The Conversation

Politics: Policy issues, legislation and political topics of all sorts.

Chris Christie's national future

Feb 5, 2013 7:49 AM PT

New Jersey governor Chris Christie showed up on Letterman last night, and had people rolling in the aisles with fat jokes, including a hilarious gag with a donut.  

He's dead to some conservatives because of his eleventh-hour embrace of Obama following Hurricane Sandy, and there have been more than a few grumbles about his lackluster Republican National Convention appearance - which he claimed to have been working on feverishly right up until the hour of his appearance, but which was curiously light on negative references to Barack Obama, or even positive mention of Mitt Romney.  We all know Christie is much too politically savvy to have any illusions about the devastating political effect of Romney's top surrogate filling the airwaves with tearful praise of Obama's magnificent leadership just a few days before the election.  There's not much question he was abandoning ship; the only real question is how much he was ever on board.

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A modest proposal: trade background checks for Fast and Furious disclosure

Feb 5, 2013 7:15 AM PT

The Obama administration and the gun control caucus in Congress will likely fail to enact any new legislation--except, perhaps, for a law to provide for "universal" background checks for gun purchases (i.e. covering private sales or transfers in addition to already existing checks for gun purchases from licensed dealers).

The chances of passage are still in doubt. However, they could be improved with a little horse-trading. Allow me to suggest that the Obama administration offer its own "universal" disclosure on guns--i.e. release the bogus executive privilege exerted by the president to cover up documents relating to Fast and Furious. Let the public know how the Obama administration orchestrated illegal, cross-border gun transfers to criminals.

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Rubio, The Next Reagan?

Feb 5, 2013 5:54 AM PT

 Former George W. Bush advisor, Karl Rove said that Rubio was “the best communicator since Ronald Reagan.” Rove appeared on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier with Democrat Joe Trippi, who also believes that Rubio is the glue that could bring the Republican party together, and come to terms with the Democrats on immigration reform.

Unfortunately for Republicans, both these men are right. The Republican party is now Rubio’s party. Without Rubio, and a coherent, substantive immigration reform message, as has been the case for the GOP, the Republican party is dead in the political water.

Karl Rove VS Tea Party: Is Colin Powell Starting to Make More Sense?

Feb 5, 2013 5:47 AM PT

When Republicans want to reach back in history to prove a point, they point to Ronald Reagan.  I can understand why.  Reagan was a great President but he wasn't the only Republican President.

Abraham Lincoln's main priority was preserving the Union, with or without slavery.  But there came a time when Lincoln knew the only way to preserve the Union was to rip it apart.

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How to Train Your Candidate

Feb 4, 2013 12:22 PM PT

Over at The Daily Caller Matt Lewis writes:

So here’s my proposal: What if — in addition to insisting candidates sign pledges and pass other litmus tests — outside groups also mandated that before receiving financial support, a candidate must also attend campaign training?

This can make a huge difference. Candidates running for Congress in 1994 were greatly aided by training tapes and manuals sent out by Newt Gingrich’s GOPAC in the early 1990s. For four years, I worked at Morton Blackwell’s Leadership Institute, which trains conservatives how to be more effective in the public policy process. They do tremendous work. They even have a TV studio where conservatives can practice debating and answering tough questions before going on TV.

To be sure, not every candidate will be open to this. Some don’t realize that political technology is philosophically neutral. Some mistakenly view selling conservative ideas as selling out. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Still, instead of making Republican primary campaigns more divisive and expensive, Rove and his team should first attempt to go this route. They should try to enlist other conservative outside groups to join in the effort. And even if these groups won’t join in on the effort, before targeting conservative candidates for defeat, the Conservative Victory Project should offer these candidates a chance to attend a training seminar.

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Anonymous Strikes Again, But Are Things Always as they Seem?

Feb 4, 2013 12:12 PM PT

The hacker collective Anonymous is in the news again today for leaking the credentials of 4,000 US bank executives.  Hackers claim that the leak, part of an ongoing operation they've dubbed "Operation Last Resort," is in retaliation for "overzealous prosecution" in the case of late internet activist and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz.

As ZDNet reports:

"A spreadsheet has been published on a .gov website allegedly containing login information and credentials, IP addresses, and contact information of American bank executives."

"If true, it could be that Anonymous has released banker information that could be connected to Federal Reserve computers, including contact information and cell phone numbers for U.S. bank Presidents, Vice Presidents, COO's Branch Managers, VP's and more."

"The website used in this attack belongs to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC). The page extension URL is titled, "oops-we-did-it-again.""

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