Political Hay

Political Hay

Scott Wagner Beats the GOP Establishment

By 3.20.14

“The inmates are in control of the asylum.”
Pennsylvania State Senator-elect Scott Wagner

First, it was a Florida congressional race. Now? A Pennsylvania special election for the state Senate. The Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania scores a major win — and yes, the winner says he heard about Obamacare. Scott Wagner is a Pennsylvania state Senator this morning. It wasn’t supposed to happen.

In a stunning upset, the York County businessman, taking a stand against the state’s political establishment of both parties, made state history by winning a special election for the Pennsylvania state Senate — in a write-in landslide, defeating both the Republican and Democrat nominees.

Wagner captured 48 percent of the vote. His Republican opponent, a state representative with the backing of the local and state GOP, received 27 percent; the Democrat 26 percent.

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Political Hay

David Jolly’s Next Problem: Boehner and McConnell

By 3.13.14

So David Jolly wins the House special election in Florida this week by defeating a Democrat who pledged to fix Obamacare, not repeal it. But there’s more.

Jolly won the GOP congressional nomination in the first place by defeating State Representative Kathleen Peters in the GOP primary. And what was Peters promising? Said Peters:

“I do not think that we should take a stand and say absolutely repeal it. Not unless we have a plan and a proposal to replace it.”

Peters lost, Jolly won. Democrat Alex Sink made the same pledge as Peters. Jolly won again.

And what is John Boehner’s GOP House set to do? They’re going to fix Obamacare.

Yes, you read that right. Reports Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn (hat tip Taegan Goddard here), bold print supplied:

GOP Now Trying to Fix Obamacare Instead of Repeal

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Political Hay

Rand Paul’s Young Voter Strategy

By 3.11.14

On Saturday, for the second year in a row, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) Straw Poll. Receiving 31 percent of the vote, Sen. Paul nearly tripled his nearest competition, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The internals of the poll — which no news organization seems to be discussing — mesh well with a new Pew survey of the Millennial generation to explain Senator Paul’s apparent presidential campaign strategy: to energize and win young voters in much the same way that Barack Obama did in 2008.

It’s a difficult task, getting people in their 20s and 30s to vote for a Republican, but it may be the GOP’s best hope to win a presidential election in the near future. If CPAC is any measure — and it is — Rand Paul seems to be well on the way toward being the choice of younger voters, at least younger conservatives and libertarians.

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Political Hay

Hillary Touts Her Methodist Roots

By 3.10.14

Hillary Clinton will address the quadrennial General Assembly of United Methodist Women next month, brandishing her credentials as a lifelong Methodist. It’s not clear if she’s been active in a Methodist church since leaving the White House in 2001. For eight years she and her Baptist husband attended Washington’s Foundry Church, whose then pastor, a renowned liberal theologian, vigorously defended Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

But undoubtedly the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State was deeply shaped by her Methodist upbringing in a Chicago suburb. A liberal youth minister was influential, as was a radical Methodist youth magazine she read devotedly as a teenager. As First Lady, she recounted having saved every issue, and cited as particularly formative a 1966 article by anti-war activist Carl Oglesby, which evidently helped shift her from a Barry Goldwater Republican to a 1960s progressive.

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Why the GOP Makes Sense for Millennials

By 3.7.14

Democrats and Republicans are battling to win the millennial vote, and so far the Dems are winning. Young people aren’t interested in a party that brands itself as the “party of no,” and they’re turned off by messaging about social issues that don’t mesh with their own beliefs. In fact, only 18 percent of millennials say they belong to the GOP, while 31 percent call themselves Democrats.

This week, as conservatives from across the country have convened in Washington for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the GOP can send a strong, unified message to millennials. Rather than focusing on what divides our nation, Republicans have an opportunity to speak to this generation about the massive, ever-growing debt that threatens our future — and what we can do to fix the problem.

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Political Hay

CPAC Turns 40

By 3.5.14

As soon as attendees at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) check into their hotel rooms, they will see evidence that the 2016 presidential campaign has already begun. Room keys at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center are emblazoned with the face of Dr. Ben Carson and the slogan, “Run Ben Run!” This promotion is provided by the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, which has already raised nearly $3 million to encourage the famed heart surgeon to pursue the Republican Party presidential nomination.

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A Colorado Earthquake Shakes D.C.

By 2.28.14

An earthquake hit Colorado politics on Wednesday afternoon, and the tremors are being felt in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Cory Gardner, a second-term Republican from the small town of Yuma on Colorado’s eastern plains, announced (or at least it was reported that he was about to announce) his intention to seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Udall rather than seek an essentially certain re-election. [Update: Gardner made it official at an announcement in Denver on Saturday morning.]

Gardner’s move puts Udall, already struggling against barely-known Republicans, in a position where the next polls will likely show him losing his seat to the quarter-century-younger Gardner.

As is typical of Colorado Republican politics lately, the Republican field contending for the Senate seat was, while not a complete disaster, an uninspiring group of at least seven candidates, most of whom had little name recognition and even less money.

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Reagan’s Heirs: The Tea Party

By 2.25.14

Julian Bond was succinct: “Obama is to the Tea Party as the moon is to werewolves.” So bayed the ex-NAACP chairman about the Tea Party a while back. The Sarasota Herald Tribune began its reporting on Bond’s speech this way:

Civil rights icon Julian Bond lashed out at Republicans and the Tea Party movement during a speech here Sunday night, comparing them to the southern Confederacy and declaring both a threat to the gains made by blacks since the 1960s.

It might be said more accurately that the Tea Party, just as was once true of Ronald Reagan, is to the Left as the moon is to werewolves. It has elicited one long howl of lies, reminding vividly that the dependency on untruth is a characteristic of the Left.

And what is it specifically that the Tea Party, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this week, represents that causes all this leftist baying?

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The Ted Cruz Majority

By 2.20.14

So. ABC’s Jonathan Karl jokes that Senator Ted Cruz is so hated inside the Senate GOP Caucus that he needs “a food taster” to attend Republican lunches. But? But the Hill has this story:

Cruz to get hero's welcome in Iowa, NH

Conservatives in Iowa and New Hampshire are preparing a hero’s welcome for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after he showed up Senate Republican leaders during a crucial vote on the debt limit.

Cruz infuriated his Senate Republican colleagues this week when he filibustered a clean bill to raise the debt limit. His objection forced Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and 11 other Republicans to vote with Democrats to advance the legislation.

But in Iowa and New Hampshire, two important presidential primary states, conservative activists are cheering Cruz’s stand and buzzing about a possible presidential run in 2016.

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Political Hay

Cruz Control?

By 2.18.14

Freshman Senator Ted Cruz says many things that need to be said and says them well. Moreover, some of these things are what many, if not most, Americans believe wholeheartedly. Yet we need to remember that the same was true of another freshman Senator, just a relatively few years ago, who parlayed his ability to say things that resonated with the voters into two terms in the White House. Who would disagree that if you want your doctor, you should be able to keep your doctor? Who would disagree with the idea of a more transparent administration in Washington, or a President of the United States being a uniter instead of a divider?

There are many things like this that freshman Senator Barack Obama said that the overwhelming majority of Americans — whether liberal or conservative — would agree with. The only problem is that what he has actually done as President has repeatedly turned out to be the direct opposite of what he said as a candidate.

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