Strange bedfellows have emerged following the revelations from former-NSA sub-contractor Edward Snowden regarding the NSA's surveillance program of Americans. One side of the debate includes figures like former Vice President Dick Cheney who called Snowden a "traitor" over the weekend which is essentially President Obama's opinion as well.
On the other side, some prominent Democrats are lining up with prominent Republicans like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in praising Edward Snowden for breaking his classified status and releasing information to the American people.
Watching this go full circle is pretty fascinating as the same crowd, including President Obama and Vice President Biden, who harshly berated the former administration for this program are now in agreement with them to defend it.
Quite an amazing story line playing out right now in the political world.
Similar the IRS scandal, the NSA surveillance program will have implications heading into 2014 and 2016. No doubt this revelation bolsters the stock of libertarian-minded politician like Senator Rand Paul.
Report from CBS News:
Beginning this week, members of Congress intend to get answers from the National Security Agency about the legal justification it's been relying on for its sweeping surveillance activities. Congress will get its chance to question the intelligence community with a series of briefings and at least two hearings this week, while a few members will meet Tuesday to consider a possible lawsuit in response to the surveillance revelations.
"I think it's a constitutional issue, without a doubt," Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said to CBSNews.com about the NSA's recently revealed tactics, which include the widespread collection of U.S. phone records from Verizon, as well as the collection of internet content from non-U.S. internet users outside of the United States. While the collection of internet content doesn't target U.S. users, the NSA could capture information from Americans unintentionally.
"I don't think the Constitution allows for broad sweeps of personal data of people who aren't even suspected of doing anything," Massie said. "As of this week, we now know that's occurring."
Sound off the NSA surveillance program…
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has created a lot of 2016 buzz recently and his travel plans are likely a reflection of that. Cruz has taken to twitter and other forms of media in recent months becoming a vocal critic of President Obama and an advocate of small government.
Report from the Houston Chronicle:
Though Cruz is a freshman senator, his name has been tossed around quite a bit over the last few weeks in 2016 presidential speculation.
Cruz has made himself into a prominent voice in recent weeks on various hot topics, such as immigration reform and the recent IRS scandal, speaking out both on Twitter and Capitol Hill.
Though Cruz hasn’t hinted of any plans to run in 2016, he hasn’t ruled out the notion either.
Cruz has agreed to attend numerous events that are often seen as early steps in a presidential campaign for prominent Republicans considering running for office.
The Iowa Republican Party will host Cruz at an annual picnic on July 19, at which attendees can donate $100 and join the senator for lunch. For $500, a photo-op is included. That same weekend, Cruz is expected to attend another Iowa gathering, David Lane’s “Pastors and Pews” event, at which Cruz is to deliver the keynote address.
As Iowa is home to the first caucus of election season, both stops could provide crucial early campaign coverage and connections for Cruz as 2016 continues to approach.
I think the current President set the bar for other "freshman" senators looking to seek higher office despite a short track record. Other names like Rand Paul also come to mind as well as Marco Rubio if you're making a list of freshman who could be launching presidential campaigns.
The IRS scandal currently working its way through the departments of the federal government is surely going to be an issue heading into the 2014 midterm elections. However, does this story have legs that will walk until 2016?
I've been pondering which Republican candidate would benefit most from this type of discontent with the government's collection agency. Nobody likes the IRS but does this type of scandal provide enough steam to make major changes to the law or give conservatives enough cover to call for abolishment of the agency? Aside from Benghazi, which is a much more diluted and complicated scandal, and the Associated Press phone-tapping mess, the IRS scandal is fairly simple to understand even for the low-information voter block.
Some Democratic strategists are getting… nervous..
Former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis said the growing IRS scandal has robbed Democrats of the so-called "trust edge" they held over Republicans and is now jeopardizing hopes that Hillary Clinton will replace President Obama in 2016, the Washington Examiner reports.
Said Davis: "This hurts the Democratic Party and will hurt anybody who runs for president in 2016. It will make it almost impossible to elect a [Democratic] president…I'm nervous."
So, what's the deal? Will Americans forget next week?
Reading 2016 news coverage at this point is like reading press releases from Hillary Clinton's office everyday. Every major media source has polling indicating that Clinton would easily take the nomination and, if the election was held today, would beat most major Republicans.
I'm wondering whether this type of coverage is overall bad for the Republican and whether it tends to "turn off" voters who will be lured into believing the nomination is sewn up so why bother supporting someone else?
One only has to look back to 2008 when Hillary Clinton was the shoe-in for the Democratic nomination to see an example of the underdog candidate rising out of nowhere to challenge and defeat the juggernaut Clinton machine. The lesson, in my opinion, is that the media enjoys perpetuating the most often repeated narrative lest they appear to be out of step on the state of coverage. I've tried to avoid the meaningless 2016 chatter right now since it is so far off and 75% of it consists of Clinton polls and the other 25% consists of talk about Chris Christie or Donald Trump.
How about some suggestions for Presidential election topics and news stories outside the weekly polls? Got anything juicy on the Electoral College?
C-SPAN has jumped on board the 2016 bandwagon already and created their "Road to the White House" series looking at the next Presidential Election. The first series featured Vice President Biden and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
C-SPAN Road to the White House 2016
Report from the Washington Times:
It will be three very long years . . . → Read More: C-SPAN launches "Road to the White House 2016"
Most of the buzz on the Democratic side of the aisle has surrounding Hillary Clinton's decision on whether she would pursue the party's nomination in 2016. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's name has also been on a short list but it appears the Governor has seen the uphill writing on the wall and says he . . . → Read More: Andrew Cuomo "concedes" 2016 nomination to Hillary Clinton
The US Senate will take up a "gun control compromise" bill today which will set the stage for the debate moving forward. Obviously a hot topic heading into 2014 and 2016 as well with candidates on all sides voicing opinions.
Report from the Washington Post:
Manchin’s deal was struck with two Republican senators, Mark . . . → Read More: Firing a shot at 2016
Maybe you've noticed, maybe not. However, we've got a brand new domain (USPresidentialElectionNews.com) for moving forward. 2012 is soooo last year, 2016 is the next big thing. Not to mention 2020 and 2024 depending on how the national debt works out.
Hopefully everything made it over during the change. If you're having an issue . . . → Read More: Welcome to US Presidential Election News
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took a shot at Republican leaders with a warning that embracing same-sex marriage would cause a severe backlash among evangelical voters who typically pull the lever for the GOP. Given the context of the current Supreme Court cases involving same-sex marriage, clearly there is a recipe for a hot button . . . → Read More: Mike Huckabee sets up gay marriage debate for GOP in 2016