Political Hay

Political Hay

Immigration Strategery

By 2.5.14

Why have House Republican leaders in recent days offered interviews about immigration reform — an issue most Americans do not consider an urgent policy matter — and released a short list of “Standards for Immigration Reform” knowing that they would quickly get both barrels from the conservative punditry?

In a recent Gallup poll asking which are the most important issues for the federal government to deal with in the coming year, immigration ranked fifth from the bottom in a list of 19 issues, ahead of only government surveillance of U.S. citizens, abortion, race relations, and policies towards gays and lesbians — and far behind the economy, education, healthcare, entitlement reform, and terrorism.

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Political Hay

What Is Paul Ryan’s Game Plan?

By 2.4.14

As readers of this site can testify, I have long been a big fan of Paul Ryan (R-WI), especially his heroic struggles to reform entitlements. He is plenty smart, photogenic, and the embodiment of an upbeat, optimistic and happy conservative warrior, just like his mentor Jack Kemp, another one of my heroes. I also have a soft spot for people from Wisconsin, having had the good sense to marry one. If there is any member of the House GOP caucus who knows more about the federal budget and fiscal condition, I have not found one.

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Political Hay

Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ Botched Speech

By 1.30.14

Timidity as biography.

Real message?

“PLEASE LIKE ME!!!!”

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is doubtless a terrific person. But alas? Alas, the Congresswoman botched her speech.

Before she delivered her speech answering President Obama’s State of the Union address, perhaps she should have spent some time dipping into Sean Hannity’s Conservative Solutions.

But instead?

America learned Cathy McMorris Rodgers had a baby eight weeks ago.

Good for her. But…really? As part of the official response to the State of the Union?

Yes, this particular speech is always a problem. The response never can match the majesty of the President in the majestic House Chamber surrounded by pomp and ceremony.

But…much as I hate to say this….Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers botched the job.

What does this particular botched speech really say? What signal does it send about the House GOP leadership, in which Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers serves as chair of the House Republican Conference?

Along the same line? Same problem, different verse?

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Political Hay

The Washington Outsider’s Guide to the State of the Union

By 1.28.14

“He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” — Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution

“You lie!” -Joe Wilson, Congressman (R-S.C.) and American prophet during President Obama’s September 9, 2009 address on Obamacare before the assembled joint Houses of Congress

“The fate of the free world in the hands of a bunch of hustlers and thieves.” —Darius Stone, a character played by hip hop artist Ice Cube in the 2005 action film xXx: State of the Union, which incidentally has nothing to do with the State of the Union Address

“If Obama mentions inequality, finish 99% of your drink.” —2014 State of the Union Drinking Game, ClotureClub.com

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Political Hay

Maybe the Right Guy

By 1.28.14

The recently released Netflix documentary MITT opens on a scene of Mitt Romney, his team, and his family anxiously counting electoral votes in a hotel room. The candidate himself fights back tears in a final shot before everything fades to black, the moment you assume he knows that he will not win, the moment that a nearly-decade long quest to win the presidency comes to an end. The movie goes on to follow the private life of a man fighting for the nation’s highest office, at a time when his life is far from private.

And, if you are one of the few Republicans still reeling from the 2012 election cycle, convinced that Mitt Romney was systematically robbed by a media that unfairly portrayed him as a cyborg with superhuman hair follicles, the movie will probably fulfill your private quest for emotional closure. Because 10 minutes in, you’ll be elbow deep in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Triple Fudge Chunk, crying your eyes out at the future that never was, perhaps in the survival bunker he thinks you’re building to wait out the coming apocalypse at the end of Obama’s second term, a concern Mitt voiced in private that probably should have stayed there.

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Political Hay

Vitter for Governor?

By 1.28.14

When U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) announced on Jan. 21 that he would seek the governorship of the Bayou State in 2015, one of the worst-kept secrets in Louisiana politics was finally let out in the open.

The announcement might not have been a surprise, but it did make a statement. For should Republicans recapture the Senate majority in this year's elections, Vitter is poised to chair the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which would make him the most powerful politician Louisiana has had in Washington since Russell B. Long chaired the Senate Finance Committee from 1966 to 1981.

And given the importance of the issues under EPW’s purview, Vitter could be even better positioned to deliver on that power than did Long. EPW is instrumental in setting federal policy on coastal erosion and restoration, on offshore oil exploration and production, and on the Army Corps of Engineers and its work in building and managing flood-control structures. The committee Vitter could chair next year is vital to Louisiana's interest—and yet he would limit himself to just one year with his hand on such a crucial lever.

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Political Hay

I ♥ NY. NY Doesn’t ♥ Me

By 1.24.14

Governor Andrew Cuomo made the wrong kind of headlines this week by decreeing that “extreme conservatives have no place in New York.” He defines this endangered species as people who “are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay.”

Being not-quite all of the above in neighboring Massachusetts — the state that Governor Cuomo wants New York to become when it grows up — I can’t say that his assessment is totally off. Merely announcing oneself skittish on judge-decreed gay marriage, free abortions, and the dismissal of the Second Amendment as an anachronism leaves fellow northeasterners perplexed at my lack of a drawl and the presence of shoes over my feet.

Surely conservative New Yorkers knew the truth of their governor’s statement before he uttered it. Andrew Cuomo wasn’t wrong. He was redundant.

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Political Hay

The Closing of Andrew Cuomo’s Mind

By 1.24.14

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rant against conservatives last week is not just another MSNBC moment. Unlike the cable channel’s talking heads whose incivility toward non leftists has led to multiple anguished on-air apologies in the past year alone, he is a public official, elected to serve every citizen in his state. And given the Democrat’s presidential aspirations, his words should have special weight. So for him to say on the radio that “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay” …. “have no place in the state of New York” is significant.

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Political Hay

The Cousins Udall

By 1.16.14

The Udall clan is a distinguished Western political family, the Kennedys in cowboy boots (though hiking boots might be a more apt metaphor nowadays). They have been a presence on the regional political scene for four generations, with various antecedents serving in state legislatures, mayoral offices, and on state supreme courts dating back to 1887. Two of the family’s leading lights were Morris “Mo” Udall (1922-1998), Democratic Arizona Congressman who represented the state’s 2nd Congressional District from 1961 to 1991 (and a serious primary challenger to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential cycle); and his brother Stewart Udall (1920-2010), who previously held the same seat (1955-1961), relinquishing it to serve as Secretary of the Interior through the entire Kennedy and Johnson administrations (1961-1969).

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Political Hay

Maria Shriver’s Rehash of Feminist Whines

By 1.16.14

In her nearly 400-page feminist screed about the plight of women in America, “A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink,” Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress have fired the first volley in the pivotal campaign of 2014 that will determine whether the President’s leftist agenda will proceed forward unimpeded or whether the Constitution and common sense will prevail. It is no small matter that the document also propels Hillary Clinton’s goals forward and seeks to revive a moribund feminist movement’s struggle for relevance. Served with a dollop of celebrity and a high-powered roll-out — including President Obama promoting the report with Shriver at the White House — the skill of the marketing effort greatly exceeds the heft of the report. It is long on glamour and glitz and short on substance and scholarly depth.

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