Tim Griffin leads. (The frustration of Democrats watching a figure in the fired U.S. attorneys scandal AND the 2004 voter caging story glide into Congress is palpable.)
Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle's week of less-than-glowing media comes to an end with a statement pushing back against this story, and the allegation that her campgin blew off a reporter by calling him an "idiot" and something else.
"I think what the government has done has been totally mis-focused," said McKinney. "What I hear when I turn on my radio, is a stupid statement some congressman made, and that's what everyone focuses on. There's a lot of finger pointing and a lot of blame, but everyone agrees we've got to finish the relief well and get to the bottom of why this disaster happened."
The "chumps" quote came from my conversation with Bachmann on Tuesday -- Democrats, bursting with joy after a year of being labeled the "party of TARP," are conflating opposition to the BP fund with a desire to defend BP.
Who is this supposed to appeal to? It's far too patronizing to convince African Americans. I actually caught most of Alvin Greene's interview with Tom Joyner this week, after which Joyner and his hosts grimly discussed how depressing it was to see this buffoon earn the title of "first black U.S. Senate candidate in South Carolina history." Does it convince white conservatives?
Like the first worker who visited my house, the second was confused about the aggressive nature of the state. I explained to her that, as Ludwig von Mises observed, all government action ultimately resorts to the use or threat of aggression.
One problem: Because the citations are lumped at the bottom, not graph-for-graph, it's unclear which numbers are real and which have been circulated in flawed anti-immigration e-mails and web sites. I've asked the company about this and will post a response if/when I get it.
The first response I see comes from Eric Burns of Media Matters, whose presence in the documentary irritated activists, and who has put out a statement challenged Proctor and Gamble to "refuse to be taken hostage by the extreme anti-government fringe."
We have a legal system to ensure that corporations are held accountable. We have free market aspects that ensure that in civil and criminal matters. We have a legal system to deal with it. Now the executive branch has just said the legislative branch, the judicial branch, neither matter.
"I would reinstate the Mexico City policy," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told me Wednesday, removing an uncertainty of his own creation. Promoting abortion with international family planning funds is one of "a thousand things we shouldn't be spending money on."
What's wrong with the questions Baca is asking? He's repeating statements from Angle that reflect what tea partyers think -- that Social Security is unsustainable without privatization, that the EPA should abolished, etc. Instead of talking about those things and defending them, Angle boxes them out as distractions from the question of whether Reid has failed or not. Not a great strategy as long as reporters will keep asking; not the way she's built credibility with activists.
Let me just repeat something a few conservatives who were active during the Clinton years have told me. If Republicans win the House, it will be because voters grew disgusted with the Democrats' priorities during a deep recession -- why spend so much time on health care, cap-and-trade and the rest of it instead of job creation? Why not focus, as Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) likes to say, on "jobs, jobs, jobs"?
Bob Menendez grudgingly accepts the Alvin Greene disaster.
North Carolina GOP consultant Carter Wrenn says that Republicans -- namely, the NRCC -- have figured it out. The last I checked, every party committee and conservative group in D.C. was denying knowledge, and the two men in the video were holding their identity from Big Government (which, despite what others have reported, had nothing to do with the actual filming or staging of the video). At this point, with Etheridge taking a hit from the story, it's only in his interest to get their identities, in order to apologize to them.
After Rep. Joe Barton apologized for criticizing the way BP had been treated politically, I asked two Republican members to address the substance of his remarks -- that the government's creation of a $20 billion escrow fund, with BP's money, amounted to a "shakedown."
"The oil spill in the Gulf is this nation’s largest natural disaster and stopping the leak and cleaning up the region is our top priority," said the leaders. "Congressman Barton’s statements this morning were wrong. BP itself has acknowledged that responsibility for the economic damages lies with them and has offered an initial pledge of $20 billion dollars for that purpose."
"I'd call it extortion!" Phillips said, referring to the fund. "If I tried something like that, I'd be looking at a long sentence in a federal prison. There is a legal system in place to assign liability and assess damages. The regime simply wants to bypass that. By hammering BP, they can draw attention away from their own incompetence. What I think it more damaging than the spill itself is the drilling moratorium, which will put more people out of work and put more upward pressure on oil prices."
The elusive (although not to conservatives) GOP U.S. Senate nominee in Nevada will speak at the next National Tea Party Convention in Las Vegas, a larger (although Sarah Palin-less) sequel to the Nashville convention that represented a sort of coming-out for the movement.
Dale Peterson fell short in his viral-video-fueled campaign for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner, but he returned this morning with a new, gun-slinging endorsement of his rival, John McMillan.
Talking tea parties and more on ABC's TopLine
The latest Quinnipiac Poll, however, shows that Christie's confrontations, coupled with a steady drumbeat of criticism from unions, have voters split on whether he's doing a good job and whether he's a "bully" -- this is, by and large, they oppose the cuts he's campaigning for. His most popular ideas: a constitutional amendment to limit property tax hikes (a 42-point margin of support) and a limit on salary increases for teachers (a 27-point margin). The rest of his agenda hits a wall, for all the good that's doing Democrats -- they are, down the line, far less popular than him. (The only popular Democrat statewide is President Barack Obama.)
"Not only is the compensation fund that was created yesterday... not a slush fund, and not a shakedown, rather it was the government of the United States working to protect the most vulnerable citizens we have in our country right now. It is BP's spill, but it is America's ocean."
The post-award reception drew in dozens of powerful beltway conservatives, such as Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, Cato Instute president Ed Crane, anti-racial preferences activist Ward Connerly, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, American Spectator R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., and former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, who now leads the Free Congress Foundation long run by the late Paul Weyrich.
"These attacks are wrong, misleading and disingenuous," says Anna Puig of Kitchen Table Patriots in the statement. "The propaganda piece only serves a left-wing agenda, and I will do everything I can to convince Dawn to stop funding MSNBC’s lies. I'm asking Tea Party groups around the country to help us in this effort. Individual Tea Party members will be boycotting Dawn products until the company takes appropriate action regarding the decision to advertise during the Hardball hit piece, and ceases funding MSNBC.”
Tea partyers launch the National Association for the Advancement of Conservative People of All Colors.
Conservatives have allies in the House GOP conference, who are reportedly dismayed over the sell-out while not going out of their way to attack the NRA. This afternoon, however, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) hinted at his position by sending members of his Twitter feed to a Wall Street Journal editorial with an unmistakable slant: "The NRA sells out to Democrats on the First Amendment."
Tommy Christopher takes his camera to a Media Matters party for Bill Press and asks the host and the 2nd and 3rd ranking members of the Democratic leadership the question that spurred Rep. Bob Etheridge's (D-N.C.) meltdown.
I'm talking with the HotAir blogger on his live show.
Via the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, this Sarah Palin interview on "The O'Reilly Factor" is tough to watch. I don't say that out of satisfaction. I said on MSNBC's "Countdown," the day Palin attacked Joe McGinniss, that I was disappointed by Palin's use of her megaphone to hype that story instead of talking about the disaster in the gulf. It's not clear, in this interview, that she has much to say.
Ben Smith notes that Joel Pollak, a recent Harvard Law grad running for Congress against the (for all intents and purposes) unassailable Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), is trumpeting an endorsement from Alan Dershowitz and attracting some attention from J Street. Indeed, the Dershowitz endorsement -- officially announced on May 24 -- is all about the politics of Israel. But you've probably heard Pollak before. He was the "conservative student" who grilled Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) about his stewardship of economic policy in the run-up to the financial crisis.
"Everybody was feigning moral outrage," said Armey. "I happen to like Dick Durbin. He's Irish. And I found myself feeling sorry for Dick. This isn't fair. Poor old Dick. He made a gaffe. So what? Then I thought, wait a minute, I remember when I was on the floor of the House and made a gaffe, and who was the guy screaming in my face and condemning me to the fires of the damned, for now and for ever, in moral outrage beyond any dimensions I could muster? It was Dick Durbin. So I said, the hell with it! He dishes it out, he can take it."
After the event, Angle stopped only for photos and chats with supporters -- one of whom warned her about a conservative journalist who wanted to nail her on some of the stories about her past career in politics. As she headed out of the building, a TV camera popped up in her view.
Kristol suggested that the GOP's fate would be reflected in whether its governors were "perceived to be succeeding" by 2012. "I think Republicans are in trouble in 2012 if these governors are blowing up and unsuccessful."
You never hear Democrats talk about the Greens when they talk about this race. How'd they make the ballot, anyway? Go back to 2006, when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) was bidding for re-election. His approval ratings were low, and some of the scandals that would bring him down in 2008 were beginning to percolate. But it was a landslide year for Democrats, and Republican candidate Judy Barr Topinka never got off the launchpad. So 10.5% of the electorate cast protest votes for Rich Whitney, the Green Party's candidate.
Angle is continuing to talk to conservative media outlets, though -- none are interested in asking about damaging stories appearing at places like TPM, but none are able to let her go without something strange coming out. For example, her chat with NRO's Robert Costa includes more more musings about Social Security privatization and, interestingly, a deflection of the charge that she backed a Scientology-sponsored prisoner rehab program that more or less defends the (please, nobody sue me) religion often accused of cultish tactics.
Radley Balko backs Sen. Sam Brownback's (R-Kan.) proposed "office of the repealer" in Kansas. Adele Stan sees Constitution Party politics connecting Sharron Angle and Rand Paul. David Petraeus faints. Rush Limbaugh calls Democrats -- including James Clyburn, I guess --...
Peter Hamby, CNN's stellar on-the-scene producer, talks to South Carolina pols and evangelicals to suss out how much voters are worrying about front-runner Nikki Haley's religion -- something the Haley campaign tipped its hand on, by repeatedly updating the language about her religion on its Web site. If there's a hurdle, it's Haley's decision to keep attending the occasional Sikh service -- the only problem raised by Hamby's sources.
King's team is taken aback by this. When I asked about it earlier today, I was met with confusion about what the issue was; a King spokesman explains to the Des Moines Register that he's being misinterpreted without explaining what the misinterpretation is, exactly.
After she spoke at a Heritage Foundation luncheon, I asked ep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) if she supported the effort within Congress to lift a cap on BP's liability and ensure that the oil company pays for all claims once the disaster is over.
"The push to say this is the fault of the energy people, this is the fault of the last president -- I don't recollect our president on 9/11 going to New York and blaming it on Bill Clinton," said Hall, shaking his head. "He had more class than to do that."
Make sure to catch the back-handed compliment from one reporter: "You've learned well from Rand Paul."
"My staff found the piece on YouTube and posted it on our website," said LI president Morton Blackwell. "I hope Congressman Etheridge didn’t hurt the arm of the fellow who was trying to interview him."
"That contest is won," said Benton. "He won the primary and he didn't take money from bailed out senators. Now they're coming to support him, and he's not going to turn down support for Republicans. They're not looking for a seat at his table. They're supporting him because of his positions, and because of his steadfast commitment to principles."
In a statement going out later today, Norquist calls the group "an important part of the conservative movement." No surprise there. Norquist has always made common cause with almost anyone on the right who's fiscally conservative, even as his Wednesday meetings of the movement include representatives of social conservative groups who are at loggerheads with GOProud. Here you've got the fledgling gay group winning another seat at the table, and a leader of the conservative movement pulling the chair out for them.
It's frustrating for party strategists to realize that its electorate is so sleepy, their candidates so disengaged, that stuff like this can happen. But the day after Greene won, before this spinning started, DSCC Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) explained that Democrats simply didn't engage in the race.
That's a sample of the 256 e-mails I got about this, from people who decided that the proper outlet for their anger at a congressman who roughed up an a kid asking a question he didn't like was to attack a media outlet that didn't condemn him loudly enough. They -- and, sadly, some once-influential bloggers -- insisted that a good journalist would have taken the video at face value and fired off a bunch of invective about the congressman.
There's almost no daylight between Lee and Bridgewater on the issues -- the campaign in the state has been defined, occasionally, by mudslinging over tactics instead of tests of ideology. But tea party activists like Lee because he's younger, has experience as a lawyer working on constitutional issues, and hasn't run for office before. Bridgewater, a twice-unsuccessful candidate for other offices, has locked up more local establishment support.
Megan McArdle and Peter Suderman get married, and tweeted.
Considering the years of rumors about a big-budget adaptation of "Atlas Shrugged" -- which has become a hit again in the age of the tea party -- this is pretty small scale.
"They could be students who are trackers," Flynn said. "I don't think it matters. He's being asked whether he supports the leader of his party -- it's not like he's being called a baby killer or something. To react like that? I mean, who doesn't know not to do this stuff at this point."
This is actually a bit unusual in Washington. Politicians can expect journalists or political operatives, some armed with cameras, to occasionally lie in wait for them outside of fundraisers. Sometimes they strike gold, as when Republican trackers captured video of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley exiting a lobbyist fundraiser and one of the then-Senate candidate's aides accidentally pushing reporter John McCormack over a railing.
Bob Etheridge apologizes for 'my reaction' to students with camera.
Rand Paul: I passed my ophthalmology certification, but took a stand against the way the board operates
"Is it fair that the ophthalmologist down the street can claim board certification, without renewing it, but that a younger ophthalmologist, who passed the same boards, is disallowed?" asks Paul, explaining why he let his certification lapse. "This is the kind of hypocritical power play that I despise and have always fought against. It reminds me of congress passing health care legislation but exempting themselves from their own laws."
"It must be such a whirlwind experience for you," says co-host Gretchen Carlson, "someone who really has not been in politics before, and suddenly you are running against one of the most powerful politicians in the United States."
From "illegal" to "disappointing" in 60 seconds!
Last week Rep. Bob Etheridge ran into two self-described students with video cameras, lying in wait outside of a fundraiser.
Besides Reid and Angle, there are three independents, an American Independent Party candidate, and a so-called Tea Party candidate on the ballot, as well as a "none of the above" option. Tea Party groups spent good money and time getting the "tea party" candidate's numbers down to low single digits.
Second, I'm not sure Barber's argument here makes sense. His pitch to the founders is an jeremiad against the IRS and "what they call a progressive income tax" (although what else you could call a tax on income that hits high wage earners harder than low wage earners is a mystery). He appeals to Washington as the owner of a distillery who "knows how tough it is to run a small business without a tyrannical government on your back." But President Washington presided over, and approved, the first tax levied by the federal government -- the 1791 whiskey tax. When the tax met resistance, he approved the assembling of militias to enforce the law and mobilization of agents to collect the revenue. So the Barber daydream of Washington angrily ordering a "gathering of armies" to oppose a tax is... well, entertaining, I guess.