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• Boehner battle sets up another bust
• McConnell kindles hope on tax deal
• Showtime for Walker in Wisconsin
• Huckabee scrambles GOP field
• That bar is full of clowns
BOEHNER BATTLE SETS UP ANOTHER BUST
Conservatives who demand maximal resistance to President Obama’s agenda have placed a new marker: the election for House Speaker set to be held as the new Congress convenes on Tuesday. Two Republican rivals to Speaker John Boehner have declared themselves, with Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Ted Yoho of Florida announcing their candidacies over the weekend. And as Alex Pappas reported, the leader of the effort to topple Boehner, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., has spent weeks trying to build the 28-member coalition he needs to deny Boehner a 217-seat majority. The coverage has been intense, but is Boehner really in danger? Nope. Despite the announcement from at least six other GOP lawmakers that they won’t be voting for Boehner, this looks like a dead letter.
[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel sets the scene for the incoming Congress.]
Moral minority - Boehner’s supporters have pledged that even if the speaker fell short on the first ballot, they will hold successive votes until he is reelected. Even so, multiple ballots would be a moral victory for Boehner’s foes. History is certainly against the insurgents. No election of a speaker has gone beyond the first ballot since 1923, when Frederick Gillette, R-Mass., won re-election on the ninth ballot. Forcing so rare a moment would get attention for the movement and foreshadow deeper difficulties for Boehner on looming votes on immigration, spending, taxes and other hot topics. But is even a moral victory in reach? Nah.
Whipped - Just look at the pool of potential votes for the Jones plan, which are presumably lawmakers from the most conservative districts in the country. Here’s one metric: Of the 30 House districts in which Obama fared the worst in 2012, many are represented by members of Boehner’s leadership team, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise and committee chairmen including Jason Chaffetz and Hal Rogers. And the same is true as you page through other less-red districts. The votes just aren’t there. A similar effort to unseat Boehner came to a clattering end in 2013, and the speaker has more clout now. With Republicans in control of the Senate, Boehner’s friendship is more valuable to ambitious members who would like to see bills passed and headlines made. These are not unknown facts to Jones & Co., who fell out with Boehner long ago. So what’s the point?
[To do - You could scour around the Internet for 30 stories today about what to expect in the opening weeks and months of the 114th Congress, which convenes tomorrow. Or, you could just let David Drucker do the work for you.]
Elimination round - There’s no downside for Jones, Yoho and Gohmert, who have already been frozen out of leadership love. The move generates attention and headlines from both conservatives yearning for a more ideological speaker as well as liberals who just want to see the fight. But there may be some downside for the movement the men seek to lead. This gambit stands to be another disappointment for an insurgency that came up empty with convoluted procedural plays on blocking Obama’s temporary executive amnesty as well as a bid to defund his health law. Failures such as these shrink rather than grow insurgencies, especially when they are conducted in very public fashion to the jeers of the press corps and pundit class. If the conservative rebels in the House and Senate make one resolution for 2015 it ought to be this: Next time, win one.
MCCONNELL KINDLES HOPE ON TAX DEAL
The Hill: “This much is true: Both President Obama and top Republicans are saying the right things about tax reform right now. Whether that means that the two sides will make the progress in 2015 necessary to overhaul the tax code before Obama leaves office is another question entirely…Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has said that tax reform is on the short list of issues - also including trade and infrastructure improvements - with the best chance for bipartisan cooperation once Republicans take full control on Capitol Hill in January. And Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who will be the House's top tax writer next year, has said he's willing to compromise on one of the GOP's top priorities for reform - that the individual and corporate systems be revamped together…And while Ryan has said that he's willing to work with Obama on tax reform, he's also been far from confident those discussions will lead to anything.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
It is finally 2015, that far off exotic time that Marty McFly transported to in the 1989 classic, “Back the Future II”. The Atlantic compares the future McFly expected to find in 2015 to what really exists. Many of the technological predictions in the film came true in varying degrees however two key components missed were the development of Internet and the evolution of mobile phone technology. Cell phones didn’t exist in the film instead featuring banks of phone booths. The internet didn’t seem to exist in the film at least not in the individualized devices as expected today. JVC glasses are pretty close cousins to today’s Google Glass though not nearly as mobile as the Google device. Fax machines dominated business communication in the film, a technology that is just about obsolete today. To their credit, the filmmakers did accurately predict a smart watch, flat screen televisions and facial recognition technology. Society has yet to see the Hoverboards and flying cars featured in the film but have no fear there is still time as McFly didn’t go to the future until 4:29 pm on Wednesday October 21, 2015.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.8 percent//Disapprove – 51.9 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 27.5 percent//Wrong Track – 64.3 percent
SHOWTIME FOR WALKER IN WISCONSIN
Today Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., on the short list of governors with 2016 GOP presidential potential, will be sworn in for his second term. With his sons emceeing the inaugural ceremony in Madison, Walker will reportedly push plans to grow the economy, develop the state’s workforce and reform education. And like other hopefuls, Walker knows that his words and record will be carefully scrutinized in a crowded field of potential 2016 nominees. “My ability to be even potentially a viable candidate is almost solely driven by how well we do in the state. If the state’s not doing well, I’m nothing — no possibility of being a candidate,” Governor Walker told WITI.
Flashback: Walker-Christie a frosty pair - Amid his tough re-election battle last fall, Walker and potential 2016 rival Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., got into a tiff over whether the Republican Governors Association – with Christie at the helm – was supporting Walker with “sufficient enthusiasm and money.”
[Timing may be everything - Watch Fox: Carl Cameron examines a busy 2015 calendar for potential 2016 candidates as they consider the best times to jump into the race.]
No thaw in sight - One potential rub likely to keep up the Walker-Christie chill: the NFL playoffs. As a lifelong Wisconsinite, Walker often tweets his support of the Green Bay Packers. Christie’s football allegiances lay hundreds of miles south, in Dallas. Following the Dallas Cowboys win over the Detroit Lions Sunday, Christie was seen celebrating with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The scene lit up social media, including ESPN analyst Skip Bayless who tweeted: “Chris Christie, you had better make plans to be in Green Bay, Wisconsin next weekend. You are needed.” This divisional playoff marks the first post season game at Lambeau Field between the two teams since the Ice Bowl of 1967.
Christie to hit string of inaugurations in key 2016 states - Politico reports that Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., will attend a series of gubernatorial inaugurations in key 2016 states, beginning Tuesday with Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., followed by Gov. Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Gov. John Kasich in Ohio, Gov. Bruce Rauner in Illinois, Gov. Nikki Haley in South Carolina, and Gov. Terry Branstad in Iowa.
HUCKABEE SCRAMBLES GOP FIELD
We can’t yet know whether Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who on Saturday gave up his Fox News Channel show to pursue a presidential run, can upend the GOP field as he did with an upset victory in Iowa and seven other states in 2008. But he has already changed the race. The presidential aspirations of every other potential candidate counting on working-class voters and Evangelical Christians took a hit this weekend. That would certainly include Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Dr. Ben Carson and former Sen. Rick Santorum. Even libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., whose father saw strong support among Evangelicals in 2012, had to reconsider his strategy. Huckabee’s high name identification and durable popularity in Iowa and other states with large numbers of blue-collar Christian voters will make it harder for others to do as he did and use Iowa as a staging ground for a broader insurgency. Huckabee’s move raises interesting possibilities for mainstream candidates too. If Paul, Cruz, Santorum and Carson were all to proceed, the conservative vote in Iowa could be so splintered, that candidates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, might consider making a play in otherwise unwinnable Iowa. A tough fight for values voters would also create opportunities for Midwestern Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio and particularly Mike Pence of Indiana to try to run as fusion candidates.
Dough, yo - WaPo: “If Mike Huckabee is going to make a serious run for the Republican presidential nomination, he will have to do something he was unable to do in 2008: raise millions of dollars and build a sprawling national campaign to complement the well of support he has among evangelicals and grass-roots activists in early primary states… A senior Huckabee aide … The aide said Huckabee’s team anticipates the need to raise about $50 million by the time of the Iowa caucuses in early 2016, with the money divided between the campaign’s budget and a super PAC, and said Huckabee has done much work to make that a reachable goal.”
Perry prepping Iowa rollout - The Hill: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is just weeks away from leaving office after more than a decade running Texas — and he is turning his eye beyond the Lone Star State as he looks to kick-start another presidential bid. Perry will leave the governor's mansion after 14 years on Jan. 20. Just a few days later, he’ll be in Iowa participating in the state’s first major candidate event of the 2016 campaign. … His Jan. 24 speech in Des Moines at the high-profile event organized by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and the conservative group Citizens United will be “very important for him,” according to one Perry ally.”
Jindal, too - Des Moines Register: “Bobby Jindal’s [R-La.] Iowa caucus campaign test drive continues this week with events in front of a key demographic: conservative religious leaders. Jindal, the two-term Republican governor of Louisiana, is scheduled to meet politically active pastors in closed-door meetings in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids on Tuesday.
Fate of Iowa Straw Poll to be decided Saturday - WashEx: “Republicans are examining the future of the Iowa Straw Poll, a key early measure of support for GOP presidential contenders. When members of the Iowa Republican Party central committee convene Saturday, they will decide whether the event, an institution in Republican presidential primaries since 1979, will continue — and what it will look like if it does.”
[South Carolina Tea Party Coalition will feature 2016 Republican contenders, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Rick Santorum and Dr. Ben Carson at their convention later this month.]
JEB RETURNS TO FAMILY’S POLITICAL SPAWNING GROUND
Greenwich [Conn.] Times: “Jeb Bush’s [R-Fla.] flirtation with running for president in 2016 will take the former Florida governor to the familiar and lush stomping grounds of the Bush political clan: Greenwich. The Republican will raise money for his newly-created leadership PAC at a reception Wednesday in the hometown of his father, former President George H.W. Bush…The private reception is being organized by Craig and Debbie Walker Stapleton, he was U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic and then France under former President George W. Bush and she is a Bush cousin. The host committee also includes Richard Breeden, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission during the first Bush presidency, and David McCormick, a former Treasury undersecretary during the second Bush presidency who is president of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund…Greenwich was the home of the late Bush family patriarch Prescott Bush Sr., who served in the U.S. Senate and was the grandfather of Jeb Bush.”
Double run helps Rand fund campaign infrastructure - National Journal: “Sen. Rand Paul [R-Ky.] could have a financial edge over many of his prospective presidential rivals in 2016 due to a quirk in timing and election law that lets him to tap his biggest donors for campaign cash twice. Paul has said he plans to seek Senate reelection and, if he runs, the Republican presidential nomination simultaneously. And because he would be campaigning for two federal offices, he would be eligible to have two open federal campaign committees at the same time. Thus, his largest donors could give $2,600 to his presidential primary campaign and another $2,600 to his Senate account for the primary. While federal rules do limit how he could spend the money, veteran election lawyers say diligent accounting could allow for legal cost-sharing between the two committees, saving Paul's presidential bid precious dollars and letting him collect bigger checks from his biggest contributors.”
TOP IOWA DEMS NOT FEELING THE LOVE FOR HILLARY
WSJ: “Iowa Democratic leaders say they are troubled by the prospect that Hillary Clinton could win the state’s 2016 presidential caucuses without a serious challenge, a view primarily rooted in a desire for a more liberal candidate or at least a robust debate about the party’s policies and direction. Interviews with more than half of Democratic chiefs in Iowa’s 99 counties show a state party leadership so far reluctant to coalesce behind Mrs. Clinton. County Democratic officials also voiced qualms about Mrs. Clinton’s ability to win a general election and her fundraising ties to Wall Street firms and corporations, which remain a target of liberal ire. Many county officials said they would like to see senators including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont enter the race, though they were split over whether any could gain traction and overtake Mrs. Clinton…Beyond the personal, some worry Mrs. Clinton might not be best-positioned to defeat the eventual Republican nominee, concerned her candidacy wouldn’t be exciting enough to draw in the younger voters who backed Mr. Obama.”
THAT BAR IS FULL OF CLOWNS
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Paul Miller plans to open Bircus Brewing Co. later this year, an offshoot of his current business Circus Mojo that currently operates in the city’s Ludlow Theater. Soon the brewery will run amidst the trapeze, high wire and other acts… including clowns. But Miller is well aware of potential customer fears; his clowns do not wear makeup. “You can be funny or funny looking,” Miller said. “We choose to be funny.” Whew. “Our goal is really to … have people be wowed by the destination of having some circus acts going on and pretty girls hanging from the ceiling,” said Miller, who founded Circus Mojo after his own circus and acting career.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.