Cigarette and Coffee Breakfast, 2/20/2014

– Talking Points Memo leads this morning with a persuasive article on the four structural advantages Republicans have going into the 2014 elections this November. Nothing groundbreaking, but Democrats should take the entire article to heart as they dig in for the campaign season. The four reasons are that Presidents almost always suffer defeats in mid terms, Democratic voters are less likely than Republican voters to turn out in mid-term elections, Democrats have many very difficult seats to defend in the Senate this cycle in light to dark red areas of the country, and the house is gerrymandered in favor of the GOP.

– Ted Cruz wants to run for President is sorry. You see, Cruz didn’t want to throw any of his Republican colleagues “under the bus” when he forced a 60 vote threshold on the must-pass debt ceiling vote, ensuring that members of his own party would have to vote in favor of a bill that would give them headaches in their re-election fights at home. Cruz told CNN’s Dana Bash, ““I’ll tell you my response. My response is I don’t want to throw any Republicans under the bus. I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents.”

All of this after last week, Cruz told reporters that the one thing that his OWN party’s leaders hate to do, the thing that makes their “heads explode“, is to tell the truth. Ted Cruz has gone rogue, ladies and gentlemen. It will be interesting to see if other Republicans join Cruz in his unhinged, McCarthyite version of Conservatism, or if he will eventually be purged off by his own party like the original Joe McCarthy.

– A little more on the email dump from four top aides to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R). These emails may turn out to be a lot worse for Walker than I originally thought, as there seems to be a lot of indication that Walker mixed campaign and public resources of all kinds. Most interestingly, Walker staffers seem to have installed several “secret wireless routers” in the office while Walker was still a Milwaukee city official, used to conduct campaign business from inside his office, while they were supposed to be doing official business.

That means taxpayers paying the salary of city officials, who are then working for only one political candidate, and that is a federal crime with jail time associated to it. In fact, several of Walker’s top aides, including his Lieutenant Chief of Staff (Bridget Anne Kelly, anyone?) have already seen jail time in this or similar cases involving campaign fraud. Importantly, one email refers to a “SWK”, possibly Scott K. Walker, who knew about and used the secret and illegal wireless routers.

On top of all this, Walker is currently being investigated for improperly mixing campaign and official resources AGAIN during his successful 2012 recall election. Results of that investigation are as yet unreleased. Walker faces re-election this year, and of course seems a likely candidate for the Republican Presidential ticket in 2016. Head of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman-Schultz had this to say about recent GOP Governor’s scandals, “If these ethical scandals are the way (Republican governors) lead, that’s got to be something we all make sure voters pay attention to”. Stay tuned everybody!

– A slightly strange Quinnipiac poll has Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) with a relatively small 43-38 lead of largely unknown Democratic challenger Cuyahoga Country Executive Director Ed Fitzgerald which is a bit of a surprise because Kasich’s favorabillity is much higher at 51-36 in the poll.

– In Arkansas, IMG has House Representative Tom Cotton (R) leading Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Pryor 46-42 in the race for that Senate seat. Pryor, already one of the most conservative elected Democrats in Washington, still has an uphill battle to remain a Democrat while being elected in Arkansas, I don’t envy his position. On the Governor side, former uber-Blue Dog Democrat Mike Ross is tied with Republican former Congressman Asa Hutchinson at 42-42.

– In the Oklahoma Senate race T.W. Shannon, who is young, good-looking, African American and Republican, released his first introductory ad. The ad, which was filmed in a church, is sure to mention Shannon’s faith several times, and informs viewers that Shannon is a “sixth generation” Oklahoman.

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