|3:27 PM, Apr 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Politicians looking for work and calling themselves “Democrats” are being advised to avoid using the word “recovery.” As the AP reports:
Election-year memo to Democratic candidates … Stan Greenberg, James Carville and others wrote that in head-to-head polling tests the mere mention of the word "recovery" is trumped by a Republican assertion that the Obama administration has had six years to get the economy moving and its policies haven't worked.
So you talk about how well the Affordable Care Act has worked. And about the War on Women. Whatever …Didn’t Mr. Carville once famously say something to somebody named “Stupid” about the economy?
2:08 PM, Apr 18, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican governor Paul LePage of Maine has a slight lead over his Democratic challenger, House member Mike Michaud, according to a new poll of the race. Here's more from the Portland Press-Herald:
The poll of 400 Maine residents by the Portland-based Pan Atlantic SMS Group shows LePage with a 1.3 percentage-point lead over Michaud, 38.6 percent to 37.3 percent, and independent Eliot Cutler trailing with 20.3 percent.
The poll’s margin of error is 4.9 percentage points, meaning it shows LePage and Michaud in a virtual tie about seven months before the election.
LePage is clearly benefitting from the independent candidacy of Cutler, who also ran for governor in 2010. That year, Cutler actually outperfomed the Democratic candidate, giving LePage the opening to win a narrow victory.
1:48 PM, Apr 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Charles Thomas of ABC’s WLS in Chicago reports:
A plan to spend $100 million to build a Barack Obama presidential library in Chicago has taken a step forward. Thursday an Illinois House executive committee approved House Speaker Michael Madigan's bill to construct the library honoring President Obama. Despite the state's precarious fiscal situation, this bill sailed through the committee by a nine to zero vote.
That “precarious” is a nice way of saying “broke” and “bankrupted by the corruption of its political class.”
The high-minded like to call taxes “the price we pay for civilization.”
In Illinois, they call them something else.
12:24 PM, Apr 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Kathleen Sebelius is "not considering" a run for Senate, a new report claims.
"A spokeswoman says departing U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is not considering running for the U.S. Senate," reads the report from the AP.
HHS spokeswoman Dori Salcido said in an email Thursday night to The Associated Press that Sebelius is continuing her work at the federal agency and isn't considering a Senate campaign.
Sebelius announced April 11 that she was stepping down as HHS secretary. President Barack Obama immediately nominated White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace her.
The New York Times reported this week that Sebelius was considering a run for the Senate seat now held by Kansas Republican Pat Roberts. Sebelius is a former two-term Kansas governor.
12:15 PM, Apr 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Beau Biden, son of Joe, will, as Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post reports, be running for governor in Delaware in 2016, further confirming that the impulse to a career in “public service” is genetic and hereditary.
There is Nunn of Georgia. Bush (at least one) of Texas. Cuomo of New York. Paul of Kentucky. And, of course, the young Clinton of … well, the world. She recently announced that she does not rule out a career in politics and that she is expecting. So unto this generation and even the next …
This dynastic trend in American politics cannot be good for the Republic, though it is almost certainly good for the political class, which has been singing in unison the praises of a Bush/Clinton contest for president in 2016. It would make networking so much easier for consultants and advisors and policy types. And having been long in the business, the candidates would know exactly how it is played and would not have to be housebroken.
One almost suspects that in a generation or two or three, after there has been a marriage between the clans Bush and Clinton, we will get a version of American politics that resembles a watered down knock-off of Game of Thrones. Rival clans, then, instead of competing visions.
Unless some descendent of Andrew Jackson comes along, first, and breaks up all the furniture.
10:23 AM, Apr 18, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Jack Kingston, the Savannah-based Republican congressman running for the U.S. Senate, has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Here's more from the Washington Post:
"Now more than ever we need conservative leaders with a demonstrated record of fighting for Georgia jobs, and that leader is Jack Kingston. As senator, Jack will help lead America’s comeback and lay the groundwork for more jobs, more growth, and a generation of prosperity," said Rob Engstrom, the business group's political director.
The chamber's endorsement is important because the group has been known to spend significant money on behalf of candidates it supports.
Kingston is in a five-way primary for the Republican nomination, facing businessman David Perdue, former secretary of state Karen Handel, and two of his House colleagues: Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey. Kingston has earned the endorsement of Sean Hannity, and is considered a favorite among Republican strategists in Washington. The well-funded Kingston campaign released a 30-second TV ad this week, focused on his plan to get more welfare and food-stamp recipients back to work. Watch it below:
A poll released Thursday found Kingston in second place in the GOP primary, with 15 percent support, behind David Perdue at 19 percent. Perdue was the first primary candidate to run TV ads, though his campaign hit a snag recently after video footage was released showing the businessman (and cousin of former governor Sonny Perdue) criticizing one of his opponents for only having a high school diploma. That candidate was Karen Handel, who polled not far behind Kingston with 13 percent support. Handel has been buoyed in her underfunded campaign by endorsements from Sarah Palin and Arizona governor Jan Brewer, as well as the fallout from the Perdue video.
The Republicans are running to succeed retiring GOP senator Saxby Chambliss. The primary will be on May 20, and in this crowded field, no candidate is likely to get the requisite 50 percent support. The top two vote-getters will advance to a July 22 runoff, the winner of which will face presumptive Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn.
9:52 AM, Apr 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In his press conference yesterday, President Obama said that the debate over the Affordable Care Act is over, or should be … and will be if he and his party have anything to say about it.
As David Jackson and Kelly Kennedy of USA Today write, after insisting that:
"This thing is working.” Obama again criticized Republicans who want to repeal the law, saying it's time to "move on" and focus on jobs and the overall economy. He called for "a change in attitude on the part of the Republicans.”
The government can make just about anything “work.” Mohair subsidies. Corporate bailouts. The income tax code. You name it. The trick is to have unlimited money, plenty of time, and a monopoly on force. Then … piece of cake.
In a few years, if the president has his way, everyone outside of Washington will be complaining about the ACA, while inside the beltway, it will be a money machine for the fixers tinkering with the machinery and getting paid handsomely to do it.
And, “If you like your plan …” will be a bitter laugh line. Sort of like, “Good enough for government work."
Repeal, now more than ever!8:40 AM, Apr 18, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare, the CBO projected that 9 million people would buy Obamacare-compliant insurance through newly established government-run exchanges. Now, after an enrollment period that his administration expanded by about two months—to more than half a year—President Obama says that 8 million people have “signed up” for (but in many cases haven’t actually bought) insurance through those exchanges.
The Obama administration’s stated goal was to have 39 percent of those who bought such insurance be between the ages of 18 and 34. Now Obama says the actual percentage is 28 percent.
Only in Washington, D.C. could someone put up numbers like these and then brag about them.
But, in truth, all of this talk about enrollment numbers is beside the point. Back when the Democrats defied public opinion and rammed Obamacare into law using the Cornhusker Kickback, Gator Aid, the Louisiana Purchase, and all the rest of the unseemly gimmicks they employed, opponents of Obamacare didn’t claim that the reason why the health-care overhaul would be bad was because it wouldn’t hit the coverage numbers the CBO projected. (If anything, opponents argued that Obamacare would surpass those numbers, as employers would dump people into the exchanges against their will, thereby costing American taxpayers even more than the CBO was projecting.)
7:14 AM, Apr 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The title of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's new book will be Hard Choices, Simon and Shuster announced this morning:
"HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON’S INSIDE ACCOUNT OF THE CRISES, CHOICES, AND CHALLENGES SHE FACED DURING HER FOUR YEARS AS AMERICA’S 67TH SECRETARY OF STATE, AND HOW THOSE EXPERIENCES DRIVE HER VIEW OF THE FUTURE," reads a description of the book by the publisher.
“All of us face hard choices in our lives,” Hillary Rodham Clinton writes at the start of this personal chronicle of years at the center of world events. “Life is about making these choices, and how we handle them shapes the people we become.” In the aftermath of her 2008 presidential run, she expected to return to representing New York in the United States Senate. To her surprise, her former rival for the Democratic Party nomination, newly elected President Barack Obama, asked her to serve in his administration as Secretary of State. This memoir is the story of the four extraordinary and historic years that followed, and the hard choices that she and her colleagues confronted. Secretary Clinton and President Obama had to decide how to repair fractured alliances, wind down two wars, and address a global financial crisis. They faced a rising competitor in China, growing threats from Iran and North Korea, and revolutions across the Middle East. Along the way, they grappled with some of the toughest dilemmas of US foreign policy, especially the decision to send Americans into harm’s way, from Afghanistan to Libya to the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
By the end of her tenure, Secretary Clinton had visited 112 countries, traveled nearly one million miles, and gained a truly global perspective on many of the major trends reshaping the landscape of the twenty-first century, from economic inequality to climate change to revolutions in energy, communications, and health. Drawing on conversations with numerous leaders and experts, Secretary Clinton offers her views on what it will take for the United States to compete and thrive in an interdependent world. She makes a passionate case for human rights and the full participation in society of women , youth, and LGBT people. An astute eyewitness to decades of social change, she distinguishes the trendlines from the headlines and describes the progress occurring throughout the world, day after day.
Secretary Clinton’s descriptions of diplomatic conversations at the highest levels offer readers a master class in international relations, as does her analysis of how we can best use “smart power” to deliver security and prosperity in a rapidly changing world—one in which America remains the indispensable nation.
Daniel Halper is author of the forthcoming book Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine.
6:31 PM, Apr 17, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The British Labour party announced David Axelrod will be working to help Ed Miliband become the next prime minister.
"David Axelrod will play a key role in Labour’s general election campaign as a Senior Strategic Adviser, the Party can announce today," reads a press release.
The strategist who masterminded Barack Obama’s back-to-back presidential victories in 2008 and 2012 has agreed to work with Labour to get Ed Miliband elected as Prime Minister in 2015.
His new role is the culmination of several months’ effort led by Douglas Alexander, Labour’s Chair of General Election Strategy, to secure the services of Mr Axelrod and the firm, AKPD, until the general election in May next year.
Mr Axelrod will become an integral part of Labour’s team, working closely with Mr Alexander, Spencer Livermore, the Campaign Director, and Stan Greenberg, the Party’s senior pollster. He will also participate in regular strategic discussions with Mr Miliband and the Labour campaign team.
The former Senior Adviser in President Obama’s White House will arrive on May 14 in London for two days of strategy meetings with Mr Miliband, Harriet Harman, and other senior Shadow Cabinet members.
Senior figures in AKPD, including veterans from the Obama for America campaign Larry Grisolano and Mike Donilon, will further strengthen Labour’s campaign with their expertise.
They will join Mr Axelrod for the strategy meetings in London next month and AKPD’s work for Labour is expected to increase in the first months of next year as the general election approaches.
There's no word on how much Axelrod is expected to be paid for his counsel.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:35 PM, Apr 17, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD Podcast with editor William Kristol on the GOP's prospects in 2014 and 2016.
This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.
3:45 PM, Apr 17, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House claims 8 million people have signed up for Obamacare:
FACT SHEET: Affordable Care Act by the Numbers
The Affordable Care Act is working. It is giving millions of middle class Americans the health care security they deserve, it is slowing the growth of health care costs and it has brought transparency and competition to the Health Insurance Marketplace.
HEALTH CARE BY THE NUMBERS
5.7 million people will be uninsured in 2016 because 24 States have not expanded Medicaid.
- 8 million people signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace. For states that have Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces, 35 percent of those who signed up are under 35 years old and 28 percent are between 18 and 34 years old, virtually the same youth percentage that signed up in Massachusetts in their first year of health reform.
- 3 million young adults gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act by being able to stay on their parents plan.
- 3 million more people were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP as of February, compared to before the Marketplaces opened. Medicaid and CHIP enrollment continues year-round.
- 5 million people are enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards outside the Marketplace, according to a CBO estimate. When insurers set premiums for next year, they are required to look at everyone who enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards, both on and off the Marketplace.
3:26 PM, Apr 17, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There is, as Elise Viebeck of the Hill reports, to be a little meeting at the White House today where:
President Obama is scheduled to meet with health insurance executives and state insurance commissioners on Thursday, just two days after ObamaCare's special enrollment period officially closed. The meetings, which will include at least one photo-op, are a chance for the White House to telegraph unity with health insurance companies and state regulators involved with the rollout of the healthcare law.
Ah, yes. Smiling faces all around until the participants move behind closed doors where
… the administration is hoping to use its influence to prevent substantial premium hikes that could alienate consumers starting in November.
Ummm. Is “using its influence” the same as “using its muscle?”
2:21 PM, Apr 17, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Writing in the Tennessean, a man named George Parker writes:
For many years I opposed school vouchers, also known as opportunity scholarships. Now I strongly support legislative efforts in Tennessee to give parents this powerful tool to improve their child’s education. I can no longer in good conscience stand with those who would rather see poor children remain trapped in inferior schools than support innovative ideas like opportunity scholarships that will offer some a way out.
Mr.Parker is no ordinary citizen or parent. The thumbnail bio at the end of his piece describes him as:
… a 30-year veteran math teacher of the Washington, D.C., public school system; a former president of the Washington Teachers Union
Parker writes that his:
... change of heart boiled down to this: I realized my opposition to opportunity scholarships was based on prioritizing adult interests above those of kids. As a former union leader, I made maintaining union influence and power a greater priority than meeting the educational needs of parents and students.
Pretty clear-cut. The union or the kids. The political class goes with the union since that’s where the money is.
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