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w4rma

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Member since: 2001
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America’s “bipartisan” delusion: How the White House learned to ignore Republicans

If you had to pinpoint the moment this worldview began to crystallize, it would probably be around the first debt-ceiling showdown, in 2011, when Obama tried repeatedly and desperately to cut a budget deal with House Speaker John Boehner only to realize, eventually, that Boehner did not have the power to negotiate. The administration has now decided that in many cases, even adversarial bargaining fails because the Republican leadership is not capable of planning tactically. “You have to be careful not to presume a lot of strategy for this group,” Pfeiffer said. “I’ve always believed that the fundamental, driving strategic ethos of the Republican House leadership has been, What do we do to get through the next caucus or conference without getting yelled at? We should never assume they have a long game. We used to spend a lot of time thinking that maybe Boehner is saying this to get himself some more room. And it’s like, no, that’s not actually the case. Usually he’s just saying it because he just said it or it’s the easiest thing to solve his immediate problem.”

This analysis puts the administration at odds with the reading of American politics that still dominates much of Washington reporting. Many political journalists imagine that the basic tension for the White House lies between Obama’s liberal base and appealing to Americans at the center, who will be crucial for tipping elections.

Pfeiffer believes the dynamic is, in fact, the opposite: “The incentive structure moves from going after the diminishing middle to motivating the base.” Ever since Republicans took control of the House four years ago, attempts to court Republicans have mostly failed while simultaneously dividing Democratic voters. Obama’s most politically successful maneuvers, by contrast, have all been unilateral and liberal. “Whenever we contemplate bold progressive action,” Pfeiffer said, “whether that’s the president’s endorsement of marriage equality, or coming out strong on power-plant rules to reduce current pollution, on immigration, on net neutrality, you get a lot of hemming and hawing in advance about what this is going to mean: Is this going to alienate people? Is this going to hurt the president’s approval ratings? What will this mean in red states?” And yet this hesitation has always proved overblown: “There’s never been a time when we’ve taken progressive action and regretted it.”

This was deeply at odds with the lesson Bill Clinton and most of his aides (many of whom staffed Obama’s administration) had taken away from his presidency. But by the beginning of Obama’s second term, at least, the president seemed fully convinced.
http://www.salon.com/2015/03/10/americas_bipartisan_delusion_how_the_white_house_learned_to_ignore_republicans/

Herring, Obenshain in dead heat in Virginia attorney general’s race; recount expected

Source: Washington Post

The Virginia attorney general’s race was a virtual dead heat and headed for a recount early Wednesday morning, with Democratic State Sen. Mark Herring clinging to a 541-vote lead over Republican State Sen. Mark D. Obenshain with 2.2 million ballots cast, according to unofficial results posted by the state board of elections.

With 99.92 percent of the vote tallied, the margin between the two candidates was a scant .03 percent. State election law provides for the trailing candidate to request a recount if the margin is less than 1 percent of the total vote.
...
The chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, Pat Mullins, announced that Obenshain would make no comment because the party was preparing for a recount.
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Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/obenshain-appears-headed-for-razor-thin-victory-in-virginia-attorney-generals-race/2013/11/05/08d13182-4255-11e3-a624-41d661b0bb78_story.html

Less than 800 votes separate Herring and Obenshain for Virginia AG with ~99% reporting

Mark Obenshain 1,095,565 50.0%
Mark Herring 1,094,787 50.0%

http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/2013/results
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