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Entries in Party Politics (1486)


NRSC - ICYMI: "A Strange Way to Start" 


ICYMI: "A Strange Way to Start"

On Monday, “Governor Gridlock” Maggie Hassan kicked off her campaign with a video in which she bragged about balancing New Hampshire’s budget—a generous claim considering this is a task the Governor is required by law to complete.

Today, the New Hampshire Union Leader editorial board took Governor Gridlock to task for the budget explaining why this, “impressive sounding number isn’t that impressive.”

Ouch. Not even 72 hours into her campaign and Governor Gridlock is already grasping for straws.

The editorial board continued, “Hassan is using the balanced budget as the cornerstone of her newly launched campaign for United States Senate. Taking credit for a budget she vetoed and bragging about a surplus generated by taking money from the disabled seem like a strange way to start.”

ICYMI, check out the New Hampshire Union Leader’s editorial on Governor Gridlock’s “strange start”…

Balancing budget claims: Surplus numbers hide problems
New Hampshire Union Leader
Editorial Board
October 7, 2015

The state of New Hampshire closed out fiscal year 2015 with a $73 million surplus. Sort of.

Columnist Charlie Arlinghaus writes extensively today on why that impressive sounding number isn’t that impressive. It stems mostly from budget writers carrying over $72 million from the budget two years ago that should have gone into the rainy day fund.

Tapping into this year’s surplus to pay next year’s bills is tempting when tough budget decisions are on the table. Higher than expected tax revenues are a windfall that eliminate the need to raise a tax or cut a program in the near future. The state’s long-term fiscal stability has to wait.

This year, legislative budget writers cut back on this bad habit, reducing the amount of money they planned to carry over into the current budget by a third to just $49 million. The rest would help restore the state’s paltry rainy day fund. Lawmakers were counting on $14 million for that purpose, and will end up with $24 million.

During the final contentious days of budget negotiations in June, Gov. Maggie Hassan argued that Republicans were too optimistic about the size of this year’s surplus, and called carrying over $49 million a gimmick. But state departments met their spending targets with ease. That’s in large part because the department of Health and Human Services forgot to spend $20 million meant for programs for the developmentally disabled. Hassan can’t explain how this happened.

Hassan is using the balanced budget as the cornerstone of her newly launched campaign for United States Senate. Taking credit for a budget she vetoed and bragging about a surplus generated by taking money from the disabled seem like a strange way to start.



Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today released the following statement regarding Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern's announcement that he will run for Governor of New Hampshire:
"As a career politician with few real life accomplishments, Councilor Van Ostern's announcement that he will run for another political office should come as no surprise. The councilor's record is so lackluster that even Democrat Party bosses are actively recruiting one term Portsmouth City Councilor Stefany Shaheen to run against him. Granite Staters deserve an independent voice with commonsense values and a willingness to compromise, not a rigid ideologue whose commitment to party politics runs deeper than his commitment to New Hampshire's best interests. Van Ostern's history as a reliable partisan dedicated to political extremism and Washington special interests make him the wrong choice to lead New Hampshire."

DNC - SLATE: Could George W. Bush Save Jeb's Listless Campaign? 



It was Jeb Bush’s last name that probably kept him from running for president in 2008 and 2012, when memory of his brother’s tumultuous time in office was still quite fresh. And it was Jeb Bush’s last name that seemed like enough of a liability as he entered the 2016 race that his posters and slogans refer to him simply as Jeb! But now, as the establishment favorite struggles mightily in the face of considerable anti-establishment headwinds, Jeb’s advisers are beginning to wonder if that same name might be what can save his listless campaign before it’s too late.


The New York Times reports that Bush’s team “has begun exploring” the idea of trotting George W. Bush out on the campaign trail in South Carolina to give Jeb a “boost with skeptical conservatives” in a state where he may need to make a crucial stand early next year.


The idea, according to the Times, originally came from Palmetto State party officials but has since gained significant traction at Jeb’s campaign HQ. “To the extent it makes sense on the campaign, we’re going to be happy to have his support, and I know President Bush is willing to help,” Tim Miller, Bush’s communications director, told the paper. Miller hinted that George could appear at South Carolina rallies for his brother in the lead-up to the state’s February primary, the third nominating contest on the 2016 political calendar and one that might prove particularly important for Jeb given his current also-ran status in the first two, Iowa and New Hampshire.


While Bush has already enlisted his older brother to help solicit big-dollar donations from his family’s sprawling network of the conservative rich and richer, a public appearance from 43 would represent a major shift in strategy for a candidate who has for months tried to escape any and all talk of a political dynasty and avoid being tied to his brother's presidency. Images of George and Jeb standing arm in arm onstage in Columbia or Charleston or Greenville would make that impossible.


Using the former president as a high-profile surrogate would be a major gamble for Jeb. Democrats are already dreaming of the attack-ad fuel that such appearances would provide them for the general election if Jeb makes it that far. And, more immediately, Bush would risk further cementing himself as a political insider at a time when the outsider trio of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina sit 1-2-3 in the national GOP polls.


While those risks are indeed real, they might be overstated—or, more specifically, the Hail Mary might pose less of a risk to Jeb than sticking with a game plan that has taken him from the presumed GOP favorite to a political punching bag in a matter of months. What would he have to lose?


Bush can’t lose the general election if he doesn’t win the primary first. And while liberals still have W.-PTSD, conservative voters tend to have fond memories of the last Bush administration. A New York Times/CBS News survey from this spring found that 71 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of George W. Bush compared with only 10 percent who said they had an opposite one. While there hasn’t been any state-specific public polling done on the issue, South Carolina is believed to be particularly Bush-friendly terrain.


Using George would mean Jeb would need to abandon his I’m-my-own-man routine—but it’s not as though he’s been performing that to rave reviews on the campaign trail. Remember, Jeb’s first major campaign stumble came earlier this year when he struggled for days to find an answer to an Iraq War hypothetical that he and his team should have seen coming from 7,000 miles away. At last month’s CNN debate, meanwhile, Bush’s best received line of the night came when he defended his brother’s record on terrorism in the wake of Sept. 11, a talking point he made sure to repeat on social media and elsewhere in the days that followed.


Through it all, Jeb’s had to twist himself into rhetorical pretzels to avoid the perception that his first term would effectively be his brother’s third. When pressed by reporters on the campaign trail to say where he differs from W., Jeb has a tendency to lament the fact that his brother didn’t use his veto pen to rein in congressional spending. In his next breath, though, he’s normally quick to argue the president didn’t really have much choice in the matter. “Part of that related to the efforts to fight—you know, create the homeland security efforts and to fight the wars and all this,” the GOP hopeful said last week during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “He needed the support to maintain that.”


Jeb’s last name might not be on his campaign signs, but voters don’t need a Bush family Christmas card to remind them that he’s the brother and son of presidents. Given that, if he can’t right the ship soon, he might have no other choice but to stop trying to limit the political price of embracing his family name and start trying to maximize the rewards that come with it.



DNC - “No Ma’am” – McCain takes mic from Republican field over "tenor of their remarks" gone too far 



In 2008, when a town hall audience member made an insulting comment about then-Senator Obama, his opponent in the race for the White House, John McCain, said “no ma’am.” He simply took the mic from her and set the record straight.


Yesterday, John McCain once again took the mic – this time from the field of Republican candidates looking to follow him as their party’s nominee. On CNN’s State of the Union, McCain said that the tenor and tone of the Republican primary is damaging:


“I think we are hurting ourselves and our chances to win the general election if we disparage each other and impugn the character of each other then after the primary is over obviously there’s a trust and support deficit among the American people.”


He went further when asked if leaders have a responsibility to condemn bigotry when they hear it.


“Oh, yes I believe so…..I think there’s a lot of people in the party that are not happy about the tenor of some of the remarks and the allegations about each other.”


That followed a week in which the Republican field of presidential candidates continued trying to outdo one another at offending large swaths of the American people, from women, to Native Americans, to even refugees fleeing from war, just as they’ve done before with Asian-Americans and immigrants among others.

So in less than two weeks, the same ugly dynamics within the Republican Party pressured their House Speaker to resign and their 2008 nominee to distance himself from their presidential contenders’ rhetoric. If Republicans in Congress and those running for president want to prove they’re out of touch with the vast majority of the American people, they’re doing a heckuva job.


Hopefully the GOP candidates will take cues from John McCain this week.



Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today released the following statement in response to Governor Maggie Hassan's announcement that she will run for U.S. Senate:
"Governor Gridlock Hassan is trying to leave the corner office after years of failing to lead on the pressing issues facing New Hampshire.
"She has failed to keep and grow jobs in New Hampshire, she has failed to respond adequately to the heroin epidemic and she has failed to work across party lines to do what's right for Granite Staters. Her irresponsible and partisan budget veto left vital programs and resources in limbo, including funding to fight the heroin epidemic and critical support for the elderly and homebound.
"Hassan's playbook of more taxes, more spending, and bigger government has not worked for New Hampshire families and small businesses. Her failed leadership has brought Washington-style gridlock to the governor's office, and the last thing New Hampshire needs in the Senate is another rubberstamp for more partisan politics."