Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How It Works at the RNC

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is unlikely to resign and more unlikely to be recalled and replaced following recent disclosures about questionable and abhorrent RNC expenses. While anything is possible, the mechanics of replacing a chairman involves too many personalities, making it likely Chairman Steele fulfills his elected term through January 2011. The mechanics of a recall are not the only reason Mr. Steele probably keeps his job. There are two other reasons to consider.

Reason No. 1) with the recent Supreme Court opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission combined with the more recent ruling in the Federal District Court of DC, the RNC is not the place to be for those interested in having a significant impact on the GOP and the mid-term elections this year. The real money is in the non-profit groups (501c4's and c3's; IRS tax designation) groups that will be able to raise and spend corporate contributions. These groups are formed or forming and they will boast heavy thinkers and hitters who normally congregate at the RNC but have decided their brain power and deep pockets are better applied elsewhere.

Reason No. 2) when the GOP eventually nominates a presidential nominee that nominee and their staff and supporters will dictate terms to the RNC chairman, in this case Mr. Steele if he is able to keep his job by getting re-elected in January 2011. Mr. Steele's best bet and hope is that the GOP does well at the polls this November. A good ballot box performance by the GOP this fall will make it hard to remove Mr. Steele from his RNC post. In the event Mr. Steele survives past next January he will be placed on a very short leash by the GOP presidential nominee. Of course, if the GOP wins in 2012, Mr. Steele will reap the benefits and find himself in a plum Administration job thereafter.

So while many Republicans are hoping for Mr. Steele's ouster due to his gaffe prone performance, more likely it is the Democrats who get their wish by seeing no disruption in Chairman Steele’s current term in office.

Friday, March 26, 2010

RNC Strikes Out Swinging for Corporate Dollars

The Republican National Committee lost it's first attempt to restore its ability to raise corporate contributions following the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.  The RNC's argument is that since it is a national party committee active in local and state as well as federal elections the ban on corporate contributions is a detriment to its activities in state and local elections where corporate contributions are legal.

Red Elephant actually agrees with the RNC's reasoning (the reasoning applies equally to the Democratic National Committee, which was not a party to this appeal).  Candidly, Red Elephant has immense distaste for RNC Chairman Michael Steele and so is conflicted about the ruling.  However, the ruling today by the Federal District Court for DC does not seem to square with the recent SCOTUS ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.  That said, it makes sense that this ruling was made as this court was not prepared to overturn the SCOTUS opinion in McConnell v. FEC from 2003.

This further empowers the recently formed American Action Network, which will rise in GOP influence while RNC Chairman Steele grinds his teeth about not being able to play in the corporate contribution sandbox.

The Benefits of Hanging Together

James O'Keefe and his fellow conspirators drew a long straw from the Department of Justice today and had charges regarding their caper at Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) office reduced to a misdemeanor.  It appears the co-conspirators have hung together to fight the DoJ with success, thus proving the axiom of hanging together so as to not hang seperately.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Democrats, Sharks and Healthcare Treasure

Imagine you are a cabin boy on a pirate ship. The captain of the ship tells the crew there’s treasure at the bottom of shark infested waters. Everybody wants the treasure, but nobody wants to swim through the sharks to get it. The problem: the captain wants that treasure and will make somebody go get it. There’s nobody better and more expendable for the job than the cabin boy. The life of the cabin boy is ready precarious under the constant threat of imminent death at the hands of an unruly crew who now cajole the cabin boy into getting the treasure with promises of sharing the riches. To decline means being more savagely treated with the fair prospect of death regardless. Salvation, the captain says, lay at the bottom of the ocean beneath the man eaters. Bring the treasure aboard and life will be much better and safer. The choices are poor, so the cabin boy decides to risk being eaten alive in attempt to make a better life rather than take no risk and live the remaining days in fear of imminent death.

That is the situation in which so many vulnerable House Democrats find themselves today as the vote for healthcare reform looms. Democratic House Members from safe districts are urging their vulnerable colleagues to seize the treasure for them. To help cajole these vulnerable Members they’ve rolled out a doomed cabin boy, former Rep. Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky, who suffered death at the polls after casting the deciding vote for President Bill Clinton’s 1993 budget. To hear The Hon. Margolies Mezvinsky tell it, she was glad to have sacrificed herself to retrieve the treasure for her captain.

Most shocking is that the House will adopt the Senate version of the healthcare bill without a single rescission. Not one! That is a total abdication of the House’s legislative responsibility. But the treasure calls and the House leadership is so intent on winning they will do it at any cost, including sacrificing their own and perhaps their majority. House Democrats take solace in reports by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that say the healthcare bill reduces the budget without mentioning the fact that reductions come on the back of higher taxes. House Democrats are welcome to applaud their deficit reduction efforts, but they will pay the price for doing it by taxing more, not spending less.

Meanwhile, the sharks wait patiently, knowing how many Democratic cabin boys they will need to devour to earn the right to rule the seas; a reward richly deserved for showing the cohesion and patience necessary to have a furious and fulfilling feeding frenzy at the polls.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Desmond Tutu on God's Love

A compelling piece by Desmond Tutu in today’s Washington Post is well worth the time to read. Rev. Tutu lays bare the hypocrisy of religious intolerance saying, “Isn't it amazing that we are all made in God's image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love his dark- or his light-skinned children less? The brave more than the timid? And does any of us know the mind of God so well that we can decide for him who is included, and who is excluded, from the circle of his love?”

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Rove on Redistricting

The Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed on redistricting by Mr. Karl Rove today that is worth a read.  Red Elephant addressed the same topic some months ago.