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On the roster: Republicans face wave of House retirements - N.C. judges throw out district maps - British politics knocked into a cocked hat - She did say ‘anything’…
REPUBLICANS FACE WAVE OF HOUSE RETIREMENTS
Atlantic: “Congressional retirements are an early indicator of the political environment, and for the second consecutive election, more Republicans than Democrats are heading for the exit. House Republicans suffered another loss this morning when Representative Bill Flores became the fifth member from Texas alone to announce that he would not seek reelection in 2020. Flores, a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, noted in a statement that he had pledged to serve for six terms or fewer; he’ll be leaving after five. In all so far, 12 GOP House members and four senators are forgoing reelection next year without declaring their candidacy for a higher office, while just two Democrats in the House and one in the Senate are retiring outright. More than two dozen Republicans retired ahead of the 2018 midterms, foreshadowing the blue wave that swept in a Democratic majority. The announcements may indicate that GOP members have little confidence that their party will regain power in the House anytime soon.”
Barletta won’t seek to reclaim his seat again - Penn Live: “Former Republican Congressman Lou Barletta on Tuesday put to rest speculation that he would mount a bid for the 8th Congressional District in 2020. The former four-term congressman said that after much thought and conversation with family, he has decided not to run for Congress. … ‘I will never close the door on any future opportunity but for right now my focus is on starting my new chapter.’ Barletta said he plans to focus his attention on the political consulting firm … that he launched a few months ago.”
THE RULEBOOK: TIME AND TEMPERATURE
“It is SUFFICIENT for such a government that the persons administering it be appointed, either directly or indirectly, by the people; and that they hold their appointments by either of the tenures just specified; otherwise every government in the United States, as well as every other popular government that has been or can be well organized or well executed, would be degraded from the republican character.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 39
TIME OUT: AND THE WHEELS GO ‘ROUND AND ‘ROUND
Smithsonian: “The brainchild of education expert Frank Cyr, the meeting at Columbia University [in 1939] carried the goal of establishing national construction standards for the American school bus. … Standardization would solve two problems and simultaneously revolutionize school buses themselves: one, being uniformly one color would make bus travel safer; two, costs to districts would be lower as construction specifications would make it possible for manufacturers to mass-produce buses. … Cyr recalled that some school districts, by the time of the conference, had already adopted yellow as their school-bus color. Others, though, wanted to paint their buses red, white, and blue. … During those seven days of deliberation in the Grace Dodge Room at Columbia Teachers College, Cyr said he hung strips of different paint colors from the wall, in ‘50 shades ranging from lemon yellow to deep orange-red.’ …[The] orangish-yellow color they chose has been the industry standard ever since.”
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DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 28 points
Warren: 18.2 points
Sanders: 14.8 points
Harris: 6.4 points
Buttigieg: 5 points
[Averages include: IBD, Quinnipiac University, USA Today/Suffolk University, Monmouth University and CNN.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 41.4 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -13 percent
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 38% approve - 56% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk University: 44% approve - 54% disapprove; Monmouth University: 41% approve - 53% disapprove; CNN: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 43% approve - 55% disapprove.]
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N.C. JUDGES THROW OUT DISTRICT MAPS
Fox News: “Just over a month after the Supreme Court effectively punted the partisan fight over gerrymandering to state courts, a North Carolina trial court has rejected state legislative district maps, saying lawmakers took extreme advantage to help elect a maximum number of Republicans. The three-judge panel of state judges unanimously ruled Tuesday that courts can step in to decide when partisan advantage goes so far that it diminishes democracy. The judges gave lawmakers two weeks to try again. ‘Partisan intent predominated over all other redistricting criteria resulting in extreme partisan gerrymandered legislative maps,’ the judges wrote in their ruling. … Lawyers for North Carolina Republican legislators had argued there was no clear way for judges to know what kinds of map-making is unacceptable, since ‘redistricting is political because of what it is, not because of who does it.’ Any complaints about how districts were drawn would vanish if Democrats could lead some GOP voters to change their minds and voted with them, GOP lawyers said.”
Trump goes all in on Lewandowski in New Hampshire - NYT: “…Mr. Trump is now going even further in his attempt to reshape the G.O.P. in his image. He is nudging one of his most controversial lieutenants to run for the Senate in one of the few states where his party has a chance to pick up a seat in 2020. At an arena rally in Manchester, N.H., last month, Mr. Trump said Mr. [Corey] Lewandowski was ‘fantastic’ … Yet Mr. Lewandowski’s prospective bid has unsettled an array of powerful New Hampshire Republicans, including Gov. Christopher T. Sununu, who are not keen on elevating a political operative-turned-Washington consultant as their Senate standard-bearer. The possibility of Trumpism taking even deeper root here, perhaps even changing the nature of the party, has set off a broader conversation over Republican identity in a state that carries great symbolic importance as the home to the first presidential primary.”
First Dem drops out of Colorado Senate race after Hickenlooper's entry - Politico: “Mike Johnston ended his Senate campaign in Colorado on Tuesday, becoming the first Democrat to leave the race after former Gov. John Hickenlooper launched his campaign last month. Johnston, a former state senator who also ran for governor last year, was the first well-known Democrat to enter the race against GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in January and led the field in fundraising through the first two quarters of this year. His campaign had more than $2.6 million on hand as of June 30, more than double any of his opponents. But he said Hickenlooper's entrance as a candidate would have altered his campaign in a negative way. … Colorado is a must-win state for Democrats to have any path back to the Senate majority.”
BRITISH POLITICS KNOCKED INTO A COCKED HAT
Fox News: “British lawmakers are working Wednesday to defy Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plans by voting on a measure that would block the country from leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement. The vote comes hours after a Scottish court ruled that Johnson’s planned suspension of Parliament – which would give lawmakers little time to prevent Britain from leaving the European bloc without a deal on Oct. 31 – is legal. ‘To deliver Brexit like this is to create a poison pill which for 40 years will divide this country straight down the middle,’ former Conservative Party leadership candidate Rory Stewart told the BBC. ‘If you are going to deliver Brexit at all, try to do it legally, constitutionally and with consent.’ Johnson has said he will seek a general election if the lawmakers succeed this week, taking his message directly to the people in his bid to deliver Brexit, come what may.”
Megan McArdle: The Boris Johnson era - WaPo: “Though they share a title and a political party, Johnson is no Churchill. But then, the moment doesn’t call for a Churchill. It calls for someone equal to Brexit — which is to say, theatrical, unpredictable and not well thought through. No doubt about it, Johnson is that man. … There is nothing less dramatic than the high-stakes tedium of parliamentary procedure; these sorts of battles have all the panache, verve and appeal of day-old fish and chips. Yet there is drama, of a sort, because resorting to these kinds of tactics for a major policy matter signals a profound breakdown somewhere else in the political system. Normally, in matters of great import, people find some more reasonable way of getting things done than by trawling for loopholes in ‘Robert’s Rules of Order.’”
Warren embraces Inslee in climate change plan - NYT
Pentagon begins shifting $3.6 billion from military to border fence - WaPo
Hong Kong’s leader seeks to placate protesters - WaPo
AUDIBLE: COCAINE MITCH DRAWS A LINE
“You know, I can laugh about things like the ‘Grim Reaper,’ but calling me Moscow Mitch is over the top.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said during a radio interview on Tuesday.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I hope this gets printed even though it's not biased in a political direction. It’s about something I believe every American should be able to agree. Last weekend I took two of my nephews on a road trip of over 600 miles one way to tour the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, NY and to attend the Army - Rice University football game. The Army team produced an eighteen play, 96-yard drive in the fourth quarter to score the winning touchdown. It was a smash mouth drive that no doubt had both Bo Schembechler
and Woody Hayes smiling from their graves. We didn’t speak with all of the 4,400 cadets but, if the ones we did talk to are a reliable indication, our country has a very bright future! All Americans should be immensely proud of these young men and women. We plan on visiting Annapolis and Colorado Springs in the future and expect to make a similar report following those trips.” – Tom Snyder, Frankfort, Ill.
[Ed. note: I liked your note so much, Mr. Snyder, that I will keep my thoughts about Mr. Hayes to myself! I couldn’t agree with you more about what wonderful things are to be found at our academies. Thank you for sharing.]
“Chris, The question broached Tuesday about tribalism asked if we have ever had a president and a vice-president from different parties. This did, in fact, happen with the election of John Adams as president and the second highest vote getter (Thomas Jefferson) as vice president. The Founding Fathers’ original design was that the two most qualified candidates would be placed in position of leadership and work for the best interests of the country. Strange how personalities and political philosophies quickly sank that ship! More recently, Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson (a ‘War Democrat’) to run with him in 1864 but Lincoln didn’t stay in office long enough for us to see how he and Johnson would work together. Lincoln was able to successfully manage the ‘Team of Rivals’ (Goodwin) in his cabinet, but they were from his own party. In modern times one sees few leaders in the mold of Kennedy’s ‘Profiles in Courage’ and far too many who appear to put their personal ambition above the interests of the country. With such a giant chasm between the ideologies of the two parties, and the seemingly prominent focus on personal ambition rather than selfless patriotism (a generalization, of course), one could only imagine the internal chaos and the external posturing of two leaders at odds with each other as president and vice president. Progress and accomplishments take a fair amount of ‘working together’ (Congress, take note!) and any organization needs a significant amount of focus not only on a common goal but also essential agreement on the means to accomplish that goal. Without that, there is inertia at best and chaos at worst.” – Kent Haldorson, Beaverton, Ore.
[Ed. note: Worthwhile points for consideration, indeed, Mr. Haldorson. But I think you may be mingling political utility with governance. The vice presidency is, outside of its role in the Senate, an utterly empty vessel. Presidents have tried to find jobs for their running mates, either to keep them out of trouble or to keep certain constituencies placed. It seemed logical to the Framers that, like in beauty pageant, the runner up should take the top post if the winner was unable to fulfil his duties. But the acrimony between Jefferson and Adams quickly reveled the problem: If the two couldn’t even talk or, in their case, be in the same city, transitions of power would be dire events. Better then to acknowledge the rise of the parties and accept the birth of the administrative state, such as it was. As for Johnson, Lincoln knew what he was getting with the Tennessee tailor. He was corn cob of a man: abrasive, hard and dull. Hannibal Hamlin, Republican of Maine, had served Lincoln’s needs of uniting his new party in 1860. But by 1864, Lincoln’s focus was on unionist Democrats from the border states, meant he had to accept the unlovable Johnson. As Lincoln reportedly said, “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.” Johnson ranks as among our very worst presidents. His failures in his short time in office did lasting damage to the republic and the cause of liberty. Had he not been a political unicorn, Johnson would have never had the chance to inflict such harms.]
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SHE DID SAY ‘ANYTHING’…
WashEx: “A maid of honor wore a T-Rex costume to a wedding after her sister told she could wear ‘anything.’ Christina Meador, 38, shared a photo from the wedding in her wearing a T-Rex costume with the caption: ‘When you're maid of honor and told you can wear anything you choose ... I regret nothing.’ The post garnered thousands of likes and comments along with 35,000 shares on Facebook. Deanna Adams, the sister and Nebraska bride, took the joke in stride. ‘My sister is awesome and I genuinely was not kidding when I said she could wear whatever she wanted,’ Adams told the Daily Mail on Monday. … ‘I was trying to think of something that I would be willing to wear more than once and thought to myself, ‘Well, she did say anything, and if I'm spending more than $50, I want it to be a dinosaur costume, because they're fantastic and I've always wanted one,’’ [Meador said.]”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Some Mondays we get in a dozen [chess] games each. No time to recriminate, let alone ruminate.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 27, 2002.
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.