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Dreamers heckle Clinton in Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Hillary Clinton was heckled repeatedly during a rally Thursday in potential 2016 rival Martin O’Malley’s home state of Maryland, when more than a dozen pro-immigrant activists staggered their protests so they lasted throughout most of her speech.

The rolling protests by members of the group United We Dream came during a rally at the University of Maryland for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. They also came nearly a week after so-called Dreamers interrupted Clinton’s speech in North Carolina, where she was campaigning for Sen. Kay Hagan; the activists reportedly said they were mishandled by officials at that rally when they were being led out.

 
I don't want my kid to marry a Republican

Confessions of a ‘Partyist’: Yes, I Judge Your Politics

By Jonathan Chait

How would you feel if your child married a supporter of the opposing party? I’ll admit it: I wouldn’t like it very much. Partisan affinity is not the only, or even the most important, quality in my children’s prospective future mates. I would certainly prefer a kind, well-adjusted Republican over an angry, emotionally unstable Democrat. Still, all things being equal, I'd rather not greet my child's future spouse with a copy of Bill O'Reilly's latest tucked under his or her arm. Does that make me a bigot?

Cass Sunstein and David Brooks seem to believe it does. Indeed, in keeping with our culture’s addiction to grievance, they have taken up a new term to express their disapproval of my preferences: “partyism.” This new term of art transforms the act of judging a person’s political beliefs into a kind of prejudice, and therefore to render it disreputable. “The destructive power of partyism,” laments Sunstein, “is extending well beyond politics into people's behavior in daily life.” Brooks goes even further. “To judge human beings on political labels is to deny and ignore what is most important about them,” he argues. “It is to profoundly devalue them. That is the core sin of prejudice, whether it is racism or partyism.

Brooks and Sunstein (who published his column a month ago) both cite the same two pieces of social-science research. The first is a study by Shanto Iyengar and Sean J. Westwood that found that respondents to various psychological tests display deep, implicit distrust for members of the opposing party. The second is a 2010 poll finding that 49 percent of Republicans, and 33 percent of Democrats would feel “displeased” if their child married a supporter of the opposite party, up from 5 percent and 4 percent in 1960.

 
Suspected cop-killer Frein taken into custody

Undated file photo provided by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Eric Frein. (AP Photo/Pennsylvania State Police)

Suspected cop-killer Frein taken into custody

Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.

Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured north of Tannersville in the Poconos region, said Edward Hanko, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia division of the FBI. He was unarmed and no shots were fired as he was taken into custody, Hanko said.

State Police spokeswoman Trooper Connie Devens confirmed that Frein was in custody, but said no further information would be released at this time.

The self-described survivalist allegedly killed State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounded Trooper Alex Douglass in an ambush attack outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove on Sept. 12.

The attack set off a laborious - and expensive - search in the Pocono woods, costing several million dollars and disrupting daily routines and crippling the tourist business during the peak fall-foliage season.

Police said they found proof Frein had planned such an attack and retreat for years, adding that they found a book on sniper training in his bedroom.

Documents they filed also showed that Frein allegedly searched the Internet in 2012 and 2013 for information on police raids, cellphone tracking, and manhunt tactics.

Two weeks ago, officials said they had recovered journal pages handwritten by Frein at a campsite that they said reinforced their resolve to find him.

"I will tell you, after reading this cold-blooded and absolutely chilling account, I can only describe Eric Frein's actions as pure evil," Col. George Bivens of the state police said at the time.

 
7 Forecasters on 11 Interesting Senate Races

7 Forecasters on 11 Interesting Senate Races

By GREGOR AISCH and JOSH KATZ

The G.O.P. has the advantage in the fight to control the Senate, but there have been dramatic shifts in individual races.

 
How to Back Hillary Into a Corner

How to Back Hillary Into a Corner

By MAGGIE HABERMAN and GLENN THRUSH

A report from the secret race to answer 2016’s most pressing question.

Over the next couple of hours, Plouffe told Clinton and two of her closest advisers—longtime aide Cheryl Mills and John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and now Obama’s White House counselor—what she needed to do to avoid another surprise upset. His advice, according to two people with knowledge of the session, looked a lot like Obama’s winning strategy in 2012: First, prioritize the use of real-time analytics, integrating data into every facet of her operation in a way Clinton’s clumsy, old-school campaign had failed to do in 2008. Second, clearly define a rationale for her candidacy that goes beyond the mere facts of her celebrity and presumed electability, rooting her campaign in a larger Democratic mission of economic equality. Third, settle on one, and only one, core messaging strategy and stick with it, to avoid the tactical, news cycle-driven approach that Plouffe had exploited so skillfully against her in the 2008 primaries.

In Plouffe’s view, articulated in the intervening years, Clinton had been too defensive, too reactive, too aware of her own weaknesses, too undisciplined in 2008. His team would goad her into making mistakes, knowing that run-of-the-mill campaign attacks (like Obama’s claim she merely had “tea,” not serious conversation, with world leaders as first lady) would get under her skin and spur a self-destructive overreaction (Clinton responded to the tea quip by falsely portraying a 1990s goodwill trip to Bosnia with the comedian Sinbad as a dangerous wartime mission). She was too easily flustered.

 
Ted Cruz draws line from Jeb Bush to Hillary Clinton

Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton are pictured in this composite image. | AP Photos

Ted Cruz draws line from Jeb Bush to Hillary Clinton

By JONATHAN TOPAZ 

Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday took a thinly veiled shot at Jeb Bush, saying that Republicans will ensure a Hillary Clinton presidency if they run a more moderate candidate in 2016.

Appearing on CNBC, the Texas Republican and tea party favorite was asked about Bush and said that presidential candidates from the party’s establishment wing — like Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008 and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 — consistently fail to turn out millions of voters.

“[I]f we run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole [in 1996] or a John McCain or Mitt Romney, we will end up with the same result, which is millions of people will stay home on Election Day, which is what happened for all three of them,” the senator said. “And if we run another candidate like that, Hillary Clinton will be the next president.” Clinton, the former secretary of state, is widely considered to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination if she chooses to run.

 
Time Is Running Out for Obama on Syria

Time Is Running Out for Obama on Syria

The idea that U.S.-backed Syrian rebels defeat ISIS and force Assad to the negotiating table has absolutely nothing to do with what’s happening on the ground.
 
Quarantined Nurse Takes Defiant Bike Ride

Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, were followed by a state trooper as they cycled on Thursday morning in Fort Kent, Maine.

Credit Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

Quarantined Nurse Takes Defiant Bike Ride

By JESS BIDGOOD and DAVE PHILIPPS

Kaci Hickox, who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, may be heading for a legal challenge to the confinement ordered by officials in Maine.

 
Democrats sprint away from Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. responds to questions about threats he has received that are being investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police, Tuesday, April 29, 2014 during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reid says he's received threats mailed to his home that he calls "ugly, vile, vulgar" which cite scripture from the Bible. (AP Photo)

Democrats sprint away from Harry Reid

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has become a major focus of the 2014 campaign, with many of his embattled fellow Democrats declining to say whether they’d back him for their party caucus leader.

While President Obama may have poisoned the political environment for those Democrats, it is Mr. Reid who shaped the records they are defending — keeping them from having to take tough votes, but at the same time ensuring they didn’t have a chance to show much independence from the national party.

“I know how to say ‘No’ to Senator Reid,” Michelle Nunn said earlier this week at a debate in Georgia, where she is the Democrats’ nominee in a race for an open Senate seat.

 
Elizabeth Warren Wins the Midterms

Elizabeth Warren Wins the Midterms

By John Cassidy

Warren isn’t infallible. But, if any Democrat is likely to emerge from the midterms as a big winner, it is she. Over the past couple of weeks, she has been barnstorming around the country, campaigning for Democratic candidates, sounding like a reincarnated Eugene Debs or (to cross party lines) Teddy Roosevelt.

“We can go through the list over and over, but at the end of every line is this: Republicans believe this country should work for those who are rich, those who are powerful, those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers,” she said in Englewood, Colorado. “I will tell you we can whimper about it, we can whine about it, or we can fight back. I’m here with Mark Udall so we can fight back.”

“Republicans, man, they ought to be wearing a T-shirt,” she said in Des Moines, Iowa. “The T-shirt should say: ‘I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.’ … We can hang back, we can whine about what the Republicans have done … or we can fight back. Me, I’m fighting back!”

 
Millennials Bolt Obama for GOP in Midterms

Millennials Bolt Obama for GOP in Midterms

By Ron Fournier

Long term, the future American electorate isn't sold on either party.

n a stunning turnaround, likely voters in the so-called millennial generation prefer a Republican-led Congress after next week's elections, and young Hispanics are turning sharply against President Obama.

A new national poll of 18-to-29-year-olds by Harvard's Institute of Politics shows that young Americans are leaving the new Democratic coalition that twice elected Obama. The news is little better for the GOP: These voters, who more than any other voting bloc represent the future of the American electorate, generally hold Republicans in the lowest regard.

The long-view IOP findings suggest that neither party is poised to win the largest generation in U.S. history—a pragmatic, demanding, relatively nonideological electorate raised in an age of terrorism, war, and government dysfunction.

"Millennials could be a critical swing vote," said IOP Director Maggie Williams, projecting the latest results on future elections. "Candidates for office: Ignore millennial voters at your peril." Williams is a Democrat and a former adviser to Hillary Clinton.

In the short term, the news is worse for Democrats than Republicans.

 
Carney: Bad day coming for Dems

Carney: Bad day coming for Dems

Jay Carney is pictured. | AP Photo

Former White House press secretary Jay Carney says things don’t look good for the Democratic Party.

“Democrats are going to have a bad Election Day,” Carney said on CNN Tuesday. “No matter how you slice it, Republicans are gonna pick up seats in the Senate and the House, and they may win control of the Senate.”

 
Dems' Best Hope to Save the Senate

This Machine Turned Colorado Blue. Now It May Be Dems' Best Hope to Save the Senate.

By Andy Kroll

Republicans couldn't win Colorado in 2010. Is 2014 different?

"It's eerie how much 2014 is like four years ago," says Craig Hughes, a Denver-based political consultant who ran Democrat Michael Bennet's successful 2010 Senate campaign. It's just after 10 a.m., and we're sitting in a coffee shop called Paris on the Platte. Hughes recounts how, back in 2010, all but one of the final 18 public polls conducted before Election Day showed Bennet losing. In recent weeks, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall has trailed Republican Rep. Cory Gardner in 11 of 12 polls. In 2010, pundits said that Bennet's campaign ran too many pro-choice advertisements; political commentators these days deride Udall as "Mark Uterus" because his campaign has relentlessly focused on reproductive rights and women's health. And Udall's campaign is betting, like Bennet's 2010 effort did, on the changing composition of the Colorado electorate. Also, just like four years ago, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is seeking a second term, is facing a strongly conservative challenger, and in the state Legislature, Colorado Democrats are fighting to protect their majorities in both chambers.

So if there are so many parallels, do Democrats in Colorado have reason to believe they can again buck the political tide?

Read Article

 
How Harry Reid Doomed Democratic Senators

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How Reid Doomed Democratic Senators

By Jonah Goldberg, Real Clear Politics

You have to wonder if Harry Reid feels like an idiot yet. For years now, the Senate majority leader has been cynically protecting Democratic senators — and President Obama — from difficult votes. The rationale was pretty straightforward. He wanted to spare vulnerable Democrats named Mark — Arkansas’s Mark Pryor, Alaska’s Mark Begich and Colorado’s Mark Udall — and a few others from having to take difficult votes on issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline, EPA rules, and immigration reform.

The problem for the Marks and other red- or swing-state Democrats is that, having been spared the chance to take tough votes, they now have little to no evidence they’d be willing to stand up to a president who is very unpopular in their states.

Thanks to Reid’s strategy of kicking the can down the road, GOP challengers now get to say, “My opponent voted with the president 97 percent of the time.” Democrats are left screeching “war on women!” and “Koch brothers!”

 
A Nerve-Wracking Finish for Democrats

 A Nerve Wracking Finish for Democrats

A Nerve-Wracking Finish for Democrats

By Stuart Rothenberg

How big of a year is this going to be for Republicans? It’s still hard to tell, one week before voters go to the polls for the midterm elections.

But it could be bigger than you think.

Republicans have a plethora of House and Senate opportunities, and given President Barack Obama’s standing in the polls and the generic ballot question — which favors the GOP narrowly — the upcoming midterms could be surprisingly reminiscent of 2010.

But it’s also a little odd that Republican candidates in so many places are struggling to pull away from their Democratic opponents, given Obama’s weakness and the terrible news — Vladimir Putin and Ukraine, the Islamic State terror group and beheadings, Ebola and terrorism in Canada — that has arrived on an almost daily basis for the past few months
 
U.S. Military ordered to hide identities, change routines to avoid Islamist attacks

Emergency personnel tend to a soldier shot at the National Memorial near Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday Oct. 22, 2014. The soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial was shot by an unknown gunman and people reported hearing gunfire inside the halls of Parliament. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was rushed away from Parliament Hill to an undisclosed location, according to officials. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)

  - The Washington Times

The agency in charge of protecting the Pentagon has sent out a warning that “ISIL-linked terrorists” want to attack employees and is urging them to change routines and mask their identities.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency, citing intelligence reports, says the attackers may use knives, guns or explosives.

“Attacks would most likely involve edged weapons, small arms, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and could be perpetrated with little-or-no advanced warning, says the Oct. 24 two-page warning. “In light of these threats and recent attacks in the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, remaining vigilant is paramount.

“It is important that you ensure all members of your family are made aware of this valuable information so they not only protect themselves, but also become an integral part of the overall community antiterrorism effort.”

 
Republicans: Always the Foreign-Policy Party

Republicans: Always the Foreign-Policy Party

After the Iraq War, Democrats became the party Americans trusted for protection. That may be over.

By Noah Gordon

The Secret Service reels from blunder to blunder, the Ebola virus finds new victims, and the black masks of ISIS march across Iraq. The embattled Democratic president’s foreign policy approval rating is plummeting. Voters across America have come to feel the Republican Party can better keep them safe.  

In other words, a series of novel and terrifying developments overseas have brought things back to normal in the United States.

Republicans have owned domestic security since 1970. For nearly all of the past 40 years, polls have consistently shown that Americans trust Republicans to handle security—and the related issues of foreign affairs and the military—better than Democrats.

“Own” is, in fact, the academic term. Political scientists refer to the fact that Americans associate the parties with strengths on issues in a way that is sustained and long term as issue ownership. But why do Republicans own foreign policy? And why, so quickly after a Democratic takeover during the Iraq War, are Republicans reestablishing security dominance?

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Recent college graduates are pushing lower-income African Americans out of cities

Recent college graduates are pushing lower-income African Americans out of cities

How do we make sense of the fact that America’s most progressive cities, the ones that cherish diversity, are losing African Americans? And that the most conservative places are doing the opposite?

Between 2000 and 2010, cities like Austin, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco—places that vote majority Democrat, consider themselves socially and culturally progressive, and boast racial diversity—all lost unprecedented numbers of African Americans. San Francisco, for instance, saw a staggering 20.4 percent loss in its African American population between 2000 and 2010. Chicago and Washington D.C. also experienced double-digit losses.

During that same decade, the only three major cities (populations over 500,000) that voted Republican in the 2012 presidential election— Phoenix, Fort Worth, and Oklahoma City—all saw significant increases in African American numbers; their African-American populations grew by 36.1 percent, 28 percent and 11.4 percent respectively.

Rebecca Diamond, an economist at Stanford University, offers one salient explanation.

Her research points to how cities such as Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. have over the past three decades attracted ever-larger numbers of college graduates. Using Census data, Diamond shows that as college graduates occupied larger shares of these cities’ work forces (while avoiding other cities they deem less attractive) income inequality in these cities grew.

Urban industries and amenities catered to the higher-waged worker, making these cities more expensive to live in. Lower-wage workers (those with only a high school diploma) also desired the enhanced quality of life offered by these cities—better food and air quality, lower crime rates—but they couldn’t afford to live in them. Simply put, as college grads arrived, lower-waged workers were driven out.

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After cargo rocket explodes in Va., old Soviet engines come under scrutiny

Rocket minutes before the launch Tuesday. (NASA TV)

After cargo rocket explodes in Va., old Soviet engines come under scrutiny

Terrence McCoy

The engines were in hibernation for decades before Orbital Sciences started using them.

The tale of the engines that propelled the Antares rocket, which exploded in a spectacular ball of flame in Virginia Tuesday night, begins four decades ago, thousands of miles away, in the land of communism and Sputnik. There, in the Soviet Union, rocket scientists conceived and built dozens of rocket engines meant to power Russian astronauts into the cosmos. But it didn’t work out that way.

Instead, all four launches of the mighty N1 Soviet rocket, which used an earlier iteration of the first-stage engines used in Thursday’s launch, failed between 1969 and 1972. And as the Soviet Union abandoned the idea of putting cosmonauts on the moon, those engines languished in Russia “without a purpose,” reported Space Lift Now.

That was until they were snapped up by Dulles-based Orbital Sciences, which built the rocket that exploded. It uses two modified versions of those Russian engines to propel missions to the International Space Station, according to the company’s user’s guide. To be clear, investigators say they do not know what caused Tuesday’s explosion, which destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment. But some observers are questioning those Soviet-era engines.

...................................

In May, one of its refurbished Soviet engines failed at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. “Sources claim the engine ‘exploded,’” reported NASA Space Flight. “The failure is currently under evaluation.”

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Orbital’s competitor SpaceX, has long warned against using such decades-old technology. Calling it one of the “pretty silly things going on in the market,” he told Wired last year some aerospace firms rely on parts “developed in the 1960s” rather than “better technology.” He called out Orbital Sciences in particular. It “has a contract to resupply the International Space Station, and their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke,” he said. “It uses Russian rocket engines that were made in the ’60s. I don’t mean their design is from the ’60s — I mean they start with engines that were literally made in the ’60s and, like, packed away in Siberia somewhere.”

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Jeb: Obama 'incompetent' on Ebola

Jeb: Obama 'incompetent' on Ebola

By KENDALL BREITMAN

Jeb Bush is pictured. | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is calling President Barack Obama’s initial response to Ebola “incompetent.”

“It looked very incompetent to begin with, and that fueled fears that may not be justified,” Bush said during a discussion at Vanderbilt University, according to The Tennessean. “And now you have states that are legitimately acting on their concerns, creating a lot more confusion than is necessary.”

ush said the president was not “clear and concise” about his plans to combat Ebola, and described an incident in which anthrax was mailed in 2001 to a Florida-based tabloid, The National Equirer, during his time in office as an example of a better approach to addressing public fears.

“We gave people a sense of calm, what the plan was,” Bush said. “We talked in plainspoken English. We were totally engaged.”

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Why Middle-Class Americans Can't Afford to Live in Liberal Cities

Why Middle-Class Americans Can't Afford to Live in Liberal Cities

Blue America has a problem: Even after adjusting for income, left-leaning metros tend to have worse income inequality and less affordable housing.

Derek Thompson

On April 2, 2014, a protester in Oakland, California, mounted a Yahoo bus, climbed to the front of the roof, and vomited onto the top the windshield.

If not the year's most persuasive act of dissent, it was certainly one of the most memorable demonstrations in the Bay Area, where residents have marched, blockaded, and retched in protest of San Francisco's economic inequality and unaffordable housing. The city's gaps—between rich and poor, between housing need and housing supply—have been duly catalogued. Even among American tech hubs, San Francisco stands alone with both the most expensive real estate and the fewest new construction permits per unit since 1990.

But San Francisco's problem is bigger than San Francisco. Across the country, rich, dense cities are struggling with affordable housing, to the considerable anguish of their middle class families.

Among the 100 largest U.S. metros, 63 percent of homes are "within reach" for a middle-class family, according to Trulia. But among the 20 richest U.S. metros, just 47 percent of homes are affordable, including a national low of 14 percent in San Francisco. The firm defined "within reach" as a for-sale home with a total monthly payment (including mortgage and taxes) less than 31 percent of the metro's median household income.

........................................

There is a deep literature tying liberal residents to illiberal housing policies that create affordability crunches for the middle class. In 2010, UCLA economist Matthew Kahn published a study of California cities, which found that liberal metros issued fewer new housing permits. The correlation held over time: As California cities became more liberal, he said, they built fewer homes.

"All homeowners have an incentive to stop new housing," Kahn told me, "because if developers build too many homes, prices fall, and housing is many families' main asset. But in cities with many Democrats and Green Party members, environmental concerns might also be a factor. The movement might be too eager to preserve the past."

The deeper you look, the more complex the relationship between blue cities and unaffordable housing becomes. In 2008, economist Albert Saiz used satellite-generated maps to show that the most regulated housing markets tend to have geographical constraints—that is, they are built along sloping mountains, in narrow peninsulas, and against nature's least developable real estate: the ocean. (By comparison, many conservative cities, particularly in Texas, are surrounded by flatter land.) "Democratic, high-tax metropolitan areas... tend to constrain new development more," Saiz concluded, and "historic areas seem to be more regulated." He also found that cities with high home values tend to have more restrictive development policies.

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How Can Dems Be Losing to These Idiots?

How Can Dems Be Losing to These Idiots?

Today’s GOP is the most anti-idea party in the history of parties. Beating them shouldn’t be this hard. So why is it? Well, let me tell you.

Republicans know the truth about these proposals deep down, or I think most do (I suppose some actually are that dumb). But they keep peddling them like a costermonger selling rotten fruit. Why? At least in part because they also know deep down that things like an infrastructure bank are what will really create jobs. I mean, it’s the very definition of creating jobs. But they can’t be for that, because it would be a vote for Obama, and Party Chairman Limbaugh would call them mean names.

Not a single constructive idea. Oh, they put out these things they call “ideas,” so they can sound like they have ideas, but they’re not meant for actual implementation. They’re just meant to exist so candidates can campaign saying, “See? I have ideas!”

And then, of course, there are a few actual ideas they do have, like the Ryan Budget, but those are deep-sixed at campaign time, because the Republicans know that it would indeed force seniors to pay more out-of-pocket for their Medicare—I mean, as far as Paul Ryan is concerned, that’s the point!—and they’d much sooner not have to answer such questions at election time.

So they’ve got nothing. Not on the economy. Not on immigration reform. Not on health care—ah, health care. Think back with me now. In the first half of this year, there were a lot of news stories that got pumped out through Speaker John Boehner’s office about the Republicans working on a plan to replace Obamacare. Oh, it’s coming along, he said in summer. And the media scribbled down stories: Lookout, Obama! Republicans coming with alternative proposal!

.....................................

The GOP has absolutely nothing of substance to say to the American people, on any topic. The Republicans’ great triumph of this election season is their gains among women, which have happened because (mirabile dictu!) they’ve managed to make it through the campaign (so far) without any of their candidates asserting that rape is the will of God. All these extremists who may be about to win Senate seats are winning them basically by saying opponent, opponent, opponent, Obama, Obama, Obama.

And the Democrats can’t beat these guys? This should not be hard. But it is hard. Why? There’s the “who votes” question. There’s money, especially the outside dark money I wrote about last week. And there’s the GOP skill at pushing the right fear buttons. And there’s the fact that the president happens to be, well, you know.

But the underlying reason is this: The Democrats don’t have the right words for attacking the Republicans’ core essence and putting Republican candidates on the defensive. When Republicans attack Democrats, the attacks quite often go right to the heart of Democratic essence, and philosophy. “My opponent is a big-government, big-spending, high-taxing” etc. That gets it all in there in a few short words. Every Republican says it, and the fact is that it’s typically at least sort of true, because Democrats do believe in government and spending and taxes.

As a result, in almost every American election, the Democrat is instantly put on the defensive, while the Republican is playing offense. Of course that’s going to be truer in a sixth-year election of an incumbent Democratic president. But it’s usually more true than not. The Democrat, who is for things, who wants to do things besides cut budgets and taxes, carries the burden of explaining why those things will be good.

In fairness to the Democrats, they’re a little boxed in, because they can’t respond to the above attack by saying, “Well, my opponent is a small-government, low-spending, low-taxing” etc., which wouldn’t sound like much of an attack to most people.

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Mexico’s First Lady of Murder Is on the Lam

Mexico’s First Lady of Murder Is on the Lam

In a city where murderers tortured and killed with seeming impunity, Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa was ‘the key operator’—and allegedly sealed the fate of 43 student teachers.

Tuesday saw Mexican security forces digging near a garbage dump, excavating yet another unmarked grave with the hope of finally finding the missing 43 student teachers.

And the hunt was continuing for the most wanted woman in Mexico, the woman said to have given the Iguala police chief a fateful order when she mistakenly imagined the students might disrupt a party she was throwing in honor of herself.

“Teach them a lesson.”

The order purportedly came from Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa, wife of the mayor of Iguala and by numerous accounts the person really in charge.

“The key operator,” Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado of the Guerreros Unidos gang recently said of her status in the town’s underworld.

The purpose of the party was to celebrate Pineda’s many good works as the head of the town’s social-welfare agency and to kick off her campaign to succeed her husband, Mayor José Luis Abarca Velazquez.

 141028-daly-mexico-embed2

One thing the Iguala police are said to have ensured was that a good-size crowd gathered by 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 in the town’s Plaza of the Three Guarantees. The plaza is named after the Army of Three Guarantees that achieved the break with Spain, pledging to keep Mexico independent, unified, and loyal to the Catholic Church. Pineda stepped before the assemblage in a pink dress, holding a microphone and gazing upon them as if the fourth guarantee were fealty to her.

Pineda was just about to deliver her big speech extolling herself, to be followed by a big dance, when she was told that some outsiders were approaching. She apparently assumed they were protesters like the activists who had visited the town the year before.

In fact, the outsiders were student teachers who are said to have first gone to a nearby town, hoping to commandeer some buses in advance of a trip to Mexico City at the start of October for the annual remembrance honoring the hundreds of students massacred there in 1968.

After being thwarted in the other town, the student teachers had come to Iguala, and they had managed to secure a number of buses for the few days before the remembrance. They were rumbling past the square on their way back to their college when Pineda is said to have given her order.

By one account, the student teachers were on the road out of Iguala when their way was blocked by a pickup truck. Some of them are said to have gotten out and were pushing it aside when the police appeared, perhaps in those new patrol cars, directed by a special radio code used to signify that the order came from the mayor and his wife, “A-5.”

A female police officer is said to have shot a student in the head, and there was more gunfire in which a half-dozen innocents were killed. The police reportedly took the student teachers into custody and drove them away as instructed by the chief hitman of Guerreros Unidos, who is nicknamed Chucky.

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Conservatives are finally right: Obama is not a dictator. He’s a bystander.

Conservatives are finally right: Obama is not a dictator. He’s a bystander.

In July, when House Republicans voted to sue the president, they spoke of the urgent need to stop “tyranny” at the other end of Pennsylvania Ave. “Our freedom is in peril,” warned Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), the man behind the lawsuit. “We cannot stand by and watch the president shred our Constitution.”

Well, it turns out they can stand by. Three months later, no lawsuit has been filed. Politico’s Josh Gerstein, citing “lawyers close to the process,” reported that they don’t expect any legal action before the election.

Apparently, the Obama dictatorship is not such a threat, after all. Conservatives have, in recent weeks, done a 180 in their attack on the president. They have, for the most part, dropped their accusations that he is an out-of-control, overreaching autocrat. Instead, they are calling him a weak and passive leader, nothing more than a bystander.

My colleague Charles Krauthammer captured the revised consensus when he wrote on Friday that with “a sense of disorder growing — the summer border crisis, Ferguson, the rise of the Islamic State, Ebola — the nation expects from the White House not miracles but competence. At a minimum, mere presence. An observer presidency with its bewildered-bystander pose only adds to the unease.”

I don’t get to say this very often, so let me seize the opportunity: I agree entirely with Krauthammer. And I welcome conservatives to their new and more accurate critique of Obama. The real problem with Obama is not overreach but his tendency to be hands-off.

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Senate Democrats' Last Bastion: Single, College-Educated Women

Senate Democrats' Last Bastion: Single, College-Educated Women

By Ronald Brownstein

In the key battleground races, the marriage gap is shaping up to be more decisive than the gender gap.

The party needs to hang onto their strong support to counteract the GOP's strong performance with working-class whites and married women.

Socially liberal white-collar and single white women look like the fragile last line of defense for Democrats hoping to avoid a Republican sweep in next week's election, according to detailed results from a broad array of new polls.

For the third consecutive election, congressional Democrats are facing the prospect of a decisive rejection by most white voters, including not only white men but also white women who are either married or lack a college degree. But in surveys of both individual Senate races and national preferences on the generic congressional ballot, Democrats are showing stubborn strength with college-educated and single white women.

That performance—combined with preponderant leads among minority voters in almost all surveys—represents the Democrats' best chance of overcoming gaping deficits with the remainder of the white electorate in the key contests. Yet in a measure of the party's vulnerability, even that advantage rests on an unsteady foundation: National Pew Research Center and ABC/Washington Post polls conducted in October found that college-educated white women, though strongly preferring Democrats on issues relating to women's health, actually trust Republicans more on both managing the economy and safeguarding the nation's security.

Both the national surveys and recent polls in the key Senate races display strikingly consistent patterns of support that transcend state boundaries—and follow deep grooves of the parties' recent competition. They reinforce the portrait of a modern Democratic coalition that is demographically and geographically better positioned to compete for the White House than to consistently control majorities in Congress—and a Republican coalition that faces the opposite problem.

This year, Democrats continue to post big advantages among minority voters in both the national polling (where the Pew and ABC/Washington Post surveys each show them leading Republicans in the generic congressional ballot by just over 4-to-1) and the state surveys (where African-Americans are providing the party lopsided margins in Arkansas and North Carolina.) But minorities are relatively less numerous in many of the states that will decide Senate control.

With whites, the results are also following familiar patterns. One revealing way to analyze the preferences of white voters is to divide them into a quadrant of four groups that combines race and education: white men and women with and without a four-year college degree.

On Sunday, the NBC/Marist Poll released results in five hotly competitive Senate races: Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, and Iowa. (NBC and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion also surveyed South Dakota, but the poll found that Republicans have reestablished a wide lead there.)

In all five of those races, the Democratic (or in the case of Kansas, independent) candidate ran better, usually much better, with college-educated white women than with any of the three other groups of whites.

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