Commentary Magazine


Topic: DNC

DNC Really Wants You to Know Women Will Speak at its Convention

The Democratic Party is fighting hard to revive that tired “war on women” meme. Today it announced its list of 10 female convention speakers, which CNN described as part of an “attempt by Team Obama to woo women away from the Republican Party”:

Nine additional Democratic women, many with ties to specific voting blocks, will address the national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Democratic National Convention Committee said Wednesday.

The list includes Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin; Georgetown student Sandra Fluke; Caroline Kennedy; Lilly Ledbetter; Eva Longoria, a co-chair of the Obama campaign; former Assistant Veterans Affairs Secretary Tammy Duckworth; Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Did you get that? Democrats want the world to know they’re going to have women speaking at their convention, which is apparently considered some sort of accomplishment in DNC-land. This may come as a shock to them, but the RNC has the same number of women slated to speak. That wasn’t widely promoted in a press release because, in 2012, Americans have become accustomed to women being involved in the political process. But kudos to the DNC for continuing that long-held tradition.

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The Democratic Party is fighting hard to revive that tired “war on women” meme. Today it announced its list of 10 female convention speakers, which CNN described as part of an “attempt by Team Obama to woo women away from the Republican Party”:

Nine additional Democratic women, many with ties to specific voting blocks, will address the national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Democratic National Convention Committee said Wednesday.

The list includes Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin; Georgetown student Sandra Fluke; Caroline Kennedy; Lilly Ledbetter; Eva Longoria, a co-chair of the Obama campaign; former Assistant Veterans Affairs Secretary Tammy Duckworth; Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Did you get that? Democrats want the world to know they’re going to have women speaking at their convention, which is apparently considered some sort of accomplishment in DNC-land. This may come as a shock to them, but the RNC has the same number of women slated to speak. That wasn’t widely promoted in a press release because, in 2012, Americans have become accustomed to women being involved in the political process. But kudos to the DNC for continuing that long-held tradition.

Note that “Georgetown student” Sandra Fluke graces the top of the list (wait, didn’t she graduate?). She’s back to playing a role in the Democratic Party’s strategy, and Jake Tapper reports that the Obama campaign has started sending out fundraising blasts in her name:

The Obama campaign will later today send out a mass e-mail to supporters from abortion rights activist Sandra Fluke criticizing the comments of embattled Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., and trying to tie them to the GOP presidential platform, ABC News has learned.

The email will be just the latest attempt by the Obama campaign to link the presumptive Republican presidential ticket to Akin, whose widely condemned (and scientifically false) remarks about rape have been disputed by both Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., in addition to almost every national Republican official with a pulse.

Fluke may rally the pro-choice base, but I have a hard time believing that the vast majority of American women remember who she is or really care about what she has to say about anything.

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Obama Fundraising Up in March

The combined Obama campaign/Democratic National Committee haul for March was $53 million, an uptick from the $45 million they pulled in the month before. It’s a positive trend for the Obama campaign after a slow winter, but it still doesn’t get them on track to raise the mega-sums they had hoped for:

The president’s reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee took in a combined $53 million in March through their various fundraising accounts, the Obama camp announced in a video Monday. …

The more interesting test of Obama’s fundraising potential may come in the April numbers, now that it’s unavoidably clear who the Republican nominee will be. High on the list of reasons why Democrats believe Obama’s fundraising has been solid, but not jaw-dropping, is that there hasn’t been a general election-like contrast with a Republican opponent, and financial supporters of both the grassroots and high-dollar variety haven’t felt the urgency they otherwise might.

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The combined Obama campaign/Democratic National Committee haul for March was $53 million, an uptick from the $45 million they pulled in the month before. It’s a positive trend for the Obama campaign after a slow winter, but it still doesn’t get them on track to raise the mega-sums they had hoped for:

The president’s reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee took in a combined $53 million in March through their various fundraising accounts, the Obama camp announced in a video Monday. …

The more interesting test of Obama’s fundraising potential may come in the April numbers, now that it’s unavoidably clear who the Republican nominee will be. High on the list of reasons why Democrats believe Obama’s fundraising has been solid, but not jaw-dropping, is that there hasn’t been a general election-like contrast with a Republican opponent, and financial supporters of both the grassroots and high-dollar variety haven’t felt the urgency they otherwise might.

Ed Morrissey rightly points out that it’s a little premature to read into these numbers, since the DNC and Obama campaign haven’t announced yet how that fundraising was split:

As happens every month, Team Obama announces the overall number first, and only later explains how the money got split.  Usually the DNC gets between 20-25 percent of the haul, which in this case would put the actual cash going into the Obama campaign at $42.5 million or so, but we’ll see.  The joint effort did add 190,000 first-time donors, and had 567,000 donors overall.

That breakdown will tell us how much slack the DNC is picking up. Politico reports that in 2008, the Obama campaign raised $42.8 million without the DNC. And of course, a major indicator of Obama’s supporter enthusiasm is whether he’s on track to meet his 2008 monthly fundraising numbers, which so far he hasn’t been able to.

But that’s not to diminish the Obama campaign/DNC’s fundraising bump. Even if he fails to match his 2008 levels, Obama will still raise a massive amount of money this year, as he should. After all, President Obama has already attended over twice as many fundraisers than President Bush did at this point in his presidency. He better be getting something back for all that time.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

The ObamaCare votes don’t seem to be there. Could those “votes” have figured out that they are the sacrificial lambs in the Obami’s game plan?

Well, as Steny Hoyer says, “At this point in time we don’t have a bill. … It’s a little difficult to count votes if you don’t have a bill.”

Republicans can’t quite believe their good fortune. “First, it has allowed what is a relatively fractious group of Republicans Senators to appear entirely united — a sharp contrast to the divisions that have played out publicly between the moderate and liberal wings of the Democratic party. Second, Republicans argue, the health care focus is the main reason for the abandonment of Democratic candidates by independent voters in gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey as well as in Sen. Scott Brown’s (R) special election victory in January.”

You need a lineup card: Rangel is out, Stark is out: “Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) will be the acting chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced to her caucus on Thursday. … [Rep. Pete] Stark was the next in line for the post in terms of seniority, but some panel members recoiled at the idea of his leading the committee. Stark is known for making controversial and eccentric remarks, and in 2007 he apologized on the House floor for comments about President George W. Bush and the Iraq War.”

Phil Klein proves once again that all wisdom is contained in the Bible and The Godfather (I and II, definitely not III). It’s the Frankie Pentangeli moment — get the brother. “Obama has just awarded a judicial appointment to the brother of Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, who voted against the health care bill in November but who is now undecided.”

DNC chairman Tim Kaine says that something other than merit may be at work here. After all, “Life is life.” I imagine Republicans are collecting these pearls for their ad campaigns.

Speaking of criminal intrigue: did the White House violate federal statutes by dangling federal jobs in front of Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff to try to get them out of Senate primaries? “The real question, of course, is whether Eric Holder, who was so quick to reopen an investigation into CIA employees dedicated to trying to protect this country, will open an investigation into his political patrons in the White House who, in their dedication to furthering political objectives, may have violated several federal criminal laws.” I’m not holding my breath either.

I think there’s something to Megan McArdle’s theory of the Democrats’ scandal-a-thon: “The more members you have, the more members you have who can do something disastrous to your party’s public image. … Any party is going to have a given percentage of people in it doing fairly appalling things. If you up the numbers, and the transparency, you get about what we’re seeing now. And no doubt will see again, once the Republicans are back in power. ” Which will be fairly soon, many predict.

Andrew Roberts (a COMMENTARY contributor) goes after his own Israel-bashing Financial Times on its coverage of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s assassination: “All that the Dubai operation will do is remind the world that the security services of states at war — and Israel’s struggle with Hamas, Fatah and Hizbollah certainly constitutes that — occasionally employ targeted assassination as one of the weapons in their armoury, and that this in no way weakens their legitimacy. … The intelligence agents of states — sometimes operating with direct authority, sometimes not — have carried out many assassinations and assassination attempts in peacetime without the legitimacy of those states being called into question, or their being described as ‘rogue.’ … No, that insult is reserved for only one country: Israel.”

The ObamaCare votes don’t seem to be there. Could those “votes” have figured out that they are the sacrificial lambs in the Obami’s game plan?

Well, as Steny Hoyer says, “At this point in time we don’t have a bill. … It’s a little difficult to count votes if you don’t have a bill.”

Republicans can’t quite believe their good fortune. “First, it has allowed what is a relatively fractious group of Republicans Senators to appear entirely united — a sharp contrast to the divisions that have played out publicly between the moderate and liberal wings of the Democratic party. Second, Republicans argue, the health care focus is the main reason for the abandonment of Democratic candidates by independent voters in gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey as well as in Sen. Scott Brown’s (R) special election victory in January.”

You need a lineup card: Rangel is out, Stark is out: “Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) will be the acting chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced to her caucus on Thursday. … [Rep. Pete] Stark was the next in line for the post in terms of seniority, but some panel members recoiled at the idea of his leading the committee. Stark is known for making controversial and eccentric remarks, and in 2007 he apologized on the House floor for comments about President George W. Bush and the Iraq War.”

Phil Klein proves once again that all wisdom is contained in the Bible and The Godfather (I and II, definitely not III). It’s the Frankie Pentangeli moment — get the brother. “Obama has just awarded a judicial appointment to the brother of Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, who voted against the health care bill in November but who is now undecided.”

DNC chairman Tim Kaine says that something other than merit may be at work here. After all, “Life is life.” I imagine Republicans are collecting these pearls for their ad campaigns.

Speaking of criminal intrigue: did the White House violate federal statutes by dangling federal jobs in front of Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff to try to get them out of Senate primaries? “The real question, of course, is whether Eric Holder, who was so quick to reopen an investigation into CIA employees dedicated to trying to protect this country, will open an investigation into his political patrons in the White House who, in their dedication to furthering political objectives, may have violated several federal criminal laws.” I’m not holding my breath either.

I think there’s something to Megan McArdle’s theory of the Democrats’ scandal-a-thon: “The more members you have, the more members you have who can do something disastrous to your party’s public image. … Any party is going to have a given percentage of people in it doing fairly appalling things. If you up the numbers, and the transparency, you get about what we’re seeing now. And no doubt will see again, once the Republicans are back in power. ” Which will be fairly soon, many predict.

Andrew Roberts (a COMMENTARY contributor) goes after his own Israel-bashing Financial Times on its coverage of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s assassination: “All that the Dubai operation will do is remind the world that the security services of states at war — and Israel’s struggle with Hamas, Fatah and Hizbollah certainly constitutes that — occasionally employ targeted assassination as one of the weapons in their armoury, and that this in no way weakens their legitimacy. … The intelligence agents of states — sometimes operating with direct authority, sometimes not — have carried out many assassinations and assassination attempts in peacetime without the legitimacy of those states being called into question, or their being described as ‘rogue.’ … No, that insult is reserved for only one country: Israel.”

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Re: If the Czar Only Knew

Former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder vividly writes:

Indeed, even before Bob McDonnell’s resounding victory, the canary had been dead on the floor for months. In Virginia’s most Democratic-friendly regions, the Democrats had been narrowly winning — or outright losing — special elections that should have been taken easily.

He reminds us of the Democratic losses in New Jersey and Virginia, continuing:

After both these debacles, people at the DNC and the White House insisted these were local results with no deeper meaning. Then came Massachusetts. When Scott Brown promised voters he would be the 41st vote in the U.S. Senate to halt the Obama agenda, generally, and the health care plan, in particular, his rise in the polls was meteoric. It’s not rocket science where the American public wants the president to concentrate his energies. In all the above elections I cited, voters were practically screaming one word with four simple letters: Jobs.

His solution: fire DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and a bunch of Obama’s West Wing advisers. He warns: “Unless changes are made at the top, by the top, when the time comes for voters to show how they really feel about Obama, his policies and the messages he sends directly or through the people around him, the president will discover that Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts were not just temporary aberrations but, rather, timely expressions of voters who always show that they are ahead of the politicians.”

But so far, there is little indication Obama has learned anything from the string of losses. Yes, he’s holding a health-care summit with Republicans, but only to resell for the umpteenth time the same noxious, publically rejected ObamaCare plan. He’s telling everyone he isn’t “starting over” on health-care reform. His national-security team is berating Republicans for daring to criticize the Obama anti-terrorism approach. The Obama budget is an embarrassment to fiscally sober Democrats and Republicans alike. And not a single key adviser has gotten the axe.

You see, so long as the president remains perfectly content with his harmonious team of advisers, nothing much will change. It is all just as Obama would like it. Well, except for his crater poll numbers, the absence of a single legislative achievement, broad-based opposition to his ultra-liberal domestic agenda, a string of foreign-policy debacles, and the risk he will lose one or both houses of Congress.

Former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder vividly writes:

Indeed, even before Bob McDonnell’s resounding victory, the canary had been dead on the floor for months. In Virginia’s most Democratic-friendly regions, the Democrats had been narrowly winning — or outright losing — special elections that should have been taken easily.

He reminds us of the Democratic losses in New Jersey and Virginia, continuing:

After both these debacles, people at the DNC and the White House insisted these were local results with no deeper meaning. Then came Massachusetts. When Scott Brown promised voters he would be the 41st vote in the U.S. Senate to halt the Obama agenda, generally, and the health care plan, in particular, his rise in the polls was meteoric. It’s not rocket science where the American public wants the president to concentrate his energies. In all the above elections I cited, voters were practically screaming one word with four simple letters: Jobs.

His solution: fire DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and a bunch of Obama’s West Wing advisers. He warns: “Unless changes are made at the top, by the top, when the time comes for voters to show how they really feel about Obama, his policies and the messages he sends directly or through the people around him, the president will discover that Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts were not just temporary aberrations but, rather, timely expressions of voters who always show that they are ahead of the politicians.”

But so far, there is little indication Obama has learned anything from the string of losses. Yes, he’s holding a health-care summit with Republicans, but only to resell for the umpteenth time the same noxious, publically rejected ObamaCare plan. He’s telling everyone he isn’t “starting over” on health-care reform. His national-security team is berating Republicans for daring to criticize the Obama anti-terrorism approach. The Obama budget is an embarrassment to fiscally sober Democrats and Republicans alike. And not a single key adviser has gotten the axe.

You see, so long as the president remains perfectly content with his harmonious team of advisers, nothing much will change. It is all just as Obama would like it. Well, except for his crater poll numbers, the absence of a single legislative achievement, broad-based opposition to his ultra-liberal domestic agenda, a string of foreign-policy debacles, and the risk he will lose one or both houses of Congress.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Sen. Richard Shelby’s hold on all Obama nominees to get his pork is getting slammed from all sides. For starters, it takes the focus off the truly egregious nominees (e.g., Dawn Johnsen, Harold Craig Becker).

And he’s done a bang-up job of giving the White House a rare moment on the high ground. “The White House on Friday shot back at Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) who recently took the unusual step of placing a blanket hold on all of the administration’s nominees. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer accused Shelby of seeking political gain in preventing the government from doing its job.”

But it remains gloom and doom for Democrats at the DNC meeting: “In regional meetings and in the hallways of the downtown hotel where they were meeting, DNC members voiced frustration about their fortunes and, with a measure of urgency, plotted about how best to navigate through what is shaping up to be one of their most difficult election cycles in recent history. Some party officials sought to ward off complacency with pointed reminders about just how perilous this year could be.”

David Broder notes that there was no follow-up by the White House after the televised question-and-answer time with House Republicans, which suggests to Broder that “the president and his people may not realize the degree to which Republican frustration with Pelosi’s management of the House has created opportunities for Obama — if he is willing to engage as directly as he did in his Illinois Senate days.” Or maybe the whole question-and-answer routine was just more spin, and Obama has no intention of altering his far-Left agenda.

John Yoo takes Obama to task: “Obama believes the president should lead a revolution in society, the economy, and the political system, but defer on national security and foreign policy to the other branches of government. This upends the Framers’ vision of the presidency. They thought the chief executive’s powers would expand broadly to meet external challenges while playing a modest role at home.”

Back in September, the Los Angeles Times called on Eric Holder to come clean on the New Black Panther Party case. Now the Providence Journal turns up the heat: “Instead of letting questions fester about a potentially troublesome matter, the Obama administration should come clean about its decision to dismiss a case involving what looked like racist voter intimidation in 2008. Then, hopefully, everyone can move on. …The Justice Department may enforce our laws, but it is not above them. Instead of stonewalling, it should share with the public who made this decision to drop the case, and why.”

The State of the Union bounce seems to have faded: “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 26% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove which Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -15. That matches the President’s ratings just before the State-of-the-Union Address.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand might be asked why the repeal of the Bush tax cuts is good for her state: “Federal income-tax rates in the top brackets will be restored to their pre-2001 levels next year, the Bush-era cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes will be partially reversed, and itemized deductions for high-income filers (including deductions for state and local taxes) will be curtailed. If all of this comes to pass, it will spell trouble for the New York state budget for a simple reason: New York’s finances are balanced on a narrow pinnacle of high-income households, and higher federal taxes drive top-earning New Yorkers to lower their overall tax burdens by sheltering incomes, earning less, or moving to lower-tax states.”

Jonathan Chait calls Jamie Gorelick a “corrupt hack” for lobbying for lenders who don’t want the federal government to drive them out of the student loan business. Conservatives may not agree with the reason, but the conclusion — “cross Gorelick off the list of Democrats suitable to hold office” — is one that will get bipartisan support.

Sen. Richard Shelby’s hold on all Obama nominees to get his pork is getting slammed from all sides. For starters, it takes the focus off the truly egregious nominees (e.g., Dawn Johnsen, Harold Craig Becker).

And he’s done a bang-up job of giving the White House a rare moment on the high ground. “The White House on Friday shot back at Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) who recently took the unusual step of placing a blanket hold on all of the administration’s nominees. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer accused Shelby of seeking political gain in preventing the government from doing its job.”

But it remains gloom and doom for Democrats at the DNC meeting: “In regional meetings and in the hallways of the downtown hotel where they were meeting, DNC members voiced frustration about their fortunes and, with a measure of urgency, plotted about how best to navigate through what is shaping up to be one of their most difficult election cycles in recent history. Some party officials sought to ward off complacency with pointed reminders about just how perilous this year could be.”

David Broder notes that there was no follow-up by the White House after the televised question-and-answer time with House Republicans, which suggests to Broder that “the president and his people may not realize the degree to which Republican frustration with Pelosi’s management of the House has created opportunities for Obama — if he is willing to engage as directly as he did in his Illinois Senate days.” Or maybe the whole question-and-answer routine was just more spin, and Obama has no intention of altering his far-Left agenda.

John Yoo takes Obama to task: “Obama believes the president should lead a revolution in society, the economy, and the political system, but defer on national security and foreign policy to the other branches of government. This upends the Framers’ vision of the presidency. They thought the chief executive’s powers would expand broadly to meet external challenges while playing a modest role at home.”

Back in September, the Los Angeles Times called on Eric Holder to come clean on the New Black Panther Party case. Now the Providence Journal turns up the heat: “Instead of letting questions fester about a potentially troublesome matter, the Obama administration should come clean about its decision to dismiss a case involving what looked like racist voter intimidation in 2008. Then, hopefully, everyone can move on. …The Justice Department may enforce our laws, but it is not above them. Instead of stonewalling, it should share with the public who made this decision to drop the case, and why.”

The State of the Union bounce seems to have faded: “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 26% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove which Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -15. That matches the President’s ratings just before the State-of-the-Union Address.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand might be asked why the repeal of the Bush tax cuts is good for her state: “Federal income-tax rates in the top brackets will be restored to their pre-2001 levels next year, the Bush-era cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes will be partially reversed, and itemized deductions for high-income filers (including deductions for state and local taxes) will be curtailed. If all of this comes to pass, it will spell trouble for the New York state budget for a simple reason: New York’s finances are balanced on a narrow pinnacle of high-income households, and higher federal taxes drive top-earning New Yorkers to lower their overall tax burdens by sheltering incomes, earning less, or moving to lower-tax states.”

Jonathan Chait calls Jamie Gorelick a “corrupt hack” for lobbying for lenders who don’t want the federal government to drive them out of the student loan business. Conservatives may not agree with the reason, but the conclusion — “cross Gorelick off the list of Democrats suitable to hold office” — is one that will get bipartisan support.

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