This wasn’t wholly unexpected. After former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano resigned her post in 2009 to join the Obama cabinet as the Secretary of Homeland Security, then-Secretary of State of Arizona Jan Brewer assumed the governorship without Arizonans casting a single vote in her favor. She later won re-election in 2010, but due to a provision in Arizona’s state constitution, is barred from serving a third term. The AP has more:
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ended months of speculation about her political future on Wednesday when she announced that she will not seek a third term in office.
The Arizona Constitution limits governors to two terms, but the Republican governor and her advisers have kept alive a scenario in which she might mount a longshot legal challenge to seek another four years in office.
That legal challenge, however, was unlikely to be successful:
Legal experts say it would have been a long shot to challenge the constitution and run again.
The 69-year-old Brewer made the announcement at a school where she boasted of her accomplishments on issues such as education and the economy.
The race for governor is wide open for the first time since 2002. Hence why several Republican candidates have already jumped into the race, all of whom were hoping -- and anticipating -- Brewer would step aside at the end of her second and final term:
Several other Republicans have entered the primary race for governor under the assumption Brewer wouldn't run again. They include Arizona State Treasurer and former Cold Stone Creamery CEO Doug Ducey, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, former GoDaddy legal counsel Christine Jones, state Sen. Al Melvin and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
Actually, there are nine Republican contenders who’ve thrown their hats into the ring already. So even if she was successful -- that is, able to overturn a constitutionally-approved amendment barring her from serving another term -- she might have had her hands full anyway. After all, she recently vetoed SB 1062, a bill that, if signed into law, would have allowed religious Americans who operate businesses to refuse services to gays and lesbians. Here’s what she said about her decision to veto the measure:
"To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes," she said. "However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.
"Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination."
I suspect many religious Arizonans took issue with her decision. That being said, she apparently did do a lot of good for her home state during her tenure, things conservatives can appreciate.
The people of Arizona will choose their next governor on November 4, 2014.
Heads up: This is the biggest news story of the week, yet it's getting relatively little play. Team O inched closer to taking this step back in December, when they created a broad "hardship" exemption to the individual mandate tax for anyone whose plan had been cancelled under Obamacare and found the new rates unaffordable. Here's what we wrote at the time:
The administration is conceding that Obamacare itself, and specifically its high costs, is a "hardship" for millions. With that in mind, how can they justify not extending the same waiver to all uninsured people? Or all Americans, for that matter? Yes, people who've been dumped from their existing coverage are the immediate victims of Obamacare's most visible (for now) broken promise -- but if the administration is acknowledging that Obamacare's supposedly affordable coverage really isn't as advertised, that's not a problem that's unique to the newly uninsured. It applies to everybody affected by the law.
It was a question of fairness: How could the White House grant these broad and essentially verification-free waivers to one group of uninsured Americans, but not another? The fairness issue reared its head again when the administration announced its second employer mandate delay last month. Big businesses get a pass on a punitive mandate that hurts them, but small businesses, individuals and families aren't spared? Now we have our answers. In a very quiet regulatory shift issued just last week, the individual mandate tax "hardship" exemption was expanded to include pretty much anyone willing to "attest" that they've experienced some sort of trouble obtaining insurance. Behold, the hated individual mandate tax dying a quiet death in a stack of unheralded regulations (via the WSJ):
In 2013, HHS decided that ObamaCare's wave of policy terminations qualified as a "hardship" that entitled people to a special type of coverage designed for people under age 30 or a mandate exemption. HHS originally defined and reserved hardship exemptions for the truly down and out such as battered women, the evicted and bankrupts. But amid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your plan was cancelled and that you "believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy" or "you consider other available policies unaffordable." This lax standard—no formula or hard test beyond a person's belief—at least ostensibly requires proof such as an insurer termination notice. But people can also qualify for hardships for the unspecified nonreason that "you experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance," which only requires "documentation if possible." And yet another waiver is available to those who say they are merely unable to afford coverage, regardless of their prior insurance. In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.
That's exactly right. This change could easily apply to the entire uninsured population -- the vast majority of whom haven't signed up for Obamacare coverage, with most citing lack of affordability as the top reason. The White House recognizes that dispatching the president to practically beg people to think about canceling their cable or cell phones in order to pay for his law's "affordable" care isn't politically sustainable. Nor is the idea of millions of long-term uninsured Americans remaining without coverage, but getting slapped with resulting fines for the first time. So the mandate tax has, in effect, been regulated out of existence until 2016. Allahpundit declares the mandate tax "dead," slayed at the hands of a president who is systematically and single-handedly uprooting his own signature accomplishment:
The IRS was never going to enforce the mandate strictly this year, but now they don’t have to enforce it at all. Anyone who’s declined to buy insurance by April 1st can simply claim hardship and that’s that. This makes three major rule changes to the core components of ObamaCare in the past month alone: On February 10th, the White House delayed the employer mandate for small businesses until 2016, and then, 10 days ago, it extended for two more years the rule allowing insurers to un-cancel plans for consumers who want their old, cheaper coverage back. Little did we know until now that, on the same day, they also all but suspended the individual mandate until 2016. And like Levin says, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever bring it back. Why would the next president, eager to begin his/her term on a strong note, want to reinstate a harsh financial penalty for noncompliance with O-Care when the guy who signed the law was unwilling to? The mandate is dead. Obama’s repealing ObamaCare himself, piece by piece.
So why was this enormous change made with zero fanfare? Two reasons: First, the White House is already far behind its projected pace on enrollments. They've decided against trumpeting a huge disincentive to signing up in the midst of their enrollment period's home stretch. Second, this is all hugely embarrassing to the president. This mandate tax is the tent pole of this whole enterprise. It is what allowed the law to narrowly survive the Supreme Court's scrutiny. Obama has also repeatedly threatened to veto Republican efforts to delay the mandate tax through the legislative process. He did so most recently last week. Democrats allowed the government to shut down last fall when the GOP's central "ask" was to do...exactly what Obama has now unilaterally done on his own. Once the March 31 deadline passes, the White House will need to determine whether or not to publicize its expansive, all-inclusive "hardship waiver." (Again, they're admitting that the hardship is Obamacare itself). This delay was so nonchalant that it hardly generated any attention at all until the Journal picked up on it earlier in the week. Through opacity, the White House spared itself another horrible news cycle. But if people don't hear about these new, anything-goes waivers, anger over the unfair mandate tax could continue to simmer and hurt Democrats. Decisions, decisions. In any case, Obamacare -- as it was originally envisioned and passed -- is gone. Think about that. It's extraordinary.
After yesterday’s latest poll results showed only 15% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, I may have found something that could increase those numbers. In a new bill that is now headed to the President’s desk for signing, taxpayer money will no longer fund presidential political conventions.
Congress has been split along party lines for quite a while now, so it is good to see them work together to redirect the funds used for presidential conventions. Funds from the presidential election campaign fund for the next ten years will instead go to the National Institute for Health, for pediatric research. The bill entitled “Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act” was promoted by Majority leader Eric Cantor. The bill was named for a young girl from Virginia who had an inoperable brain tumor and died last year.
The legislation passed the house last year, and it got the approval from the Senate this week. Now it just waits on President Obama’s signature.
This is the first time the conventions won’t be funded by American taxpayers since we started that practice back in the 1970s. This will amount to $126 million over the next ten years. With this public assistance for each convention only amounting to 23% of the price for the conventions, it’s shocking to think that each convention costs that much. Seeing as there will only be 6 conventions (3 per party) in that time period!
Not surprisingly, the president of Common Core has urged President Obama to veto the bill because the money goes to NIH, not the pediatric research department directly. Nonetheless, the money is going to a part of the government that could clearly use the money. And one can hope that they appropriate the funds properly.
Most likely, President Obama will sign the bill and it will become law. Even if he didn’t sign the bill, it appears Congress has enough votes to override a veto. Perhaps this is a good sign for the future of Congress and passing good legislation for the good of the country.
The FBI recently released 2013's top 10 most dangerous cities and surprise! They're all run by Democrats. Patriot Nation News breaks down the cities and their Democratic mayors:
Camden, NJ —Mayor Dana Redd, Democrat
Flint MI — Mayor Dayne Walling, Democrat
Detroit MI — Mayor Dave Bing/Mike Duggan, Democrat(s)
Oakland, CA — Mayor Jean Quan, Democrat
St. Louis, MO — Mayor Francis Slay, Democrat
Cleveland, OH — Mayor Frank Jackson, Democrat
Gary, IN — Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Democrat
Newark NJ — Mayor Corey Booker/Luis Quintana, Democrat(s)
Bridgeport, CT — Mayor Bill Finch, Democrat
Birmingham, AL — Mayor William A. Bell, Democrat
It's also important to point out that 6 out of the 10 most dangerous cities are in states with strict gun control laws.
Those who defend traditional marriage are not bigots. On the contrary, their beliefs are in many cases founded on Judeo-Christian values, as prescribed by God in the Bible. Studies show, too, that children from traditional families are less likely to live in poverty, drop out of high school, experiment with drugs, or wind up in prison. And there is merit to the argument, of course, that all children deserve a mother and a father
But how does the Catholic Church, religious conservatives, and people of faith contend with these new figures from the Pew Research Center? Sixty-one percent of young Republicans support same-sex marriage. And while I understand that traditional values -- including but not limited to traditional marriage -- are timeless and eternal and therefore not subject to the whims of public opinion, these trends nevertheless must have some traditionalists worried:
I think it’s self-evident that on this issue in particular, public opinion is rapidly shifting in favor of same-sex marriage. (Bonus question: How many Senate Democrats have shamelessly flip-flopped on this issue in the last year alone simply because it’s, well, politically expedient to do so?) Thus to ignore these trends is to live in denial and, indeed, in one’s own universe. The question, then, for religious conservatives at least, is how do they convince young people -- many of whom are in their own party, no less -- that traditional marriage is still worth defending?
Their arguments in defense of marriage are seemingly falling on deaf ears, if recent public opinion surveys are any indication. Young Republicans under 30 today would now find themselves in the majority if they came out in favor of same-sex marriage. How long until conservatives face this reality? After all, ignoring the problem -- as they did at CPAC -- won’t necessarily make it go away.
In case you missed it last night, Republican David Jolly won the special election in Florida's 13th Congressional District. The victory was seen as an indictment of Democratic support for Obamacare, but the National Rifle Association also went home victorious last night after helping to provide resources that boosted Jolly to a win.
“On behalf of our 5 million members, I'd like to congratulate David Jolly on his victory in Florida's 13th congressional district. David Jolly's victory is a victory for the Second Amendment,” NRA-Political Victory Fund Executive Director Chris W. Cox said in a statement. “Voters had a clear choice between Jolly who earned the endorsement of the NRA-PVF because of his commitment to protecting our fundamental Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and Alex Sink who earned an F-rating from the NRA-PVF and who aligned herself with Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun agenda. The NRA mobilized our members and pro-gun voters in this congressional district. Thanks to our members who voted early and turned out yesterday to vote, their efforts made a significant difference and helped win the day for the only candidate in this race who supported their right to Bear Arms, their hunting heritage and their right to self-defense. I look forward to working with David Jolly in Congress to protect our Second Amendment rights."
The NRA is also gearing up for the 2014 midterm elections.
Lance Bass, former member of boy-band *NSYNC, tweeted today that he was going to the White House to discuss health care reform with President Obama. Looking rather dapper in a suit and a purple checked shirt, Bass tweeted a picture of himself at the White House encouraging his followers to go to "HealthCare.org."
One problem: the website to sign up for insurance plans under the Affordable Care act is Healthcare.gov. HealthCare.org is a different website not connected to the Affordable Care Act.
This isn't the first time celebrities have screwed up trying to promote a cause they support: it took Lady Gaga a few tries before correctly tweeting the right address to HealthCare.gov, and actress Molly Ringwald was in need of a geography lesson after she tweeted her support for Wendy Davis as the governor of Houston.
Lance, please stick to singing and failed attempts to launch yourself into orbit.
"Just think, they don't even have Obamacare yet!")
Before we get to the poll, let's check in on MSNBC's Morning Joe as the gang grapples with last night's seismic event in Florida. The New York Times reporter "plays the contrarian" by spinning a story about how Obamacare wasn't really determinative in the race, claiming that it's only a base-energizing issue. Host Joe Scarborough quickly knocks that analysis down, predicting that Obamacare will deliver punishing blows to Democrats in back-to-back midterm cycles:
Barack Obama and his Democratic Party are facing difficult political headwinds less than eight months before November’s midterm elections, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Obama’s job-approval rating has dropped to a low point of 41 percent, never a good position for the party controlling the White House; By a 33 percent to 24 percent margin, Americans say their vote will be to signal opposition to the president rather than to signal support, though 41 percent say their vote will have nothing to do about Obama; Forty-eight percent of voters say they’re less likely to vote for a candidate who’s a solid supporter of the Obama administration, versus 26 percent who say they’re more likely to vote for that candidate; And Republicans hold a one-point edge over Democrats on which party registered voters prefer to control Congress, 44 percent to 43 percent. While that’s within the poll’s margin of error, Republicans have traditionally fared well in elections when they’ve held a slight lead on this question.
The right/wrong direction was at 41/53 just before the 2012 election, which Obama barely won; it’s now 26/65. The approval rating for Obama is worse now than it was when HHS laid an egg last October with ObamaCare. Obama’s approval on the economy slightly improved from December’s all-time low in this series of 39/58, but the 41/56 rating now is (a) a margin-of-error change, and (b) the second-worst of the series. His ratings on foreign policy have now dropped to an all-time low as well of 41/53, although it was 41/49 last August, during the Syrian “red line” debacle. This may be a better indicator of Obama’s fall from polling grace, too, since foreign policy had been a strong suit in his polling. August 2013's poll was the first time in his presidency that those ratings had gone negative....The problem for Obama and Democrats in this poll is that his personal likeability no longer keeps his overall numbers afloat. The “personal feelings” rating for Obama is now 41/44, with 15% neutral, in this poll.
Todd notes a data point that he says is the "best news" for Democrats:
Three problems with that argument: First, this question essentially produces a tie. Democrats have claimed the repeal crowd is a relatively small minority. Second, some of the biggest Obamacare "fixes" (and they're just that -- big -- not tweaks) that Americans want would destroy the underpinnings of the entire law. Third, Democrats just test drove the "fix it" message in Florida. And lost. It's a long way to November. There should be no counting of chickens on the Right. But the momentum and political winds are hard to ignore.
Last week, Public Policy Polling released new numbers showing Arizona Senator John McCain is the least popular person serving in the United States Senate.
McCain has worst poll numbers in the country.PPP’s newest Arizona poll finds that John McCain is unpopular with Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike and has now become the least popular Senator in the country. Only 30% of Arizonans approve of the job McCain is doing to 54% who disapprove. There isn’t much variability in his numbers by party- he’s at 35/55 with Republicans, 29/53 with Democrats, and 25/55 with independents.
McCain trails in hypothetical general election match ups with both 2012 nominee Richard Carmona (41/35) and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (42/35). He would lead though in a match-up with former Governor Janet Napolitano, 44/36. This has the potential to be an interesting one in 2016.
Today the RNC sent out a fundraising email from...John McCain.
A secure world relies on a strong America. And a strong America relies on a robust military.
Yet, sadly under President Obama, America's military strength has been weakened and our country's leadership in the world has been questioned.
As a result, the world's most dangerous players are flexing their muscles. Extremists are gaining ground. And these conflicts are becoming more dangerous by the day for our allies—and for us.
My friend, what we're seeing across the world, particularly with the situation with Russia, is the ultimate result of Obama's reckless and feckless foreign policy.
From the beginning, when he refused to criticize the Iranian government, all the way through his incredible misreading of Vladimir Putin, the tyrant hell-bent on restoring the Soviet empire, Obama has led from behind.
If you want to see where Obama and the Democrats' priorities lie, look at how much they've slashed the defense budget yet found ways to pay for every item on their liberal wish list—the pinnacle being ObamaCare.
What kind of message are we sending when we slash defense funds and shrink the size of our military?
On national defense and international security, Democrats just don't "get it."
That is why we must take back the Senate to put a check on Obama's feckless foreign policy in the final two years of his presidency.
We must return to our best traditions of American leadership—for the sake of the cause of freedom, for the sake of the brave Americans who are willing to give their life for this cause, for the sake of our nation's peace and prosperity.
We must be committed to peace through strength to protect our national security in this dangerous world.
And we must support those facing brutal tyranny by their oppressors and our enemies.
That's why we must elect more Republicans to the Senate who will fight for freedom and will promote peace throughout the world.
Contribute $14 to the GOP today to help us take back the Senate in 2014.
Senator John McCain
According to The Hill, McCain is calling the bad polling numbers "bogus."
UPDATE: RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams has informed me, "The McCain emails do very well with Republican supporters." The RNC regularly sends out emails from various Senators.