Last month, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) announced that he will retire at the end of 2014, cutting short his second Senate term by two years. His decision was in part the result of his health struggles related the recent recurrence of prostate cancer. But Sen. Coburn also cited the dysfunction in Washington D.C., and particularly in the U.S. Senate, in stating: “As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere.”
John Ward’s HuffPost interview with Sen. Coburn last week sheds some light on exactly how Sen. Coburn intends to shift his focus:
“It’s time for me to go do something else,” Coburn said. “I know me. I’ve made lots of shifts in my life, and I know when it’s time. My faith comes into that. I pay a lot of attention to what I think I’m supposed to be doing. … And it’s just time for me to do something else. So I’m getting ready to walk through whatever door opens.”
“I don’t have any set plans whatsoever,” he said.
There are two exceptions to that statement. He has plans to play golf, a game he loves and has rarely been able to enjoy during his time in Washington. And he is going to lend his support to a growing effort in state legislatures across the country to call a convention to amend the Constitution with the aim of limiting the size and reach of the federal government.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blasted Republicans who backed the debt ceiling increase this week, telling conservative talk show host Mark Levin on Thursday that the Washington political establishment “think the American people are a bunch of rubes” who “don’t remember what they say.”
“In the 13 months I’ve been in the Senate, it has become apparent to me the single thing that Republican politicians hate and fear the most, and that is when they’re forced to tell the truth,” Cruz told Levin. “It makes their heads explode.”
Facing perhaps the biggest fight of his political career, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) managed to get to endorsements last year from prominent conservative talk show hosts, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. The hope was that the 35-year Senator could build up enough support to avoid a primary challenger from the right.
Political pressure kept Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) from running, but State Sen. Dan Liljenquist managed to push Hatch into a primary last month after the latter was unable to gain enough support at the Utah GOP convention. Hatch knows he has an advantage, which is why he’s been avoiding debates with Liljenquist — a point Glenn Beck brought up recently on his show, offering to host a forum for the two.
Based on what I’ve heard from friends in DC, they’re managing expectations, choosing instead to focus their efforts on Ted Cruz in Texas and elsewhere. This may have been brought home yesterday when Sarah Palin endorsed Hatch over Liljenquist:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is facing a Tea Party challenge from former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist (R).
“I want him to win. I join Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and other conservatives who would like to see Mr. Balanced Budget return to Washington,” Palin said on Fox News on Tuesday night. “He wants to apply that common-sense economic principle of balanced-budget fiscal responsibility, and I want to see him reelected.”
During an interview yesterday evening with conservative talk show host Mark Levin, Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska, will not run for president in 2012:
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin announced Wednesday evening that she would not be running for president in 2012.
On the Mark Levin radio show Wednesday evening, Palin said she believed she would have more impact outside of the race. The decision ends over a year of speculation about the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee’s plans.
“Not being a candidate, really you are unshackled and you’re able to be even more active,” she told Levin. “I need to be able to say what I want to say.”
Palin, who made the speculation of a bid unnecessarily dramatic, sent out a full statement shortly after the interview, noting that her efforts in 2012 would be focused on “replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House”:
Count me among the people that are disappointed that Rep. Jason Chaffetz will not challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch in the Republican primary next year:
In bowing out of a U.S. Senate clash with Orrin Hatch on Monday, Jason Chaffetz avoided what he said would be a “multimillion-dollar bloodbath,” but predicts Hatch is not in the clear.
“I think he’s vulnerable,” Chaffetz said. “He’s got a major task ahead of him in convincing Utahns he’s still the right guy for that job. I think he’s got a serious threat of [Democratic Rep.] Jim Matheson running against him, a serious campaign, and another insurgent campaign on the Republican side.”
Chaffetz ended months of speculation Monday, announcing that he would pass on a Senate bid and instead seek re-election to his House seat.
“If I were to run an interparty battle it would be a multimillion-dollar bloodbath,” Chaffetz said Monday. “I don’t think that’s necessarily in my best interests. I don’t think it’s in the best interest of our party, the nation or our state.”
It looked likely that Chaffetz was going to challenge Hatch. He talked like a candidate and received nudges from grassroots activists and national groups, including the Club for Growth. In fact, poll commissioned by the Club for Growth indicated that Chaffetz would be off to a solid start.
With a recent poll showing a tight race in his bid for re-election against Rep. Jason Chaffetz in a likely primary match up, Sen. Orrin Hatch has scored an endorsement from Sean Hannity, the prominent conservative talk show host:
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has won a high-profile re-election endorsement that will surely help him with Tea Party voters in his state: Fox News commentator Sean Hannity on Tuesday endorsed the Republican Senator on his radio show.
“I’m not sure if Clarence Thomas would be on the bench today but for you,” Hannity said, according to audio released by the Hatch campaign.
“I don’t think guys like John Roberts and Sam Alito would be there either,” he continued. “All the times you have been fighting for these Balanced Budgets over the years … what you’ve done for the Supreme Court which is impacting this country literally now for generations and decades … is why I’ve endorsed you for your race in the Senate.”
Mark Levin also endorsed Hatch backed in June.
With Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a better, more consistent conservative, eyeing what would be a high-profile primary campaign, Sen. Orrin Hatch recently rolled out an endorsement from talk show host Mark Levin:
Hatch’s campaign promoted the endorsement of Levin, a dyed-in-the-wool conservative radio talk show host who’s shown a willingness to go after the Republican establishment.
“It would be a sad place in the Senate if we knocked you off in the Republican system in Utah,” Levin said last night on his radio show, on which Hatch was a guest. “What’s crucial going forward is that we stop the president’s agenda, take back the United States Senate, and I feel that you would be … a terrific elder statesman to a lot of these other young guys who I’m going to be pushing in these other states.”
Hatch has been gearing up for a tough primary battle for renomination heading into his reelection effort next fall. He’s pivoted to tackle some of conservatives’ pet issues even more aggressively, in part to help stave off a challenge.
Yep, because the type of Senator needed to fight President Barack Obama’s agenda is one that supported the TARP bailouts, wallet-busting budgets, debt limit increases, bailouts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, expanding Medicare through an expensive prescription drug benefit, wasteful pork projects and No Child Left Behind. [/sarcasm]
Let’s face it. Levin is a fraud. He always has been. Yeah, he talks a good game, but when it comes to electing actual believers in limited government, Levin can be found backing the statists that caused our problems.
While perusing Twitter the other day, I came across this story:
“Right-wing talk radio may have worn out its welcome, at least for now,” reports Crain’s New York Business.
A new Arbitron report shows Rush Limbaugh’s ratings down 33% from a year ago and Sean Hannitty down 28% over the same time period. Meanwhile, more centrist personalities — Don Imus in the morning and John Batchelor at night — were both up from a year earlier.
Admittedly, I don’t listen to much talk radio these days; but when I first read this story, one point that immediate entered my mind. That is that 2011 is not an election year; so I don’t know that is supposed to be a surprise or somehow shows that “right-wing” talking radio is in decline. The counter to that point is that the GOP presidential race is heating up, so listeners should be tuning in to hear what the talking heads have to say. Not really. It’s still very early on and no one seems very interested in the race right now. It’ll likely jump back up during the summer and into the fall and winter.
It would be interesting to see a comparison with an off-year to the previous election year. Maybe from that we can draw a reasonable conclusion. Or maybe we can look at how conservative radio shows are capitalizing on new medium, as Jeffrey Lord notes over at The American Spectator:
Limbaugh and conservative talkers Sean Hannity and Mark Levin are not only not losing their audience, as low-tech (or is that no-tech?) political critics are braying, the three are so far ahead of the communications curve that their liberal blogger and news outlet political foes are literally clueless even as the revolution unfolds right in front of them.
What mediums, exactly?:
As I noted yesterday, Newt Gingrich is having a rough go of it lately. On Sunday, he slammed Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, even though he seemed to endorse it two weeks earlier. He also endorsed an requirement that would force Americans to purchase health insurance whether they want it or not. He says it’s not the same as the individual mandate in ObamaCare, but explain that to a voter.
The comments haven’t been well-received by the House GOP (after all, Gingrich threw them under the bus) and other Republican politicians - including South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley - and conservative talk shows hosts. If this conversation with an Iowa Republican is any indication, Gingrich has a lot of fences to mend:
In case you haven’t heard, Tom Woods and Mark Levin are debating, though on their on webpages, the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya. Woods argues that the intervention is contrary to the intent of the Founding Fathers, while Levin - ever the neo-conservative - cites prior precedent and funding for general security purposes as some sort of tacit authority for the president to go to war whenever he feels like it.
Woods, who took apart Levin’s arguments one by one, challenged the talk radio host to find one Founding Father to that supported going to war without the approval of Congress, which is clearly laid out in Article I of the Constitution. He didn’t, but he did resort to ad hominem attacks against Woods and libertarians.
After Levin posted his most recent response, Wood shot back:
So Mark Levin has responded to my challenge today. Did he find a Federalist who agrees with him that a president can launch a non-defensive war without consulting congress? I was a real sport — I let him look through the ratifying conventions of every single state, and I also let him cite public lectures or newspaper articles. Really anything at all. Did he find someone, anyone?