“. . .Romney’s assessment of the GOP nomination marketplace has revealed that there is a demand for an establishment candidate to the right of Bush, so he thinks he can manufacture a product with Romney 3.0 that will meet that market demand.” Philip Klein
MITT: KLEIN – Repost; WSJ – Romney recycle; GOLDBERG – Romney nostalgia.
LEADS: ANTLE – GOP conservatives split; McFARLAND – New securities; DINAN – IRS lost TEA for 5 years; SASSO – BO wants gov’t run ‘nets.
IMMIGRATION: HOROWITZ – Boehner pays off BO; KIM & SHERMAN – Moderates rebel; MILLER & DINAN – Boehner to oppose BO’s amnesty.
ISLAM: MUNRO – BO backs Brothers; MALM – F**k off; McNICOLL – Charlie.
PA: MARTIN – Western mischief; BOEHN – Union fined; KNEPPER – Laws for others.
END NOTES: McCARTHY – Glad BO skipped Paris.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: No Jan. Patriots Mtg; 1/15 FCC Internet; 1/20 Picket Tommy W.; 1/24, Common Core debate; Common Core speaker needed.
MITT . . .
Philip Klein, Washington Examiner: “I can’t believe I have to write this post on Mitt Romney”
“The one silver lining of the 2012 election results seemed to be that I’d never have to write about Mitt Romney as a candidate again.
As regular readers know, between 2006 and 2012, I wrote a lot of critical columns and posts about Romney (I even wrote an ebook laying out how conservatives could cope with a Romney nomination and potential presidency). Like many others, I assumed his career as a candidate was over after 2012 based on the fact that there is absolutely zero good reason for him to run again. But American politics is evidently like Hill Valley in the “Back to the Future” movies, where you can go way back in time or well into the future, and the leading characters are all from the same few families. As my colleague Byron York tried to tell us last fall, Romney 2016 is starting to look like an actual thing.
After he lost the Republican nomination battle in 2008 to John McCain, there was still some residual enthusiasm among Romney’s biggest fans, who convinced themselves that he could have beaten Barack Obama were he the nominee instead. In 2012, we got to test that hypothesis —against a vulnerable incumbent in a shaky economic environment ideally suited for Romney’s “turnaround” persona. Romney got creamed. Even his one supposed strong suit — his organizational prowess — was called into question by an absolutely atrocious and incompetent turnout effort.
“As much as I criticized Romney in 2012, it was at least easier to see the logic of why he chose to run a second time, and why the GOP chose to nominate him in a weak field of contenders. (Though it’s a testament to the deep reservations about Romney even back then that Herman Cain actually rose to the top of the field at one point.) Either way, none of the conditions that existed in 2012 exist now. The economy is improving, we already know Romney would make a terrible general election candidate, and there are likely to be other options. . .”
“. . . The real question is how Romney 3.0 would do against a field of stronger candidates than just Bush. If Romney’s whole pitch will be that he’s a better combination of conservatism and electability than anybody else, how would he do against, say, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker? Romney’s claim to fame as governor was working with Ted Kennedy and Jonathan Gruber to pass a healthcare bill that provided the model for Obamacare. Walker is known for taking on unions to push conservative tax, spending, collective bargaining and education reforms. Romney lost three out of four of his political campaigns. Remember, he was too chicken to run for reelection as governor in Massachusetts in 2006, because he knew he would lose and it would kill his chances of winning the GOP nomination — which he lost to McCain anyway. Walker, in contrast, won three gubernatorial elections in four years in a blue state with the entire weight of the organized national Left lined up against him. . .”
WSJ: Romney Recycled
“If Mitt Romney is the answer, what is the question? We can think of a few worthy possibilities, though one that doesn’t come immediately to mind is who would be the best Republican presidential nominee in 2016.
“Mr. Romney told donors last week he is mulling a third run for the White House, confirming cheering whispers from his coterie of advisers. The question the former Massachusetts Governor will have to answer is why he would be a better candidate than he was in 2012.
“The answer is not obvious. . .”
Jonah Goldberg, RCP: “The Problem with Romney Nostalgia”
“In 2007, when President Obama announced that he was running for president, he did it in Springfield, Ill., to highlight his supposed connection to Abraham Lincoln. He brought in his biggest fans to cheer him on. When George W. Bush announced in 1999, he did it in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Bush campaign, likewise, brought in a big crowd of supporters. John Kerry announced in Patriot’s Point, S.C., in 2003, amid a sea of American flags, war veterans, and an aircraft carrier in the background.
“And where was Mitt Romney when he announced on Friday that he was thinking of another run in 2016? He, too, was talking to his base: about 30 deep-pocketed donors in New York City. ‘Tell your friends,’ he said.
“You know how superhero flicks often have an extra scene after the credits to hint at what the sequel will be like? Well, this would be the perfect end to the movie Romney 2012.
“The problem is that ‘Romney for president’ is now an art-house film thinking it’s a blockbuster franchise and that there’s a huge market for another sequel. There’s not.
“Don’t get me wrong. I wanted him to win in 2012, and I think voters made a serious mistake not following my advice. I’ve met the man, and I know several of his friends and former staffers. He inspires great loyalty in them, and that speaks well of him. He’s an honorable, capable, and decent person.
“But I know lots of honorable, capable, and decent people. I don’t want them to run for president either. . .”
LEADS . . .
James Antle III, Daily Caller: “The Biggest Conservative Group In Congress Is Breaking Up”
“The Beatles broke up. So, eventually, did Led Zeppelin. The biggest conservative caucus in Congress appears to be next.
“House conservatives are planning what National Journal described as a “mass exodus” from the Republican Study Committee. The departing lawmakers complain that the RSC has stopped fighting for its founding principles– much like the Republican Party itself.
“Unlike the Beatles, the RSC isn’t going away. But dissatisfied conservatives are going to start a splinter group of their own.
“Membership in the RSC has exploded from 7 percent of the House Republican Conference to more than 70 percent. As late as 2000, the group had just 40 members. After the 2010 elections, it received over 60 new members from the GOP freshman class alone.
“But all that growth didn’t make the RSC more conservative, dissidents complained. In fact, some questioned how a group that included a majority of Republican legislators could really be an effective conservative caucus inside the House. . .”
K.T. McFarland, Fox: “Paris terror attacks: US, world must adapt to new face of terror, get serious about security”
“. . . We need to take a different approach to fighting terrorism than the one-size-fits-all, politically correct policy we have had in place for over a decade. “First, we should call this what it is. It is not “workplace violence.” It is not the one-off crazy person. It is Islamist extremists who have been radicalized to kill in the name of religion. “Our leaders are worried about offending people’s feelings, so they refuse to link these escalating series of attacks to a religion. But some in the Muslim world are now stepping forward to condemn the violence. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi made a groundbreaking speech on New Year’s Day in which he called out his country’s religious leaders. He said they were trapped in a mindset of their own creation. Their fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law has led to violent jihad. If they are willing to acknowledge there is a problem, we should too. “Second, stop trying to look at 100 percent of our population and giving everyone equal scrutiny. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, and it takes our finite resources and spreads them too thinly. Stop treating granny from Grand Rapids on her way to Disney World with the grandkids the same as a young man who spends his time on jihadist websites and posts pictures of himself wearing a black ski mask in front of an ISIS flag. Let’s shake off our political correctness and come to our senses. This isn’t racial profiling; it’s terrorist profiling. “Finally, take advantage of the technologies that didn’t exist a few years ago, and use them to separate out the very small percentage of people who present the threat. After all of these attacks — in Canada, in Australia, in Oklahoma — we piece together the clues and realize the terrorists showed a lot of warning signs. We should put our new technologies to work to identify these people before they kill, and give them extra attention. “Data mining companies like Palantir have developed software that can track terrorists in Afghanistan and help Marines identify roadside bombs. That technology can be adapted to track potential terrorists here in the West. It works by combing through multiple databases, identifying anomalies and pulling together seemingly disparate pieces of suspicious behavior to identify someone whom law enforcement should take a second look at. There are other companies, like Guidewave, and Wynyard Group which can comb through social media and flag people who merit a closer psychological profile (emph added, jb). . .”
Stephen Dinan, Washington Times: “IRS keeps Albuquerque Tea Party in limbo 5 years after tax-exempt status application”
“Before there were the lost Lerner emails, the congressional hearings and the retaliatory budget cuts, there was the Albuquerque Tea Party, a group of politically minded folks in New Mexico who wanted to get together and share ideas for taking back their country. The IRS had other ideas about them.
“Five years after the Albuquerque Tea Party applied for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, they remain in limbo — their application apparently no closer to being approved or denied than it was the day they mailed it to the IRS on Dec. 29, 2009.”
Brendan Sasso, National Journal: “Obama Backs Government-Run Internet”
“January 13, 2015 President Obama will travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Wednesday to tout the ability of local governments to provide high-speed Internet to their residents.
“And he will urge the Federal Communications Commission to strike down state laws around the country that restrict the ability of cities to build their own broadband networks. The move is likely to draw fire from Republicans, who argue that states should be free to set their own policies—including restrictions on local governments. . .”
IMMIGRATION . . .
Daniel Horowitz, Conservative Review: “Boehner Prepares to Pay Obama’s Amnesty Extortion”
“Just as the ink dried on our column praising Republican House leadership for proposing a solid bill defunding Obama’s amnesty, John Boehner has, once again, reminded us why we are all so leery of offering positive feedback on GOP leadership. Although he is giving conservatives what they want in the first round of legislation, with six weeks to go until the funding deadline for DHS, Boehner appears to have other tricks up his sleeve.
“When asked by a reporter during a press conference whether he would be open to passing a ‘clean’ DHS funding bill (without defunding amnesty) before the February deadline, Boehner demurred, saying “our goal here is to fund the Department of Homeland Security.” He refused to stand before the American people and say in no uncertain terms that the people’s House will fund every aspect of the DHS but not one penny for lawlessness. By now, Obama can see straight through Boehner’s equivocation with full confidence that he will never engage in brinkmanship. Then again, Boehner already told Obama to ‘do what you gotta do’ on executive amnesty. . .”
Seung Min Kim & Jake Sherman, Politico: “GOP moderates rebel against House immigration measure”
“A Republican amendment that could leave hundreds of thousands of young immigrants open to deportations is running into stiff opposition in the House – a rare show of rank-and-file rebellion over the leadership’s catering to the right.
“The measure – which would kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – is scheduled to come to the House floor Wednesday as part of a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of September. But more than a dozen House Republicans have told the GOP whip operation that they will not vote for the amendment, according to people involved. These Republicans say the leadership is catering to the far-right elements of the party, and they disapprove of the underlying policy. “But there’s danger if the amendment, written by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), fails. Without that provision, there’s a chance that conservatives will not vote for the DHS funding bill, which would be an embarrassing loss for the leadership team. Republicans touted this process as the kind of inclusive approach they favor. . .” http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/house-republicans-immigration-114239.html
S. A. Miller & Stephen Dinan, Washington Times: “A year after immigration reform push, Boehner aims to cancel Obama amnesty”
“Conversation has shifted dramatically since House Republicans’ last annual policy retreat
“The House GOP heads for its annual policy retreat Thursday in a very different place on immigration than just a year ago, when House Speaker John A. Boehner had hoped to use the gathering as a springboard to push his troops to approve a broad bill legalizing illegal immigrants.
Now, as congressional Republicans prepare to gather for another retreat, the conversation has completely shifted.
“Mr. Boehner is leading a party that on Wednesday, a day ahead of the retreat, will pass a bill through the House canceling President Obama’s deportation amnesty and boosting pro-enforcement policies. Senate Republicans, who will join the House GOP for a joint retreat this year, will look for ways to push that legislation through their chamber too. “‘Our goal here is to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Our second goal is to stop the president’s executive overreach,’ Mr. Boehner said Tuesday as he outlined the immigration fight. “This is not the way our government was intended to work. The president said 22 times that he didn’t have the authority to do what he eventually did. He knows the truth here, and so do the American people.” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/13/john-boehner-aims-to-cancel-obama-amnesty-a-year-a/
ISLAM . . .
Neil Munro, Daily Caller: “Obama Sides with Muslim Brotherhood in Islamic Reform Debate [VIDEO]”
“The president of the United States has somehow put himself on the opposite side of an Islamic theological debate from the Muslim president of Egypt.
“President Obama has aligned himself with revivalist groups — including the Muslim Brotherhood — that are trying to promote traditionalist Islam, while Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has begun championing Islamic modernizers.
“Those modernizers want to defang the militant and supremacist Islam that has reigned since Islam emerged in the 700s. In contrast, the revivalists — and their allied jihadis — want to regain the regional power that traditionalist Islam held until roughly 1800.
“The Islamic debate was dramatically exposed Jan. 1 when Sisi called a public meeting with the leaders of Islam’s leading seminary, which is based in Cairo.
“Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants — that is seven billion — so that they themselves may live? Impossible!” Sisi said in front of the TV cameras and religious leaders at Al Azhar. . .”
Sara Malm, UK Daily Mail: “Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam tells fellow Muslims who do not appreciate the ‘freedoms’ of living in the West to ‘pack your bags and f*** off’ on live TV”
. Ahmed Aboutaleb, a Moroccan-born Muslim, spoke after Paris attack
. The mayor said Dutch Muslims who ‘don’t like freedom’ can f*** off
. He added: ‘Vanish from the Netherlands if you cannot find your place here’
. Aboutaleb became the first immigrant mayor in the Netherlands in 2008 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2907941/Moroccan-born-mayor-Rotterdam-tells-fellow-Muslims-not-appreciate-freedoms-living-West-pack-bags-f-live-TV.html
Tracy McNicoll, Daily Beast: “Read the New Issue of Charlie Hebdo in English”
“Before dawn in Paris on Wednesday morning, and all over France, newsstands were overwhelmed with demand for the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo, the survivors’ issue. It sold out within minutes. The presses are still whirring as the magazine tries to produce five million copies for delivery, up from the normal print run of 60,000, but there’s no need to wait, The Daily Beast has snagged a copy for you.
“Under extraordinary circumstances, the surviving staff of Charlie Hebdo has produced an issue that is perfectly true to type: defiant, uncompromising, funny, sometimes bittersweet, but with nary a hint of the melodramatic. None of the murdered staffers are left out and, just as they would have liked, no target for ridicule is spared.
“The cartoonist Luz has reprised the Muhammad caricature that made the satirical publication the target of the terrorists in the first place. But the resulting prophet is compassionate, not crude. He is tearful, holding up the same “Je suis Charlie” sign that has become a global clarion call for free expression this week. Above his head, is a banner declaring: “All is forgiven.”
“Luz told reporters Tuesday that he cried after drawing it. “It wasn’t the cover the world wanted us to do. It wasn’t the cover the terrorists wanted us to do. But it’s ours. We drew Muhammad again. I’m sorry. But the Muhammad we drew is above all a fellow who is crying,” he said. Editor in Chief Gérard Biard added that Charlie’s Muhammad here is a far kinder character than the one evoked by the terrorists who gunned down his staff. . .”
PA . . .
Rachel Martin, Watchdog: “Western PA judges stay in headlines for alleged shenanigans”
“PITTSBURGH — One county in western Pennsylvania is proving that Philadelphia doesn’t have a monopoly on judicial imprudence. The sentencing of two former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges to federal prison made statewide headlines last month. Meanwhile, in Washington County a pair of judges have left their posts but can’t seem to leave their pasts behind.
“Some judges do take to the bench and either immediately or come to believe that they are beyond civility or even the rule of law,” Duquesne University law professor Wesley Oliver told Watchdog.
“Paul Pozonsky, a Common Pleas judge for 15 years, will soon stand on the other side of the courtroom. He’s scheduled to go on trial in March on charges of stealing drugs from evidence files. And Washington County President Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca abruptly stepped down from the bench earlier this month, amid questions including tampering with the transcript in a murder trial.
“While Oliver said only a minority of judges misbehave, ‘You really see people’s real character, when you give them power.’ . . .”
Eric Boehn, PA Independent: “Union-funded nonprofit that attacked Corbett faces IRS fine”
“Pennsylvanians for Accountability, a labor union-funded political action committee that spent more than $1 million attacking Gov. Tom Corbett during the past two years, is in trouble with the IRS.
“The group failed to file tax returns and could be fined as much as $50,000, the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit that tracks political spending, reported on Tuesday.
“The IRS confirmed the agency had not received the group’s tax filing — the kind of document that provides a key window into the inner workings of politically active nonprofit groups like Pennsylvanians for Accountability, which are becoming increasingly influential in state and national elections,” wrote Michael Beckel, a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity. . .”
Leo Knepper, CAP: Laws are for Other People to Follow”
“This week, we learned that the union-backed Pennsylvanians for Accountability did not file returns with the IRS on time and could be fined up to $50,000. According to an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“The new tax document indicates Pennsylvanians for Accountability spent $725,500 for its various anti-Corbett messages in 2013, which it classified as a ‘public education campaign.’ “This included both television and online ads…But Department of Labor records and tax documents reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity show three unions combined to give Pennsylvanians for Accountability $1.11 million — 90 percent of the money it raised between Sept. 1, 2012, and Aug. 31, 2013, the tax year covered by the return.”
“To make matters more interesting, one of the union activists listed as an incorporator of Pennsylvanians for Accountability does not know who runs the organization.
“The ironic thing is that some of the unions backing Pennsylvanians for Accountability, like the SEIU have been vocal critics of so-called “dark money” groups. However, when it comes down to it they’re more than happy to not only take advantage of the system. And, they are not even ensuring that the organizations benefiting from union largess are following the law.”
END NOTES . . .
Andrew McCarthy, NRO: “I’m Glad Obama Skipped Paris”
“He doesn’t really believe in protecting speech critical of Islam.
“Unlike many conservatives, I was not outraged when President Obama directed the Justice Department to end the pretense of “defending” the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I feel the same way about the president’s decision not to join dozens of world leaders in Paris last Sunday to march in favor of free speech and against Islamic-supremacist terror. I’m glad he stayed home. I’m glad he didn’t send Vice President Biden (whose main job is to attend such exhibitions), Secretary of State Kerry (whose main job escapes me), or Attorney General Holder (who was in Paris but still didn’t go).
“It’s not too often that the ‘most transparent administration in history’ is, what’s the word? . . . transparent. . .”