The Conversation

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

Florida's Gov. Scott throws in the towel on ObamaCare

Feb 20, 2013 3:04 PM PT

Bad news for the grassroots resistance to ObamaCare: Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott, just abandoned his resistance to ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion.  His price was a waiver to continue a privatization program that... hasn't actually been working all that well.

Scott used to worry that the Administration was underselling the cost of the Medicaid expansion, underestimating the number of new beneficiaries that would surge into the system, and making promises of future funding (i.e. carrying 90% of the cost of the expansion in perpetuity) that it wouldn't be able to keep.  But it looks like he's going to bury those concerns under pressure from local groups salivating over all that free federal money.  It's tough to say "no" to Uncle Sam when the blank checks start flying.

Liberals Turn On Each Other, Blog Bashes Wasserman Schultz

Feb 20, 2013 2:40 PM PT

Uh-oh!  It appears that Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is taking some not so “friendly” fire from the liberal blogosphere.  The blog Down With Tyranny has just posted a story with some pretty stinging criticism of Wasserman Schultz for opposing H.R. 693, a bill that apparently would open up sugar trade with Cuba.  DWT calls ‘DWS’ “grotesquely corrupt” for her firm position against opening up trade with Castro’s regime.  Interestingly enough, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) also supports the bill  as well.


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Mitt Romney to address CPAC 2013

Feb 20, 2013 12:50 PM PT

The American Conservative Union just announced that Mitt Romney will address this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).  Rep. Paul Ryan was already on the list of announced speakers, as are up-and-coming Republicans such as Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Tim Scott, and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.  

The other finalists from the 2012 presidential race, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, will also deliver speeches, although it currently appears that Rand will have to handle things for the Paul family.  Which means there probably won't be as much disruptive shouting from the peanut gallery.  Sometimes the Ron Paul crowd was annoying, but they made for a lively conference, and it was fun to scowl at them.

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Newt Gingrich vs. the "consultant-centric" model

Feb 20, 2013 11:37 AM PT

Newt Gingrich tees off on the "consultant-centric" model of campaigning, which he describes as campaigns in which the high-priced consultants call all the shots, moving the candidate around like a king on a chess board.  He wants candidates who think for themselves, employing consultants as "advisers and implementers."  And there's one particular consultant he's had just about enough of:

I feel compelled to write this because of Karl Rove’s recent assertions and my very unsettling round table with Stuart Stevens on ABC’s This Week this past Sunday... I am unalterably opposed to a bunch of billionaires financing a boss to pick candidates in 50 states.  This is the opposite of the Republican tradition of freedom and grassroots small town conservatism.  No one person is smart enough nor do they have the moral right to buy nominations across the country.  That is the system of Tammany Hall and the Chicago machine.  It should be repugnant to every conservative and every Republican.

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Mitt Romney to Speak at CPAC

Feb 20, 2013 10:41 AM PT

Robert Costa at "National Review" reports:

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will appear at the Conservative Political Action Conference next month, according to two sources familiar with the event’s itinerary. Romney’s speech, which will be delivered at the Gaylord National hotel in Prince George’s County, Md., marks the former Massachusetts governor’s return to the political scene.

After he lost the presidential election, Romney decamped to his beachfront home in La Jolla, Calif. But friends say he has become somewhat restless, and he’s eager to contribute to the national debate. Sources say he’ll likely focus on economic and fiscal issues, and that his message will be optimistic.

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Rubio Establishes 'Victory Committee' With Eye Towards 2016

Feb 20, 2013 8:11 AM PT

 While there is increasing speculation that U.S. Senator Marco Rubio will run for President of the United States in 2016, is it too early for Rubio to start campaigning for the job?  Rubio is already positioning himself for a possible run in several different regards, as he’s stepped up his rhetoric against Obama and the Democrat party, recently toured Israel and the Middle East, and enlisted new consultants to assist him with crafting his messaging and policy.

 

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Republicans need to work on their hardball political strategies

Feb 20, 2013 7:40 AM PT

Watching the Chuck Hagel drama is a sobering reminder that Republicans still aren't very good at playing hardball politics.  Their strategy is to use the Hagel nomination as soapbox to focus attention on a worthy, but unrelated, issue - namely the Benghazi debacle.  The GOP Senate leadership doesn't think it has the votes to actually sink Hagel, even though many of them do have deep and legitimate concerns about his fitness for office.  The Democrats hold a majority, and their partisan loyalty to Obama is rigid and absolute; as long as Obama insists on Hagel, they would not be much moved by video of the nominee dancing in the streets with Palestinians while rockets rained down on Israeli civilians, never mind intemperate comments about "Israeli apartheid" at college lectures.

The problem is that Republicans actually say all this in public, giving sound bites to hostile reporters.  They're like a football team that broadcasts its locker-room strategy sessions before each quarter.  John McCain went on "Meet the Press" last weekend and said, using almost these literal words, that Hagel's a lousy nominee, but he's my friend and a former Senate colleague and we know we can't stop him anyway, so we're going to drag this out just to give us some more time to yell about Benghazi.  Then he yelled at David Gregory and asked why he doesn't care about the deaths of four brave Americans.  And when Gregory asked exactly what he thinks Obama is covering up with regard to that bloody debacle, McCain muttered something about sending him a list of questions later.

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