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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Today’s Flickr photo

Tubo estaciones. Flickr photo by Cristina V.

If you read one thing today . . .

Give Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-Minn.) some credit: She put her money where her mouth was in not requesting any earmarks during this last Congress. The rest of her Tea Party Caucus? Not so much. Reid Wilson in the National Journal’s Hotline On Call blog says that members of the Tea Party Caucus requested more than $1 billion in earmarks during the 2010 fiscal year. Hotline’s review of records compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste found that the “52 members of the caucus, which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150.” Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) is the earmark king, having requested funding either solely or as a co-sponsor for 88 projects at a cost of $100.5 million. Rehberg’s response to the Hotline piece succeeds in completely avoiding the subject of his earmark addiction.

“It’s easy to be a member of the TEA Party Caucus because, like them, I agree that we’re Taxed Enough Already and we’ve got to balance the budget by cutting spending instead of raising taxes. Deficit spending is not new, but the unprecedented rate of spending in Congress is,” Rehberg said in a statement emailed by his office. “Montanans have tightened their belts, and it’s way past time for Congress to follow their lead. The TEA Party Caucus is about listening to concerned Americans who want to fundamentally change how Congress spends their tax dollars. On that, we’re in total agreement.”

Overheard:

Former Bush communications adviser Nicolle Wallace on why the GOP establishment won’t try and nip a Sarah Palin presidential bid at the bud.

“No one’s gonna cut her off at the legs,” Wallace claimed. “Only Sarah Palin can beat Sarah Palin, and let me tell you why no one will take her on. Her defenders and supporters, the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity — people I admire — are so powerful on the Right that nobody wants to anger any of those people, nobody wants to end up in the crosshairs, and nobody wants to look like they are unwilling to let her do her thing.”

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Citizens UnitedStunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $97: The amount per vote spent by Nevada Republican Sharron Angle and Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon – a record
  • $69: The amount per vote spent by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
  • $33: The average cost of a vote in the midterms

October saw record number of political ads on TV
A record number of political ads ran on TV in October – even more than during the same month in 2008, when the presidential contest was in its final month. An estimated 1.48 million political ads aired on TV last month, compared to 1.41 million in October 2008. Hot spots for ads were Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif. and Seattle, Wash. Wow. Can’t wait for 2012.

Counting noses: How to get the DISCLOSE Act passed
Time is running out for advocates of disclosure to get the DISCLOSE Act passed – a measure designed to make public the funders of political ads and introduced in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which gave corporations (more…)

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Today’s Flickr photo

Republican leaders Eric Cantor and John Boehner. Flickr photo by TalkMediaNews.

If you read one thing today  . . .

Roll Call’s Matthew Murray would like to introduce you to the men and women behind the man — the K Street crew that likes to refer to itself as “Boehner-land.” This is the group of lobbyists who are in tight with the presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner. Most of the denziens of Boehner-land are former members of Boehner’s legislative staff.

A prodigious fundraiser, Boehner has long nurtured his relationships on K Street, where the Ohio Republican’s pro-business, small-government platform was a natural fit with large corporations and small-business groups alike . . .

Republican sources interviewed for this story also described his K Street inner circle as chummy, with conversations more about politics than policy and a healthy dash of good-natured ribbing.

“It’s loyalty. It’s friendship. It’s alumni,” a Republican source said. “He can count on us.”

Overheard:

Apparently, any chance we had at catching our breaths after these midterms elections was just wishful thinking. As the WashPo points out, there’s a whole lot of political jockeying taking place with everyone positioning themselves for 2012.

“Right now, you have empirical and anecdotal evidence that President Obama is vulnerable. What you’ve seen over the last two years is a dismantling of the coalition he used to get elected in 2008,” said GOP strategist Kevin Madden, who is an adviser to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a probable 2012 contender.

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Today’s Flickr photo

Watching election returns. Flickr photo by Brit.

 

If you read one thing today . . .

Among the numerous post-election post mortems comes John Bresnahan’s opus in Politico on “The rise and fall of Nancy Pelosi.” Is it possible that, as Bresnahan asserts, that Pelosi’s unyielding idealism did her and her party in?

Pelosi gambled the House on a hard-core liberal legislative program, betting that the American people would reward Democrats – and President Barack Obama — for enacting sweeping proposals on health care, climate change and Wall Street reform. Even when the tea party movement began to sweep across the nation in August 2009, Pelosi refused to back down, arguing that it was better for Democrats to go down fighting rather than to suffer defeat for failing to act.

But with unemployment still stubbornly high, the economy continuing to sputter along, and the federal government racking up $1 trillion-plus deficits, Pelosi became the personification for many of everything wrong with the Democratic Party.

Overheard:

Former President George W. Bush is hawking his new book, Decision Points, and wants to make it clear that when it came to going to war against Iraq, he was overruled. Huh? From Talking Points Memo:

“I was a dissenting voice. I didn’t want to use force,” Bush said. “I mean force is the last option for a President. And I think it’s clear in the book that I gave diplomacy every chance to work. And I will also tell you the world’s better off without Saddam in power. And so are 25 million Iraqis.”

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Today’s Flickr Photo

From the 10/10/10 rally in front of the White House. Flickr photo by 350.Org

If you read one thing today . . .

It seems the civil court system in this country is a lot like our health care system. It might seem like the best in the world until you start examining important details, such as access and affordability. Then it’s a different matter entirely. Dan Froomkin’s piece in the Huffington Post cites a new survey that ranks the U.S. “lowest among 11 developed nations when it comes to providing access to justice to its citizens — and lower than some third-world nations in some categories.” Froomkin writes:

Why haven’t more Americans successfully sued the banks that lured them into fraudulent mortgages, then foreclosed on them without the required paperwork?

It could be because the civil justice system in this country is essentially inaccessible to many Americans — and when it does get accessed, is tilted toward the wealthy and moneyed interests.

Overheard

David Corn at Mother Jones wonders why Team Obama would have opened up about their failings to New York Times Magazine writer Peter Baker so close to the election. The NYT magazine piece was posted Wednesday and includes choice tidbits, including this from trusted presidential confidant David Axelord:

“Perhaps we were naive,” White House adviser David Axelrod remarked to Baker. “First, [the president’s] always had good relations across party lines. And secondly, I think he believed that in the midst of a crisis you could find partners on the other side of the aisle to help deal with it. I don’t think anyone here expected the degree of partisanship that we confronted.”

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Today’s flickr photo

 

Pollution almost looks pretty in Washington state. Flickr photo by United Nations Photo.

 

If you read one thing today . . .

Greg Sargent at The Plum Line wonders when the nation’s crack political reporters are going to start fact-checking the outrageous claims coming out of Republican kingmaker Karl Rove’s mouth. Don’t get us wrong, there’s some good political reporting going on this election season but, come on folks, giving Rove a free pass in the name of “balance” is just lazy reporting. Unfortunately, a lot of Rove’s outright lies are bouncing around the Internet’s echo chamber where they are quickly becoming conservative talking points. Sargent writes:

Karl Rove, who co-founded two big spending groups, and others behind the huge conservative ad buys, have repeatedly claimed in recent days that their spending is comparable to anonymous spending from the left. These claims are serious distortions at best and demonstrable falsehoods at worst. But no one seems to care. While it’s understandable that White House claims would draw more scrutiny, Rove is a hugely influential figure this year, helping raise and spend tens of millions to swing the elections.

Overheard:

The Shareholder Protection Act, which would give shareholders a say in how their boards spend money in political campaigns, is stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives and hasn’t gone anywhere in the U.S. Senate. Want to know why we need it? Just ask these News Corps. shareholders who aren’t happy that Rupert Murdoch’s company gave matching $1 million donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Governors Association. According to The Caucus blog in the NYT, The Nathan Cummings Foundation wrote:

“The apparent lack of a strategic rationale for News Corp. raises very serious concerns for shareholders as to whether Mr. Murdoch and the rest of the News Corp. Board of Directors are truly taking shareholder interests into account when they approve political payments made with shareholders’ assets.”

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Today’s Flickr Photo

 

From a rally against Prop 23 in downtown Los Angeles. Flickr photo by Faultybox.

 

If you read one thing today . . .

This  seems like a no-brainer — a law that would prohibit members of Congress and their staffs from making stock market trades based on inside information they learn on the job. A no-brainer, except that the sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., has been told by colleagues that they’ll block any attempt to make them play by the same rules as everyone else in the country. Perhaps, they think padding their income with a few “smart” stock bets is a matter of congressional entitlement. Erika Lovely writes about it in Politico:

“There are some members who seem to think the rules just shouldn’t apply to us,” said Baird in an interview with POLITICO. “There’s money to be made, lots of it, and in ways that aren’t clearly illegal.”

Baird’s comments were spurred by a Monday report from the Wall Street Journal, which analyzed trading activity by Capitol Hill staffers between 2008 and 2009 and found market bets were made by high-level aides whose bosses helped influence related policy.

Overheard:

There’s a minor furor in the West Virginia Senate race over a commercial that the National Republican Senatorial Committee aired featuring some blue-collar types sitting around a diner complaining about the Democratic candidate’s ties to President Obama. The problem was that the diner was actually in Philadelphia and the West Virgina guys in trucker hats were actors who answered a casting call for “hicky” types. Governor Joe Manchin, the Democratic candidate, is hoping the dust-up will give his sagging campaign a boost:

“I wouldn’t have been upset if they said we want coal miners and truckers,” [Manchin] told me.  “Those are 2 of the most honorable professions we have- hard-working people. But to cast that in such a disparaging light is just awful. And that does get your blood boiling in West Virginia whether you’re a democrat, republican, or an independent.  It should get them fired up.”

See the ad here.

Etc.

This is why I love living in America and why communism doesn’t hold a candle to good, old-fashioned democracy — someone like Alvin Greene, an unemployed veteran, can literally come out of nowhere and be the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina.

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