Ryan has votes to become Speaker

Becoming a speaker could likely be the end of Ryan.. the agenda of the Freedom Caucus will probably block him from day one..


The House Freedom Caucus (HFC) stopped short of formally endorsing Rep. Paul Ryan for Speaker on Wednesday but said a “super-majority” of the group backs him, handing the Wisconsin Republican enough votes to win the top leadership post.

About two-thirds of the conservative group backs Ryan for the Speakership — just shy of the 80 percent threshold needed for the caucus to issue a formal endorsement, said Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a co-founder and spokesman for the roughly 40-member bloc of conservatives.

“A super-majority of the Freedom Caucus has agreed to support Paul Ryan,” Labrador told reporters after an hour-long, closed-door caucus meeting. "The ball is now in Paul Ryan’s court.”


Battle for the Senate is a Toss Up

It still seems too close to call – but as they talked about on Meet the Press yesterday.. Hillary and other Democrats would love to run against a fully GOP controlled, but still dysfunctional and gridlocked Congress in 2016..


Just as some prominent election prognosticators seem ready to give Republicans the Senate, two forecasting models show the battle is essentially a toss up.

The Upshot now gives Republicans a 52% chance of winning control of the upper chamber, while Election Lab gives the GOP a 50% chance. The Votemaster also has the race as a toss up.

For comparison, FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans a 58% chance of taking the Senate.


What Kind of Senator Would Cory Booker Be?

We’ll see how Booker does in the Senate.. but based on his national appearances during the last two-three years, it could very well be a lot of splash, a lot of not understandig big picture politics, and a lot of being easily mislead by others in foils and plots.. speaking loudly and clumsily before thinking..



First Read: “Our educated guess – he would be a disruptor, in ways that could be interpreted as both good and bad, depending on your view of the U.S. Senate. You would see him partner with someone like Rand Paul on legislation; you would see him alienate some of the old bulls, both Democrats and Republicans (just like he alienated Lautenberg when he started to eye the seat before the incumbent said he wouldn’t run for re-election); and you would see him become the first true social-media senator (with his 1.4 million Twitter followers). So you could have a disruptive force in one of the government’s most orderly and decorous bodies. That could produce some interesting results and stories and surprising rivalries and surprising bedfellows.”

“The way Ted Cruz has lit up the right in his first 9 months, don’t be surprised if Booker becomes a liberal counterweight to Cruz. He’s unlikely to pursue the strategy that Hillary, Franken and Elizabeth Warren have all pursued or are pursuing and that is to keep a low profile in his first term. That’s not how Booker ticks.”

House Votes To Quash Obamacare, For The 40th Time : The Two-Way : NPR

This is shameful.. in hard times.. one party insists on voting 40 times to repeal a law that passed Congress and declared consitutional by the Supreme Court..

The chamber of the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives voted Friday for the 40th time since the law was passed in 2010.

The vote to gut the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — was a near-party-line 232-185 vote. And like the previous 39 times, this is a symbolic vote, because the Democratic-controlled Senate will not take up the measure.

White House Explains Rejecting $1 Trillion Coin

This might be the right way to do it… no tricks or WH fixes to this situation, just put all pressure on Congress. You spend, you pay.


Paul Krugman gets a call from the White House after they rejected the trillion dollar coin idea to stave off default on the nation’s bonds:

“The White House insists that it is absolutely, positively not going to cave or indeed even negotiate over the debt ceiling — that it rejected the coin option as a gesture of strength, as a way to put the onus for avoiding default entirely on the GOP.”

Wall Street Journal: “The White House also has rejected another escape clause: invoking the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution and borrowing more even if Congress hasn’t acted.”1hCzExu7NyI

More collapse in the House GOP

These are harsh words from Republican NY Rep. Peter King..

And chances are, that before March the fringe/koch’s caucus in the House have no friends left. The Debt Ceiling fight might end with overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress after the model from this week.

Which means the power might have started to shift back to the moderates and pragmatic center – where it belongs.


Peter King is shown here. | AP Photo

King said his colleagues ‘put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans.’ | AP Photo


New York Republican Rep. Peter King went to war with his Republican colleagues on Wednesday after leaders spiked a Hurricane Sandy relief bill, calling on New Yorkers to stop all donations to GOP House members.

“These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they’re out raising millions of dollars,” King said on Fox News. “They’re in New York all the time filling their pockets with money from New Yorkers. I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds. Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.”

6 takeaways from the second Brown-Warren debate

The debate last night was way better than the first one.. with a very good format by moderator David Gregory…. and more substantive back and forths… without the stop-watch dynamics of more structured debates..

And with strong moderation… cutting through…


But who won.. hard to say.. if Scott Brown’s “nice guy” image is a decisive point for his re-election… he’s not helping himself… with the tone and body language.. being aggressive and assertive.. to the point of bossy..

And Brown’s voting record and support for Scalia… might tip the balance against him in very blue Massachusetts… where Obama is polling at +30 at the moment… and could secure a Democratic Senate majority after November..

6 takeaways from the second Brown-Warren debate:

6 takeaways from the second Brown-Warren debate

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Democrat Elizabeth Warren squared off in their second debate Monday night at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. The 60-minute debate  hosted by NBC’s David Gregory wasn’t short on heated exchanges on many of the issues the candidates have been sparring over for months. Here are six takeaways from debate number 2: 

* “I am not a student in your classroom”: This quip from Brown will likely be the most talked about one-liner from the Monday debate.  After Warren listed the instances in which Brown voted against Democratic-backed bills, a back-and-forth ensued, as the senator tried to respond with a defense of his record. His line brought him some boos. For Brown, who is pitching himself as the likable candidate in this race, lines like this one could cut against the image he has carefully crafted.  

* Native American story kicks off debate (again): Just like in the first debate, Brown and Warren began with a back and forth over the Democrat’s claim to Native American heritage. Since the last debate, Brown has aired two ads on the matter, and Warren has responded with one of her own.

Polls show the issue isn’t hurting Warren on its own. Brown, perhaps recognizing the danger of overplaying his hand, made sure to mention the importance of jobs and the economy in the campaign before calling on Warren to release her personnel records to substantiate her claim that she has never benefited professionally from her heritage. 

* Brown mentions Scalia: When asked who his model Supreme Court justice is, Brown paused before naming Antonin Scalia, who hails from the conservative wing of the high court. As the audience reacted with gasps and some boos, he quickly named others, including Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Sonia Sotomayor (whom President Obama nominated). But the first name that came to Brown’s mind will likely be fodder for charges by Warren’s camp that Brown is too far to the right, especially given the state’s Democratic tilt. 


Republicans bet the House on staying on offense

Winning the House for Democrats still seems like a far fetched dream….picking up 25 seats… but the GOP majority could be a lot less next session… and the Republican spending so far indicates a belief in a replay of 2010… going on offense on Democratic Districts… instead of securing their own…

Republicans bet the House on staying on offense:

Republicans bet the House on staying on offense


If the GOP’s House majority is in jeopardy, somebody forgot to tell the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The NRCC, the committee charged with keeping Republicans in control of the House, is spending nearly as much on offensive opportunities as on defense so far this cycle. That’s despite Democrats’ predictions that they could take 25 seats from Republicans and regain the majority.

Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa) is one of several House Democrats targeted by a Republican party that’s playing offense in 2012. (David Greedy/Getty Images)

To this point, the NRCC has spent about 39 percent of its money pursuing Democratic-held districts and 47 percent defending Republican-held districts, according to a Fix review of reports from the committee’s independent expenditure arm, which spends nearly all of the money going to individual races.

Democrats, by comparison, are playing more than twice as much offense as defense, spending 62 percent of their funds in GOP-held districts and 28 percent defending their own districts.

It was clear from the beginning of this election cycle that the 2012 race would be fought largely on GOP terrain; Republicans took 63 seats from Democrats in 2010 and have their biggest majority in six decades, so most of the traditionally competitive districts are held by a Republican.

But Republicans have played a surprising amount of offense, and that could wind up looking like either a stroke of genius or a huge mistake.