Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Last Call From Mooseland

Apparently Alaska teabillies really, really want Democratic Sen. Mark Begich to win re-election in 2014, because guess who they're drafting to run against him?

A group of tea partiers is hoping Sarah Palin will challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in 2014, when he is up for reelection. “We know that, with Sarah in the Senate, conservatives across America can rest a little easier at night knowing that she’s at the watch,” said Todd Cefaratti of the Tea Party Leadership Fund, in a fundraising email to supporters.

“You and I both know that Sarah Palin is a fighter who will stand up to Harry Reid and his pals in the Senate to protect our Constitution in issues like amnesty, gun control and our nation’s crushing debt,” Cefaratti wrote.

Only one little problem...

But the Los Angeles Times, which obtained the email, reports that Palin might not have the “clear path” to victory that the Tea Party Leadership Fund says she does. A February PPP poll had Begich’s approval rating at 49 percent, and winning in a potential match-up against Palin by a margin of 54-37 percent

Now Begich's approval numbers have taken a hit recently thanks to being one of the few Dems who ran away like a punkass coward (sorry Mark, it's true) from gun control legislation in the Senate last month.

But I'm willing to bet that Begich can still handily beat Gov. Quittina McHalfterm, and I'll back him all the way over her.  Of course, I'd back a jar of pickles over Moose Lady, so there's that.

In For One Hell Of A Rubio Awakening

Sen. Marco Rubio is finding out that hard truth about the bigots in his own party:  their votes on legislation count just as much as his.

Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged Tuesday on a conservative radio talk show that the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill won’t likely pass the Republican-led House.

The comments from Rubio, perhaps the most influential congressional Republican on immigration, illustrate the challenges facing the prospects for reform after months of private negotiations by a bipartisan coalition of senators produced a wide-ranging, 844-page bill.

“The bill that’s in place right now probably can’t pass the House,” Rubio told Mike Gallagher, a nationally syndicated talk show host. “It will have to be adjusted, because people are very suspicious about the willingness of the government to enforce the laws now.”

And what does Rubio mean by "have to be adjusted"?

Rubio was inviting conservatives to offer proposed changes to strengthen the bill instead of trying to sink it altogether. But of course, given all of the different interest groups with a stake in the debate, changes from the right are likely to cause some consternation on the left that could further complicate negotiations.

So what about efforts in the House? Well, if conservatives there get what they want, it’s unlikely the Democratic Senate would sign off. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said last week he plans chart a narrower path by introducing several small-scale proposals. Democrats hoping for a broad proposal were instantly alarmed over the idea.

House Republicans don't see any downside to sinking immigration reform and blaming Obama.  Given that 90% of House Republicans will be re-elected in 2014, why should they care?  We, the voters, aren't going to do anything.  You're not going to vote your GOP Congressperson out, frankly.  they've rigged it so you can't (thanks, 2010 voters!)

House Republicans realize they can hang Rubio out to dry here, along with Latino voters.  This was always going to be the case with immigration, but as with gun control, the real goal is to get Senate Republicans to kill the deal so that House Republicans don't have to take a vote.  That plan seems to be well underway now...

The Shine Has Flaked Off...For Now

Steve Benen reminds us that at least in the short term, Republicans who blocked Manchin-Toomey are actually paying a price for it.  The main question is if it will matter 18 months from now.

Yesterday, Public Policy Polling noted that Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), on the heels of his support for a Republican filibuster on gun reforms, has become the nation's least popular senator. The new figures point to Flake having a dismal 32% approval rating.

Asked about his poor standing, Flake initially blamed PPP, questioning the pollster's accuracy, despite its impressive track record. Today, the Arizona senator took a different line.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has an interesting take on a recent poll by Democratic Public Policy Polling that showed his approval rating imploding after his recent vote against expanded background checks for gun purchases: It's probably right.
"Nothing like waking up to a poll saying you're the nation's least popular senator," Flake wrote on his Facebook page late Monday night. "Given the public's dim view of Congress in general, that probably puts me somewhere just below pond scum."

And yet Jeff Flake won't have to face voters until November 2018 at the earliest, five and half years from now.  You think Flake cares?  You think voters will remember?  Despite being a right-wing reactionary, he won by three points last year over Richard Carmona.  He may be in trouble now, but he's got a political lifetime to dig himself out of this hole, and the NRA will back him every step of the way.

He may be pond scum now, but in 2018, at least 45% of voters will say "Yeah, but he's our pond scum."


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