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Nov. 12, 2011, 3:29 p.m.

House Min. Lead­er John Boehner said in a speech at the AEI 9/30 that if GOP­ers “take con­trol in the midterm elec­tion, he will try to fun­da­ment­ally change the way the House is run to give both parties a fair hear­ing while mak­ing their do­ings more trans­par­ent.”

Boehner said he would re­quire “that the en­act­ment of any new pro­gram be ac­com­pan­ied by at least an equi­val­ent cut­back in an­oth­er pro­gram” in the same bill.

Boehner: “The House finds it­self in a state of emer­gency. This in­sti­tu­tion does not func­tion, does not de­lib­er­ate and seems in­cap­able of act­ing on the will of the people.”

Boehner “placed both” GOP­ers and Dems “in the cross hairs, ar­guing that both parties had en­gaged in the sins of ear­mark­ing, over­reach­ing and par­tis­an pet­ti­ness.”

DCCC spokes­per­son Ry­an Rudom­in­er: “John Boehner has about as much cred­ib­il­ity talk­ing about re­form­ing the sys­tem as Bernie Madoff does talk­ing about smart in­vest­ing” (Stein­hauer, New York Times, 9/30).

Boehner: “Mem­bers shouldn’t have to vote for big spend­ing in­creases at the Labor De­part­ment in or­der to fund Health and Hu­man Ser­vices. … What are we so afraid of? The more we do to avoid risk and pro­tect our mem­bers from tough votes, the more in­ef­fect­ive and po­lar­ized the in­sti­tu­tion be­comes” (Dinan, Wash­ing­ton Times, 9/30).

Not­ably, the speech lacked any ref­er­ence to Pres. Obama or Speak­er Nancy Pelosi.

Not So Fast

“Boehner ref­er­enced” Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and the “No Child Left Be­hind” act, which they worked on to­geth­er, “cit­ing it as ex­ample of how” he “would work across the aisle as Speak­er.” Boehner “has made this ref­er­ence to Miller on sev­er­al oc­ca­sions now. … Miller is hav­ing none of it.”

Miller: “Sadly, noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. Our work to­geth­er on No Child Left Be­hind was one mo­ment in time that has it­self been left be­hind. In fact, our work to­geth­er on that bill il­lus­trates an en­tirely op­pos­ite point than what the Minor­ity Lead­er would have us be­lieve. … The fact is, the only bi-par­tis­an mo­ment Rep. Boehner can point to is work­ing with me nine years ago on a bill Pres­id­ent Bush had made a pri­or­ity. Everything since has been par­tis­an op­pos­i­tion to is­sues of great im­port­ance” (Vorder­brueg­gen, Oak­land Tribune, 9/30).

Rep. Mi­chael Bur­gess (R-TX), on ABC’s “Top Line” 9/30, “said it would be ‘pre­ma­ture’ for mem­bers of his caucus to line up be­hind Boehner” for Speak­er “par­tic­u­larly when there’s likely to be so many new” GOP­ers com­ing to Con­gress.

Bur­gess: “Let’s see what hap­pens. Right now I’ll com­mit for vot­ing for a con­ser­vat­ive speak­er of the house. I’m go­ing to try to pick the most con­ser­vat­ive can­did­ate that’s out there, and we’ll see what hap­pens” (Klein, ABC News, 9/30).

The Happy Hour Di­vide

A new Gal­lup poll re­leased 9/30 un­der­scored the pos­sib­il­ity that the ‘12 GOP pres. primary could di­vide the GOP along the same lines of class and edu­ca­tion that defined the ‘08 race between Obama and Sec/State Hil­lary Clin­ton.

The poll shows a sharp edu­ca­tion­al di­vide between the sup­port for ex-MA Gov. Mitt Rom­ney (R) and ex-AK Gov. Sarah Pal­in (R). Among po­ten­tial GOP primary voters without a col­lege de­gree, Pal­in ran about even with Rom­ney, but Rom­ney lead Pal­in among those with a four-year col­lege de­gree and those with post-gradu­ate de­grees, the lat­ter group by al­most 3-to-1. Edu­ca­tion rep­res­en­ted a clear fault line in Pal­in’s ap­peal. His­tor­ic­ally, such a fis­sure along edu­ca­tion­al lines, between “wine track” and “beer track” can­did­ates, has oc­curred more reg­u­larly in the Dem than the GOP.

One seni­or strategist for an­oth­er likely ‘12 GOP con­tender says the grow­ing pres­ence of pop­u­list, so­cially con­ser­vat­ive, blue-col­lar GOP voters is en­lar­ging the op­por­tun­ity for a can­did­ate like Pal­in to win the nom­in­a­tion.

An­oth­er GOP strategist sym­path­et­ic to Rom­ney agreed that the cur­rent in the party this year is run­ning to­ward out­sider can­did­ates with the sort of anti-elit­ist ap­peal that Pal­in has em­phas­ized. But, he said, by 2012, that could change.

The strategist: “What we have seen over the last few cycles is that every two years we see the elect­or­ate go on one course and then there is a cor­rec­tion. … The cor­rec­tion could be back to­ward, ‘we’ve got­ten that out of our way and what about the elect­ab­il­ity and com­pet­ence and who is go­ing to be the Mr. Fix It and can of­fer some kind of ex­pert­ise on get­ting things done or chan­ging things’” (Brown­stein, Con­gress­Daily, 10/1).

Keep­ing Fear (Of Con­ser­vat­ives) Alive

Na­tion­al Journ­al’s Starobin writes: The Rad­ic­al Right is back. The move­ment has re­turned, if not to the cen­ter of Amer­ic­an polit­ics, then to some wor­ri­some place not all that far from the main­stream.

Ar­gu­ments that Obama is some­how un-Amer­ic­an, a Muslim and a So­cial­ist are, if any­thing, in­tensi­fy­ing. Such sus­pi­cions about Obama are part of a wider and swell­ing cluster of anxi­et­ies of a tra­di­tion­al nat­iv­ist type, re­flec­ted in an earli­er age by cit­izens wor­ried about the in­flux of Cath­ol­ic im­mig­rants in big cit­ies in the North. The core nat­iv­ist ques­tion, a staple of the mod­ern Rad­ic­al Right, is al­ways the same: Who is a real Amer­ic­an? For a new gen­er­a­tion of politi­cians, “ex­trem­ism in the de­fense of liberty” is again no vice.

An eco­nom­ic re­cov­ery, if and when it ar­rives in full force, can be ex­pec­ted to take the edge off nat­iv­ist at­ti­tudes. But it is very un­likely that re­cov­ery will al­to­geth­er stanch such sen­ti­ments. In the first place, the 9/11 at­tacks re­main as a root source of Amer­ic­an fears of the “oth­er,” fed by the plaus­ible pos­sib­il­ity of new at­tacks.

On top of the na­tion­al se­cur­ity and eco­nom­ic wor­ries, a third real­ity is stir­ring anxi­et­ies among some on the Right. The US is in the midst of a demo­graph­ic trans­ition in which non-His­pan­ic, white Caucasi­ans — tra­di­tion­ally the base of the Rad­ic­al Right — are de­clin­ing as a share of the total pop­u­la­tion. The evol­u­tion is stok­ing con­cerns that white people, once the main source of ra­cism, will be­come the tar­get.

It’s im­port­ant to note that nat­iv­ist sen­ti­ments are by no means con­fined to the GOP or parts of the con­ser­vat­ive move­ment. In­deed, the GOP has the great­er his­tor­ic­al claim as the party of tol­er­ance, with its found­ing on an anti-slavery plat­form in the 1850s. In re­cent dec­ades, however, nativ­ism has been evid­ent largely in vari­ous pre­cincts of the Right.

Today Obama; to­mor­row, well, how about Rom­ney? He is a Mor­mon — and as such, a mem­ber of a church that some Amer­ic­ans, not­ably some evan­gel­ic­al Prot­est­ants, have long viewed as a cult and not au­then­tic­ally Chris­ti­an. Polit­ic­al writer Lee Har­ris, not­ing the im­port­ance of the Re­li­gious Right con­stitu­ency in the GOP: “I find it amaz­ing that people think Rom­ney is go­ing to get any­where.”

If the Cold War era is any guide, at some point the Rad­ic­al Right will bring forth a Rad­ic­al Left — a re­ac­tion to a re­ac­tion. But at this junc­ture, the fever is mainly on the Right. At some point, the fever will break; it al­ways does. The only ques­tion, as ever, is what wreck­age it will leave be­hind (10/2).

BREAK­ING NEWS: Spe­cif­ics

House GOP­ers’ Pledge to cut $100B “from the fed­er­al budget next year would slash spend­ing for edu­ca­tion, can­cer re­search and aid to loc­al po­lice and fire­fight­ers.”

“Keep­ing the midterm-cam­paign prom­ise would re­quire” GOP­ers “to cut” 21% of the $477B “ear­marked for do­mest­ic dis­cre­tion­ary spend­ing. … Dems warn that the prom­ised cuts would lead to dra­mat­ic re­duc­tions in so­cial ser­vices across the board.”

Rep. Rob An­drews (D-NJ): “This would have sig­ni­fic­ant real-world con­sequences. I don’t see any way there isn’t a hit on col­lege stu­dents,” he said. “I don’t see any way there isn’t some hit on loc­al po­lice and fire.”

Pro­grams on a po­ten­tial fir­ing range: A 21% “cut across the board would take about” $15B from edu­ca­tion. A 21% “cut in Pell Grants would take al­most” $5B from stu­dent tu­ition. The same cut at the NIH “would take about” $6B “from health re­search.” Po­lice could lose $400M.

But with such a large de­fi­cit and the GOP push­ing an ex­ten­sion of the Bush tax cuts for those mak­ing over $250K, Dems and GOP­ers fear “that spend­ing cuts alone won’t bal­ance the budget” (O’Con­nor, Bloomberg, 10/1).

An­oth­er Mil­lion

News Corp con­trib­uted $1M this sum­mer to the US Cham­ber of Com­merce, fol­low­ing an­oth­er $1M dona­tion to the RGA in June. “In the past,” News Corp has “spread its dona­tions between can­did­ates of both parties.” The gifts raise “ques­tions among some me­dia crit­ics about wheth­er News Corp” has “crossed over an in­ap­pro­pri­ate line for a me­dia com­pany.”

News Corp spokes­per­sons “de­clined to com­ment on the cham­ber con­tri­bu­tion, or on wheth­er Fox chief Ro­ger Ailes… had a role in it,” a claim they denied in con­nec­tion with the earli­er RGA dona­tion (Smith, Politico, 9/30).

Don’t Be Such A Nancy

The House GOP camp op­er­a­tion is doub­ling down on their anti-Pelosi ef­forts in the fi­nal weeks of the cam­paign, bet­ting that (her) high neg­at­ives can serve to gal­van­ize an already aroused con­ser­vat­ive voter base.

In the past two weeks alone, the NR­CC has re­leased TV ads in 22 House races “either ty­ing” the Dem “can­did­ate to the speak­er or us­ing un­flat­ter­ing im­ages.” GOP “op­pon­ents are also high­light­ing Pelosi in at least two Sen­ate races where House Demo­crats are seek­ing statewide of­fice,” in­clud­ing Rep. Brad Ell­s­worth (D-IN) and Rep. Joe Ses­tak (D-PA).

Dem poll­ster John An­za­lone “dis­missed the strategy, say­ing that it didn’t work for” Dems “in the past and won’t work” for GOP­ers now.

An­za­lone: “I al­ways re­mind people that we didn’t win a damn race as Demo­crats try­ing to do the same thing against Newt Gin­grich in 1996 and 1998” (Dav­is, Na­tion­al Journ­al, 10/2).

A Long Time Ago, We Used To Be Friends

Rep. Paul Ry­an (R-WI) “is rap­idly emer­ging as a top” Dem “bo­gey­man on the” camp trail. Already Dem at­tacks, in­clud­ing a new web ad “Meet The Young Guns — They Want To Privat­ize So­cial Se­cur­ity and Medi­care” put out by Amer­ic­ans United for Change, “are tak­ing a toll. GOP chal­lengers are back­ing away from the road map’s spe­cif­ics.”

Mont­gomery Coun­cilor Martha Roby (R-AL) “who said earli­er this year that” Ry­an was “‘of­fer­ing real solu­tions,’ now has a page on her web­site de­voted to op­pos­ing the privat­iz­a­tion of So­cial Se­cur­ity.” Ir­aq vet. Jesse Kelly (R-AZ) ini­tially backed the road map and fo­cused on re­form­ing the pro­gram, but now says he “would work to pro­tect” it.

Though Ry­an may be “the brain” be­hind the Young Guns’ op­er­a­tion, “they didn’t use any of his ideas in their new ‘Pledge to Amer­ica’ — and he didn’t at­tend its rol­lout last week” (Co­hen/Hunt, Politico, 10/1).

De­Min­ted Lo­gic

Sen. Jim De­Mint (R-SC) “said this week he has no aver­sion to ac­cept­ing” dona­tions from PACs, “des­pite a 1998 pledge against it, be­cause of the need to be ‘com­pet­it­ive’ in statewide races.” De­Mint “has raised” nearly $1.8M from PACs since ‘05 “in­clud­ing more than” $1M “this year alone.”

De­Mint, in his ‘98 camp plat­form: “Spe­cial in­terest PAC money cor­rupts our polit­ic­al sys­tem be­cause it al­lows spe­cial in­terest groups to con­trol elec­tions and our rep­res­ent­at­ives. Jim De­Mint will not take any PAC money and will fight for re­forms that al­low only in­di­vidu­al con­tri­bu­tions to cam­paigns.”

De­Mint said that “the no-PAC-money pledge ap­plied only to his House race.”

De­Mint: “I didn’t take PAC money the whole time I was in the (House), but when I ran for the Sen­ate, in or­der to be com­pet­it­ive statewide, I needed to ac­cept money from the as­so­ci­ations and groups that sup­port me. So yeah, it wasn’t a change in mind from my House race, be­cause I could be com­pet­it­ive, but on a statewide race I couldn’t” (Rush­ing, The Hill, 9/30).

Get­ting Fiesty

NR­SC chair John Cornyn “pre­dicted big GOP gains in the Sen­ate,” 9/30, “say­ing the party has got­ten past its in­fight­ing and ten­sions between Tea Party act­iv­ists and party lead­ers.”

Cornyn “stopped short of say­ing he ex­pects a ma­jor­ity, though he did of­fer a mock­ing ap­prais­al of Demo­crats’ chances - tick­ing off state after state where that party’s nom­in­ee is strug­gling.”

Cornyn: “I pre­dict that the stormy weath­er we’ve seen in some of the Re­pub­lic­an primar­ies will lead to a tsunami on Novem­ber the 2nd” (Gill­man, Dal­las Morn­ing News, 10/1).

Tail­in’ Pal­in

RNC says Pal­in will hold 2 “Vic­tory 2010 fun­drais­ing ral­lies”: 10/16 in Ana­heim, CA and 10/23 in Or­lando, FL. “Con­tri­bu­tions for the events range from $25 per per­son to at­tend one of the ral­lies to $30,400 per couple for a private meet­ing and re­cep­tion with Pal­in and party lead­ers” (Shaw, Or­lando Sen­tinel, 9/30).

Oh Snap!

RNC chair Mi­chael Steele’s “Fire Pelosi Bus Tour” stopped in Fort Collins, CO 9/30.

Steele urged the 100 GOP­ers present at the rally “to sup­port” GOV nom­in­ee/busi­ness­man Dan Maes and SEN nom­in­ee/Weld Co. DA Ken Buck, “but failed to even men­tion” state Rep. Cory Gard­ner (R), a “Young Gun” “the party is count­ing on” to win a ma­jor­ity in the House. Gard­ner “has cri­ti­cized Steele’s lead­er­ship” and “didn’t at­tend the rally held a few doors from his” camp hq “be­cause of a pre­vi­ous com­mit­ment to at­tend an ed­it­or­i­al board meet­ing at the Long­mont Times-Call.

A Gard­ner spokes­per­son “de­clined to com­ment on Steele’s vis­it.” A Steele spokes­per­son “said the fail­ure to men­tion Gard­ner…. was an over­sight” (Moore, Fort Collins Col­or­adoan, 10/1).

That’s One Scary Duck

Ex-Maj. Lead­er Tom Delay, on the lame-duck ses­sion: “This lame-duck is very, very dan­ger­ous, par­tic­u­larly with the kind of pres­id­ent we have right now, who wants to get some things done. And what is go­ing to be the back­lash of the Demo­crats — all those Demo­crats who are go­ing do lose their seats? And they don’t want to ex­tend the tax rates for those mak­ing over $250,000, be­cause they want that $700 bil­lion to spend” (“Your World,” FNC, 9/30).

It’s Teatime Again

Na­tion­al Cap­it­al Tea Party Pat­ri­ots’ Doug Main­war­ing writes, for Wash­ing­ton Times: “The Tea Party is the lead­ing edge of a ‘Great Awaken­ing’ in Amer­ica. In many ways, it ap­pears to have the force and vi­tal­ity of one of the re­li­gious awaken­ings that have oc­curred throughout our na­tion’s his­tory. … It is a liv­ing ex­pres­sion of bed­rock truth about hu­man­ity’s rights and our own hu­man nature - that men and wo­men have a yearn­ing to be free and to self-gov­ern while par­ti­cip­at­ing in and en­joy­ing civil so­ci­ety” (9/30).

Ex-House Maj. Lead­er Dick Armey, on the Tea Party’s al­li­ance with the GOP: “So the big ques­tion of this elec­tion is — has been, Will the Re­pub­lic­an Party get back in step with our con­sti­tu­tion­al found­a­tions, or will they con­tin­ue to be, as they have been, un­hap­pily, an un­happy echo of the Demo­crat Party? That party has com­pletely vi­ol­ated and aban­doned the found­a­tion prin­ciples of our coun­try to our Con­sti­tu­tion, and the Re­pub­lic­an Party needs to either dis­cov­er wheth­er they’re go­ing to be a re­sponse to that or con­tin­ue to emu­late the Demo­crats. If they go back to emu­lat­ing the Demo­crats, they will prob­ably go back to los­ing elec­tions. As it stands right now, they have a chance of win­ning some sig­ni­fic­ant elec­tion vic­tor­ies this fall” (“On the Re­cord,” FNC, 9/30).

Phil­adelphia In­quirer’s Pol­man writes: “The Re­pub­lic­an Party and the Tea Party will ef­fec­tu­ate a polit­ic­al mar­riage that fig­ures to be as volat­ile as the le­gendary uni­on of Liz Taylor and Richard Bur­ton” (10/1).

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