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1. The biggest political news story of the next week will be the recall election in Wisconsin. Republican Gov. Scott Walker is the overwhelming favorite to win, as he is ahead in the polling averages by better than six points. It will only be close if unions get the electorate to resemble the turnout models assumed in Democratic polls. It’s notable that President Barack Obama has declined to make a campaign swing to help out the Democratic candidate, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
John Ellis writes about the national implications:
The crude calculation is this: Walker defeat equals certain Obama win in November. Walker win by 1-5 percentage points equals very close presidential general election (nationally). A Walker win by 6 points or more equals Mitt Romney is the favorite to win in November.
All that seems fair, though I could see Wisconsin potentially skewing to the left of the nation even in this election.
2. Last week the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston held that a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, denying same-sex couples access to certain federal benefits because marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional. Like the Proposition 8 appeals, this is likely to be resolved by the Supreme Court. Even with a Republican majority, a Roe v. Wade of gay marriage isn’t impossible. In fact, I’d say it’s at least as likely as Obamacare’s reversal.
3. The Louisiana Republican State Convention showcased the kinds of divisions between Ron Paul supporters and other Republicans that the GOP will want to avoid in Tampa. There was pushing, shoving, injuries, and arrests. All’s well that ends well, however. Paul campaign manager John Tate said in a statement: “Despite the divisiveness that characterized the Louisiana state convention initially, we are thankful that the Paul and Romney campaigns took the high road to guarantee the enfranchisement of Republicans whose candidate preferences differ.”
4. Not even Obama’s Sunday talk show host surrogates could soft-pedal the Friday jobs report. “Disappointing” was David Axelrod’s term. “Unacceptably low” was Steven Rattner’s description. “The issue is that we’re not adding jobs fast enough,” said Stephanie Cutter. Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin is right that Obama’s plans to ape Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection strategy has gone out the window.
5. Fresh from his presidential juggernaut, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is lashing out at the outside conservative groups who are supporting Ted Cruz for Senate over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. From the Associated Press:
“There are a lot of out-of-state interest groups — whether it’s Club For Growth, whether its senators who have interest in being the next minority or majority leader in the United States Senate — there’s a whole lot of people who don’t intimately and expertly know how Texas operates that have come in and endorsed in this race,” Perry said. “I respect each one of those individuals, but they don’t know anything about how Texas works.”
“If they did,” he added, “they would be endorsing David Dewhurst.”
Perry and Dewhurst haven’t always seen eye-to-eye in the past, but the runoff is becoming a proxy war for the Texas GOP primary electorate.