Political Hay

Political Hay

RNC Chair Priebus Under Fire

By 7.10.14

Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus has been asked to open an investigation into the Mississippi Senate GOP runoff election — by a member of the RNC.

In an interview with The American Spectator, Missouri State Republican Chairman Ed Martin says he believes what happened in Mississippi is symbolic of a “battle for the future of the party.” Martin says that RNC colleagues he has spoken to “are looking for Reince Priebus to show leadership” on the issue. “Leadership” defined as opening an investigation into what Martin and others see as race-baiting tactics used to win the primary runoff for six-term GOP establishment Senator Thad Cochran over Tea Party member Chris McDaniel. Martin says what happened in Mississippi is “beyond the pale.” One of his RNC colleagues, Dr. Ada Fisher, a physician who serves as the committeewoman for North Carolina — and the granddaughter of a slave — has volunteered to serve on a panel that would investigate the controversy.

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Political Hay

Hillary’s ‘Not One of Us’ Problem

By 7.7.14

It did not take Hillary’s book fiasco to show she is no Obama. Hillary Clinton’s problems predate and far exceed her currently botched book tour. They extend to her relations with the Democratic base. If she cannot correct these, and quickly, she is likely to relive her 2008 humiliation at their hands.

That Hillary Clinton’s book tour — ostensibly promoting Hard Choices, but really paving the way for a 2016 White House run — has been terrible goes without saying. What should not go without noticing is just how unlike Obama it is.

In just weeks, Hillary has brought back the bad memories that cost her the nomination six years ago. To attain it two years from now, she needs to be far more like Obama and far less as she was then and is now.

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Internet Feminists Wage War on Women’s Intelligence

By 7.2.14

If you’re still on social media after yesterday, you’re profoundly masochistic, in need of a stiff drink, or both. Take this moment to examine your Twitter timeline for evidence of the following words: “slippery slope,” “minefield,” “ban,” and “birth control.” Use them as a drinking game and get yourself most of the way into a bottle of Smirnoff. If there were ever an excuse for day-drinking, it’s the amateur constitutional lawyering happening across the Internet. Let’s not mention the Oval Office, where the “constitutional lawyer” in residence stridently disagrees with the professional justices on the Supreme Court.

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Political Hay

An Unlikely Primary in Louisiana

By 7.1.14

It’s been a month since Louisiana Republican Party chairman Roger Villere took to the stage at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans and announced that, by a unanimous vote of the party’s executive committee, the LAGOP would be endorsing Congressman Bill Cassidy over Colonel Rob Maness and state Representative Paul Hollis as its candidate against Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu.

In that time, several of the party’s parish executive committees—including three major units in Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes in suburban New Orleans and Rapides Parish in the central part of the state—have followed suit to endorse Cassidy. The St. Tammany endorsement was perhaps the most interesting of the three, in that Maness is actually a member of that committee.

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Primary Musings from Oklahoma, Colorado, and Mississippi

By 6.25.14

With a surprisingly wide margin of victory, Congressman James Lankford won the Oklahoma Republican U.S. Senate primary, defeating former Speaker of the State House of Representatives T.W. Shannon by 23 points and avoiding a runoff election. Lankford now becomes the prohibitive favorite to replace outgoing Senator Tom Coburn, who is retiring with two years remaining in his current term.

This was a very different race from the one taking place in Mississippi. Despite negative ads run against Lankford by conservative groups, the Oklahoma contest was not an example of an “establishment” Republican or RINO versus a Tea Party candidate. In short, both Lankford and Shannon are credible, likeable conservatives, both are qualified for higher elected office, and both are likely to be on the scene in the future—to Oklahoma’s credit.

A former Baptist minister (or is a Baptist minister, like a Marine, never “former”?), Lankford directed a large Christian youth camp for more than a decade before winning election to Congress in 2010 in the Tea Party tsunami.

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What Does Dave Brat Mean by ‘Amnesty’?

By 6.18.14

The lesson of Dave Brat’s victory over Eric Cantor last week is being missed: In all pundits’ talk about immigration, no one has stopped to point out that Brat boldly grabbed the third rail of American politics, ripped it off the tracks, and beat Cantor with it.

George W. Bush, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry all rhetorically touched entitlement programs and lived, but I’ve never seen a politician tell the plain, actuarial truth the way Brat did and get rewarded for it. Republicans should be overjoyed that they can finally shout about underfunded social programs. Instead, the only lesson they’re learning is that the candidate who loses is the one who’s amnestiest.

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Kevin McCarthy’s Elevation Would Show the GOP Has Learned Nothing

By 6.17.14

Kevin McCarthy was pleased as punch. He had gotten an award. So pleased he made a point of making an appearance in his district — Ridgecrest, California specifically — to pick up his prize, posting the inevitable local news story that resulted on his congressional website.

The Ridgecrest Daily Independent began its June 11, 2011, reporting this way, as McCarthy’s web site advertises:

Ridgecrest Daily Independent: McCarthy Receives The 'Spirit Of Business' Award

Ridgecrest, Calif. — Majority Whip made an appearance in Ridgecrest on Friday where he was honored for his pro-business voting record by the US Chamber of Commerce.

McCarthy took the opportunity to give a dire warning about the nation's finances if it can't get is spending under control.

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A Spear Trap for 2016

By 6.16.14

It was supposed to be a week in which former First Lady, New York Senator and Secretary of State and erstwhile media darling Hillary Clinton stepped out from five years of peripatetic Obama minioning and mysterious post-concussion convalescence to take her rightful place as the center of political attention.

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Dave Brat and the Return of the Constitution

By 6.12.14

From hundreds of people in every part of the country, I heard complaints about how the ever-expanding federal government was encroaching on liberties we’d always taken for granted. I heard it so often that after a while I became convinced that some of our fundamental freedoms were in jeopardy because of the emergence of a permanent government never envisioned by the framers of the Constitution: a federal bureaucracy that was becoming so powerful it was able to set policy and thwart the desires not only of ordinary citizens, but their elected representatives in Congress.

So wrote Ronald Reagan of the Constitution in his memoirs as he recalled what he learned when touring General Electric plants as the company spokesman in the 1950s and early 1960s. Decades after those tours, as he delivered his final State of the Union address in 1988, now-President Reagan returned to the point, saying:

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The Left’s Hackish Response to Bowe Bergdahl

By 6.6.14

Bowe Bergdahl’s name has been emblazoned across cable news chyrons all week, but on Tuesday Rachel Maddow was talking about a different American POW: Jessica Lynch.

Maddow opened her show with a lengthy recollection of the 2003 rescue of Lynch, who was captured after her vehicle was ambushed on the third day of the Iraq war. Lynch was initially portrayed by the Washington Post as a hero, a “little girl Rambo” as she later described it, who went down guns blazing and riddled with bullets. The story proved a myth; as Lynch quickly clarified, her gun had jammed and she wasn’t able to shoot anyone.

For Maddow, freeing Lynch was analogous to freeing Bergdahl because both had complicated backstories. Only in Bergdahl’s case there are these damned right-wingers we must contend with. She played a montage of conservatives objecting to the prisoner swap that freed Bergdahl. After a phony pregnant pause, she concluded, “On the American right, in Republican politics and in conservative media, there apparently is nothing to celebrate in an American prisoner of war coming home after five years.”

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