GOP memo brags: We gerrymandered so well we won the House even though we got fewer votes!!!
House Republicans are huddling right now to strategize and soul search at their annual retreat, in Williamsburg, VA. Presumably over the next two days they'll settle upon a strategy for confronting President Obama over the debt limit and the need to fund the government at the end of March.
If you're wondering where John Boehner comes down on these questions, I think this is a decent clue.
That's Boehner's deputy chief of staff David Schnittger promoting an article by former Denny Hastert spokesman John Feehery. Supposedly RTs don't equal endorsements on Twitter, but Feehery's advice won't sit well with House conservatives.
To get you ready for the big holiday weekend in DC, photo highlights of the 2009 inauguration.
Back in the summer of 2009 we had the first glimmer of the coming politics of the Obama era in the raucus and whackadoodle townhall meetings when Tea Partiers, occasionally bearing assault weapons, turned out to fight the onslaught of health care reform. And I'm starting to think that we're heading toward something similar with guns (and possibly, though we haven't gotten to it yet, over immigration reform).
Here are some stories just over the last few days hours.
Texas AG invites gun-loving New Yorkers to move to Texas.
Mississippi Governor and House Speaker wants to use the pre-Civil War (and unconstitutional) theory of 'interposition and nullification' to nullify federal gun laws within the sovereign state of Mississippi.
Tennessee state Rep. wants to arrest federal agents who try to enforce federal gun laws in Tennessee.
Texas Congressman threatens impeachment over potential Obama executive order.
NRA attacks President and President's daughters in new gun ad.
So where do you think this is going? Share your thoughts with me and I'll print responses here at the Editor's Blog.
You already know that immigration reform and gun control are two of the major Obama agenda items for the second term, but the White House is insisting that climate change will be one, too. There's just very little objective evidence that's true in the sense most people understand it.
There's a difference, of course, between making an issue a major priority and advancing major legislation on it. It's partly semantic, but not entirely. A president can elevate an ignored or latent issue by making it a major priority and still get tangible things done short of major legislation. But we're well past the point now where we need to raise awareness on climate change or introduce it into the national political conversation.
A lot more clarity now from Al Franken's office about his position on an assault weapons ban. A newspaper report in Minnesota initially made it sound like Franken was declining to take a position on the issue. But his office released a subsequent statement responding to the President's new gun control proposals.
The key part: "I also support the principle that we should reinstate a ban on assault weapons, and I will carefully review any proposal to do that. We need to make sure we don't have weapons out there that are really designed for the battlefield, and not for hunting."
Full statement here.
Aaron Wiener has a fascinating piece out on how Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which oversees the District of Columbia, has defied all expectations and developed the best working relationship with D.C. officials since Home Rule began 40 years ago.
Jon Stewart on the NRA "hypocrite" ad: "I swear to you, if I didn't know any better, and I'm not a big conspiracy guy, after seeing that ad, I would think the NRA is either an elaborate, avant-garde, Joaquin Phoenix-style joke, or a false flag operation run by Michael Moore in an attempt to discredit responsible gun owners."
Al Franken's spokesperson, on whether the senator will support an assault weapons ban:
"I guess I don't have an answer for you.He's been listening to Minnesota, trying to be thoughtful on this and trying to get input from people from a wide spectrum of views."
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott takes out ads inviting gun loving New Yorkers to join him in the Lone Star State.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) disavows role in passage of the voting law which severely constricted early voting opportunities in Florida last year.
A Democratic Senate Chief of Staff writes in with this question ...
I can't figure this out, but if the Senate Democrats are going to take the heat for the "nuclear/constitutional" option on filibuster reform, what argument is there for enacting a half-way measure like the one apparently being advanced by Harry Reid? The political heat we'll take will be the same either way, so why not enact the "talking filibuster?" I can't figure it out, and I work here.
I can't figure it out either. If you're going to do it, why not really do it?
Here's the just-released statement from the NRA in response to President Obama's gun control proposals:
Jon Stewart on Clarence Thomas breaking his seven-year silence on the bench:
Filibuster reformers have settled on a compromise proposal advanced by Harry Reid that falls short of their objectives but goes beyond an alternative proposal that would have watered down reforms further.
House Republicans contain multitudes. But in a way the story of their majority is about the deterioration of the relationship between the conference's right-most faction and the rest of the party -- and thus of the slow erosion of the party's influence over major policy.
This goes back to the early days of 2011, when House leaders would round up 218 Republican votes for big-deal bills, and use them as opening bids in negotiations with the White House and the Senate. They shifted the political center of gravity way to the right, such that even after Democrats made their demands heard, important bills would ultimately pass both chambers with the support of a majority of Republicans. If Democrats wanted to avoid a government shutdown, they had to be willing to accept legislation that was Hastert Rule compliant. That was pretty remarkable, considering the Republicans only controlled the House.
But the right-hard right alliance started showing signs of instability almost immediately.