Someone’s Not Laughing

no laughing matter

No laughing matter.

If you get a chance check out Dana Milbank’s column in today’s Washington Post.  He uses it to make fun of the Rand Paul plagiarism situation.  This is shows what the real peril is for Senator Paul as this story develops.

The problem isn’t that people like Milbank or Maddow don’t like Paul, if anything that helps him with the GOP base, it is that people start to think he is not ready for prime time.  Especially as someone who is relatively new to national politics Paul can’t have potential supporters thinking he is not able to withstand the pressure and susceptible to careless mistakes.

You can also bet Paul’s opponents will use this to pile on.  Prominent neo-con Bill Kristol is already using this to say Paul is not Presidential caliber.  Don’t be surprised if this continues for a while.


George Will Overhypes Robert Sarvis

The Washington Post has carried another flow piece on Libertarians.  Unlike articles like this or this the Post was able to get veteran columnist George Will to lay it on this time.  Will’s piece looks at Libertarian Robert Sarvis who is running for Governor in Virginia.

How much does Will lay it on?  He even compares Sarvis to William F. Buckley’s campaign for New York City mayor in 1965 saying:

William Buckley won only 13.4 percent of the 1965 mayoralty vote, but he energized a growing constituency and legitimized the practice of voting outside the confines of traditional political choices. Five years later, the New York Conservative Party’s U.S. Senate candidate — Buckley’s brother Jim — was elected with 38.8 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

Is the implication that Sarvis will plant the seeds of a Libertarian or similar third party candidate to win in Virginia eventually?

This seems as likely as Will’s beloved Chicago Cubs winning the World Series next year.  Had either party put up someone else (Bill Bolling for the GOP or Chap Petersen for the Democrats) Sarvis wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar screen.  Faced with those other choices the dissatisfied Republicans who are most of Sarvis’s  supporters would be firmly in the camp of either Bolling or Petersen.

If Will really wanted to say something interesting about Virginia he could talk about how one party uses less than 10,000 people to pick their nominees for statewide office and the other party, at least temporarily, seems to have a pretty weak bench.  Keeping in mind of course that these are political parties in what is now a very competitive Presidential swing state.

All in all, aside from getting kicked off the Cuccinelli-family Christmas card list I really don’t see the point of Will’s piece.

Backlash In Utah?

Mike Lee doesn’t grab the headlines like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul but he is a major figure in the Tea Party.  If for no other reason than his victory over then-incumbent Senator Bob Bennett was a sign of their growing influence in the party.  Bennett had been in the Senate for 18 years and was part of a very powerful family in Utah, so for anyone to defeat him was a big shock.

Now three years later the Washington Post reports some Utah business leaders and Republican party figures have soured on Lee and his more confrontational approach.  Is this the sign of a backlash in the GOP against the Tea Party?

The key point from the article is that Lee’s opponents are trying to change the nomination process.  If they can get the Utah to move away from a convention system for picking nominees to a primary this could make Lee vulnerable.  He won the GOP nomination in a convention and most people think if it had been a primary instead Bennett would still be in the Senate.

Like many things in politics this may come down to who can write the rules.  If it stays a convention Lee should be fine but if it goes to a primary the Tea Party favorite may have a problem.

No Shock There

In a move that will surprise no one, the Washington Post endorsed Terry McAuliffe.  Cuccinelli was not counting on this endorsement but it does help extend McAuliffe’s momentum.  No doubt every Democrat and independent who lives in Northern Virginia will be hearing about this one.

Over the next few weeks we will surely see the Washington Post issuing endorsements in the races for Lt. Governor and Attorney General.  I would be absolutely stunned if they didn’t endorse the Democratic candidates in those races.

That’s a Pretty Easy Question to Answer

Congressman Ted Yoho has a problem. He needs someone, anyone to convince him why we need to raise the debt ceiling.  That’s a pretty simple one, Congressman.  If we don’t raise the debt ceiling the global economy is fucked.

There are numerous policy blogs that can explain that in greater detail.   Erza Klein makes a living doing that over at the Washington Post so feel free to go check his stuff out sometime.

Politically statements like this must terrify anyone at the Republican National Committee  who has a brain.  Being the party associated with the U.S. defaulting means would be an electoral nightmare.  Outside of the core of the GOP voters would punish the party for years if they had that label.

So maybe another answer for Congressman Yoho is that unless he wants to be one of 100 Republicans in the House of Representatives he might want to raise the debt ceiling.

WaPo Calls Cooch Out

In today’s Washington Post their editorial page calls out Cuccinelli over his appearance with Ted Cruz tonight.  The interesting point they make in the piece is:

Mr. Cuccinelli has tried, unconvincingly, to split the difference, and his handlers have been at pains to emphasize that the Family Foundation dinner is not a campaign event…

We suspect that if Mr. Cuccinelli or Mr. Jackson were in the Senate, rather than on the statewide ballot this year, they would have no trouble siding with Mr. Cruz and the other conservative absolutists who have forced the government to its knees. There is very little in either man’s background to suggest they’d embrace pragmatism over what they regard as principle.

The big question is whether McAuliffe and the Democrats can take advantage of this and rally voters who are fed up with shutdown.  If McAuliffe can link his opponent to Ted Cruz, who aside from Boehner is fast becoming the face of the shutdown, that might pay great political dividends.  Of course, if they can then it might be enough to scare the Congressional GOP into finally reaching a settlement.  After all if it works in Virginia, how well could it work in California, Michigan, New York, or Ohio?


Did the Old Needle Move In the Old Dominion

With the Cooch v. Big Mac debate over in Virginia it’s time for a recap.  Biggest reaction was that no one moved the needle with undecideds.  First, undecideds didn’t watch.  Second, both stuck to their key messages that have already failed to excite people who are undecided.

If anyone “won” I would say Cuccinelli did a little better.  Given he has run for office more than McAuliffe and argued cases in court that is expected.  Did Cooch score a knock out? No.  It wasn’t Kerry v. Bush 2004 or Romney v. Obama 2012.  It might have been a narrow decision on points but that isn’t going to be enough to dramatically alter the race.

Going forward it seems both campaigns are just going to carpet bomb Virginia with the same messages over and over.

If anything the big winners of the night were Virginia t.v. stations and Bobby Sarvis (I will call him Bobby from now on because that is much more likable name than Robert).