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Growing Up

The Tea Party Plays Defense

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Four years after its emergence as a political force, the Tea Party is now coping with its adolescence.

Adolescence is never easy, especially for awkward outsiders still unsure of their place in the social hierarchy. Take the Tea Party. On the one hand, it’s under attack by an openly hostile Republican establishment, which blames the uncouth party crashers for ruining what should have been a glorious 2012 electoral rout. (Never mind that Karl Rove couldn’t buy a win for his establishment pets either.) More broadly, the movement’s sputtering public approval coupled with some high-profile losses—including key failures in this month’s Texas primaries—have much of the political world asking if the conservative insurrection is already over.

War & Peace

Ground Zero For GOP Civil War

Alex Wong/Getty

It’s a slippery slope for Rep. Jack Kingston who’s in a deadlock with four other solid party candidates. In a battlefield known for war, this peace-keeper just wants everyone to get along.

At the Rotary Club in LaGrange, Georgia, Rep. Jack Kingston answered every question, shook every hand he was offered with a “thanks, man,” or a “yes, sir,” and stooped quickly to pick up a business card that had fallen from a woman’s purse. In his pursuit of the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Saxby Chambliss, Kingston left his audience with the impression that he is friendly, reasonable, and entirely competent. But in a GOP primary packed with Tea Party pleasers, pro-life crusaders, gun lovers, and a millionaire whose cousin is a former governor, being friendly, reasonable and entirely competent may be Jack Kingston’s biggest problem.

Pentagon Not Ready for Cold War 2

Getty

The U.S. military spent decades pivoting away from its Cold War stance. Now the Pentagon is less prepared than it has been in generations for a confrontation with Russia.

There’s an old saying in the military that we’re always training for the last war, so fixated on the lessons of our most recent conflict that we’re blind to the emerging threat.For years, that last war was the Cold War, and the emerging threat was the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan. Slowly, painfully, eventually, the military reoriented itself. The result? After more than two decades of post Cold War re-alignment, the military is less prepared than it has been in generations for a confrontation with Russia.

Say It Ain’t So, Joe

RIP, Joe Scarborough 2016

Rob Kim

Morning Joe host and former Florida congressman all but ruled out a presidential bid in 2016 on Tuesday.

Joe Scarborough told the New York Times Tuesday that despite buzz following a recent appearance in New Hampshire, where he moderated a panel about the state’s primary, he would not be entering the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. “I’m not running, and I’m not considering running,” he said in a phone call from Florida.Scarborough, now a co-host of the unreasonably peppy “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, is a former congressman from Florida.

Hold Your Nose

Can Illinois’s Mitt Romney Win?

Jim Young/Reuters

2014’s Illinois’s gubernatorial race is shaping up to a repeat of the 2012 presidential election . . . only without the fun parts.

Are you nostalgic for a Republican with a private equity fortune running against an unpopular incumbent Democrat? Well, you’ll love the governor’s race in Illinois this year.Tuesday night, Republicans in the Land of Lincoln narrowly nominated Bruce Rauner to be their gubernatorial nominee. Rauner is worth nearly a billion dollars and owns nine different homes, though it’s unclear if any have car elevators. In the past, he has boasted that he’s not just in the top 1 percent, he’s in the top .

Extreme

The Iowa GOP’s Anti-Gay Pied Piper

Brian Snyder/Reuters

The next head of the Iowa Republican Party is likely to be a former pumpkin farmer who hates gay marriage.

In 10 days, the Iowa GOP will elect a new party Chairman. And Danny Carroll, the man that they’re likely to choose to supervise the 2016 Republican caucuses is an ardent social conservative who gave up pumpkin farming to devote himself full-time to the fight to save heterosexual marriage in the Hawkeye State.Carroll, who just recently became co-chair of a state Republican Party long divided between social conservatives, libertarians, and the traditional pro-business GOP establishment, is the only candidate running to succeed A.

Handle With Care

Stop Hyperventilating Over Ukraine

Eduard Korniyenko/Reuters

America never fussed over Ukraine before, so why exactly should we now? Before the West makes moves, we need to define why we should defend the country and what, specifically, we’re willing to sacrifice to preserve its borders.

Watch an hour of cable—and I’m talking MSNBC; forget Fox—and you might well come away from the hyper-ventilations thinking that we will or should go to war over Vladimir Putin’s takeover of Crimea. Listen: Nobody’s going to war over Crimea. This isn’t 1853. Yes, it matters to us how Crimea may once again become a part of Russia, and we don’t like it a bit, but let’s face it, it doesn’t really matter to us in cold, hard, realpolitik terms, whether Crimea is a part of Russia.

Let’s Be Frank

Dems Need a Frank Underwood

Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix

If the left hopes to be victorious in the polls, they’d be smart to take a cue from Netflix’s callous Congressman-turned-Veep by inducing fear, ruthlessly rounding up voters and finding a worthless opponent to crush.

Attention Democrats:  You’re going to get crushed this November!  In fact, RNC chair Reince Priebus is so confident that on Tuesday he boasted: “We’re in for a tsunami-type election in 2014...it’s going to be a very big win!”  It’s not often you see a guy trash talking his opponents so publicly for fear it will get them worked up. But that’s how cocky Priebus and the Republicans are, especially after their victory last week in the special congressional election in Florida.

Riding High

GOP Chair: We’re Gonna Rock 2014

T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty

At a breakfast with reporters on Tuesday, RNC Chair Reince Priebus exuded confidence about his party’s chances in 2014.

What a difference a year makes, or even six months when it comes to assessing the electoral strength of the Republican Party.  “If you look at which party is riding high and which party is in the dumps, the Democrats are in the dumps,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told a group of reporters on the one-year anniversary of his “Growth and Opportunity” roadmap urging the GOP to “embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,” a re-branding exercise that his party promptly rejected.

Get Happy

Party Time for GOP Report?

The Daily Beast

A year after the release of the ‘autopsy,’ Republicans have strengthened infrastructure and become hip to technology, but they’ve still got a ways to go before there’s a party in the White House.

When the Republican Party rolled out its “Growth and Opportunity Project” report one year ago on March 18, it was an unprecedented step by a national political party still reeling from defeat and uncertain of where to go. Morbidly nicknamed the “autopsy” by some, it offered over 100 recommendations for Republican candidates, party leaders, and operatives to implement, focusing heavily on the need for structural improvements: better data, bigger field operations, and increased outreach programs.

Why DC Hates This Nevada Guv

Isaac Brekken/MCT

In his home state, Brian Sandoval is a foregone lock to be reelected governor. But his Republican party in Washington considers this conservative too wishy-washy to be prime GOP material.

Brian Sandoval, Nevada’s first term Republican Governor, has interesting enemies.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) fears him; Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader and head of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), vocally disapproves of him.  Reid is concerned that Sandoval would beat him if Sandoval chooses to run for Reid’s senate seat in 2016. As for Norquist, in March 2012 he publicly branded Sandoval a “rat” for raising taxes, adding that Sandoval would not be on the GOP’s 2012 national ticket.

Wendy Davis Will Turn Texas Purple

LM Otero/AP

A new poll shows Wendy Davis within single digits of her Republican opponent—one more sign that Texas’s voters are no longer reliably red.

Let’s start by stating the obvious: It is hard for a Democrat to win statewide office in Texas today.  Recently, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from San Antonio, pointed out that Texas has gone longer than any other state in the union without electing a Democrat to high office.  Which makes Wendy Davis’ ascent in the Texas governor’s race all the more impressive.This week, a new poll showed Sen. Davis within just seven points of her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Slam Dunk

Obamacare’s March Madness

Mark Wilson/Getty

In an effort to reach their initial goal for registration prior to the looming March 31 deadline, Obama has enlisted NCAA athletes and coaches to play ball and create viral videos that encourage registration.

It’s always big news when President Obama releases his NCAA bracket picks, which he will do on Wednesday. Last year, like most sports fans, he did so-so in predicting the winners. Still, his picks got over 280,000 views, making it the most popular blog all year on WhiteHouse.gov. This year, the administration is squeezing every bit of publicity it can from March Madness, touting “16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered,” and updating them daily based on the votes from online users.

WILL HE?

Scarborough: ‘No Plans’ for WH Run

William B. Plowman/NBC, via Getty

The host of Morning Joe, rumored to be considering a 2016 election bid, tells The Daily Beast he has “no plans to run for office”—never mind the recent New Hampshire rally.

General William Tecumseh Sherman—he of the razing of Atlanta and the unequivocal denial of any interest in being president—would not have been impressed with Joe Scarborough’s statement on Monday.The host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, a former four-term congressman who has been actively flirting with the idea of running for the 2016 Republican nomination, spent the weekend in New Hampshire wowing and possibly wooing the party faithful. “Joe Scarborough for President? Sure, Why Not?” shrugged the headline over the Atlantic magazine web site’s story about his visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state.

No 'Cheap Grace' on Race for GOP

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

After decades of appealing to white racial resentment, Republicans shouldn't be surprised when people see animus in their rhetoric.

In the controversy over Rep. Paul Ryan’s “inner city” remarks, we’ve reached the backlash to the backlash. “Paul said he thought it was inarticulate, but quite frankly, Democrats are lying in wait as well to pounce on whatever might be off tone,” said Reince Preibus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Likewise, on the internet, conservative pundits proclaimed Ryan a victim of liberal race baiting.

'Clinton Vs. Bush? Count Me In'

A Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush presidential faceoff would be great for America. So says Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon, who joined 'Morning Joe' to explain why the U.S. needs this.

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