TheDC Morning: White House visitor logs have more holes than the course at Andrews
1.) Boehner, McConnell not thrilled at all by Obama’s likely tax increases — “[I]f the President begins the discussion by saying we must increase taxes on the American people – as his budget does – my response will be clear: tax increases are unacceptable and are a nonstarter,” said Speaker John Boehner, who will probably respond the same way even if Obama puts tax increases in the middle of the discussion, or even right after the beginning. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was slightly less dyspeptic: “From my point of view, taxes are not on the table because we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.” Pres. Obama will unveil his plan in a speech today after deciding not to provide a press preview (Americans should probably hear this one straight from the horse’s mouth). Having alienated large swaths of the Democratic left by stocking his administration with Clintonian neo-liberals and people who are good at war, Obama can be counted on to wag the dog today with staunch anti-not poor people rhetoric.
2.) You didn’t seriously expect the White House to release the names of all of its visitors, did you? — Pres. Obama’s greatest and only truly meaningful transparency policy is actually either a mere gesture or a cruel joke, reports the Center for Public Integrity. “The White House website proudly boasts of making available ‘over 1,000,000 records of everyone who’s come through the doors of the White House’ via a searchable database,” CPI writes. Yet here are some problems CPI found with the database: “The ‘event’ description in the logs is blank for more than 205,000 visits, including many that involved small meetings with the president and his key aides,” and “less than 1 percent of the estimated 500,000 visits to the White House in Obama’s first eight months — a time when the new administration was bustling with activity — have been disclosed.” Also: “Five junior staff aides together received more than 4,440 visits. By contrast, then chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, famed for his workaholic schedule, is listed for less than 500 visits.” Log viewers get to see what the Obama White House wants them to see, and nothing that it doesn’t. This is basically the opposite of transparency.
3.) Donald Trump has finally found something he is good at — Namely, distorting GOP primary field polls. According to CNN/Opinion Research, “Trump is tied with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for first place among possible Republican presidential candidates.” Here’s how the ranking went, all the way down: “Trump and Huckabee were each named by 19 percent of respondents as their preferred candidate. 12 percent chose former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, 11 percent former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and 11 percent former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Seven percent indicated support for Texas Rep. Ron Paul, while 5 percent chose Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, and 3 percent selected Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Performing poorly in the poll were former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, supported by 2 percent of respondents, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, also supported by 2 percent.” Pawlenty will probably rocket past Trump once voters learn that he has hired Beltway wunderkind Nick Ayers to help make T-Paw less unheard of.
4.) Michelle Obama honors American military families, so long as their troops are not gay — Apparently because it is still against the law for gay troops to tell their fellow soldiers that they are gay, it is also against the law for Michelle Obama and Jill Biden to honor them and/or their families. That is the crater-like impression left by the White House after it excluded a group representing the familes of secret gay soldiers from the launch of “Joining Forces,” a program that will “support and honor America’s service members and their families.” Servicemembers United was barred from the event because “[DADT] still remains the law,” Michelle Obama’s spokesperson told CBS. “The White House, including the First Lady and Dr. Biden, look forward to working with the families of gay and lesbian service members after certification occurs and repeal goes into effect.” While the event already occurred, TheDC has helpfully amended yesterday’s remarks to reflect the White House’s sentiments toward gays in uniform: “I want every [non-gay] military family to know, Michelle hears you,” Pres. Obama said. “Joining Forces was created to recognize and serve our nation’s extraordinary [non-gay] military families who, like their [non-gay] loved ones in uniform, serve and sacrifice so much so that we can live in freedom and security,” Michelle Obama said. There. Doesn’t that sound more…honest?
5.) Why is Obama losing cred with blacks and hispanics? — “Though majorities of blacks (85%) and Hispanics (54%) continue to approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, his ratings among these groups slipped in March and have set or tied new lows,” reports Gallup. “Prior to March, Obama’s lowest monthly average among blacks was 88% in July 2010 and December 2010. The president’s 54% March job approval rating among Hispanics ties the low from July and August 2010.” Why the slip? TheDC’s Mickey Kaus rounds up the theories, as well as posits one of his own: “Fernandez says inflation is beginning to bite. Malcolm suspects a general case of scales-falling-from-eyes. I nominate comprehensive immigration reform. When Obama pushes for it he alienates blacks. When he fails to achieve it he alienates Latinos. He’s done both.”
6.) House GOP comes to an agreement on how to keep track of time — Just one day after Boehner’s spokesperson insisted that the GOP’s 72-hour pledge–the one that says House GOP leadership will make every bill publicly available for 72 hours before voting on it–means they could technically post a bill at 11:59 p.m. on a Monday night and vote on it first thing Wednesday at 12:01 a.m., Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office has declared that the rule actually means what it says. TheDC’s Chris Moody reports that instead of holding a vote today on the CR release Monday, Cantor’s office announced on Twitter that it will wait until tomorrow. Moody adds that “although the Thursday vote complies with the three “calendar days” rule, it falls short of the “72 hour” pledge still listed on the speaker’s website because funding would otherwise run out at midnight that day.” Pledge nearly kept!