April 23rd, 2014
10:00 AM ET
4 months ago

Inside Politics Speed Read: Good Congress, bad Congress

Good Congress, Bad Congress – You could get intellectual whiplash watching some of the campaign commercials starting to emerge from Democrats in 2014.

Take Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn wants her dad’s old job. She’s running as a Democrat to fill the Georgia Senate seat he held as a Democrat for 25 years, from 1972 until 1997.

But Georgia politics and the Democratic Party have changed a lot in the meantime. Nunn is running as a political outsider and her first TV ad makes clear she wants voters to think she’ll have her sights set on Washington and members of Congress if they send her to Capitol Hill.

Nunn pledges three things in the TV ad:

Ban lawmakers from lobbying, don’t pay them unless they pass a budget and take away the employer contribution (some call it a taxpayer subsidy) they get for health insurance.

Square Nunn’s outlook with Allyson Schwartz, who is in an uphill battle for the Democratic nomination to run for governor in Pennsylvania. She’s touting what she accomplished in Congress - her work with President Barack Obama on Obamacare.

They’re in different positions. Nunn is running as the only major Democrat for a Senate seat in a red state. She’s trying to define herself while a crowded field of Republican challengers fights amongst themselves. Schwartz is apparently behind in her bid to get the Democratic nomination.

These ads are apples and oranges, but it is still remarkable the two women share a party.

War on who? – Republican woman buys 14 seconds of silence to combat “war on women” charge – Is this the best ad of the year so far? Terri Lynn Land gives you a minute – well, 14 seconds – to think about Democrats’ allegation that Republicans are waging a war on women. Land is a woman, mind you. And she’s running against Rep. Gary Peters. He’s a man. “Really?” Land asks, arguing she knows more about women than he does.

The “war on women” narrative worked for Democrats in 2012, when Republicans nominated the likes of Rep. Todd Aiken in Missouri to challenge Democratic women like Sen. Claire McCaskill. It helped them keep control of the Senate. But in Michigan in 2014, there is a gender role reversal. And Land is running in a blue state instead of a red one like Missouri.

State Department spokesman stumped – The current top spokesman at the U.S. State Department, Jen Psaki, couldn't name any tangible benefits that came about from a major policy review conducted and touted by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Bob Dole: “That extreme right-wing guy – Ted Cruz?” – Ninety-year-old former Republican Sen. Bob Dole has been barnstorming across Kansas, “not running for anything, but running hard,” according to The Washington Post’s Dan Balz.

It’s a sort of thank you tour for Dole, who is known for his wisecracking. He applied his dry humor to an assessment of some of his fellow Republicans interested in running for president in 2016. Dole lost the 1996 election to Bill Clinton. If elected, he would have been the oldest president. But he said the Republicans today are too young.

"A number of the younger members, first-termers like Rand Paul, (Marco) Rubio and that extreme-right-wing guy – Ted Cruz? All running for president now," he said in an interview this week with The Wichita Eagle. "I don't think they've got enough experience yet."

Related:  Bob Dole assesses the Republican field.

Fallon fact check – Jimmy Fallon delivered a great political zinger on the Tonight Show on Tuesday. He was talking about the President’s trip to Asia.

“President Obama left for a week-long trip to Asia where he'll visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines,” said Fallon. “Obama said, ‘These countries all share the same wonderful quality. He doesn't owe any of them money. Let's just skip China. Let's just skip China this time.  I've been there already.‘“

Here’s the fact check. The United States actually does owe Japan money. A lot of money. Until recently, Japan owned more U.S. debt than China.

Both countries currently own more than $1 trillion.

Obama landed in Japan Wednesday and had a sushi dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.It isn’t clear who picked up the tab.

Reading List:

Dick Durbin – Bring back earmarks! – The Tea Party led Washington to do away with earmarks, he argued, and it was a mistake.

Blaming the demise of earmarks on the Tea Party is a bit of revisionist history. But Durbin’s larger point – that members of Congress should be able to publicly secure funding for their districts – is an important one.

 “"I think that what we need to do is have the Obama administration say, 'We are looking for local impact, local input on projects and we will give great weight or at least weight to these recommendations.' And I think that only makes sense. Because, to think that somebody sitting at a desk in Washington, D.C., can appreciate that opportunity down in the Metro East area - I'm not sure they could," Durbin said, according to a recording of his remarks provided by his office to The Huffington Post. "It was a tea party reform," Durbin added. "They came in and eliminated it and what they did is take the glue out of a federal transportation bill. That was the glue that held everybody together: Democrats and Republicans working for a common goal. There were abuses for sure, and those abuses can be policed and those abuses can be eliminated with more transparency start to finish. LINK

Republicans – the outside Washington kind – warm to gay marriage… Witness this paragraph from the Washington Post – “Illinois Republicans last weekend ousted party officials who disagreed with a former state party chairman's support for same-sex marriage. Nevada Republicans just days ago removed language from the party platform regarding whether gay men and lesbians should marry. A new fundraising committee supporting pro-gay marriage GOP congressional candidates announced last week that it raised more than $2 million in the first quarter from wealthy Republican donors who support gay rights. Even Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an outspoken social conservative critic of gay rights, said in a recent BuzzFeed interview that “I think we need to concede that there’s been a real shift of public opinion on marriage." Read the whole story HERE.


Filed under: 2014 • Congress • Michelle Nunn
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. NamejJK. SFL. VOTE THE GOP ANTI-HEALTHCARE PARTY OUT iN NOVEMBER

    I'm sick of listening to the GOP gibberish while they do NOTHING, vote these GOP worthless CLOWNS OUT in November , OR , you can sit around for the next two years WINNNNNEEEING!!!!!

    April 23, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. themainfan

    It is not sarcasm to say everyone is accepting of gay marriage now if they aren't a priest.

    April 23, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Hooper

    Someone could actually pretend that any congress person, serving during this session was in any way good. If you can pretend this, shame on you.

    April 23, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |