Friday, February 19, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: The Supreme Court Wasn't Designed For This Political Heat

MORNING MESSAGE

If Republicans go through with their promised obstruction, the dispute will be incorporated into the fierce partisan rhetoric in this fall’s elections ... But, suggestions that this will be a central issue in voters’ minds are overdone. ... What the coming battle will do, however, is continue to politicize the Supreme Court, exposing judicial decisions as political choices rather than legal ones. Even as contention over social issues — civil rights, women’s rights, gay marriage, LGBT rights — continues to rage, the new populist movements in both parties will likely increasingly challenge the court for its corporatist ideology and elitist composition.

DEMS DUEL IN NEVADA TOWN HALL

Sanders knocks Bill Clinton’s welfare reform record at MSNBC/Telemundo town hall. W. Post: “Sanders said among the differences he had with Clinton during the 1990s was ‘so-called welfare reform,’ which Sanders said had the effect of ‘scapegoating’ vulnerable people. ‘That legislation ended up increasing extreme poverty,’ Sanders said during the forum…”
Candidates pledge changes in immigration policy. W. Post: “Hillary Clinton on Thursday pledged to repeal an immigration provision that blocks undocumented immigrant from returning to the United States legally for a wait period of either three or ten years … Sanders, when faced with the same question from the woman earlier in the event, responded that he would work with Congress to address the issue.”

SANDERS HITS STRIDE IN NEVADA

Bernie visit to Nevada in 2014 lit a spark. Politico: “The buzz generated by Sanders’ initial sermon on economic inequality led to a second invite last year — months before Sanders announced his presidential bid — when the Culinary Union hosted the senator for another economic town hall event. The first gathering was mainly attended by older, white progressive men, but the second event attracted a more diverse crowd … ‘There was already a grassroots movement in place that allowed them to hit the ground running,’ [the union’s political director, Yvanna Cancela] said…”
Clinton “firewall” threatened. NYT: “…dueling pep rallies pointed to how hotly contested the race here has become — particularly among Latino voters … A victory for Mrs. Clinton would not be as remarkable a feat as it would be for Mr. Sanders, given her history in Nevada and months of hard preparatory work. But a loss could raise concerns among Democrats about her viability.”
Charles Koch agrees with Bernie Sanders in W. Post oped: “The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged … I agree with him [though] I disagree with his desire to expand the federal government’s control over people’s lives.”
Sanders tops Clinton in one national poll, trails in another. W. Post: “Hillary Clinton continues to lead Bernie Sanders by 11 points nationally [in the NBC/WSJ poll]. Nothing shocking there, though it’s closer than it used to be … An hour later, Fox News dropped a bombshell … Sanders has a 3-point lead…”
Sanders wins endorsement from Nevadan African-American group. W. Post: “The Clark County Black Caucus, an organization based in Nevada’s most populous jurisdiction, announced its support Thursday for Sanders … saying the endorsement of Sanders ‘wasn’t a very difficult decision.'”
Michael Bloomberg teases run. NYT: “‘This really has been a race to the extremes,’ Mr. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, said in remarks at his philanthropic foundation … the current candidates ‘sense that America has lost faith with its institutions.’ But ‘instead of trying to fix it,’ he added, the candidates are ‘trying to exploit it.’ ‘The list of supposed villains we hear about is long,’ Mr. Bloomberg said, but the solutions are ‘in short supply.'”

KRUGMAN ESCALATeS WONK WAR AGAINST SANDERS

NYT’s Paul Krugman accuses Sanders campaign of “fuzzy math.”: “…the [Prof. Gerald] Friedman analysis has been highly praised by campaign officials … And the analysis is really something … Friedman’s jobs projection … has the employed share of American adults soaring all the way back to what it was in 2000 [but] by 2026 more than a quarter of U.S. adults over 20 will be 65 and older, compared with 17 percent in 2000. Sorry, but there’s just no way to justify this stuff.”
TNR’s David Dayen criticizes the anti-Sanders economists: “…his economic growth numbers would simply eliminate the GDP gap that was created by the Great Recession and was never filled in the subsequent years of slow growth—which should be the goal of public policy, however ‘extreme’ it sounds … troubling is how Democratic mainstream economists use these tactics to boot anyone not preaching from the incrementalist gospel out of the serious club.”

TRUMP HIT HARD BEFORE SC FINISH

Buzzfeed uncovers 2002 interview in which Donald Trump backs Iraq invasion: “In the interview, which took place on Sept. 11, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq. ‘Yeah I guess so,’ Trump responded. ‘I wish the first time it was done correctly.’ … Trump, asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper at a town hall on Thursday about the Stern interview, said, ‘I could have said that … When you’re in the private sector, you get asked things, and you’re not a politician, and probably the first time I was asked. By the time the war started, I was against it.'”
Trump tangles with Pope Francis. NYT: “After the pontiff’s remarkable contention that Mr. Trump ‘is not Christian’ in proposing deportations and a wall with Mexico, the candidate said Francis’ criticisms were ‘disgraceful’ … Mr. Trump’s attack on Francis reflected a political calculation that criticizing the pope would not hurt him with conservatives and might even improve his standing in South Carolina…”
Trump SC lead shrinks in NBC/Marist poll: “Donald Trump is now leading Saturday’s South Carolina Republican primary by 5 points — down from his 16-point lead in the state a month ago … Trump gets support from 28 percent … while Ted Cruz gets 23 percent. They’re followed by Marco Rubio at 15 percent, Jeb Bush at 13 percent, and John Kasich and Ben Carson at 9 percent each.”
Last stand for Cruz and Bush? NYT: “South Carolina will render a brutal and perhaps final verdict on Jeb Bush’s campaign if he does not at least finish close to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida … Senator Ted Cruz of Texas will face new questions [if] Donald J. Trump [cuts] into his support from evangelical Christians.”
Candidates attack Obama’s upcoming visit to Cuba. W. Post: “…the president will visit Cuba in March in an attempt to bolster the controversial diplomatic deal [and] meet with dissidents … [Cruz] tweeted in response … The President should be advocating for a free Cuba!” … [Rubio] accused Obama of rewarding the Cuban government’s tyranny.”

BIDEN SIGNALS "CONSENSUS" SCOTUS PICK

VP Biden tells MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Obama will pick “consensus candidate” for SCOTUS. W. Post quotes: “I think we ought to be able to find a consensus candidate that meets that criteria. Because the Senate does have a right to have a say in who — and what the philosophy of the nominee is. But they only get to dispose. The president proposes.”

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