|8:48 PM, Sep 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Rick Perry met with Henry Kissinger to talk foreign policy, the Texas governor announced on Twitter.
"It was an honor to speak with Dr. Kissinger today and hear his thoughts on America’s foreign policy challenges," wrote Perry.
Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2012, is considering a 2016 presidential run.
4:44 PM, Sep 29, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Arizona Republicans are in a tough fight to keep the governor's mansion. Their candidate, state treasurer Doug Ducey, is effectively tied with Democrat Fred DuVal. Since voters in the state generally lean toward the GOP, DuVal has cast himself as a moderate outsider, a businessman who seeks answers—and gets endorsements—from both parties. That narrative has broken through—even his Wikipedia entry says DuVal is "often called upon as a bi-partisan, public policy negotiator through private employment and appointed roles."
As the Washington Free Beacon reported earlier this month, DuVal's career looks more like that of a Democratic consultant:
However, DuVal has spent nearly his entire career working predominantly with Democrats, even during the time at his lobbying firm DuVal & Associates.
DuVal & Associates was hired by UBS Financial Services to assist in bond deals it was working on from 2001 to 2005. DuVal was deployed almost solely to states that had Democratic governors that he likely would already have had a good relationship with.
21 out of the 25 states DuVal provided UBS with his consulting services in had Democratic governors.
Included was work in New Mexico during the administration of Bill Richardson, while DuVal was director of Richardson’s Si Se Puede! PAC. DuVal landed UBS the sale of $1.1 billion of bonds for the New Mexico Finance Authority in April 2004. DuVal later would contribute $1,000 to Richardson’s presidential campaign.
DuVal has made ethics and lobbying reform a cornerstone of his gubernatorial campaign amid stories that state legislators were given gifts like football tickets and campaign donations from the Fiesta Bowl. "As a taxpayer, I'm disgusted," DuVal has said.
But Republicans are quick to point out that the Democrat's consulting work looks and sounds a lot like lobbying itself. From 2001 to 2005, DuVal's firm did work in 25 states to help secure bonds. All of which might be unremarkable, except DuVal was never registered as a lobbyist in several states with tough lobbying regulations. Some of those states require those who incur minimal expenses while working to influence public officials—in Kansas, it's more than $40 on a meal, for instance—to register as lobbyists.
3:45 PM, Sep 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In this week's newsletter, the boss looks at the 2014 midterm election:
In last week's editorial, I wrote:
The danger over the next six weeks is that Republican strategists and donors will play it safe and fail to take advantage of the opportunities out there. Obviously the focus will be, as it has to be, on the seven swing Senate seats, as well as on making sure Republicans hold Kansas and Georgia. But there are opportunities beyond the big seven, in Michigan (an open seat) and in one or more of Minnesota, Virginia, Oregon, New Jersey, and Illinois-in all of which incumbent Democratic senators are under or only just above 50 percent in the polls.... This is the time to think big.
2:33 PM, Sep 29, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The Chamber of Commerce is releasing a new ad Tuesday featuring NASCAR racing legend and North Carolina native Richard Petty endorsing Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis. "In racing and in life, there's always a leader, someone who knows how to get to the finish line, who makes the tough decisions," Petty says, posing next to his number 43 car. "Thom Tillis is a leader who will get the job done in the U.S. Senate."
Watch the ad below:
Tillis is challenging incumbent Democratic senator Kay Hagan in one of the closest political races of the year.
Just like Yaz in '67.2:23 PM, Sep 29, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The Washington Nationals ended their regular season in spectacular fashion when 28-year-old ace Jordan Zimmerman pitched a no-hitter Sunday night. Even the final out wasn't without drama. Left fielder Stephen Souza made a miraculous diving catch on a pop fly to the outfield that secured Zimmerman's landmark game. Watch the video below:
Souza's catch reminded WEEKLY STANDARD senior editor Christopher Caldwell of another, almost identical, catch from 1967, when Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski saved Billy Rohr's running no-hitter in the bottom of the ninth:
Unlike Zimmerman, Rohr (a rookie in his first start in the majors) ended up giving up the no-hitter with two outs when the Yankees' Elston Howard hit a single.
1:42 PM, Sep 29, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
There is likely much gnashing of teeth in the intelligence community today in the wake of Obama’s interview with 60 Minutes last night. He laid the blame for the rise of the Islamic State at the feet of the intelligence community. “Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” said the commander in chief on national television.
Not true, reports Eli Lake in the Daily Beast. “One former senior Pentagon official who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq was flabbergasted,” writes Lake, then quoting his source: “Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting.’”
It’s not a good sign that the president and the intelligence community are at odds over intelligence on the Islamic State. However, there’s an even more serious concern in the offing over the Iranian nuclear program. If, as Obama claims, the intelligence community was wrong about the Islamic State, how can it be trusted to get Iran right? Or, alternately, how can the president be trusted not to blame his own failures on others?
The White House has repeatedly claimed, “We have the capacity to monitor the Iranian nuclear program… We would know if they were to make a so-called breakout move towards developing such a weapon.”
But Obama’s interview last night instead suggests one of two things. Either the intelligence community is incapable or getting timely and trustworthy intelligence to American policymakers and has left the commander-and-chief in the dark. Or Obama is ignoring the warnings of the IC, including intelligence that may forecast an Iranian breakout. In any case, this dysfunctional relationship between the president and his own intelligence community may come to have even more dire consequences for U.S. interests.
12:38 PM, Sep 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The latest episode of Conversations with Bill Kristol, featuring Gen. Jack Keane:
"I must say that this conversation is one my favorites. It focuses on the Gen. Keane's role in helping persuade President Bush to change strategies in the Iraq War via the troop surge, other aspects of his remarkable career, and--something I've never heard Gen. Keane discuss before--his account of what he and others did in the Pentagon on Sep. 11, 2001. I trust you'll enjoy it, and I hope young people in the military or with military experience or considering joining the military might find it particularly interesting," emails the Boss.
12:14 PM, Sep 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Wall Street Journal editorializes:
President Obama sucked up most of the media oxygen at the United Nations last week with his call for collective action against the Islamic State and other jihadists. But if anyone made real news from the General Assembly's green-marble podium, it was Iranian President Hasan Rouhani. The fabled Iranian moderate's unsubtle message: You'll play by our rules now.
"The people of Iran," he said, "cannot place trust in any security cooperation between their government and those who have imposed sanctions." That was a kick in the shins to U.S. diplomats who have made little secret of their desire to make common cause with Tehran against the Islamic State—albeit a kick dressed up as an inducement to lift the sanctions. It follows Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's claim last week that Secretary of State John Kerry is "lying" about the nature of U.S. overtures toward Iran. How's that for improving the diplomatic mood music?
Mr. Rouhani also gave no ground on nuclear negotiations, whose latest deadline is late November, in time for the lame duck Congress in case Republicans retake the chamber. Iran would continue to enrich uranium, said Mr. Rouhani, never mind Security Council resolutions demanding a suspension of enrichment.
He also claimed that Iran had honored its obligations under the interim nuclear agreement. That's despite a report this month from the International Atomic Energy Agency noting that Tehran continued to stymie its efforts to investigate the "possible military dimensions" of Iran's nuclear program. "These activities," the IAEA reported, "are likely to have further undermined the Agency's ability to conduct effective verification."
Whole thing here.
11:29 AM, Sep 29, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Problems at the VA were largely – but not entirely – in the realm of scheduling. No one argued in favor the current system, which had veterans waiting in line for medical attention for months and even years. Even if the supervisors who cooked the books and paid themselves bonuses were all shown the door, the system would not be working as it should until the scheduling SNAFUs had been dealt with.
So the interim head of the VA announced back in the summer that a “...new scheduling system would be deployed in 2016.”
But now, as Bob Brewin of nextgov.com writes:
The Department of Veterans Affairs will not install a new patient scheduling system to all of its 153 hospitals and 50,000 users until 2020, according to contract documents released last week.
Six years, then. By which time the software will no doubt be obsolete and during which time, care and attention will be denied to those who need it.
And, incidentally, have earned it. The hard way, in many cases.
9:58 AM, Sep 29, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Democrat Bruce Braley says those who want to know his commitment to our nation's veterans need only look at the website of his Senate campaign.
"If people want to know my true record on standing up for veterans, they can go to my website and look at Braley Truth Team where it lays out all of the things I've done for veterans in eight years," said the Iowa congressman in his debate this weekend with his GOP opponent, state senator Joni Ernst.
Ernst herself is an active-duty officer in the Iowa National Guard.
Here's what Braley's page on veterans says:
Bruce Braley believes that our country should support our troops not only when they’re fighting abroad, but when they return home. That’s why he’s worked so hard for America’s military veterans. Braley introduced and passed a law to give tax breaks to companies that hire veterans returning from duty, unemployed veterans, and wounded warriors. Braley also successfully took on the Pentagon to secure overdue combat pay for 800 Iowa National Guard troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and helped secure full GI Bill education benefits that were initially denied to 600 Iowa National Guard soldiers.
Since at least 2012, Braley has been claiming to "fight for veterans every day", but as the Des Moines Register reported this summer, Braley has frequently missed House oversight hearings on the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some of these hearings he missed featured testimony about mismanagement at VA hospitals across the country, which became a full-fledged scandal earlier this year. One 2012 hearing he missed was held on a day where Braley attended three fundraisers in Washington instead.
On the day of another hearing, during which then-VA secretary Eric Shinseki testified, Braley was attending a union-hosted fundraiser. The issue of Braley's absence from VA hearings even made it into an ad from conservative super PAC American Crossroads, and PolitiFact, a fact-checking organization that's no friend to Republicans, says the claim that Braley missed 79 percent of hearings on the VA "mostly true."
9:03 AM, Sep 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is an American Hero," reads the headline in the New Republic. But despite talking to an "American Hero," Jeffrey Rosen, the magazine's legal affairs editor, still wants to know whether the Supreme Court justice will hang up her robe.
JR: Speaking of retirements, there are some who say that you should have stepped down before the midterm elections. How do those suggestions make you feel and what’s your response?
RBG: First, I should say, I am fantastically lucky that I am in a systemwithout a compulsory retirement age. Most countries of the world have age sixty-five, seventy, seventy-five, and many of our states do as well. As long as I can do the job full steam, I will stay here. I think I will know when I’m no longer able to think as lucidly, to remember as well, to write as fast. I was number one last term in the speed with which opinions came down. My average from the day of argument to the day the decision was released was sixty days, ahead of the chief by some six days. So I don’t think I have reached the point where I can’t do the job as well.
I asked some people, particularly the academics who said I should have stepped down last year: “Who do you think the president could nominate and get through the current Senate that you would rather see on the Court than me?” No one has given me an answer to that question.
JR: Your health is good?
RBG: Yes, and I’m still working out twice a week with my trainer, the same trainer I now share with Justice [Elena] Kagan. I have done that since 1999.
Ginsburg gave a similar response when Elle magazine asked a similar question, in an interview published last week. "Who do you think President Obama could appoint at this very day, given the boundaries that we have? If I resign any time this year, he could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court. [The Senate Democrats] took off the filibuster for lower federal court appointments, but it remains for this court. So anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided. As long as I can do the job full steam…. I think I’ll recognize when the time comes that I can’t any longer. But now I can," Ginsburg told Elle.
Some liberals have been advocating for Ginsburg to retire so that President Obama would be able to nominate another (younger) Supreme Court justice.
8:37 AM, Sep 29, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated Islamic State activity inside Syria, which has become "ground zero" for jihadists worldwide, President Barack Obama said in a CBS television interview broadcast on Sunday.
Conversely, the United States overestimated the ability of the Iraqi army to fight the militant groups, Obama said in a "60 Minutes" interview taped on Friday, days after the U.S. president made his case at the United Nations for action.
Interesting. But as Eli Lake at the Daily Beast writes, there were people saying that it would be imprudent to pull out of Iraq entirely; that the bad guys would return and our guys were insufficiently trained and motivated.
Were they right? And if so, should we not, perhaps, fire all the people who are still around and got it wrong and bring in those who had it right and are on the outside?
Or is a soft answer to a softball Steve Kroft question sufficient?
10:14 PM, Sep 28, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett was given a cameo role in the latest episode of CBS's The Good Wife. The airing of the episode comes after a busy week for President Obama -- which included bombing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a series of meetings at the United Nations, and various international crises.
Jarrett appears to play herself:
The scene features Jarrett on the phone with Julianna Margulies (who is the star of The Good Wife and who plays Alicia Florrick), being coached by Alan Cumming (who is playing a political strategist by the name of Eli Gold).
Elsewhere on CBS, President Obama sat down for an interview with 60 Minutes, which aired a couple hours before Jarrett's big drama debut.
7:34 PM, Sep 28, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama said that American troops in are "in a war environment" fighting the Islamic State and that the men and women in the military are in "harm's way." He made the comments this evening on 60 Minutes:
"You know, you've said no American boots on the ground, no combat troops on the ground," said 60 Minutes host Steve Kroft. "We've got 1,600 troops there.
"We do," said President Obama.
"Some of them are going to be out embedded with Iraqi units," said Kroft.
"Well, they're in harm's way," Obama said, "in the sense that any time you're in war theater, it's dangerous. So I don't want to downplay the fact that they're in a war environment and there are hostile forces on the other side."
Obama and his administration have insisted that there will be no combat forces fighting the Islamic State.
5:59 PM, Sep 28, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Democrats continue to sound the alarm. The latest fundraising email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has this subject line: "kiss any hope goodbye."
"Here’s what happening: A just released Rasmussen poll shows the race for Congress is TIED, 4O%-4O%," the email reads.
"Here’s what it means: Control of Congress is at stake in the final month of this election.
"Here’s how we could lose: This week, Republicans are launching their largest attack ad campaign of the year. This multi-million dollar Obama-bashing ad blitz could cost us the whole election.
"Daniel, we have just 2 days until the final major fundraising deadline of this campaign. We need 9,OOO of our best supporters to step up today to keep pace. ...
"If we can get this done, we can break the tie and tip the scales of this election in our favor. If we can’t, then kiss any hope of a Democratic House for President Obama ever again goodbye."
The DCCC aims to get Democrats elected to the House of Representatives. Forecasters believe the Republicans will continue to maintain control of the House after November's midterm election.
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