Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: RNC

Social media wrap: Watching Newt Gingrich – No Mickey-ing about here

  Newt_gingrich_mickey_mouse

Newt Gingrich, who as House speaker in the mid-1990s famously ensured that government did nothing for several short periods during a budgetary dispute with Bill Clinton, has been extremely busy himself of late.  He has, to be sure, been talking about a presidential run for more than a year now.

But now he's wearing a Mickey Mouse watch that set off a new batch of 2012 stargazers wondering what exactly did it all mean (which Gingrich answered with a Facebook post).

But is time standing still like the watch that broke when Gingrich was touring Disney World with his grandkids?  (Gingrich on Monday contended  the GOP has a better chance of retaking the House this year than the Republicans did in their historic 1994 upset, which Gingrich helped engineer through the GOP's Contract with America.

His is a position also echoed, strangely enough, recently by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.)

Most notably, Karl Rove is the latest GOP bigwig to suggest Gingrich has resurrected his presidential campaign ambitions for 2012 and is pretty far along in plotting his run. Rove posted his suggestion for a Gingrich 2012 “game plan” to his Facebook page here. 

Gingrich on Monday dropped by Iowa to chat with its Republican candidates in the November mid-terms and pillory President Obama on the GOP’s traditional hot-button triumvirate of spending, the debt and the deficit, and answered the tea-leaf readers by saying, as expected, that he’d make his final decision on a presidential run next winter (when most of the GOP’s potential wannabes  – including  Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty, Massachusetts' Mitt Romney, Arkansas’ Mike Huckabee and Alaska’s Sarah Palin – likely will make their final decisions also).

Gingrich is also attracting some serious support from within his party by harnessing ideas from the ...  

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FYI, Michael Steele's not the boss of Darrell Issa

With absolutely nothing else going on these days in the nation's economy, environment or political affairs, TV reporters are forced to collect opinions from politicians about the employment status of Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele.

He's elected by less than 200 GOP state committee persons to a two-year term ending next January. He's not going to be re-elected, even if he chooses to run, because his Biden-like gaffes and inattention to administrative details have alienated and embarrassed many party members.

On the other hand, he's not likely to go either (as The Ticket has reported here) because, one, the midterm elections are less than four months away and Republicans can smell Democratic blood.

And, two, the fact is, party big-wigs and small-wigs have quietly established a parallel political universe in recent months, especially in the area of fall fund-raising by separate committees and Republican congressional campaign committees that go around Steele like a new artery bypassing a blockage.

These pols going on national TV have already anticipated what the questions are going to be. So, unless your name is Michael Steele (or Joe B.), the answers are no accident.

California's Darrell Issa, not known for shyness, corrects the questioner that Steele is not the head of the entire GOP, just the committee (see C-SPAN video below -- the entire Issa "Newsmakers" interview, including his thoughts on immigration, will be aired Sunday at 7 a.m. Pacific, 10 a.m. Eastern).

And, for good measure, Issa adds that Steele is not his leader either.

Just in case anyone was wondering.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Issa already follows The Ticket. But anyone else -- even Steele -- can get Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item, by clicking here. Follow us @latimestot Or Like our Facebook page right here. Go here for a Kindle subscription to The Ticket, with a free trial.

Video courtesy of C-SPAN

If Michael Steele resigns as RNC chairman, then who?

Tornado Damage resembles internal chaos of Republican party

With many Republicans now calling for their own party chairman, Michael Steele, to resign after yet another Biden-like gaffe, the question arises, who's in the Republican bullpen to clean up the devastation?

The good news for Republicans is, with the long July 4th holiday and all the attention to Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi's shocking breakup, Steele might just skate by, unless blogs like this pick up the story again this morning. Over the weekend only Rep. Ron Paul spoke out in support of Steele.

But the last thing the party of Abraham Lincoln, with its first black chairman (and the inspiring story of his self-driven rise from inner-city poverty to political prominence), should be doing is going through its own misery and ...

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Social nets wrap: Bush, Whitman, Brown and others celebrate Independence Day weekend

  Lady_liberty_seattle
(This list will be updated through the weekend)

whitehouse  Independence Day at the White House through the lens of @PeteSouza http://bit.ly/dcf7Tf

AnhJosephCao (Louisiana): Happy #4thofJuly! Today we celebrate our freedoms and keep those who have served our great country in our hearts.

Erik_Paulsen (Minnesota): Have a great July 4th !!

newtgingrich  I hope everyone is having wonderful independence daya-pause for a moment of prayer for our young men and women defending us around the world

nikkihaley (South Carolina):  Happy Independence Day! http://www.nikkihaley.com/happy-independence-day

villaraigosa (Los Angeles): Have a safe and happy Fourth everyone! Please remember that fireworks are illegal and dangerous.

Cory Booker (New Jersey): After our Flag waving & fireworks, after the picnics & parties, let us continue to be patriotic not in symbolic acts but through substantive service. Our nation necessitates continued service to not only preserve our democracy but to make it more perfect. We have much work to do to live up to our pledge of allegiance for "liberty and justice for all."

Nan Hayworth (New York): Happy Independence Day, everyone! Revel in our singular history, and take a moment to thank a member of our Armed Forces for helping us make it to 234!

Orrin Hatch (Utah): Happy Independence Day!

U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas): Happy Fourth of July! I am grateful to our Servicemembers, Veterans and their families for the sacrifices they have made to keep our independence a reality.

The White House "I can't think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day than spending it with Americans who are bravely serving our country." - Dr. Jill Biden from Iraq today

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calif.): Let us celebrate July 4th -- of how fortunate we all are to be part of, and to live in, the greatest country in the world http://j.mp/cjro9j

George W. Bush: Laura and I wish all Americans a happy Independence Day. We join in celebrating one of the great achievements in history, when 56 brave souls pledged their lives, liberty, and sacred honor to declare that America deserved to be free. More than two centuries later, it can be easy to take their act for granted. However, we must remember ... that the men who signed the declaration in Philadelphia took....

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Social nets wrap on the Supreme Court: Elena Kagan hearing and 2nd Amendment decision

  Kagan_hearings

Online reaction to the Elena Kagan Supreme court confirmation hearing:

The White House Supreme Court confirmation hearings have a rich history in America. This week, Elena Kagan takes her place in that history, with the Judiciary Committee holding hearings to evaluate her nomination.

Senate_GOPs: Kagan said today she'll "make no pledges" but she previously criticized SCOTUS hearings for being a "hollow charade" http://bit.ly/cddxoT

KenCalvert (California): House has no role in nomination of a Supreme Court Justice, but I am interested to hear Ms. Kagan's views on the limits on government power

SenatorCardin (Maryland) More Cardin at Kagan hrg: Every ruling made by #SCOTUS that upholds constitutional protections is a victory. http://tinyurl.com/25pk95a

fredthompson (former senator)  What I wish Kagan would say is her judicial philosophy: "Federal govt can't do what it wants simply because it WANTS to." #ftrs #tcot

Democratic Party Expect two things during Elena Kagan’s confirmation process, which begins today. You’ll see firsthand Kagan’s intellect and passion for the law, but you’ll also hear baseless claims and attacks on her independence from members of the other party.

Republican Senators Sen. Cornyn: Kagan’s Record Raises Questions About Her Commitment to Second Amendment Rights

Online reaction to the Supreme Court upholding a Chicago ban on handguns.

OrrinHatch (Utah): Today’s ruling is a victory 4 law-abiding gun owners & confirms the right to keep & bear arms is a fundamental right! #utpol

GOPLeader (John Boehner): 2nd Amendment Ruling Highlights Importance of Kagan’s Supreme Court Nomination http://bit.ly/cvDE93

SarahPalinUSA (Alaska): Important victory in defense of our 2nd Amendment rights http://is.gd/d7VJe

newtgingrich (former Speaker): The supreme court decision applying the 2d amendment right to bear arms to state and local government is a vital reaffirmation of liberty

RepKenMarchant (Texas): RT @GOPWhip: Statement on Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Second Amendment http://ow.ly/24gsM #tcot #ocra #gop

Marco Rubio (Florida): "Today’s Supreme Court ruling rightly reaffirms the constitutional right to keep and bear arms across America, regardless of where one resides. By striking down these unconstitutional laws, the court has correctly asserted that governments at all levels -- federal, state and local -- should be bound by this cornerstone constitutional right." Read Marco's full statement here: http://bit.ly/c4oTjA

Charlie Crist (Florida): Very pleased that the Supreme Court has reaffirmed our 2nd Amendment rights. Respecting the Constitution is critical to the continued well-being of all Americans.

Nan Hayworth (New York): The Supreme Court has struck down the Chicago handgun ban as unconstitutional. Well done, Your Honors!

JudgeCarter (Texas):  I'm glad the Supreme Court reaffirmed our Second Amendment rights. Are you?

Pete Hoekstra (Michigan): "Second Amendment and individual's rights protected today by the Supreme Court. Proud to have signed the Amicus Brief in support."

RasmussenPoll  From the archives…poll shows 69% agree with Supreme Court ruling on hand gun ownership... http://tinyurl.com/RR1693

RepMikeQuigley (Illinois): Chicago handgun ban struck down, another dangerous threat looms: the gun show loophole http://fb.me/DmOJcWCU

CongJoeWilson (South Carolina): For too long, our Constitutional right to bear arms has been inconsistently applied. I'm confident today's ruling will change that.

Patrick McHenry (North Carolina): Supreme Court made the right decision today, 2nd Amdt applies equally to fed govt & states. Sorry, Chicago. http://bit.ly/aWDpMb #guns

JerryMoran (Kansas):  Today's Supreme Court decision is another great victory for law-abiding gun owners. http://fb.me/xTpC6Xjl

Fred Thompson fredthompson   SCOTUS used 14th A. to apply 2nd A. to states & cities. First time I've ever seen liberals sad over an expansion of rights. #ftrs #tcot

-- Craig Howie

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Photo: Reuters

Weekly remarks: Michael Steele on the Sestak job offer; Obama on the oil spill

the US Capitol at night

Remarks by Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee

President Barack Obama promised that he “won’t stop fighting to open up government,” and that he would have “the most transparent administration in history.” Really?

Of course, it’s one thing to keep that promise when you think it’ll help you politically.  The real test of a man’s word is if he keeps it when it’s inconvenient, embarrassing or potentially damaging.  On this test, the President and his people have failed.

There’s a reason we have a law that prohibits Federal officials from offering things of value to people for political gain.  It’s called transparency. And the White House’s efforts to use federal appointments to entice candidates out of competitive Democratic primaries goes directly against the Obama Administrations claims of openness and transparency.

From day one of this current flap involving Congressman Joe Sestak and now Andrew Romanoff, the White House efforts to deny, obfuscate, and mislead have only served to raise suspicions even further. 

Three months ago, when Congressman Sestak claimed the White House offered....

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Move over, Sarah Palin; Club for Growth is the new rainmaker in conservative 'tea party' country

2008 Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin Speaks in Wisconsin by Joshua Lott, Getty Images 

Club for Growth is a leading free-market group that promotes limited government and no tax hikes.

And, increasingly, the Washington-based advocacy group is a political force to be reckoned with in Republican circles. Oh, sure, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is still a rock star among the party faithful.

But Palin is a personality, the fresh new face of the 2008 campaign. In 2010, Club for Growth is an advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes, tort reform, and fiscally responsible government spending -- just the issues voters are angry about. In that environment, an endorsement from Club for Growth and its deep-pocketed political action committee can mean money, momentum and lately, a hint of inevitability.

In Massachusetts, Club for Growth publicly scolded the Republican National Committee for not pouring money into Republican Scott Brown's campaign to beat Democrat Martha Coakley, who ran under the Ted Kennedy brand.

“I would have to think all hands are on deck in Massachusetts,” said spokesman Michael Connolly.  “If they aren’t, then there are more problems at the RNC than people think. They have a responsibility to get this guy elected.” The Club for Growth deployed a lot of resources. Brown won.

In Florida, Club for Growth backed Republican Marco Rubio in the primary, helping him pile up such....

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Comings and goings in Florida as Charlie Crist says goodbye to GOP

Charlie Crist

It’s been quite a day in Florida politics, with two partings (neither of which involved sweet sorrow) and the announcement of one arrival.

The first parting: The state GOP got rid of sold an oil painting of Gov. Charlie Crist, who parted from the party to wage an independent campaign for U.S. Senate. Crist has been trailing Marco Rubio in one poll after another. The painting sold for $7,700.

The second parting: Crist formally escaped left the GOP, changing his party affiliation to "none." “For me it was a no-brainer,” Crist told reporters who chronicled the exciting drama of the governor filling out the paperwork. “It was just the right thing to do.”

The one arrival: Republicans have decided to hold their 2012 national convention in Tampa. This is not likely to cheer Democrats, considering Florida’s 27 electoral votes. On the other hand, the last Republican convention in Florida was in 1972, when the nominees were President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. And we all know how well that pair turned out.

-- Steve Padilla  

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Photo: Associated Press

News shocker: Now, politicians fudge on Twitter 2

Eric-cantor A common complaint from people getting started with Twitter's short messaging service is that its 140-character limit is too constraining.

Apparently it's flexible enough for some politicians to use as a vehicle including some fibs and misleading statements. A worthy reminder to news consumers about swallowing everything.

FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan watchdog, has begun combing through the public tweets of accounts from verified politicians. After assessing their accuracy, some of the results aren't pretty.

The organization's analyses are much longer than 140 characters, but the conclusions are blunt. So what has FactCheck.org found?

Let's start with the Democratic National Committee's dubious blip from last week:

"While the President spoke today about Wall St reform, GOP senators took checks from Wall St lobbyists."

A quick dissection, courtesy of the analysts -- how many "GOP senators" took checks? One. Was the money connected to Wall Street? Maybe, but it's not clear.

Four days later, the Republican National Committee matched its opponents with an equally misleading tweet about economists agreeing that Obama's stimulus package is an "epic fail." (Yes, the RNC used the words "epic fail.")

In reality, some of the 68 members affiliated with the same organization, the National Assn. for Business Economics, who were polled said the stimulus wasn't affecting employment in their industries. And they didn't all agree.

"Spreading disinformation via Twitter is thoroughly bipartisan," writes co-authors Eugene Kiely and Lori Robertson about the phenomenon, which they call "mis-tweeting."

It's not just the two political party groups firing questionable claims back and forth. Individual politicians are getting in on the game as well, including House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (see photo). He wrote on his Twitter profile last week:

At the end of this year, Americans will face the "Obama tax increase," & it will be the largest in history

That supposed "Obama tax increase" is actually the Bush tax cut expiration. And as for being "the largest in history," that's if you neglect to account for inflation. With inflation, the tax changes wouldn't even make the top 10, notes FactCheck.org.

Shading political rhetoric is nothing new, of course. Online and on TV, like Comedy Central's "Daily Show," folks with access to Google have blasted politicians' off-the-cuff falsehoods. ABC's "This Week" has made an online feature out of checking its guests' on-air claims.

But on Twitter, politicians theoretically have quite a bit of time to verify what they send out before they hit the "Submit" button. Is that too much to ask?

-- Mark Milian

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Photo: Associated Press

Obama's no-fly zones: White House carefully maps campaigner in chief's midterm election strategy

President Obama campaigns for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine during a campaign appearance July 16, 2009 by AP

When President Obama was in Missouri recently, Robin Carnahan left for D.C.

Carnahan is the Democratic candidate for Senate, running in a decidedly purple state (swings between Republican red and Democratic blue). Missouri's secretary of State opted to stick to her official schedule in the nation’s capital rather than appear with the president in her home state.

What's wrong with this picture? Or rather, why didn't she want one?

Turns out candidates all over the country have informed the White House that this would not be the best time for a presidential visit. The unpopularity of Obama's healthcare reform, the anger of "tea party" activists over runaway spending in Washington, the stubborn unemployment numbers that have left millions of Americans still out of work -- all are forcing Team Obama to be strategic about where to send the top of the ticket (not us of course).

Endangered Democrats such as Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln will not be on the tarmac waiting for....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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