Ahead of tonight's mostly meaningless New York gubernatorial debate, the political surrogates are doing anything they can to make the race between Andrew Cuomo and whatshisface anywhere close to interesting. "Andrew Cuomo won't debate Rob Astorino on TV one-on-one," says Vincent Pastore, best known for playing Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero on The Sopranos, in a YouTube video eagerly highlighted by the Republican campaign. "And they call me Big Pussy?" Oh snap.
With Governor Scott Walker locked in a tight race for reelection, what the state's Republicans really needed was someone from out of town to insult the electorate in front of a local newspaper. Enter RNC co-chair Sharon Day: "It's not going to be an easy election, it's a close election. Like I said, much closer than I can even understand why," she told a crowd at a GOP field office, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I don't want to say anything about your Wisconsin voters but, some of them might not be as sharp as a knife." Day, as the Hill notes, "was born in Texas, and has lived in Florida for decades," so she knows from sharp electorates. The RNC is lucky to have her around at crunch time.
When you interview random people, you come across all sorts of interesting ideas that don’t necessarily get reflected in the national debate. The New York Times has a deep reported story about social and economic change in Iowa, and the interviews with Iowans found a voter who is really not going to vote for Bruce Braley:
Susie Mayou, a 55-year-old conservative, described herself as heartsick that Democrats had carried Iowa in six of the last seven presidential elections. “If Iowa gave power based on land ownership, the state would swing 180 degrees,” she said. “The city people push the agenda.”
The civil-rights agenda really went off the rails sometime around the 18th century when they started taking away political privileges from the large landowners.
President Barack “Mr. Steal Your Girl” Obama was demonstrating the advantages of early voting in Chicago this morning when a man made the ill-advised decision to try and out-charm him. “Mr. President, don’t touch my girlfriend,” the guy joked as he passed the two in adjacent voting booths. At which point Obama turned the charisma up to 11 like it was 2007. “I really wasn’t planning on it,” said the president. “There’s an example of a brother just embarrassing me for no reason, just for no reason whatsoever.”
Last month, the woman behind a massive effort to transform Georgia from a GOP stronghold to a potential swing state this year got news she wasn’t expecting — her wildly successful voter-registration effort was being investigated for fraud. Now, two weeks before the election, she's locked in a fight with the state's election officials to make sure the people she registered are able to turn out on Election Day. Whether they're able to cast ballots could have major implications for the election. Both Michelle Nunn, the Democratic Senate candidate, and Jason Carter, the candidate for governor, are in extremely close races. The voter registration effort sought out mostly minority voters, and those voters tend to pick Democrats. In a close contest, their participation could determine whether the Democrats win.
This weekend, the Supreme Court, by its customary 5-4 partisan split, issued an emergency ruling upholding Republican-authored voter-identification laws in Texas. The Texas law, like other legislation resembling it elsewhere, imposes disproportionate burdens on poor and nonwhite voters — or, as the Republicans hope, non-voters.
Meanwhile, in what feels like unrelated news, Republicans continue to rack their brains for ideas to increase their share of the minority vote. Whatever could they do to convince these nonwhite Americans that the Grand Old Party has their best interests at heart? Rand Paul and Chris Christie, reports the Daily Beast, recently appeared at a Republican confab on Fifth Avenue, where they jostled to position themselves as the Party’s true hope for diversification. Earlier this spring, Paul tentatively questioned his party’s obsession with rooting out almost entirely imaginary voter fraud, but almost immediately retracted his heresy. (“I agree, there’s nothing wrong with [voter I.D. laws]," he told Sean Hannity. “To see Eric Holder, you’ve got to show your drivers license to get in the building. So I don’t really object to having some rules for how we vote.”) Christie has opposed measures to make voting easier, like same-day registration and early voting. They have a two-track approach to the minority vote: make it as hard as possible for them to vote, while simultaneously persuading those who do vote to vote for them.
ISIS, Khorasan, Ferguson, Gaza, Putin: The summer of 2014 had been deemed America’s “worst ever” well before Ebola, the Ray Rice video, and the Secret Service debacle kicked in. One sees the point even if it requires historical amnesia about other bad summers (like, say, that one with the Battle of Gettysburg). But you also have to ask: What was a great American summer, exactly? Lazy, hazy 2001, when a peaceful country and its new president nodded off through Labor Day, worrying about little more than an alleged uptick in shark attacks?
There are certain rules you have to play by in order to be a part of the Republican Party today, and one of the most important is never to say anything nice about Obamacare. Even if you are trying to push the party toward the center on Obamacare, you must pay fealty to the belief that the law is horrible and must be replaced. Ohio Republican governor John Kasich just committed the ultimate taboo:
George F. Will, award-winning columnist and distinguished Fox News panelist, is not a believer in the scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming. And once you’ve decided that scientists routinely make shit up in order to advance a nefarious bureaucratic progressive agenda, there’s no end to the number of new conspiracies you’re going to discover. Appearing yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Will explained to his incredulous co-panelists that Ebola is actually far easier to transmit than the authorities are letting on:
The phone is Andrew Cuomo’s instrument. Somehow distance brings out the governor’s full range of operatic inflections and rhetorical flourishes that he doesn’t deploy effectively in person. Today, on the phone, three weeks from Election Day, cruising toward a second term, he is in full Rodney Dangerfield mode.
“I passed gay marriage! I passed the toughest gun law in the country! I closed more prison cells than any governor in the history of the state! Minority job vouchers! My record of progressive accomplishment tops anyone!” Pause, dramatic reduction in volume. “Now, do you have some voices on the left that are impossible to placate in any realistic way? Yeah … Ask yourself: If he were more liberal, he would have done what? What more could I have possibly done? You’re gonna use the tax code just to take money from the rich and give it to the poor? That’s not liberalism. That’s confiscation! Liberalism was ‘Lift up the poor’ … The problem for liberals and progressives — of which I am proudly one — is you have to demonstrate you can actually do what you talk about. And that’s what I’ve been doing. My government works.”
Deep behind a tangle of denial and rebranding initiatives, a GOP resuscitation plan emerges.By Frank Rich
When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.By Jason Zengerle
Jon Favreau’s most enduring riffs.
Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013
For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.By Ezra Klein
Mother Jones Jan. 15, 2013
Our debt dysfunction began with the Constitution, funded Manifest Destiny, and makes the trillion dollar coin look tame.By Tim Murphy
Salon Jan. 15, 2012
Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.By Steve Kornacki
New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010
After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009
Obama drew progressive ire from day one.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008
How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.By Jeff Coplon