Weekly Musing 2-2-14

Weekly Musing 1-26-14

Saul Anuzis

“If you want to keep your doctor, you may have to change your Congressman.”

NY Congressional Candidate Lee Zeldin



Michigan’s Terri Lynn Land resigns from RNC – Let’s make it Senator Land

U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land has resigned from the Republican National Committee, effective immediately.


Land submitted her resignation Friday afternoon and told the Associated Press in a written statement she wants to focus her attention on her campaign. The former Michigan secretary of state was elected for a four-year term to the RNC at a state Republican convention in 2012.





History Shows Dems Face Long Odds in Keeping Senate

The power of the job-approval curse was demonstrated in 2010, when Democrats won only a single Senate seat in a state where Obama’s job approval was below the national average. That one exception was West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, the state’s governor, who went so far as to run at TV ad showing him firing a rifle through Obama’s cap-and-trade energy-tax bill.


Democrats insist that Obama’s approval ratings are picking up, but the latest RealClearPolitics average shows him stuck at 43.5 percent — below where he was in 2010. That may explain why Democratic senators Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana couldn’t wait to distance themselves from Obama last night. National Journal reported that “all released statements expressing disappointment with the president’s State of the Union — a sign that there’s not much he can do to help their reelections. Even Sen. Mark Udall (D), in battleground Colorado, repeatedly avoided whether he’d embrace the president’s help back home.”





6 Signs a Republican Senate Takeover Is Within Reach

What’s changed in the past month is that a handful of states once thought to be safely Democratic—such as Michigan, Oregon, and Virginia—could become highly competitive in a best-case GOP scenario. If President Obama’s approval ratings don’t improve and Republicans catch a few breaks, the GOP could ride a wave to a majority that could withstand a small 2016 setback.


“They’ve put candidates on the ballot,” acknowledged J.B. Poersch, who advises Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC focused on the Senate. But he added, “Six months from now, or even four months from now, how many of these are actually going to be races? It’s great to be able to laundry list candidates and another to see how viable they’re going to be.”


2. Michigan Republican Terri Lynn Land proved she could keep up with Peters’s fundraising and put in $1.6 million of her own money to boot. Polls show a tight race. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will also be on the ballot. “Everyone is bullish about Michigan right now,” said Republican strategist Rick Wiley.





NETFLIX Mitt Romney Documentary

Over the weekend, the world was given a third chance to get to know Mitt Romney. The behind-the-scenes documentary “Mitt” (viewable on Netflix) provides a fresh view of the candidate and the family drama that played out as he ran for president.  Filmmaker Greg Whiteley shot hundreds of hours of footage over the course of nearly six years spent with the Romney family. What follow are some of the more revealing glimpses of the man behind the suit.





State of the Union moot as Obama becomes irrelevant

Mr. Obama, President of All the People, said “I” 51 times in his 7,000-word, 65-minute speech. He said “we” 100 times, but not “We Americans,” rather “We Democrats,” as in ” we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete. ” He said “new” 32 times, “help” 30 times, “first” 13 times, “right” 10 times. He loaded up on “America” and “American” and “Americans,” using the words 87 times. Breaks for applause: 96.


But between the lines and the numbers was pure pap, frivolous frippery, lines meant to draw applause in the fake bipartisan charade that the State of the Union has become. “In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together,” he said. “Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want — for all of us in this chamber to focus                         on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.”


And when the verbose speech was broken down afterward, all that was left was small ball, tiny inconsequential promises of action that affect few Americans.



NBC News poll: Pessimism defines the state of the union

As President Barack Obama enters his sixth year in the White House, 68 percent of Americans say the country is either stagnant or worse off since he took office, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Just 31 percent say the country is better off, and a deep pessimism continues to fuel the public’s mood. Most respondents used words like “divided,” “troubled,” and “deteriorating” to describe the current state of the nation.


On the eve of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, more than six-in-10 Americans believe that the nation is headed in the wrong direction and 70 percent are dissatisfied with the economy.





Democrats hope Obama’s State of Union speech will be start of populist agenda

Democrats consider President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday a launching point for a year of sustained assault on Republicans over a populist economic agenda, part of an effort to focus more on bread-and-butter issues and less on ­income inequality.


Party officials say they hope Obama’s speech will set the stage for Senate and House candidates to confront Republicans on issues such as the minimum wage, unemployment benefits and access to college education. Their minimum goal is to preserve Democratic control of the Senate, because not doing so could cripple what remains of the president’s legislative agenda.


In recent weeks, some Democratic lawmakers and strategists have urged the White House to focus less on academic-sounding discussions of income inequality and to simplify Obama’s message to reflect the everyday concerns of Americans. White House officials say they have long planned to emphasize such issues.





Senate Republicans Develop The Most Credible Plan Yet To ‘Repeal And Replace’ Obamacare

“Repealing and replacing” Obamacare with market-oriented reforms has been the Republican mantra for years now. If you’re a long-time follower of this space, you know that we’re skeptical that Obamacare will ever be repealed, GOP slogans to the contrary. Today, however, a trio of experienced Senate Republicans—Tom Coburn (Okla.), Richard Burr (N.C.), and Orrin Hatch (Utah)—have put forth the most thoughtful and constructive plan yet developed to repeal and replace Obamacare. The plan seeks to ensure that as many Americans have health coverage as Obamacare does. It’s a proposal grounded in the real-world tradeoffs that all serious reformers must make. Want to know how those tradeoffs might affect you? Read on…





The 2020 Reapportionment and the Voting Rights Act

The Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik recently looked at the states that would be expected to gain and lose seats as a result of the census, and concluded that although seats are moving from bluer states to redder states, Republicans will likely be unable to use redistricting to press their edge in Congress much further.


I want to look at this from a slightly different angle, and lay down a marker for 2020: While the major fight will, as always, be over the partisan makeup of the districts being drawn, the fight over the future of majority-minority districts will rival it. But while we have plenty of experience with partisan fights over redistricting and know how to deal with them, the coming fight over the death of some majority-minority districts is basically without precedent.


We first need an understanding of the basics of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) as it relates to redistricting. Before we undertake that inquiry, we need an important caveat about the scope of this piece: The Voting Rights Act as it relates to redistricting is an extremely complicated subject, and one that is constantly in flux. So what follows is necessarily a rough outline; use it as the basis for an answer on your law school exam at your own risk.





Conservatives outnumber liberals in 47 states

People who identify as conservative outnumber those who call themselves liberal in 47 states, according to a new Gallup survey.


Nationally, conservatives had a 14.6 percentage point lead on liberals, though that was more than a full point smaller than last year’s lead. The gap in 2013 was largest in Wyoming, where 40.5 percentage points separated those who identified as conservatives from those who identified as liberals. Only Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont and D.C. had more liberals than conservatives. The top 10 liberal states voted for Obama during the last two elections, while the top 10 conservative states chose the Republican nominee.





Dear America, I Saw You Naked

And yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.
“I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.

Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group—a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security. … Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues: Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display. Piercings of every kind were visible.





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