Mitch McConnell

If Republicans take back the Senate on Tuesday, Mitch McConnell will kill Obamacare*

Mitch McConnell on Obamacare

With just five days to go before the 2014 midterm elections, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell clarified his position on repealing Obamacare if Republicans take the Senate.

From an emailed statement through his spokesman to the Washington Examiner today:

Leader McConnell is and has always been committed to the full repeal of Obamacare, and he’ll continue to lead efforts to repeal and replace it with patient-centered reforms that enable greater choice at lower costs. He knows it won’t be easy, but he also believes that if Republicans are fortunate enough to take back the majority we’ll owe it to the American people to try through votes on full repeal, the bill’s most onerous provisions, and reconciliation.

This statement comes on the heels of a Fox News interview where McConnell noted that — without a Republican in the White House and 60 votes in the Senate — full repeal would be unlikely:

It would take 60 votes in the Senate. Nobody thinks we’re going to have 60 Republicans. And it would take a president — presidential signature. No one thinks we’re going to get that.

McConnell’s spokesman indicated Senate Republicans could vote to repeal Obamacare through reconciliation, a procedural trick used to pass budgetary legislation by simple majority, or 51 votes. Still, President Obama would not sign that legislation.

Rand Paul’s path to 2016 cuts through 2014 Senate races

Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell

It’s no secret Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is considering a run for the presidency in 2016. In fact, the discussion is so serious in the Paul camp that he’s calling a meeting of top advisers and allies in D.C. the week following the mid-term elections, ostensibly to switch gears from 2014 to 2016:

The gathering of Paul’s top lieutenants in the nation’s capital has been quietly organized by Doug Stafford, his chief political strategist, who began reaching out to key figures in Paul’s political world earlier this month, multiple sources told National Journal.

Stafford has told invitees to reserve Nov. 12 on their calendar both during the day and into the night. Paul himself is expected to attend some of the meetings.

“This is the come-to-Jesus before the planned launch,” said one Paul insider, who has been invited to the gathering.

The meeting of the Kentucky Republican’s kitchen Cabinet has been kept under wraps, with most of the invitees not even told who else will be there. Stafford has yet to circulate a formal agenda, though few on “Team Rand,” as Stafford sometimes calls the group, need to be told the talks will focus on a presidential run.

But in the weeks leading up to Election Day 2014, Senator Paul has been the most visible sitting Republican Senator on the campaign trail — stumping for incumbents and challengers alike as Republicans seek to take back the Senate majority.

October Surprise! Harry Reid’s Dems scramble to hold the Senate — but Republicans are up in key states

Larry Sabato's Senate Crystal Ball

A string of polls released last night shows Republican Senate candidates up over their opponents in key states with fewer than four weeks to go before Election Day.

The Fox News polls show Republican challengers up in Alaska, Arkansas, and Colorado over their Democrat opponents. The polls also show Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell up over his well-funded Democrat opponent and Kansas Republican Pat Roberts leading his Independent challenger.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, predicts Republicans will gain between five and eight seats (see above map). Republicans need to pick up six seats to take the Senate.

According to Sabato, Republicans are pretty much guaranteed to win in Montana, South Dakota, and Iowa. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) announced it would drop $1 million in the South Dakota Senate race. Polls show the Republican candidate in South Dakota with a comfortable lead, and ad buys can be misleading. For instance, the DSCC could announce a million dollar ad buy and reserve the time, and then cancel it after news of the initial announcement spread.

Here we go again: Barack Obama tells Congress he doesn’t need authorization to wage war

Well, it looks like President Barack Obama is going to bypass Congress to wage a military campaign once again avoiding the constitutional role Congress has in determining when the United States is at war.

President Obama told the four main congressional leaders — House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — that he doesn’t need a vote in Congress authorizing military action against in Iraq against the Islamic State:

The president is expected to use [his Wednesday evening] speech to announce the expanded use of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, as well as his administration’s efforts to build an international coalition to confront the terror threat.

The president is also weighing the possibility of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, as well as asking the United Nations to pass a binding resolution requiring governments to prevent the flow of foreign fighters to the region.

While Obama told the House and Senate leaders he would welcome congressional action that demonstrates a unified front, the president told the bipartisan group “he has the authority he needs to take action against (ISIS) in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address,” according to the White House.
[…]
None of the four leaders present in the meeting mentioned the need for congressional action following the meeting, nor did they offer many clues as to what new strategy elements Obama might announce.

Leftist Hollywood superstars are giving big money to help Democrats keep the Senate

It’s not exactly breaking news that Tinseltown is full of people who are friendly to Democrats. Hollywood elites were big boosters of Barack Obama in both of his presidential campaigns. In 2012 alone, celebrities shelled out nearly $700,000 (and probably more) to Obama.

Hollywood is once again playing a role in an election, this time around writing checks for Democrats as they struggle to keep control of the Senate this fall. One of the main recipients of celebrities’ largess is Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY), who is taking on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

[Grimes’] donor list reads like a who’s who of Tinseltown: producer J.J. Abrams, Ben Affleck, comedian Jack Black, “Avatar” director James Cameron, Nicolas Cage, Danny DeVito, Cameron Diaz, [Leonardo] DiCaprio, Jennifer Garner, director Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Jerry Seinfeld, Mike Myers and “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm, all giving $5,200 each, the maximum amount an individual can give to a single candidate in a two-year election cycle.

Other Grimes donors include DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Woody Allen, Ted Danson, America Ferrera, Leonard Nimoy, [Barbra] Streisand, “West Wing” writer Aaron Sorkin, Ben Stiller and Chris Rock.

While several other Democrats have received campaign contributions from Hollywood, Grimes’ campaign has brought in the most, with contributions totalling $100,000, according to The Hill.

Today in Liberty: House Republicans already jockey for leadership positions, Cantor’s loss a blow to the NSA

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” — Winston Churchill

— Let the House leadership races begin: House Republicans, unsurprisingly, began jockeying for position after Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was handed a stunning defeat in the VA-07 primary. The thinking is that Cantor will step down from leadership because he would be ineffective as a lame duck. “Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, the current No. 3 in the House, is all but certain to run for the majority leader post, GOP sources said. McCarthy’s office declined to comment on Cantor’s loss or McCarthy’s plans,” Politico reports. “But the California Republican likely will be challenged by a member of the conservative wing of the House GOP Conference, potentially including Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Jim Jordan of Ohio or Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.” Politico explains that “a full-scale war will break out for majority whip, with Scalise, McMorris Rodgers and Reps. Pete Roskam (R-Ill.) and Pete Sessions (R-Texas) all possibilities for that post.”

Ted Cruz has gotten the attention of the Republican establishment, and he needs conservative reinforcements to #MakeDCListen

Ted Cruz and the Establishment

Establishment Republicans are out to get Texas Senator Ted Cruz because he’s forced “uncomfortable” votes during his short time in Washington. Writing for Time, Jay Newton-Small reports:

Now that primary season is almost over, some Establishment Republicans are looking for retribution

Ted Cruz has not made himself a popular man in Washington. The Texas Republican would argue that’s the point. But even for a Senator — an elected office with the backing of an entire state — ticking off powerful people can have consequences.

In his first two years in Washington, Cruz has managed to help force a government shutdown, undermine the GOP’s chances of taking over the Senate and force uncomfortable votes for his fellow Republicans — not to mention the verbal bombs he lobs on a regular basis, many aimed at his own party. His colleagues, aware of the threats they face from primary challengers, have mostly held their tongues and their fire so far. But Cruz has already done some damage without much trying.

Upon his election to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Cruz signed on to the National Republican Senatorial Committee as vice-chairman, an effort by the NRSC to reach out to conservative grassroots within the Republican Party. POLITICO covered the appointment in some details when it happened:

It’s a high-wire act for the political neophyte. As an NRSC deputy, he’ll have to balance the political pragmatism of a quintessential inside-the-Beltway institution without tarnishing his brand as an anti-establishment constitutional conservative.

Ted Cruz blasts Senate Democrats for trying to repeal the free speech protections of the First Amendment

Ted Cruz

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from the upper chamber’s two party leaders, Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), yesterday on a constitutional amendment that would place heavy limitations on political speech.

The proposed constitutional amendment has next to no chance of passage, requiring two-thirds majorities from both chambers as well as ratification from three-fifths of the states, but Senate Democrats are using as part of an effort to get their base to the polls this fall. In other words, the committee hearing on the amendment was a charade.

But it did hearing did produce some highlights, among them Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) fiery and eloquent defense of the Bill of Rights. The amendment before the committee, the conservative favorite said, “would repeal the free speech protections of the First Amendment.”

“Let’s be clear, this amendment doesn’t just do it for corporations, it doesn’t just do it for billionaires — nothing in this amendment is limited to corporations or billionaires. This amendment, if adopted, would give Congress the absolute authority to regulate the political speech of every single American with no limitations, whatsoever,” said Cruz. “This amendment is about power and it is about politicians silencing the citizens.”

Today in Liberty: NSA collecting photos for facial recognition, Senate GOP targets Obama EPA’s anti-coal regulations

“We all know from our own experience that a hallmark of bureaucracy is the waiting list. Waiting lists at the post office and the DMV are merely annoying and inconvenient. Waiting lists at our doctor’s offices and hospitals can be fatal.” — Congressman Tom McClintock

Leave our freedoms alone: Senate Democrats are actually campaigning on repealing part of the First Amendment

For the first time in Senate Judiciary Committee history, the majority and minority leaders will testify before the Committee, according to Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont. The subject? A proposed constitutional amendment to regulate and restrict political speech.

Democrats are attempting to make the 2014 elections about the Koch brothers, and this legislation is their constitutional shot across the bow and what they consider an unfair campaign finance advantage for Republicans.

In reality, Democrats have wealthy allies who bankroll their campaigns and projects to the tune of billions of dollars annually. Nevertheless, they see this amendment as a winning issue for the midterm elections.

From the POLITICO report:

“The Court has repeatedly used the First Amendment – not to protect the voices of all Americans, but as an instrument to amplify the voices of billionaires and corporations,” Leahy said of the Tuesday showdown. “Those voices are not the only ones who the Founding Fathers intended the First Amendment to protect.”

Conservatives have argued that Democrats’ intended constitutional change amounts to a “repeal” of the First Amendment and McConnell called the proposal “the ultimate act of radicalism.”


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