Friday, November 14, 2014

Cruising the Web

The National Journal writes about how senatorial elections in 2016 could be an occasion for deja-doo-do all over again as this year's losers plot how to run against different incumbents in their states next election. I'm sure not thrilled to see more of Kay Hagan here in North Carolina, but, apparently, the Democrats don't have much of anyone else to run.

Roll Call covers how the GOP pollster, Chris Perkins, nailed the projections for several Republican campaigns and helped David Perdue be confident that, despite most media polls, he could beat Michelle Nunn.

How the Republicans finally mastered running good campaigns that took advantage of digital opportunities. I like this.
This was another regular practice the NRSC instituted this cycle: It secretly tested the Republican campaigns and the vendors serving them. It sent people to sign up as volunteers for each campaign and had them report back on the quality of the operations from the inside, including the state of each campaign’s ground game and whether door-to-door apps were working or not working. The group brought in “multiple pollsters in every state,” according to Lira, to make sure that pollsters hired by the campaigns were delivering reliable information. The NRSC even hired Nathan Klein, deputy polling manager for the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign, as its in-house pollster, to add another layer of accountability and data.

“Nothing personal against any firm, but after 2012, we wanted more information, not less,” Lira said.

Lira’s team also “secret-shopped” Democratic campaign websites, signing up to volunteer for opposition campaigns to see what kind of responses they would get. Most asked for money, but not a lot followed up with phone calls, he said.

In addition to setting clear expectations in New York, and requiring the campaigns to meet certain digital standards through the R.E.D.D. program, Lira’s team recruited digital directors for many of the Senate campaigns, and sent reinforcements to campaigns that needed extra help or encouragement.

“So often in the past it was, ‘Who can run Facebook?' and somebody raises their hand, and that person becomes digital director — rather than having people with experience, with the background,” Lira said.
Though I'm not sure that bringing in Mitt Romney's pollster is all that big an advantage....

Alyssia Finley explains how Republicans can use Larry Hogan's successful campaign in Maryland as a model of how to break through in more blue states.

Roll Call looks at how Elise Stefanik became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. This was not an obvious pick-up seat for Republicans or for Stefanik.

David French explains how Gruber's truth-telling videos demonstrate that Obamacare was so bad that it wouldn't have gotten the votes of its own supporters if they'd been honest about it.
Obamacare was so expansive, so unpopular, and so outside the perceived will of the voters, that Gruber and his administration allies felt that they had to intentionally confuse and deceive the American people to pass health care reform through a Democrat-dominated Congress.

Remember, these were the halcyon days of President Obama’s alleged mandate — when mainstream pundits were heralding a potential sea change in American politics, when Time declared Republicans an “endangered species.” Yet Obamacare’s architects knew they were moving farther and faster than the American people wanted. They knew that if they wrote a law in plain English that even their Democratic allies in Congress would reject it. They knew that if they explained the true effects of the law — including the existence of very real trade-offs — that not even a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate could save them.

For years, conservatives have been arguing that the divisiveness and anger of the last several years are exactly what happens when major social legislation is passed on a purely partisan basis. The reality, however, was much worse. The administration passed major social legislation not just by strong-arming Republicans but also by deceiving its own allies. That’s not just partisan, it’s deceitfully partisan, and as Democratic politicians survey the charred remnants of their 2009 “mandate” and polish up their CVs, they can shake their now-unemployed fists at the White House that cost them their jobs.
Just imagine if they'd been willing to bring in Republicans who were interested in creating some sort of health care reform law, just not one so massive and so poorly constructed as the ACA. They would have had bipartisan votes to point to. And their law mayhaps wouldn't have been so awful. But they couldn't do that. They had to reach for the sky to get every possible liberal desiderata all in one huge bill that no one read and wasn't debated. French concludes,
It’s easy to imagine a number of far more modest reforms that would have garnered some degree of Republican support, especially as purple-state Republicans feared for their own professional lives after President Obama’s election. But this was an administration that was far more ambitious — aid for the poor and near-poor wasn’t enough. It had to increase access to abortion. It had to turn employee health plans into the next front of the culture war. It had to give the IRS an even greater degree of access to Americans’ private lives. It had to increase regulatory authority over myriad aspects of American health care. It had to engage in stealth redistribution of wealth.

While the truly partisan pundits are unfazed by Gruber’s compulsive truth-telling, will the allegedly more mainstream media revise its own history of the Obama presidency? Is the problem with Obamacare truly Republican “obstructionism,” or is it administration deception — featuring a willingness to deliberately make the provision of American health care needlessly complex to accomplish hyper-partisan ideological goals?

How bad was Obamacare? So bad it couldn’t even pass through a Democratic supermajority on its own merits.
Charles Krauthammer concludes about the whole Gruber story,
It’s refreshing that “the most transparent administration in history,” as this administration fancies itself, should finally display candor about its signature act of social change. Inadvertently, of course. But now we know what lay behind Obama’s smooth reassurances — the arrogance of an academic liberalism that rules in the name of a citizenry it mocks, disdains, and deliberately, contemptuously deceives.
Josh Voorhees in Slate isn't impressed with Mary Landrieu's Hail Mary attempt to pass approval of the Keystone pipeline through the Senate. Her opponent, who is now up 16 points in an internal Cassidy poll, is also pushing a Keystone bill through the House. His bill will certainly pass. She might be able to get through the Senate but Obama is likely to veto it.
What’s befuddling isn’t that the Democrats are playing politics with Keystone—it’s that they’re playing them so poorly. Thanks to their seven-seat-and-counting gain on Election Day, Republicans will take control of the Senate next year for the first time since George W. Bush’s second term. More importantly for the Keystone crowd, the pipeline is all but certain to have a filibuster-proof 60-plus votes in the next Senate, whether Landrieu is there or not.

As I explained last week, a GOP-passed Keystone bill would back Obama into a tight corner next year. If the president signs it, Republicans can point to the pipeline as proof they’re delivering on their campaign promises. If he vetoes it, they can argue ahead of 2016 that it’s the Democrats who are responsible for Washington’s gridlock. The political price Obama will pay would only grow if Landrieu somehow got her way and he had to veto a bill passed by a Democrat-controlled Senate. Any of these scenarios would be a win for Republicans politically and a blow to the president’s larger push to fight U.S.—and global—emissions during his final two years in office.

Reid’s decision to give Landrieu the vote she wants, then, is absolutely mystifying. Nevertheless, it is squarely in line with Democrats’ previous desperate—and transparent—attempts to keep her ensconced in office.
What is more likely is that Obama would veto the bill figuring that Landrieu will lose anyway. Why give up a bargaining chip that he could use sometime next year in negotiations with a Republican Congress for nothing in December 2014?

USA Today explains how Obamacare is killing off rural hospitals.

Gallup is heartened by a poll showing that 55% of the uninsured plan to sign up for health insurance. But 35% say they are more likely to pay the fine tax instead. Wasn't the whole idea of the individual mandate that those people so wanted insurance that we needed to upend the entire health care system to provide it for them? And there is nothing to indicate whether that 55% are healthier than those who aren't. If they are less healthy, as would seem more likely, than those choosing the tax, than that would force prices of insurance policies uip.

Harry Enten writes at 538 that the Republicans' gains in Iowa among white voters without a college degree might foretell problems for the Democrats in 2016.
Still, what happened in Iowa last Tuesday was probably not just because of midterm turnout (the Gallup numbers are from all adults), or a bad Democratic candidate, or a bad Democratic year. It was a reflection of the movement of the Iowa electorate over the past two years — specifically, movement of non-college-educated whites who shifted away from the Democratic Party. The gap in voting patterns between college-educated and non-college-educated whites in Iowa looks a lot more like the nation. That’s not good news for Democrats.

NBC's Chuck Todd has written a new book, The Stranger, about Barack Obama trying to figure out how a man who first seemed to be such a great politician in getting elected has been a failure politically in office. Even as favorable an observer as the NYT writes,
The book delivers a stinging indictment of his presidency so far, one underscored by this week’s elections, which resulted in huge gains for Republicans and are widely seen as a repudiation of Mr. Obama and his policies.

In these pages, Mr. Todd dissects “the promise versus the reality of Obama” and concludes that he will be regarded, at least in the near future, as “a president whose potential wasn’t realized.” He writes that “income inequality is worse than ever,” that the Middle East could well be “more unstable when Obama leaves office than when he took it,” and that while he “wanted to soar above partisanship,” his tenure in office will likely “be remembered as a nadir of partisan relations.”

....The underlying problems Mr. Todd diagnoses have already been pointed out by many reporters and politicians, especially in the run-up to the midterm elections. Those problems include what critics see as Mr. Obama’s passive leadership and lack of managerial experience; his disdain for, but inability to change, politics as usual in Washington; and his reluctance to reach out to Congress and members of both parties to engage in the sort of forceful horse trading (like Lyndon B. Johnson’s) and dogged retail politics (like Bill Clinton’s) that might have helped forge more legislative deals and build public consensus....

The underlying problems Mr. Todd diagnoses have already been pointed out by many reporters and politicians, especially in the run-up to the midterm elections. Those problems include what critics see as Mr. Obama’s passive leadership and lack of managerial experience; his disdain for, but inability to change, politics as usual in Washington; and his reluctance to reach out to Congress and members of both parties to engage in the sort of forceful horse trading (like Lyndon B. Johnson’s) and dogged retail politics (like Bill Clinton’s) that might have helped forge more legislative deals and build public consensus.
Judging from the interview Chuck Todd did last night with Hugh Hewitt, Todd's book sounds like a good primer for Republicans having to deal with Obama over the next two years. And that this analysis and critique comes from a charter member of the MSM is especially prime.
HH: But everyone around the White House knows what they promised to Stupak. And still, his Health and Human Services department won’t give an exemption to Hobby Lobby, and tries to get Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for abortifacients. And I mean, that’s just not good faith, and that good faith deficit, Chuck, which is detailed on like every chapter of The Stranger, mounts and mounts to like a, this is before your time and my time, what they used to call about the credibility gap with LBJ.
CT: Right, no, and I think that that’s where, you know, he now, you know, one of their chief complaints, one of the complaints I get from sort of his supporters of his on the book is like you know, you’re holding him more accountable for the dysfunction than Republicans. And you know, and I think that he doesn’t have enough examples where he went to the mat, where he challenged his own orthodoxy, or he challenged members of his own party, because that’s how you can build trust with the other side if they think geez, you’re going to side with us, and you’re going to make so and so mad on your side to do it, okay. All right, we will do this. You know, look at the Social Security, you know, I think at the end of the day, Reid was upset, and so it ended up killing it, and the President wouldn’t push harder on the Social Security reforms that he was willing to do, and I think wanted to do. But at the end of the day, he didn’t want to challenge Senate Democratic leadership.

Politico notes that the liberal media is doing all it can to pump up possible challenges to Hillary from the left.

This is your opportunity to make an offer they can't refuse. The house that was used as the Corleone family home is on the market. If you have $2.9 million and want to live on Staten Island, this home could be yours. It looks lovely and you could reenact famous scenes from one of the greatest films ever made.

The Washington Post profiles Jay Bilas and his path from Duke basketball player to lawyer to ESPN college basketball analyst and scourge of the NCAA. I'd love to hear his take on the UNC scandal.