Latest from The Spokesman-Review
BOISE – Idaho’s GOP establishment scored several key victories this past week after local Republican central committees voted in new delegates who not only support the traditional GOP coalition but also seek to quash tea party influence.
The new appointments will play a critical role in the upcoming GOP convention. Leaders and delegates will vote on a new party chairman and discuss possible changes to the party’s platform and closed primary election policy.
The GOP establishment won key counties in the southern half of the state such as Elmore, Ada, Canyon and Twin Falls. In the northern half, however, tea party leaders and delegates retained most of their seats, including representatives in Kootenai County – the state’s third most populated county.
This means that rifts inside Idaho’s GOP, which have been a major conflict for the past few years, could come to a head at the June convention if delegates are asked to vote on key party changes. More here.
What message should tea party candidates take away from this?
Republican lawmakers on Monday issued a scathing report accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of flouting transparency regulations in pursuit of its policy goals. “The Obama Administration has advanced the most aggressive, far-left environmental agenda ever and developed the most secretive, behind-closed-doors way of doing it. And that's not by accident,” said Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The 30-page report, prepared by Republican members of the panel, primarily focuses on EPA activities under former Administrator Lisa Jackson, who left the agency in February/Ben Goad, The Hill. More here.
Question: Generally, do you have a positive/negative attitude toward the EPA?
The head of the Republican Party threatened Monday to cut out CNN and NBC from the GOP presidential primary debates if the networks do not shelve their plans to air lengthy features on Hillary Clinton — who is widely expected to be a Democratic candidate in the 2016 election. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus accused both networks of trying to put “a thumb on the scales” of the 2016 race with programming he claimed would be tantamount to an “in-kind donation” to the Clinton campaign. Last month, CNN Films announced it was producing a documentary on Clinton to premiere next year, first in theaters and then on CNN. NBC also announced a four-hour “Hillary” miniseries starring Diane Lane, on the life of the former secretary of state and first lady/Fox News. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Does the GOP have a legtimate beef re: the network specials on Hillary Clinton?
Seems some members of the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee aren't satisfied that real Republicans are running in their primaries. On Tuesday, the local Elephants will consider a proposed resolution calling for an ad hoc committee to screen primary candidates to ensure that they're really Republicans (and not Libertarians, Ron Paulers and Constitutionalists, like more than a few precinct committeemen). The resolution reads in part:
- Whereas, Promotion of the Republican philosophy cannot be done while simultaneously supporting candidates who oppose the Republican philosophy; and
- Whereas, The KCRCC has failed to show any concern regarding whether or not a Republican candidate has promoted or opposed the Republican philosophy; and
- Whereas, This failure has created a vacuum that has been filled by special interest grops and the meida, who often obfuscate a candidate's philosophy; and blah, blah, blah (full resolution here).
- You can read minutes of local GOP try to censure 4 Republican legislators here.
- Tuesday agenda here.
Question: What do you think of the resolution's attempt to screen GOP primary candidates?
WASHINGTON – Framing a new argument against President Barack Obama’s health care law, congressional GOP leaders called Tuesday for a delay in the law’s requirement that individual Americans carry health insurance.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other senior Republicans told Obama in a letter that his decision last week to grant a one-year delay for employers but leave in place provisions for individuals and families had created many new questions and concerns.
At a Capitol Hill news conference, Boehner vowed to hold another vote this month to remove the individual mandate, arguing that it was necessary to “correct this injustice.”
Do you agree that the delay should extend to individuals?
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Republicans aiming to run for governor, the Legislature or even coroner may first have to win approval from GOP leaders. That's according to a proposal slated for consideration Friday and Saturday at the Republican Party Central Committee's meeting in Donnelly.
Idaho's secretary of state would put only candidate names on the GOP primary ballot with their party leaders' blessing. The proposal comes from Region 4 Republican Chairman Rod Beck. More here.
Graham Paterson is no political newbie, having done campaign work for Dirk Kempthorne, Steve Symms, Helen Chenoweth-Hage and Brent Coles. But asked in an editorial board meeting to offer his take on House Republican leadership, the normally glib Paterson slowed down to pick his way through the field of rhetorical cowpies. The silence was awkward, and Paterson tried to break the tension. “I can hear the clock ticking.” Ultimately, the best Paterson could offer was a general statement that leadership — executive and legislative, in both parties — has done a good job navigating an “extremely stressful” economic environment. As an outsider, running for an open seat, he said he considered it hard to judge leadership further. And that’s how it went generally, when we asked House Republican candidates about the race they don’t want to discuss/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Idaho Legislature photo of House Speaker Lawerence Denney)
Question: Is it time for House Speaker Lawerence Denney to go?
What is the battle between Idaho’s House GOP leaders all about? Let me answer that by telling you what it is not at all about. Policy. There isn’t much of a discernible difference on policy between current House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, and the man who appears best poised to challenge him, Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke. Bedke, R-Oakley, may be a touch less conservative than Denney — Bedke served on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee in the mid-2000s, an experience that tends to temper lawmakers’ views of the budget. But I can’t see the philosophy of the House shifting very much if Bedke unseats Denney/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Given that any challenger will share his political views, does it really matter if Rep. Lawerence Denney continues as House Speaker?
On his Facebook wall, Adam Johnson, one of five candidates for the Kootenai County GOP nod, posts: “
A political blog in the other Washington, The Daily Caller, suggests a certain congresswoman from this Washington could have a shot at the No. 2 spot on the GOP presidential ticket this fall. The blog quotes a Republican strategist, Kellyanne Conway, as saying Cathy McMorris Rodgers would fit the bill as a vice presidential selection that “needs to be a surprise, but not a shocker.” The blog goes on to recount the parts of McMorris Rodgers bio that would make her a good pick on paper: daughter of fruit farmers, first in her family to attend college, married to a retired naval pilot, only woman to have two kids while in Congress, founder of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus after her first child, Cole, was born with that condition, leadership post in the House Republican Caucus, from a Western state/Jim Camden, Spin Control. More here. (SR file photo of Cathy McMorris Rodgers celebrating re-election in November 2010)
Question: Would Cathy McMorris Rodgers be a better pick for a Republican vice presidential candidate than another woman with roots in the Inland Northwest, Sarah Palin?
From FRAN FRIED to Romansko.com: This is something that’s been on the back of my mind for a long time — the media’s use of the acronym “GOP” to describe the Republican Party. I know it makes things easier for copy editors like me in an era of narrowed web widths, but simply: Isn’t “Grand Old Party” a form of editorializing? (And “Just because it’s always been done that way” isn’t a legit response …) More here.
Question: Well, should the media refer to the Republican Party as “GOP”?
In this courtesy photo from the Pacific Northwest Inlander, Pam Stout, a founder of the Sandpoint Tea Party, appears on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2010. Inlander reporter Chris Stein breaks down the various splinter Republican factions in Kootenai County for an article this week that observes: “Among a proliferation of conservative groups, some Kootenai County Republicans fear their greatest enemy may by themselves.” More here.
December has seen the emergence of two new conservative groups: the United Conservatives of North Idaho and the North Idaho Political Action Committee. Both profess to be Republican, but they couldn’t be further apart in approach. The United Conservatives group characterizes itself as a “very conservative” work-in-progress, while the North Idaho PAC pledges to support “reasonable Republicans” who can steer a more moderate course.
Question: Which GOP group in Kootenai County will emerge as kingmakers in the spring primaries?
Partisanship is poisonous enough already, ripping America to pieces. Why would anybody want to pollute the political air even more? Yet a political group is organizing fundraisers and mustering the Grand Old Party faithful for local elections, even though those elections are supposed to be non-partisan. The stated goal of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans is to put one of their proponents in every office - no exceptions. Now, before anyone's tempted to lecture us on trickle-down economics or the value of charisma in high places, understand that we're not painting the RRs as any kind of enemy. Philosophically, there's a lot we agree with them on: namely, smaller government, lower taxes, more disciplined spending and distance from burgeoning unions in the public workplace. But it's not an accident that local city elections are non-partisan. That's the way citizens want them, and that's the way they should stay until a majority of citizens demands to see an R, a D, an I, an L or an XYZ after candidates' names on the ballot/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo: Jeff Ward, president of Reagan Republicans)
Question: How do communities resist the siren call of groups like the Reagan Republicans who are trying to push their brand of no-holds-barred partisanship in nonpartisan local elections?
The Republican establishment inside the Washington Beltway may be pining for new candidates to enter the race for president, but two-thirds of influential local Republicans surveyed by The Huffington Post and Patch in the early primary and caucus states are satisfied with their choices. And while Sarah Palin is gearing up for a major speech in Iowa, just 8 percent want her to run. Sixty-three percent of the 169 influential Republicans surveyed in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in our second HuffPost-Patch Power Outsiders poll say they are satisfied with the candidates now running for president, while just 36 percent say they want to see more candidates get into the race/KHQ. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Are you surprised that so few of the GOP establishment want Sarah Palin to run for president?
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he came to New Hampshire immediately after launching a presidential bid Saturday in South Carolina for one reason.
He intends to compete for every vote in every state.
He may have a Southern drawl and conservative social policies, but Perry says his presidential strategy won’t ignore New Hampshire or anyplace else. Full story.
Folks are already speculating that the race for the GOP nomination will come down to Perry and Romney. Agree or disagree?
RALEIGH, N.C. – Empowered by last year's elections, Republican leaders in about half the states are pushing to require voters to show photo ID at the polls despite little evidence of fraud and already-substantial punishments for those who vote illegally.
Democrats claim the moves will disenfranchise poor and minority voters — many of whom traditionally vote for their candidates. The measures will also increase spending and oversight in some states even as Republicans are focused on cutting budgets and decreasing regulations.
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a Republican, said he believes his state's proposed photo ID law will increase citizen confidence in the process and combat fraud that could be going undetected.
“I can't figure out who it would disenfranchise,” Hargett said. “The only people I can think it disenfranchises is those people who might be voting illegally.” Mike Baker, AP
I vote by mail. Nobody asks for my ID. Photo ID at the polls good idea/bad idea?
WASHINGTON – House Republican leaders on Wednesday unveiled a wide swath of spending cuts but fell short of GOP promises to slice $100 billion, creating a political challenge for House Speaker John Boehner as he struggles to unite his majority in advance of next week’s vote.
Conservative lawmakers, including many tea party-inspired newcomers, see the leadership proposal as inadequate, despite substantial hits to longtime GOP targets including the Environmental Protection Agency, community policing and the arts.
“It’s not enough,” said freshman Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla.
Already this week, Boehner struggled in trying to lead a diverse, emboldened GOP majority when a coalition of newcomers and veteran conservatives joined Democrats to block an extension of terror surveillance legislation, seen by many as an overreach of government authority. Full story.
On the list of programs to be eliminated:
• Police hiring grants – $298 million • High speed rail – $1 billion
• Family planning – $317 million • Corporation for Public Broadcasting – $531 million
BOISE – Idaho’s state Land Board has paid more than a quarter-million dollars since 2007 to one of the state’s top Republican operatives for a public relations campaign, but officials say the state’s getting a great deal. “We’re very happy with the results so far,” said Lands Department Director George Bacon.
Mike Tracy’s one-man PR firm has developed a DVD about state endowment lands, scheduled dozens of presentations by Tracy or state officials to everything from school boards to Rotary clubs, and commissioned two polls to track how much Idahoans know about the state endowment and how they view it. Read more. Betsy Z. Russell/SR
President Barack Obama answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington Wednesday. A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a new willingness to yield to Republican demands on tax cuts and jettisoned a key energy priority on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after he and fellow Democrats absorbed election losses so severe he called them a shellacking. David Espo Washington Post story here. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivias)
Question: What must congressional Republicans do to keep their momentum over the next two years and set stage for further gains. What must Barack Obama do to save his presidency in 2012?
Apparently MM thought I was remiss in not highlighting this story yesterday.
WASHINGTON – House Republicans will announce an expansive agenda today called a “Pledge to America” that proposes to shrink the size of government and reform Congress, offering a conservative plan of action they will pursue if they win a majority in the midterm elections.
Republicans would slash $100 billion in government spending on nonmilitary agencies and replace President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation with a scaled-back version. Small businesses would be able to deduct from taxes up to 20 percent of their annual income, and the Pentagon would receive increased funding to more quickly implement a ballistic missile defense system.
The plan would also eliminate any unspent money from last year’s $814 billion stimulus package and from legislation that authorized hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up failing Wall Street firms. Read more.
Would you be more or less likely to vote for candidates who sign such a pledge?
Item: Labrador now a GOP ‘Young Gun’: In reversal, he joins program that helps raise funds/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
More Info: Idaho GOP congressional candidate Raul Labrador has ended an awkward dance with the National Republican Congressional Committee by agreeing to join its “Young Guns” candidate recruitment program, after refusing earlier. “With the election coming so quickly, I don’t want the NRCC changing our campaign themes and strategy,” Labrador said. “My campaign will reflect Idaho values, not the priorities of Washington, D.C.” But, he said, “After being assured they would not interfere with our campaign’s Idaho-focused strategy, I agreed to participate.”
Question: Will Labrador’s off-again-on-again relationship with the Republican ‘Young Guns’ candidate recruitment program help him or hurt him now?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, listens as Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With Democrats on defense, Republicans expressed cautious confidence of big gains in the fall elections — particularly in governor’s races — though they acknowledged that the GOP must do more to snatch control of Congress from President Barack Obama’s party.
Three months before the midterm elections, it was all business and little celebration as the 168-member Republican National Committee met this week to finalize Tampa, Fla., as the 2012 GOP convention city and set the presidential primary calendar. Unlike in years past, no White House hopefuls showed up. And the tone was sober about the GOP’s prospects in November; a single sign said: “Playing to win in 2010.” AP Full Story.
Do you think the GOP will post big gains this fall?
President Barack Obama leaves Capitol Hill on Tuesday after a meeting with Senate Republicans.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama paid a rare visit to Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday, seeking their support on energy, immigration and other top priority measures. But he hit a buzz saw of criticism and resentment that bodes poorly for the remainder of his legislative agenda.
In the tense closed-door meeting, Obama told Senate Republicans he did not want legislative business to grind to a halt just because an election was approaching, and he asked for their cooperation on ratifying the START treaty, confirming Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and passing legislation to improve the economy. Full story.
Do you agree that the President’s bipartisan words have been followed by partisan actions?
OLYMPIA — When the 1-year anniversary of the federal stimulus package rolled around last week, the state Republican Party was vocal in its condemnation.
“A complete boondoggle,” was the phrase State GOP Chairman Luke Esser used in denouncing a media event featuring Sen. Patty Murray and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to “prop up their failed stimulus package.”
Today when discussing Washington state’s transportation budget, which is being helped by more than $600 million in various grants from the feds generated by the stimulus package, Senate Transportation Committee Republicans were no where near as critical.
In fact, they kind of like stimulus money, as long as it’s spent on transportation projects.
“I’m definitely in favor of the stimuls funding,” Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester and the ranking Republican on the committee said. “They go directly into jobs. My quibble is about stimulus in other areas.”
Added Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima: “We have to look at this as our tax m oney coming back to us.”
“Many have bemoaned the near-extinction of the political species known as the moderate Republican. Once thriving in cold habitats, particularly New England, socially liberal but fiscally conservative Republicans were gradually displaced by Democrats. The loss of these bridge-builders has left the Republican Party largely in the hands of the bridge-burners, and to the detriment of America.
I’ve missed the moderate Republicans, but the recent gang warfare over health care reform has aroused second thoughts. Maine’s Sen. Olympia Snowe is supposed to be one of the last of the breed, but exactly what was the point of her?” More here.
Do you agree with Froma Harrop? Are true GOP moderates MIA?
So it would seem from TalkingPointsMemo’s quick look at the day.
Interesting dust-up over Rush Limbaugh’s CPAC speech. In the past when I’ve mentioned some misdeed or mistake Limbaugh has made, the response has been, “He’s just an entertainer. No need to take him so seriously.”
Here is RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s first take: “Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Yes, it’s incendiary, yes, it’s ugly.”
After Limbaugh fought back, Steele said: ”I think Rush is a great leader for conservatives.”
So who do you regard as the leader of the Republican Party these days?
After the weekend’s Conservative Political Action Committee meeting, the biggest talking point revolves around Rush Limbaugh and his role as the “leader” of the Republican Party.
Go inside the blog to view some of the videos that are fueling the debate.