Pundits and talking heads have been weighing in on the effects of the 16-day quasi-government shutdown on the Republican Party and the 2014 mid-term election. Many are saying that the electoral consequences could be steep, and could even cost the GOP control of the House of Representatives.
It’s hard to counter arguments and polling data that the Republican Party’s standing with Americans has been hurt by the shutdown. Gallup recently found that just 28% of the public has favorable view of the GOP, the lowest of any party on record. The good news is that Republicans are still favored on the economy. They were also given a gift by the endless problems plaguing the federal ObamaCare exchange.
But the shutdown could help Democrats with fundraising and candidate recruitment, Stu Rothenberg recently wrote, at a time when President Barack Obama’s poll numbers with his own party had been softening.
While Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may have received a bump in Public Policy Polling’s most recent national survey of 2016 Republican presidential candidates, the latest national poll from Quinnipiac shows that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tops the field.
The poll, conducted between September 23-29, found that Paul takes 17% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) aren’t far behind, with 13% and 12%, respectively.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) is in fourth with 11%. Cruz is tied with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) with 10% a piece.
“The race for the GOP nomination remains wide open with a handful of candidates bunched together in low double-digits,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a release on the results. “Sen. Ted Cruz’ high-profile role opposing Obamacare has added him to that group, but he probably will have to find other ways to keep his star rising.”
“Over the last several months, Sen. Marco Rubio’s star has fallen a bit and Sen. Rand Paul’s has risen a bit, while Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Christopher Christie and Congressman Paul Ryan have essentially been flickering in place,” he added.
Here’s a look at latest Quinnipiac poll compared to the one that the organization took back in April.
After 27 long years on Capitol Hill and two failed presidential bids, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) may finally be ready to retire. The Hill picked up on comments that the Arizona senator made during a recent interview:
The 77-year-old’s current term is up in 2016. When asked if this would really be his last term, McCain backtracked a bit.
“Nah, I don’t know,” McCain said. “I was trying to make a point. I have to decide in about two years so I don’t have to make a decision. I don’t want to be one of these old guys that should’ve shoved off.”
McCain made the initial remark about retirement off-the-cuff to a group of Obama supporters who interrupted the interview as he was arguing that television providers should unbundle their channels.
McCain has long been a thorn in the side of conservatives and libertarians, voting for bloated budgets and pushing unpopular positions on a number of policies. Just this year alone, he opposed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on drones, backed more onerous gun control measures, and tried to help Senate Democrats push their big spending budget into a conference with the House without a guarantee against a stealth debt limit increase.
The libertarian philosophy is taking the Republican Party by storm, according to a poll conducted by FreedomWorks, a DC-based grassroots service center with over 6 million members.
With Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and many other liberty-minded politicians gaining influence, libertarianism has generated new interest inside the Republican Party, much to the chagrin of the GOP’s political establishment.
Though still not a dominate view inside the party, there is no denying that the narrative inside the Republican Party has significantly changed. Moreover, libertarians have an opportunity upon which they can seize, if they’re willing to work within the system.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 41 percent of Republican voters hold libertarian views. Conventional wisdom is that many voters who are libertarian don’t know the word. But this may well be changing,” noted David Kirby, Kellyanne Conway, and Stephen Spiker in the report on the data.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 42 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the word ‘libertarian,’ and only 10 percent don’t know the word, compared to 27 percent who don’t know nationally,” they added.
And the term “libertarian” may still turn off some Republican voters, the basic message of the philosophy earns significant favor. The poll found that 68% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree with the statement that “individuals should be free to do as they like as long as they don’t hurt others, and that the government should keep out of people’s day-to-day lives.”
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who is among the biggest war hawks in Washington, recently told a New Hampshire radio station that he’s running for president, becoming the first Republican to announce for 2016:
In a radio interview this week, the Republican lawmaker told a New Hampshire station that he was in the state “because right now I’m running for president,” according to The New York Daily News.
The visit was King’s second of four trips to the traditional home of the nation’s first presidential primary.
The announcement makes King the first Republican to officially declare their intentions to run for president in 2016.
King is serving his 11th term in the house. Over the years he has been a vocal member of his party at times, especially on foreign policy issues.
King has been very critical of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and others in the Republican Party who have expressed a cautious approach to foreign policy, frequently labeling them as ”isolationists,” which is intended to be a pejorative; though the word has lost its meaning because it has become so overused.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) followed through on Chairman Reince Priebus’s threat to ban CNN and MSNBC from participating in the party’s 2016 presidential debates during its quarterly meeting this weekend in Boston:
“We don’t have time for the media’s games,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said before the vote at the RNC summer meeting in Boston. “We’re done putting up with this nonsense. There are plenty of other news outlets.”
According to the resolution, called “In support of media objectivity and accountability” and obtained by The Hill, the RNC called the planned films “political favoritism” and accused NBC and CNN of airing “programming that amounts to little more than extended commercials promoting former Secretary Clinton.”
In addition to voting on action against the networks, the resolution says the RNC “shall endeavor to bring more order to the primary debates and ensure a reasonable number of debates, appropriate moderators and debate partners are chosen, and that other issues pertaining to the general nature of such debates are addressed.”
The resolution passed unanimously without much, if any, discussion or debate, outside of Priebus’s remarks to committee members.
Earlier this month, Priebus sent letters to executives at both networks threatening them with retaliation if they moved forward on planned shows about Hillary Clinton, who is thought to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has a message for establishment Republicans — he supports Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the fight for the future of the GOP. Gingrich made the comments last week during an interview with conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are among the few members of the Republican Party courageous enough to ask important questions, and that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie represents an establishment growing “hysterical” over their strength.
“I consistently have been on the side of having the courage that Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have, and I think it’s sad to watch the establishment grow hysterical, but frankly they’re hysterical because they have no answers,” Gingrich said Thursday morning on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
This is pretty interesting because Gingrich was once highly critical of conservatives in Congress during his speakership in the 1990’s. Some believe that it was then-Speaker Gingrich’s inital compromises with President Bill Clinton that helped push the GOP to eventually abandon the principles of the 1994 Republican Revolution.
But Gingrich has evidently had a change of heart, not just in his view of the grassroots conservative movement, but also in terms of the Republican Party’s approach to foreign policy over the last several years (emphasis added):
We’ve already seen Republicans lash out at Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) due to his strong, influential advocacy for civil liberties, which is a break from Bush-era GOP orthodoxy. But we may have gotten a look last week at how it’ll play into the 2016 race for the party’s nomination.
During a panel on Thursday at the Aspen Institute, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), who has had quite the bromance with President Barack Obama, strongly spoke out against the growing libertarian tilt in the country, including both political parties, and, of course, invoked 9/11 in the process:
“This strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought,” Christie said during a panel discussion with several other Republican governors at the Aspen Institute.
Asked if he was referring specifically to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., the Republican perhaps most closely associated with a libertarian platform on defense issues and a potential rival of Christie’s in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, the New Jersey Republican replied, “You can name any number of people, and he’s one of them.”
“These esoteric, intellectual debates - I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have,” he added.
“I think what we as a country have to decide is: Do we have amnesia? Because I don’t,” he said. “And I remember what we felt like on September 12, 2001.”
There a quite a primary fight brewing in Wyoming that highlight the divisions in the Republican Party. Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, announced last week that she is going to challenge Sen. Mike Enzi in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Wyoming.
This isn’t an ordinary primary challenge. Though an incumbent, Enzi has a fairly conservative record. His has a lifetime score of 82% from FreedomWorks and 71% from the Club for Growth. Enzi’s biggest stumble recently was his legislative push for the online sales tax, which was opposed by Tea Party and grassroots organizations.
While Enzi’s voting record isn’t as good as it could be, Cheney isn’t like the primary challengers we’ve seen over the last couple of cycles. Tea Party primary challengers threatened Old Guard Republicans, calling into question big spending and the misguided foreign policy that was so prevalent during George W. Bush’s presidency.
Cheney’s argument for running against Enzi are sort of peculiar. She doesn’t question his credentials or even his record. There are no fundamental differences of which to speak between the two. Her argument for his run is, essentially, that Enzi is too old.
After days of teasing his future plans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced yesterday that he would not seek re-election next year.
At a press conference before a crowd of supporters, Perry listed off a number of accomplishments, from balancing the state budget to the economic boom in Texas, which has seen some 1.75 million jobs created in the last five years. He also played up his social conservative credentials, specifically his pro-life stance. Texas has been the center of the national debate over abortion in recent weeks.
“I remain excited about the future and the challenges ahead. But the time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership,” Perry told a large crowd of supporters gathered at a Caterpillar plant in San Antonio. “Today, I’m announcing I will not seek re-election as governor of Texas. I will spend the next 18 months working to create more jobs, opportunity and innovation. I will actively lead this great state. I’ll also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path.”
“Any future considerations I will announce in due time, and I will arrive at that decision appropriately,” he added. “But my focus will remain on Texas.”
Perry has served as governor since December 2000, succeeding George W. Bush, who left office after defeating then-Vice President Al Gore. Perry was elected to a full term in 2002 with 58.1% of the vote. He won re-election in 2006, taking 39%, a plurality, in a five-way race. In 2010, he faced stiff primary competition, from then-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina, but managed to win with 51.1% of the vote and subsequently win an unprecendented third term that fall.