Tags: Haley Barbour | Most | Powerful | Republican

Haley Barbour Is ‘Most Powerful Republican’

By    |   Sunday, 22 August 2010 12:33 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Haley Barbour Is ‘Most Powerful Republican’
2. Cost of Government Highest Ever in 2010
3. N.C. Students Pay for Abortion Coverage They Don’t Want
4. Cook Report: GOP to Gain up to 45 Seats in the House
5. Jewish Support for Obama Eroding
6. Less Than 3 Percent of Illegals Were Deported Last Year
7. Savings Soar as Returns Dwindle

1. Haley Barbour Is ‘Most Powerful Republican’

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has more political clout than any Republican in the country — at least until the November elections.

That’s because he runs the Republican Governors Association and several state-based PACs, and has more money to spend on the 2010 elections — $40 million — than any other GOP leader.

Barbour’s behind-the-scenes fundraising efforts recently landed a $1 million contribution from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., and more than twice that amount from Bob Perry, the Texas businessman who funded the Swift Boat attacks in 2004.

Barbour’s RGA matched the Republican National Committee in fundraising in the last quarter, thanks in part to dissatisfaction with RNC Chairman Michael Steele, Politico disclosed in an article headlined “The most powerful Republican in politics.”

Republican strategist Ed Rollins recently called Steele “a disaster” and said he has “failed miserably” at fundraising.

Meanwhile, Barbour is “clearly the top political strategist and political operative of his generation,” said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a former RNC chief of staff.

“He is without peer when he is raising money.”

The RGA and state-based PACs can accept unlimited donations from corporations and individuals, while the RNC and other federal committees cannot, adding to Barbour’s clout.

And winning governorships is particularly important this year, because governors will play a major role in the redistricting that will occur in 2011 and 2012 following this year’s census. So helping to elect GOP governors “will have an impact way beyond the 2010 election,” Politico observes.

In addition to helping his fellow Republicans, Barbour could also be laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 2012.

He currently polls way behind potential candidates Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. But his logic “is simple,” an adviser told Politico. “When he surveys what most Republicans consider to be a weak field, he sees no reason he couldn’t easily beat them.”

Editor's Note:

2. Cost of Government Highest Ever in 2010

American workers spent the first 231 days of this year toiling to pay off the costs of state, local, and federal governments, leaving just 4 1/2 months to provide for themselves and their families.

Each year, the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation and its Center for Fiscal Accountability calculate the day on which average Americans have paid off their share of the cost of government spending and regulations. This year that day fell on Aug. 19, eight days later than last year and the latest Cost of Government Day ever recorded, according to Mattie Corrao, government affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform.

"The fact that Cost of Government Day falls in the later part of August is alarming enough. It is even more harrowing that the 2010 Cost of Government Day constitutes a 34-day jump from COGD just two short years ago, when it fell on July 16," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

"This illustrates the ballooning growth of government, and should be of serious concern to taxpayers who are footing the ever-expanding bill."

The growing insolvency of state budgets, “coupled with exploding wages and benefits for government workers, continues to push the costs of state and local governments higher,” Corrao wrote for the Budget & Tax News website. “Across the nation, state taxes were raised by a net of $23.9 billion” in fiscal year 2010.

Between 1998 and 2008, the 10 states with the highest tax burdens — California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Ohio, Maryland, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — lost more than 3 million residents, who took with them $92 billion in income.

During the same period, the nine states with no income tax — Florida, Nevada, Alaska, Texas, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Washington, South Dakota, and Wyoming — gained 2.3 million new residents and $92 billion in wealth.

Corrao concludes: “Public pay and benefits remain unsustainable in many states, and spending will have to be limited if these states are to compete for the best and most productive individuals.”

Editor's Note:

3. N.C. Students Pay for Abortion Coverage They Don’t Want

Students in the University of North Carolina system will now be required to buy a campus health insurance plan that includes abortion coverage if they don’t have a private insurance plan.

Administrators have agreed to allow students on the 16 campuses of UNC to opt out of the abortion coverage of the campus plan if they choose to — but students who do opt out will pay the same premiums as students who do not.

Under the plan, a $500 benefit and 80 percent Preferred Provider Organization coverage is available for “Elective Abortion.” The healthcare coverage costs $744 a year, or $375 a semester, and the premium will automatically appear on a tuition bill unless the student submits proof of private coverage.

Students for Life of America, a pro-life organization with chapters at campuses around the country, has expressed concern that students without private coverage who oppose abortion on moral grounds must nevertheless pay into an insurance pool that subsidizes abortion coverage.

Sarah Hardin, President of North Carolina State University’s Students for Life group, said, “As a pro-life student at N.C. State, I am dismayed that my classmates will not only be forced to purchase health insurance, but will also be forced to pay into a pool that will go to aborting the children of other North Carolina students.”

The university’s policy raises another issue, Students for Life notes on its website: “Federal grant money is directed to universities from taxpayers through the Federal Student Aid Program. Student eligibility for federal grants is determined by the difference in the student’s ability to pay and the total ‘cost of attendance’ for the school.

“As stated by the UNC system, the cost of their abortion healthcare plan … is added to the student’s ‘cost of attendance’ calculation. This in turn, increases the student’s need for federal funds. Because of this increase in need, additional federal funds could be directed to the student to help cover this increase in cost.

“This is using federal taxpayer money for abortion healthcare.”

Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America, stated: “The fact that North Carolina students are going to be forced to pay for elective abortions is appalling. We demand that the North Carolina Board of Governors reverse their policy and remove the abortion mandate immediately. Paying for abortions should not be a pre-requisite to learning.”

Editor's Note:

4. Cook Report: GOP to Gain Up to 45 Seats in the House

The Cook Political Report’s forecast for the November elections now has Republicans gaining as many as 45 seats in the House — more than the 39 the GOP needs to take control.

The Report is a nonpartisan online newsletter founded by Charlie Cook, a political analyst for NBC and the National Journal. Cook’s new midterm predictions are based on changes in its forecasts for 10 House races.

Previously Cook had predicted a net gain of between 32 and 42 seats for the GOP, but he now has raised that to between 35 and 45 seats.

“At this point, only 214 House seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Democratic, while 181 seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Republican, and 40 seats are in the Toss Up column,” the Report observes.

“While this would imply an advantage for Democrats, given the continuous erosion we have seen in dozens of contests so far this cycle, races shifting from Solid and Likely Democrat to Lean Democratic and Toss Up, we would be surprised if there was not more movement from now until Election Day.”

Cook has changed the forecast for seven races from Lean Democratic or Likely Democratic to Toss Up, including districts in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania. Three other races have now gone from Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic.

Editor's Note:

5. Jewish Support for Obama Eroding

Barack Obama won nearly 80 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008, but his support among Jews has been declining in part because of concerns over his Israeli policies.

A study of Jewish voters by McLaughlin & Associates this past spring found that only 42 percent of respondents would support Obama’s re-election, while 46 percent said they would support another candidate.

Among Orthodox Jews, 69 percent would likely support another candidate, and just 17 percent would back Obama. Among those affiliated with Conservative Judaism, only 38 percent would support Obama, as would a slim majority of Reform Jews, 52 percent.

Overall, 50 percent said they approved and 39 percent disapproved of Obama’s handling of American relations with Israel.

“We are not only witnessing a sharpening of the divide within the community, but a radicalization of the Jewish political right, accompanied by a corresponding disengagement of the Jewish liberal sector from the Israel discourse,” The Jewish Journal observed in an Aug. 10 article.

That divide is the result of several factors. A new generation of voters includes significant numbers of Orthodox Jews and a growing presence of Russian, Iranian and Israeli activists, “who generally reflect a more conservative political bent,” according to The Journal.

Also, male baby boomers (55 to 64 years of age) have shifted to the right, and “this political transition is particularly significant among Jewish voters, as this age cohort dominates the Jewish population base,” The Journal reports.

“Not only worried about their own economic status, this constituency is deeply concerned by what they observe as the erosion of support for Israel.”

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, tells Newsmax: “The majority of Jews now realize that this guy is bad for Israel, let alone bad for America.”

Editor's Note:

6. Less Than 3 Percent of Illegals Were Deported Last Year

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) deported 298,410 illegal aliens last year — just 2.98 percent of the estimated 10 million illegal aliens in the country.

John Morton, assistant secretary of ICE, acknowledged in a memorandum that the agency’s mission has “direct significance for our national security, public safety, and the integrity of our border and immigration controls.”

But he said ICE’s ability to deport aliens was hampered by a lack of resources.

In its financial report for fiscal 2009, the DHS initially stated that ICE had deported 387,790 illegal aliens, close to its maximum capability of 400,000. But that figure was later revised to 298,410 after it came to light that some 89,000 of those originally reported aliens had voluntarily returned to their country of origin rather than face deportation.

According to CNSNews, Morton issued the memorandum to support the Obama administration’s shift in policy at the DHS to focus enforcement efforts on illegals who have committed crimes here rather than the general undocumented alien population.

ICE spokeswoman Gillian Brigham told CNSNews that in fiscal 2010, 50 percent of the illegal aliens who have been deported so far have been convicted of a crime in the United States.

Editor's Note:

7. Savings Soar as Returns Dwindle

The savings rate for Americans has been rising through the recession even as the yields on those savings have plummeted almost to zero.

The savings rate has gone from nearly nonexistent before the recession to 6.4 percent in June, and has remained above 5 percent since October 2008. But iMoneyNet, which tracks money-market funds, reports that the average yield is just .04 percent — meaning a $1,000 investment returns 40 cents a year — and a significant number of funds yield nothing.

And while individual Americans have been saving more, they’ve been spending less. Revolving credit debt, mainly credit card debt, has declined for 20 straight months, Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) reports.

But there is one huge borrower in the mix — the U.S. government. The national debt now stands at $13.3 trillion, more than $43,000 for each man, woman and child.

“Can anyone doubt one reason consumer spending has been weak during the Great Recession has been that people went into it with little or no money saved for a cash cushion? Living paycheck to paycheck is no way to weather a financial storm,” the IBD editorial states.

The Bush and Obama administrations have encouraged consumers to spend more to improve the economy, but “Americans are right to be saving money to increase their financial security,” IBD adds.

“Spending beyond our means — both in government and in our personal lives — caused the bubble that led to the crisis.”

Editor's Note:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Haley Barbour Is Most Powerful Republican 2. Cost of Government Highest Ever in 2010 3. N.C. Students Pay for Abortion Coverage They Don t Want 4. Cook Report: GOP to Gain up to 45 Seats in the House 5....
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Sunday, 22 August 2010 12:33 PM
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