GOP REP TEARS INTO 'DISGRACEFUL' RAND PAUL
Peter King: Rand Paul 'Disgraced His Office' With NSA Criticism
The Huffington Post | By Mollie Reilly | 12/19/2013
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) criticized Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for his condemnation of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, charging the Kentucky senator with having "disgraced his office."
King, a defender of the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance program, said Paul was out of line in comparing Clapper to government contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked documents on the NSA earlier this year.
"For Senator Paul to compare that patriot, General Clapper, with someone like Snowden, who is a traitor, who has put American lives at risk -- Senator Paul should be ashamed of himself," King said during a Thursday appearance on CNN's "The Situation Room." "It's an absolute disgrace. He disgraced his office and he owes General Clapper an apology immediately."
On Wednesday, Paul, also appearing on the CNN program, suggested that Clapper's statements to Congress on the reach of the NSA's programs had done more damage than Snowden's leaks.
"I find that really, that Clapper lying to Congress is probably more injurious to our intelligent capabilities than anything Snowden did because Clapper has damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence apparatus, and I'm not sure what to believe anymore when it comes to Congress," Paul said, adding that he believes Clapper should resign from his post "in order to restore confidence in our intelligence community."
In the CNN interview, King described Clapper's GOP critics as members of the "the isolationist wing of the party."
"That goes back to the days of Charles Lindbergh," King said. "These are people who are apologizing for America. To me, that is not the Republican tradition, that is not the tradition of Ronald Reagan. It's the tradition of Charles Lindbergh and the radical left wing Democrats of the 1960s."
King has previously likened the Kentucky senator to Lindbergh.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
IT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU
BITTER FEUD PLAGUES CONSERVATIVES, GOP LEADERS
Republican Leaders, Conservative Groups Show Signs Of Political Divorce
By DONNA CASSATA | 12/16/13 | AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders and several hard-right groups are displaying the classic signs of a political divorce, including bitter name-calling and reprisals against one another.
THE RECENT EAGERNESS OF HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER AND SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL TO LASH OUT AT GROUPS THAT HAVE GIVEN THEM FITS HAS UNSHACKLED OTHERS IN THE REPUBLICAN RANKS TO PUBLICLY QUESTION THE MOTIVATION OF ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND, HERITAGE ACTION, MADISON PROJECT AND CLUB FOR GROWTH.
SUCH ORGANIZATIONS DISPARAGE REPUBLICANS THEY ACCUSE OF FOLLOWING THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE IN WASHINGTON AND VOW TO REPLACE THEM IN PRIMARIES WITH CONSERVATIVE PURISTS.
"I THINK THERE'S A GROWING RECOGNITION AROUND HERE THAT MANY OF THE OUTSIDE GROUPS DO WHAT THEY DO SOLELY TO RAISE MONEY, AND THERE ARE SOME PARTICIPANTS INSIDE CONGRESS WHO DO THE SAME," SAID SEN. BOB CORKER. HE SAID THAT SOME OF THE NEWER SENATORS HAVE CAUGHT ON TO "THE DISINFORMATION, GETTING PEOPLE TO CALL OFFICES, SEND IN SMALL DONATIONS TO A WEBSITE."
"I think people are getting tired of that. I tired of it before I got here," said the Tennessee Republican.
Increasingly in public, Boehner and McConnell are challenging the outside groups' credibility — and complaining that they are the ones tarnishing conservatism.
But it goes both ways.
IN THE RECENT DUST-UP OVER THE BUDGET DEAL, THE OUTSIDE GROUPS SUSPECT THAT BOEHNER HAS A HIDDEN MOTIVE. THEY SUGGEST HE'S ANXIOUS TO PUT ECONOMIC FIGHTS IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR SO HE CAN TACKLE CONTENTIOUS IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION EARLY NEXT YEAR, BEFORE THE FIRST ROUND OF MARCH PRIMARIES IN TEXAS AND ILLINOIS.
THE GROUPS' SUSPICIONS WERE HEIGHTENED BY THE RECENT HIGH-PROFILE BUDGET SUCCESS OF REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., WHO FAVORS A WAY OUT OF THE SHADOWS FOR THE ESTIMATED 11 MILLION IMMIGRANTS LIVING IN THE U.S. IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW, AND IN BOEHNER'S HIRE OF A SENATE STAFFER WHO WORKED ON BIPARTISAN IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION FOR SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.
"IT'S VERY EASY TO SEE THAT THEY WANT TO CLEAR A LANE TO PASS AMNESTY," SAID DANIEL HOROWITZ, POLICY DIRECTOR FOR THE MADISON PROJECT, WHO DESCRIBED THE OVERALL DIFFERENCES WITH REPUBLICAN LEADERS AS IRRECONCILABLE.
Michael Steel, spokesman for Boehner, scoffed at the link between the budget deal and immigration.
"The agreement has nothing to do with the need to fix our broken immigration system," Steel said in a statement Monday.
It wasn't always this acrimonious.
Tea partyers and conservative activists helped the GOP claim the House majority in 2010 and seize state legislatures that redrew congressional boundaries to the GOP's advantage. Those new lines enabled Republicans to withstand strong Democratic turnout in the 2012 presidential year and hold their House edge, a margin the GOP is expected to maintain or even increase in next year's midterm elections.
The outcome was far different in Senate races. Outside conservative groups backed less-viable candidates who flamed out in general elections in Colorado, Nevada and Delaware in 2010 and in Indiana and Missouri in 2012. Establishment Republicans insist that cost them a Senate majority as well as some breathing room for 2016 when 24 Republican seats are up, compared with only 10 for Democrats.
Senate Republicans were upset in the fall when outside groups did little to help bona fide conservative Steve Lonegan in New Jersey's special election contest against Cory Booker, who won the open seat after a somewhat desultory campaign.
House and Senate Republican leaders, for their part, were angry when the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Madison Project and Heritage Action pushed for the 16-day partial government shutdown last fall on behalf of a goal that many agreed was unrealistic — undoing President Barack Obama's health care law.
To add insult, the Senate Conservatives Fund ran ads criticizing GOP incumbents for failing to back a federal shutdown in states such as North Carolina, where Republican Sen. Richard Burr isn't up for re-election but Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is and remains vulnerable. Republicans said the strategy was misguided.
The hard-right groups have mobilized against a wide variety of legislative efforts, from once-easy, bipartisan transportation and disaster relief bills to the recent budget pact. Their efforts created agenda headaches for Boehner and McConnell, and the shutdown did apparent political damage to the GOP.
The shutdown, however, was a financial boon to the Senate Conservatives Fund, the group founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who is now president of the Heritage Foundation. The Fund raised less than a million dollars in the first half of 2013, but it collected more than $4.7 million in the months leading up to the shutdown and during it, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Through the end of October, the organization had raised $6.5 million. Among its endorsed candidates is Matt Bevin, a businessman challenging McConnell in Kentucky's GOP primary.
The Madison Project has collected $1.7 million this year, while the Club for Growth has raised $2.2 million.
THE GROUPS ARE DETERMINED TO USE THEIR MONEY AND CLOUT IN NEXT YEAR'S ELECTIONS IN WHICH SEVEN OF 12 SENATE REPUBLICAN INCUMBENTS FACE PRIMARY CHALLENGERS. NO SENATE DEMOCRAT FACES A PRIMARY FOE.
"IF MITCH MCCONNELL AND JOHN BOEHNER THINK THE GRASS ROOTS ARE GOING TO SIT BACK AND LET THEM CONTINUE TO WORK WITH DEMOCRATS TO MORTGAGE OUR NATION'S FUTURE, THEY'RE MISTAKEN," MATT HOSKINS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND, SAID IN A STATEMENT. "IT'S TIME FOR AMERICANS TO RISE UP AND BEGIN REPLACING ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICANS WITH TRUE CONSERVATIVES IN THE 2014 PRIMARY ELECTIONS. THERE'S NO QUESTION ANYMORE ABOUT WHERE THESE LEADERS STAND."
WITH A SHOT AT THE SENATE MAJORITY, MCCONNELL IS PLAYING HARDBALL. THE GOP LEADER, WHO PRIVATELY HAS SAID THE GROUPS NEED A PUNCH IN THE NOSE AND PUBLICLY HAS SAID THEY ARE "GIVING CONSERVATISM A BAD NAME," HAS BACKED UP HIS WORDS WITH ACTION. THE SENATE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN ORGANIZATION, EFFECTIVELY AN EXTENSION OF THE GOP SENATE LEADERSHIP, HAS MADE IT CLEAR IT WILL NOT GIVE ANY BUSINESS TO JAMESTOWN ASSOCIATES, AN ADVERTISING FIRM THAT HAS WORKED FOR THE SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND.
Horowitz insists that even if non-establishment candidates don't prevail in the primaries, they've succeeded in forcing Republican incumbents to vote the conservative groups' positions in the year leading up to the election.
"Boy oh boy, do they shift over to the right," he said, citing Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah in 2012 and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas this year.
Despite it all, Senate Republicans say there is little political daylight separating members of the caucus.
"I don't know many Republicans any more that are described as anything near moderate," said Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb. "We're a pretty conservative bunch. We just don't get here without being pretty conservative."
Sentiment: Strong Buy
MCCONNELL ENLISTS DEFENSE CONTRACTORS TO BEAT BACK GOP PRIMARY FOES
Mitch McConnell Asks Defense Industry to Back Republicans Who Will Protect Military Spending
DION NISSENBAUM | Dec. 15, 2013 | The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently delivered a direct pitch to one of America's top defense contractors: Get off the sidelines and start backing Republicans who will protect military spending.
Mr. McConnell's message, according to people who attended a Nov. 6 fundraiser with officials from BAE Systems Inc., was that IF REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS LOSE PRIMARY ELECTIONS FROM CHALLENGERS FURTHER TO THEIR RIGHT WHO HAVE FEW QUALMS ABOUT TRIMMING MILITARY BUDGETS, THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY COULD EXPECT DWINDLING SUPPORT IN WASHINGTON.
"In the current debate, spending cuts have trumped robust national-security spending," said one person at the McConnell fundraiser, held at a Capitol Hill townhouse. "The main message he was pushing was: GET INVOLVED, MAINLY TO TEACH THOSE WHO ARE PRIMARYING INCUMBENTS THAT IT IS NOT HELPFUL TO RUN AGAINST INCUMBENTS WHO ARE CHAMPIONS FOR THE INDUSTRY."
THE KENTUCKY REPUBLICAN'S OUTREACH TO THE DEFENSE COMMUNITY IS PART OF AN EFFORT BY PARTY LEADERS TO BLUNT THE EFFECTS OF CONSERVATIVES WHO ARE STEPPING UP IN INCREASING NUMBERS TO CHALLENGE GOP INCUMBENTS. Many of the 12 Senate Republicans up for re-election next year are facing primary challengers aligned with the tea party, including Mr. McConnell.
IN THE HOUSE, SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R., OHIO) ALSO HAS MOVED TO UNDERMINE THE POWER OF THE TEA PARTY, SAYING THAT GROUPS SUPPORTING THE MOVEMENT HAD LOST CREDIBILITY IN POLICY DEBATES AND ACCUSING THEM OF FORCING GOP LAWMAKERS TO TAKE ILL-ADVISED POLICY POSITIONS. That was a reference to the federal-government shutdown of October, which the public blamed largely on the Republican Party.
On Sunday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) noted Mr. Boehner's frustration and said, "I was frustrated, too." But he also said on NBC that the tea party represents "very important elements of our conservative family, and I would prefer to keep those conversations within the family."
THE EFFORT TO BEAT BACK CHALLENGES FROM THE RIGHT GOES BEYOND THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY. THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND OTHER BUSINESS GROUPS HAVE BEEN STEPPING IN TO HELP BUSINESS-FRIENDLY REPUBLICANS ALIGNED WITH THE GOP LEADERSHIP, A REACTION TO THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IN OCTOBER, WHICH THE BUSINESS GROUPS OPPOSED, AND A SIGN OF WORRIES THAT TEA PARTY-ALIGNED CANDIDATES MIGHT TRY TO ELIMINATE TAX BREAKS AND SPENDING FAVORED BY BUSINESSES.
MR. MCCONNELL DELIVERED HIS MESSAGE AT THE FUNDRAISER HOURS AFTER A CANDIDATE BACKED BY A NUMBER OF GOP LEADERS IN WASHINGTON, AND THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, BEAT A MORE CONSERVATIVE CHALLENGER IN A SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION IN ALABAMA.
According to campaign-finance records, BAE Systems, a U.S. unit of U.K.-based BAE Systems PLC that works on such items as the F-35 jet fighter and the Bradley fighting vehicle, has given Mr. McConnell $5,000 so far this year, the maximum allowed, to help him beat back a 2014 challenge from tea-party ally Matt Bevin.
BAE, which has a large presence in Kentucky, declined to comment on the fundraiser or its discussions with Mr. McConnell.
"Our political action committee's contributions reflect our support for candidates who believe in strong national security and defense and represent districts where BAE Systems is a part of the local community," said spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.
MR. MCCONNELL'S SENATE OFFICE REFERRED QUESTIONS TO HIS 2014 RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN. JOSH HOLMES, A SENIOR ADVISER TO THE MCCONNELL CAMPAIGN, DEFENDED THE SENATOR'S APPEAL. "SEN. MCCONNELL IS A CONSERVATIVE WHO BELIEVES IN A STRONG NATIONAL DEFENSE AND WANTS TO ENSURE THAT THOSE WHO SHARE HIS OPINION AREN'T SILENCED BY A RELUCTANCE TO VOICE THEIR OPINION IN ELECTIONS," HE SAID.
THE MESSAGE APPEARS TO BE RIPPLING THROUGH THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY, WHERE OFFICIALS ARE VOICING INCREASING RESENTMENT WITH TEA PARTY-ALIGNED REPUBLICANS.
"There's definitely frustration within the defense community, and the frustration goes to tea partiers who are emphasizing cuts without internalizing the harm," said Roger Zakheim, an attorney at Covington & Burling LLP who served until October as general counsel for the House Armed Services Committee. "At times, our respective leaders in both branches have essentially allowed, and continue to allow, the military to be a pawn in the greater debate."
MR. MCCONNELL'S PITCH TO THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY IS A DELICATE ONE. AS SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER, HE HAS SUPPORTED SEQUESTRATION, THE ACROSS-THE-BOARD SPENDING CUTS THAT HAVE HIT DOMESTIC PROGRAMS AND THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT.
MATT HOSKINS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND, A POLITICAL-ACTION COMMITTEE BACKING MR. MCCONNELL'S GOP CHALLENGER, CALLED MR. MCCONNELL A HYPOCRITE FOR CASTING HIMSELF AS A DEFENDER OF MILITARY SPENDING WHILE SUPPORTING THE SPENDING CUTS. "ALL HE'S REALLY DOING IS SAYING 'NUDGE-NUDGE, WINK-WINK, YOU KNOW I'M A BIG SPENDER, YOU KNOW I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU,' " HE SAID.
"WHAT HE'S REALLY SAYING IS THAT HE'S A BIG SPENDING REPUBLICAN WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF THESE SPECIAL INTERESTS IF THEY HELP HIM IN THE PRIMARY," MR. HOSKINS SAID. "IT'S, YOU SCRATCH MY BACK, I WILL SCRATCH YOUR BACK."
In Georgia, Lockheed Martin Corp. , General Dynamics Corp. and Boeing Co. have already stepped in to support Rep. Jack Kingston, who is battling Rep. Paul Broun and others in the GOP primary for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss's Senate seat. Mr. Kingston, who has faced accusations from the right that he is insufficiently committed to eliminating the president's health-care law, has collected at least $60,000 from defense firms for his campaign, according to finance records, making him a top recipient of defense industry dollars in the current campaign cycle.
In addition to BAE's contribution, Mr. McConnell has drawn donations from Lockheed Martin and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., which have each donated $2,500 to his campaign, records show.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
TEA PARTY CONGRESSMAN WARNS SALON: ANOTHER SHUTDOWN MAY BE COMING!
GOP FIREBRAND TIM HUELSKAMP ADDS: "RUMORS I’VE HEARD IS [BOEHNER'S] NOT GOING TO BE RUNNING FOR SPEAKER AGAIN”
JOSH EIDELSON | DEC 13, 2013 | Salon
By a 332-to-94 vote Thursday night, the House passed a budget deal that – despite taking money from federal workers’ pockets and leaving long-term unemployed in the lurch – was staunchly opposed by major right-wing groups. Among the critics was Tea Party stalwart and Kansas congressman Tim Huelskamp, whom Boehner kicked off the Budget Committee in an alleged purge last year. In an interview before the vote, Huelskamp charged that the deal “doesn’t avoid a government shutdown,” told Salon he hears rumors Boehner’s retiring, and skewered Paul Ryan’s response to right-wing attacks on the deal he brokered. A condensed version of our conversation follows.
Congressman Ryan described this as an agreement that “does not raise taxes, that does reduce the deficit and produces some certainty and prevents a government shutdown.” Why do you disagree with his assessment?
I think I disagree with all of those points …
It doesn’t avoid a government shutdown. We still have to pass an omnibus bill … Knowing and guessing what Harry Reid might do – not knowing but just guessing, I mean – is that he’s going to ask for more. He’s going to ask for unemployment compensation, something along that lines, as part of the omnibus. And he indicated there’s more debates between now and Jan. 15. And so there’ll still be that debate. The only way – again, the only way you avoid a shutdown is you give everything the other side wants. And my guess is Harry Reid will continue to demand more things.
Secondly, it does raise taxes. You can call them fees, you can call them revenue enhancers – whatever. But it’s just more money going into Washington … And the new money’s going to spending and somebody’s got to pay for the $63 billion spending increase.
AND I KNOW PAUL RYAN AND THE SPEAKER HAVE ALSO CLAIMED THIS IS A DEFICIT REDUCTION BILL AGAIN. THAT’S ONLY ASSUMING THAT IN 2022, CONGRESS IS GOING TO MAINTAIN THESE SEQUESTER CUTS THAT THEY’VE PUT NEWLY INTO THE BILL, OR INTO THE LAW. AND AT THE SAME TIME THEY’RE UNDOING THE SEQUESTER, THEY’RE CLAIMING SOMETIME AFTER THE 2022 ELECTION, BETTER THINGS WILL HAPPEN. AND THAT STRAINS CREDIBILITY FOR FOLKS TO EVEN MAKE SUCH A CLAIM. IT’S A SPENDING INCREASE, AND THERE’S NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTS ABOUT IT.
So do you expect we’ll see another government shutdown?
I don’t know. Again, it depends what Harry Reid and the speaker do. But again, judging what Harry Reid was willing to do during the shutdown, and not vote on anything, and demand and demand and demand, I think the die might be set, where he recognizes that our Republican leadership are going to eventually cave. And he’s going to demand something, and they’re going to say, “Gosh, if we don’t give it to him, we’ll shut the government down.”
Harry Reid just might do that. It’s hard to tell, hard to predict. But I know it’s not over yet …
Even if they don’t want to go above the numbers that will be voted on in the House today, there’s plenty of disagreements how you move the money around…There’s dozens and dozens of riders on environmental issues, for example, that House Republicans will demand will be in there, and Barbara Boxer will demand will be out, and there’ll be a lot of debate. So there’s a long ways to go before we can say there’s a deal that funds the government for the rest of the year …
And so what are your red lines to continue to fund the government?
For myself and quite a few other conservatives, we had settled on: OK, we’ll keep the sequester. That’s our line. And the sequester is not where I wanted to be — I think it’s not the best way to make cuts — but it’s what President Obama, Sen. Reid and Speaker Boehner agreed to, and got a majority of House and Senate — a majority of Democrats, I think maybe a majority of Republicans, voted for this deal. And now they’re undoing that. So Republicans, conservatives, are drawing the line, saying let’s keep the sequester. That’s the law of the land, and there is just no excuse for Republicans abandoning what was their claim to victory for the past two and a half years. And we heard that for all of October … “Never fear, we’re gonna hold the sequester.” They told us that in January, February, March, April, through the entire year, until this plan was announced.
So who’s to blame for this plan?
THE ONES WHO NEGOTIATED. I THINK THAT YOU HAVE TO GIVE THE CREDIT TO THE DEMOCRATS. THEY DID A GREAT JOB IN NEGOTIATING A VERY FAVORABLE DEAL. They got $63 billion in new spending. They got the Republicans, in doing that, to abandon the sequester, to abandon the position of that we want to reduce the deficit. And I think the biggest losers were the American people … They didn’t want another $63 billion in deficit spending just for Washington to be able to go home quickly in December. Just very disappointed in the whole plan.
So when Rep. Ryan decries the criticism of his deal from the right as a “a strange new normal,” and says “it’s funny,” what’s your reaction to that?
Well, I don’t know how strange that is. Welcome to Washington.
WHETHER YOU’RE SPEAKER, OR YOU’RE A VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, OR YOU’RE A LOWLY CONGRESSMAN FROM KANSAS, PEOPLE DISAGREE WITH YOU FROM THE RIGHT AND THE LEFT. AND YOU KNOW, PAUL RYAN HAS QUITE A FEW THINGS IN HIS RECORD THAT CANNOT BE DESCRIBED AS CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS. WHETHER IT’S LABOR UNIONS, WHETHER IT’S CONTROL — LOCAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION — I THINK HE WAS FOR NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. YOU GO THROUGH A WHOLE LIST OF THOSE THINGS, AND CLEARLY HE’S RECEIVED PLENTY OF CONSERVATIVE CRITICISM FOR THOSE VOTES. AND HERE WE ARE – MEDICARE PART D, HE TALKED ABOUT ENTITLEMENT REFORM AND HE VOTED FOR THE BIGGEST REPUBLICAN ENTITLEMENT EXPANSION IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY. AND THERE’S NOTHING CONSERVATIVE ABOUT THAT.
So I don’t think it’s anything new. But when you try to convince people something’s better than it is, you tend to embellish and try to sell it. But that’s what’s different about this, because the speaker is usually one to call a #$%$ sandwich a #$%$ sandwich. He used a different word for that, I think, in which — I do not care to use that language.
But this one is still as bad as some of the other things they’ve done in December, perhaps worse. And now they’re trying to tell us it’s a good thing, which — it’s clearly not consistent with conservative principles. And it’s clearly not a deficit reduction bill, which is probably the biggest hangup for me …
My understanding, hearing from Senate staff and reading that online and from my staff, is Paul Ryan and Patty Murray did put something in this agreement that would further erode the power of the Republican minority in the Senate, by applying the nuclear option to tax increases … I have not heard a good explanation, or any claim from Paul Ryan that that was a good idea. So I don’t know where that came from, and who’s taking credit for that. But this is the deal that leadership did negotiate, which is very favorable to Harry Reid.
So do you see this deal as a “#$%$ sandwich,” then?
I THINK THIS DEAL IS AN ABDICATION OF OUR CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES. AGAIN, THIS HAS HAPPENED – I’VE ONLY BEEN UP HERE THREE YEARS. THIS HAPPENS ABOUT EVERY DECEMBER, WHEN THEY HOPE THE REST OF AMERICA IS NOT WATCHING. THEY DID THAT WITH THE PAYROLL TAX DEAL TWO YEARS AGO, THEY DID A FISCAL CLIFF DEAL A YEAR AGO …
They’re hoping everybody will forget this come January. And we’ll see what happens in the Republican conference.
No, it’s — this is not something we should accept, in my opinion. It’s going to do damage, I think, long-term to the Republican Party. I mean, conservatives have been less than thrilled with the current leadership in Washington, and this just confirms some of the deepest fears about how committed Republicans are to, you know, fiscal restraint.
You know, not even mentioned in this conversation until now is Obamacare. That’s part of it. This just continues Obamacare, not a, nary a word about it. And you know, hopefully we’ll have a discussion on that in the omnibus. But we shall see …
Will you vote for Boehner to be speaker again?
That’s a long ways off. I — THE RUMORS I’VE HEARD IS THAT HE’S NOT GOING TO BE RUNNING FOR SPEAKER AGAIN, THAT HE’S RETIRING. BUT I DON’T KNOW … SO I DON’T KNOW IF THERE’S EVEN A VOTE FOR HIM AGAIN.
AND THERE’S A LOT OF RUMORS CIRCULATING ABOUT THAT. YOU CAN CHECK ELSEWHERE. I’M NOT THE SOURCE OF THOSE RUMORS. I JUST HEAR ABOUT THEM.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
PAUL RYAN SAYS HE WAS 'CAUGHT OFF GUARD' BY CONSERVATIVE GROUPS' OPPOSITION TO BUDGET DEAL
12/12/13 | AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — The co-architect of a new budget deal in Congress concedes the political accommodation is modest, but says it moves a fiscally challenged government "in the right direction."
Republican Rep. Paul Ryan tells "CBS This Morning" the deal he brokered with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state was the best possible at a time of "divided government."
The Wisconsin congressman went on the air Thursday to tout the agreement that, among other things, restores $63 million in mandatory spending cuts.
ASKED ABOUT HARSH CRITICISM FROM CONSERVATIVE GROUPS, RYAN ACKNOWLEDGES "WE WERE A LITTLE CAUGHT OFF GUARD."
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER ANGRILY DENOUNCED TWO CONSERVATIVE GROUPS WEDNESDAY, SAYING ANYBODY WHO BELIEVES IN DEFICIT REDUCTION SHOULD SUPPORT THE DEAL.
Ryan says "nobody got everything they wanted, but we advanced our principles."
Sentiment: Strong Buy
DRUDGE REPORT 12/11/2013 10:38pm
BOEHNER GOES OFF ON RIGHT...
'This Is Ridiculous!'...
Longtime GOP staffer sacked for leaking...
STOCKMAN: BUDGET BETRAYAL, FINAL SURRENDER
GOP SPLIT ON BUDGET DEAL...
Rand Paul: 'Shameful'...
Cruz: 'Deeply Concerning'...
REPORT: McConnell to vote against...
Analysis: Majority of sequester replacement comes from new revenue...
Airline fees to increase 124%...
House leadership aide compares Ryan to Jesus...
Sentiment: Strong Buy
STOCKMAN: BUDGET BETRAYAL, FINAL SURRENDER
Jeff Morganteen | CNBC | Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 | 1:44 PM ET
House Republicans "capitulated" in agreeing to the two-year budget deal reached last night and left the country to deal with an unsustainable fiscal situation until the peak of the presidential primaries in 2015, when nothing will get done, former federal budget director David Stockman told CNBC on Wednesday.
"First, let's be clear—it's a joke and betrayal," Stockman, who served under President Ronald Reagan, said on "Squawk on the Street." "IT'S THE FINAL SURRENDER OF THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP TO BELTWAY POLITICS AND KICKING THE CAN AND IGNORING THE BUDGET MONSTER THAT'S HURTLING DOWN THE ROAD."
STOCKMAN ADDED THAT THE BUDGET DEAL MEANS LAWMAKERS WOULD TAKE A "TWO-YEAR VACATION" FROM DEALING WITH THE COUNTRY'S FISCAL SITUATION AND REVISIT IT IN 2015 AT AROUND THE SAME TIME AS THE IOWA STRAW POLLS. WITHOUT AN INCUMBENT IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE, BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES WILL BE TOO BUSY TO TOUCH THE BUDGET, HE SAID.
While some hailed the budget deal as a breakthrough in Washington's political gridlock, Stockman compared the accord to "kicking the can" into "low Earth orbit."
"There's plenty of room, but they're unwilling to make the tough choices," he said. "Now, I UNDERSTAND DEMOCRATS DOING THAT. THE ONLY HOPE OF GETTING OUR FISCAL SITUATION UNDER CONTROL IS IF THE HOUSE REPUBLICANS STAND UP. AND THEY'VE TOTALLY CAPITULATED."
The two-year deal averts deeper cuts to military spending, but Stockman said that's where lawmakers should have looked for savings. The U.S. no longer faces threats from developed countries and has been "fired as the world's policemen," he said.
Any meaningful changes to the budget wouldn't happen until nearly 2020 if lawmakers don't address them now, he said. Washington still has a chance to duel over the debt ceiling this February, however, and over unemployment benefits in the shorter term.
U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said lawmakers should vote to extend unemployment benefits before their Dec. 31 deadline.
"The speaker is holding that up," Van Hollen said in an earlier "Squawk on the Street" interview. "He's making that very clear."
Sentiment: Strong Buy
STORIES OF THE CONSERVATIVE PURGE
David Weigel | 12/11/2013 | Slate
We can trace John Boehner's loss of his conservative wing to the end of 2012. The "fiscal cliff" was looming. (Cliffs can loom, right?) Boehner wanted his Republicans to pass their own relief package without Republican votes. Just enough Republicans opposed this to scuttle the deal; power moved over to the Senate. And throughout 2013, when deadlines rushed up, Boehner's Republicans were utterly unable to pass a fiscal plan without Democratic votes.
The rather unexciting embrace of the budget conference's package really might be reversing the dynamic. On fiscal policy, at least, Boehner's Republicans are trying to cobble together a majority of the majority. They're ignoring the conservatives; they're trying to win as many of them as possible, but the success of the bill depends on Democratic support. "This bill wasn't written for us," groused South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney today. The conservative wing of the party has clammed up, with no official condemnation of the plan even from the Republican Study Committee.
And today, in the RSC:
Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise has fired the group's longtime executive director, Paul Teller, multiple sources told National Journal.
The reason for the dismissal, according to sources familiar with the situation, is that Teller allegedly shared sensitive conversations between RSC members with outside advocacy groups, some of whom hold policy positions counter to the RSC.
ALLEGEDLY, HELL! IT WAS NEARLY TWO AND A HALF YEARS AGO THAT TELLER WAS CAUGHT STRATEGIZING WITH OUTSIDE CONSERVATIVE GROUPS THAT WERE THEN DEMANDING TOTAL PURITY FROM THE GOP CONFERENCE. AT THAT TIME MANY REPUBLICANS CALLED ON THE RSC TO SACK TELLER. HE SURVIVED; NEW RSC CHAIRMAN STEVE SCALISE, IN LATE 2012, PROMISED TO KEEP HIM ON. THAT HE'S OUT NOW IS A CLEAR SIGNAL FROM THE LEADERSHIP TO THE CONSERVATIVES: STOP PLAYING GAMES WITH THE WOLVES OUTSIDE. YOU WANT TO VOTE "NO," YOU COUNT ON IT BEING A STUNT VOTE THAT DOESN'T IMPERIL PASSAGE.
Not that this would help you, endangered Republican. Here's how the Senate Conservatives Fund responded when Mitch McConnell confirmed he'd vote down the budget deal.
Senate Conservatives @SCF
Mitch McConnell will oppose a budget that raises spending by $63 billion but won't oppose one that raises debt limit and funds Obamacare?
2:21 PM - 11 Dec 2013
Can't catch a break.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
REPUBLICAN SENATOR IS NOW A 'LIBERAL,' APPARENTLY
John Cornyn Is Now A 'Liberal
Jason Linkins | 12/11/2013 | HuffPost
Earlier this week, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), who is best known for his time spent trolling on Twitter, announced that he was going to mount a primary challenge against incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). You were warned that something like this might happen.
On Tuesday, Stockman made his reasoning for this primary challenge clear: Cornyn, he said, is a "liberal." That probably came as a surprise to Cornyn, seeing as how it wasn't too long ago that he found himself in an eight-way tie for the title of "most conservative senator," per National Journal.
But, you know, listen to Stockman tell it:
I am honored to be called the most fearless conservative in Congress, and proud of my perfect 100% lifetime conservative rating. I am leading the fight for our values.
But John Cornyn wakes up every morning and works to make the Senate a more liberal place.
Liberal John Cornyn betrayed Ted Cruz by abandoning Republicans during the Obamacare filibuster.
Liberal John Cornyn betrayed Ted Cruz, and you, by voting to fund Obamacare.
But liberal John Cornyn is now doing what he always does, spending four years voting like a Democrat, then spending the two years before an election pretending to be Republican.
And if we let John Cornyn back in the Senate he will go right back to betraying Republicans, and with a vengeance.
Well, I’m sick and tired of being bayoneted in the back by someone in my own foxhole.
THAT'S JUST A TASTE OF STOCKMAN'S MISSIVE, IN WHICH HE REFERS TO CORNYN AS A "LIBERAL" 21 TIMES, AS IF CORNYN WERE ELIZABETH WARREN OR SOMETHING.
Cornyn, as you might suspect, views his record as an Obamacare opponent quite differently. Stockman's take on the matter is simply the most cynical possible interpretation of Cornyn's votes during the 2013 government shutdown, in which the division between him and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) amounted to a simple disagreement over political tactics. But Stockman's hardly alone in his view -- FreedomWorks has dinged Cornyn for the same votes, and more. (The group also criticizes Cornyn for votes to raise the debt ceiling that date back to the Bush administration.)
Which isn't to say that outside conservative groups are particularly warm to Stockman's challenge. In fact, as Politico reported, most of those organizations are feeling somewhat "blindsided":
Not a single outside group said Stockman gave them a heads up on his plans to run for the Senate. The chairman of the Texas Republican Party said he, too, was blindsided. Ambushed by Stockman’s announcement, the powerful Club for Growth swiftly disavowed any interest in the primary. Several other tea party-friendly groups did not entirely rule out engaging in the election, but played down the possibility and acknowledged up front that Stockman’s campaign looks like a questionable proposition.
“While Congressman Stockman has a pro-economic growth record, so does Senator Cornyn,” Club for Growth president Chris Chocola said in a statement, noting that the Club decides its endorsements based on both the incumbent’s record and the challenger’s viability. “None of those factors weigh against Senator Cornyn, so we do not expect to be involved in the Texas race.”
Cornyn's more or less done the whole "dirt off my shoulder" routine since Stockman announced his challenge. He has called Stockman's against him "thin gruel" and quipped that the congressman wasn't "on my radar screen." And as for the inevitable comparisons to Ted Cruz -- who knocked off Texas establishment company man David Dewhurst in a protracted 2012 GOP primary -- Cornyn isn't feeling it: "[Cruz's] talents, the quality of race he ran and the timing were all different."
Indeed, that's true -- please see Dave Weigel breaking down all of the ways in which the logistics and timing in the 2012 primary broke in Cruz's favor.
The lingering question, of course, is how a challenge to Cornyn and a divisive primary battle might affect the GOP in 2014. Well, as John Sides notes over at the Monkey Cage, don't expect this primary to clear the way for a Democratic interloper in Texas. "After all," Sides writes, "Texas is Texas. Pretty much any Republican has a very good chance of winning the general election in 2014." However, Sides notes the research of Harvard political scientist Andrew Hall, which "raises some red flags worth considering."
The issue for the GOP isn’t so much the 2014 Texas Senate race. THE ISSUE IS THAT, IN GENERAL, THE PARTY WOULD BE BETTER OFF — THAT IS, IT WOULD CONTROL MORE SEATS AND BE BETTER-POSITIONED TO STEER POLICY — IF IT COULD DISCOURAGE PRIMARY CHALLENGERS IN RACES WHERE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES ARE MORE LIKELY. And Stockman’s example — particularly if successful — may only reinforce the desire of other conservatives in the party to mount similar challenges. When those challenges happen in states or districts that aren’t quite as red as Texas, the party may suffer, just as it has in Nevada, Delaware, Indiana, and Missouri.
And THAT'S WHAT MUCH OF THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT'S EFFORTS -- FROM THE RNC'S "REBRANDING" TO KARL ROVE'S "CONSERVATIVE VICTORY PROJECT" -- HAVE BEEN DESIGNED TO PREVENT. INSTEAD, THEY GET TO WAKE UP ONE DAY AND SEE JOHN CORNYN GET ACCUSED OF BEING A "LIBERAL" TWENTY-ONE TIMES. WHAT A WORLD.
Sentiment: Strong Buy