By Luiza Ch. Savage - Monday, March 25, 2013 - 0 Comments
The GOP needs to rethink outreach in order to stop “secular socialism”
As the speakers revved up the crowd with jabs at Barack Obama, socialists and the “liberal media,” last week’s gathering of American conservatives at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) felt on the surface just like any other. The convention hall near Washington teemed with banners (“Stand with Rand!”), buttons (“Don’t tread on my gun rights”) and booths that ran the conservative gamut from the Ayn Rand Committee for Individual Rights to Christians United for Israel.
But what started out as a moment of indecisive post-election soul-searching by conservative activists from around the country was only days later overshadowed by a bold move by Republican party insiders in Washington bent on saving the party from itself. To some it looked like a coup.
No sooner had the speakers and activists packed up and left town after their weekend meeting, then the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, ventured into enemy territory, the National Press Club, to unveil a 100-page post-mortem report on the November election losses, and announce the party’s future strategy. The rank and file may have spent three days debating the way forward, but the party leadership had already made up its mind.
By Jaime Weinman - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM - 0 Comments
Right-to-work laws target the same labour unions that helped fund Obama’s victory
As Republicans try to rebuild after November’s electoral defeat, one of their priorities for 2013 may be going after the sources of the Democrats’ power—and no target is easier, or more inviting, than labour unions. The first post-election salvo against unions came in Michigan, home to thousands of unionized auto workers. By signing a right-to-work law outlawing requirements that workers pay union fees to work, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder may have inspired other Republican-controlled states. Groups like the pro-business American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which provided the template for Michigan’s law, are already hoping to take the fight to other blue states in 2013.
Weakening unions has been a traditional Republican priority, from 1947’s Taft-Hartley Act that restricted union power, to former president Ronald Reagan’s famous fight with the air-traffic controllers’ union in 1981. But in past decades, there was a countervailing pro-union wing of the party, consisting of moderate northeastern Republicans. Now most are gone, and the party stars tend to align with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who once declared: “I love that we are one of the least unionized states in the country.”
Beyond party ideology, taking on unions has a clear political advantage: right-to-work laws cut off an outside source of funding for the Democratic party—funding that helped drive the get-out-the-vote operations which propelled President Barack Obama to victory in most swing states. But by reducing the amount of money unions can collect by an estimated 20 to 30 per cent, the new Michigan law might make it harder for future Democratic presidential candidates to win the state.
Of course, there are political risks: Mitt Romney’s stance against Obama’s auto bailout may have cost him labour-friendly states like Ohio and Michigan. And while groups like ALEC are already eyeing Republican-controlled Pennsylvania as a possible new right-to-work state, Gov. Tom Corbett says “there is not much of a movement to do it.” Then again, movements can start pretty quickly: Snyder once called such laws “divisive,” and said they were “not on my agenda,” only to change his mind this year. It remains to be seen whether other governors will, too.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 11:23 PM - 29 Comments
From PBS, a dynamite Frontline documentary designed to suit the moment: a new President who has promised to pay more attention to what’s happening in Afghanistan. At the risk of repeating something I’ve said a few times lately, Obama’s attention, while welcome, is certainly insufficient to turn around a declining situation in Aghanistan. A review of the Frontline documentary is here; the whole documentary, an hour’s television cut into more digestible chapters, is here. It is tremendously sobering viewing…(UPDATE)…and especially in the fifth chapter, has unsettling images of extreme violence, so viewer beware.
UPDATE: Watch this and ask yourself whether it portrays a challenge Lawrence Cannon can begin to comprehend. As a handy gauge, recall how much trouble he had deciding who is or is not a member of the Québécois nation.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 10:10 PM - 28 Comments
President-elect Barack Obama is strongly considering Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head the Environmental Protection Agency, a Cabinet post, Democratic officials told Politico.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 8:50 PM - 11 Comments
Welcome to the new job, Mr. President-Elect:
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 4:19 PM - 8 Comments
And Dmitry Medvedev wastes no time offering Barack Obama a choice: Russia will deploy short-range missiles in Kaliningrad on the border of Poland and Lithuania — unless Obama prefers to abandon George W. Bush’s plan for missile-defence batteries in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Oh, and the future may be looking like a lot more Vladimir Putin.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 4:06 PM - 38 Comments
This corner has developed a special interest in long-form political journalism, produced hard on the heels of major political events. Here are the day’s main examples of the form.
1. The New York Times comes out of the gates with a dainty amuse-bouche of 4,500 words. Highlights:
• Everything changed when John McCain said “the fundamentals of the economy are strong,” several hours before another leader in another national election said the “fundamentals of the economy are strong” and nothing much changed. Context, we see, is everything.
• The Obama campaign was flawless in every way, a message the Times reporters deliver a dozen different ways. “Ice-cold disciplined about the execution of his campaign message,” McCain’s campaign manager says mournfully.
• But it wasn’t that perfect, and the Reverend Wright business caught the Obama troops by surprise. Which it probably shouldn’t have.