ON THE RECORD ….
“For Democrats, Donald Trump amounts to a kind of divine intervention. With the Republican Party on an urgent mission to woo Latino voters, one of its leading presidential candidates has been enmeshed for two weeks in a nasty feud over his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.” — Philip Rucker in the Washington Post. 7/01/15
“Thank you so much for your support for the GLT community. This is the first time in my 24.5 year career that I have seen this type of support. I appreciate all the hard work you have done in the short time as Secretary of State. You have given so much hope to so many. I am so proud of you and your work. May God continue to bless you.”–A letter from a State Department employee to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was dedicated to expanding gay rights both domestically and abroad from the beginning of her term.
“You still love him. He’s still a member of your family. Right? But you’ve got to correct him. You don’t want to put him in charge of stuff.” — Barack Obama likening Governor Scott Walker and the “bus full” of Republican candidates to an “Uncle Harry” at Thanksgiving dinner who says something that makes no sense. 7/02/15
“Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq — where it took him five days and multiple answers to get right — he doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come ‘out of love.’” — Donald Trump on Jeb Bush’s immigration stance. 7/06/15
“I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration. The Washington cartel doesn’t want to address that. The Washington cartel doesn’t believe we need to secure the borders. The Washington cartel supports amnesty and I think amnesty’s wrong, and I salute Donald Trump for focusing on it.” —Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) aligning himself with Donald Trump. 7/05/15
“And that’s why what Rand Paul has done to make this country weaker and more vulnerable is a terrible thing, and for him to raise money off of it is disgraceful. It’s disgraceful.” — Gov. Chris Christie criticizing Sen Paul’s role in forcing the expiration of the Patriot Act. 7/06/15
“I’ve been in law enforcement 55 years. I think I know a fraudulent, fake document. I’m not a computer expert. I rely on my people. But I’m pretty well convinced it’s a fake document.” — Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio agreeing with Donald Trump that President Obama’s birth certificate is forged. 7/05/15
“If you look at politics as a baseball game or a football game, then I’m supposed to be telling the people that my opponents are the worst people in the world and I’m great. That’s crap; I don’t believe that for a second…. I don’t need to spend my life attacking Hillary Clinton or anybody else. I want to talk about my ideas on the issues.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 7/06/15
“Look closely at this Hillary photo; isn’t that a Confederate flag behind her on the bookshelf?” — Conservative author and convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza circulating an image of Hillary Clinton with a photoshopped Confederate flag in the background. 7/07/15
1. Democrats Regain Edge in Party Affiliation
In the second quarter of 2015, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans in terms of Americans’ party affiliation. A total of 46% of Americans identified as Democrats (30%) or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (16%), while 41% identified as Republicans (25%) or leaned Republican (16%). The two parties were generally even during the previous three quarters, including the fourth quarter of 2014, when the midterm elections took place. 702/15 Read more at http://www.gallup.com/poll/183887/democrats-regain-edge-party-affiliation.aspx
2. The DAILY GRILL
“Back in April, Gov. Paul LePage stood up at a monthly breakfast forum and told the crowd that seniors had demanded he stop the minimum wage from going up.” — Bangor Daily News 702/15
“Two months later, on June 26, his office sent reporter Amy Browne the results of her Freedom of Access Act request: two emails. Neither email cited the specific and personal sort of concerns that LePage raised in his talk.” — Bangor Daily News 702/15
3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
Fox’s Eric Bolling: People Calling For Boycotts Of Trump Products Are “Economic Terrorists” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/02/foxs-eric-bolling-people-calling-for-boycotts-o/204246
Ann Coulter Claims Credit For Donald Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Bomb Throwing http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/02/ann-coulter-claims-credit-for-donald-trumps-ant/204236
Limbaugh Defends Trump: Liberals Believe In “Cockamamie Crap” Like Sexual Assault Epidemic, Then Get Upset When You Ask “Who’s Doing The Raping” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/02/limbaugh-defends-trump-liberals-believe-in-cock/204238
Fox News Contributor Instructs GOP Presidential Candidates To Follow Trump’s Lead On Immigration http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/02/fox-news-contributor-instructs-gop-presidential/204235
Fox’s Eric Bolling: People Calling For Boycotts Of Trump Products Are “Economic Terrorists”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/02/foxs-eric-bolling-people-calling-for-boycotts-o/204246
Megyn Kelly Uses Ann Coulter’s Book To Defend Donald Trump’s Comments About Immigrants http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/02/megyn-kelly-uses-ann-coulters-book-to-defend-do/204234
The Fox News Primary For June: Donald Trump Takes Over http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/06/the-fox-news-primary-for-june-donald-trump-take/204252
Megyn Kelly Uses Ann Coulter’s Book To Defend Donald Trump’s Comments About Immigrants http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/02/megyn-kelly-uses-ann-coulters-book-to-defend-do/204234
Allen West On Controversy Over Donald Trump: What About Benghazi? http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/08/allen-west-on-controversy-over-donald-trump-wha/204296
Megyn Kelly: Jeb Bush Can’t Be “Hostile” Towards Immigrants Because He Is “Married To A Woman … From Mexico”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/08/megyn-kelly-jeb-bush-cant-be-hostile-towards-im/204294
4. Hoping For A Republican President In 2017 Republicans Block Dozens Of Obama Judge Picks
The GOP-controlled Senate is on track this year to confirm the fewest judges since 1969, a dramatic escalation of the long-running partisan feud over the ideological makeup of federal courts.
Republicans appear willing to absorb criticism that they’re interfering with the prerogative of a president to pick his nominees in the hopes that the GOP can get its own judges installed in 2017, with one of their own in the White House. In the meantime, federal courts could be left with dozens of unfilled vacancies. More than two dozen federal courts have declared “judicial emergencies” because of excessive caseloads caused by vacancies. 7/06/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/payback-gop-blocks-obama-judge-picks-judiciary-119743.html
5. Who makes the debate stage — and who doesn’t?
With the first GOP presidential debate now less than a month from now and with the first debate is restricted to the top 10, one of author crunched the numbers from the last five national polls (two from Fox, one CNN, one NBC/WSJ, and one from Monmouth) with the following results:
1. Jeb Bush – 15.4 %
2. Scott Walker – 10.8%
3. Ben Carson – 10%
4. Marco Rubio – 8.8%
5. Rand Paul – 7.6%
6. Mike Huckabee – 7.4%
7. Donald Trump – 6%
8. Ted Cruz – 4.8%
9. Rick Perry – 3.8%
10. Chris Christie – 3.6%
11. Rick Santorum – 2.2%
12. Carly Fiorina – 2%
13. John Kasich – 1.6%
14. Lindsey Graham – 1.4%
15. Bobby Jindal – 1.2%
6. The Nightly Show: The Unblackening Trump Dump
7. A reality check on the Hillary-vs.-Sanders horserace
Hillary is still ahead in Iowa by at least 19 points, a much wider margin than exists in the GOP race.
Sanders’ surge is being fueled by progressive whites — the same folks who supported Bill Bradley in 2000 and Howard Dean in 2004. In fact, what Sanders has done is consolidate the 30% who were there for Elizabeth Warren. (What should concern Clinton Land is if he starts creeping up into the 40s).
And as the political scientists put it, the party (though its elected officials) ultimately decide the nomination. And so far, two-thirds of sitting Democratic senators have endorsed Hillary. That, to political scientists, matters more than the polls or crowd sizes.
Sanders has consolidated the progressive wing of the party, and that is impressive. The question is: Can he grow it? And remember, a recent Gallup poll showed that a presidential candidate being labeled a socialist was the worst attribute — lower than being a Muslim or an atheist. And for Sanders to TRULY take off, he needs to prove to Democratic elites that a socialist like him could win a general election. http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/how-donald-trump-helps-also-hurts-jeb-bush-n387901
8. Hillary Shreds The Republicans’ Benghazi Hoax With Devastating Ad
In this video, Hillary Clinton’s campaign strikes back against the Republican muckraking campaign that has been fruitlessly attempting to frame her for the 2012 terrorist attacks at the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, by militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The FOX News echo chamber and congressional Republicans have seized on the Benghazi issue as a way to smear Clinton’s credentials and undermine her foreign policy experience.
It’s an atrocious politicization of a national tragedy, and the Clinton campaign has had enough. This video slams back at the House Benghazi Committee for spending $8,000 taxpayer dollars a day to orchestrate a political witch-hunt, even after 7 prior congressional investigations, 32 hearings, and 2,780 questions. Clips of FOX News are arranged to paint a disturbing picture of the way that the “controversy” has been carefully constructed for political gain. 7/02/15 Read more at http://www.occupydemocrats.com/watch-hillary-shreds-the-republicans-benghazi-hoax-with-devastating-ad/ Watch the ad at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyNc__o6smI
9. Daily Show: Jon Stewart Thanks Donald Trump
10. Two Reasons Not to Dismiss Donald Trump
Mr. Trump is important for two reasons: first for the damage he can do to the Republican Party, and second for the useful lesson he can teach that same party. The potential damage comes largely in the harm he can do—indeed, already may have done—to Republicans’ crucial mission of building better bridges to Hispanics. The lesson comes by way of illustrating the depths of populist anger running through sectors of the GOP right now. 7/06/15 Read more at http://politicalwire.com/2015/07/06/two-reasons-not-to-dismiss-donald-trump/
1. Jonathan Chait: Why Are Conservatives Defending Donald Trump?
It is not politically significant that Donald Trump would claim to be running for president, that he would say something flamboyantly ignorant, or that he would “surge” to “second place” in polls by using his name recognition to get into double digits in a splintered field. What is significant and genuinely disturbing, not to mention poisonous to the Republican Party’s electoral interests, is the fact that conservative thought leaders feel compelled to defend Trump’s nativist ramblings. And not just bottom-feeding outlets like the Daily Caller and Breitbart, either. National Review editor Rich Lowry writes in Politico that Trump “has a point.”
In his announcement speech, Trump began by denouncing Mexico as an economic competitor, then shifted from protectionism to nativism by portraying Mexican immigrants as criminals:
This demagoguery would be merely comic if it were not being defended by respectable figures like Lowry. The National Review editor hardly offers a full-scale defense, but instead cleverly insists we must acknowledge the nuggets of wisdom in Trump’s ravings.
If conservatives feel frustrated that they can’t question immigration levels without being tarred as racist, that is understandable. But when they’re defending the likes of actual racists like Trump, they have only themselves to blame. 7/01/15 Read more at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/07/why-are-conservatives-defending-donald-trump.html
2. Dana Milbank: In his presidential homestretch, Obama regains the momentum
“This,” President Obama said in the Rose Garden on Wednesday as he announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba, “is what change looks like.”
This echo of his 2008 campaign theme was self-congratulatory but deserved, coming at a time of unexpected hope late in his presidency. In the space of just over a week, Obama’s tired tenure came back to life. He bested congressional Democrats and got trade legislation on his desk. The Supreme Court upheld the signature achievement of his presidency — Obamacare — and thereby cemented his legacy.
The high court also made same-sex marriage legal across the land following a tidal change in public opinion that Obama’s own conversion accelerated. Had the court’s decisions not dominated the nation’s attention, Obama’s eulogy Friday for those slain in a South Carolina church, and his extraordinary rendition of “Amazing Grace,” would have itself been one of the most powerful moments of his presidency.
It is little surprise, then, that this lame duck’s job approval rating hit a respectable 50 percent this week for the first time in two years in a CNN poll, and his disapproval rating dropped to 47.
“The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to Momentum is everything in politics — and for the moment, Obama has it again. 7/01/15 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obama-regains-the-momentum/2015/07/01/43a6b932-203c-11e5-aeb9-a411a84c9d55_story.html
3. Matt Bai: Christie can’t win New Jersey. Does that matter?
Here’s the bad news for Chris Christie: He embarks on a presidential campaign with hardly any support among primary voters. He might not even make it onstage for the first debate, because unlike four years ago, when conservative donors were begging Christie to offer himself up as not Mitt Romney, there are at least 15 other Republicans vying for position.
But here’s the good news for Christie, if you want to be glass-half-full about it: At least he’s not running for reelection as governor. Because with a 30 percent approval rating in New Jersey, Christie is now less popular in his home state than his predecessor, Jon Corzine, whom he beat pretty much by just showing up and having a pulse. If Christie takes a liking to bucolic New Hampshire, he might consider moving there.
When you’ve made yourself a divisive figure at home in hopes of uniting Republicans hundreds or thousands of miles away, it’s hard to be taken seriously as the kind of governor who can win a general election, like Clinton or Bush.
Christie likes to say that his mother taught him a valuable lesson — that it’s better to be respected than loved, because love without respect never lasts anyway. Right about now, I’m guessing he’d take either one. 7/02/15 Read more at https://www.yahoo.com/politics/christie-cant-win-new-jersey-does-that-matter-122970233621.html
4. Philip Rucker: As Donald Trump surges in polls, Democrats cheer
For Democrats, Donald Trump amounts to a kind of divine intervention.
With the Republican Party on an urgent mission to woo Latino voters, one of its leading presidential candidates has been enmeshed for two weeks in a nasty feud over his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.
“They’re bringing drugs,” Trump said in his campaign announcement speech. “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
The comments — and many more since — have prompted an uproar among Latino groups and acrimonious breakups between Trump and various corporate partners. His outlandish rhetoric and skill at occupying the national spotlight are also proving to be dangerously toxic for the GOP brand, which remains in the rehabilitation stage after losing the 2012 presidential race.
Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats, meanwhile, are eager to make Trump the face of the Republican Party, which is momentarily leaderless with a disparate presidential field and no clear front-runner.
“I am a person of faith — and the Donald’s entry into this race can only be attributed to the fact that the good Lord is a Democrat with a sense of humor,” exulted Paul Begala, veteran Democratic strategist and adviser to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC boosting Clinton’s candidacy. 7/01/15 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/donald-trump-surges-and-democrats-cheer/2015/07/01/895d9e9e-1f5d-11e5-84d5-eb37ee8eaa61_story.html
5. America Ferrera: Thank You, Donald Trump!
I heard what you said about the kind of people you think Latino immigrants are — people with problems, who bring drugs, crime and rape to America. While your comments are incredibly ignorant and racist, I don’t want to spend my time chastising you. I’ll leave that to your business partners like Univision and NBC, who have the power to scold you where it hurts. Instead, I’m writing to say thank you!
You have made your thoughts on the Latino community clear and you continue to stand by them. And in return, we will do more than tweet about our indignation and beat piñatas of your likeness. We will silence you at the polls. We will vote and use our growing position in U.S. politics. Our fellow Americans who understand and value our contributions will join us. We know there is nothing that scares you more.
The truth is, Mr. Trump, that your comments mean that you fail to see that immigrants are what have made this nation. They are at the core of our ideals, and they are the foundation that keeps us afloat. No, Mr. Trump, you may not reduce us to drug dealers and rapists. We are moms and dads, sons and daughters. We are valedictorians and honor students. We are college graduates, bankers, police officers, entertainers, teachers, journalists, politicians and we are the future of America.
Thank you for helping us in our work to energize the Latino vote and to usher in our shared future! Keep it up!
7/02/2015 Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/america-ferrera/thank-you-donald-trump_b_7709126.html
6. Ben Schreckinger and Jonathan Topaz: The socialist surge
Democratic primaries have always featured liberal insurgent candidates, but perhaps none quite so liberal or insurgent as the socialist senator from Vermont. Sanders’ comments are a reminder of just how far the second-place Democratic presidential candidate stands from the American mainstream on some issues, and the looming reckoning Democrats face with their party’s leftward drift.
Never mind whether Sanders can crack 40 percent in any primary against Hillary Clinton — he has already established himself as her de facto challenger and a standard-bearer of a party that was, until this year, too far to the right for his liking.
“When I hear Bernie talk I’m almost inclined to accuse him of plagiarizing me,” said Ralph Nader, the left-wing gadfly whose third-party bid many Democrats still blame for swinging the 2000 election to George W. Bush.
Nader’s kinship with Sanders is yet another sign that the Democratic Party’s goal posts have moved left. The percentage of Democrats who identify as socially and economically liberal has increased 17 points since 2001, according to a recent Gallup poll. And the party’s restive liberal base — led in recent years by progressive icon Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — has pushed the party establishment on social issues like same-sex marriage and populist economic ones like equal pay and paid sick leave. 7/06/15 Read more at: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/bernie-sanders-socialist-surge-119785.html
7. Jamelle Bouie: The GOP Base Loves Trump
Just because Trump is an unqualified vanity candidate doesn’t mean he’s unimportant in the story of the 2016 GOP presidential primary. Unlike Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee—two vastly more legitimate candidates—Trump is popular with Republican voters. A new CNN national poll puts him in second place in the GOP field at 12 percent support—seven points behind the leader, Jeb Bush—while recent polls from Iowa and New Hampshire also show him with a second place spot in those crucial early contests. If Trump holds his position, he’ll be on stage with Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio when official debates start in August (he could even lose some support and still make the cut).
The obvious question is “Why?”—why does Trump have a hold on this thick slice of the members of the Republican base? The answer is, unlike the professional politicians in the race, Trump is—from his views on immigration to the “issue” of Obama’s citizenship—one of them.
Trump doesn’t just represent the Republican base on immigration. He is the Republican base on immigration. His anxieties are their anxieties. And his rhetoric—a revanchist stew of foreign policy belligerence, small government ideology, anti-elite agitation, and raw bigotry—reflects and appeals to a meaningful part of the Republican electorate.
The good news is that this meaningful part is still a small minority of the Republican Party. The right-wing of American populism might be ugly and angry, but it’s not powerful. The bad news, on the other hand, is that you don’t have to be a majority to be influential. You just have to grab the right influence at the right time. Trump is a distraction, but don’t be surprised if a more credible candidate—like Walker, who can cloak his hard-right politics in suburban blandness—tries to bring Trump’s voters to his side. Alone, these voters won’t bring victory. But in a close fight, they could offer the winning points. 7/01/15 Read more at http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/07/cnn_trump_poll_why_republicans_love_donald_trump.html
8. Juan Williams: A rising tide for Dems on green issues
If you think the most politically powerful decision out of the Supreme Court in recent weeks was on gay marriage or ObamaCare, think again.
It was the 5-4 win for conservatives when the court rejected Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules limiting pollution from power plants.
An intense fight over the environment is now certain to be a dominant feature of the 2016 presidential race. The fight will be fueled by President Obama’s willingness in his last months in office – during the campaign – to defy the court and risk new EPA restrictions on emission of greenhouse gases to stop global warming.
That’s a winning position in a GOP primary. But with the Pope against you and nearly half the voters saying global warming is a “serious issue,” it is a suicidal stand for a general election candidate.
Good luck with that, GOP. 07/06/15 Read more at http://thehill.com/opinion/juan-williams/246795-juan-williams-a-rising-tide-for-dems-on-green-issues
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