Washington Post: Holder Think Nixon “Sent the Wrong Message”
November 21, 2014

The Washington Post reports that US Attorney General Eric Holder is unhappy with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
According to a Post story Friday, citing an unnamed Justice Department official, Holder is not pleased Nixon declared a state of emergency before the Ferguson grand jury decision is announced.
Nixon also has activated portions of the Missouri National Guard.
The governor has conceded the situation in St. Louis is tense ahead of the announcement of the Grand Jury’s decision on if it will indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of 18 year old Michael Brown last August.
The Post story says Holder called Nixon privately this week. It says Holder wanted to express his ‘frustration” to Nixon.
The Justice official said Holder believes Nixon’s Monday evening news conference with reporters explaining the actions “sent the wrong message . The tone of the press conference was counterproductive”, according to the source in the article.
The story goes on to quote the unnamed official, “instead of de-escalating the situation, the governor escalated it,”.

NASCAR Drops National Guard Sponsorships, Gets No Recruits, McCaskill questioned Program
August 7, 2014

Washington Post via Johncombest.com

Pay $26.5 million to plaster a brand name on a racecar. Let 75 million people watch it go around a track thousands of times per year.

This was the strategy deployed by the National Guard — and it earned them zero recruits.

Now, the Weekend Warriors are breaking up with their $32 million dollar man — NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. It’s also ending a $12 million sponsorship deal with driver Graham Rahal.

“Significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business,” Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, acting director of the Army National Guard, said in a press release.

The “significantly constrained resources” may be due to Senate hearings on the Guard’s profligate spending convened earlier this year. USA Today reported the Guard spent $26.5 million to sponsor NASCAR in 2012, “but failed to sign up a single new soldier to its ranks,” according to Senate documents. Between 2011 and 2013, the Guard spent $88 million, but “it is unclear how many new recruits, if any, signed up because of it.”

“How can you justify the fact that nobody is getting recruited?” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in hearings. “The facts speak for themselves. The data is very clear. You’re not getting recruits off of NASCAR.”

Even worse, the other branches of the military seem to already know that NASCAR isn’t the most fertile recruiting ground.

“The Army, the Navy, the Marines and the Coast Guard all canceled their sponsorships with NASCAR due to cost, ineffectiveness and difficulty in measuring results,” according to a Senate document. “The Army specifically stated that NASCAR was declining against the Army’s core target audience and that NASCAR sponsorship had the highest cost per engagement in the Army’s portfolio of sponsorships — three times the next highest program.”

Post Cites Military Assault Debate as Example of Rising Role of Women in Senate, Cites McCaskill & Gillibrand
November 19, 2013

Washington Post (via Johncombest.com)

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are leading opposing sides of a months-long disagreement over how the Defense Department should handle the reported rise of sexual assault in the ranks.
An emotionally-charged debate is expected to play out on the Senate floor in the coming days as the Senate begins considering the annual defense authorization bill that sets military policy and pay levels. The process is expected to begin this week and likely will conclude after the Thanksgiving recess.
Senators are expected to consider dozens of amendments to the bill, including proposals prompted by recent reports about the National Security Agency, others about terrorism suspects detained at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and whether to impose new sanctions on Iran — a move favored by many senators but opposed by the Obama administration as it continues delicate negotiations with the Iranian regime over its nuclear program.
Those are serious national security concerns, but the rising number of sexual assaults — the Pentagon estimates that as many as 26,000 service members were the targets of unwanted sexual contact last year — has earned special attention, especially from women senators.
McCaskill and Gillibrand are two of the record 20 women now serving in the Senate and two of seven women now serving on the Armed Services Committee — the highest tally ever.
They worked over the summer with colleagues of both genders and parties to ensure that the defense bill would include several significant changes to how the Pentagon handles sex assault crimes. Already the bill ends the statute of limitations on cases of assault or rape; strips military commanders of their ability to overturn jury convictions in assault or rape cases; requires that civilians review decisions by commanders to not prosecute certain cases; makes it a crime to retaliate against victims who report a sexual assault; and requires dishonorable discharge or dismissal for anyone convicted of sexual assault.
But McCaskill and Gillibrand want to do more to end the scourge of rape and assaults — and do not agree on what to do.
McCaskill and Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) are sponsoring an amendment that would change military rules of evidence to drop the “good soldier” defense unless a defendant’s military character is directly relevant to the crime they’re accused of committing. Their plan also would require the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force to review any case in which military prosecutors recommend proceeding and a military commander disagrees. The amendment is likely to pass with bipartisan support.
Gillibrand has a proposal that goes much farther: She wants to completely strip a military commander’s involvement in cases of assault or rape and turn such cases over to specialized military prosecutors. The change could add millions of dollars to the defense budget and radically alter a commander’s responsibilities for good order and morale. Her plan is backed by national veterans groups, victims’ advocates, 17 of the 20 women senators and an impressive bipartisan coalition including Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).
More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/11/18/upcoming-battle-will-showcase-rising-power-of-women-in-senate/

Handicappers Now Dropping Missouri Senate Race Off The ‘Flip” List
September 24, 2012

P-D via Johncombest:
Republicans had big plans this fall to takeover the U.S. Senate — that is, until Todd Akin’s controversial comments on rape.
This summer, it appeared the GOP had a shot of winning four seats in the U.S. Senate and pushing Democrats aside from majority control. But now, a New York Times election forecast predicts the Democrats have a 70 percent chance of keeping the august chamber.
Missouri was once the GOP’s main pickup target, with national Republicans pouring money into the state to defeat incumbent Claire McCaskill, a Democrat running in a red-leaning state. But McCaskill’s opponent, Akin, has been weakened after saying women can avoid pregnanacy after rape. National Republicans have pulled support and cash. Now, they are focusing their attention on states like Mass
Akin was once the clear favorite with a significant polling advantage. Current telephone polls show a tight race, but The New York Times analysis now lists the state as “lean Democratic,” saying McCaskill has a 72 percent shot of winning.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post has removed Missouri from it’s list of state most likely to flip control of the U.S. Senate. The state had previously been ranked in the top five.
The National Journal ranks the state as 9th most likely to change partisan control of the Senate. It was ranked 3rd before the Akin comments.
The Journal wrote on Wednesday: “GOP Rep. Todd Akin is perilously low on money, and he’s not getting any support from the outside Republican groups. He also shows no signs of dropping his bid — the best news McCaskill could get these days. Once the deadline for dropping out passes next week, watch McCaskill carpetbomb her rival to try to put this race away.”

Wash Post: Like Bachmann, Akin Shoots from the Lip
August 20, 2012

Washington Post via John Combest:
This is part of a Monday mornhing column from the Washigton Post about rep. Todd Akin joining the list of politicians who shoot from the hip.
The most recent analog is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), whose presidential campaign was derailed after she spouted a series of facts and theories that turned out not to be true. Bachmann had a real chance to be a player in the race, but she had no message discipline, and it was her downfall.
Akin comes from the same school of true-believer social conservatism as Bachmann. Unfortunately for Republicans, he also seems to come from the same school of shooting from the hip.
During the GOP presidential primary, Bachmann passed along a story from a woman she met on the campaign trail who said the HPV vaccine caused her daughter to have “mental retardation.”
Akin’s claim, in the same way, was attributed to other people.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” he said.
People with whom Akin associates might well have said such things. But it’s also wholly unhelpful to repeat such baseless claims, because as a politician, repeating someone else’s claim makes it your own. A big-time candidate needs to know that.
What Akin said is likely a more common belief than most Americans realize. There are several examples of state lawmakers and even a federal judge nominee having expressed the same view (BuzzFeed has a rundown). And a quick Google search shows the view isn’t relegated to just a few rogue politicians; it’s one that some in the social conservative community believe — despite the medical community’s clear verdict that it’s nonsense.
This is part of Akin’s problem. Like Bachmann, he comes from this world and from a conservative district where getting to the right of your opponent is the name of the game. It’s hard to make the jump from that place into the political mainstream in a big-time race.
Those who have been able to do it successfully know how to moderate their rhetoric — if not necessarily their views.
But like Bachmann, Akin has little connection to the political professional world — either nationally or in Missouri — and that’s going to make the transition much harder.
“Don’t expect Missouri Republicans to defend Akin,” said one Missouri GOP strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly about the situation. “Akin has never helped fellow Republicans so no one has any loyalty to him.
The strategist added: “The real problem is that Akin will continue to make these off-the-wall stupid comments.”
Akin was quick to say Sunday afternoon that he “misspoke,” and his campaign, to its credit, is doing what it can to put the issue behind it. (Though notably he did not apologize, which will likely prolong the matter.)
But if he can’t resist the urge to say stuff like this in the coming months, it’s going to take the focus off of McCaskill and cause big problems for the GOP in its efforts to reclaim the Senate.