Cigarette and Coffee Breakfast, 2/21/2014

– As I discussed yesterday, even if the Scott Walker (R) emails that revealed widespread secret and illegal use of state funds to help the candidate become the Governor don’t turn up a smoking gun that Walker knew what was going on, this scandal has all the chances of being the deathblow to the Governor’s White House hopes. University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry C. Burden said, “I think it’s damaging, not because there was a lot of new information in the emails that were released, but because it put the story back on the front pages and it’s really displaced the other things that the governor would prefer to talk about in an re-election year”.

– Delightful news for Democrats: the Club for Growth is airing an ad in Missouri to attack Republican incumbent Senator Thad McCotter for voting “20 times” to raise the debt ceiling, and for having been in Washington for “42 years”. Listen, I’m no fan of McCotter, but since when did being good enough to get elected to the United States Senate by your people multiple times, and being experienced in how Washington works, become a bad thing? The answer, of course, is ever since the first person ran an “outsider” campaign, attacking Washington to get themself elected. But it’s still annoying, and it’s annoying when Democrats do it too.

– Michigan Democratic Rep John Conyers, who has been in Congress since 1965 (25 terms!), is facing a primary challenge from Rev. Horace Sheffield III. No word yet on whether Sheffield’s primary will be from the right or the left, but with the mettle that Conyers has shown national Democrats during the Obama administration, it’s hard not to see him getting the backing of outside groups. According to DailyKos, “Sheffield is pretty explicit about the 84-year-old Conyers’ age being an issue, saying the incumbent is ‘not capable anymore of providing the energetic leadership”.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has declared that another truce is in force in Kiev this morning, here’s hoping it goes better than the last one, which devolved into some of the worst violence yet seen in the strife-torn nation. Yanukovych, after being chastened by his a Parliament his party controlled, which voted yesterday for law enforcement officers to return to their barracks and stop shooting dissidents, has vowed to form a “unity government”. Additionally, Yanukovych promised early elections, which is a far cry from the people in the street demanding his immediate resignation for. Yanukovych offered this statement on his website, “There are no steps that we should not take to restore peace in Ukraine, I announce that I am initiating early elections.”

– A truce has been reached in Ukraine, and President Viktor Yanukovych, along with dissident leaders, have signed a deal calling for early elections and a return to the constitution as it was in 2004, taking powers from the presidency and giving them to Parliament. Officially, there are at least 77 dead in the fighting of this week, with many hundreds more injured. As always with these things, official numbers tend to change, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that. Some protesters, such as former Heavyweight boxer and Mike Tyson rival Vitali Klitschko, say that, while they will sign the agreement, more discussions will have to take place to end the protests.

– John Boehner seems to have forgotten how politics works in 2014. You see, here in 2014, one of the most important things any elected politician can do is, even if they want to kill legislation that is broadly popular with Americans, like raising the minimum wage, or extending unemployment benefits, first you say you support the initiative, then you blame Obama for not cooperating on passage, and then you call it a day. Boehner has done a masterful job doing exactly this on immigration reform!

What you certainly don’t do, though, is to have your buddies out there saying things like, “Boehner has ‘always believed that it’s a job killer’, and ‘John and House Republicans right now see ObamaCare and the economy as being the No. 1 issues…I think it would be very, very difficult, if not impossible, for John to schedule a clean up-or-down vote on a minimum wage bill'”. Because, for low-wage workers struggling to make ends meet, getting a raise from 7 or 8 dollars an hour to $10.10 wouldn’t help THEIR personal economies at all, I can see how that would be a popular message with them.

Oh, and then there’s THIS:

Speaker John Boehner is so against raising the minimum wage that he once said he would rather commit suicide than vote for a “clean” increase.

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