Are Dems finally ready to toss Pelosi?

By Chris Stirewalt

Published October 05, 2017

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On the roster: Are Dems finally ready to toss Pelosi? - Russian hackers hit NSA - Ryan open to banning ‘bump stocks’ for rifles - House passes 2018 budget plan with tax cut capacity - Iced, not ISIS

ARE DEMS FINALLY READY TO TOSS PELOSI?
House Democrats and House Republicans have inverse problems. 

The Republican rank and file is always full of grumbles about their leader, but nobody seems to want to step up and take him on. 

Democrats, on the other hand, have plenty of eager usurpers ready to lead the mutiny, but the crew doesn’t seem interested. That may be changing.

In the wake of a mortifying performance before a CNN studio audience including a cringe-inducing response to a rape victim, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is having another bad day. 

Rep. Linda Sanchez D-Calif., has joined the ranks of a growing number of Democratic members who say it’s time for 77-year-old Pelosi to hang it up. 

In an appearance on C-SPAN, Sanchez said, “I do think we have this real breadth and depth of talent within our caucus and I do think it’s time to pass a torch to a new generation of leaders and I want to be a part of that transition.” 

But like Rep. Tim Ryan D-Ohio and Rep. Seth Moulton D-Mass., it’s that last part – “I want to be a part of that transition” – that causes problems. Republicans depose first and pick new leaders later.

In the period of time that Pelosi has been the Democratic leader, Republicans have cycled through a basketball teams worth of House leaders. And if you’ve seen John Boehner lately you know why. The reason he’s smiling is because House leadership is a grueling ordeal for Republicans whose own members are beyond insubordinate. They’re just plain mean.

Democrats, on the other hand, are quite congenial with their leaders, so much so that they keep essentially the same team in power after loss, after loss, after loss, after loss.

If you think Paul Ryan would survive as party leader if Republicans lose the House next year you’ve been drinking too many Leinenkugels. But somehow, Pelosi has survived not only losing the majority, but also failing to retake it in three successive cycles. 

Pelosi is no small part of why Democrats are in the House minority, to boot. She ran her caucus off a cliff when she was speaker, forcing votes on brutal issues like global warming regulations just to prove a point to the then Democratic president and Senate. 

With little to offer and a demonstrable political reliability for Democrats in 2018, how does she manage to stay on? 

Part of it is certainly her abilities to keep the right mix of contentment and fear within her leadership team. Her prodigious fundraising abilities don’t hurt either.  

But what it comes down to is that Democrats keep trying to do their rebellions backwards. 

Even on the occasions when Republicans had a plan of succession following the ouster or departure of a leader it didn’t work out. 

There is a reason Kevin McCarthy hands out Chick-fil-A sandwiches instead of committee chairmanships. 

You can blame some of the problems Republicans have had in majority on this defiant spirit, but there might not be any majority at all if it weren’t for it. The placidity of Pelosi’s reign is proof of that.

But if Democrats are beginning to care more about the revolution than who will lead it, she may at last be in for some real trouble.

THE RULEBOOK: GOTTA READ IT TO BELIEVE IT 
“There is nothing of this kind declared in the articles that compose it; and to imply a tacit guaranty from considerations of utility, would be a still more flagrant departure from the clause which has been mentioned, than to imply a tacit power of coercion from the like considerations.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 21

TIME OUT: THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY 
Smithsonian: “This morning, the Nobel Prize Committee announced British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro had become the 114th recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Ishiguro is the author of eight books, including 1989’s The Remains of the Day… Known to friends as ‘Ish,’ Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954. But the writer left Japan at the age of five when his father, an oceanographer, was offered a job in the United Kingdom. [While] the setting and genres of Ishiguro’s work vary, the themes of memory, time and self-delusion have always been a constant.  ‘If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell, but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix,’ Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said during the prize announcement. ‘Then you stir, but not too much, then you have his writings.’”

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SCOREBOARD
Trump net job-approval rating: -16.2 points
Change from one week ago: up 0.8 points

[President Trump’s score is determined by subtracting his average job disapproval rating in the five most recent, methodologically sound public polls from his average approval rating, calculated in the same fashion.]

I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: IT’S BEEN A WEEK 
After a long news week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the tragedy, the response and the political disconnect on the topic of guns, the Virginia governor race and Halo Top ice cream. Plus, Chris answers questions from the mailbag and Dana discusses her new show. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

RUSSIAN HACKERS HIT NSA
 
The Hill: “Russian state hackers stole a collection of National Security Agency hacking tools and other documents from the personal computer of an agency contractor who had taken the classified documents home from work, reports The Wall Street Journal. The reported breach took place in 2015 but wasn't discovered until spring of last year. The Journal reports that the hackers identified the documents through Kaspersky Lab antivirus software. The Department of Homeland Security recently barred federal agencies from using Kaspersky products due to security concerns but has been tight-lipped about what intelligence linked the popular, Moscow-based computer security firm to specific intelligence operations. White House cyber czar Rob Joyce has, however, repeatedly said that the Kaspersky Lab software's ability to access files on systems could be a potential way to compromise a system. Kaspersky has denied any involvement with covert government intelligence gathering, although it does work with police to aid in criminal investigations.”

Special counsel looks into Trump dossier allegations - Reuters: “The special counsel investigating whether Russia tried to sway the 2016 U.S. election has taken over FBI inquiries into a former British spy’s dossier of allegations of Russian financial and personal links to President Donald Trump’s campaign and associates, sources familiar with the inquiry told Reuters. A report compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele identified Russian businessmen and others whom U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded are Russian intelligence officers or working on behalf of the Russian government. A spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller declined comment. The FBI also declined comment. Three sources with knowledge of Mueller’s probe said his investigators have assumed control of multiple inquiries into allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election to benefit Trump, a Republican.”

Yates, Bharara say Mueller faces ‘high bar’ proving criminal conduct -
 WSJ: “Two of the most high-profile law-enforcement officials fired by President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller faces a high bar in proving criminal conduct in his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, addressing the possibility that he may not bring a case. Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, and Preet Bharara, the former Manhattan U.S. attorney, both emphasized in a joint interview Wednesday at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit…”

Corker: Tillerson, Mattis and Kelly ‘help separate our country from chaos’ -Politico: “Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker offered a blunt assessment of the Trump administration on Wednesday, saying his top advisers ‘help separate the country from chaos.’ Corker, addressing an NBC News report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson considered resigning in frustration over his role, painted the former ExxonMobil executive — along with Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of DefenseJames Mattis — as having a calming influence in the administration. ‘I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos,’ Corker told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. The Tennessee senator expressed sympathy for Tillerson, who he said is in an ‘incredibly frustrating place.’”

RYAN OPEN TO BANNING ‘BUMP STOCKS’ FOR RIFLES 
Reuters: “U.S. lawmakers need to examine ‘bump stock’ gun accessories, devices that enable some guns to be turned into rapid-fire weapons, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryansaid on Thursday, opening the door to possible debate on gun control by the Republican-controlled Congress. ‘Clearly that’s something we need to look into,’ Ryan told radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, adding that many lawmakers had not been aware until now that such devices existed. An excerpt from the interview aired on MSNBC. … ‘I didn’t even know what they were until this week,’ Ryan said, referring to bump stocks. ‘I think we’re quickly coming up to speed with what this is.’ His remarks followed a call on Wednesday by the U.S. Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn, for lawmakers to investigate bump stocks, as Democrats pushed for a ban on the devices.”

GOP senators consider legislation to ban gun devices - Politico: “Top Senate Republicans said Wednesday they are open to considering legislation banning devices that were reportedly used to gun down scores of people in the worst mass shooting in modern American history. Bump stocks — also known as ‘slide fire’ devices, which work by rapidly ‘bumping’ the trigger of a semi-automatic weapon to boost the rate of fire — were reportedly used by Stephen Paddock to kill 58 people and wound more than 500 in Sunday’s Las Vegas massacre. No Republican has yet joined Democrats in endorsing a bill targeting bump stocks, but their comments suggest a potential shift in the party’s typically hard-line opposition to gun control measures. Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Senate Republican, has dispatched his staff to research the use of bump stocks and said it would be ‘worthwhile’ to have a hearing on the topic.” 

Trump admin was already rolling back gun regulations - WaPo: “But, with less public attention, the Trump administration has eased some gun regulations in recent months. Among them: The Army Corps of Engineers has filed notice in a court case that it is reconsidering a ban on carrying firearms on its land; the Justice Department narrowed its definition of fugitives barred from purchasing weapons; and the Interior Department lifted a federal ban on hunting with lead ammunition in national parks. A White House official denied any deliberate effort to play down the change to the background-checks policy and declined to comment on that change or others related to guns.”

The Judge’s Ruling: How far is too far - Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano battles the question of whether the government can keep us safe or not: “This is not a novel or arcane observation but rather a rational conclusion from knowing history and everyday life. … In America, killers use guns and only stop when they are killed by law-abiding civilians or by the police. The answer to government failure is a candid recognition that in a free society -- one in which we are all free to come and go as we see fit without government inquiry or interference -- we must be prepared for these tragedies.” More here.

HOUSE PASSES 2018 BUDGET PLAN WITH TAX CUT CAPACITY

WaPo: “House Republicans passed crucial budget legislation Thursday, setting aside months of intraparty squabbles to set the stage for an ambitious tax bill they are planning to pass without Democratic help. The House budget resolution includes major spending cuts demanded by the party’s conservative wing, but the party’s focus is now on passing a tax bill that could add as much as $1.5 trillion to the budget deficit. Special procedures set out in the legislation would ultimately allow Republicans to pass the bill over a potential Democratic filibuster in the Senate. ‘Our budget specifically paves the way for pro-growth tax reform that will reduce taxes for middle class Americans and free up American businesses to grow and hire,’ House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said during floor debate. The Senate is proceeding on a separate track toward passing its own budget, which will have to be reconciled with the House version in the coming weeks. The Senate Budget Committee was poised to finish work Thursday on a resolution more squarely focused on the tax legislation than the House version.”

Conservative group releases ad hitting red-state Dems - The Hill: “The fiscally conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity is putting millions of dollars behind an ad-buy pressuring red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2018 to support the GOP’s tax reform proposals. Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by billionaire Republican donors Charles and David Koch, has purchased $4.5 million of air time in three states, calling on Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) to support a tax code overhaul. All three senators face reelection next year in states won by President Trump. … The ads close out by naming the three senators and accusing them of ‘standing in the way of a simple, fair system.’ They provide a phone number for viewers to call the individual Senate offices.”

POLL: NORTHAM CRUSHUING GILLESPIE FOR VIRGINIA GOV  

WaPo: “A relatively unified party base gives Democrat Ralph Northam a clear lead over Republican Ed Gillespie heading into the final month of the Virginia governor’s race, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll. Northam leads Gillespie by 53 percent to 40 percent among likely voters, with 4 percent supporting Libertarian Cliff Hyra. The advantage is similar to a Post-Schar School poll this spring but larger than in other public polls of likely voters released over the past month, most of which found Northam up by single digits. But the race is still fluid, with a sizable number of likely voters — one in four — saying they could change their mind before Nov. 7. ‘There’s a lack of intensity right now,’ said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, which co-sponsored the survey. … ‘A lot can change in the next month. If I were the Northam campaign, I would not feel too comfortable right now.’”

Moore snubs McConnell, White House in D.C. visit - WaPo: “Roy Moore didn’t travel to Washington on Wednesday to kiss and make up with the Republican leaders who opposed his nomination to fill the Senate seat formerly held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He came to continue the revolt. Moore didn’t meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or stop by the White House to make nice with the forces­ that tried to defeat him. Instead, he huddled with Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist and one of Moore’s most outspoken advocates, and spent time in the office of a House Republican from Alabama. The latest skirmish in the escalating war for the soul of the GOP was more than awkward: It was a window into what might be coming for Republicans next year…”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
 
New poll shows voters’ sour taste for the Republican Party Suffolk University/USA Today

Rep. Tim Murphy will not seek re-election amid deepening personal scandal
 - CBS Pittsburgh

Reports show Perry took a charter flight day before Price resigned - Reuters

Watch the moment when Bernie Sanders and Larry David found out they are cousins Time

AUDIBLE: ‘ALL YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY’
“Even though it may be one or the other’s fault, the people in West Virginia think, ‘All you people are crazy. You let my rates go up. That’s just ridiculous.’” – Sen. Joe Manchin W. Va., talking to Politico about Affordable Care Act premiums.  

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I have long thought that, perhaps, the only real security solution in a free society is no security solution. That’s not to say that ordinary (and in some cases even extraordinary) security measures shouldn’t be taken to interdict the types of attacks we have seen since 9/11. But at what cost – both monetary and psychic? Nature has a way to deal with mass attacks in the ocean. It’s the school of fish approach. So, government should be watchful and we, the public, should be cautious; however the current reality is that every now and then the terrorist shark will be successful at gobbling up a few of us. And, like a school of fish, the vast majority will survive with our freedoms intact. I hope I’m not being too crass.” – Pat ConroyWest Lake Hills, Texas

[Ed. note: I appreciate the fact that you are wrestling with this balance between freedom and order, as well as the fate of your fellow fish. It is essential for each of us to care deeply and love deeply our fellow human beings as individuals. The hard choices come in, however, when we think about human beings in large numbers. Either deliberately or as a result of unintended consequences, the choices about governments and the actions of those governments once constituted will be bad for some individuals. As we have often discussed, the purpose of a righteous government is to seek to create the proper balance between freedom and order so that human beings are able to realize their greatest potential. If there is too much order, the spirit of the people and their hopes will be crushed. If there is too much freedom, chaos will reign and people will be tyrannized by their neighbors. Fitting firearms into that equation is challenging, but not necessarily more challenging than issues like free speech, free assembly and free commerce. Each of those things come at a cost to some people, sometimes unto death. It’s not wrong to accept that there are consequences to some individuals as a result of freedom. But I would encourage you to keep a great heart for those little fish lost to our school. We should never be mathematically indifferent to human suffering.] 

“The reason I read your halftime report every day is that I can trust you to speak the unvarnished truth. Your reply to Greg Cary [in Wednesday’s Halftime Report] cut through all the smoke. One of the proofs of the cowardice of our politicians is that none of them on either side will come out and say what, I believe, they mean i.e. that either they support the rights of American citizens to own guns to guard against the tyranny of the government (not for hunting, sport or self-defense against a criminal), or that they want to abolish the second amendment in order to disarm the public to promote that tyranny. I no longer own even a shotgun, but I hope enough of my fellow citizens own the most powerful weapons they can still get their hands on legally, to at least give the government pause before further infringing on our God given rights. I hope and pray that armed resistance to the government will never be necessary, but the safest way to assure that it won’t is for there to at least be some doubt what would happen if the government tried.” – Clark R. Acton, Anderson, Ind.

[Ed. note: If we have achieved the status of smoke cutters, then I will consider our work successful indeed. Thanks for reading and taking the time to write.]

“As you rightly pointed out, the Second Amendment, as defined by Mr. Madison, was to prevent such tyranny from arising here, in our newly founded republic. Yes, the Civil War came about because virtually every man was armed (though weapons manufacturing had to increase as the supply of rifles and ammunition declined through use and wearing out). However, after the war (and the Reconstruction) the rights of southern citizens be armed was returned to them. In the Old West (whatever that really was) a criminal, after surging a sentence (except for hanging sentences) had their weapons returned to them as they left either the risen or country jail or from prison. It wasn’t until the rise of the modern ‘organized criminal gang’ came into existence that ‘guns laws’ became an issue.” – John William Gibson, Coos Bay, Ore.

[Ed. note: Thank you for the history lesson, Mr. Gibson! We often discuss the way gun technology has changed since the founding, but we seldom talk about the way cultural changes have affected the way we see, use and regulate guns.]

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ICED NOT ISIS 
Fox News: “A 29-year-old man in Switzerland recently received an anonymous letter from his ‘worried’ neighbors after he hung a Jack Daniel’s flag in front of his apartment. Their problem? They mistook the whiskey brand’s logo for the black and white logo of ISIS, and feared the young man may be a supporter of the Islamic State. … According to the paper, the young man — who remained anonymous — had moved to Zurich with his girlfriend a few months back, and decided to hang the Italian flag and a Jack Daniel’s flag in front of his home because he thought it would be ‘funny.’ Now, however, he fears the neighbors have the wrong impression of him. … And as for his Jack Daniel’s flag? The man says he’s not taking it down. It wouldn’t be ‘right’ to give in, he said.”

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.

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