Green Room

Facebook adding 50 new gender options or something

Feb 13, 2014, 1:15pm |

This reminds me of Apple serially rolling out new iPhones whose screens are three percent sharper or whatever. Once you’ve reached this point, you’re out of ideas.

List: All the president’s Obamacare delays

Feb 13, 2014, 11:39am |

The New York Times compiles a roster of unilateral postponements and alterations to the ‘Affordable’ Care Act, including the following low-lights:

SPRING 2013- Delays for one year the option to provide workers with a choice of health plans on the small business marketplace, limiting them to a single plan.

JUL 2 – Announces a one-year delay in the requirement that larger businesses offer health coverage to their employees or face a penalty.

NOV. 14 – Asks insurers to reinstate plans being canceled because they do not comply with minimum coverage requirements of the law.

DEC. 19 – Announces that people whose policies have been canceled will be allowed to buy catastrophic coverage and will be exempt from tax penalties for not having insurance in 2014.

FEB. 10, 2014 – For employers with between 50 and 99 employees, delays for another year (until 2016) the requirement that they offer health coverage to their employees or face a penalty. Temporarily reduces the percentage of employees that larger companies are required to cover.

Click through for the complete list, which…isn’t quite complete.  Off the top of my head, I came up with two additional (and fairly substantial) items the Times didn’t include:  (1) The decision to delay the law’s subsidy-eligibility verification enforcement standards through at least 2015, and (2) the move to waive caps on out-of-pocket costs, such as co-pays and deductibles, for one year.  I’m sure the Times omitted other examples , too — although in fairness to them, it’s genuinely hard to keep up with the endless parade of changes.  Last July, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius compared opponents of Obamacare to segregationists in a repulsive speech to the NAACP:

“The Affordable Care Act is the most powerful law for reducing health disparities since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965, the same year the Voting Rights Act was also enacted,” Sebelius said. “That significance hits especially close to home. My father was a congressman from Cincinnati who voted for each of those critical civil rights laws, and who represented a district near where the late Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth lived and preached.The same arguments against change, the same fear and misinformation that opponents used then are the same ones opponents are spreading now. ‘This won’t work,’ ‘Slow down,’ ‘Let’s wait,’ they say…”

Does the president’s series of “slow down” and “let’s wait” delays remind Sebelius of Bull Connor?  Of course not.  She’s just an incompetent, race-baiting, partisan hack.

UPDATE – Two more: Shifting standards for navigator training (yes, these navigators), and a new three-year “fix” in the offing.  Fox Business’ timeline counts 28 delays.

Video: Since when does the NFL have moral standards about who can play?

Feb 13, 2014, 9:52am |

Typically you need to kill someone to become persona non grata.

Is your taste in candy Republican or Democrat?

Feb 12, 2014, 5:00pm |

Proposed new “true conservative” litmus test: Do you like peanut butter and chocolate together or not?

Democrat: I don’t like Clarence Thomas because “he’s married to a white woman”

Feb 12, 2014, 3:06pm |

Hey, look — actual racism:

Liberals have angrily denounced Justice Thomas’ recent reflection that the worst treatment he’s ever endured has come at the hands of “northern liberal elites,” rather than whites in the deep south during the Jim Crow era. Northern liberal elites, for their part, are quite positive that they know Thomas’ personal history better than he does.  Perhaps the silver medal of nastiness would go to black racial grievance-mongers, whose venomous attacks on Thomas have spanned decades.  Alvin Holmes (Racist-Montgomery) is merely the latest one to step up in the queue.   He says he can’t abide the associate justice’s mixed-race household.  Paging MSNBC

Study shows snow days don’t have negative effect on students

Feb 12, 2014, 2:05pm |

Ten days ago, Phil the Groundhog saw his shadow, sentencing us to six more wretched weeks of winter. But don’t worry, there’s a silver lining (at least for the kids anyway). According to a 2012 study, snow days don’t negatively impact the academic performance or achievement of students.

The study, titled Flaking Out: Snowfall, Disruptions of Instructional Time, and Student Achievement, by Joshua Goodman, an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, says that school closures due to inclement weather do not actually affect student achievement as measured by scores on the standardized Massachusetts  Comprehensive Assessment System. Individual absences do.

Party on, winter.

Great news: US now 46th in Reporters Without Borders ranking of press freedom

Feb 12, 2014, 11:38am |

Oddly, though, their two primary examples of the erosion of press freedom are … not journalists. Olivier Knox (freely) reports on the findings:

The U.S. plummeted 13 slots to 46th overall “amid increased efforts to track down whistle-blowers and the sources of leaks,” Reporters Without Borders warned in an annual report.

“The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest,” the organization said.

The group, known by its French initials, RSF, also cited the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press telephone records and a court’s pressure on New York Times reporter James Risen to testify against a CIA staffer accused of leaking classified information.

“The whistle-blower is clearly the enemy in the U.S.,” Delphine Halgand, who heads the RSF outpost in Washington, told Yahoo News. “Eight whistle-blowers have been charged under the Obama administration, the highest number of any administration, of all other administrations combined.”

Well, I agree wholly with the point about the AP’s phone records, but RSF missed the point on Risen by a mile. Prosecutors and courts have pressured reporters for decades to cough up sources, but this administration is the first we’ve seen that argued for a snoop warrant based on the argument that a reporter might be part of an espionage ring. Manning and Snowden aren’t reporters, and they broke the law in an indiscriminate manner regarding classified material, especially Manning, to whom the term “whistleblower” hardly applies. Even his own defense relied on psychological issues rather than a central claim of whistleblower protection.

Note that RSF uses Manning’s birth name from his previous male identity. How long before outrage erupts over the insult to Chelsea?

Instapundit: Domestic surveillance will be a vehicle for oppression, sooner or later

Feb 11, 2014, 3:20pm |

Glenn Reynolds’ latest column for USA Today is worth noting for its clear warning on the corrosive nature of domestic spying. The NSA claims it’s not conducting the kind of snooping of which Glenn warns, but then again, they didn’t admit to the surveillance they were conducting until it became impossible to deny. And that, Glenn says, is the problem:

But if the federal government has broad domestic-spying powers, and if those are controlled by the executive branch without significant oversight, then the president has the power to snoop on political enemies, getting an advantage in countering their plans, and gathering material that can be used to blackmail or destroy them. With such power in the executive, the traditional role of the other branches as checks would be seriously undermined, and our system of government would veer toward what James Madison in The Federalist No. 47 called “the very definition of tyranny,”that is, “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands.”

That such widespread spying power exists, of course, doesn’t prove that it has actually been abused. But the temptation to make use of such a power for self-serving political ends is likely to be very great. And, given the secrecy surrounding such programs, outsiders might never know. In fact, given the compartmentalization that goes on in the intelligence world, almost everyone at the NSA might be acting properly, completely unaware that one small section is devoted to gather political intelligence. We can hope, of course, that such abuses would leak out, but they might not.

Rather than counting on leakers to protect us, we need strong structural controls that don’t depend on people being heroically honest or unusually immune to political temptation, two characteristics not in oversupply among our political class. That means that the government shouldn’t be able to spy on Americans without a warrant — a warrant that comes from a different branch of government, and requires probable cause. The government should also have to keep a clear record of who was spied on, and why, and of exactly who had access to the information once it was gathered. We need the kind of extensive audit trails for access to information that, as the Edward Snowden experience clearly illustrates, don’t currently exist.

In addition, we need civil damages — with, perhaps, a waiver of governmental immunities — for abuse of power here. Perhaps we should have bounties for whistleblowers, too, to help encourage wrongdoing to be aired.

In other words, we need to adhere to the Constitution for all law-enforcement activity within the US. NSA’s external mission can exist in accordance with that without much change, if any at all. That seems pretty simple to me, and a pretty good principle to follow.

“Conservative Acquaintance Annoyingly Not Racist”

Feb 11, 2014, 2:06pm |

A little mid-day treat from an unlikely source.

New York Accounts for 90 Percent of Union Membership Growth

Feb 11, 2014, 2:01pm |

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual survey of union membership last month, and the 2013 numbers were not as bad as many thought. The overall union membership rate remained at 11.3 percent (technically, it fell from 11.26% to 11.25%), and unions grew by 162,000 members to 14,528,000.

The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal and even the AFL-CIO focused on the gains in the private sector that were partially offset by losses in the public sector. Regional press reports highlighted state membership rates, but everyone failed to put the two together.

In 2013, almost 90 percent of union membership growth came from one state: New York.

According to BLS, New York added 213,000 jobs in 2013 and 145,000 union members – an astonishing marginal unionization rate of 68.1 percent. The entire rest of the nation added 1,320,000 jobs and 17,000 union members – a marginal unionization rate of 1.3 percent.

The BLS does not disaggregate its state data into public and private sectors, and I was unable to find it myself while digging through the Current Population Survey. However, last month the New York State Department of Labor released statistics that between December 2012 and December 2013 the state added only 110,000 private sector jobs and lost 13,000 public sector jobs.

Anomalies are normal when agencies compute statistics from different sources, but the New York numbers, coupled with the report of unexpected union membership gains in places like Michigan and Wisconsin, require at least a reexamination of this year’s BLS figures.

Beeler on job-lock “liberation”

Feb 11, 2014, 12:39pm |

Sure, it’s nice not to have to earn your own keep. If you’re among those doing the earning, though, this voluntary withdrawal from the workforce looks a lot like Nate Beeler’s vision in today’s Columbus Dispatch:


Be sure to check out Nate’s blog for more of his excellent work.

Why are Obama, Hollande trying to steal credit from Bush and Sarkozy?

Feb 10, 2014, 2:46pm |

The two world leaders paired up for a Washington Post op-ed today, celebrating their efforts to restore the Franco-American alliance from its sorry state of 2002-3. No doubt the relationship hit a nadir when Jacques Chirac balked at a UN resolution that would have approved the invasion of Iraq, and perhaps even lower when the extent of corruption in the oil-for-food program became known — and how much of it enriched the French. My friend Olivier Knox, who worked for Agence France-Presse at the time, recalls just how ugly it got.

Unfortunately for Obama and Hollande, he also recalls when it improved, too:

President Barack Obama and visiting French President Francois Hollande said in a rare joint op-ed published Monday that the world benefits from a France-U.S. alliance that “is being made new again.” But they didn’t give any credit to George W. Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy, who did most of the work to repair a relationship that soured in the run-up to the Iraq War. …

At Agence France-Presse, we joked we should change our name to Agence Freedom-Presse. Over at The New York Times, which rarely misses an opportunity to knock the French, foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman harrumphed that France had ceased to be merely “our annoying ally” or “our jealous rival” and was now “becoming our enemy.”

But even during this ugly period, the two countries cooperated on counterterrorism policy, and French troops continued to serve as part of the coalition in Afghanistan. By June 2004, Bush was insisting that relations were “excellent” and publicly marveling at how many cheeseburgers France’s then-president, Jacques Chirac, could eat in one sitting.

By September 2004, the two leaders had joined forces to help drive Syria’s roughly 14,000 troops and intelligence agents out of Lebanon — a major bilateral diplomatic push.

And that was before the pro-American Sarkozy succeeded Chirac, when relations improved markedly.

The only way to ignore that is to compare two points in time while ignoring everything in between. This is a case of two world leaders stealing credit for accomplishments in order to hide the fact that they have very few of their own. Be sure to read all of Olivier’s essay.

Schadenfreude: Suicide-bomb professor more successful than imagined

Feb 10, 2014, 12:31pm |


A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said.

The militants belonged to a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is fighting the Shiite-dominated army of the Iraqi government, mostly in Anbar Province. But they are also linked to bomb attacks elsewhere and other fighting that has thrown Iraq deeper into sectarian violence.

Twenty-two ISIS members were killed, and 15 were wounded, in the explosion at the camp, which is in a farming area in the northeastern province of Samara, according to the police and army officials. Stores of other explosive devices and heavy weapons were also kept there, the officials said.

Eight militants were arrested when they tried to escape, the officials said.

The militant who was conducting the training was not identified by name, but he was described by an Iraqi Army officer as a prolific recruiter who was “able to kill the bad guys for once.”

While we’re enjoying the schadenfreude of this little event, perhaps some of the recruits should be taking note of the entire premise of “suicide-bomb-making school.” What is that — another version of “those who can’t do, teach”? Maybe they should be asking why their instructors don’t do their own field work in the first place, eh?

French rumor du jour: WaPo’s working on a story about Obama having an affair with Beyonce

Feb 10, 2014, 12:05pm |

No, we aren’t, says WaPo. Seems painfully obvious to me that this was some French paparazzo’s way of goofing on Francois Hollande’s travails — president splits with wife/girlfriend because of his secret romance with a celebrity — by transposing them to Obama on the eve of Hollande’s visit to the U.S. But since the news cycle is slow and we’re all bored, expect some churn for it online today.

Sunday reflection: Matthew 5:13–16

Feb 9, 2014, 10:01am |

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular Green Room feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection only represents my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion.

Today’s gospel reading is Matthew 5:13–16:

Jesus said to his disciples:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Here we have three wonderful analogies of the Church in the world from Jesus, in an instruction that presages the Great Commission at the end of Matthew (Matt 28-16-20). Later, in those passages, the risen Christ would transform his disciples into apostles — those sent out — to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” In this passage, Jesus foreshadows that mission and the Church to come, hinting at the scope of that commission long before the disciples realized the nature of Jesus’ sacrifice.

The analogies here speak of the disciples and the Church in terms of presence, vision, and taste — but not of speech or instruction, oddly enough, even though Matt 28:16 is sometimes translated as “go and teach all nations.” Jesus does not provide an analogy of instruction as such in this passage. Instead, all three of these examples speak of providing an example to the world, and specifically in the world — but not of the world, as we’ll see.

The emphasis on example is perhaps strongest in the second and third analogies. The disciples would have understood immediately the reference to the “city on a mountain” — Jerusalem. The mission of the nation of Israel had always been to be that “city on a mountain,” a community of priests to instruct the world on the Word of God. God intended Jerusalem to be a lamp to all nations, bringing His light into the world, the nations of which would come to the city on the mountain and see the light for themselves through His holy people and their devotion to Him.

The Israelites failed to sustain that mission almost from the moment it was given with the making of the golden calf after the Exodus, and later with the corruption of Jerusalem through idol worship as the kings of Israel desired worldly power over serving the mission of God. This is why the Messiah was necessary for salvation. Jesus tells the disciples that their light would “shine before others” through their “good deeds,” which would then “glorify your heavenly Father.”

The prophet Isaiah proclaims this as well in our first reading today, Isaiah 58:7-10. The prophet tells Israel that the Lord calls them to specific action — to share their bread with the hungry, clothe the naked, remove oppression, and satisfy the afflicted as their atonement. In this passage, Isaiah also uses light as an analogy, saying that “your light will break forth like the dawn,” and also that “light shall rise for you in the darkness.” Following the Lord’s command would mean that “the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard” against the Israelites’ enemies, with their “vindication” in the vanguard.

All of this is predicated on action, rather than just instruction. The city on the mountain is no longer Jerusalem, but the Church. Although they did not know it yet, the paradigm would be reversed: Jesus would send them out into the world rather than having the world come to Jerusalem. Since the nations would not come to the original city on the mountain due to its failures (and its coming fall), the Church would come to the nations of the world to set an example — the example that Jerusalem was intended to provide — and bring the light of the Gospel, set aflame by their works of mercy so that all nations would be converted.  Instead of making pilgrims of all nations to Jerusalem, the Church would become a pilgrim to all nations for Christ.

Paul suggests the same in today’s reading from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. “I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom,” Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. “My message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and power…” Paul certainly taught with words, too, especially in the letters we have today that continue his teachings. But teaching alone wasn’t enough; Jesus tells his disciples had to set an example, to live their faith rather than just teach it, in order to fulfill their mission and that of the Church.

The analogy of salt is the most interesting in this context, too. Salt had two purposes in the time of the disciples, and to this day: to season and to preserve. It was also highly valued, and Roman soldiers were paid in salt (which is where we get the word “salary,” by the way). The Gospel explicitly mentions taste and warns that a Church that loses its flavor and its value is worthless. This would become a particular problem in Corinth, as I have written before, where the early Christian community had trouble keeping its “flavor,” thanks to the social pressures to conform to the hedonistic norm. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is in essence the same warning Jesus gives the disciples, which relates to the failure of Jerusalem and Israel in their mission. They became too enamored of fitting into the practices of the world instead of serving as an example of God’s law. Jerusalem would soon be trampled underfoot in 70 AD, and although no one knew that at the time of 1 Corinthians, Paul warns that the same would happen to Christian communities if the distinctiveness of living God’s law and the example that set was lost. Without that flavor, the preservation of the Church would be impossible, and salvation for the nations of the world lost as the light faltered and the city on the mountain fell.

This is why all three passages emphasize action, and not just proclamation. Action creates examples, and living a faith acts to preserve it much more effectively than just talking about it. The church in Corinth fell into that error, and Paul had to rescue it from its own lack of flavor and value. We are called to live our faith in the world so that the light of God’s love through Jesus can be seen by all, rather than fit our faith into our worldly concerns or merely discuss it. That is our pilgrimage, and we make it every day.

Ramirez: The real ObamaCare “death panel”

Feb 8, 2014, 2:30pm |

Investors Business Daily’s Michael Ramirez, their two-time Pulitzer winner in editorial cartooning, distills the latest CBO report on ObamaCare to its essential:


Here’s one more look at my most recent column at The Fiscal Times, on the difference between Obamanomics and Reaganomics:

The bet paid off with a massive economic expansion that added almost 7.2 million jobs in the two years between the midterms and Reagan’s re-election in 1984.  By the time Reagan left office in January 1989, the American economy would add 16 million jobs and raise the percentage of the population in the workforce from 63.9 percent to 66.5 percent.

Fast forward thirty-two years, and the contrast is striking. Once again, we have a President asking America to stay the course, only this time we have almost five years of failure already on the record. And yet, rather than offer any hint of recognition of the failure of his policies, Barack Obama offered a laundry list of policies recycled from a litany of failures. …

Obama claimed that his policies had resulted in “more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the last four years.” Strictly speaking, this is close to the right number for that specific time frame, which is actually 7.5 million from December 2009 to December 2013.

That ignores the job losses that occurred between the start of the technical recovery in June 2009 despite the passage of the $800 billion stimulus bill in early February 2009, chock-full of promised “shovel-ready jobs” and other measures that would prevent the unemployment rate from hitting 8 percent.

From the start of Obama’s economic policies to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have only added 4.77 million jobs. Spread over 55 months, this averages less than 87,000 jobs added a month – far below the 150,000 per month needed to keep pace with population growth.

So the “death panel” is not just ObamaCare, but Obamanomics. The last couple of jobs reports have merely underscored this conclusion.

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.

Video: Song of the year?

Feb 8, 2014, 9:14am |

Via the Blaze. Fifty years after the Beatles conquered pop music, a new Beatles emerges.

Surprise: Another NJ Democrat suddenly remembers something, changes story about Christie

Feb 7, 2014, 6:44pm |

The Mayor of Fort Lee, whose city was targeted with disruptive lane closures at the George Washington Bridge by since-fired Christie administration officials , is abruptly changing his story about endorsement politics:

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich has accused the Christie administration of an extensive campaign involving gifts to his borough from the Port Authority to solicit his endorsement of the governor’s reelection. When Sokolich did not comply but accepted the gifts which included shuttle buses, snow plowing, filled potholes and emergency radios, he says he now feels he was punished by paralyzing traffic jams in his borough during four days last September. Sokolich’s comments, in a two-hour interview in his office Thursday night in which he mirrored some of the statements that he gave to Bloomberg News, represent his harshest criticism yet of the Christie administration and the first time he has linked last September’s gridlock to his refusal to break from his Democratic party and endorse Christie, a Republican…Efforts to gain his endorsement began nearly two years ago and included a personal tour of the 9/11 Memorial plaza in lower Manhattan.

A-ha!  Christie’s motive for political retribution!  The governor has stated that he never personally sought Sokolich’s endorsement — and that, in fact, he barely knew the guy at all. “He was not somebody who was on my radar screen in any way,” Christie said of Sokolich.  Christie aides have acknowledged that members of the re-election campaign tested the endorsement waters with numerous number of mayors, including Sokolich, but that he was in no way a top priority.  In the tenth (!) paragraph of the new Bergen Record story, reporter Mike Kelly finally makes mention of a fairly relevant detail:

Sokolich’s comments are his most extensive since those traffic jams last September and, in a few cases, directly contradict his previous statements.

Kelly doesn’t elaborate (!!), so I guess that task falls on yours truly.  Here’s what Mayor Sokolich said, on the record, after ‘Bridgegate’ first broke — when the “this was payback over his refusal to endorse Christie” narrative was all over the media.  On CNN:

 “I don’t recall a specific request to endorse..but, you know, the events that led up to all of this I guess you can interpret to be somehow attracting me to endorse.

In the New York Times:

A member of Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign staff came calling to see if Mr. Sokolich, a Democrat, would endorse the governor, a Republican … Sokolich, however, was noncommittal. ‘I said, “Yes, I’ll consider it, because I’ll consider anything,”’ he recalled. He chewed it over with local council members and two objections arose … And so the mayor let the request go. ‘I never called and said no, I never called and said yes,’ said Mr. Sokolich, who would not name the official who had reached out to him. ‘I think they interpreted my response to that conversation to be a no.’”

Weird.  In the midst of the breaking scandal, Sokolich recalled that Team Christie’s endorsement-related outreach was pretty tepid.  So tepid, in fact, that a formal request never actually materialized, leading the mayor to “let it go,” evidently without any follow-up from the Christie camp.  Now, several weeks into the pile-on — with national Democrats seeking to keep banging this drum until Christie’s dead — Sokolich suddenly remembers that his endorsement courting process was super-intensive and spanned nearly two years.  All that’s left is for Sokolich to produce a “diary entry” that “proves” his newly-revised recollection of how everything went down.  Could Democrats be any more transparent about what they’re trying to do here?

By the way, Sokolich has also recently said that he takes Christie “at his word” that the governor had nothing to do with the lane closure scheme, a sentiment solidified during Christie’s visit to Fort Lee after his January press conference.  Sokolich at first tried to tell Christie to stay out of his city, then relented, and the two had a “productive” meeting.

Video: “Raw men”?

Feb 7, 2014, 3:12pm |

It’s popping up on Twitter as I write this, but I’d assume this is a slow-scroll Teleprompter issue. Still, it’s pretty danged funny in context here:

Yahoo’s Chris Moody wonders whether this is a regional pronunciation issue:

I’ve never heard it pronounced as two different words, but I’m not an expert on linguistics … or on ramen, for that matter. When I was wage-slaving and job-locked, I mostly made Kraft mac & cheese — 30 cents a box, and two meals, if you had a couple of hot dogs with it.

Poll: Democrats sucking wind in Colorado

Feb 7, 2014, 11:53am |

Vulnerable Democrats didn’t need Barack Obama’s permission to shun him through November; they were already doing so.  Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) performed rhetorical back flips to avoid answering whether he’d like the president to campaign with him in the Rocky Mountain state on CNN last week, and the “why” is not a mystery.  Ed touched on this earlier, but here are Quinnipiac’s new numbers:

– The incumbent does not top 45 percent (which is also his job approval number) support against any hypothetical Republican challenger.  He’s locked in virtual ties in the low 40’s against several.

– The president’s job approval score is 22 points underwater (37/59), and (29/67) among independents.

– Only 42 percent of Coloradans say Udall deserves to be re-elected.  A majority of respondents said a candidate’s support for Obamacare would make them less likely to vote for that person.

– Voters in the state disapprove of Obamacare generally by a (37/60) margin.  This poll was taken before the CBO released its projection that the law will cost the US economy 2.3 million full-time workers.

– By a 30-point margin (!) Coloradans said President Obama campaigning for Udall would make them less likely than more likely to back Udall.

Toxic.  Reading into 2016 presidential polling at this stage is ridiculous, but just for kicks, Hillary Clinton is either trails or is virtually tied with four potential GOP candidates in the battleground state:

Clinton  43, Christie 42
Clinton 44, Cruz 43
Clinton 43, Rand Paul 47
Clinton 43, Paul Ryan 48

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they’d heard about Christie’s bridge controversy, with 57 percent believing it would “damage” his presidential chances.  Colorado voters split (36/42) on whether the New Jersey governor would make a good president, down from (48/29) in November.  The feeding frenzy has taken its toll, and national Democrats are trying to plunge the dagger.