We’ll be here all week. But seriously, folks, we have a man-bites-dog story for you today.
First, some background. Last week Byron York of the Washington Examiner reported that “some Obama staffers are reportedly obsessing over a nearly 30-year-old story about [Mitt] Romney’s dog”:
In 1983, Romney took his family on vacation and, faced with a packed station wagon, put his Irish setter Seamus in a travel kennel strapped to the roof of the car. Romney constructed a special windshield in an effort to make the dog more comfortable, but Seamus ended up relieving himself on the roof, which reportedly caused much consternation among the Romney boys. Ever since the story got out–it was reported by the Boston Globe in 2007, during Romney’s first run for president–Romney opponents have used it in semiserious and sometimes fully serious ways to portray him as insensitive.
“I have heard, in focus groups, the dog story totally tanks Mitt Romney’s approval rating,” Chris Hayes said on his MSNBC show. The Washington Post reported last month that the Seamus story “is ballooning into a narrative of epic proportions”:
Late-night host David Letterman has been giving the dog near-nightly shout-outs. There are parody Web videos, “Dogs Aren’t Luggage” T-shirts and Facebook groups. (“Dogs Against Romney,” which protested outside last month’s Westminster dog show, has more than 38,000 Facebook fans.) The New Yorker featured a cartoon, with Rick Santorum riding in Romney’s rooftop dog carrier, on its cover last week. In the five years since the story was revealed, New York Times columnist Gail Collins has mentioned Seamus in at least 50 columns.
The Dog Days of the Presidential Campaign Begin – I would note that in 2008, John McCain’s presidential campaign wouldn’t have touched this anecdote with a ten-foot pole. Between this and the Romney camp’s rapid response to the Rosen comments, we are seeing a Republican presidential campaign that is exponentially faster on its feet and way more nimble than the previous general-election campaign against Obama.
Lugar’s problems, however, have nothing to do with the “anti-incumbent” mood or Congress’ poor reputation. Instead, they have everything to do with his record and his horrible campaign.
Lugar’s record and style don’t fit comfortably with where his party now is, yet he made little or no effort to sooth conservatives or to prepare for a battle. If he had, he might, for example, have purchased a house or condo in the state so that he wouldn’t need to stay in a hotel when he returns to the state to campaign.
More than a year ago, I wrote in this space about Lugar’s vulnerability in a possible one-on-one primary. Almost immediately, I received a call from a Lugar staffer telling me how wrong I was and pointing out that the Senator was hugely popular and had a large campaign war chest.
In other words, Lugar’s team didn’t understand what could happen if voters were presented with a credible opponent who either had money or would be supported by outside groups willing to spend heavily to defeat the Senator. And later, the campaign didn’t understand why anyone would care that Lugar didn’t own a residence in the state.
A new book offering an inside look at the US House of Representatives depicts Weiner as a desperately ambitious loudmouth who berated his staff and would do or say anything for TV airtime.
Weiner “would enter his office in the Rayburn Building screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Why the f–k am I not on MSNBC?!’” journalist Robert Draper wrote in “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the US House of Representatives.”
He finally got his wish, Draper wrote, when Weiner pushed to become the liberal spokesman for ObamaCare.
“He was now on MSNBC every week, sometimes every day — to the point where he was carrying his own makeup kit. (Or rather, his press guy was.)” Draper wrote.
Excerpts of the book, due out Tuesday, surfaced yesterday on the Web site Politico.
The President’s health law will be partially paid for by tax increases and the creation of new taxes. When Obamacare first passed, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that its tax hikes would total $502 billion over the next 10 years. But most of the new, higher taxes don’t kick in until later in the decade, which means that once all of the law is fully implemented, the taxpayers’ tab will be much bigger than originally estimated.
A new study by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) revealed today that Obamacare will impose higher taxes totaling $4 trillion between now and 2035, with substantial hits on working Americans. That works out to more than $1.7 trillion over a decade—more than triple the original 10-year score.
Below is a list of 10 of Obamacare’s most costly taxes and fees, drawn from research by Heritage tax policy expert Curtis Dubay:
In-Sen: Mourdock Leads Lugar in Internal Poll – Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock leads Senator Dick Lugar by one point according to a poll commissioned by the Mourdock campaign. Conducted between April 16 and 17 by the firm McLaughlin and Associates, the poll surveyed 400 likely Republican primary voters and found Mourdock in the lead, 42–41, against Lugar. The poll had a 4.9 percent margin of error.
Since January, Lugar’s favorability rating has fallen ten points, from 57 to 47 percent, while Mourdock’s has risen by eleven, from 35 to 46 percent. “These results clearly demonstrate that Richard Mourdock has the momentum to win,” a memo from pollsters John McLaughlin and Stuart Polk notes.
Menthol Cigarettes Double Stroke Risk – Menthol cigarettes more than double the risk for stroke compared with regular cigarettes, a new study shows. In women and nonblack smokers, the risk for stroke was more than tripled.
No significant associations were observed between the tobacco additive and other forms of cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The mechanism by which menthol may increase stroke risk remains unclear.
One potential mechanism is that menthol stimulates upper-airway cold receptors, which can increase breath-holding time, which may in turn facilitate the entrance of cigarette particulate matter into the lungs, notes Nicholas Vozoris, MD, from St. Michael’s Hospital, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Another possibility is that menthol cigarettes exert some selective effects on the cerebrovascular system.
“It must be a slow news day if this has made the air,” Daniels told Fox News on Wednesday. “But for what it’s worth, I did send a congratulatory note to Gov. Romney the other day offering to anything I could to help him, and here I am.”
It didn’t come across as a particularly strong endorsement, and the Fox News anchor noted that Daniels has a dry, self-deprecating manner.
“He’s already won our nomination,” Daniels continued. “He’s earned it, he’s proven himself the best nominee we could put forward, and I’m just happy to sign on and help him.”
In an attempt to tarnish Mitt Romney’s conservative credentials, Newt Gingrich on Tuesday connected Romney to Florida’s former governor, the once-ambitious moderate who fell so far out of favor with the GOP that in 2010 he left the GOP.
“We discovered last night that Mitt Romney has picked up Charlie Crist’s campaign manager,” Gingrich said Tuesday at the Tick Tock Restaurant in St. Petersburg. “I thought that told you everything you need to know about this primary.”
“As governor of Massachusetts [Romney] was pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, pro-tax increase and pro- gun control,” he said. “Now that makes you a moderate in Massachusetts but it makes you pretty liberal in a Republican primary. That’s probably why he hired Charlie Crist’s staff.”
Gov. Daniels: Obama is ‘pro-poverty’ – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) castigated President Obama’s policies as “pro-poverty” and extreme in his response to the State of the Union address.
The Indiana governor, who considered a run for the White House before deciding last year against a campaign, knocked Obama for imposing regulations on business and for rejecting the proposed Keystone oil pipeline.
He labeled Obama’s policies as “pro-poverty and extremism that stifles the development of homegrown energy, or cancels a perfectly safe pipeline that would employ tens of thousands, or jacks up consumer utility bills for no improvement in either human health or world temperature.”
Daniels said Obama’s “trickle-down government” policies has restrained the country’s economic growth.
Daniels also criticized Obama for trying to divide people with class warfare. “No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others,” he said
These are my links for May 23rd from 13:45 to 13:46:
Some observations as Mitch Daniels bows out – So Mitch Daniels is not running for president. That’s what I expected—on Tuesdays and Thursday and alternate weekends; on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I was convinced he would run, and on the leftover weekends I was uncertain.
Let’s review the bidding.
In, in alphabetical order: Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum.
Probably in: Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman.
Probably not in: John Bolton, Sarah Palin.
Out: Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, John Thune.
Declared out but still being wooed: Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Paul Ryan.
Read it all….
President 2012: Exeunt Omnes – Not running: Mike Huckabee, the 2008 runner-up; John Thune, the likeliest candidate from the Senate, the body that has produced the out-party candidate in 2008, 2004, and 1996; Mike Pence, who could lay as much claim as anyone to represent the conservative movement; and Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels, effective two-term governors with impressive D.C. experience as well.
It would be unfair to call the current field a vacuum. But it doesn't exactly represent an overflowing of political talent. And insofar as politics abhors even a near-vacuum, others are bound to get in. I now think the odds are better than 50-50 that both Rick Perry and Paul Ryan run. I also now think they (and others—Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, John Bolton) may not feel they have to decide until after Labor Day—or maybe even until October or even November. The field could well remain open and fluid until Thanksgiving.
Bill Kristol has a point that the field may not be settled for some time.
But, it really looks like Romney now will be the nominee.
Comments Off on Flap’s Links and Comments for May 23rd on 13:45
These are my links for May 21st from 22:36 to 22:36:
Mitch Daniels won’t run in 2012 – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told supporters in a midnight email early Sunday that he is opting against a 2012 presidential run, a decision that will again roil the GOP field and leave many party establishment figures looking for alternatives.In the end, he said, he couldn’t convince his family to get on board. His wife, Cheri, was known to have concerns about a campaign.
The email went out from Indiana GOP chief Eric Holcombe, a key Daniels adviser, soon after midnight, with the word “Urgent” in the subject line.
The following is from Governor Mitch Daniels….” the email began.
“I hope this reaches you before the public news does,” Daniels wrote. “If so, please respect my confidence for the short time until I can make it known to all.
“The counsel and encouragement I received from important citizens like you caused me to think very deeply about becoming a national candidate. In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry,” he added. “If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached.”
“Many thanks for your help and input during this period of reflection. Please stay in touch if you see ways in which an obscure Midwestern governor might make a constructive contribution to the rebuilding of our economy and our Republic.”
Comments Off on Flap’s Links and Comments for May 21st on 22:36
The latest: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels received 16 stitches to his forehead Friday after what his office described as a "post-workout accident."
"As he concluded a workout at about 1:30 p.m., he was standing near a door. The door suddenly swung open and struck the governor in the forehead," a statement from Daniels' office reads.
Daniels' security detail brought him to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where he was treated and released. He's now recovering at home, his office says.
The incident comes amid frenzied speculation in GOP circles about whether the two-term Hoosier State governor and former George W. Bush budget director will enter the presidential sweepstakes.
I won't delay anything…..
Mitch Daniels Is the Tea Party’s Dream Candidate – Alternatively, the talk radio right (and neocons who want to expand America's global footprint no matter the cost) might succeed in keeping Mitch Daniels out of the race, and elevating a Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann — candidates who flatter them, make them feel important, and calm their intellectual insecurity at every opportunity. The irony is that this time, if the conservative movement prevails over the establishment, it won't be to put a more substantively conservative candidate before the people — what they'll have succeeded at is the most absurd elevation of style over substance in memory, and the nominee that results will likely be less reliably conservative and alienating in a way that makes them less likely to actually beat Barack Obama.
Thus your choice, GOP primary voter: Do you want a nominee who'll zealously shrink the size of government and address the deficit if elected? Or a nominee whose verbal attacks on liberals feel cathartic? "The underlying theory behind the talk radio critique of Daniels is basically that you can't trust a man who disarms liberals with his seeming reasonability, and what you need instead is somebody who takes the fight to the left at every opportunity," Ross Douthat writes. "This is an excellent description of the qualities required … to be a good talk radio host. But when applied to the presidential scene, it amounts to a kind of politics of schadenfreude, in which actual conservative accomplishments count for nothing, the ability to woo undecided voters is downgraded or dismissed, and all that matters is how much a prospective candidate irritates liberals."
Put another way, today's conservative entertainers are selling out their professed beliefs for an emotional high and a ratings boost — and perhaps with the realization that effective conservative governance, achieved without intellectually dishonest bombast, is an implicit repudiation of their whole worldview. Tea partiers, many of whom revere talk radio, are being misled into thinking that Daniels isn't a desirable conservative candidate. If they are earnest in what they say about America's fiscal situation, however, a Daniels Administration is the best triumph for which they can reasonably hope.
But, the carping has already begun against Daniels but who will the hard Right coalesce behind?
Cain, Bachmann or Palin?
And. when they lose to Romney and Daniels, then who?
Comments Off on Flap’s Links and Comments for May 20th on 13:58