. Then there’s this doubling down:
I do think that the question that you raised is about the commitment to transparency that was embodied in the process of writing and passing the Affordable Care Act. And again, I think the President is proud of the transparent process that was undertaken to pass that bill into law.
The Obama administration hasn’t had a press secretary. They’ve had willing liars delivering the daily White House briefings. Words don’t mean things to Mr. Earnest. He knows key buzzwords and he knows he should repeat them as often as possible, especially when they aren’t true.
There’s an unmistakable trend in the McConnell-Grimes race, a trend best illustrated by this morning’s RCP average of polls:
That’s what a consistently growing lead looks like. None of these polls show Lundergan-Grimes leading. In fact, none of these polls shows Sen. McConnell’s lead inside the polls’ margin of error. There’s nothing in this graphic that suggests any of these are outliers.
This weekend’s developments don’t hint that Sen. McConnell will become the next Senate Majority Leader. This weekend’s polls strongly suggest that Sen. McConnell will be the Senate Majority Leader sooner rather than later.
For instance, Joni Ernst got great news last night. This isn’t good news for Mark Udall:
The trend isn’t Mark Pryor’s friend in Arkansas:
That’s before talking about Montana, South Dakota or West Virginia, which are certainties. That’s before talking about Alaska or Louisiana, where Democrat incumbents appear to be living on borrowed time. To make matters worse for Democrats, that isn’t the full extent of their potential losses. Scott Brown has run a fantastic campaign in New Hampshire. Defeating Sen. Shaheen would be a mild upset but it wouldn’t stun people like his defeat of Martha Coakley in the 2010 special election. Mike McFadden’s run a solid campaign in Minnesota. While defeating Sen. Franken would be a major upset, it’s worth noting that momentum appears to be on McFadden’s side.
Monday, I’ll publish a post about a wave election’s definition. Yes, this year’s election fits that description.
Technorati: Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, Dan Sullivan, Cory Gardner, Bill Cassidy, GOP, Alison Lundergan-Grimes, Mark Pryor, Mark Udall, Mark Begich, Jeanne Shaheen, Al Franken, , Democrats, Election 2014
Predictably, South Dakota is rounding into shape:
Republican attacks on Democrat Rick Weiland and Independent Larry Pressler appear to have worked, making it more likely that the GOP will pick up the seat of retiring Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, as long expected. Republican Mike Rounds, a former two-term GOP governor, found himself in shockingly uncomfortable position earlier this month, but his standing has improved in the eyes of both strong and weak Republican voters, as well as among Independents.
Support for Pressler, a one-time GOP senator who has said that he would be a friend of Obama if elected to the Senate and has acknowledged that he voted for Obama, has melted away over the past few weeks.
Rounds’ improved position in the race, assuming that the trend holds, means GOP strategists will now have to worry primarily about only a couple of their own seats, in Kansas and Georgia, two red states where Republican nominees have handed ammunition to their opponents.
This was predictable, especially after this stunt:
Weiland never was a serious candidate. Pressler was a challenger…until he said that a) he’d vote to keep Harry Reid as majority leader, b) he supports Obamacare and c) he’s a personal friend of President Obama’s. It was downhill after that.
I know it isn’t the highest hurdle ever constructed but it’s apparent that some citizens are smarter than Sen. Franken when it comes to the Bill of Rights. Here’s proof:
“Congress and the states may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.” This is a proposed constitutional amendment Sen. Al Franken supports along with 47 other Democratic senators. Hopefully in one of his remaining debates he will explain his reasoning for supporting this amendment and why incumbent congressmen like himself should be entrusted to set “reasonable limits.” Perhaps Democrats think we shouldn’t be exposed to too many ideas. It’s ironic his party supports such an amendment since the Democratic Party is far outspending the GOP in this year’s mid-term election.
This LTE hits the nail on the head in highlighting the silliness of thinking anyone in Washington, DC is capable of setting “reasonable limits” on fundraising spending during campaigns. To quote the great economist and philosopher Milton Friedman during his interview with Phil Donahue, “Just where do you suppose we’re going to find these angels who are going to organize society for us? I don’t even trust you to do that.”
The notion that government bureaucrats always care about families or individuals rights is myth. The sooner that myth is demolished, the better. The thought that an incumbent will set up election rules that don’t favor the incumbent is foolhardy. Thinking that Al Franken, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are interested in playing fair is intellectually insulting.
Yes, raising and spending money can be used to influence opinions and elections. That is what free speech is supposed to do.
It’s a beautiful thing. Shouldn’t “the rich” have the right to express their political opinions? If not, why not?
Actually, that’s just a trap. Who made any of us the impartial arbiter of what’s acceptable political speech? Is any of us so virtuous that we’d trust ourselves with never showing partiality? If you think that of yourself, then you’re either lying through your teeth or you’ve got a higher opinion of yourself than you should have.
Al that aside, the fact is that Sen. Franken has shown he isn’t the impartial arbiter of what’s acceptable political speech and what isn’t. He’s signed his name to a letter telling the IRS to crank up their investigation against conservative organizations by saying that they were involved in something suspicious. What that suspicious thing was wasn’t identified in Sen. Schumer’s letter.
What’s interesting is that Sen. Franken wants to give politicians the right to tell people that think differently than him that the First Amendment doesn’t protect them like it protects people that think like him. After that, he’s essentially saying that we should trust him with the authority to unlevel the political playing field.
This article suggests that Democrats’ worst nightmares are right around the corner:
Polling in recent weeks suggests turnout on Election Day could be very low, even by the standards of recent midterms. That’s bad news for Democrats because core groups in the liberal base are more likely to stay home than are people in the demographic segments that lean Republican.
A Gallup poll last week found that voters are less engaged in this year’s midterms than they were in 2010 and 2006. Only 33 percent of respondents said they were giving at least “some” thought to the upcoming midterms, compared to 46 percent in 2010 and 42 percent in 2006. Even more troubling for Democrats, Republicans held a 12-point advantage when those paying “some” attention were broken down by party.
The news isn’t all bad for the Democrats:
Turnout should be higher in states with high-profile competitive races. Michael McDonald, an associate professor at the University of Florida who specializes in elections, said that turnout may be low nationally simply because most of the county’s largest states, such as California and Texas, don’t have major competitive races.
This isn’t that great of news for Democrats. Most of the late-breaking races are breaking in the Republicans’ direction. It appears as though Harry Reid has given up on Sen. Udall:
This is potentially huge. Senate Majority PAC, the SuperPAC aiming to help Democrats keep their Senate majority, is cancelling $289,000 worth of broadcast-television advertising next week.
There’s such a thing as a domino effect late in elections. If people are noticing that the alphabets (DSCC, DNC, DCCC) are cancelling ad buys, it isn’t a stretch to think that they’re giving up on those races. It’s thought that pulling ad buys says that they’ve got better places to spend limited resources.
Similarly, races that aren’t attracting big names hint that they aren’t part of the top tier races.
This isn’t good news, either:
This election’s worst kept secret is that things aren’t breaking the Democrats’ direction. Cancelling ad buys in North Carolina and Colorado doesn’t indicate strength on the Democrats’ behalf.
Technorati: Mark Udall, Colorado, Kay Hagan, North Carolina, Harry Reid, Senate Majority PAC, Democrats, Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis, Enthusiasm Gap, GOP, Election 2014
After watching this CNN video on the Pat Roberts-Greg Orman Kansas Senate race, it’s starting to look like Sen. Roberts will hold the seat:
This poll isn’t good news for Orman:
1. As you may know, there will be no Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate on the ballot in Kansas this November. If the election for U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Greg Orman, the Independent, and Pat Roberts, the Republican, who would you be more likely to vote for? (IF UNSURE:) As of today, who do you lean more toward? (RANDOM ORDER)
Roberts Orman (vol.) (vol.) opinion
Roberts 49%, Orman 48%
Orman 49%, Roberts 46%
This isn’t good news for Democrats:
Two Republican incumbents are fighting to keep their jobs in Kansas. The new Fox News poll finds both of them, Sen. Pat Roberts and Gov. Sam Brownback, have jumped ahead of their challengers.
When the first batch of polling came out for Kansas, Democrats were practically giddy. They thought that Kansas would be a firewall in saving the Senate. Each week, several GOP senators campaign with Roberts. That appears to have changed the trajectory of the race. With more GOP senators on their way down the stretch and with significantly more registered Republicans than Democrats in Kansas, this race appears to be returning to normal order.
The Fox Poll didn’t bring good news for Democrats in other states either. Here’s an example:
Likely voters in Alaska are unhappy with President Obama and don’t think much of his health care plan. That helps give Republican Dan Sullivan a 44-40 percent advantage over Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Begich.
Then there’s Arkansas:
Republican challenger Tom Cotton is up seven points over Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor among Arkansas likely voters (46 percent vs. 39 percent).
After that, it’s Colorado:
Republicans in Colorado are much more enthusiastic than Democrats about the upcoming election, and that explains, at least in part, why the new poll shows Rep. Cory Gardner topping Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall by 43-37 percent.
Mitch McConnell didn’t increase his lead against Alison Lundergan-Grimes but she didn’t close it, either, which is good news for Sen. McConnell:
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is narrowly ahead of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, 45-41 percent, among Kentucky likely voters.
Iowa is still a tight race but it looks like momentum is on Joni Ernst’s side:
The Marist poll shows Ernst up by three, 46 to 43 percent, which is an improvement on the 43 to 43 percent tie Marist posted when they last polled the race in July.
The Loras poll shows Ernst and Brady tied at 43 percent, which is a huge improvement on the 41 to 45 percent deficit Loras found when they last polled the race in September.
And the YouGov poll, which shows Ernst trailing 43 to 44 percent, is a small improvement for Ernst over YouGov’s August poll which had Braley up 44 to 42 percent.
If Republicans hold Kansas and Kentucky, which looks likely, Democrats will have a difficult time keeping their majority. If Ernst and Gardner win their races, which looks increasingly possible, Harry Reid should start packing because he’ll be in a smaller office next January.
In other news, Mary Landrieu fired her campaign manager. That isn’t the ideal way to inspire supporters. At this point, it’s possible that Republicans will pick up a net 8 seats in the Senate. If that happens, Republicans will celebrate momentarily. Then they’ll sit down and figure out how to push a positive, pro-growth economic agenda. That’s a gigantic change. It means Harry Reid won’t have a pocket veto over GOP legislation, which means Democrats will have to cast some difficult votes.
During Wednesday’s debate, one important point kept getting made. Though the DFL and Al Franken want the point to that Al Franken voted with Harry Reid and President Obama 97% of the time, that isn’t the important point. These videos highlight the truly important point:
Here’s the transcript of Sen. Franken engaging in DCSpeak:
So much of the rail use is for the Bakken crude. Now I’ve been going to the Surface Transportation Board since I got to the Senate. Captive rail is something that I’ve been very interested in. I actually worked with Sen. David Vitter, the Republican of Louisiana, to get the cost of filing a complaint with the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates the railroads, from $20,000 to $350 so people can file a complaint.
Here’s Mike McFadden talking about solving the railcar shortage crisis:
Here’s the transcript:
Al, with all due respect, your lack of an energy policy and the lack of an energy policy from President Obama has caused the rail car shortage. There’s not been one pipeline built. You haven’t approved any pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline has been under the review process for 6 years. That is crazy. That is too long. Pipelines are proven to be the most effective, the most efficient, the most environmentally sensitive way to transport oil. Until you start passing pipelines, we’ll have a railcar shortage. I know how to fix this economy. I know how to get us back on the road to growth and prosperity and you are putting Band-Aids as opposed to going to root causes. We need pipelines in this country. I want everyone in this room and in this state I am for pipelines. I will get them built.
Sen. Franken essentially told Minnesota he talked to the Surface Transportation Board to show he wasn’t ignoring people. It wasn’t that he’d solved farmers’ problems. It’s that he did something.
Meanwhile, Mike McFadden told Minnesotans that he’d find a solution to the railcar shortage that’s hurting farmers and miners. He presented himself as a solutions-oriented man and as a leader. Al Franken isn’t a leader. He’s a rubberstamp. He’s kept his head down because opening his mouth on important issues would expose him as an ideologue who does what Harry Reid tells him to do.
In the past, Minnesota’s senators have been leaders. Al Franken isn’t following in those footsteps. He’s just doing what Harry Reid and the environmental extremists have told him to do.
To conservative political junkies, the Minnesota Poll is seen as political graffiti. The Strib’s Abby Simon wrote this article summarizing the race between Sen. Franken and GOP challenger Mike McFadden. The headline will get all the attention but there’s some startling information that Sen. Franken will like. First, here’s the headline:
Franken gets the backing of 49 percent of likely voters, while McFadden gets 36 percent. Another 11 percent say they have not yet decided.
That part certainly will put a smile on Franken’s face. This part will wipe that smile off his face:
But that lead vanishes in northern Minnesota, where 55 percent prefer McFadden to Franken, who gets a little over one third. The number of undecideds also dwindles to 5 percent. The state’s Iron Range region has become politically volatile in recent elections, with fissures deepening this year over controversial issues like the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mining project that sometimes pit labor against environmentalists.
If that polling information is accurate, then it’s difficult to see Franken winning. If 55% of Iron Rangers support McFadden and those numbers have solidified, then Franken’s in some trouble. If that’s the case, then Franken’s got to outperform DFL norms in other parts of the state.
Last week, Ms. Simons called me to ask why I was supporting Mike McFadden. Here’s the quote she used from our interview:
Gary Gross, a conservative Republican from St. Cloud, says he’s indifferent to McFadden’s business background, but will back him for other reasons.
“At this point we need progrowth policies, economic policies, and Senator Franken hasn’t shown me that he’s interested in those types of things,” said Gross, 58, a self-employed blogger and researcher. “He’s pretty much gone along with the types of policies that have just kind of stuck us in the stagnation we’re in, and that would be my biggest reason for going with Mr. McFadden.”
Honestly, Franken has been a rubberstamp for Harry Reid and President Obama. The other thing about Franken is that he’s never dealt with economic issues.
Over the last 25+ years, Franken has been a mediocre comedian, a mean-spirited talk radio host and a do-as-I’m-told rubberstamp senator. There’s nothing in Sen. Franken’s resume that indicates he knows a thing about the economy.
Sen. Franken thinks that tax-the-rich is an economic plan. So does President Obama, Sen. Reid and Gov. Dayton. Sen. Franken thinks that environmental activists should have veto authority over important economic development projects. So does President Obama, Sen. Reid and Gov. Dayton.
Mike McFadden thinks that people who’ve been mining for more than a century know how to protect the environment while mining raw minerals from the ground. McFadden trusts Rangers because they’ve protected the land they live on for over a century. Most importantly, Mike McFadden knows how important the PolyMet project is to Minnesota’s economic health.
While PolyMet is the poster child for high profile economic development projects, it’s just the best example of a totally different economic philosophy between Mike McFadden, who’s helped create jobs, and Sen. Franken, who’s voted for policies that’ve kept us in this stagnation pattern.
If this race boils down to who’s most qualified to create economic growth, that headline number will disappear quickly.
Technorati: Minnesota Poll, Star Tribune, Horserace Numbers, Al Franken, Harry Reid, Mark Dayton, President Obama, Environmental Activists, Democrats, Mike McFadden, PolyMet, Iron Range, Economic Development, GOP, Election 2014
Stuart Rothenberg’s latest article predicts a GOP majority in the Senate:
While the current Rothenberg Political Report ratings don’t show it, I am now expecting a substantial Republican Senate wave in November, with a net gain of at least seven seats. But I wouldn’t be shocked by a larger gain.
Rothenberg then adds this:
But I’ve witnessed 17 general elections from my perch in D.C., including eight midterms, and I sometimes develop a sense of where the cycle is going before survey data lead me there. Since my expectations constitute little more than an informed guess, I generally keep them to myself.
This year is different. I am sharing them with you.
Then he explains why he’s expecting a big Republican wave in the Senate:
After looking at recent national, state and congressional survey data and comparing this election cycle to previous ones, I am currently expecting a sizable Republican Senate wave.
The combination of an unpopular president and a midterm election (indeed, a second midterm) can produce disastrous results for the president’s party. President Barack Obama’s numbers could rally, of course, and that would change my expectations in the blink of an eye. But as long as his approval sits in the 40-percent range (the August NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll), the signs are ominous for Democrats.
The generic congressional ballot currently is about even among registered voters. If that doesn’t change, it is likely to translate into a Republican advantage of a few points among “likely” voters. And recent elections when Republicans have even a small advantage have resulted in significant GOP years.
There’s a dozen political lifetimes between now and Election Day so things can change. Still, Stuart Rothenberg has been doing these predictions for decades. I’m willing to trust him because his explanation makes sense.
Predictably, Rothenberg says that Republicans will flip West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana. Democrats aren’t even competitive in those seats. Arkansas and Louisiana are both uphill climbs for Democrats because those states are increasingly Republican states. North Carolina is still close but that’s only because of North Carolina’s large African-American population.
If those states flip, that’s the 6 seats Republicans need for the majority. The bad news for Democrats is that those aren’t the only states that are competitive. Terry Lynn Land is virtually tied with Gary Peters in Michigan. Joni Ernst leads Bruce Braley in Iowa, though usually by less than a point. New Hampshire is suddenly competitive. In Minnesota, Al Franken is vulnerable because he’s been a do-nothing senator, with the exception of rubberstamping President Obama’s and Sen. Reid’s agenda. That’s before talking about how competitive Colorado and Alaska are.