Archive for May, 2011.
NEW YORK — Sarah Palin and Donald Trump exchanged words of admiration Tuesday after a brief meeting at the real estate magnate’s penthouse in a Manhattan skyscraper bearing his name. Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, said she and Trump shared similar ideas for improving the U.S. economy, while Trump called Palin a “terrific woman and a terrific friend” who he hoped would seek the GOP presidential nomination. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin, Donald Trump Meet In New York City
Howard Fineman appeared Tuesday on MSNBC ’s ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ to discuss Sarah Palin’s bus tour . When asked by Matthews if Palin is going to run for President, Fineman said, “I judge this based on the people I know in New Hampshire whom she would be calling were she running. And I just … talked to one of them who said that she has been repeatedly trying to get Sarah Palin’s people to return her calls because she, this person organizer up there, conservative organizer, wants to work for Sarah Palin, she hasn’t gotten the call, as far as this person knows, neither has anybody else in New Hampshire.” He explained that Sarah Palin is “going for some other type of power here. She wants power. She wants real political power. But she believes that the current system, the nominating system, the electoral system, and the media system, are bankrupt, and she can show that by gaining power in other ways. Now how she’s going to trade in all her Monopoly money at the end, I don’t know, but she is certainly a running commentary on the bankruptcy of the rest of the system.” Read More… More on Sarah Palin
HuffPost TV: HuffPost’s Howard Fineman Discusses Sarah Palin On ‘Hardball With Chris Matthews’ (VIDEO)
Hahahahahaha: And better yet, they did it again, seconds later: Just imagine how hard it’ll be for MSNBC if there’s a Palin-Bachmann (or Bachmann-Palin?) ticket. Dare we dream?
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Best Chyron slip ever: MSNBC mixes up Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann
WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin draws crowds with her hide-and-seek bus tour. Michele Bachmann says Palin’s plans won’t dissuade her from her likely presidential bid. Iowa GOP activists travel to New Jersey to implore Gov. Chris Christie to run, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry weighs a campaign. The Republican presidential field is far less settled than it seemed just a week ago, and it shows few signs of jelling soon. Read More… More on Michele Bachmann
GOP Primary Election Field Far From Settled Ahead Of 2012
Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore) and Sarah Palin (Photo: David Shankbone) Sure, there’s other news in the world. But how could anyone pass this up? ABC’s Michael Falcone reports that the You’re Fired / I Quit presidential dream team is to finally meet face to face. Sarah Palin plans to meet tonight with Donald Trump in New York City, according to sources close to Trump. Her office reached out to meet with Trump. The two plan to meet in his 30,000-square-foot apartment in Trump Tower and later plan to eat dinner together. There are multiple questions raised by this, not the least of which are “how the hell do you furnish a 30,000 square foot apartment?”, “how much would I have to pay to get hold of a tape of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump trying to have a serious discussion on, say, the nuances of American fiscal policy?”, or “if you put Sarah Palin and Donald Trump in the same room with a single television crew, who would kill who in the resulting frantic dash towards the camera?” But lest any Republicans misunderstand, these two reality-TV magnates with a penchant for seeing their own names painted on things in really big letters are, in fact, the maybe-candidate and no-longer-candidate that the Democrats are most afraid of facing in 2012. Please, keep them away from each other. It would be horrible if they decided to run together.
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Sarah Palin and Donald Trump: the Republican Dream Ticket meets in New York City
Palin says “jump” and the Very Serious media says “how high” (Photo: Roger H. Goun /Wikimedia Commons) Oh, my. Someone grab a hanky. The dozen or so Very Serious reporters from such Very Serious outlets as CNN, The New York Times , The Washington Post , Time , and The Times of London are ” grumbling ” because, in the words of Time ’s Jay Newton Small, Sarah Palin has “turned the Washington press corps into a bunch of paparazzi stalking your every move.” Also, they are “hot and sweaty, sitting in 100-degree weather at the Gettysburg battlefield.” These Very Serious reporters from Very Serious media outlets are cranky because Sarah Palin has them following her around like a bunch of dopes, while refusing to give an interview to anyone but Greta Van Susteren—the most influential journalist ever!—because only Greta is part of the “the new social media — fair-and-balanced reporters who will just allow the facts to get out there.” Meanwhile, Very Serious reporters like Michael D. Shear of The New York Times have stalked her for days so they can Very Seriously report to us that Sarah was “dressed in workout shorts and wearing sunglasses.” Ooooh, relevant! Look, Mr. Shear et al., let me help you out. I know that writing about Sarah Palin is a lot of fun. I’ve done it myself, more than a few times. I enjoy coming up with semi-clever new and interesting ways to describe her stupidity, mock her faux folksiness, or just quote her exact words. But you don’t have to say “how high” every time Sarah says, “Jump also!” Sarah isn’t ” forcing ” you to follow her PAC-sponsored, fund-raising road trip , to sit in the 100-degree heat, to anxiously await three whole minutes of her time, during which she can berate you for being part of the “lamestream media,” which you can then dutifully report in your Very Serious papers. So you can all hop off the Palin Paparazzi Tour of 2011, go back to your air-conditioned offices, sit back, and let her show off her savvy “new social media” skills on Twitter and Facebook—and Fox “News”—and then mock the holy hell out of her for being a fucking idiot. That’s all. That is the sum total of the amount and kind of attention she deserves. You don’t have to treat her like a serious presidential candidate, or even a serious person. Despite her protestations that she doesn’t want media attention, she’s starving for it. Hell, she quit her job as governor just so she could devote herself full-time to getting you to give her attention in the pages of your Very Serious papers. And frankly, if you’re dumb enough to be outsmarted by a ” clever ” bait-and-switch by Sarah Palin, you just might be in the wrong line of work.
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Memo to Very Serious media about Sarah Palin
She tried to focus on Pres. Obama, but Fox wanted Bachmann to talk Palin this morning Michele Bachmann explains why she will announce her presidential campaign next week: Asked Monday night why she’d run for president rather than challenging Democrat Al Franken for his Senate seat, the Minnesota Republican’s answer focused where she’s put much of her energy in recent months: “Because we need a person who is going to stand up to Obamacare,” she said, according to The Washington Post. … “Obama has to go and has to be replaced, but not just by anyone,” Bachmann said. “We need someone who is committed to taking that thing out,” she continued, referring to Obama’s health care law, “because it is the crown jewel of socialism, and if it’s allowed to stand we will never get our country back.” Of course, the truth is that when Michele Bachmann voted for Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare, she voted to preserve the Medicare spending reductions that were signed into law by President Obama as part of health reform. But while Bachmann did vote for the exact same Medicare reductions that were contained in health care reform, there’s a big difference between what Democrats did and what Bachmann and the rest of the Republican Party hope to do: Democrats reduced Medicare spending in order to strengthen the overall Medicare system and to help put in place universal health care so that every single American has health insurance. Republicans, on the other hand, support those Medicare spending reductions and not as part of strengthening Medicare, but as part of a plan to end the program as we know it so that they can cut taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations and maintain tax breaks on oil companies. If you want to play word games, you can accuse both Democrats and Republicans (including Bachmann) of socialism. The difference is that the Democratic agenda is focused on addressing the needs of average Americans. Republicans are only concerned with so-called “job creators.”
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Bachmann: I want to become a 2012er to save America from socialism
Visual source: Newseum The L.A. Times : Egged on by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the leaders of the Group of 8 nations announced Friday that the Internet was too important for governments to leave ungoverned. Cyberspace needs a legal framework that promotes human rights, the rule of law, privacy, security and the protection of intellectual property, they declared, and they pledged to work on one. Good luck with that. The declaration reflects the wrongheaded wish of many foreign leaders to tame the Net, particularly freewheeling Web-based businesses and online speech. Evolving technologies and online services have disrupted not just established industries but governments’ ability to bring transgressors to heel. Rather than letting the public, entrepreneurs and the courts respond to problems as they arise, these officials want to impose their own brand of discipline. As Sarkozy put it, lawmakers and regulators should wield more control over the Internet because “governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people in our democracies.” What that “will” is, however, depends on which people you ask. David Bornstein : Is it possible to finance higher education the way we finance start-up companies? That’s the approach taken by a social enterprise called Lumni that has raised $17 million to finance the education of a wide array of students in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the United States. Lumni offers “human capital contracts” to people like Jairo Sneider, who grew up in a low-income, single parent family in Colombia. Here’s the deal that Lumni struck with him: In exchange for $8,530 in financing, Sneider agreed to repay 14 percent of his salary for 118 months after he graduated. At that point, regardless of how much he has paid, his obligation terminates. Although this might sound similar to a loan, an “income contingent” repayment plan like this is far less risky for a low-income student like Sneider. Economists are skeptical about human capital contracts — which were first proposed by Milton Friedman in the 1950s — because they have many potential problems and little track record. But Lumni seems to be making them work — at least on a small scale. Whether it can succeed at a larger level remains to be seen. The NY Times : Verizon Wireless, which provides wireless broadband access across the country, has sued to block a federal rule requiring wireless broadband providers to offer data roaming on commercially reasonable terms. Verizon is entitled to its day in court, but this suit must not prevail. With text messages, e-mail and other forms of data overtaking voice as the main form of wireless communication, the rule issued in April will preserve competition in a vital communications network. The wireless market has been growing increasingly concentrated over the last decade. If cleared by antitrust regulators, AT&T plans to buy the No. 4 carrier, T-Mobile. Against this backdrop, data roaming rules are essential. Eugene Robinson : My advice to Sarah Palin, not that she would take it, is that she’d better be careful. If she keeps pretending to run for the presidential nomination, people might take her seriously. The former half-term Alaska governor’s “One Nation” bus tour has made the Republican establishment nervous. If her aim is just to get back in the news, reinflate the Palin brand and boost her speaking fees, then party leaders have every reason to be pleased. In the unlikely event that she’s actually running, they have every reason to order another Scotch. Albert Hunt : Godot isn’t likely to show up for the Republicans. Like the characters in Samuel Beckett’s play, the Republican establishment probably will wait in vain for a white knight — Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan are the most oft-cited — to rescue the party’s presidential prospects. The Republican field seems set…On the surface, it isn’t an especially formidable lineup, though circumstances, campaigns and upset victories can change that. The conventional wisdom of the Washington punditocracy in recent weeks has been that Pawlenty is the one major contender who can straddle both camps, acceptable to the more mainstream economic conservatives and to the movement’s social right, while a favorite of neither. True, though the problem for “tweeners,” as such middle of the road types are sometimes called in politics and sports, is that they don’t arouse much passion, often the essential ingredient for success in primaries. Tony Leys : Republican presidential candidates spend their days decrying President Barack Obama’s policies, but party activists say they should consider borrowing some of his campaign methods — and maybe some of his former supporters — as they search for votes in the Iowa caucuses. The Chicago Sun-Times : Should you find yourself serving on a jury, we think you should be allowed to ask questions. We wouldn’t want you to make a spectacle of yourself, jumping up in the jury box and shouting to a witness something along the lines of, “Sir, were you or were you not in that tavern on the night of April 3!” No, that would be best left to Perry Mason. But we do think that you, as a juror, should be allowed to submit the occasional question in writing to a bailiff, who would hand it to the judge, who could — after considering any objections from lawyers on both sides — pose the question to a witness. The purpose of a trial — to get at the truth — would be well served.
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Abbreviated Pundit Roundup
More on Sarah Palin
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Palin vs. Bachmann in 2012?
Sarah takes her family on a PAC-sponsored road trip Another day, another opportunity for the media to play the part of uncritical stenographer for Sarah “I love that smell of the emissions!” Palin. This weekend, Sarah crashed the Rolling Thunder rally in DC to launch her “One Nation” bus tour, described on her website as: [P]art of our new campaign to educate and energize Americans about our nation’s founding principles, in order to promote the Fundamental Restoration of America. The media is, however, dutifully reporting Palin’s bus tour as a “family vacation.” Take, for example, the New York Times : Ms. Palin announced her bus tour with great fanfare last week and is using it on her Web site to raise money for her political action committee. Despite that, Ms. Palin is acting as though her family is just like any other taking a sight-seeing vacation to see the country. Oh, how this reminds me of the many PAC-sponsored family vacations of my childhood. Mom, Dad, my brother and me (and Greta Van Susteren), cruising in our station wagon “charter bus plastered with images of the Constitution,” while my brother and I whined about who’s on whose side got “fired up” about educating and energizing Americans. But I digress. The Times further reports: Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, has made it quite clear that she just wants to be left alone. She doesn’t want to accommodate members of the news media (except, perhaps, Fox.) And she is purposely avoiding any of the overtly political things that most politicians do, like meeting with local politicians. It is unclear whether she can keep up the pretense of a simple family vacation amid the scrutiny of someone who is thought to be considering a presidential campaign. No, there’s nothing “overtly political” about announcing your “simple family vacation” with a slick campaign-style video . What better way to make it clear to the media that “she just wants to be left alone”? Once again, the problem isn’t that the media breathlessly reports on Sarah’s every absurd utterance; it’s that the media takes her absurdity at face value. There is no “pretense of a simple family vacation” for Palin’s very “overtly political” PAC-sponsored road trip, even if she drags a few kids along to serve as props in her photos. Her refusal to “accommodate members of the news media” has nothing to do with wanting to be left alone and everything to do with her fear of “gotcha” questions. And she isn’t “acting as though her family is just like any other taking a sight-seeing vacation.” Like everything else Sarah does, this jingoistic “family vacation” is just another stunt to keep her name in the headlines to make money off the Sarah Palin TM brand. And as usual, the media is only too happy to oblige.
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Media fail: Palin’s ‘One Nation’ family vacation
WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin came prepared. Whether formally invited or even welcomed, the former governor arrived at the Rolling Thunder biker rally Saturday donning black pants, a t-shirt and apparently her own Harley Davidson helmet. (SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO) Read More… More on Bristol Palin
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Rolling Thunder Vets: Sarah Palin Is A Real American (VIDEO)
Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Jeff Danziger: Palin Rolling Thunder
(Photo: Jossifresco / Creative Commons) Our newspaper of record doesn’t have the best record on women. According to the New York Times , how often she sleeps with her husband in a month is relevant to understanding Hillary Rodham Clinton, the potential presidential candidate. According to the New York Times , successful women ought to beware that their success is an obstacle to finding a man. Feminism’s biggest issues are reduced to mommy wars and how to best communicate with your children’s nanny . And when it comes to covering sexual assault against women, too often, the Times blames the victim . So this noxious column , titled “Women Find Their Voice — On One Side of the Aisle,” by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa, who frequently writes on “the female factor,” isn’t exceptional; in fact, it’s par for the course at the Times . The gist of her article is this: The only women who’ve found their voice in politics are on the Republican side of the aisle. Democratic women, on the other hand, haven’t. Her proof? Few if any female Democrats have emerged as major political voices in the ramp up to the 2012 elections. Perhaps this is partly due to huge losses the party’s liberals suffered in the midterms last November. Perhaps it is due to a dearth of progressive thinking in an era of conservative politics. And perhaps most of all, no Democrat could be expected to run against an incumbent Democratic president. Torresgrosa casually tosses aside that last possible explanation, which is, of course, the explanation: no Democrat, female or otherwise, is going to run against the sitting president of their own party in 2012. (And no, anti-choice terrorist Randall Terry doesn’t count.) But for Torregrosa, that fact is but a footnote in her hypothesis that there are no Democratic women interesting enough, or fiery enough, to merit attention. By her calculation, the 12 Democratic women in the Senate and 47 (soon to be 48, thanks to Kathy Hochul’s impressive upset this week) in the House simply don’t count. She casually mentions, and quickly dismisses, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Maria Cantwell, Amy Klobuchar, Debbie Stabenow, Claire McCaskill—all of whom are better voices for women than batshit crazy Bachmann or unemployed half-term governor Palin. But none of them count, apparently, because none of them are willing to run—or at least pretend to run—against President Obama in 2012. They are all, according to Torregrosa, too “moderate and pragmatic,” which apparently means too boring, to cover. And then there’s this: Why are the Republican firebrands like Ms. Bachmann and Ms. Palin, and even their fellow rightist Nikki Haley, the first female governor of South Carolina and a familiar face on the cable networks, commandeering so much attention? Why, Torregrosa wonders, do only Palin and Bachmann demand media attention? That’s a good question—for the media. And, of course, for the Times and for Torregrosa herself. Why doesn’t she write about any of the Democratic women she so casually dismisses? Because none of them are interested in competing in the Miss Firebrand Pageant of 2012? Because when it comes to covering the politics of the day, women are invisible if they aren’t spewing fiery incoherence on Facebook and Twitter or starring in CNN-sponsored infomercials for the most radical wing of the Republican Party? Torregrosa does not even mention Rep. Jackie Speier, who in February delivered a passionate speech on the floor of the House in defense of protecting women’s reproductive rights. Rep. Speier’s very personal speech was both fiery and passionate—and, unlike any speeches by Torregrosa’s preferred “firebrands,” it also was a strong defense of life-saving health care for women—an issue that affects more than half the country and is, apparently, the top priority of House Republicans, who continue to pass bill after bill after bill on the subject. Rep. Speier’s speech made its way around the web, but Torregrosa apparently deemed it too “moderate and pragmatic” to merit her attention. Of the many women serving in elected office (the majority of which are, and have always been, Democrats), none merit column inches like Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber because they’re just too “more moderate and pragmatic,” and, according to an anonymous “New York political insider,” it might be because “Democrats care more about the messenger and Republicans more about the message.” Let me repeat that: “Democrats care more about the messenger and Republicans more about the message.” Got that? It’s Republicans who care about substance over style. That’s why in 2008, they thought a woman, any woman, on the presidential ticket would appeal to disaffected Clinton supporters who had nothing in common with Palin but anatomy. That’s why John McCain wanted a woman on his VP short list. Because it was all about the message, not the high-heeled, lipsticked, winking, starbust-inspiring messenger. Yeah. Right. And I’ve got a bridge to nowhere to sell you. Yes, of course it would be nice to have an unapologetic, get-in-your-face Democratic woman or two who every now and then seized the limelight to advocate for women’s issues. But I’ll take our current crop of “pragmatic” Democratic women over the anti-woman “firebrands” who think busting the old boys’ club is just a convenient campaign slogan, while they fight to roll back the very accomplishments that the “pragmatic” women Torregrosa dismisses have been fighting for since long before the Republican Party thought it could slather its misogyny in lipstick and call it feminism. The New York Times may consider what a victim was wearing a relevant data point in a story about rape. But it isn’t. The New York Times may think that the hardest decision women face today is whether to give up a high-powered, high-paying career in order to land a husband and hire a nanny. It’s wrong. And the New York Times can claim that American women searching for strong female voices to represent them are limited to choosing between Sarah, Michele, and Nikki, because Democratic women are too boring pragmatic. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that our paper of record has a woman problem. And no amount of lipstick, even if it’s called “the female factor,” can disguise the porcine pages of the New York Times .
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The New York Times has a woman problem
Media pundits and reporters have a wonderful ability to repeat nonsense often enough so as to start to believe it. Here are some examples. How the public feels about the safety net Myth : The Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it just needs to be explained better . Reality : Source: Kaiser The idea that you can buck 90% of the voters and ram through what 10% want with better messaging is possibly the most delusional idea I have heard this election season (the only thing that competes with it is the idea that since Ryan’s Republicans only want to screw future seniors (under 55) in this round, greedy geezers from coast to coast will abandon their family’s best interests and their own better judgment and vote Republican in 2012.) But it’s what conservatives want to believe : Is that really so hard to explain to the American people? Well, it is if you’re gnashing your teeth and figuring out how to distance yourself from the one responsible effort out there. The good news: 40 senators stood their ground yesterday in voting for the Ryan budget. Now they (and every member of the House who has voted for Ryan’s Medicare plan) need to explain why. They do need to explain why. On that, we agree. But in the end, the Ryan plan fails for three reasons, none of them messaging and all of them core issues (outlined by Steven L. Taylor , non- progressive): • The Plan does not promise the same level of benefit that the current program does • It fails to deal with the cost issue • Medicare is a wildly popular program, amongst Democrats and Republicans You can’t message your way around that. The Republican field Myth as stated by National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar : The reality is that the Republican field is hardly as weak as advertised, both by their own merit and by historical standards. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does politics Kraushaar’s argument seems mostly to be that 1) they are Governors and b) they are Republicans so that iii) they have intrinsic merit. Jay Cost has a handful of others here including a) “cross-over appeal” and 2) “no gotcha votes in Congress” as if the primary won’t pull them hard right and as if Ryan’s Curse isn’t an albatross for every Republican in 2012 (see the saga of Newt Gingrich, who didn’t vote for it or against it but still got knocked out of the race by it.). Reality from Gallup : Should Palin follow suit and not enter the race, Romney would be the clear front-runner, but arguably the weakest front-runner in any recent Republican nomination campaign . Ah, but Gallup simply means this isn’t a lock for Romney, right? That’s very true and yet misleading, since Romney’s money and positioning still puts him as the favorite (he’s at 28 on Intrade as an example, with Pawlenty at 21.) However, should he win, Romneycare will severely hurt him with his own party , a factor that contributes mightily to the idea that this is a weak field: A top goal of the nation’s most influential national Tea Party group is to stop Mitt Romney from winning the Republican nomination for president. The bottom line is that any field that Romney leads is a weak field. And who says this is a weak field, anyway? The correct answer is “everyone”. For that, let’s go to the video that never gets old: As to how they fare against Obama, we have Reuters-Ipsos to back up the idea that the field is weak (caveats about the inaccuracy of early polling and the final results, but it is what it is right now): In a new CNN poll , GOP primary voters are pining for the fjords more so than for the current candidates: Out of the dark-horse candidates on the sidelines, 48 percent of Republicans say they would like to see Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) run, 45 percent want New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to run, 40 percent would like Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to run and 39 percent want former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) to enter the field. Does that mean we have won and that Obama is a lock? Nope. The economy will perhaps determine the election (see below), and there’s a long time between then and now (see John Sides .) But does Obama as of this writing look to be in trouble against a strong Republican contender? Nope, again. Not only does the field look weak, but the Republican brand (aka kill Medicare as we know it ) is lookin’ a little shaky there. As Rich Lowry puts it: As their field emerges into the cold light of day, Republicans are desperate to be surprised. But the biggest piece of baloney in the whole sandwich is that only the Very Serious candidates Romney, Pawlenty and Huntsman are running, we can ignore Bachmann and Cain, Republicans aren’t pining for Someone Else, Gingrich never spoke the truth about Ryan’s Curse, Sarah Palin won’t be heard from again, and Donald Trump never happened. As for how great and wonderful it is to be a GOP Governor these days, well, that’s our next segment… Popularity of Republican Governors Myth : Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich and other GOP governors are both effective and popular. Reality from WSJ : Wisconsin Anti-Union Law Goes Down In Flames [WI Judge] Sumi’s ruling comes two days after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), another proponent of fiscal austerity, lost a high-profile battle with the New Jersey Supreme Court and was ordered to restore $500 million in funding for poor school districts that had been previously cut. Christie, who had threatened to defy the court if it ruled against him, told the media that he was furious that unelected judges were making law from the bench. Despite his anger, Christie says he will comply with the ruling. Critics of austerity have been emboldened by their victories in Wisconsin and New Jersey. Here’s Christie’s latest poll numbers, all of which represent a drop compared to the previous poll: It’s okay to say Christie is popular with Republicans, because that’s still true. But popular with the general voter, or popular in NJ? Tain’t so, McGee . And given that the hard right GOP agenda is either stalled or subject to repeal, don’t let’s use these Governors as GOP success stories. Kasich’s approval is at 38 , Walker is at 43 and would lose a recall vote , Rick Snyder was at 33 in March and and Rick Scott in FL is the worst of the lot with an approval of 29 . Margie Omero has a great summary at pollster.com: Voters across the country have buyers’ remorse about the Republicans they elected to office. The big stands House Republicans have taken so far–defunding Planned Parenthood, keeping tax breaks for the wealthy, nearly shutting down the government, and ending Medicare as we know–have all been wildly unpopular. Even with Republicans. In upstate New York this week, Democrat Kathy Hochul won by running a campaign focused on the Republican Medicare plan. Seeing the writing on the wall, the next day five Senate Republicans defected and voted against it. And don’t even get me started about the paucity of the GOP presidential field despite the 2010 “shellacking.” There’s a chill wind blowing if you’re a Republican. The poor performance in the polls by the new GOP Governors stateside, just as much as the resentment of the public about Ryan and the Republicans tampering with Medicare and Medicaid in DC, are contributing to the idea that the GOP wave has peaked. That is a major factor to the Oval Office wannabe field feeling weak. Another is the heavy coverage of the sideline candidates, such as: Rudy for President Myth : Congressman Peter King suggests Rudy Giuliani might get into the 2012 race. Reality : As outlined in TIME , Rudy is pro-choice. The idea that a pro-choice Republican will be acceptable in IA, SC or any part of the Republican party in 2012 when he was unacceptable in 2008 (he didn’t win a single delegate, iirc) is absurd. The idea that anyone including donors has any interest in Rudy is a different kind of absurd, but at least he has name recognition. And as my colleague David Waldman notes, the GOP isn’t exactly ”woefully short of candidates with funky relationship problems” and therefore looking for more. So when you see stories like this , built around name recognition: “Giuliani has the top spot in a 12-candidate field, but he doesn’t generate a lot of enthusiasm. Only about a quarter of Republicans nationwide said that they would be enthusiastic if Giuliani won the nomination,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But he’s not alone — only a quarter would be enthusiastic if Palin got the party’s nod, and only one in five would feel the same way if Romney became the GOP’s standard bearer in 2012.” don’t get carried away, even if Rudy does. Palin for President Myth : From the NY Times: Signs Grow That Palin May Run . If only we could be so lucky. She’s going to be on visible tour this week, which is a sure sign she’ll get some media folks to gush over her. Reality : Lawrence O’Donnell did a wonderful smackdown of this idea Friday night on his MSNBC show. Why a candidate without a senior strategist and without a pollster should in the modern era be considered a candidate for higher office is beyond me. That she wants to be more visible? Check. That she wants the GOP field to move right? Check. That’s she’s too lazy to do the work that actual running entails? Check. That she will never give up the big bucks? Check. That (as O’Donnell points out) she and Huckabee still work for Roger Ailes while Santorum and Gingrich don’t? Check. Oh, and one more thing about Ms. Incompetence. She’s showing up for the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day event because the optics would be terrific and they are her kind of people, except for one thing— they didn’t invite her . “She wasn’t invited. We heard yesterday she came out with a press release she was coming to Rolling Thunder,” Ted Shpak, national legislative director of Rolling Thunder, told “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” Shpak is one of three members of Rolling Thunder’s current leadership who says he had no idea Palin was coming until it was posted on her website. But, hey, it’s Sarah. They’ll just have to adjust to her outsize presence and learn to live with it, just like they did in Alaska. Rick Perry for President Myth : As a Southerner in the race, Rick Perry jumps to the top. Reality : Of the three speculative candidates, in my view Perry is a more likely “go”. But if he’s in it, that doesn’t mean he wins it. Charlie Cook : However, there remains, particularly after Huckabee’s departure from the field, a vacuum in both the social and the tea party brackets in this tournament. Unless former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin proves naysayers wrong and enters the race, watch for Rep. Michele Bachmann and/or Texas Gov. Rick Perry to enter the fray and fill that void. Although it is doubtful that either could win the nomination, they could change the dynamics of the contest in a significant and potentially unpredictable way. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum, and there certainly seems to be one on that side of the GOP equation. The survey says : Only 4% of Texas Republicans say they’d vote for Perry if he were to make a bid for the Oval Office, a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows… Texas is a critical state for any GOP presidential nominee, as it holds more delegates than any state in the nation except California. Texas is the biggest reliably red state in the country. It’s also important for Perry, who would likely be embarrassed to finish any lower than first in his home state’s primary. Do we think Perry wants to embarrass himself? He was ready to tout secession , so why not? From the invaluable Perry Watch at chron.com: As we’ve often said, the only country Perry wants to be president of is the Republic of Texas. But some wags interpreted this as a Freudian slip exposing the gov’s subconscious desire to be president of the United States. In any case, the reaction to Perry within the GOP is not overwhelming . Texas Gov. Rick Perry acknowledged Friday that he will consider a bid for the GOP nomination for president . But do Republicans think he should join the fray? A CNN poll released Friday found that 40 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents would like Perry to run, but 50 percent prefer he stay on the sidelines. Unlike Palin, we’re pretty sure Perry reads newspapers (especially Texas newspapers.) Still, that Perry would even consider running is another blow to those trying to make the case that the current GOP field is just fine: Perry told reporters Friday that he’s “going to think about” seeking the White House once the Legislature adjourns next week — a departure from earlier assurances that he won’t run. “He’s seen what everybody else has seen,” said Matthew Dowd, campaign strategist for George W. Bush. “There’s a field that’s not coalesced around anyone, that’s very unpredictable at the moment and that doesn’t have a candidate who seems to speak to a majority of the party.” In conversations with friends in recent days, the Republican governor has complained that the GOP field is weak and hasn’t excited enthusiasm in the Republican base. He knows what we know, which is why any or all of the above trio might let ego win out over reason, but it doesn’t make the field stronger just because they show up. It’s the economy, stupid Myth : The economy, Republicans keep telling themselves, will decide the election and not the Republican debacle on Medicare. Reality : The myth might be true, but not in the way people think. From the Newshour : The running assumption in the media is that next year’s presidential contest will be waged around the economy. There’s good reason to think that and also good reason to think that the unemployment rate will remain uncomfortably high. But the current mood in Eagle [CO] may be telling. After some very hard years the measure of improvement for voters may not be what unemployment was in 2008 or some random number assigned by analysts, but simple improvement or something else. “People here aren’t angry anymore as much as they want answers,” Hanson said. Candidates, in other words, may have to give voters a reason to choose them beyond frustration. They will need to offer solutions. And unlike anger, solutions are not easy to find. Take a look at Rudy, Palin and Perry, or even Pawlenty and Romney and ask yourselves what solutions they propose other than cutting taxes, which contributed mightily to the deficit without creating jobs. That’s why in the Politico/GWU Battleground poll , Obama did so well despite an economy that no one is happy with. Do it yourself baloney sandwiches Want to serve some baloney that you’ve come across? Just drop it in the comments and we’ll discuss it over lunch. And while you think about it, here’s this : “Overwhelmingly, Americans find President Barack Obama to be the most likable and lunch-worthy date compared to any of those hoping take his job in the 2012 election,” said Ron Sachs, president of Ron Sachs Communications. “There is no baloney in this simple truth: The ‘lunch pal’ poll very likely reflects the significant advantage President Obama enjoys heading into his re-election against a party that has no ‘candidate du jour.’ ” Even 25 percent of Republicans chose Obama as their top lunch mate, while 5 percent of Democrats picked Palin. One in 10 voters nationally would prefer to dine alone. That’s why the public thinks Obama will be reelected . But remember, no one serves baloney like a professional pundit . Study: Pundits Wrong Most Of The Time, Just Like You Always Imagined After all, if it’s good for the Democrats, it must be good for John McCain .
Baloney on rye, served with weak tea
Amid growing signs that she’s planning to enter the presidential race , Sarah Palin is set to embark on a weeks-long bus tour that will take her deep into enemy territory . The starting point for her trip is the annual Memorial Day weekend “Rolling Thunder” motorcycle ride; and although there are questions as to who exactly invited Palin to the event, there can be no doubt that she loves the imagery associated with it. Her itinerary is filled with numerous stops at Civil War battlefields , which are the perfect places to unite all Americans behind her half-term governing philosophy . Meanwhile, back in D.C., Congressional Republicans (with financial assistance from Newt Gingrich’s donors ) continued to throw senior citizens under the bus as they head down the path to prosperity permanent minority , much to the delight of Dick Cheney.
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Sunday Talk: The road less traveled
I believed Palin all along when she said she wasn’t focused on 2012, when she resigned from her governorship, when she talked to Oprah, and I believe her now: Palin isn’t thinking about running for President. She is thinking about Sarah Palin, Inc. Read More…
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Robert R. Hoopes, Jr.: Is Sarah Palin Out-Donalding The Donald?
I just turned the last page of The Arts Of Intimacy , a fascinating book written by Sarah Lawrence College’s Dean, Jerrilyn D. Dodds, with co-authors Maria Rosa Menocal and Abigail Krasner Balbale. Not surprising the book was named as a Book Of The Year, by The Times Literary Supplement and winner of the 2010 Albert C. Outler Book Prize. It’s crammed with startling information about how Spain’s Christians, Jews and Muslims lived side-by-side, their weaving cultures at times melding, opposing, and reinforcing each other in a fascinating period that runs roughly from the 10th century to the end of the 15th century (when Ferdinand and Isabella stamped out Spain’s religious pluralism during the Inquisition.) On every page I learned something new: how Gibraltar is named after the Berber conqueror, Jabal Tariq; how the dhimma , the relatively tolerant method with which the Muslim rulers had governed the Jews and Christians during 700 years of Islamic Spanish rule, was initially adopted and adapted by the new Castilian Christian rulers; how the Mozarabs (Christians who spoke Arabic) distrusted the Catholic Alfonso VI when he retook Toledo in 1085 (they rightly feared their autonomy would be curbed) and were frequently inclined to support the parting Islamic rulers to the south. But most of all I loved this, just one example of how the living “arts” meld and mix opposing cultures: one popular and distinct form of Andalusian poetry was called “ring song,” or muwashshah in Arabic, and began with a very formal and classic verse in Arabic (or in Hebrew) before circling around to its final lines, which were usually impertinent and in a vernacular language. (That local language used was frequently a form of Romance, or Mozarabic, which was a local take on the Latin spread through Europe by the conquering Roman Empire almost a thousand years earlier, and a language still spoken by a minority of Swiss living in the Alps.) The first formal and classical stanzas of the muwashshaw were often “sung” by men waxing lyrical about a beautiful woman, and the woman finally answering, in the local tongue, with a slap-up-the-head rejoinder. Read More… More on Spain
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Richard C. Morais: Mixing It Up in 11th Century Spain
With Tim Pawlenty on the list of mandate flip-floppers, Sarah Palin may actually have a shot at the GOP nomination (Palin photo: Roger H. Goun) Everybody knows Mitt Romney supported a health care mandate. Some people know Newt Gingrich did . A few even know John Huntsman did too (but most don’t know who he is). And now you can add Tim Pawlenty to the list of mandate flip-floppers: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said in a 2006 speech that mandated health insurance was a “potentially helpful” — but incomplete — solution to the problem of the uninsured. Pawlenty described a Massachusetts-style mandate in his speech as “a worthy goal and one that we’re intrigued by and I think at least open to,” but suggested that the central health care problem was not forcing people to buy insurance but helping them afford it. As Ben Smith points out, Pawlenty never proposed a mandate for Minnesota, and that does set him apart from Romney in Massachusetts, Huntsman in Utah, or Gingrich on a national level. However, Pawlenty did say he was open to a health care mandate as long as it was combined with things like subsidies and consumer protection regulations: “If you are poor and don’t have the resources or don’t have the ability to access insurance because there are barriers to that, a mandate by itself is not much of a solution,” Pawlenty said. “And so, the question then becomes - if you’re going to require insurance — and I think that is a worthy goal and one that we’re intrigued by and I think at least open to, how then do you enable people to access the insurance?” Pawlenty said. The answer, he suggested, was a combination of new efficiencies in health care and new subsidies, starting with a program to insure children — a move welcomed by Minnesota Democrats at the time. He also suggested both market-based solutions aimed at enhancing competition and transparency, as well as new regulations on, particularly, drug ads. Sounds an awful lot like the approach President Obama ended up taking, doesn’t it? I guess that means that a mere five years ago, Tim Pawlenty was a freaking socialist. It’s tempting to say this is good news for Mitt Romney, as he has a ready-made response to Pawlenty if Pawlenty criticizes him for the Massachusetts mandate, and in truth, it probably does blunt Pawlenty’s ability to go on the attack. But it also means four of the top tier Republican candidates are all vulnerable on health care mandates, and that represents a huge opportunity for a candidate like Sarah Palin or Rick Perry, neither of whom are vulnerable on this issue within the hermetically sealed world of GOP primary voters.
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Add Tim Pawlenty to GOP’s list of individual mandate flip-floppers (advantage: Sarah Palin)
Two years ago, Rick Perry said Texas had the right to secede. So Rick Perry has finally admitted he’s considering a 2012 presidential campaign: Gov. Rick Perry today gave his strongest indication yet that he may run for president. “I’m going to think about it” after the legislative session ends Monday, Perry said. For years, Perry has said that he would not run for president and that he had no interest. He has often said something along the lines of “I don’t know how many times I have to say no.” But he and his advisers have inched closer to saying he may run all week, following the announcement that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels would not enter the GOP field. Today was the most distance he’s put between himself and his past declarations that he wouldn’t run. Who knows what this means for Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, and the others aboard the GOP’s Ship of Fools , but at least one thing is probably for sure: Texas is unlikely to secede anytime before 2012. But unless he’s flip-flopped, Perry still believes that Texas has the right to secede whenever it wants.
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Rick Perry inches closer toward presidential campaign
61% of Iowa Republicans say they won’t back anyone who supported a mandate Jeff Zeleny reports that Mitt Romney is starting to get actively involved in Iowa and might not end up skipping the state’s caucuses after all. Mr. Romney arrives here on Friday for his first time this year, for three public events and many more private meetings, the evidence suggests that he is leaning against a strategy of bypassing Iowa. He is the only candidate with a network of supporters in all 99 counties, many of whom say they have received calls from Mr. Romney’s aides in recent days. In 2008, Romney invested heavily in Iowa, finishing behind Mike Huckabee (and ahead of John McCain). Nonetheless, despite his record of flip-flops on the social issues that dominate Republican politics in Iowa, supporters think he could do well in 2012: Mr. Romney won 30,021 votes, or 25 percent. And when adding up the results of the other defeated candidates, Senator John McCain, former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, about 55 percent of the voters supported someone other than a religious conservative. “There’s a real opportunity for him to grab the establishment Republican vote — 35 or 45 percent of the people are really looking for a place to go,” said Doug Gross, the Iowa chairman of the Romney campaign in 2008, who remains uncommitted. “I haven’t come to the conclusion that I think he can win, but he could run a good solid campaign here.” And how does Romney hope to appeal to establishment Republicans? According to Mike Allen’s Playbook, his campaign his praying Sarah Palin runs: Romneyworld strongly believes that if Palin gets in, he wins more easily. “The shock value would cause elected officials and party officials to rally around Mitt, because she’d scare the daylights out of them,” one official said. “And it would allow him to position himself very much in the middle of Republican, conservative thinking and avoid the fringe, and look more moderate for the general election.” Rep. Michele Bachmann would have the same effect, the adviser said. Either of them “gives Romney a bogeyman: ‘Stop this crazy woman.’” Another top Republican said he relishes the idea of a Palin candidacy: “She’ll be defeated, and we’ll be done with her.” But even though Romneyworld may believe Palin doesn’t have a shot at winning the GOP nomination, that doesn’t mean Romney will see a surge of support. In fact, if establishment forces want to take down Palin, they are likely to back a candidate other than Romney out of fear that RomneyCare might be such a liability that it could actually give Palin a path to victory if he were the main alternative. Remember, 61% of Iowa Republicans say there is no way they would ever support a candidate who had supported a health care mandate, even at the state level. Only 11% say they definitely could support such a candidate. And 25% aren’t sure. So if Republican poobahs end up freaking out about the possibility of a Sarah Palin candidacy, it won’t necessarily be a good thing for Mitt Romney, because if they’re looking for a candidate who they are sure can beat Palin, Mitt’s not likely to be it.
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Mitt Romney engages in Iowa, hopes Sarah Palin enters race
Obama an excellent bet to turn this map blue in ‘12 It seems like ages ago, but it was only six months ago that Wisconsin looked very bleak for Democrats in general, and Barack Obama in particular. The state had just gone heavily Republican, costing the Democrats a statehouse, a Senate seat, a pair of House seats, and legislative seats by the boatload. The state’s ten electoral votes, which had gone handily to Barack Obama in 2008 (a fourteen-point edge), seemed destined to be a toss up. Funny what six months of a Scott Walker-led Wisconsin has done for the Democrats in the Badger State. Walker’s numbers are sinking like a turd in a well, and Democrats are starting to look awfully good in comparison. This resurrection, it seems, includes the man at the top of the ticket. Public Policy Polling (PDF) (5/21-5/24. Registered Wisconsin Voters. February results in parentheses) Barack Obama (D) 50 (49) Paul Ryan (R) 43 (40) Barack Obama (D) 51 (48) Mitt Romney (R) 39 (38) Barack Obama (D) 53 (51) Newt Gingrich (R) 35 (39) Barack Obama (D) 55 (54) Sarah Palin (R) 36 (35) Local boy-turned-Dick Cheney fantasy Paul Ryan cannot convert home-state status to anything more than a high single-digit deficit, roughly where he was in February. His relative closeness in this survey, it is worth noting, is fueled almost entirely by rapturous support within his own party. While Republicans are “meh” about the rest of the GOP contenders, they LOVES them some Paul Ryan (77/12 favorability spread). But overall, his favorability numbers have taken a beating since his “serious” assault on Medicare as we know it. What was once a net favorable statewide rating (38/30) is now underwater (41/46). As bad as that is, it actually is better than the other Republicans in question, which explains why he comes a bit closer to the President than the rest of the GOP field: Net Favorability: GOP Presidential Candidates Paul Ryan (R) -5 (41/46) Mitt Romney (R) -20 (29/49) Sarah Palin (R) -31 (32/63) Newt Gingrich (R) -52 (15/67) Meanwhile, as has been the case elsewhere, President Obama has seen a bit of a rebound in his numbers as the year has progressed. What was a mildly positive assessment (49/45) in February now stands at 52/44, which would probably be enough to contend with even if the Republican field wasn’t so marginal. The best news for Democrats in this PPP poll (which also showed Walker as a legitimate recall target, and hinted that Democratic recall attempts might have some support) is that the sample here is far from unduly optimistic. The sample voted for Obama by a net advantage of nine points (51-42), considerably less than the 14-point edge he actually enjoyed in 2008. This diary is brought to you by Daily Kos Elections, an official Daily Kos sub-site. Please read our Mission Statement . Our focus is on electoral politics rather than policy. Welcome aboard!
WI-Pres: Obama has solid leads in Badger State
Sarah Palin has a new $1.75 million, 8,000 square foot house in Scottsdale, AZ, but it’s not the two- and four-car garages or the wraparound balcony that’s making news. Business Insider reports that Palin’s home may have been bought for less than the price of the mortgage (a “short sale”) and quickly resold in a fraudulent transaction; the seller, who identifies himself as a real estate investor, purchased the house from JP Morgan and sold it just a year later at a 118% markup. Short timeframes for such high profit increases are often labeled suspicious by analysts: Ironically, Palin, who in this case is completely innocent of any wrongdoing, may have tripped the alarm switch on a trick that is being used by mortgage “investors” across the country… which are buying up wholesale [real estate owned properties] only to flip them to end buyers at up to 100% profits shortly thereafter. Follow-up story on Zero Hedge here . Read More… More on Real Estate
Sarah Palin’s New Home May Have Exposed Short Sale Fraud (VIDEO)
The post-White Knight survey is in from Gallup this morning, and at the moment, with ( see chart ) or without Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney’s name recognition is carrying him to the top of the list, where he can work to hold off Herman Cain. In the short term, Romney and Palin seem to have benefited most from several prominent potential Republican candidates’ decisions not to run for president. Should Palin follow suit and not enter the race, Romney would be the clear front-runner, but arguably the weakest front-runner in any recent Republican nomination campaign . As such, the race remains wide open, which is underscored by the fact that one in five Republicans currently have no preference. Without Mitch Daniels, a slumping Chris Christie , Jeb Bush, Ronald Reagan, Oprah or Justin Bieber in the race, Republican primary voters can’t decide who to dislike more. That makes the race not only wide open, but rife for Palin-mania and stories dropped in the news by her loyalists about an upcoming movie (see hilarious titles suggested by Balloon Juice , if you missed it) that will Change Everything — and make her some more money that she can rip off from her adoring fans (which is the point, isn’t it?) I’d love to think Palin is actually running, but we couldn’t be that lucky. In the meantime, just catch that Pawlenty wave. He’s tearing up the field in a fan feeding frenz — okay, okay. He’s not. And the main thing Palin offers this week is the contrast between how the GOP base feels about her and how they feel about Pawlenty (who runs behind Herman Cain, making Pawlenty something of an afterthought.) In fact, Gallup quantifies it with what they are calling a ” positive intensity score “, a fancy way of highlighting how unpopular the weak field is among the party activists. The leaders there are Cain (by a lot), Bachmann, and Palin. Everyone else needs to look for another date for the prom. Cue Sarah to make some noise about that. Oh, and by the way, someone needs to ask her about where she stands on the Ryan budget (after first explaining to her what it is.)
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Gallup: Romney ‘weakest front-runner’ in recent GOP contests
JUNEAU, Alaska — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has authorized a feature-length film about her rise, added staff and recently said she has “that fire in the belly” for a presidential bid – all steps that fuel speculation she’s inching toward a White House run. Her supporters are putting together a campaign-in-waiting in Iowa, the lead-off nominating caucus, in the hopes the Republicans’ 2008 vice presidential nominee decides to join the race. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin Documentary Setting Stage For 2012 Presidential Campaign?
Amid buzz that Sarah Palin may be the proud owner of a new 7,900-square foot home in Scottsdale, Arizona, local station Fox 10 is out with a report that appears to show the former vice presidential candidate and her husband Todd in the backyard of the property. Read More… More on Elections 2012
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Sarah Palin’s New Home? (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Shortly after Republicans swept last November to a historic victory in which Sarah Palin was credited with playing a central role, the former Alaska governor pulled aside her close aide, Rebecca Mansour, to discuss a hush-hush assignment: Reach out to conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon with a request. Ask him if he would make a series of videos extolling Palin’s governorship and laying to rest lingering questions about her controversial decision to resign from office with a year-and-a-half left in her first term. It was this abdication, Palin knew, that had made her damaged goods in the eyes of some Republicans who once were eager to get behind her potential 2012 presidential campaign. Read More… More on Sarah Palin 2012
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Sarah Palin Movie To Premiere Next Month
JUNEAU, Alaska — The state of Alaska wants more time to release potentially thousands of emails that Sarah Palin sent and received while she was governor. In January, Attorney General John Burns granted an extension until May 31 with the “unequivocal expectation” that all records that aren’t privileged would be released by then. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin Emails To Be Released, But Alaska Seeks More Time To Produce Messages
For politicians, there is one time-tested method for thwarting public records requests: stall and stall and, when in doubt, stall. This January, for instance, Alaskan officials finally responded to September 2008 requests for former Republican Gov. Sarah Palinâs emails, promising to release the files by the end of May 2011. By then the wait will have lasted longer than the time Palin spent in office. If dragging out the release date proves ineffective, officials can also stall by requiring a pretty penny from the requester. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, before he announced his decision against running for the GOP presidential nomination, tried to charge Mother Jones upwards of $60,000 for the privilege of viewing his emails and travel logs. Read More… More on Health Care
Want To See Mitt Romney’s Emails On Health Care Reform? Good Luck
A series of messages forwarded to The Daily Caller show a top aide to former Alaska Gov. and possible presidential candidate Sarah Palin mocking top political figures and even her boss’s own daughter, Bristol Palin. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Rebecca Mansour, Sarah Palin Aide, Mocked Bristol Palin, Erick Erickson & More
Sarah Jarosz (http://bit.ly/ligfxC), a prodigy in the kind of music loosely called Americana, just last week released a new CD, “Follow Me Down.” She was in New York for three separate performances, the first at the Living Room. Overflow crowd. She was here a few weeks ago, too, on a Friday night, near the end of the winter that never ended, during a terrific rain storm. It battered the city. With the wind blowing from every direction at the same time and the horizontal rain following suit, you had more trouble with your umbrella than Alice had with her croquet flamingo. All along the East Coast, the weather was tossing jets in the sky around like jacks, and eastbound tornados were touching down in the Appalachians like drunken sailors staggering from shore leave back toward the sea. But the old folkie Tom Rush somehow made it down from Vermont, classical pianist Shai “Fingers of Fire” Wosner from upper West End Avenue, and the whole permanent cast of ” A Prairie Home Companion” from the prairie–to Town hall, for their annual regular appearance in New York. Oh, yes–and Ms. Jarosz, just-now-20-year-old already-Grammy-nominated phenom from Texas, by way of the New England Conservatory of Music, where she just finished her sophomore year. She made it too. In fact they called on her at the last minute to take Mr. Rush’s place, but then he made it, too, and a good time was–under the smooth, soothing impressarioship of you-know-who, whose first name is as military as he isn’t–had by all. Read More… More on Music
Daniel Menaker: All That Jarosz
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The purchase of a large custom estate in a desert community north of Phoenix has set off a wave of speculation that the buyer might be former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The fascination with all things Sarah brought a steady stream of media to the rural north Scottsdale area on Monday, including a number of television news trucks parked near the home. An anonymous Delaware-registered limited liability company paid nearly $1.7 million cash for the 7,900-square foot property earlier this month. (SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS) Read More… More on Elections 2012
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Sarah Palin’s Possible Scottsdale, Arizona House Buy Stirs Buzz (PHOTOS)
Said one adviser to the Obama reelection campaign, who spoke on the condition of anonymity: “Through the process of winning that nomination, they will achieve stature, and by the reality of having won that nomination, they will be competitive with the president at fundraising.” Read More… More on Barack Obama 2012
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Obama Campaign Adviser: ‘Unless It’s Palin Or Gingrich, We Expect A Very Close Race’
JUNEAU, Alaska — A former member of Sarah Palin’s inner circle has written a scathing tell-all, saying Palin was ready to quit as governor months before she actually resigned and was eager to leave office when more lucrative opportunities came around. “In 2009 I had the sense if she made it to the White House and I had stayed silent, I could never forgive myself,” Frank Bailey told The Associated Press. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
‘Blind Allegiance To Sarah Palin’: Former Aide’s Tell-All Says She Was After The Money
It’s been over three months since we checked in with a GOP Cattle Call, largely because the size and scope of the field has been more fluid than the fat beads of sweat glistening on Haley Barbour’s neck rolls on a still, sweltering August afternoon in Yazoo City. But now that the field has finally begun to firm up - or congeal, not unlike the melted shredded cheese food topping on one of Herman Cain’s Godfather’s Pizzas* - we can once again take a trip to the crazytown zoo to attempt to determine the social hierarchy of the Republicanis hopefulus , so as to better understand next year’s challenge. *NOTE: Not an actual “pizza,” as defined by Neapolitan chefs, Mario Batali, or decent human beings. The real power behind Godfather’s Pizza. Not Herman Cain. On one hand, it seems like a lot has happened since our last Cattle Call. The Trump boomlet came and went, Mike Huckabee - our frontrunner last time around - finally got around to admitting that he doesn’t have the overwhelming desire for the Presidency necessary to commit to a successful campaign, both Barbour and Mitch Daniels opted out (contrary to the thinking of many, myself included, who figured that one of the two RGA all-stars would take a serious run at it). But ultimately, things aren’t all that different than they were in February, are they? Although Huck was clearly in a good position to win the nomination, we’ve known for a long time that his heart wasn’t in it, and that he might well stand aside. Even at the height of his ephemeral popularity, few expected Trump to run, much less sustain an effective campaign over a year-and-a-half. And while I still believe that Daniels would have posed a formidable challenge to Obama next November, the Beltway pundits - enamored as they are by any “serious” Republican who isn’t a frothing troglodyte on social issues - probably were overstating his chances in a primary process dominated by … well, frothing troglodytes. (And I still say Barbour was never going to run. He’s just too smart to have subjected himself to a campaign which would’ve been doomed due to his personal history.) So we’re still much where we were earlier in the year. Mitt Romney continues to raise obscene sums of money despite the fact that no one really seems to like him, Tim Pawlenty continues to benefit from the dearth of “serious” anti-Mitts in the field, and we’re still waiting to see what the doyenne of dumb, Sarah Palin, chooses to do. That’s not to say that the picture isn’t clearer, because it is. It’s just that there are still a lot of developments, not the least of which will be Palin’s decision, that will have major bearing on the race once we get out of the pregame period. Perhaps the biggest outstanding question - maybe even more momentous than “will Sarah run?” - is the makeup of the actual primary calendar. Remember how in 2008, the parties had a hard time corralling states like Florida and Michigan that wanted to move up and break the Iowa/New Hampshire/South Carolina (and lately, Nevada) oligarchy? Well, it’s even dicier this time around. The RNC’s “official” calendar kicks off with Iowa on February 6, but there’s little question that Iowa, NH, SC, (and probably NV) will move in lockstep as early as they need in order to preserve their primacy, and Florida claimjumping may well push Iowa et al back into early December . We won’t spend that much time analyzing all the possibilities here - just be aware that no one really knows when real voting is going to start, and follow the truly excellent Frontloading HQ for updates on the constantly shifting lineup of states and dates. So how do the candidates match up, given that we don’t know exactly who’ll be running, where they’re running, or when Republicans will be voting? Let’s get to it. As always, we’ll use Markos’s formula: “the rankings will be based on where I think they would place if the elections started today, using a mix of poll results, CW, media attention, buzz, and other intangibles.” That’s not to say that we won’t project the rise and fall of various candidates; that’s half the fun, after all. But the rankings will always be based on where the candidates would stand if Iowa unexpectedly caucused tomorrow. First Tier 1) Mitt Romney. He gets the green arrow there, and takes the top spot, but it’s primarily by virtue of the fact that Huck dropped out and the general weakness of the field. Sure, he’s raising a ton of money - $10.25M in one day is absolutely nothing to sneeze at - but he’s still deeply flawed as a candidate for president in today’s mouthbreathing Republican Party. The Tea Party is never going to truly embrace him, no matter how hard he flip-flops on Rombamacare , but just as importantly, he hasn’t come close to winning over the party machers : [Daniels'] exit illustrates the degree to which the GOP race is being shaped by who’s not running. Consider the list of would-be candidates who’ve passed on a campaign in the last four months: Mike Pence, John Thune, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump and now Daniels. Add Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan and Rick Perry – Republicans with star power who’ve said flatly they won’t run – and it translates into a GOP establishment deeply worried that the flawed options they’re left with won’t be any match for an incumbent president who seemingly won’t face a primary but is likely to shatter campaign fundraising records. “Insofar as politics abhors even a near-vacuum, others are bound to get in,” Weekly Standard editor William Kristol predicted this morning, suggesting a race that could “remain open and fluid until Thanksgiving.” One Daniels friend and longtime Republican, who had already gotten dozens of emails by 7:30 bemoaning the news, was blunt when asked about who in the current field was now more appealing: “None of the above.” When Roger Ailes and other GOP bigwigs are begging a chubby one-term governor with a net disapproval rating in his home state to jump in as their savior, you know that the frontrunner isn’t exactly highly regarded. Republicans may usually jump on the bandwagon of the guy who’s next in line, but Romney is clearly perceived as weaker than even McCain in ‘08 or Dole in ‘96. Because the field is so slim, it’s possible that he might win this thing through sheer dint of money and basic competency, but I wouldn’t count on it. 2) Tim Pawlenty. Like Romney, he hasn’t really done much to earn the green arrow, but there’s no one else whom you could really rank second. What’s he got going for him? Well, He’s running, which is more than you can say for Palin, or for any of the white knights like Jeb or Christie or Ryan. You gotta be in it to win it. He’s not Mitt Romney. There’s a market for an anti-Romney. He’s apparently got a good media team . He secured Nick Ayers , the tyro ex-RGA director who learned at the feet of Barbour, as his campaign manager. Whether Ayers will actually be any good at running a presidential campaign remains to be seen - but he’s a hot commodity, his name carries currency in Republican circles, and he lends an air of legitimacy to the effort - especially with both Daniels and Barbour out. He’s from Minnesota, which is adjacent to Iowa. He’s well-positioned to inherit from Daniels and Barbour at least some of the fawning national media that craves a “serious” Republican (not named “Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney”) who isn’t insane on social issues, but who “talks plainly” about the need for unemployed 58 year old ironworkers to “sacrifice” their Medicare and Social Security, while at the same time calling for “stimulative” tax cuts. On the other hand, The same Republican establishment which is looking for Christie or Ryan to save them from Romney clearly isn’t that hot on T-Paw. That great TV ad does a good job of masking the fact that Pawlenty possesses something approaching zero charisma. As a TV producer looking at the race wrote , Once, a few years ago, when I was casting a pilot for a major broadcast network, I mentioned the name of a solid actor for the lead role. “Yeah,” the network’s head of casting sighed, “he’s good. But I don’t know. He always feels like the best man. Not the groom. I mean, is he sexually attractive?” (The head of casting, for the record, did not say “sexually attractive.” She used a four-letter word, followed by “-able.”) That’s the drawback for former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who is set to announce his presidential bid Monday. He’s called T-Paw, so he’s got a jaunty nickname, but viewers want a little more raw aggression in their star. Undeclared un-candidate Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor, has it; tall, gimlet-eyed Rep. Paul Ryan has it — and Pawlenty needs to find some, quick. Put it this way: In the late 1970s, a popular sitcom, “Bosom Buddies,” had two young stars, Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, in the lead roles. Pawlenty is currently filling the Peter Scolari role. Ayers has never run a presidential campaign. You know who else is from Minnesota and has a geographical advantage in Iowa? Michele Bachmann. You know who’s crazy enough to inspire the lunatics who make up a substantial plurality of Iowa GOP caucusgoers? Michele Bachmann. Not T-Paw. Jon Huntsman is already winning the hearts of the “serious” press looking for a “serious” candidate, and unlike Pawlenty, he didn’t appear on stage at the decidedly unserious freakshow Republican “debate” in South Carolina with Cain, Santorum, Ronpaul, and Gary Johnson. You know, T-Paw really didn’t do himself any favors by showing at that debate. He diminished himself by standing up next to a bunch of third tier guys, while Mitt and Huntsman and even Bachmann passed. He was uniformly panned as flat, while Herman Freaking Cain was deemed the unanimous winner by Luntz’s focus group. And Roger Ailes, as we saw linked above, isn’t rewarding him for showing up at Fox’s debate. So he’s got some problems. But there’s a real chance that he can pull it off, if he can continue to insinuate himself deeper into hardcore conservative circles while remaining “serious.” He’ll need to win Iowa and parlay Ayers’ southern experience into a strong SC performance, but both of those are possible. If you made me guess today who’s going to have the privilege of losing to Barack Obama next fall, I suppose I’d pick him. But it’s far, far, far from a sure thing. 3) Sarah Palin. She says she has “fire in her belly,” but she’s done very little to act on that fire, except for maybe taking a couple Tums. Still, if there’s anyone who can bide her time, it’s Wasilla’s Finest, especially with Huck out. She could raise plenty of money and put together a fairly cohesive grassroots campaign in relatively short order. Whether she could assemble a cohesive professional operation to run that campaign is another story, but you cannot rule her out. Despite her low approval ratings, her abysmal head-to-head numbers against Obama, and her generally erratic behavior, Palin has the potential to be a real force due to the intense personal loyalty of her legions of fans throughout the nation. And with a large number of states likely being forced to use proportional delegate allocation after the first four, she’ll have the opportunity to parlay her hardcore base into a pretty serious delegation, provided that she does as well as she should in Iowa and SC. Too many people are discounting Palin. With the field the way it is, she’s a real contender, if she gets around to running. Second Tier 4) Michele Bachmann. If you’d told me three months ago that I’d be putting Michele Bachmann here, I’d have asked you to please slow down on the sazerac intake. But with Palin out for the moment, Huck out for good, and Newt shitting the bed worse than Osi Umenyiora after Taco Bell, she’s the best option the Original True Patriotic Tea Party Patriots of America have. She polls better than most of your big-name “serious” candidates. She can basically live in Iowa through Christmas. And she’s a fundraising machine. So who the hell else can you put in this spot? 5) Jon Huntsman. Serious. Dignified. Statesmanlike. Oh, and he supported an individual mandate, is Mormon, believes in climate change, and has pooh-poohed birthers. Huntsman, even more than “Truce” Daniels, represents the divide between real Republican primarygoers and the media that covers the circus. That’s not saying he doesn’t have a chance — it’s just a really severe uphill climb. And the rest Newt drops down to the grabbag tier, because his epic implosion of the last week pretty much guarantees that he won’t win the nomination. At least the five we’ve already discussed all have some sort of plausible road to the nomination. I don’t see how Newt can do it at this point … I seriously contemplated ranking Herman Cain ahead of Newt, because, hey, he did win the SC debate … What do Buddy Roemer, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, and Rick Santorum have in common? They’re all running for the nomination. What else do they have in common? They’re not going to win it. (New Roemer meme: The Jim Gilmore of ‘12. Pass it on!) Here’s hoping Thad McCotter runs, because that could be fun to watch.
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GOP Cattle Call 2012 - Week of 05/22/11
Donald Trump’s sudden and unexpected decision to exit the presidential race this week left the Republican field with a Volkswagen-sized hole, but thankfully, Newt Gingrich was ready to step in and fill it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t indebted to Newt for selflessly providing comic relief in the form of an epically cartoonish statement to the press . Surely he deserves all of the praise and glitter that’s been showered upon him in the ensuing days. In fact, if he keeps this up, the Republican nominating contest may turn out to be the greatest show on post-apocalyptic Earth.
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Sunday Talk: Step right up!
Has Sarah Palin bought a house in north Scottsdale? Read More… More on Elections 2012
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Did Sarah Palin Buy Scottsdale House?
While I cannot relate to life as a royal, I can certainly relate to Sarah’s personal struggle of not knowing her true value, making destructive choices and self-sabotage. Read More… More on Wisdom
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Laura Harvey: On the Path to Self-Discovery With the Duchess of York
Mitt Romney is beginning to emerge as the front runner for the Republican nomination for president in a race that as recently as one month ago was distinguished from most previous Republican nomination campaigns by the absence of such a front runner. Among actual candidates, Romney leads most polls and has raised the most money . Romney is again demonstrating, that for winning a presidential nomination, building an organization and raising money is at least as important as leadership and the ability to excite the base, two characteristics that Romney appears to lack. Romney has done his work relatively quietly while the decisions by Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee not to run and the disastrous beginning to Newt Gingrich’s quixotic bid for the White House have received considerably more coverage in recent weeks. Of these three stories, Huckabee’s decision not to run is the most significant. Huckabee is a good politician with excellent communication skills and opinions that would have resonated well with the conservative Republican base. Huckabee also had a very difficult time building an organization and raising money in 2008 and evinced little enthusiasm for doing that again in 2012, seemingly preferring the comfort and compensation of his work for Fox News. With Huckabee out of the way, the remaining potential obstacles to Romney’s path to the nomination include candidates who would have a very difficult time in a general election, like Michele Bachmann or Gingrich and potentially Sarah Palin, candidates who have not yet demonstrated an ability to connect with voters or donors, notably Tim Pawlenty and candidates who have not yet formally announced their candidacies such as Jon Huntsman and Mitch Daniels. This last category also includes people like New Jersey governor Chris Christie who have made no indications that they are actually running and whose campaigns exist largely in the minds of GOP strategists. Read More… More on Republican Party
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Lincoln Mitchell: Romney’s Work Beginning to Pay Off
During an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Wednesday night, Sarah Palin suggested that David Gregory, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” asked a “racist-tinged question” in pressing presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on an eyebrow-raising characterization of President Barack Obama he made last week. The former House Speaker criticized the president as “the most successful food stamp president in modern American history” while speaking in Georgia. Here’s an excerpt of the exchange that went down between Gingrich and Gregory after a clip was played of the remarks: GREGORY: First of all, you gave a speech in Georgia with language a lot of people think could be coded racially-tinged language, calling the president, the first black president, a food stamp president. Read More… More on Elections 2012
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Sarah Palin: David Gregory Asked Newt Gingrich ‘Racist-Tinged’ Question (VIDEO)
I’m not saying that Sarah Palin is dumb. But I’m not saying that she’s not. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Alan Grayson: 10 Reasons Why Sarah Palin Will Never Be President
Suffolk University 5/10-17/11; 1,070 likely voters, 3% margin of error Mode: Live telephone interviews Read More… More on Pollster
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US-2012 Primary: 17% Romney, 15% Huckabee, 10% Palin, 9% Gingrich (Suffolk 5/10-17)
Someone let Tommy know what happened to his party (Joshua Lott / Reuters) Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson wants to run for Herb Kohl’s vacated seat, and his lackeys are trying to build an air of invincibility . “Tommy Thompson would be the front-runner in the race. There isn’t a facility in this state that doesn’t have his name on it. There isn’t a person who hasn’t met him or shaken his hand. He is quintessential Wisconsin,” said Brian Schimming, a Madison-based GOP strategist who worked in the Thompson administration. “It’s a hard hill for anyone to climb to challenge Tommy.” Problem for him, is that he lives in Wisconsin, land of Scott Walker and a healthy and active teabagging base. And, let’s just say Thompson doesn’t come close to passing the purity test — he supported last year’s health care law, calling it “important step toward … providing affordable high-quality health care for all.” He has vocally opposed GOP efforts to repeal the law. He opposes cutting Medicare. He opposed his governor’s efforts to destroy the public unions. That might all work to his advantage in a general election (but probably not , PDF), but he has to get out of a primary first. And apparently, his team is oblivious to his predicament. Republican consultant Mark Graul acknowledged that Thompson would most likely focus on improving the current health care bill, rather than calling for a repeal. But, he argued, charges that the former four-term governor isn’t conservative enough would fall on deaf ears. “He cut more taxes than any governor in history. The idea that he’s somehow not conservative doesn’t really make sense to us because we watched Democrats bash him for years,” Graul said. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! There was a time when obsessing over tax cuts might have been enough, but today’s GOP would’ve booted Ronald Reagan to the curb a long time ago. The modern-day Republican has to kiss Paul Ryan’s ring while ranting against the global climate change “hoax.” He must hump Rush Limbaugh’s leg while pretending that Sarah Palin is a serious person. He must believe that Obama is a Kenyan muslim, while simultaneously believing he’s also a secular humanist out to destroy religion. And he must believe that the new health care law is worse than Hitler, and that Newt Gingrich would still be with his first wife if Massachusetts and Iowa gays hadn’t been allowed to destroy “traditional marriage”. And he has to froth at the mouth. That’s the new litmus test. Sorry to say, the Thompson Republican is obsolete. In fact, he was already obsolete when Thompson flamed out hilariously in the 2008 presidential race . And speaking of litmus tests. Who did he endorse after he was ignored by the GOP electorate? Rudy Giuliani. (Even if no one cared or noticed.) There isn’t a bone in him that will appeal to the teabaggers.
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WI-Sen: The modern GOP’s litmus test and Tommy Thompson
Via ThinkProgress , this is priceless: I want to make sure every House Republican is protected from some kind of dishonest Democratic ad. So let me say on the record, any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood. Because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate and I’m prepared to stand up… When I make a mistake — and I’m going to on occassion — I want to share with the American people “that was a mistake” because that way we can have an honest conversation. So quoting Newt’s criticisms on Sunday of the GOP’s plan to end Medicare is a “falsehood” because he has changed his position more than a few times and apologized to Paul Ryan for saying it in the first place, after the severe tongue lashings he’s received all week. And it’s only Wednesday! Besides, he wasn’t prepared for those famous David Gregory “gotcha” questions on Meet the Press , even though this was his 35th appearance on the show. What’s important to note, though, is that Newt thinks his problem is how Democrats will use his words against him. Sure, Democrats are gleefully watching Newt’s epic implosion—from his bumbling announcements about announcing his announcement to launch his presidential campaign, to misspelling his wife’s name throughout his website, to his half-million dollar debt to Tiffany & Co.—but Democrats are not Newt’s problem. Newt’s real problem is that the Republican Party of today ain’t the Republican Party of 1994. Today’s GOP is a Palin-loving, teabagger-fearing party, only too willing to slit their wrists in a suicide pact to destroy the country. As extreme as 1994 Newt was, he’s got nothing on today’s Republicans. Which means that how Democrats handle Newt should be the least of his worries. Because he’s going to be eaten alive by his own party long before President Obama even has a chance to kick his ass all the way back to 1994.
Newt: Quoting me is a ‘falsehood’
Our crazy trumps their crazy (Trump photo: Gage Skidmore; Palin photo: David Shankbone) Not that this match-up would ever happen, but Public Policy Polling wanted to see just how weak the potential Republican candidates are. Turns out, our crazy beats their crazy—in a landslide. If you want to get an idea of how bad Donald Trump’s political standing was by the end of his abortive run for President consider this- a national poll we conducted last week found that he would trail Dennis Kucinich 40-36 in a hypothetical contest. But as bad as that is for Donald Trump, it’s even worse for Sarah Palin. Kucinich’s lead over Sarah Palin if they were to face off would be 43-36. In that scenario Kucinich gets 16% of Republicans to Palin’s 12% of Democrats and leads her by 10 points with independents at 42-32. Hmmm. Maybe that’s why The Donald decided not to run, and Sarah’s still waiting to decide when to announce that, like Huckabee, she’d rather rake in millions on Fox than get her ass handed to her by President Obama. Turns out Americans would rather vote for the uber-lefty Democrat who believes in aliens than The Hair or the Mama Bear.
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PPP: Even Kucinich could beat Trump and Palin
As expected : Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) will run against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) next year, he announced today. “I am today announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate because of my deep concern about the condition of our economy, the debt, and excessive federal spending,” Akin told supporters in the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur. “I am deeply grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from fellow Missourians who share my convictions.” Akin was elected to the House in 2000, representing the suburban St. Louis 2nd district. The seat was previously held by then-Rep. Jim Talent, who left Congress for an unsuccessful gubernatorial run. Before he entered Congress, Akin served six terms in the Missouri state House of Representatives. He is known as one of the most conservative members of the House. We’ll see if Akin has the ability to pivot from representing his very conservative district to a state that’s still red-leaning but less conservative as a whole. At the very least, McCaskill has the Ryan Medicare budget vote in her back pocket, which she can (and should) beat over Akin’s head all campaign long. But that’s certainly not all. Akin has a long list of craziness on his record, and has even said “I don’t like” Social Security. There’s more where that came from. Akin first has to make his way past former Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the primary, and possible wealthy businessman John Brunner. I think most folks would call him the favorite, but as the Post-Dispatch notes , he hasn’t run a real campaign in a long time, so this contest could still be up-for-grabs. As the Post-Dispatch article also points out, the other angle here is Akin’s now-open House district. The clown car to replace him had already been filling up with Republican wannabes, even before he announced his new move, and I expect things to only get crazier. This seat also got bluer in redistricting. While I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be competitive, it’s possible the general election here could be interesting. As for the Senate race, though, if it winds up being Akin-McCaskill, it’s going to be a titanic battle. This diary is brought to you by Daily Kos Elections, an official Daily Kos sub-site. Please read our Mission Statement . Our focus is on electoral politics rather than policy. Welcome aboard!
MO-Sen: Todd Akin (R) enters Senate race
Since Sarah Jessica Parker’s pop-culture legacy is so tied to her portrayal of Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City” and its two movies, whenever MTV News has the opportunity to chat with the actress, we have to get an update on the beloved series. Read More… More on Sex and the City
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Sarah Jessica Parker Talks More ‘Sex And The City’
Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore) and Sarah Palin (Photo: David Shankbone) Having succeeded in his two main goals—making an ass of himself and the Republican Party who embraced him with open arms—Donald Trump today announced he would not run for President of the United States. No doubt Tim Pawlenty is wondering if this is the thing that finally gives him a chance of getting some attention, but I don’t think this will help him shed the image of being a boring (but mandate-free) version Mitt Romney. Instead, the person who will benefit the most from The Donald’s withdrawal is Sarah Palin, herself also a likely non-candidate. With Trump out of the picture, Palin can go back to making news by writing Haiku-lets on Twitter…at least until she officially quits the race. Maybe then T-Paw will get some attention. Unless he gets overshadowed by Herman Cain and Gary Johnson.
Donald Trump fires himself: Will not run for President
Let’s go to the video: Partial list of events favoring Obama since April 27, 2011: • Released long form birth certificate • Killed Osama bin Laden • Destroyed Trump , seriously damaged birther movement • Polls spiked • Gas prices peaked • Better than expected job numbers, even if still weak • NY 26 unexpectedly strong for Democrats • Narrative changed (inoculated against being the new Jimmy Carter) • Pundits focusing on weak GOP field • Tea party/Wall Street civil war over debt limits • Rifts appear as Ryan’s Medicare disaster sink in • Mitt Romney’s health care speech is less than well received • Mike Huckabee won’t run in 2012 (joining Haley Barbour) On April 27 , Barack Obama released his long form birth certificate. While a bit puzzling at the time, it was followed by the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 30, wherein, as Stephen Colbert observed, “Seth Meyers did a great job at the Correspondents’ Dinner, but I gotta say, this weekend Barack Obama really killed.” iconic photo of a Democrat rewriting the narrative on strength Just who and what he killed (besides Donald Trump’s Presidential aspirations) was revealed the next day in a rare Sunday late night address to the nation, followed almost immediately by speculation about the size of Obama’s poll spike, and how long it would or wouldn’t last . It was bound not to last; Gallup says most of the spike was from Republicans who wouldn’t vote for Obama anyway, not Democrats who already like him. the real Mission Accomplished But missing from the debate about poll numbers alone is a change in dynamics and narrative that has yet to fully play out. We see it in the frantic push from Bush staffers to claim credit for bin Laden’s death, as well as their airwaves saturation of the defense of torture in order to try and preserve what’s left of their legacy . We also see it in pictures. Check the picture of that Mission Accomplished Bush-era speech, along with the other pics posted in this piece. If there ever were proof that a picture is worth a thousand words, you’re looking at it. The Situation Room photo was everywhere, but via email and social media, so are the tongue in cheek ones . What people are REALLY thinking And they all make the same point: Obama (a Democrat) delivers where Bush (a Republican) couldn’t. Strength and results on issues that matter, without the bombast and without the bumper sticker slogans (although Obama got Osama ain’t bad.) That shakes the Republicans to their tea party roots. Not only that, the point about strength and the ubiquity of those pictures reinforce the idea that while the Republicans are going small over issues like birth certificates, anti-immigration fervor and social issues, the grown-up in the race is leading by example and accomplishment. Check out the Politico video at the top: weak Republican field, strong Democratic President. This is the week for Obama that set that narrative. There’s an indirect halo effect as well, seen in Gallup’s polling on economic confidence and approval of Congress . How long those will last remains to be seen, but they are less overtly partisan measurements than the President’s job approval. And what about news on Obama’s opposition? Well, when is the last time a politician so thoroughly destroyed an opponent in such a short period of time to the point where there’s no race any more? The annihilation of Donald Trump by Obama, starting with the release of his birth certificate, followed by the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, with its live roast of the Donald while Obama was simultaneously involved in planning the capture or kill of bin Laden, was utter and complete. Tom Jensen/PPP chronicles the result: Trump collapses Donald Trump has had one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of Presidential politics. Last month we found him leading the Republican field with 26%. In the space of just four weeks he’s dropped all the way down to 8%, putting him in a tie for fifth place with Ron Paul. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are at the top of the GOP race with 19% and 18% respectively. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are further back at 13% and 12%, followed by Trump and Paul at 8%, Michele Bachmann at 7%, and Tim Pawlenty at 5%. As Trump got more and more exposure over the last month Republicans didn’t just decide they weren’t interested in having him as their nominee- they also decided they flat don’t like him. Only 34% of GOP voters now have a favorable opinion of Trump to 53% who view him in a negative light. How about everyone else? Just in the last few days we get this on putative front runner Mitt Romney (and still a likely choice for the nominee), as per Tom Jensen/PPP : It’s safe to say that when voting time comes around all of those voters will know about Romney’s past and it will probably cost him some of his support- the question is just how much? Is health care going to be such a litmus test for Republican voters that all of these folks supporting Romney right now will really drop him when they find out what he did in Massachusetts, or will other factors that make him appealing end up outweighing his baggage on this issue? I don’t know the answer, but if GOPers really do end up treating this as a make or break issue then this early polling suggests the door is closed for Romney with more than half of primary voters. while a formidable opponent, Mike Huckabee, said no deal. Why would he have been formidable? Ben Smith : “I think he has been an exemplary husband to his wife and an extraordinary father to his daughters,” Huckabee said earlier this year. “Frankly, America needs a good role model like that.” There’s a school of, particular, conservative Christian Republicanism that has no particular grudge against Obama. This shows up in opinion polls , belying the cliche that this is the most divisive moment of all time. Clinton was far more widely despised. As the Southern Baptist leader Richard Land told me last year, “I would want to be free to attack the character of President Clinton — but this guy, he gives every indication of being a decent guy.” Huckabee speaks, in part, for that part of the conservative movement. It’s one of many reasons he’s so anomalous inside the GOP right now — along with his loathing for the Club for Growth and his lack of institutional ties. Huck also was not above speaking for the birthers . And he had some huge obstacles as a candidate : poor organizational skills and poor history of fund-raising. Remember, this is the guy who in 2008, unlike Obama, could not take advantage of Iowa and use it as a stepping stone to the nomination. But he’s very personable and represents the social conservatives who, though they won’t vote D, now don’t have a top line candidate to follow. Pawlenty and Daniels will pick up some of the support, but not with the passion Huckabee would have engendered. But short-term, Romney benefits by not having a potent rival who was keen on skewering him every chance he got. What about Newt? Well, Georgia Logothetis just outlined why there couldn’t be a bigger contrast between Newt’s 1994 media strategy (which boils down to “vote for me, I tweeted!”) and the reality of Obama’s spontaneous buzz. Now, that’s not to say the good times will last. The economy in the end will trump everything (God, it’s nice to go back to using that word with a small ‘t’ — thank you, Mr. President!) But along with Romney’s health problem (his plan, not his personal status), the two vignettes above about Trump and Huckabee illustrate the underlying dynamic for the GOP. He who can win the general can’t win the GOP primary, and he who wins the primary will be in terrible shape for the general. Why? Two words: tea party. As a result of their loathing for mandates, the GOP nomination will boil down to Romney and not-Romney (Pawlenty and Daniels, plus the clown caucus sans Trump.) And because of the tea party infighting that won’t go away, coupled with a strong Democratic President (did I mention he got Osama?), the smart Republicans (Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and the other so-called white knights who could ride in and save the Republicans from their weak field and themselves) are going to sit this one out. Obama’s strong week cements that decision in a way that is not likely to be undone, regardless of what Mitch Daniels decides to do.
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The great week for Obama is a rotten no-good two weeks for the GOP
Sarah Silverman popped into the Fox booth to chat with Joe Buck during the 4th inning of Saturday night’s Red Sox vs. Yankees game, and it quickly got weird. Silverman asked whether or not the sportscasters thought LSD might be ok for pitchers every now and then, since it worked out so well for Dock Ellis (who famously threw a no-hitter while tripping on the hallucinogenic). She then went on to refer New England fans as “Massholes” twice (Fox dumped the audio). Clearly, she made the booth a little nervous, but then that’s her job, right? Audio from the exchange can be found here , and there’s a brief clip on YouTube (will update with better footage when it becomes available): WATCH: Read More… More on Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman Supports LSD For Pitchers (VIDEO)
The 64th Cannes Film Festival kept on keepin’ on through Friday and Saturday, with pairs of appearances by Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp and Sarah Jessica Parker. The more daring style statements were made by a handful of ladies we’re wholly unfamiliar with — Brit singer Cheryl Cole and French actress Axelle Laffont both took the sartorial plunge, neckline-wise, and South African model Candice Boucher left little to the imagination in a sheer dress with strategically-placed sparkly things. Read More… More on CANNES
Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz & Sarah Jessica Parker Hit Cannes On Friday And Saturday (PHOTOS, POLL)
This week’s poll numbers, in NY-26 and nationally, make it very hard for John Boehner to smile. (Reuters/Larry Downing) At the close of a particularly active week of political goodness, we can draw the following conclusions: Any Barack Obama electoral meme, from invincibility to certain doom, can find some data this week with which to say “See? I told ya so!” It’s a poll-a-palooza, but don’t look for a coherent theme. Harry Reid and Senate Dems had an up-and-down week, but it is hard to see this week as a victory for fans of progressive politics in the Senate. Democrats might snag a district they couldn’t grab in either of their wave elections. And they’ll have almost comical levels of idiocy out of the Republican and Tea Party candidates to thank for it. All this (and more!) as we put a snappy little bow on the week with the weekend edition of the DKE Digest. RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL POLLS: There was absolutely no shortage of national data, but there was some astounding variability in the numbers. So, pick your favorite meme and dive right in: The “Obama is a juggernaut” meme: The most recent offering from AP/GfK made a huge splash when it landed on Wednesday morning. The poll, part of a regular series of offerings from the Associated Press, had the President’s job approval at 60%. It also had, for the first time in a long time, the President comfortably in plus territory (53%) on the question of re-election. It also rebuffed recent history by giving Obama net positive marks on both the economy (52/47) and health care (54/46). Almost immediately, some on the right questioned the sample , an issue I addressed on Thursday. The “Obama is still in trouble, but blessed by his opponents” meme: The Ipsos/Reuters poll came out mid-week, and offered a real head-scratcher for political observers. They are one of the first polls to find a negligible bounce for the President post-OBL. The President’s job approval, according to the poll, was a modest 49/47 spread. But in head-to-head matchups with the entire GOP field, Obama absolutely blasts the entire peanut gallery. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney came the closest, and they still trailed by double digits. Most notably, President Obama took anywhere between 51-57% against the GOP contenders. This, married with the very middling job approval numbers, would seem to indicate that the GOP field is so weak that it will be difficult to make the election a referendum on Obama. The “Obama is still plenty vulnerable, even with better job approval” meme: Pessimists can point to the latest monthly offering from the crew over at PPP . While they did find a modest bump in job approval for the President (from 47/48 to 49/43), they also found negligible change in his trial heat performances versus the GOP field. Mitt Romney comes the closest to ousting the President, with a modest 47-42 lead for Obama over Romney. Not exactly panic time for the incumbent, but a smaller lead than he enjoyed in 2008. Of course, there is still the impact of the whole bin Laden deal on the poll numbers, and it will be several more weeks before we can say whether or not any movement is permanent or fleeting. Right now, however, any political observer would have to conclude that you’d rather have the President’s poll numbers than those of his GOP challengers. Both PPP and AP/GfK confirm surprisingly weak favorability numbers for the whole of the Republican field (with the possible exceptions of Romney and Huckabee). Speaking of weakness in the Republican field, the big polling story in the GOP primary this week was the evidence of the utter collapse of Donald Trump. PPP’s monthly polling of the field had Trump dropping from 26% of the vote down to just 8%, as the now-classic “top four” (Romney, Huckabee, Palin, and Gingrich) re-established themselves at the head of the field. One other national poll, that isn’t worthy of a link, comes from the notorious Zogby Interactive poll. In Zogby-land, the top three are…wait for it…Chris Christie, Herman Cain, and Ron Paul. THE STATES: Virginia appears to be the epicenter of pollster interest this week, with a pair of new surveys examining the Commonwealth. On one level, this makes a lot of sense: pollsters had a hot Senate race that is now solidified (more on that later). Add to that the fact that Virginia is a once-solidly red state that is now highly competitive, and you have all the reason in the world to poll the state. The conclusion of both the new poll from PPP and last weekend’s offering from the Washington Post is the same: Obama seems poised to keep these 13 electoral votes in the blue column. WaPo has Obama’s margins no worse than where they were in 2008 (Romney comes closest, trailing the President by six points). PPP actually has Obama in better shape than he was in 2008, giving him leads ranging from 8-22 points over the Republican field. Meanwhile, another toss-up state seems to be heading in another direction, as PPP explores the state of Missouri . Here, President Obama’s job approval numbers are far from swell (43/53), and he trails in trial heats against Romney and Huckabee. If there is good news in that poll, it is that his deficits against the GOP’s “big two” are relatively thin (2-5 points), and that he still leads the rest of the GOP field. In a sign of his vulnerability in the Show-Me State, however, even against the GOP’s most toxic “contenders” (Palin and Trump), Obama’s lead is only five points. THE RACE FOR THE U.S. SENATE THE POLLS: The battle for Democrats to hold onto Jim Webb’s seat in Virginia is a tight one, according to PPP. The pollster, who had presumptive frontrunners Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) deadlocked in a February poll, now gives Kaine a narrow 46-44 lead. Those results are essentially confirmed by the WaPo poll earlier in the week, that had Allen and Kaine all square at 46% each. Meanwhile, in Arizona , PPP follows up their general election polling (which showed Democrats very competitive in the fight to wrest this seat away from the GOP) with a look at the potential primaries. For a lark, they threw former half-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin into the mix. Palin has hinted at a possible move to the lower 48. In a sign that the presumptive frontrunner, Congressman Jeff Flake, may not be the colossus of the field, he actually narrowly trailed Palin (35-33) in PPP’s survey. However, Palin is almost certain not to run. On the Democratic side, the convalescing Gabby Giffords laps the field, but 2010 gubernatorial nominee Terry Goddard runs a strong enough second place to be the presumptive frontrunner if Giffords’ health does not afford her the opportunity to make the bid. PPP also tested the GOP primary to pick an opponent for Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri . There is a clear top two in this contest: with Todd Akin and Sarah Steelman out in front. The open question now is who benefits from the exit of avowed right-wing candidate Ed Martin from the field. ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: This week might mark the start of a domino chain of entrances into the 2012 electoral derby, as a number of candidates jumped into the fray on both sides this week. The ball got rolling last weekend, with the announcement that northern Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly (D) was planning a bid against longtime incumbent Dick Lugar (R). This was clearly a move fostered by two motives–Donnelly’s district getting lurched to the right by the recently completed redistricting process, and Lugar’s likelihood of getting teabagged in a GOP primary, thus setting up a more winnable race against Republican state treasurer Richard Mourdock. Donnelly’s entrance was the first of several Dems to launch bids, some with the clear intent, like Donnelly, of running from the center-left (emphasis on center). In Connecticut , state legislator William Tong, an acolyte of outgoing Senator Joe Lieberman, entered into an already crowded Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Army General Ricardo Sanchez jumped into the race for the Democrats in Texas . He also sounded bipartisan chords in his launch, but in Texas, perhaps that is a higher-percentage strategy. One other potentially major Democratic candidate jumped into the 2012 fray this week: Newton Mayor Setti Warren in Massachusetts (where the Democratic Congressmen really need to shut the hell up with their Scott Brown idol worship). Finally, it looks like Democrats might finally have a viable candidate in North Dakota , where former state legislator (and former Dorgan aide) Pam Gulleson is contemplating a bid. Republicans have a few irons in the fire, as well. Most of these are still in the “thinking about it” stage, but it looks like Republicans are closer to having candidates in states like Minnesota (state legislator Dave Thompson) and in New Jersey (attorney Ian Linker). The bigger news is one of the bigger fish who has been in the “maybe” pile for a while looks like he will poop or get off the pot in short order. The person in question is a House member who might want to move down the hall: Rick Berg of North Dakota . A pair of GOPers also decided to get off the pot late in the week, turning down entreaties to run for the Senate: Blaine Leutkemeyer in Missouri and Thad McCotter in Michigan . The other big news of the week was not an entrance from the 2012 electoral derby, but an exit. Four-term incumbent Democrat Herb Kohl of Wisconsin announced his retirement on Friday, opening up a potentially explosive open-seat battle in the state which has become an epicenter of national politics over the last several months. Several names were bandied about in short order, with names like Paul Ryan, Mark Neumann, and Tommy Thompson publicly mulling it from the GOP side of the ledger. On the Democratic side of the table, all eyes are on former Senator Russ Feingold, though the rumor mill was heavy on Friday with the news that longtime Madison-area Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is interested in a bid. THE RACE FOR THE U.S. HOUSE THE POLLS: On the micro and macro levels, this was not a good polling week for the GOP. The news kicked off at the start of the week, when a poll conducted by PPP on behalf of both Daily Kos and SEIU found that in NY-26 , Democrat Kathy Hochul (35%) had moved into a narrow lead over both Republican Jane Corwin (31%) and Tea Party candidate Jack Davis (24%). The poll was conducted over the weekend, before the uproarious videotaped incident between Jack Davis and a video tracker, who turned out to be Jane Corwin’s Chief of Staff. The video makes Davis look fairly unhinged (the laugh after shoving away the Corwin camera has to be seen to be believed), but the aftermath has involved a fairly big amount of blowback for Corwin , whose responses to the incident have been positively comical. There is only one winner in this battle, and her name is Kathy Hochul. Meanwhile, on a national level, the news was little better for Republicans this week. CNN did their national poll, and found that the Democrats have actually moved into a modest lead over the GOP in the generic House ballot. The Democratic lead, according to the CNN poll, was 50-46. For a sense of perspective, the GOP actually defeated the Democrats nationally in the 2010 House balloting by a margin of 52-45. ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Just like in the Senate, it was a big week in the House for Democratic bids for 2012. Suburban Virginia will get another serious race, apparently, as retired Air Force General John Douglass (D) will challenge longtime GOP incumbent Frank Wolf in VA-10 . Meanwhile, in freshman Chip Cravaack’s district ( MN-08 ), Democrat Tarryl Clark will be angling for another shot at the House. Clark lost to Michele Bachmann in 2010 in the 6th district downstate. Meanwhile, sophomore Republican Leonard Lance has a potentially interesting challenge from former Edison Mayor Jun Choi in NJ-07 . Finally, freshman (and, in some ways, accidental) Congressman Blake Farenthold is liable to get a legitimate challenge out of TX-27 in the form of local DA Armando Villalobos (D). Of course, the wild card in that case is that no one is exactly sure WHAT that district will look like when Texas Republicans are done with their inventive cartography. Republicans added a few names to their side of the ledger, as well. The GOP landed a challenger to Democratic Rep. Joe Courtney ( CT-02 ), in the person of GOP state legislator Christopher Coutu. Meanwhile, to the possible chagrin of Republicans (go, Angle, go!), the field in the special election in NV-02 got a little bigger when state party chairman Mark Amodei jumped into the fray. Meanwhile, Democratic freshman David Cicilline got a potentially legit GOP challenger this week in RI-01 , in the person of former state police head Brendan Doherty. For 2012 electoral junkies, and especially those curious of the impact redistricting will have on the landscape, the crew at Daily Kos Elections (and, in particular, the math skills of one JeffMD) have found your bliss . This already has four of the first states to complete the process loaded up, with more on the way. THE RACE FOR THE STATEHOUSES THE POLLS: By the close of the night, we will get the “only polls that matter” out of the state of West Virginia . When those final numbers come in, you can compare them to the pre-election polling done by PPP, the lone pollster brave enough to offer numbers in what promises to be a low-key, low turnout affair. For what it is worth, the PPP crew saw a real coinflip between Bill Maloney and Betty Ireland on the GOP side, with acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin likely to win by double digits on the Democratic side, despite a spirited and late-breaking challenge from state House Speaker Rick Thompson. Meanwhile, we have another battle brewing next week out of Kentucky , but that one looks like a nonstarter. As he has done throughout, state Senate President David Williams (47%) has a commanding lead in the Republican primary, easily besting businessman Phil Moffett (21%) and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw (12%). Williams would then face incumbent Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, who has held solid leads over Williams in most polling to date. ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Interesting rumor out of one of the other states holding gubernatorial elections this year: Louisiana . With notable silence on a potential Democratic challenger to GOP Governor Bobby Jindal (who, miffed that a local paper had criticized his backing of a “birther bill” in the Pelican State, released his own birth certificate this week), some old names are being peddled as Democratic possibilities. The names: former Governor Kathleen Blanco, and former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial. Not that it is likely to matter, but Congressman and conservative darling Mike Pence isn’t going to get a free ride to the GOP nomination in Indiana . Businessman and county commissioner Jim Wallace has announced his intention to make a bid, whereupon he will probably get 20% of the vote and get crushed beneath Pence’s tires. Lastly, in a sign that it is never too early to look ahead, a pair of 2014 hopefuls decided to play less-than-coy about their ambitions. In South Carolina , we can expect a rematch, as state legislator Vincent Sheheen (D) is promising to take another run at Republican Governor Nikki Haley. Meanwhile, out in Arizona , GOP Secretary of State Ken Bennett has already filed paperwork for a gubernatorial bid, despite an apparent effort by sitting Governor Jan Brewer to try to pivot around Arizona election law and get herself a third term (she is evidently going to argue that her first term should not count, since she assumed the post upon Janet Napolitano’s selection to President Obama’s cabinet). This diary is brought to you by Daily Kos Elections, an official Daily Kos sub-site. Please read our Mission Statement . Our focus is on electoral politics rather than policy. Welcome aboard!
Daily Kos Elections Weekend Wrap
BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — The body of a missing teenager was found Friday in a pond near where her car was discovered abandoned four days earlier and an autopsy determined that she had drowned. The body of 18-year-old Sarah Townsend had no signs of trauma, and there was no indication that foul play contributed to her death, Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi said. Read More… More on Crime
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Sarah Townsend, Missing New Jersey Teen, Found Dead In Pond
Could Nikki Haley be the next Sarah Palin? Hmmm : South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) on Thursday didn’t rule out possibly running as a vice presidential candidate in 2012. Haley, the newly elected conservative governor of the Palmetto State, left the door open to rounding out the party’s ticket next fall, in a fairly stock answer in which she embraced her current role as governor. “I think I am very aware that I am the flavor of the month, which is what happens in politics,” she said on the Mike Gallagher radio show. “And I will tell you, they need to focus on the top of the ticket.” Her supporters already think she’s ” Ronald Reagan in a skirt .” And after a mere 100 days in office, she gave herself an ” A+++ absolutely! ” for being the best governor evah! And the teabaggers love her. Or at least, they did last November . Plus, she’s got that whole chick thing going for her. Plus, she’s an Indian-American, which would no doubt prove, once and for all, that the teabag wing of the Republican Party is totally not racist . Plus, Eric Erickson thinks she’s “just so awesome.” Plus, even though Mitt Romney apparently has his eye on her for his never-gonna-happen ticket, she’s already smacked him around for his socialistic Romneycare. And, perhaps best of all, she was spotted playing on her iPad while listening not listening to a speech by President Obama, which only helped shore up her dissing the president credibility with her Obama-hatin’ base. Now all she needs is a knocked-up teen-age daughter, a canceled reality TV show, and an unfinished term in office to seal the deal.
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SC Gov. Nikki Haley: ‘I am the flavor of the month’ for possible VP
What can a democracy like ours do when giant companies say, “Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules! We don’t got to pay you no taxes!” and “We will just move out of your puny country if you try to tell us what to do.” Government is beginning to enforce labor laws again , with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filing a complaint against Boeing for retaliating against employees for legitimate union activities. In response Boeing’s CEO questions government’s “authority” to tell big businesses like Boeing what to do, saying companies like his can just move “overseas.” Sarah Palin echoes the complaint, saying businesses can just move to “more business-friendly countries.” These are direct challenges to the democracy we fought to build. Boeing Threatens “Overseas Flight” Read More… More on Labor
Dave Johnson: Sarah Palin and Boeing CEO Tell Government Who the Boss Is
Well, the good news is she still there. That sexy, happy, sane woman you adored. She’s your inner MILF! And there is no better time than today to seek her out and throw her a lifeline. Read More… More on Photo Galleries
Sarah Maizes: How To Be A MILF (PHOTOS)
Well, that was fast. Public Policy Polling (PDF) (5/5-8, usual Republican primary voters, 4/7-10 in parens): Mike Huckabee : 19 (17) Mitt Romney : 18 (15) Newt Gingrich : 13 (11) Sarah Palin : 12 (8) Donald Trump : 8 (26) Ron Paul : 8 (5) Michele Bachmann : 7 (4) Tim Pawlenty : 5 (4) Other/Undecided : 11 (10) (MoE ±4%) Wow, check out The Donald. After topping the charts a mere month ago, you’ll have to put on your pince-nez and adjust your eyes several slots downward to see Trump collapsing into fifth place in the GOP primary field. I always love hearing what Tom Jensen has to say about things like this : As Trump got more and more exposure over the last month Republicans didn’t just decide they weren’t interested in having him as their nominee—they also decided they flat don’t like him. Only 34% of GOP voters now have a favorable opinion of Trump to 53% who view him in a negative light. Trump really made hay out of the “birther” issue and as the resonance of that has declined, so has his standing. In February we found that 51% of Republican primary voters thought Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Now with the release of his birth certificate only 34% of GOP partisans fall into that camp, and Trump’s only in fifth place with that now smaller group of the electorate at 9%. I’ve got to hand it to both President Obama and Donald Trump. Obama knocked the wind out of Trump’s signature issue in humiliating fashion, while Trump’s own jackassery managed to make him severely disliked even among Republicans. A devastating one-two punch, but it makes me a little sad, though, because with numbers like these, we probably won’t have The Donald to kick around much longer. Not too sad, though, because he got kicked pretty good while we had him! Arrrrrrivederch!
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On top just a month ago, Trump craters in new PPP poll
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian authorities postponed the long-awaited espionage trial of three Americans on Wednesday, their lawyer said. Two of the accused, still jailed in Tehran, did not appear in court as expected and the authorities gave no explanation. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have been held since July 2009 after being taken into custody on the Iran-Iraq border. A third American who was taken with them, Sarah Shourd, was released in September on $500,000 bail and returned to the United States. She is being tried in absentia. Read More…
Iran Hiker Trial Postponed: Lawyer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Bristol Palin admits her recent change in appearance was due to a procedure – but not plastic surgery. The 20-year-old daughter of 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin tells Us Weekly that she underwent corrective jaw surgery in December, a month after she finished third on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Her face now appears thinner, with higher cheekbones and an angular jaw. Read More… More on Bristol Palin
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Bristol Palin: I Had Corrective Jaw Surgery
(Joshua Roberts / Reuters) Oh, for crying out loud. Via Politico , Donald Trump informed us, during his interview on—where else?—Fox, that criticizing him is bad for America. MACCALLUM: …You know, when you go home at night and you talk to your wife and you think about all this, how does get — this hammering, in your words, how does that get factored into the decision? TRUMP: Well, I think it’s very bad for the country. And it doesn’t affect my decision because I think I have a pretty thick skin. But I think it’s very bad for the country because the kind of people — and I’m not talking about myself, I’m talking about generally speaking. The kind of person you need to run this country has to be somebody that really has accomplished a lot because he’s got to accomplish — he or she has to accomplish a lot for the country. Don’t you just love how Republicans are all about freedom of speech when it comes to campaign donations from corporations, or questioning whether the president is a real American citizen, or terrorizing women outside health clinics, but when it comes to criticism directed at them, all of a sudden, Americans ” need to watch what they say, watch what they do ,” and not ” manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence ” or else “it’s very bad for the country”? I guess this news, from PPP , can’t be good for the country: Donald Trump has had one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of Presidential politics. Last month we found him leading the Republican field with 26%. In the space of just four weeks he’s dropped all the way down to 8%, putting him in a tie for fifth place with Ron Paul. … As Trump got more and more exposure over the last month Republicans didn’t just decide they weren’t interested in having him as their nominee- they also decided they flat don’t like him. Only 34% of GOP voters now have a favorable opinion of Trump to 53% who view him in a negative light. Gosh, hope I didn’t just undermine our national security.
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Trump: criticizing me is ‘very bad for the country’
Sarah Ferguson sat down with Oprah to talk about being excluded from the recent royal wedding. She remarked, “I went through the phase of feeling so totally worthless and and that [it] was quite right they didn’t invite me. Why would they, why would they invite me? I felt that I ostracized myself by my behavior, by my past, by living with all of the regrets of my mistakes that I sort of wore a hairshirt and beat myself up most of the day, thinking and regretting why did I make such a mistake…why have I made so many mistakes.” She added, “It was so difficult because I wanted to be there with my girls and to be getting them dressed and to go as a family. And also, it was so hard because the last bride up that aisle was me….When Andrew went with the girls, we were talking all morning and he was saying, ‘It’s okay, just remember we had such a good day, our wedding was so perfect,’ you know, because we’re such a unit together. He made me feel such a part of the day on April 29th.” Read More… More on Royal Wedding
Sarah Ferguson On Not Being Invited To Royal Wedding: I Felt ‘Totally Worthless’ (VIDEO)
From the moment Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech electrified the Republican convention, she was seen as an unbending, hard-charging, red-meat ideologue–to which soon was added “thin-skinned” and “vindictive.” But a look at what Palin did while in office in Alaska–the only record she has–shows a very different politician: one who worked with Democrats to tame Big Oil and solve the great problem at the heart of the state’s politics. That Sarah Palin might have set the nation on a different course. What went wrong? Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Tracing The Political Evolution Of Sarah Palin
President Obama talks about the strike against bin Laden on 60 Minutes A new Washington Post poll of Virginia voters shows a significant bump in President Obama’s job approval and re-elect numbers since the death of Osama bin Laden. The post surveyed 677 voters before the announcement of the death and 503 afterwards. Before the announcement of bin Laden’s death, Obama’s job approval stood at 48% approve, 49% disapprove. After the announcement, it was at 57% approve, 40% disapprove. Before the announcement, 55% said they would at least consider voting for Obama in 2012, while 43% said they definitely would not. After, 63% said they would consider voting for him and 35% said they definitely would not. Against actual candidates, Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney grew from +2 to +7 and his lead over Mike Huckabee grew from +4 to +9. Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, and Donald Trump were all in the thirties both before and after, but they each fell even further behind. Obviously, we’re a long way from 2012, so it would be foolish to assume that this polling bump will be permanent—but it’s not irrelevant. This wasn’t a war against Iraq. This was a military strike against someone who led an attack on the United States, and its success makes conservative claims that President Obama is an anti-American leftist seem more absurd than ever. Overnight, they’ve gone from arguing Obama is a radical to claiming that Obama is basically no different than Bush. Yeah, he’s no different than Bush. Except for the part about where he actually ended combat operations in Iraq (a war he opposed from the start), and except for the part about where he’s going to end the war in Afghanistan, and except for the part about where he got bin Laden. Other than that, he’s exactly the same.
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VA-Pres: Obama job approval up, expands lead over potential rivals
As potential Republican candidates attempt to build national support while simultaneously focusing on the early primary states, they need to appeal to different elements within the party — men and women, young and old, wealthy and not wealthy, Easterners and Southerners, and more. Read More… More on Sarah Palin 2012
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Mitt Romney’s GOP Backers Tilt Upscale; Sarah Palin’s, Downscale
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A court magistrate is set to consider a request by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to extend a restraining order against a 19-year-old Pennsylvania man accused of stalking her. At Monday’s hearing, a magistrate in Anchorage will consider extending the order against Shawn Christy of McAdoo by six months. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Hearing Set In Sarah Palin Stalker Case
So Donald Trump is accelerating his descent into the freak show’s cellar by coming out against marriage equality. Trump, continuing to suck all the air out of Sarah Palin’s balloon, compared his opposition to same-sex marriage to his traditional attitude towards golf clubs, specifically the putter. And Jon Stewart had a field day. (Full video is below the fold because Comedy Central videos have a nasty habit of occasionally autoplaying, which is incredibly annoying…especially when it’s an ad that autoplays.)
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Stewart skewers Trump’s newfound opposition to marriage equality
There’s been a very understandable and belated shift toward the economy and jobs as the biggest issue for Americans. When looking at Republicans and Republican leaners, as Gallup does today, we can see that in their “most important issue” choices: Given a choice, 36% of Republicans say business and the economy are the most important political issues to them, up from 32% in March, and now on par with the percentage who say the same about government spending and power. Fewer Republicans choose either social issues and moral values or national security and foreign policy as their top political priorities. But take a look at that top graphic. The GOP respondents in the Gallup poll say that if their issue is business and the economy their man is Romney. Okay, understandable, given his background (though I guess that means they’re going with someone who fires people to make a buck for himslef.) And if it’s moral values, their man is Huckabee. I get that. He’s a preacher, and sometimes there’s a connection there (alas, sometimes not.) And if it’s foreign policy, their chosen expert candidate is…. Jon Huntsman, Ambassador to China and someone with actual foreign policy experience? Nah, he gets 1%. Newt Gingrich, experienced DC pol? He gets 10%. The choice is Sarah Palin, because she can see Russia from her house. You can’t make this stuff up.
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Gallup: Sarah Palin is the GOP’s preferred foreign policy candidate
GREENVILLE, S.C. — It may have been the moment when former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson extended his riff about how his reality TV show would be different from Sarah Palinâs âcrawling on her hands and knees up the ice flow in Alaska.â Or perhaps it was when Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) explained why not everyone would use heroin if it were legalized. Either way, the Libertarian-minded iconoclasts who bookended the stage here Thursday night at the first Republican presidential primary debate provided plenty of highlights and some substance, but also took the forum wildly off track at times. Read More… More on Tim Pawlenty
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First Republican Presidential Debate Pulled Off Course But Pawlenty Emerges Relatively Unscathed
A Conversation with Nikki Sixx Mike Ragogna : Nikki, you good? Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Mike Ragogna: This is Gonna Hurt: A Conversation with Nikki Sixx
The John Birch Society, a debate co-sponsor, at a pre-debate exhibition. So tonight’s the night: the Republican presidential campaign officially gets underway with the party’s first debate, coming to us live from Greenville, South Carolina. We’ll be livemocking it right here, and you can watch it on GOPtv Fox News Channel (online broadcast here ), its national sponsor. The debate is sponsored locally by The John Birch Society among others. Yes, you read that right. The John Birch Society is a co-sponsor of tonight’s debate. In fact, their president called Lindsay Graham a socialist and demanded his ouster at a tea party rally earlier today. He shared the stage with South Carolina’s GOP Governor Nikki Haley, who owes her political success to Sarah Palin, herself a fan of The John Birch Society. Of the the five candidates, only three of them have any sort of meaningful national political profile: Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who is a favorite of GOP insiders; Ron Paul, who has managed to turn the GOP far to the right since Fox banned him from the 2008 debates; and Rick Santorum, whose last name has a frothy texture . Herman Cain is the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and Gary Johnson was the governor of New Mexico. So far, most of the previews seem to focus all their attention on Tim Pawlenty since he’s the only candidate who GOP insiders seem likely to be willing to support as the party’s nominee. Every other “serious” candidate has bowed out, even including jokes like Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, a fact that earned Pawlenty’s scorn . I guess the big challenge for Pawlenty will be to prove that he wasn’t a complete idiot for showing up a Bircher-sponsored debate that every other major candidate decided to skip. His campaign says he decided to do it because nobody knows who he is, but while honest, that’s hardly a demonstration of confidence. Bottom-line: if he can’t even separate himself from this pack of losers, it’s hard to see how he’ll separate himself when the real candidates are on stage. Update: Brett Baier is the host. He noted Pawlenty served two full terms as governor. Normally you don’t have to point out when governors complete their terms but I guess that makes sense for the GOP. Update: Baier clearly wants to keep the debate focused on President Obama, not the candidates. Each of the first two questions about have been about Obama. BTW, Santorum is the first one to credit Bush for getting Bin Laden, though Pawlenty said it was something that should be investigated. It wasn’t until the third question, for Ron Paul, that a question not directly having to do with Obama was asked. Update: Ron Paul says he wants out of Afghanistan. Paulbots applaud. Herman Cain says it’s not clear what the mission is in Afghanistan. Pressed by Baier to explain what he think the goal is, Cain says he’d have his experts make the decision. And he stopped mid-sentence when his buzzer went off. Gary Johnson says he is against Afghanistan, so now we have 2 of 3 candidates to speak about Afghanistan to explicitly oppose it, and one who said he has no clue why we are there, though maybe he’d stay. Update: Rick Santorum stands by his claim that Islam is fundamentally predisposed to violent extremism, but says he isn’t anti-Islam. (Does that mean he’s not against violent extremism?) Really, Santorum is a disgrace to the human mind. Update: Hahaha, there’s an empty seat in the third row behind Chris Wallace. So it’s not just candidates who don’t want to attend. Update: Three of the five candidates say they’d resume waterboarding. Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are the two that don’t. Paul is really fun to listen to on foreign policy issues. He won’t be as fun on domestic policy. Update: Gary Johnson’s economic plan: abolish the corporate income tax. “It will literally create tens of millions of jobs overnight,” he says. Update: Juan Williams wants to know if Tim Pawlenty supports any sort of job creation measure besides tax cuts. He points to the NLRB action with respect to Boeing, a big issue in South Carolina. Other than that, he doesn’t have anything to say, but it played well with the local crowd. Update: Herman Cain is an idiot. He believes we have enough fossil fuel inside the U.S. to fuel our economy without relying on any other country. I mean, that may be the stupidest thing said so far tonight. Update: Pawlenty passes on a chance to take a direct shot at Romney on RomneyCare, saying he won’t attack Romney because Romney isn’t at the debate to defend himself. Oh, that’s going to be a lot of fun when he’s actually forced to defend it at a debate. Update: And there’s a commercial break. Is it just me or are these guys incredibly lame and boring? And didn’t Pawlenty miss a chance to make headlines by nailing Romney? I’m not sure what his thinking is on not going after him. Seems sort of wimpy to me. Update: Chris Wallace basically asks Rick Santorum why is a raving lunatic (conditioning a debt ceiling increase on repeal of health care reform, and turning Medicare into a voucher program immediately). Santorum, who voted for prescription drug coverage for Medicare, says blocking health care reform is the single most important item on the conservative agenda and that the fate of America depends on its repeal. In other words, he doesn’t care that Chris Wallace thinks he’s crazy. Update: Ron Paul wants to go back on the gold standard. Update: This format is really stupid. Each candidate is asked a different question, and there’s no opportunity for the candidates to interact with each other. Maybe that’ll change in the rest of the debate, but so far, there’s no sign of it. Update: As Barb just pointed out to me, that’s probably the plan. (To avoid having the candidates interact with each other.) These guys are a bunch of jokes. Ron Paul is serious about his ideas, but he’s not a serious candidate. Gary Johnson is somewhat like Paul in ideology, but is nowhere near as articulate or charismatic. Santorum and Cain are just jokes. And Tim Pawlenty doesn’t really have anything to say. Update: Gary Johnson, a former border state governor, takes a pro-immigration position immediately after Rick Santorum tells a story about how his grandma didn’t speak English but that his dad wouldn’t teach him Italian. Update: Photo time. Update: Pawlenty’s big idea. Invade Libya! Kill Qaddafi! (Does he remember that it was George W. Bush, whose foreign policy he was praising earlier, that made peace with Qaddafi in 2008?) Update: Rick Santorum thinks Obama is weak with respect to Pakistan. Apparently he hasn’t been following the news. He says we need to tell Pakistan they are with us or against us. And then he brags about how much he supported Pakistan while in the senate. So I guess that means he supported a country that he thinks was trying to attack America? And he thinks that’s worth bragging about? Update: @MattOrtega : “Santorum looks like he’s got a short fuse… while talking about nukes. #NotGood #Temperament” Update: Another break. Yawn. Update: New thread here.
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First Republican presidential debate
Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore) and Sarah Palin (Photo: David Shankbone) Not that most of the folks that read this article ever needed to be convinced, but the polling crew at Quinnipiac are the latest to confirm how completely and totally unelectable either of the people pictured to the right are in a general election against Barack Obama. They also confirm another hardening bit of conventional wisdom of the 2012 election: the GOP’s field of contenders is pretty damned weak. Quinnipiac University (4/26-5/1, Registered Voters) (Percent of voters who would “never vote” for the candidate in question) Sarah Palin (R) 58 Donald Trump (R) 58 Newt Gingrich (R) 42 Mike Huckabee (R) 32 Michelle Bachmann (R) 29 Ron Paul (R) 27 Mitt Romney (R) 26 Lest you think that Americans don’t find Bachmann or Paul sufficiently batshit crazy, their relatively low “not in a million years” numbers are more attributable to the fact that they are lesser known. Only 35% say that they would either be “enthusiastic” about voting for Paul, or would even consider doing it. Just 27% say the same thing about Bachmann. The plurality response for each of them is a collective shrug. The same, however, cannot be said for the dynamic duo of Trump and Palin. They start the 2012 election cycle with nearly three-fifths of the electorate already signalling their intention to not vote for them. That kind of certainty, this early, is telling. Why do Palin and Trump’s numbers matter, you might ask? Because even as they are something of a punchline with the majority of the electorate, they are still, stunningly, relevant in the pending Republican primary: Republican primary vote preferences (Nov 2010 results in parentheses) Mitt Romney 18 (18) Sarah Palin 15 (19) Mike Huckabee 15 (17) Donald Trump 12 (–) Mitch Daniels 5 (2) Ron Paul 5 (–) Newt Gingrich 5 (15) Tim Pawlenty 4 (6) Michelle Bachmann 4 (–) The two least electable Republicans are right there, smack dab in the first tier of candidates. This mimics other recent polling, all showing Palin and Trump as viable in the GOP primary, but staggeringly weak in a general election scenario. But for the GOP, there is a deeper issue. Few folks are fired up about the GOP field. The Quinnipiac matrix for the issue of voter intent was to ask whether a voter was (a) enthusiastic about voting for a candidate; (b) willing to consider voting for a particular candidate; or (c) already confirming that they would not vote for a particular candidate. Not a single candidate for the GOP could get over 15% of the electorate describing themselves as “enthusiastic” about their vote. And only Mitt Romney could get to a majority of voters willing to support their candidacy, either enthusiastically or by merely “considering” to vote for them. This is an election that Obama needs to win on more than just the lack of merits of his opposition. But he is blessed with a field that is either unknown or unloved. This Quinnipiac poll is merely the latest in an ever-growing pile of evidence to this end.
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2012: Q poll confirms Trump/Palin train wreck, weakness of GOP field at-large
A new CNN poll , along with the (mostly symbolic but telling) Big Yawn, aka the Fox News GOP Presidential debate, put the current state of play in perspective. Here’s the yawn : First, a batch of top-tier Republican prospects — including Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitch Daniels and Mike Huckabee – decided to sit out tomorrow night’s GOP presidential primary debate, co-sponsored by Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party. And now, major media organizations are sitting it out too. And that CNN poll? Americans are increasingly taking President Barack Obama’s side in the battle over the federal budget, according to a new national poll. Oops. Half of the people questioned in the poll say they prefer Obama’s approach to the budget over the proposals from congressional Republicans, with 42% saying they prefer the GOP approach. “That’s a switch from March, a when a plurality favored the Republicans,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “The numbers are virtually the same on Medicare, with 49% saying they prefer the president’s approach compared to four in 10 who favor the GOP proposals on Medicare.” So how’s that Scroogy-grumpy thing going, boys? Wasn’t privatizing Medicare going to be a sure winner? Well, it is. For Democrats. But what about raising the debt, you say? Isn’t that unpopular? The poll indicates that 60% of the public opposes raising the debt ceiling. “One reason may be that while many Americans predict major problems if the debt ceiling were not increased, only one in six think it would create a crisis in the U.S. And only a quarter think that the debt ceiling affects their personal financial situation a great deal,” says Holland. There are a lot of people who don’t understand the consequences of debt default, including Tea Party Republicans who are reassuring the nation it doesn’t matter. It does matter, Wall Street and senior Republicans know it, and the debt ceiling will be raised with Republican votes. And when it is, it will disappear as a 2012 campaign issue (by itself, we think this is a winning issue? Not hardly.) Where does that leave the Paul Ryan road map and the House GOP who voted for it? WaPo says : Senior Republicans conceded Wednesday that a deal is unlikely on a contentious plan to overhaul Medicare and offered to open budget talks with the White House by focusing on areas where both parties can agree, such as cutting farm subsidies. Ruh-roh. Backing off the Medicare scam already? That doesn’t bode well for 2012. You guys voted for it, you own it. And Eric Cantor’s office says they are happy to own it . Asked whether that meant Republicans were sticking with Ryan’s version of Medicare reform once talks began at the Blair House with Vice President Joseph Biden on Thursday, [Cantor's spokesperson] replied: “The starting point is the Ryan budget, period.” Okay, then. You’re welded to Ryan’s loser budget. Expect a reminder in a political ad coming to an election near you.
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On budgets, deficits and public opinion
NEW YORK– Last week the Brooklyn Museum held its annual Brooklyn Artists Ball , hosted this time around by Sarah Jessica Parker and Liv Tyler , two megawatt Hollywood starlets with varying degrees of art credentials. Parker, of course, is the driving celebrity force behind Bravo’s “Work of Art” reality show, which offers young creative strivers a chance to compete for a show at the “world famous Brooklyn Museum.” Story continues below . Read More… More on Museums
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ARTINFO: Brooklyn Museum’s Artists Ball: Sarah Jessica Parker & Liv Tyler Broadcast Their Art Credf
Since 1948, when Harry Truman managed to cary every county in the state, exactly one Democrat has managed to win Arizona’s electoral votes, Bill Clinton in 1996. (Strangely, he lost Colorado that same year, where he’d won in ‘92. Go figure). Arizona appears to be within reach next fall for President Barack Obama, though. Official portrait of Barack Obama Public Policy Polling (4/28-5/1, Arizona voters): Mitt Romney (R) : 48 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 44 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 46 Mike Huckabee (R) : 44 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 49 Sarah Palin (R) : 38 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 48 Donald Trump (R) : 36 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 47 Newt Gingrich (R) : 40 Obama’s beating all Republicans but Romney, whom he only trails by four. These are fairly typical numbers for a targeted state - actually these numbers are remarkably similar to Obama’s numbers in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania from a few weeks back - but pretty strong for a state most would have considered “lean-Republican”. This poll was conducted prior to the killing of Osama bin Laden, so it doesn’t reflect any bounce from that. Pollster Tom Jensen writes that Obama has a weak Republican field to thank for his competitive numbers: Arizona voters might not like Obama, but they like him better than any of these folks. Huckabee’s favorability is a 35/48 spread, Palin’s at 32/62, Gingrich is at 26/59, and Trump comes down at 24/66. Particularly noteworthy in Trump’s numbers is that even among Republicans only 38% have a favorable opinion of him to 49% with a negative one. We’ll have to see if our polling nationally and in other key states over the next few weeks confirms it, but those numbers suggest that the Trump bubble is already starting to burst. Indeed, the President’s long-form birth certificate may have killed the Trump boomlet once and for all. But the rapid rise and fall of Donald Trump’s festival of hair does indicate the volatility of the GOP field as it currently stands - all the front runners are sufficiently unpopular that it’s relatively easy for a loudmouthed upstart to jostle his way into the top tier of candidates simply by throwing some birther-scented, tea-marinated red meat to the base.
AZ-Pres: Obama surprisingly strong in Arizona
Public Policy Polling (PDF) (4/28-5/1, Arizona voters, no trendlines): Gabrielle Giffords (D) : 48 Jeff Flake (R) : 41 Undecided : 11 Gabrielle Giffords (D) : 57 JD Hayworth (R) : 31 Undecided : 12 Gabrielle Giffords (D) : 54 Sarah Palin (R) : 36 Undecided : 10 Terry Goddard (D) : 45 Jeff Flake (R) : 45 Undecided : 10 Terry Goddard (D) : 51 JD Hayworth (R) : 33 Undecided : 16 Terry Goddard (D) : 49 Sarah Palin (R) : 40 Undecided : 11 Phil Gordon (D) : 33 Jeff Flake (R) : 47 Undecided : 20 Phil Gordon (D) : 44 JD Hayworth (R) : 36 Undecided : 20 Phil Gordon (D) : 45 Sarah Palin (R) : 41 Undecided : 13 Ed Pastor (D) : 34 Jeff Flake (R) : 46 Undecided : 20 Ed Pastor (D) : 42 JD Hayworth (R) : 37 Undecided : 21 Ed Pastor (D) : 45 Sarah Palin (R) : 43 Undecided : 12 (MoE: ±3.9%) Oof, that’s a lot of matchups… but right now, only one of these three Republicans and four Democrats are actually running: GOP Rep. Jeff Flake. On the Democratic side, all eyes are on Rep. Gabby Giffords, who is of course still recovering from the horrific gunshot wound she suffered in January. The Dem establishment is patiently waiting to see whether she decides to run for Jon Kyl’s open Senate seat; pending that decision, everyone on the D side has been reluctant to jump in the race. And as this poll shows, this stasis is not merely a sign of respect: Giffords is far and away our best potential candidate—in the scenario, of course, where she more-or-less fully recovers and decides to seek higher office. She has tremendous 57-16 favorables across the state, and is even narrowly positive among Republicans. She even beats Flake, the strongest GOP name, by a decent margin. But Democrats can’t count on her making the race and need to have a plan B. Fortunately, Flake is not exactly, as Tom Jensen puts it , a juggernaut. He only has 29-30 favorables, and he’s tied in the head-to-heads with our second-best bet, former AG and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Terry Goddard. I’m actually pleased to see that despite a bruising campaign against the odious Jan Brewer last year, Goddard’s favorables are above water, at 43-36. As far as I know, Goddard hasn’t ruled out a run, and I think he ran a good campaign in a very hostile year (against an opponent who lucked into her role as the Queen of Xenephobia). We’d have a definite shot at picking this seat up in a Goddard-Flake matchup, especially if Obama contests the state. The two other Democratic names, though, range from uninspiring to awful. Rep. Ed Pastor isn’t particularly popular or well-known and loses badly to Flake. The worst choice is Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who seems to have alienated everyone during his long tenure in office. His favorables are a terrible 18-37 by an even bigger margin than Pastor does. I think Pastor could potentially up his game and do decently if the job fell to him, but I can’t say the same about Gordon. The other Republicans tested here are barely worth mentioning - JD Hayworth is on a deeply sad ebb after getting his butt kicked by John McCain (!) in the GOP Senate primary last year. And a Sarah Palin candidacy is nothing more than idle rumor-mongering . I remain surprised that no one serious has emerged to challenge the quasi-unorthodox, semi-libertarian Flake in the primary, but hopefully that will change. If a serious battle unfolds on the Republican side, that would probably only increase our chances. So keep your eyes on this one—it should be a real race.
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AZ-Sen: Giffords has a lead, but Goddard (D) also competitive
Like any good feminist, Sarah asks her husband to tell her what her opinion is On Saturday, as Washington’s media elite were gathered at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner to laugh their asses off at Donald Trump’s expense, there was one very important missing: Sarah Palin. But she had a good reason . Sarah Palin boasted to a group of anti-abortion advocates Saturday that she had a chance to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner — but chose to spend her time with them instead. “The pro-life cause or White House Correspondents’ Dinner? I choose life,” Palin told a crowd of about 200 at a fundraiser for the anti-abortion advertising group Heroic Media. Palin said journalism’s nerd prom didn’t have the same appeal for her as presidential hopefuls who attended, like Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman. “You really see evidence of that influence out there of — you know — the celebrity, how the news is, and the political arena, and how it all kind of meshes together. That’s what the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is,” she said. And lord knows Sarah certainly wouldn’t want to be caught rubbing elbows with celebrities of the lamestream media at the Correspondents’ dinner. The MSNBC after party, however, is another matter . Palin attended as a guest of her BFF from Fox, Greta Van Susteren, and was asked, as were many attendees, who she thinks is the most influential journalist today. And that’s where things got tricky. But while most of the attendees had no problem coming up with answers (Eliot Spitzer said Brian Williams, as did Andrea Mitchell, while SNL’s Bill Hader went for The New Yorker’s David Grann), Palin fumbled when asked. “Oh my goodness, that’s a great question,” she said, before turning to her husband Todd and asking for his input. O.K., let’s pause right there. Sarah Palin, the mother of all the mama grizzlies and self-appointed pioneer of a new wave of feminism, needs to ask her husband to tell her what her opinion is? And didn’t she study journalism at some of the five different colleges she attended? That’s why she’s so passionate about wanting to “help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism.” But she can’t name a single journalist, while she’s actually standing in a room full of, you know, journalists? Not even the name of the journalist who brought her to the party? Nope, and neither could Todd. Which is why she finally said, “Um, gosh, that’s a great question, I have to think about it, OK? Because there are many.” Yep, she’s gonna look up the name of a journalist—right after she finishes looking up the names of some newspapers and Supreme Court decisions. But after some long hard thinking, she finally gave her answer: As Palin walked away from the camera, she ran into her Fox News pal Greta Van Susteren, and then turned back to the NBC cameras to shout, “Greta Van Susteren is the most influential journalist!” Idiot.
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Sarah Palin names Greta Van Susteren ‘most influential journalist’
Public Policy Polling (PDF) (4/28-5/1, Missouri voters, 3/3-6 in parens): Claire McCaskill (D-inc) : 46 (45) Todd Akin (R) : 45 (44) Undecided : 8 (11) Claire McCaskill (D-inc) : 46 (46) Ed Martin (R) : 39 (40) Undecided : 15 (14) Claire McCaskill (D-inc) : 45 (45) Sarah Steelman (R) : 42 (42) Undecided : 14 (14) Claire McCaskill (D-inc) : 45 Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) : 42 Undecided : 13 Claire McCaskill (D-inc) : 47 John Brunner (R) : 41 Undecided : 12 (MoE: ±3.9%) The Missouri Senate topline numbers have stayed very stable for almost half a year—indeed, they remind me of the steady-state MO polls from 2009 for the Roy Blunt-Robin Carnahan race. If you go all the way back to December , you’ll see that McCaskill’s numbers against Steelman (the only Republican polled all three times) are virtually unchanged. And in this case, no news is good news. As Tom Jensen explains: Claire McCaskill’s endured a lot of bad press over the last two months since PPP last polled Missouri, but at least in the short term it doesn’t appear to be affecting her prospects for reelection. McCaskill’s approval rating in early March was 46% and now it’s still 46%. McCaskll had small leads over a cadre of potential Republican opponents in early March and she still has small leads over all of her potential foes. This continues to look like a toss up race, as it has for months now, but McCaskill’s position now is no worse than it was before the issue of her airplane and its related taxes hit the news. I originally called out the airplane business (McCaskill had properly received reimbursement for using her private plane for official business) as Politico-fueled b.s., but I quailed when it turned into a tax issue (turns out McCaskill had several hundred thousand dollars worth of unpaid property taxes on the plane). Turns out I shouldn’t have - or at least, this issue simply hasn’t penetrated yet. That could change if the GOP unleashes a barrage of attack ads later down the line, but for now, McCaskill appears to be holding firm. Tom is pessimistic about the future, though: These margins don’t exactly look comfortable for McCaskill and a look inside the numbers suggests they’re likely to get worse. There are a good deal more undecided Republicans than Democrats in all of these match ups—5% more undecided GOP voters against Steelman, 6% more against Akin, 10% more against Luetkemeyer, 11% more against Brunner, and 12% more against Martin. If those folks end up coming “home,” you’re looking at each of the Republican picking up another 2-4 points on the margin. We still don’t know who her Republican opponent will be, but the guy who looks strongest, Rep. Todd Akin, still hasn’t said whether he’ll run. I suspect he will, and I suspect he’ll give Sarah Steelman a shellacking in the primary (if she stays in), which will mean McCaskill will have a titanic fight on her hands—but not that we ever really expected differently.
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MO-Sen: McCaskill holding steady
*SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS* It would be an understatement to say that Sarah Burton, the Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, had a big weekend. After it was revealed on Friday that she had designed not one, but two wedding gowns for the newly-minted Duchess Catherine , the British designer ascended the steps of the Metropolitan Museum on Monday night in her own bridal-like sheath to pay tribute to McQueen, the designer behind the eponymous label she now runs. Read More…
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Met Gala 2011: See Who Feted Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty (PHOTOS, POLL)
Gen. Boykin’s disparagement of Islam is not ancient history, and he’s not apologizing for it now. And he will be sharing a stage with a former vice presidential candidate who could be the next president. Read More… More on Journalism
Jason Salzman: Reporters Should Ask Palin and Boykin Today: Can a Good Muslim Be a Good American?
Remember how Barack Obama pledged during his 2008 Democratic convention speech that he would take out Osama bin Laden if given a chance—even if bin Laden were in Pakistan, something John McCain had ruled out ? It was one of the great lines of the speech, so Bill O’Reilly, in true Karl Rove fashion, went on attack, accusing Obama of making an empty promise. Here’s the video: O’REILLY: This story [Palin's nomination] has obviously stolen the spotlight from Barack Obama’s speech, but his presentation is very important and worth analyzing. The senator convinced me last night that his intentions are good, but he lost me in two important areas. Here’s the first one. OBAMA (at DNC): When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11 and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we had them in our sights. You know John McCain likes to say he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives. O’REILLY: What exactly does that mean, that McCain won’t try to get bin Laden, that Obama will invade Pakistan? Nobody knows. And on a subject as vital as bin Laden and al Qaeda, general comments like those are simply not worthy. Well, Bill, now you know what he meant, and what he meant was what he said: that we will get bin Laden. And eight years after George W. Bush declared Mission Accomplished in Iraq, President Obama kept his word.
Flashback: O’Reilly attacked Obama for promising to take out bin Laden
While Republicans are eager to remind us that Osama bin Laden would not have been killed if not for the previous administration’s brilliant 10-year plan to smoke him out of his cave mansion, the potential presidential candidates are split on whether to even mention the president who actually caught and killed OBL. Apparently, the “serious” candidates are willing to toss a few breadcrumbs in President Obama’s direction. Tim Pawlenty ? Serious candidate: This is terrific news for freedom and justice. In the hours after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice — and we did. I want to congratulate America’s armed forces and President Obama for a job well done. Let history show that the perseverance of the US military and the American people never wavered. America will never shrink from the fight and ultimately those who seek to harm us face only defeat. Today, justice is done, but the fight against radical Islamic terrorism is not yet over. Mitt Romney is apparently semi-serious, but can’t bring himself to mention the president by name: This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere. Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden’s many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist. Mike Huckabee ? Not serious—and a little creepy. “It is unusual to celebrate a death, but today Americans and decent people the world over cheer the news that madman, murderer and terrorist Osama Bin Laden is dead. The leader of Al Qaeda— responsible for the deaths of 3000 innocent citizens on September 11, 2001, and whose maniacal hate is responsible for the deaths of thousands of US servicemen and women was killed by U.S. military. President Obama confirmed the announcement late last night. DNA tests confirmed his death and his body is in the possession of the U. S. It has taken a long time for this monster to be brought to justice. Welcome to hell, bin Laden. Let us all hope that his demise will serve notice to Islamic radicals the world over that the United States will be relentless is tracking down and terminating those who would inflict terror, mayhem and death on any of our citizens.” Rick Santorum ? Not serious. “This is extraordinary news for all freedom loving people of the world, and I commend all those involved for this historic triumph. Americans have waited nearly ten years for the news of Osama bin Laden’s death. And while this is a very significant objective that cannot be minimized, the threat from Jihadism does not die with bin Laden. As we were vigilant in taking him out we need to demonstrate we will continue to be vigilant until the enemy has been subdued.” Sarah Palin ? Duh. Americans tonight are united in celebration and gratitude. God bless all the brave men and women in our military and our intelligence services who contributed to carrying out the successful mission to bring Bin Laden to justice and who laid the groundwork over the years to make this victory possible. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of these brave Americans who relentlessly hunted down our enemy. This is a victory for the American people, for the victims who were heartlessly murdered on September 11 and in Al Qaeda’s other numerous attacks, and for all the peace-loving people of the world. May God bless our troops and our intelligence services, and God bless America! Michele Bachmann ? Not serious—but seriously stupid. “I want to express my deepest gratitude to the men and women of the U.S. military and intelligence community. Their persistence and dedicated service has yielded success in a mission that has gripped our nation since the terrible events of 9/11. Tonight’s news does not bring back the lives of the thousands of innocent people who were killed that day by Osama bin Laden’s horrific plan, and it does not end the threat posed by terrorists, but it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end of Sharia-compliant terrorism.” And here’s a shocker. Looks like Donald Trump wants to be a serious candidate. Today, at least: Potential 2012 presidential candidtae Donald Trump, who has emerged as one of President Obama’s sharpest and most vocal critics, congratulated him after Sunday night’s announcement of the killing of Osama Bin Laden. He also called for a temporary end to the debate over “party politics,” suggesting that now is a time to remember the nearly 3,000 people who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “I want to personally congratulate President Obama and the men and women of the Armed Forces for a job well done,” Trump said in a statement to ABC News. I am so proud to see Americans standing shoulder to shoulder, waving the American flag in celebration of this great victory,” he added. “We should spend the next several days not debating party politics, but in remembrance of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those currently fighting for our freedom. God Bless America!”
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GOP presidential hopefuls split on whether to give credit to Obama for killing bin Laden
LEMOORE, Calif. — Sarah Palin returned to Central California’s agricultural region Sunday and lambasted the federal government for limiting the amount of water the state’s farmers can get for their crops. The former Alaska governor told more than 1,400 people at West Hills College in Lemoore that endangered species regulations protecting the Delta smelt and limiting pumping are “destroying” the lives of those in the Central Valley. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin At West Hills College: Government Should ‘Get Out Of Our Way’
‘Saturday Night Live’ Weekend Update host Seth Meyers delivered a fiery speech Saturday at the White House Correspondents’ dinner, ripping everyone from Washington players like President Barack Obama and members of Congress to media mavens like Katie Couric and Michael Bloomberg. Donald Trump served as perhaps Meyers’ biggest victim of the night. The comedian taunted him for his potential presidential candidacy, saying, “Donald Trump has said he’s running for president as a Republican — which is surprising because I thought he was running as a joke.” He also teased Trump for his involvement with the Miss USA pageant, sneaking in a subtle jab at Sarah Palin: “Donald Trump owns the Miss USA pageant, which is great for Republicans because it will streamline their search for a vice president.” Trump, needless to say, did not appear to crack a smile. While complimenting the First Lady on her dashing looks, Meyers blasted the president for appearing to age quickly over the past two years. “If your hair gets any whiter, the Tea Party is going to endorse it,” he quipped. Seizing on Obama’s sinking approval ratings, Meyers added, “I’ll tell you who could beat you: 2008 Barack Obama. You would have loved him.” Read More…
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Seth Meyers White House Correspondents’ Dinner Speech: Comedian Takes On Trump, Obama, GOP Hopefuls