The speakers at the 50th anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington were uniformly left-of-center.
The lack of Republican speakers at the official commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington has stirred comment across the political spectrum. King's son, Martin Luther King III, was disappointed that "we didn't have bipartisanship," while Fox News' Bill O'Reilly raged at what he called the exclusion of "black Republicans and other conservatives."
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
The boldface names at the event were all Democrats: Barack Obama and former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter spoke. But the undercard was uniformly left-of-center as well. While a number of Democratic elected officials spoke, including Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), as well as officials from groups closely tied to the Democratic Party, such as labor unions, there was not a single Republican who addressed the crowd, let alone a representative of the business community. In fact, the closest thing to a member of the GOP to address the crowd was Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) who isn't a Democrat, he just caucuses with them.
Some Republicans were invited though, both George H.W. and George W. Bush declined to attend because of health issues and Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor both had scheduling conflicts. (Speaker Boehner did speak at a congressional commemoration of the march.) In addition CQ/Roll Call reported that John McCain and Jeb Bush were invited to speak but that Tim Scott, the only African American currently serving in the U.S. Senate, was only invited to attend as a spectator. The Daily Beast contacted the march's organizers for comment but did not receive a response.
On Wednesday, President Obama appointed his administration's third special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. The advocacy community is hoping that the third time is a charm for what they see as a failed strategy for responding to the ongoing conflicts in the region, which include the Darfur crisis and simmering tension between Sudan and South Sudan.
Michael Onyiego / AP Photo
Donald Booth, the U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and a career foreign-service officer, met with Obama at the White House on Wednesday after being officially named the special envoy. He replaces Princeton Lyman, a career diplomat who stepped down in March.
Lyman was widely credited for helping to facilitate the establishment of South Sudan as an independent nation in 2011 after a decades-long civil war. However, two years after South Sudan declared its independence on July 9, 2011, the region is still turbulent. Violence in both Sudan and South Sudan is raging, particularly in the regions of Jonglei, Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. Over 100,000 people have been driven from their homes so far this year in Jonglei alone.
Montana state senator Matt Rosendale has filed with the FEC to run for federal office. He just hasn't specified which one.
Is "whatever Steve Daines isn't running for" a federal elected office?
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
In the latest twist in the Montana Senate race to replace outgoing Democrat Max Baucus, Republican state senator Matt Rosendale has filed to run for a federal office to be named later. In his submission to the FEC, Rosendale's campaign said "we will not be designating which office is being sought until Representative Steve Daines announces whether he is seeking re-election for the U.S. House of Representatives or running for the U.S. Senate."
Rosendale's uncertainty about what he's running for is par for the course in a race that seems to be more notable for who isn't running rather than who is. After former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who was long considered a favorite, bowed out of running in June, a number of other prominent Democrats have ruled themselves out as well, including Emily's List President Stephanie Schriock and State Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau.
A federal court decision last week could shape the 2016 presidential election by allowing independents to continue to vote in South Carolina's presidential primary.
Could an obscure procedural ruling in a South Carolina court determine the identity of the next Republican presidential nominee?
Last week on August 21, U.S District Court Judge Mary Lewis threw out a lawsuit where a Greenville County Republican Party was attempting to force the state to impose a closed primary, where only registered Republicans can vote. South Carolina currently does not allow voters to register by party so voters can freely participate in partisan primaries. According to Judge Lewis, the Greenville County GOP did not have standing to sue the state in a case where the state Republican Party had originally been a plaintiff as well before withdrawing from the suit in June. The result is that Democrats and Independents will be able to continue to vote in Republican primaries in the Palmetto State.
This could have a big impact in national politics. Although South Carolina is a Republican stronghold and one of the most conservative states in the country, its “First In The South Primary” is crucial in presidential politics. In 2012, independents and Democrats made up almost 30 percent of the South Carolina primary electorate. While their participation didn’t change the result in an election that Newt Gingrich won by a commanding margin after some well-regarded debate performances, independents did overwhelming support Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)---and were more than twice as likely to vote for him than registered Republicans who participated in the primary.
With the wide open Republican race in 2016, the continued ability of independents and Democrats to participate in South Carolina’s GOP primary could have a big impact. In particular, if, as expected, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the son of Ron Paul, runs for President, the ability of independents to participate could be crucial. The open primary may also help potential candidates considered to be more moderate like Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) in the Palmetto State as well.
The Australian poliitical party that Julian Assange founded is falling apart, two weeks before the election.
Julian Assange may have blown his best chance to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy and return home to Australia as a free man.
The founder of WikiLeaks, who has been holed up in the Ecuador's diplomatic mission in London for over a year, is now facing another obstacle to freedom. Assange had founded the WikiLeaks Party in his native Australia in an attempt to win election to the Australian Senate; which he believes would make it more difficult for him to be extradited to Sweden where he faces sexual-assault charges. However, the party just split up in turmoil earlier this week after members of its national council discovered that Assange and his inner circle had been ignoring them and making major decisions on their own.
Under the system of proportional representation used for the Australian Senate, voters in each state can either rank specific candidates or let their first choice party do so. Considering that there are often over 50 people on the ballot, voters to tend just defer to their party. The result is frenzied negotiations between small parties and large parties to maximize their representation and avoid wasted votes.
The Wikileaks Party's national council thought it had agreed to a plan where the party would be making deals to work closely with the Australian Green Party and other left-of-center groups. Then they discovered that Assange instead had made deals with a far-right party as well as one that is militantly pro-gun. The result was a number of party members quit, including Leslie Cannold, Assange’s No. 2 in the party, and Daniel Mathews, one of his close friends from college, leaving the party divided two weeks before the election.
In an article published in the Guardian on Wednesday, Mathews uses tough language to describe the personality of Assange, who he still admires, will vote for, and considers a friend. He describes Assange as “not ... suited to a party with democratic national-council oversight” and someone who “really ought not to have set up a party with internal democracy.”
This was mild criticism compared to Cannold, who proclaimed in a statement “to keep being a candidate feels like I'm breaking faith with the Australian people.” Although she didn’t mention Assange by name, she denigrated the party, stating that its backroom maneuverings were an “unacceptable mode of operation for any organization but even more so for an organization explicitly committed to democracy, transparency, and accountability.”
Assange shrugged it off. He’s been distracted with the flight of Edward Snowden as well as the Bradley Manning trial. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), he said "I made a decision two months ago to spend a lot of my time on dealing with the Edward Snowden asylum situation and trying to save the life of a young man [Bradley Manning]. Now the result is over-delegation, so I admit and I accept full responsibility for over-delegating functions to the Australian party while I tried to take care of those situations.” In addition, Assange noted the difficulty of running an Australian political party from London, nine time zones away.
It’s quite possible that the “over-delegation” will cost Assange a seat in the Australian Senate. If so, while Assange’s work on behalf of Edward Snowden may have helped the NSA leaker leave the Moscow airport, it may have ensured that the Wikileaks founder's indefinite confinement in the Ecuadorean Embassy continues.
If he runs for President, Bolton would be the first Republican candidate for the Oval Office to support gay marriage.
John Bolton’s presidential campaign wouldn’t just be notable for his mustache; he'll be the first Republican candidate to openly support gay marriage.
The former ambassador to the United Nations, best known for his hawkish views on national security and hirsute upper lip, is now considering running for President in 2016. Bolton’s campaign will be predicated on his foreign policy background and the desire of the prominent neo-conservative to counter the growing isolationist wing of the GOP led by Rand Paul.
Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo
However, in an interview with Robert Costa of National Review, Bolton let slip a surprising bit of information; he’s for gay marriage. He said “On gay marriage, I support it, at both the state level and the federal level. Gay marriage is something I’ve thought about at length as I’ve looked at my future. I concluded, a couple years ago, that I think it should be permissible and treated the same at both levels.”
Secretary of State John Kerry has determined that the four State Department officials placed on administrative leave by Hillary Clinton after the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi do not deserve any formal disciplinary action and has asked them to come back to work at the State Department starting Tuesday.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on the September attack on U.S. diplomatic sites in Benghazi, Libya, during a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 23. (Jason Reed/Reuters, via Landov)
Last December, Clinton’s staff told four midlevel officials to clean out their desks and hand in their badges after the release of the report of its own internal investigation into the Benghazi attack, compiled by the Administrative Review Board led by former State Department official Tom Pickering and former Joint Chiefs chairman Ret. Adm. Mike Mullen. Those four officials have been in legal and professional limbo, not fired but unable to return to their jobs, for eight months ... until today.
Former deputy assistant secretary of State Raymond Maxwell, the only official from the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau to lose his job over the Benghazi attack, told The Daily Beast on Monday he received a memo from the State Department’s human-resources department informing him his administrative leave status has been lifted and he should report for duty Tuesday morning.
The Republican National Committee passed a resolution Friday preventing CNN and NBC from sponsoring presidential primary debates in 2016.
At its summer meeting in Boston on Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted unanimously to approve a resolution excluding CNN and NBC from hosting any Republican presidential debates in 2016. The decision, which also applies to MSNBC, Telemundo and CNN Espanol, is in response to programs that the two networks are planning to run about Hillary Clinton. CNN is planning a documentary about the former Secretary of State while NBC Entertainment, a separate division of NBC Universal from NBC News, has commissioned a four-hour miniseries about Clinton starring Diane Lane.
In remarks prior to the vote, RNC chair Reince Priebus stated, “a network that spends millions to spotlight Hillary Clinton is a network with an obvious bias. And that’s a network that won’t be hosting a single Republican primary debate.” But, for all the heated rhetoric describing this as an attempt to “show political favoritism and put a thumb on the scales,” the move isn’t really about Hillary Clinton at all. Instead, it’s about Herman Cain.
The 2012 presidential primary featured 20 Republican primary debates, which drew great ratings for all three cable news networks, but at times descended into a freak show and enabled candidates like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann to ascend to the top of the polls. However, the RNC couldn’t directly step in and limit the number of debates without creating the appearance of the party establishment trying to take further control over the nomination process. Hillary Clinton simply provides a convenient excuse to cut down the number of debates, something that an RNC task force already recommended in March.
The Constitution likely allows Canadian-born Ted Cruz to run for president, but birthers may disagree.
In 2008, “birthers” vehemently and strenuously argued that Barack Obama could not be president. They asserted that the president, whose mother was a citizen but whose father was not, was born in Kenya and therefore could not be a “natural born citizen” as required by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. Of course, President Obama was born in Hawaii, so the debate seemed irrelevant-—a matter best left to the conspiracy theorists and Donald Trump. It isn’t anymore.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks during the family leadership summit in Ames, Iowa, on August 10. (Justin Hayworth/AP)
First-term Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas), who is already considered a 2016 contender, was born in Canada to a mother who was an American citizen and a father who was then a citizen of Cuba. It’s the exact same fact pattern: foreign birth, citizen mother, non-citizen father that birthers thought applied to Obama. The only difference is that this time it’s true.
The issue has already come up for Cruz earlier this week when ABC News asked Donald Trump, who has been perhaps the most prominent birther, whether the Texas senator was eligible. “If he was born in Canada, perhaps not,” said Trump. The real-estate millionaire and reality-show host went on to say, ”I don’t know the circumstances. I heard somebody told me he was born in Canada. That’s really his thing.”
The advocacy group ALEC, known for promoting conservative-friendly Stand Your Ground and voter ID laws, is now working with Yelp and other tech companies to push a different agenda.
The American Legislative Exchange Council once faced a backlash for its support of Stand Your Ground and voter ID laws, losing Coca-Cola and Kraft as members. Now the advocacy group is working with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp, and taking more civil libertarian stances on technology issues than it has in the past.
ALEC, which holds conferences at which state legislators and corporations work together to draft model laws on issues that affect corporate interests, has been reaching out to Silicon Valley. At an ALEC meeting in Chicago last week, Yelp’s director of public policy, Luther Lowe, delivered a presentation to ALEC’s civil justice task force urging the group to consider adopting model legislation on strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs. If approved, the anti-SLAPP policy would have to be ratified by ALEC’s communications and technology task force, which includes representatives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo. (The first two companies have not previously been reported to be involved with ALEC and have not responded to requests for comment.)
None of these companies were represented on the task force as recently as 2010 (PDF). ALEC member companies pay annual dues and can sit on task forces where they can propose, debate, and vote on model bills with state legislators. Once approved by ALEC, the model legislation is introduced and often passed in statehouses across the country.
Few New Jerseyans bothered to vote in Tuesday's special primary election for the U.S. Senate.
As a sleeping aid, the New Jersey Senate primary on Tuesday may have been even more effective than warm milk or counting sheep.
The blowout win of Newark mayor Cory Booker over two sitting Congressmen, Rush Holt and Frank Pallone, and the speaker of the State House, Sheila Oliver, seemed inevitable based on the polls and the relatively lackluster campaign. But even in a election where the result seemed like a fait accompli, voter turnout was startlingly low on a rainy August day in the Garden State.
Mayor Cory Booker visits "Extra" at Newark City Hall on January 15, 2013. (D. Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Although Booker did take some dings towards the end of the campaign over his ties to a struggling dotcom company as well as a scheduled speaking trip to Iowa, he pulled out an overwhelming victory with almost 60% of the vote. There was also a Republican primary, where Steve Lonegan, the legally blind former mayor of Bogota, New Jersey (population 8,187), won handily over political novice Alieta Eck.
Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX) says "you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives" to impeach Obama tomorrow.
Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama?
Could Obama become the third President in American history to be impeached by the House of Representatives? According to Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX), House Republicans have the votes to impeach the President. At a town hall meeting in Luling, Texas on Saturday, the two-term congressman was caught on camera saying “if we were to impeach the President tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted.” To remove the President from office, the Constitution requires a majority of the House of Representatives to approve a bill of impeachment and then for two thirds of the Senate to then convict in a trial.
Texas Republican Blake Farenthold believes President Obama was born in a foreign country. (Will Weissert/AP)
The subject of impeachment came up because Farenthold was asked a question by a constituent who didn’t believe that President Obama was born in the United States. The congressman’s response was “I think unfortunately the horse is already out of the barn on this, on the whole birth certificate issue. The original Congress when his eligibility came up should have looked into it and they didn’t. I’m not sure how we fix it.” A spokesperson for Farenthold later declined to respond to a question from Talking Points Memo about whether the Congressman thought Obama was a natural born citizen, saying that it was a “moot point.”
The Alaska Senate hopeful is making privacy "a major component" of his campaign
Could the NSA scandal propel Alaska Republican Joe Miller to the U.S. Senate in 2014?
In 2010, Miller, a Sarah Palin backed conservative insurgent, seemed on the verge on being elected to the Senate after besting incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski in a primary. But then Murkowski decided to run as a write-in candidate in the general election and pulled off an improbable victory. The result left Miller a footnote to the 2010 election cycle as one of several prominent Tea Partier members to win their primary but lose the general; the difference being that he lost in November to another, albeit more moderate Republican, not a Democrat.
Chris Miller / AP Photo
Miller is back in 2014 and hoping to defeat Democratic incumbent Mark Begich. Miller first has to face yet another tough intraparty primary against an establishment Republican, this time matching up against Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell. In both races though, Miller is confident that he has an ace in the hole in his strong support for privacy.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is already winning over Iowans more than two years before the caucuses.
Ted Cruz claimed he was in Iowa to escape the August heat in Texas. Yeah right.
The first term Texas senator gave a campaign stump speech to the crowd of social conservatives gathered in Ames, Iowa for the Family Leader conference on Saturday. Cruz held the crowd of about 500 in the palm of his hand. They laughed at his jokes, hissed at his political opponents and rose to their feet for his applause lines.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a hearing on the fate of prisoners at the Guantanamo Detention Center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Cruz nominally framed his remarks around his effort to defund Obamacare by preventing Congress from passing a budget that funds President Obama’s signature law. This would risk a government shutdown and has faced opposition from many Republicans and virtually all Democrats. He cited the need for a grassroots army of millions of Americans to rise up to stop Obamacare and tried to build its ranks by having attendees share their phone number with him via text message. Obviously, Cruz would have no ulterior motive for collecting the phone number of hundreds of politically active Iowa social conservatives.
Ben Jacobs reports from a major evangelical conference in Iowa
The speakers at the Family Leader conference in Ames, Iowa may have longed for that old time religion but they had no use for the traditional Republican establishment.
The morning session, which began with a prayer invoking “the banner of the cross” featured unapologetic statements of Christian faith from speakers ranging from six-term senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to one-time Celebrity Apprentice contestant Stephen Baldwin. It was an event that was much a religious revival as a political rally. As event organizer Bob Vander Plaats told the audience that the goal of the Family Leader was to be at the precise point where “the church, the family and the government intersect.” But he cautioned that churches don’t need “to be political, we need them to be biblical and culturally relevant instead.”
Politics weren't neglected at the event though. It was also a rally where condemned the various bugaboos of social conservatives; the Progressive movement, the French Revolution, and, of course, establishment Republicans. In particular, Rick Santorum condemned the “moderate Republicans those based in big cities” who don’t want to talk about culture as well as what he described as the French Revolution’s concept of “government given rights.”
While Santorum identified villains in both the 21st and 18th century, Chuck Grassley went after wrongdoers from a time in between; the progressives from the turn of the 20th century. In Grassley’s mind, those progressives, the famous of whom was Republican hero Theodore Roosevelt, have been trying to destroy the Constitution for the past century. The Iowa senator claimed “Early progressives spoke far more openly about their disdain of the Constitution than you hear from progressives today” but noted they share the same goals of handing over government to an “elite cadre of experts.”
After President Obama announced a shift in approach to the conflict in Syria, Josh Rogin joins ‘The Daily Rundown’ on MSNBC to offer his take on whether the move was too little, too late.