It is officially time to primary John McCain

When the people get annoyed with a milquetoast incumbent, invariably there are at least a few calls to primary the person, to get them out. Most times it’s all bluster, out of pure frustration, that won’t lead to anything. That’s typically the case because of the one thing that keeps incumbents in office - name recognition. People get used to seeing that name, and out of a sense of not wanting to step into the unknown by trusting a new one.

That’s the case when the first calls to primary an incumbent happen, because people that haven’t been deeply involved in running for public office anywhere tend to throw their hats in the proverbial ring. As time goes by, and disillusionment grows, candidates that the people recognize start being considered as viable options.

John McCain will likely be facing a primary challenge, if any of the people mentioned in a recent Citizens United Victory Fund poll decide to run. Arizonians are most likely to end up with a new Senator if Gov. Jan Brewer or Rep. Matt Salmon decide to run. Based on the current numbers from that poll, either one would easily win against McCain in a primary today.

If both Brewer and Salmon would choose to run against McCain in a primary, it would be an historic race. It’s not very common to see a three-way race involving two challengers and an incumbent, with the challengers being in the fight to win, while the incumbent is the irrelevant candidate.

Good and bad fundraising news for Republicans

April 15 wasn’t only the deadline for Americans to file their income tax returns, it was also the last day for federal candidates to send in their campaign contribution disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.

This deadline comes and goes without much attention paid by the public. But for those of us who work in politics, we tend channel our inner nerd and spend more time than we’d like to admit digging through the day.

Though it’s important to remember that money doesn’t necessarily translate into electoral success, Republicans, who are looking to take control of the Senate this fall, have to be happy that top-tier candidates outraised vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Alaska and Arkansas:

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor raised $1.22 million — slightly lagging behind his Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton, who brought in $1.35 million, according to announcements from the campaigns.

Pryor is also burning through cash more quickly than Cotton, spending more than $1 million – almost as much as he raised – in the same time period. Cotton spent about $860,000.

But Pryor still holds the cash-on-hand advantage. He has $4.4 million in the bank, while Cotton has $2.7 million. Recent polls have also shown Pryor with only a slight edge over Cotton.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich was also outraised by his likely GOP challenger, Dan Sullivan, for the second consecutive quarter. Begich brought in $1.05 million and has $2.8 million in the bank, while Sullivan raised 1.3 million and has just under $2 million on hand, their campaigns announced.

Surprise! Dems Like to do a Little Koch, Too

Remember when Harry Reid blasphemed the hallowed ground of the Senate floor by invoking the names of the evil Koch brothers over 130 times in separate trips to the podium? You see, Harry has kind of a thing for the Koch Brothers.

It borders on obsessive and has finally led many to wonder if the pugilistic majority leader might not be a little punch drunk. Even if he is against the ropes, however, there’s really no excuse for his bully pulpit tactic against private citizens who can do whatever they want with their money:

When Reid took to the floor of the Senate to lie about Mitt Romney, his target was at least a candidate for higher office. “The Koch brothers” — like Achilles and Odysseus, they have simply been turned into mythical figures.

As majority leader of the United States Senate, Reid holds one of the highest offices in the land. Using his high office to inveigh against the “Koch brothers,” Reid has shown an infinite capacity for disgrace, dishonesty and hypocrisy. He is the perfect face of the Democratic Party in the Age of Obama.

The disgrace, dishonesty, and hypocrisy become even more apparent when one considers that the hateful Kochs, blamed for sullying the pure driven snow that has always been the landscape of American politics, may have — surely accidentally — been handing over some of that blood money of theirs to (sit down if you need to) Democrats:

Emails reveal IRS, Justice Department sought to prosecute tax-exempt groups

The IRS scandal just got a little bigger. The powerful tax agency and the Justice Department sought to prosecute tax-exempt groups that were suspected of engaging in political activity, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.

The emails released by Judicial Watch reveal that Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of congressional inquiries into the scandal, received a phone call from a Justice Department official who wanted to look into prosecuting tax-exempt groups for making “false statements.” That idea, they note, was floated by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The email exchange took place between May 8 and May 9, 2013. Lerner revealed that the IRS had scrutinized groups seeking nonprofit status on May 10, setting off a political firestorm for the Obama administration and the IRS, one that continues today.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Judicial Watch obtained emails dating back to March and April 2013. In an email dated March, 27, 2013, for example, Lerner explains that “several groups of folks from the FEC world” were looking to shutdown groups with tax-exempt status, adding that ”[o]ne IRS prosecution would make an impact.”

Bad federal policies created the problems at Bundy Ranch

Cliven Bundy

It’s true that Cliven Bundy and his family doesn’t appear to have much of a legal leg to stand on in their protest against heavily armed Bureau of Land Management agents, but John Hinderaker explains what we should sympathize with Bundy and his family as they take on the federal government:

To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence.

Over the last two or three decades, the Bureau has squeezed the ranchers in southern Nevada by limiting the acres on which their cattle can graze, reducing the number of cattle that can be on federal land, and charging grazing fees for the ever-diminishing privilege. The effect of these restrictions has been to drive the ranchers out of business. Formerly, there were dozens of ranches in the area where Bundy operates. Now, his ranch is the only one. When Bundy refused to pay grazing fees beginning in around 1993, he said something to the effect of, they are supposed to be charging me a fee for managing the land and all they are doing is trying to manage me out of business. Why should I pay them for that?

Census Bureau changes report methodology to help Obamacare

When you’re worried about how the game is going, you just change the rules to get the outcome you want. At least that appears to be the Obama administration’s thinking with Obamacare, a law has seen a number of politically convenient delays and changes over the last several months.

The latest example of the administration trying to game the numbers comes by way of the Census Bureau, which, according to The New York Times, has adjusted its methodology to produce a lower number of uninsured Americans (emphasis added):

The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.

The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.

An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.

Today in Liberty: Conservatives want Obamacare replacement vote, Bloomberg to spend $50 million on anti-gun group

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” — Thomas Jefferson

— House conservatives press for Obamacare replacement vote: Republican leaders suggested earlier this year that they would bring to the floor an Obamacare replacement bill, only to back away not long after. House conservatives are now pressing leadership to live up to the rhetoric and hold a vote on an alternative before the August recess. “At the end of the day, we feel it’s really important to bring a bill to the floor that is a true replacement to the president’s healthcare law,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told The Hill. “Look, leadership’s come a long way in the last six months on that, and we’re continuing to talk to them to try to get to a point where we actually have a vote on the House floor by the August recess.”

OH-08: John Boehner’s “electile disfunction”

Winteregg ad

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has an “electile dysfunction” problem, according to his conservative primary opponent, J.D. Winteregg, who has rolled out a humorous new ad spoofing Cialis commercials.

“You make a great team. It’s been that day since the day you met. But your electile dysfunction, it could be a question of blood flow,” says the narrator. “Sometimes, when a politician has been in D.C. too long, it goes to his head, and they just can’t seem to get the job done.”

The ad features video of Boehner and President Barack Obama laughing with each other and shaking hands mixed in with couples hanging out and flirting. The narrator highlights a list of Winteregg’s more conservative positions, including pledges to defund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.

“Other signs of electile dysfunction include skin discoloration, the inability to punch one’s self out of a wet paper bag, or maintain a spine in the fact of liberal opposition,” the narrator continues. “If you have a Boehner lasting longer than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention.”

IRS to revisit rules for tax-exempt groups

It may be too early to declare a victory in the war against overreaching bureaucrats, but the Internal Revenue Service has decided to scrap proposed rules that would have had a chilling effect on political speech and legitimized the agency’s targeting of conservative groups:

The Internal Revenue Service is prepared to rewrite a proposed rule regulating the political activities of non-profit groups to address complaints from the right and left that it goes too far, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Monday.

“In all likelihood we will re-propose a redefined rule and ask for more public comment,” Koskinen told USA TODAY’s Capital Download. It’s a process he predicts will take “until the end of the year and beyond” to complete. The proposed regulation of groups known as 501(c)(4)s drew a record 150,000 comments before the deadline in late February.

He said the new rule would take into account backlash from conservative Tea Party groups as well as some liberal advocacy organizations that the agency’s proposal – intended to address concerns that the tax-exempt groups were engaged in partisan warfare – would bar, even voter education and registration programs.

The IRS had already postponed implementation of the rules due to the record response the powerful tax agency received. More than 150,000 comments were submitted, with opposition coming from both the political right and left.

Rand Paul to push school choice in Chicago, Milwaukee

Unlike former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who supports Common Core and has even backed a campaign to boost it through his foundation, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is a fan of school choice and will soon be using some of his time to host School Choice roundtables with parents of certain communities in Milwaukee and Chicago.

According to RandPAC, Paul will be traveling to Chicago and Milwaukee on April 22 and 23, 2014 to talk to parents, students, educators and community leaders about the importance of having options when it comes to education.

Sen. Paul hopes to encourage parents to help school choice advocates to advance their message. According to Paul, “parents should have a role and a voice when it comes to their child’s education. These roundtable discussions will focus on raising standards, adding competition and strengthening our nation’s education system – a system that is broken.”

Many school choice advocates point out to the discrepancies in the speeches of those who advocate for Common Core.

“I never cease to be amazed that the loudest voices against the right to choice and access to a good education often send their own kids to private or parochial schools,” said Rachel Campos Duffy of the LIBRE Initiative. “These are also the same people who present themselves as the champions of ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’ for minorities and the poor.“ She is a mother and an activist in a mostly Hispanic community.


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