Open Thread

The Open Thread for April 11, 2017

The Cook Political Report moves their rating for today’s special election in Kansas’ 4th congressional district from Likely Republican to Lean Republican.  Meanwhile, next week’s special election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district is now rated a Toss Up.

“Even a single-digit finish in a seat like KS-04, with a Cook PVI score of R+15, would portend big trouble for Republicans in next week’s special primary election in GA-06, which has a PVI score of R+8. There is a real chance Democrat Jon Ossoff, who is dramatically outspending the rest of the field while the main GOP contenders turn on each other, could hit 50 percent on April 18 and avoid a runoff.”

President Trump has recorded a robocall in support of Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes’ bid for the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Axios reports.

“The special election is tomorrow, and it’s the first Congressional election since Trump took office. The Republican nerves are showing; Kansas’ 4th should be safe for the GOP — it’s home to Koch Industries and party mega-donor Charles Koch — but they’re still pulling in the big guns, including Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and now Trump.”

Said Trump: “Ron is going to be helping us, big league… I need Republicans like Ron Estes to help me get the job done.”

“A federal judge has ruled — for the second time — that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against Latino and black voters in passing a strict voter identification law in 2011,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“The 10-page ruling, if it withstands almost certain appeals, could ultimately put Texas back on the list of states needing federal approval before changing election laws. A 2013 Supreme Court ruling sprung Texas and other states with a history of discrimination from that list.”

“The conservative Club for Growth said Monday that it is targeting 10 moderate House Republicans with a $1 million ad campaign, offering a glimpse into the right’s strategy for pushing through a GOP health-care overhaul,” the Washington Post reports.

“The ads, set to begin Tuesday, come at the beginning of a two-week congressional recess — and after the latest bid to reconcile warring GOP lawmakers and resurrect the American Health Care Act fell short last week.”

“But the Club for Growth sees a path to the bill’s passage: convincing more moderate — or less stridently conservative — Republicans to swallow a proposal favored by the House Freedom Caucus that would allow states to seek waivers of several Affordable Care Act insurance mandates.”

In future Crisis Management classes, this letter–blaming the customer–will serve as a case study for how not to diffuse a PR nightmare.

Embattled Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “agreed to a deal that forced him to resign the office of governor, plead guilty to two misdemeanors and agree to never again to hold public office,” the Birmingham News reports.

“The extraordinary agreement, hammered out over the weekend and throughout the day… requires Bentley to repay the state for misused funds and perform community service. In response, the state attorney general’s office will not pursue other felonies against Bentley, including those referred for prosecution last week by the Alabama Ethics Commission.”

“Whether the governor faces jail time on the misdemeanors – which are technically punishable by as much as a year in prison – is left to the judge who will sentence him. It is unlikely he will serve time.”

The Kremlin said on Monday that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not meet President Vladimir Putin when he visits Moscow on Wednesday, a move that could point to tensions over a U.S. missile attack on a Syrian air base last week,” Reuters reports.

Rick Wilson: “If Bannon is cut loose, the old Washington adage of ‘better to have your enemy inside the tent pissing out’ will come into play. The coverage of Trump in the Bannon/Mercer echo chamber will go from ‘gushing hagiography’ to ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ to ‘Trump is now a globalist cuck shill for the ZOG’ faster than Andrew Breitbart can rotate in his grave.”

“Another reason firing Bannon is fraught with risk: Bannon is running the Russia pushback operation from inside the White House. He’s up to his ample ass in the Nunes shenanigan with NSC staffer Ezra Cohen-Watnik and White House Counsel’s Office staffer Mike Ellis. Bannon doesn’t just want to protect Trump over the Russia allegations; he wants to protect Russia, a nation he sees as an essential ally in his new alliance of white Christian nations against the Muslim horde. Does Trump really want Bannon, angry and in the wind, declaring his own jihad?”

New York Times: “After years of criticizing former President Barack Obama for playing golf and going on private getaways, President Trump has already done more of both in his first 81 days than Mr. Obama, as well as former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Mr. Trump played golf again this past weekend, on Saturday and Sunday.”

“Employees at Breitbart News have been asked by senior editors to refrain from writing stories critical of Jared Kushner,” two people familiar with the matter told Business Insider.  “The New York Times reported over the weekend that allies of Kushner had complained to President Donald Trump about the negative coverage he was receiving from the far-right website.”

Vanity Fair reports on the debate inside Clintonworld about what Hillary’s role should be for the duration of Trump’s presidency.   Said one person close to the Clintons: “She’s trying to navigate what’s appropriate. Does it look like sour grapes? Does it look like she’s positioning for something? She can’t look like a politician or someone who’s trying to position herself. Those days are over….She’s trying to resurrect her image, as well as resurrect her name.”

The central challenge for Clinton is “capitalizing on her political martyrdom without quite appearing to do so.”

Said the Clinton loyalist: “It’s a fine line because it could become easily an ‘I-told-you-so’ tour, which no one has any appetite for… If you move too quickly, you look political. You lose your stature as an elder statesman. You look like a chronic politician. If you move a bit more strategically — target your appearances, target your messages at your appearances, craft your messages appropriately for your appearances — you can keep on an elder stateswoman status. You can have an impact on the dialog where it won’t look self-serving.”

How about this?  You are never going to run for President again, so if you want to say something, say it completely unvarnished or nonstrategic or unplanned!!!   And yes, you will not be running for President again.  I am one of your biggest supporters and I am telling you that you are done.   

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