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Ebola Case Diagnosed in New York City



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From the Wall Street Journal this evening:

A physician who had returned to New York City 10 days ago after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the disease, according to an official familiar with the findings.

Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old physician who worked with Doctors Without Borders and lives Upper Manhattan, is the fourth person to be diagnosed with the deadly disease in the U.S.

Dr. Spencer was diagnosed with the disease after treating patients in Guinea. He reported a fever and gastrointestinal problems Thursday morning and had quarantined himself in his Upper Manhattan apartment. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center in an exposure suit, where he was quarantined in a specially designed hospital room.

… City officials said detectives were tracing Dr. Spencer’s contacts to determine whether anyone else is at risk of becoming ill. His girlfriend also was being tested for the disease. City officials said Dr. Spencer was communicative and cooperative about his whereabouts and contacts.

”Our understanding is very few people were in direct contact with him,” the mayor said. “The patient is in good shape and has gone into a great deal of detail. We have a lot to work with.”

Stay safe and healthy, New Yorkers.

 

Will’s Take: Obama Made a Mistake by Linking Michelle Nunn with Harry Reid



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On Thursday’s Special Report, George Will criticized President Obama’s decision to link a potential victory by Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn to a Democratically controlled Senate.

“It’s just folly to go on radio and say a vote for Michelle Nunn is a vote for Harry Reid,” Will said. “I don’t think that’s the message they want to hear down there.” 

The president’s decision didn’t appear to be aimed at attracting new voters, Will noted, but at mobilizing Democrats to go out and vote. The race in solidly Republican Georgia might be a surprise, Will said: Michelle Nunn’s father won a Senate seat in the state when the odds were stacked against him, too

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The Federal Deficit: Improving Like Columbia Football Is Improving



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Columbia University, the alma mater of President Obama and myself, is outstanding in many areas, but football isn’t one of them. Their last win of any note came in 1947; a few decades ago, they had a 44-game losing streak; and last year they lost every game they played, by an average score of 40–7.

This year hasn’t started out much better, with losses by 49–7, 42–7, and 61–28.  Then last weekend the team went down to Philadelphia and lost to Penn — but the score was only 31–7, which not only is borderline respectable but is the third straight week of losses by fewer points than the week before.  In response, there was jubilation in the streets of Morningside Heights.

Okay, maybe that last sentence isn’t true. But you can see where President Obama may have gotten the idea to celebrate his reduction of the federal deficit to a mere $1,500 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

Web Briefing: October 23, 2014

Liberia Might Be Gaining Ground Against Ebola



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BuzzFeed’s reporter on the ground in Liberia has an excellent story on what health officials in that country are saying — and it seems to be mostly good news. As the number of treatment beds in the country has expanded substantially, the number of dead bodies and patients in treatment has dropped in real terms. Or so aid agencies and the Liberian authorities think. While they’re going to a great deal of effort to count cases in Liberia (and I assume the same is happening in Sierra Leone and Guinea), there’s really no accurate count of how many cases there are and how many have died of the disease.

Better yet, BuzzFeed is told that the situation seems to be improving both in the capitol, Monrovia, and in a couple remote areas of the country, including one county that borders both Sierra Leone and Guinea. This suggests that, even without accurate statistics on the Ebola situation, there’s reason to think the epidemic could be losing steam across the country. (It’s also possible that people’s general impressions of the pace of infection are just wrong, and the situation isn’t getting better at all, but there are some statistics to support this.)

It can’t happen too soon, of course, as residents get more and more upset about the restrictions placed on those who’ve had contact with the disease, and as Liberia’s health system has to turn away people with most other ailments in order to focus on Ebola. 

How much this suggested improvement has to do with resources and manpower that the U.S. and Europe have provided to Liberia and the region is unclear. Earlier this week, the head of the West African regional body, ECOWAS, said that resources, from governments and private aid groups (such as Doctors without Borders) are getting there. That help is key to defeating the epidemic: The world wasn’t going to be able to buy and build a functional health system in three of the world’s most dysfunctional countries in any reasonable period of time, and the World Health Organization is a bureaucracy, not a health agency. (E.g., it can help advise and run Liberia’s or Sierra Leone’s health systems, but it can’t staff them itself.)

One thing we do know: There’s already a significant amount of U.S. resources and manpower on the ground in Liberia, where the U.S. has the strongest ties. Sierra Leone, as a Commonwealth country, has never done much business with the U.S. aid bureaucracy; Guinea gets aid from France, its former colonizer, but generally has not gotten along well with the West. The differences across countries explain why Liberia, probably the least functional of the three countries, might be the first to report some success in beating back the disease, but it’ll be a long time until we really know.

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Some Senate Scuttlebutt



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Was talking to a Republican who sees internal polls. Nothing earth-shattering here, but for what it’s worth:

South Dakota looks good despite the scare a couple of weeks ago, with internals showing a widening Rounds lead.

In Georgia, Perdue has obviously had a tough couple of weeks on outsourcing and needs to shift the momentum. But it’s probably heading to run-off, where it will be hard for Nunn to get to 50. 

In Louisiana, Republican internals show Landrieu in the mid-to-high 30s. 

Iowa may be be the closest race in the country, and perhaps the nastiest. The undecideds tend to be disenchanted Obama voters, so the question is if Ernst can reach them.

Everyone feels good about Colorado, where, as Joel wrote today, Republicans may have their best candidate this cycle in Cory Gardner. 

In New Hampshire, Brown has fought it to a margin-of-error race, and it will depend on late-breakers.

In Alaska, it’s a 4–5 point lead for Sullivan.

Cotton is looking good. 

Kansas, not surprisingly, is going to be a squeaker.
 

GOP Takes First-Ever Early Voting Lead in Iowa



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Representative Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) has been relying on early voters to propel him to victory in the Iowa Senate race, but Republicans have deprived Democrats of that traditional strength.

For the first time ever, Republicans lead Democrats in terms of ballots cast by early voters. 

“Today, cumulative Iowa registered Republican returns/early votes surpassed Democrats, to take a lead of 305 returned ballots,” Mark Stephenson of Cardinal Insights wrote Wednesday night in a memo for Republican Senate nominee Joni Ernst. “In 2010, the lead for Democrat returns at this point in the cycle was 16,426 ballots.”

Early voting in Iowa began on September 25, three days before Ernst turned in a strong performance in her first debate with Braley.

Iowa Republicans are so accustomed to losing among early voters that Jamie Johnson, a member of the state-party central committee, told me to assume that Braley’s lead was actually three points higher than the poll numbers show.

He doesn’t think that anymore. “The momentum in Iowa’s Senate race has completely shifted over the last three weeks,” Johnson says in a text message. “The astounding turnout of people on very short notice and the raw enthusiasm that we are seeing at Joni’s events resemble the closing days of Mike Huckabee’s and Rick Santorum’s Iowa Caucus victories, only it is more palpable.”

Michelle Obama Confuses Colo. Dem Senator With His Republican Challenger



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Michelle Obama made another gaffe stumping for a Democratic candidate on Thursday, appearing to confuse the family history of Colorado’s Mark Udall with that of his Republican opponent.

“As a fifth-generation Coloradan, Mark understands what makes this state special,” the first lady said from Denver on Thursday.

Except Udall isn’t from Colorado: He is the son of former longtime Arizona congressman Mo Udall. Mark was born in Tucson, Ariz., and moved to Colorado after he graduated from college.

On the other hand, Udall’s opponent, Republican Cory Gardner, comes from a long line of Coloradans. According to Gardner’s website, his roots in the Centennial State go back to 1886.

The first lady made headlines earlier this month with a verbal blooper while campaigning for another Democrat in a tight race. While in Iowa for Bruce Braley, she called him “Bruce Bailey” and referred to him as a Marines veteran, which he isn’t.

‘The Poll Tax That Wasn’t’



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My Politico column today on voter ID:

For the left, voter ID is tantamount to a poll tax. It is meant to suppress minority voters and is a last-gasp, unconstitutional scheme by the Republican Party to save itself by decisively shaping the electorate to its advantage.

If all of this is true, the nation is awash in neo-segregationist election rules. According to a recent Government Accountability Office report on voter ID laws, 33 states now have them, although the rules vary.

A valid ID is a necessity of modern life and requiring one to vote hardly seems an undue imposition. Especially if you are willing to give one out gratis. Of the 17 states that have strict requirements for a photo or government-issued ID, the GAO notes, 16 provide a free ID to eligible voters.

The critics reject this as yet another poll tax because people may not have the relevant underlying documents to get the free ID and there is a cost to obtaining them.

Well, yes. In Indiana, for instance, it costs $10 to obtain a birth certificate. In Arkansas, it costs $12. In North Dakota, $7.

Maybe Congress Will Finally Stand Up to Obama if He Bypasses Them on Iran



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Word inside the Beltway is that President Obama intends to reach an Iranian nuclear-weapons deal without involving Congress. Defenders of the Constitution may just sigh and throw up their hands (again). Obama’s plan only adds to the long list of unconstitutional executive actions taken by this administration: refusal to enforce federal laws on health care, immigration, welfare, and crime; refusal to defend federal laws in the courts; appointment of rump officers to federal bodies without Senate advice and consent; targeting of groups by ideology for tax or criminal investigation, and so on.

For the most part, President Obama has gotten away with it. He has been aided and abetted by his supporters in Congress, media, and the academy, who went ballistic over far more serious Bush claims of executive power to pursue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But this might be the final straw that breaks Congress’s back. Over the last century or more, our executive and legislative branches have understood the Treaty Clause, which requires two-thirds Senate approval for treaties negotiated by the president, to govern important international agreements. This has been especially the case for alliances and arms-control agreements. Virtually every important arms-control agreement of the post–World War II period (and before) has required Senate consent, including the Obama-era New START nuclear-arms agreement with Russia. This was the result of bipartisan agreement in the Senate. Both Senator Jesse Helms and Joe Biden, when a senator, demanded that the Bush administration submit the Treaty of Moscow in 2002, which heavily cut nuclear arsenals, to the Senate.

Refusal to submit an Iranian nuclear deal to the Senate could finally spark a bipartisan response to defend the upper house’s prerogatives, and begin the hard road back to restoring the Constitution’s separation of powers. If Obama could commit the United States to nuclear obligations with the Iranians on his own, he could also make agreements with the Russians cutting nuclear arsenals even farther, hand off a sphere of influence to China in Asia, and enter more free-trade agreements with his favorite nations abroad like Iran. The loss of Senate prerogatives would do permanent damage to the Constitution’s design, which imposes a legislative check on important international agreements, and would infringe on the powers of individual senators of all parties from now into the future. That might finally give Republicans and Democrats the incentive to join together to oppose this new example of presidential violation of the Constitution.

White House Insists Obama Is Relevant



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President Obama’s spokesman took a moment to rebut the vulnerable Senate Democrat who claimed that he isn’t relevant, saying that “the vast majority” of Americans disagree.

Senator Mark Begich (D., Alaska) tried to distance himself from President Obama during an interview with the Washington Examiner.

“The president’s not relevant,” Begich told Rebecca Berg. “He’s gone in two years.”

Democrats around the country are avoiding the unpopular Obama, but the president won’t let them get away with it.

“I am not on the ballot this fall,” Obama said earlier this month. “But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”

Obama’s former campaign strategist, David Axelrod, said that statement was a “mistake,” but the president emphasized his closeness to Democrats this week during an interview with Al Sharpton.

“A lot of the states that are contested this [fall] are states that I didn’t win,” Obama said. “And so some of the candidates there, you know, it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turnout. The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me — they have supported my agenda in Congress.”

Obama to Atlanta Radio Station: A Michelle Nunn Win Means We Keep the Senate and Keep Passing My Policies



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​President Obama just directly linked himself to another red-state Democrat Senate candidate. Calling in to Atlanta’s V-103 radio station on Thursday, the president said a Michelle Nunn victory in Georgia “means that Democrats keep control of the Senate” and could continue moving forward with his agenda.

“If Michelle Nunn wins, that means that Democrats keep control of the Senate and that means that we can keep on doing some good work,” he said. “It is critically important to make sure folks vote.”

Despite many vulnerable Democrats’ efforts to distance themselves from him this cycle, President Obama hasn’t made it easy for them. On Monday of this week on Al Sharpton’s radio show, he described Democratic candidates as “folks who vote with me, they have supported my agenda in Congress,” as well as “strong allies and supporters of me.” Earlier this month, he also told an audience to “make no mistake — these policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.”

90 Percent or Bust: The Left’s Strange Eagerness to Raise Top Tax Rates



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The top income-tax rate is back to where it was during the Clinton years, thanks to the Obamacrats letting the high-end Bush II cuts expire. But don’t think for a second that the left wouldn’t love to take tax rates much, much higher. Last summer, a CNBC reporter asked President Obama if there was a limit to how high taxes should go. “You know, I don’t have a particular number in mind,” is how Obama responded. Indeed, left-wing economists continue to generate papers showing top rates of 70 percent, 80 percent, or even higher would reduce income inequality without damaging the US economy. Over at the Center for American Progress think tank — a favorite of Hillary Clinton’s — blogger Bryce Covert embraces a new paper that suggests a 90 percent tax rate on the top 1 percent of American earners would reduce inequality, boost government revenue, and “make everyone better off.”

Except the history of the US economy under extreme tax rates suggests everyone wouldn’t be better off.  Not at all. 

The last time tax rates were at 90 percent or higher was the 1950s and early 1960s. While GDP grew at a brisk 3.6 percent over the decade from 1951 through 1960, it was also a period that saw three recessions. Recall that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign promised he would “get this country moving again.” That suggests a decade of stagnation, not growth.

More importantly, the U.S. economy benefited from a set of one-factors that offset the high tax rates. A National Bureau of Economic Research study described the situation this way: “At the end of World War II, the United States was the dominant industrial producer in the world. With industrial capacity destroyed in Europe—except for Scandinavia—and in Japan and crippled in the United Kingdom, the United States produced approximately 60 percent of the world output of manufactures in 1950, and its GNP was 61 percent of the total of the present (1979) OECD countries. This was obviously a transitory situation.” 

What’s more, as American Enterprise Institute scholar Ed Conard has explained about the 1950s, “The United States was prosperous for a unique set of reasons that are impossible to duplicate today, including a decade-long depression, the destruction of the rest of the world’s infrastructure, a failure of potential foreign competitors to educate their people, and a highly restricted supply of labor.”

It should also be noted that effective tax rates were much lower than 90 percent because of myriad tax breaks. But many economists suggesting high taxes would also get rid of all manner of loopholes, pushing effective rates to levels unseen in American history. Finally, the decade was a period of stagnation when it came to innovation. As historian Alexander Field has noted, the postwar economy lived off the technological innovations produced in the 1930s. The postwar decades’ failure to generate big, new breakthroughs led to declining productivity not reversed until the 1990s tech boom.

In short, Big Government taxed away America’s tiger-economy years. And now with new breakthroughs in energy and the internet offering hope America’s New Normal isn’t permanent, the left would do it again.

Tags: Economy , Taxes

Malala the Dancer



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It’s a real surprise that Ronan Farrow’s show has been a disaster, n’est pas?

Sgt-at-Arms Who Took Down Ottawa Shooter Gets Standing Ovation at Canadian Parliament



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Kevin Vickers, the 58-year-old ceremonial Sergeant-at-Arms of Canada’s parliament, received a standing ovation from Canadian lawmakers on Thursday after gunning down an attacker who targeted the Canadian parliament on Wednesday morning.

Off-duty at the time of the attack, Vickers fatally wounded a 32-year-old convert to Islam after the man stormed into the Canadian parliament with a shotgun – which he had just used to kill 25-year-old Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo at the nearby Canadian War Memorial. 

A Canadian journalist snapped a photograph of Vickers moments after he’d shot the gunman:

Canadian lawmakers returned to parliament on Thursday morning, giving Vickers a rousing standing ovation as he took his usual position overlooking the room. 

Poll: Scott Walker Leading by One in Wisconsin



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Wisconsin governor Scott Walker leads Democratic challenger Mary Burke 47–46 percent among likely voters, according to a new poll from Wisconsin Public Radio and St. Norbert College. Walker’s lead expands to three percentage points among registered voters, while 11 percent of voters surveyed remain undecided. Walker has trailed or tied Burke in three previous polls, and the newest survey only confirms that the race will likely be just as close on Election Day.

Voter turnout and the still-undecided voters could decide the election if Walker and Burke remain tied in the polls, which puts the spotlight back on the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to block Wisconsin’s voter-ID law from taking effect before November. The Court made its decision without much explanation, but opponents of the law raised concerns that some mail-in votes would not get counted unless the voters showed up to verify their identities. The Court’s decision did not decide the law’s ultimate fate, but the law’s injunction could mean that illegitimate votes shape the outcome of the election.

Nine Percent of Likely Voters ‘Enthusiastic’ about Obama



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Less than 10 percent of likely voters this election cycle say they’re “enthusiastic” about the Obama administration, according to a new Associated Press-Gfk poll.

The Washington Post notes that the survey included a question beyond the typical approval-disapproval rating, asking participants to measure their enthusiasm about the Obama presidency thus far. The poll offered four options: Enthusiastic; Satisfied but not enthusiastic; Dissatisfied but not angry; Angry.

Just nine percent of likely voters said they were “enthusiastic,” with another 28 percent saying they were “satisfied, but not enthusiastic.” The total of respondents with a positive take on President Obama (37 percent) is barely more than the amount that are “angry” (34 percent). The remaining 28 percent said they were “dissatisfied, but not angry.”

The percentage of “enthusiastic” likely voters is down from 11 percent in last month’s AP-Gfk survey.

SCOTUS Corrects Crucial Mistake in Much-Quoted Ginsburg Voter-ID Dissent



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Earlier this week the United States Supreme Court ruled that Texas’s voter-ID law can be enforced in November’s midterm elections — a ruling that justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg objected to in a much-touted seven-page dissent. However, on Wednesday the Court formally corrected a not insignificant factual error in her dissenting opinion. Via Fox News:

Aside from “small stylistic changes,” Wednesday’s correction erases a sentence from Ginsburg’s official dissent that refers to photo identification cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs not being an acceptable form of ID in Texas — when they actually are.

“Accordingly, the Justice deleted the following sentence from the dissent: ‘Nor will Texas accept photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs,’” the Supreme Court said Wednesday in a written statement.

As one might expect, the correction suggests that the challenge of obtaining valid voter identification is not as burdensome as many liberals have suggested.

WaPo: ‘A Half-Dozen Unnamed Black Witnesses’ Corroborate Officer Wilson’s Story



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The Washington Post reports that a significant number of witnesses in the Michael Brown case are offering testimony that supports Officer Wilson’s story: 

Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown fought for control of the officer’s gun, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager after he moved toward the officer as they faced off in the street, according to interviews, news accounts and the full report of the St. Louis County autopsy of Brown’s body.

Because Wilson is white and Brown was black, the case has ignited intense debate over how police interact with African American men. But more than a half-dozen unnamed black witnesses have provided testimony to a St. Louis County grand jury that largely supports Wilson’s account of events of Aug. 9, according to several people familiar with the investigation who spoke with The Washington Post.

Some of the physical evidence — including blood spatter analysis, shell casings and ballistics tests — also supports Wilson’s account of the shooting, The Post’s sources said, which casts Brown as an aggressor who threatened the officer’s life. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited from publicly discussing the case.

Earlier in the week, the New York Times noted that:

The police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., two months ago has told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and in fear for his life as he struggled over his gun with Mr. Brown, according to government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation into the matter.

The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun. It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.

The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck.

The combination of these two developments strike me as making an indictment unlikely.

Hagan Becomes Latest Dem to Dodge Question on Obama’s Leadership



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North Carolina senator Kay Hagan became the latest in a growing line of Democratic politicians refusing to clearly state what they think of President Obama and his leadership.

Hagan spoke on Tuesday with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, who asked the senator point-blank whether she thought President Obama was a strong leader.

“You know, President Obama has a lot on his plate,” Hagan deflected, pointing to a series of crises such as the Islamic State and Ebola.

“And do you think he’s acted as a strong leader in these crises?” Hunt pressed, causing the senator to admit that “we were late to the table” on Ebola. 

“So you don’t think he showed strong leadership,” Hunt said, prompting Hagan to again demur. 

The president is very unpopular in North Carolina, where Hagan is running a tough reelection campaign against Republican state lawmaker Thom Tillis. 

Why Aren’t Guns an Issue in the Midterms?



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In the New Hampshire Union Leader, Drew Cline notices that gun control isn’t an issue in the midterms:

In the six months after the Sandy Hook shootings, the left brought up gun control constantly. In April of 2013, Granite State Progress brought the daughter of a Sandy Hook victim to a Kelly Ayotte town hall meeting to confront Ayotte, who had just voted against a Democratic gun control bill. Since then, support for gun control has fallen in the polls and the issue has been dropped in favor of character assassination and innuendo. Mentions of the words “Koch brothers” probably outnumber mentions of the word “guns” by more than 1,000 to one.

This is an excellent point. But, honestly, it was never going to be any other way. Gun control comes up when something terrible happens, and then it immediately dies down again when people come to their senses. The idea that an election in November of 2014 would be significantly changed by something that happened in 2012 was always a preposterous one.

Not, of course, that this stopped the predictions from flowing. Per Business Insider, last April,

Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough reamed into Senate Republicans and four Democrats who voted against the passage of a bill expanding background checks. Particularly targeting Republicans, Scarborough said that the party was “moving toward extinction.”

“You do not ignore 90 percent of the American people on an issue of public safety,” Scarborough said, citing poll numbers that consistently showed nine in 10 respondents supporting the measure.

“Mark it down — this is going to be a turning point in the history of the Republican Party as well,” he added. “And let those out there chattering, let them chatter away all they want to and scream like hyenas. Let them do what they want to do.

This line, popular among progressives last summer, was always nonsense. But it was especially odd to hear it coming from a former Republican congressman who won his seat in Florida in 1994 on the back of a Republican wave that materialized in opposition to, among other things, an overreach on gun control.

Cline wonders why Republicans haven’t picked up the cause:

Republicans have been handed an opportunity to show Democratic candidates as actively hostile to some of our most cherished and important constitutional rights, and they are not taking it. Jeanne Shaheen co-sponsored Sen. Mark Udall’s constitutional amendment to rewrite the First Amendment and allow government — including states — to suppress speech. Kuster and Shea-Porter both support it. These incumbents also want to pass laws that, at the very least, further restrict Second Amendment rights. Together, those encroachments upon the Bill of Rights would make a powerful Republican campaign ad.

I agree wholly with Cline on the matter of Udall’s proposal. That Republicans haven’t been running ads noting that their opponents have been trying to repeal the First Amendment is surprising. But I don’t know how much traction most candidates would get by talking about the Second – especially given that most of the competitive Senate seats are in pro-gun states in which Democrats are unlikely to take a strong stance in favor of more control. Mark Pryor and Mark Begich both voted against the Toomey-Manchin bill, so any sustained attack would look a touch odd. Iowa’s Tom Harkin voted in favor of the bill, but he’s not running for re-election. In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes has done just about everything she can do suggest to the electorate that she’s pro-gun, thereby neutralizing McConnell’s vote against as a campaign issue.

There have been skirmishes in a couple of states. In Kansas, the surprise rise of Greg Orman has led Pat Roberts to bring up the issue — and hard. According to the Wichita Eagle, background checks have become an issue in the race:

Orman said he is a gun owner and Second Amendment supporter. But he came out in favor of closing the so-called gun show loophole, which allows people to buy guns while bypassing the background check they’d need to pass if they bought a gun from a licensed dealer.

“I don’t think that having a loophole that allows people who couldn’t get guns at a legitimate gun dealer to get them otherwise is sound policy,” Orman said. “I just don’t think it makes sense to make it easy for a convicted felon or someone who’s under a restraining order for domestic abuse to be able to walk into a gun show and easily get a gun.”

Roberts’ response: “Well, there you have it. He’s for the Second Amendment, but more federal controls, more federal requirements. I’m for the Second Amendment; I’ve always stood for the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.”

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, Bill Cassidy has criticized Mary Landrieu’s vote in favor of Toomey-Manchin. In late September, the Times-Picayune reported that:

The National Rifle Association is out this week with a controversial TV ad attacking Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La, while Everytown for Gun Safety has announced its endorsement of Landrieu and accused the NRA of playing fast and loose with the facts.

This leaves us with Shaheen, Udall, and Hagan, all of whom voted in favor. Given New Hampshire’s nature, I can’t imagine that Scott Brown would profit greatly from knocking Shaheen for her vote in favor of a background-check bill. (Perhaps of all the “no” voters, Kelly Ayotte got the most flack.) And, even if he would benefit, he is on record as supporting that legislation — and much more besides. Colorado has been ground zero for the fight over post-Newtown restrictions, voters there having already pushed back against lawmakers who helped to institute new state rules. Would a sustained push from Cory Gardner motivate anyone new? I doubt it. As for North Carolina, Hagan seems to have already lost whatever ground her “yes” vote was going to cost her, while Thom Tillis seems reluctant to bring the issue up at all. 

In September, Gallup noted that a whopping one percent of Americans believe gun control to be the biggest issue facing the country. Bottom line: Nobody really cares.

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