Marc Platt's Politics: I'm a Lefty
It's time Congress got its priorities straight.
(Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky)
Mitch McConnell always has interesting things to say on every issue. He is an expert at lowdown dirty politics. He also knows how to cover his ass and do what's best for the country when his back is to the wall.
My main question is....Is that good enough in the 2014 political climate of Washington?
Are the people of Kentucky fed up with his antics after 30 years?
Just how many lives does this guy have?
In 2010 McConnell backed Rand Paul's opponent in HIS senate race. This year Paul is HELPING McConnell with his own handpicked campaign peeps. Mr. Paul needs McConnell to win this race for several reasons.
McConnell is a Washington insider who actually gets stuff done when possible. Rand Paul depends on McConnell to back him when he goes off the reservation with his Libertarian Tea Party rants. McConnell has backed Paul since day one. They have a coalition of sorts.
Remember during the shutdown when they were both caught on camera and a hot mic discussing their chances to "Actually win this thing?" They didn't win anything. They hurt the country and the people in Kentucky are making McConnell pay for it right now.
Bill Clinton has been aggressively campaigning for his close family friend Alison Lundren Grimes in her battle for McConnell's senate seat. Clinton has approval ratings well over 60% in 2014. This is one time his help in Kentucky is appreciated by progressives and moderates.
McConnell should easily defeat his Tea Party crackpot challenger Matt Bevan, who has associated McConnell with the Debt Ceiling passage, declaring that he would "NEVER" pass a debt ceiling. Even the reddest of red staters in Kentucky know that defaulting on the U.S. debts would be catastrophic.
The real battle comes down to Democratic moderate Grimes v. Old School Mitch McConnell, who has VERY LOW approval ratings in Kentucky. The Affordable Care Act is a success in Kentucky with over 250,000 previously uninsured folks now signed up through "Kentucky Connect." McConnell will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat to walk back all the terrible things he has said about the ACA for several years.
I believe Grimes will pull this out with the help of the Clintons and the success of Obamacare in the state of Kentucky.
2016 is a very interesting year in Kentucky also. Rand Paul will likely run for the GOP nomination and (because of Kentucky law) cannot run again for his seat in the senate.
WHAT IF Mitch McConnell decides to take run for Rand Paul's vacated Senate seat while Paul is utilizing most of his resources towards a presidential run? It is an interesting scenario. Rand Paul has been very controversial since entering the senate. McConnell is a polarizing figure as well. After 2016, we may see a Senate WITHOUT Rand Paul and McConnell once again trying to get back in the "Old Boys Club."
If Grimes wins that senate race, there is a very good possibility we will start seeing that state drift more towards the middle.
Bill Clinton is campaigning in the state for more than one reason. He is there to shore up a coalition for his wife when she runs in 2016. Grimes' father is a close political ally of the Clintons.
Democratic Governor Steve Bashear has successfully implemented the ACA in the state and once conservative right wingnuts are being covered just like liberals. The climate is changing in Kentucky.
Kentucky matters greatly, as do other southern states that may be in play in the 2016 presidential race.
Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are pissed at you. You will soon feel
their wrath as they trudge across the country vigorously campaigning against most of you in your re-election campaigns.
You think Mr. Obama signing a few executive orders is "Reckless?" He has signed FEWER than any other President in history. YOU, as Congress have passed even LESS legislation. You may want to get it togther people.
Hey Rand Paul..You are about to find out what it feels like to get spanked when Bill Clinton comes to Kentucky to rid your state of your cover Mitch McConnell. Ol' Mitch will lose to Alison Lundergan Grimes (after he squeeks by his Primary) and you will be sorry you brought up the Monica Lewinsky thing. When you run for the GOP Presidential nomination, you will have so many enemies on the left, it will be difficult to navigate. At this point I would think the Clintons would love nothing better that to face YOU in a general election. Keep it up buddy.
Hey Paul Ryan, you are probably safe in your congressional seat, BUT you do reside in a blue-ish state. President Obama can damage you if he chooses. He likely will let your recent comments about him being "increasingly lawless" pass without retribution. He probably even likes you a little. The "KING" may let you live.
John Boehner...Dude you are screwed...You will have to retire this fall...I can't see you going back to congress without your Speakership in tact. You have too much ego and really could care less about the American people outside the Beltway. It is time for you to join Jay Leno in retirement.
Eric Cantor..I hope to God both Obama and Bill campaign against you vigorously this fall. You are a piece of crap. You are lazy and scared of your own shadow. You have no game.
John Cornyn..Good luck...I'm thrilled that Steve Stockman will at least cause you some sleepless nights in your re-election. What will you do if Ted Cruz supports that moron against you...LOL.
This is a dangerous time to be anywhere but to the far right in the House of Representatives. That means that the Democrats can pick up some of those marginal seats, especially since it looks like the Affordable Care Act is gaining traction and will likely be close to the intended sign-up goals.
The poor initial rollout will be a distant memory as the primary season starts. The two BEST campaigners of this century are Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Obama has NO MORE ELECTIONS to win for himself, except to get the House back and hold the Senate.
I would be VERY worried right now if I were Reince Preibus at the RNC.
Here is another thing the GOP has to fear...Georgia.
That Red State in the deep south?
Yes. It is in play THIS year and in 2016, which could throw the entire Southern Strategy off for the GOP. There are 600,000 unregistered black, asian and Latino possible voters. Former NAACP Head Ben Jealous says "Around $8 million" in funds to register those voters could turn the state blue. It may be a longshot, but if the results are close, it will be trouble. This past election Georgia Dems DID pick up 4-out-of-7 House seats that were up. That is significant.
If Georgia is in play, the entire south could be turned upside down.
It is not helping matters that the GOP-led legislatures have killed themselves lately with voter suppression and anti-abortion legislation AND Congress is balking at extending Unemployment benefits and balking at Minimum Wage hikes that are favored by 72% of the national electorate. This is bad stuff guys.
You really must get your shit together or you will have an Imperial Presidency. The final two years could be a Turkey Shoot for the Democrats with YOU in their sites.
A Concerned Citizen
"Get it straight buster - I'm not here to say please, I'm here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess
you'd better fucking do it and do it quick. I'm here to help - if my help's not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen."
(The Wolf: Pulp Fiction)
The GOP may have a bigger problem than the ineptitude of the GOP House-led shutdown and general gridlock because of the Tea Party wacko birds running that part of our government.
The evidence is mounting against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie each and every day that his office engineered "Bridgegate." This is the political payback scandal involving of last September's George Washington Bridge gridlock, due to the shutdown of several toll booths.
So far a few New Jersey Port Authority Christie appointees have resigned and NOW emails and tweets directly from Christies office implicate them in the dasterdly deed.
It's not bad enough that they probably engineered this mess because of the culture of political retribution his office brings down on his political foes in the state like MAYBE the democratic mayor from Fort Lee refused to endorse Christie for re-election, or that Christie's spokesman sent an email to the effect of "Time for traffic problems to begin in Fort Lee" just days after this refusal. OR some development project didn't go the governor's way...It is rarely the act that gets people in trouble, it's the cover-up.
When you see more people inside the Christie administration resign, or get fired, look for Christie's stock to plummet as far as the 2016 GOP Presidential run is concerned. Christie was supposed to be the future of the GOP. He is looking more like Boss Pendergrast from another era.
The facts are not all in, but it looks very bad for Christie. This is NOT the Democrats engineering a scandal. Christy and his minions did this to themselves. This smacks of "Nixon-like" politics The petty politics that almost detroyed the country in the early 1970's.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer has her own bag of nuts to deal with alleging innpropriety from the governor's cabinet members about a development deal in her city. She is basically saying Christie is shaking her down to get a Rockefeller Group project off the ground by using "Hurricane Sandy Relief funds" as the bait.
Do you really think general election voters would even touch this guy? I highly doubt it. The Republican bubble is shrinking.
This is the perfect time for John Huntsman to gear up a campaign for 2016 He seems to be the ONLY qualified Republican in the field. The GOP put the wrong Morman in the 2012 race. Huntsman is the ONLY viable GOP candidate in a crazy mixed up group in the next cycle should he decide to run.
Christie? No chance now.
"Im what you would call a regular guy with a big job."
House Speaker John Boehner
I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Boehner. I also believe he is in way over his head. 2013 was a tough year for the GOP and prospects may not be getting any better.
2014 is here.
Now we will find out what damage was really done when the GOP House Republicans and Texas Freshman Senator Ted Cruz shut the U.S. Government down in October, 2013.
2014 is an election year. There are 34 U.S. Senate seats up for grabs and EVERY house seat. House seats are up for grabs every two years.
Something has changed in the electorate in recent months. The people are starting to see through the rhetoric and actions are speaking louder than words. This last shutdown will not be forgotten when and where it counts the most. The elections will deliver the final verdict on the recent actions of the least productive Congress in history Congress #113.
President Obama did not come out of the shutdown unscathed with the ACA Rollout debacle, BUT as of this writing in early January, 2014, the people ARE signing up for healthcare. The GOP governors who are NOT allowing their citizens to sign up because of their unwilligness to take the Medicaid money that the government made available simply because of their ideology will have to come to terms with that decision as OTHER GOP governors like Jan Brewer in Arizona and John Kasich in Ohio have soared in their polls after taking the money. It is FREE money for the poor and needy.
There really is no justification for not helping insure citizens. Bobby Jindal in Louisiana also refuses to help out his downtrodden citizens who have no way of getting coverage.
Political reality is an ever changing beast in this country. It is a lot harder to lie with a watchdog media hungry to savage the hypocrites on both sides of the aisle.
The political reality is Twitter, Facebook, Intagram, Reddit and other social media ready to pounce within seconds of a gaffe.
Professional and non-professional writers can put something out in the blogosphere in seconds with cellphone videos and tweets when somone says or does anything anywhere in the world.
John Boehner goes to his local eating establishment in Washington during his off hours wearing a baseball cap and a younger American citizen-by-way-of-the Dream-Act practically begs the Speaker to allow her mother re-enter the country. Boehner doesn't promise anything. He seems unmoved. It is all captured on a cellphone and replayed on several newscasts that very night.
Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell have a private conversation during the government shutdown. Paul: "We're gonna win this thing." Unbeknownst to the two Kentucky senators the camera was hot and rolling. EVERY networked played that conversation for days.
This is the political reality we are living in.
In Texas during the summer, Texas Governor Rick Perry called a special session of the state legislature with the expressed desire to railroad through draconian anti-abortion legislation. State Senator Wendy Davis made herself a national celebrity and progressive favorite in thatr Republican-dominated state with a 13-hour filibuster. There were live streams of the session and lots of cellphone video capturing the "Political Reality" of the Democrats running out trhe clock on that session. Of course Perry got his way just weeks later when the GOP-run legislature passed the law anyway.
The point I'm trying to make is that the reality does change by the minute in our climate, but judging by the 2012 Presidential election results, the people really do want their elected officials to do what is best for everyone and not just the priviledged few who have money.
The polls indicated a lack of appreciation by the public for that $24 billion shutdown and lack of activity by Congress. Eric Cantor has the task of setting the House calendar. In 2013 the House was in session under 140 days. Cantor scheduled 2014 for....114 days total.
Since the Republicans and John Boehner don't want to be judged on how many laws they pass rather "How many laws we repeal," I would be guessing it will catch up to them in November and Boehner will be ousted when the Democrats take over the House.
That is political Reality in my opinion.
One day my dad said, "Find someone new"/I had to tell my Jimmy, we're through/(What you mean when you say that/You better go find somebody new?)/He stood there and asked me why, all I
could do was cry/I'm sorry, I hurt you, the leader of the pack
("Leader of the Pack" by Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwhich/Shadow Morton)
John Boehner has been U.S. Speaker of the House since January, 2011 and a major player in the GOP for many years before that. He has experienced many ups and downs, even losing a leadership role in 1998 and re-emerging bigger and stronger less than 10 years later.
In most circles, that would be known as a political success story. In 2013, he is presiding over the worst single House of Represntatives in the history of the Union. Boehner at one point declared "It's not how many laws we pass, but how many we repeal."
Boehner may have executed his finest moment as House Speaker on December 11 when he blasted the right wing groups who decided to grade Paul Ryan & Patty Murray's bi-partisan budget deal even before the deal was announced. Boehner shrewdly picked a battle blasting groups like Club for Growth, Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and others simply for criticizing the deal "...Even before reading it."
Boehner had been beholden to these groups since January, 2011 once he realized that these groups controlled the purse strings of many members of the Tea Party caucus.
Enter Paul Ryan. The same Paul Ryan who the Tea Party members love so dearly. He is the bridge between the establishment GOP members and the Tea Party wackos. Many right wing GOP elected members consider Ryan "Their Jesus."
Ryan was able (with Dem. Leader Pelosi's help) to sell this small budget deal to the House just before the Christmas break. Ryan is close with Boehner and Eric Cantor.
So what does this all mean in 2014?
Here is what I think.
Ryan will end up leading the Republican party when John Boehner steps down and retires. The end may be coming sooner than later for Boehner. He will try to get a few "Legacy" pieces of legislation passed in 2014 and then NOT run for re-election. This will cause a rift between Eric Cantor (the heir apparent) and Paul Ryan if the Republicans manage to hang on to the House of Representatives. That is no sure thing with this latest government shutdown putting many seats (including Ryan's) in peril.
Ryan is so popular among rand and file Republicans and Tea Party crazies, but his state of Wisconsin is Blue in some respects. Obama carried it and Governor Scott Walker is a Republican, but the social issues like women's reproductive rights and voter suppression have been damaging the Republican brand.
I believe Ryan will survive his re-election AND be elected by his peers to lead the GOP Caucus in the house. Eric Cantor will have to stick around and support Ryan and then we shall see if Ryan leverages his good fortune into a run for the White House.
There are a lot of problems brewing in Republican nation with Chris Christie embroiled in his petty retribution scandal involving the Fort Lee bridge from last September. Christie will have to answer for his suboordinate closing that bridge for 4 days to punish the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee who would not endorse Christie for governor, despite Christie's huge lead in the polls at the time.
Paul Ryan may come out of this episode smelling the best. He can shift enough to the center after the primaries in 2016, BECAUSE he already has conservative credentials AND he has now showed a willingness to govern and compromise.
Paul Ryan is 'THE LEADER OF THE PACK" in GOP-Land. That is not saying much, but it is something.