Reporting on Politics and Policy.

Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM

The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog

There have been so many Benghazi Bombshells that the non-obsessive might naturally wind up confused. The March 2013 CNN report on CIA agents who were not talking? Bombshell. The April 2013 House report that portrayed Hillary Clinton's state department as incompetent? The May 2013 hearing at which three veterans of the state department said they immediately classified the September 11, 2012 events as an attack, by terrorists? Bombshell. This month's Fox News special, in which three security contractors said they were told to "stand down?" Bombshell.

Maybe it's because the two words are alliterative; maybe it's because one of these stories inevitably is going to change everything. Today, former CBS News reporter and current contributor to the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal Sharyl Attkisson has a "bombshell" interview with former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, who was placed on "administrative leave" after a review of the attacks. In March 2013, The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin nabbed an interview with Maxwell, in which he attempted to clear his name amid charges that he was laid off for incompetence.

He believes that Clinton’s staff, not the ARB, was in charge of the review of the attack that took place during her watch.
“The flaws in the process were perpetrated by the political leadership at State with the complicity of the senior career leadership,” he said. “They should be called to account.”

In May 2013, Maxwell granted an interview to the House Foreign Affairs Committee; weeks later he talked to the House Oversight Committee. The gist of the story each time was that Maxwell, who had not culpable, was scapegoated to protect the careers of others.

That's what makes the new story so baffling. If it's true, Maxwell has been sitting for at least 18 months on a story that puts Hillary Clinton political advisors at the center of a conspiracy to conceal documents that could be damaging to Clinton. They did it in a basement on a Sunday, and Maxwell butted in to have the scheme described by " a State Department office director" who was close to the Clintonites.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.
“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”
A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says, in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.
In an interview Monday morning on Fox News, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, named the two Hillary Clinton confidants who allegedly were present: One was Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff and a former White House counsel who defended President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial. The other, Chaffetz said, was Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan, who previously worked on Hillary Clinton’s and then Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.
“When Cheryl saw me, she snapped, ‘Who are you?’” Maxwell says. “Jake explained, ‘That’s Ray Maxwell, an NEA deputy assistant secretary.’ She conceded, ‘Well, OK.’”

Holy... what the... why not mention that sooner? Previously, this was a story of a guy who was railroaded in order to protect the Clintons. It could have been a story about a guy who witnessed Clinton allies hiding evidence. You could compare this to Watergate, but Maxwell, unlike the members of the Nixon administration asked for evidence, was no longer on the team and already giving interviews about how his former bosses screwed up. Now, he says "he couldn’t help but wonder if the ARB—perhaps unknowingly—had received from his bureau a scrubbed set of documents." Why hold off on the "scrubbing" until now?

If for some reason Maxwell did hold off, this is 1) an incredible story, one that Ridley Scott should be trying to adapt, and 2) the strangest roll-out of a bombshell I've ever seen. Attkisson mentions that Maxwell wrote poems that darkly hinted at the revelations he would share one day. He previously shared those poems with Attkisson in May 2013; he had declined an interview and offered verse instead. So, a year and a half ago, he let the world read a poem -- on his Wordpress blog, now deleted -- that ended with this:

the more they talk, / the more they lie, / and the deeper down the hole they go… Just wait…/ just wait and feed them the rope.

Well, that would explain it.

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Sept. 15 2014 4:54 PM

Poll: Voters Aren’t as Angry About Obamacare, and a Republican Is Thriving Anyway

Six months ago, Scott Brown entered the race for Senate in New Hampshire by talking about Obamacare. And talking about Obamacare. And then, after a sip of water, talking about Obamacare. He mentioned the ACA six times in his debut speech, and his path into the campaign was lined, like rose petals before a bride, with countless TV ads attacking Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's Obamacare vote.

Today three polls were released on the New Hampshire race. The results were Goldilocks-ian: A Democratic poll showed Shaheen up by eight, a CNN poll showed a tie, and a Republican poll showed Brown up by two. In every poll, Brown remained less personally popular than Shaheen and President Obama's approval rating stayed in the mid-30s, where it's been all year.


Here's what was was interesting about the Republican poll, conducted for the conservative Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire by Magellan Strategies:

Obamacare had fallen to the third tier of issues. The biggest threats were now terrorism and illlegal immigration. Funny enough, that was what Brown had been campaigning on for a month, starting with a cheap-looking ad that worked a lot better than the deluge of Obamacare spots.

In his latest spot, Brown's only mention of Obamacare is of a "health care law that doesn't work." Brown, who spent decades in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, has pivoted to "hey, doesn't the world look like a mess now that these Democrats have weakened us?" Whether or not you buy the topline numbers, you've got a Republican poll that suggests this argument is rising as the all-Obamacare argument falters. This, so soon after Democrats figured that the anti-Obamacare vote was baked in already.

Sept. 15 2014 1:38 PM

Campaign Ad Praises Senator for Supporting a Project That He Voted Against Actually Funding

On its face, there's nothing remarkable about this ad for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. You've got your B-roll of the senators making human contact with people who look busy. You've got your soundtrack that sounds like a Coldplay demo track. Sure, as Dave Helling points out, the ad's opening line about how "Kansans are struggling" seems to contradict Gov. Sam Brownback's sunshine-and-lollipops, prosperity-around-the-corner re-election bid. But it doesn't contradict with Brownback's own theory of his unpopularity, which is that "a lot of people are so irritated at what the president is doing, they just, they want somebody to throw a brick." (Obama's mother was from Kansas, so maybe the voters think all these people look alike.)

No, the baffling thing about this ad is that it tells the heroic story of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility and how it came to Kansas. You may notice that the headlines about Roberts' work, in the ad, come from 2007 and 2008—before he won his current term.


Why are the headlines so old? Because Roberts, facing a primary challenge from Obama's distant Republican relative Milton Wolf, voted against a January 2014 spending bill that would have kept NBAF going for $404 million. To be fair, he said it gave him "no pleasure to vote against a bill that includes an important project into which I have put my heart and soul and many hours of work." But he voted against it, and enjoyed the temporarily pleasure of a weak primary win against a guy who shared photos of "funny" medical injuries on his Facebook page.

To be fair to Roberts, everyone plays games with roll call votes. It's fairly common to see incumbents attacked for voting "for" some horrible-sounding policy because they voted against a bill that would have changed it; see this ad, which accuses a Democrat of backing "first class flights" for congressmen because he opposed the Paul Ryan budget. Roberts' ad is just unusually surreal, because to prove that he's delivering for Kansas in the dark age of Obama, it has to cite something Roberts did before Obama was president and voted to defund this year.

UPDATE: The trackers at American Bridge captured a video of Roberts talking somewhat less than compellingly about the farm bill that "we passed." 

Roberts did not vote for the farm bill.

Sept. 15 2014 12:58 PM

Hillary Clinton Joins the Elite Club of Politicians Giving Unsatisfying Answers to DREAMers

C-SPAN's policy of keeping cameras rolling live, even after the main political speeches are over, results in hours of video of loose chatter with the occasional ringing line. DREAMers, the immigration reform activists you might remember from such videos as "Rand Paul flees a half-eaten burger to avoid questions," were on hand in Indianola after the Harkin Steak Fry. C-SPAN recorded the confrontation. America Rising clipped their exchange.

"We wanted to know whether you stand by the president's delay on immigration," asked one activist.


"You know, I think we have to elect more Democrats," said Clinton.

"Should we keep deporting families?" asked another activist.

Clinton had moved on.

Much like the Libre Initiative's polling, what we have here is a Republican-oriented group soaking up schadenfreude because a Republican House and red-hatted 2014 voters have throttled a reform bill and cowed Obama out of executive action.

UPDATE: Libre's Daniel Garza responds. (I talked to Libre's Brian Faughnan for my last item about the group.)

The "broken promise" in question was Obama's pre-summer pledge to come up with a plan -- an executive action, people expected -- that would lead to fewer deportations. Obama punted last week, telling NBC's Chuck Todd that "the politics did shift midsummer," though as long ago as January the idea of the president "granting amnesty" by executive order was terribly unpopular.

I don't think I'm "slamming" Republicans, Libre, et al, by pointing out the truth. The Senate passed an immigration reform bill. The Republican House of Representatives dithered then opted not to bring up any immigration reform bill. Many voters don't know who runs either House, and the loudest activists have focused their anger on Obama's failure to use "the pen," rather than the many safe-seat Republicans who don't want to vote on a bill. See, for example, this Carmen Velasquez op-ed (3000+ shares on Facebook) that urges Latinos to "sit this election out" and make Democrats "pay a price." 

The "price" would be the defeat of several senators who voted for the immigration reform bill that activists wanted, and their replacement by Republicans who oppose what the activists wanted. Nothing negative about pointing that out.

Sept. 15 2014 11:14 AM

Poll: More Voters Trust Republicans to Fight Terror Than Ever Before

It was released on 9/11, but only now do I see how Gallup asked people about the parties' handling of terrorism. You could hardly imagine a better result for the Republicans.


A little context? OK. In November 2008, voters who participated in the exit poll who said that they were worried about "another terrorist attack in the U.S."—70 percent of voters—narrowly broke for McCain over Obama, 50-48. By 2012, fear of terrorism had sunk so far into the rearview mirror that this question was not even asked. But by a 56-33 margin, voters who were concerned with "foreign policy" broke for Obama.

Here's the current paradox. The Obama administration—most reliably Chuck Hagel and John Kerry—is describing ISIS in apocalyptic terms. According to Kerry, ISIS is "an ambitious, avowed genocidal, territorial-grabbing, Caliphate-desiring quasi-state." Their goal is not really to downplay what ISIS can actually achieve, or to reflect the intelligence analysis that ISIS poses little threat to (ugh, this term) "the homeland." It's to avoid a Syria-style rebellion in Congress and assemble a coalition of Arab partners in the Levant.

But Democrats do not benefit, domestically, from the hype. Just today, New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown challenged Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to secure the border and sign on to legislation that would revoke the citizenship of American ISIS fighters. "If anyone (including ISIS) can cross our borders at any time, with anything in their possession, then Washington has no control over our nation's security from terrorist attack," said Brown. That statement sounds like incoherent heebie-jeebie-ism if you listen to intelligence assessments. Current estimates peg the total number of Americans who might have gone to Iraq and Syria for ISIS at fewer than 100. The threat of such an American, if he returned, is not that he'd cross an unprotected border with a knife between his teeth and jihadism on his mind. It's that he'd use his American passport at a normal TSA checkpoint.

These are the sort of questions you can paper over when your party has a 2-1 lead on "preventing terrorism." Democrats' own polling has Brown down 8; public polling has him in a tie, after weeks of attacks on the threat of unsecured borders, and the zero attacks they have enabled since one day 13 years ago.

Sept. 15 2014 9:53 AM

So 200 Reporters Walk Into a Field in Iowa ...

My colleague John Dickerson was in Iowa yesterday for the Second Coming of Hillary Clinton. From my armchair (actually, at that hour, probably from a car heading back from a friend's wedding), it seemed like the arrival of Bill and Hillary Clinton at Sen. Tom Harkin's last "steak fry"—a populist picnic for thousands of people, at which the steak is actually grilled—would confirm that Hillary wanted to run in 2016 and that the media was already in full-on Beatlemania mode about it.

Peter Hamby's dispatch from Indianola suggests that this was true. "Roughly 200 credentialed media" showed up for the steak fry, according to Hamby. (For contrast, there were only a few dozen reporters at this past summer's Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, and often only 10 reporters in the press availabilities with Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz.) The press stayed in one sector of the picnic, until "after a 90 minute wait" they were allowed to capture "a staged shot of Bill and Hillary Clinton, fresh out of their motorcade, ritualistically flipping steaks with Harkin."


And then, a miracle: Clinton talking to reporters, for a little while:

"Good to see you!" she told the assembled press, surely a half-truth. "My goodness! You guys having a good time? Good. We're having a good time today."
Strutting back and forth, Clinton declared that it was "fabulous to be back" in the state. "I love Iowa," she said, smiling as if she were in on a joke. She entertained and swatted away a bombardment of questions, mostly of the unremarkable "will you run?" variety.
"Does this whet your appetite for another campaign?" asked one reporter.

The reader may be surprised to learn that Clinton did not reveal her 2016 plans to a reporter on a ropeline. Nor to the other reporter who asked. Actually, it appeared as though Clinton was following the plan of every other 2016 candidate—pacing herself before the midterms, making a decision after them. It's almost unheard of to announce a presidential run before the previous cycle's midterms are over, and the only guy who's broken that recently was Mike Gravel, who did not become the nominee.

So, how to interpret Joe Scarborough's rant about Hillary and imperial frontrunners? Scarborough wonders (in September 2014) if Clinton is blowing it already, because in 2008 "it wasn't against her back was against the wall that she had to stop acting like a robot on the campaign trail and start acting like herself that she started winning." (Again, it's September 2014.) 

"I don't want to see you eating steak!" Scarborough moans, to an in absentia frontrunner "I want to see you talking about how we're going to stop ISIS, not behind some cute little prepackaged plan that some of your handlers fixed up or somebody helped you write in a book."

Clinton's book tour and interviews haven't mentioned ISIS? It was just a month ago that the news cycle churned over whether Clinton had attacked the Obama administration for letting ISIS happen. Clinton bemoaned the failure to vet and arm Syrian rebels when it mattered. That's not a what-to-do-now answer, and yes, we are being denied some fun stories by Clinton's decision not to comment on the administration with the frequency of, say, John McCain. But no one running in the invisible primary has an alternate ISIS-handling plan. Rand Paul, who's been getting the most coverage for his comments, has focused—like Clinton—largely on the American mistakes that enabled ISIS's renaissance.

The steak fry did present an opportunity for less hawkish progressives to light into the Clintons. The thing was started by Tom Harkin, after all—just last week, as Jennifer Bendery reported, Harkin was one of very few Democrats who worried that American policymakers were overrating the threat of ISIS. But the only attempt I saw to find the space between Harkin and Clinton came from Jonathan Karl, who asked Harkin sort of generally if Hillary was too hawkish. Harkin had "questions," he said, but he had questions for everyone.

"I must be frank with you," said Harkin. "I thought Barack Obama was a great progressive, and a great populist, and quite frankly some things have happened that I have not agreed with."

That was the end of the clip, so we don't know what else Harkin enunciated. But it was telling that he evaded a Hillary question by pointing out his disappointment with Obama. That remains the central progressive lesson of 2008: Electing a president is not everything. Notice what Harkin said, via Ana Marie Cox, when introducing Bill Clinton.

Harkin himself did Hillary no favors when his introduction of Bill included an anecdote about an earlier steak fry, when the heavens parted the moment Clinton took the stage: “The clouds disappeared, the sun came out.” There’s being in someone’s shadow and then there’s being compared with a demigod.

It's hard to hear that and not experience an acid flashback to 2008, when before the Rhode Island primary (which she won in a rout), Hillary mocked the idea that electing Obama would fix America. "The skies will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect," she snarked.

The Hillary 2016 campaign is a minor problem for Democrats. They are generally ready to nominate her. Some of them want a progressive challenge that moves her to the left, or at least keeps her honest.* Far, far fewer believe that the party needs a savior, because it already tossed her aside for one of those.

Hillary 2016 is a far bigger problem for the media, which simultaneously is ready right now to cover her like a nominee—200 reporters!—and yet so palpably bored with how she talks, and runs.

*"Keeps a Clinton honest!" I can hear you laughing.

Sept. 12 2014 6:07 PM

Steve Southerland’s Remarks Should Spur Florida Women to Vote

Rep. Steve Southerland, a Republican from Florida, doesn’t think women should worry their pretty heads about politics. Earlier this year, he held a fundraiser for “concerned men” only. “Tell the Misses not to wait up because the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth & the issues to discuss are many,” the invitations read. For what it’s worth—which (one hopes) is probably a congressional seat—Florida has more than 6 million registered female voters (53 percent of the electorate), and over 2 million of them are Republicans. Southerland’s Democratic opponent for Florida’s second district seat is a woman, Gwen Graham.

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Times caught up with Southerland. Asked to respond to criticisms of his attitudes about women, he replied, “I live with five women. That's all I'm saying. I live with five women. Listen: Has Gwen Graham ever been to a lingerie shower? Ask her. And how many men were there?”


Comparing a political event to discuss issues (and ask for donations) that excludes half the citizenry to a lingerie shower boggles the mind. But more importantly, it highlights the pressing need for Florida’s women to vote in this election. The state has historically been among the 17 lowest for women voter participation, according to data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In the 2010 gubernatorial election, 44 percent of women voters turned out, meaning Florida ranked 35th among the 50 states in women voter participation that year, according to Cornelia Treptow, a Democratic pollster at Lake Research Partners.

A recent internal poll from Graham’s campaign shows the two candidates in a dead heat. Southerland may live with five women, but he has voted to take away funds from Planned Parenthood, which provides women’s health services. He also voted against federal Medicaid expansion for Florida under the ACA, which does little help the 23 percent of women in his state who are uninsured (Florida has the third highest percentage of uninsured women among the 50 states). While Southerland’s comments about underwear parties were circulating the internet, the Graham campaign was in Panama City, where the candidate hosted a women-to-women phone bank event to discuss her support for legislation for fair pay and preventing violence against women. Men were welcomed, too, Graham’s communications director Eric Conrad said. There’s even some proof of it on Twitter.

Sept. 12 2014 4:56 PM

Democratic Voters Can Save Harry Reid’s Job, if They Just Realize That He Runs the Senate

Yesterday Greg Sargent talked to Democratic pollster Celinda Lake and made a discovery that startles us political obsessives. Lake's firm polled 1,000 "drop-off" voters—people who vote in presidential elections but stay home during midterms—in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, and North Carolina. (Democrats are increasingly favored in Michigan's Senate race, behind in Kentucky, and tied in the rest.) 

"One of the things that came up," said Lake, "is that these drop-off voters had no idea that control of the Senate was even up for grabs and were even very confused about who controlled it."


This is true for more voters than you'd think. Last year an independent Rasmussen poll found that less than two-thirds of voters know who controls the Senate. It's understandable; it's not like divided control has led to the passage of legislation, or something else worth caring about. Attention on Congress has been highest when Congress has staged a crisis and careened into it.

And this is the point of MoveOn's poll, taken for its "Voters Rising" campaign. The theory is that there are enough voters who basically support the Democrats, but don't know what's at stake, to motivate and elect the party's on-the-edge candidates. The most potent messages for these potential voters, both supported by 71 percent of them: "Republicans will shut down the government again" and "Republicans will cut funding for Head Start and K-12 Education." When told that they could make the difference between keeping the Senate Democratic or letting it fall to Mitch McConnell, 50 percent became "very interested."

When I talked to MoveOn leaders, I wondered if anything could dissuade these voters. How many progressives would stay home, say, because their president was leading new military operations in Iraq?

"There is a deep-seated worry about mission creep," said Ilya Sheyman, MoveOn's executive director. "But progressives aren't isolationists. They're deeply concerned about human rights, and about genocide. And there's some sense that George W. Bush broke this, so as a result of what we've done, we now need to prevent genocide."

And that wasn't how these voters thought, according to MoveOn. They always voted for Democrats. All they needed to be told was how bad Republicans were, and what they stood to gain if Democrats stayed home. MoveOn had seen similar message spike turnout before, as Sasha Issenberg and others had reported, and as MoveOn had learned from targeting its 8 million members in 2012. This is the dream of the final midterm: If Democrats just don't refuse to drop off like they did in 2010, if they show up proportionately, they win.

Sept. 12 2014 1:26 PM

We Won’t Have Rob Ford to Kick Around Anymore. (We May Have His Brother.)

The Toronto Star has the news: The city's mayor, who no one needs to be reminded is named Rob Ford, is withdrawing from the race for a second term. The proximate cause is not drugs, not this time. He entered hospital upon discovery that he had a tumor in his abdomen. (Ford had steadily been losing weight since he left rehab this year.) An hour before today's 2 p.m. deadline for ballot status, he removed his name.

Some reports on the Ford saga have suggested that he was waging a comeback in the polls. It's a complicated story. Ford retained high levels of support through much of 2013, even after his crack scandal, even after the gaffes that compounded it. He only tumbled behind Olivia Chow, a former MP and the widow of the popular New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, during his 2014 relapse and rehab stint. But Chow lost altitude, especially after John Tory—like Ford, a member of the Conservative Party, and unlike Chow a mayoral candidate who got to meet voters eight years ago—surged into a lead. Tory quickly became the anti-Ford, Chow became irrelevant, and it looked for a while like the mayor might drive up the middle, with resilient support from Etobicoke and the rest of "Ford Nation."


Then he went to the hospital. Chow's first mano-a-mano debate with Tory was set for today. She hadn't been tested against just Tory since June, before her swoon, when in a hypothetical two-man race she led by 2 points. And she will not get that race. Doug Ford, the mayor's more athletic and less self-destructive brother (his gaffe CV is limited to quietly insulting members of the media as "pricks," when he thought the camera mics couldn't catch that), took Ford's old Etobicoke seat. He'd been thinking of running in the Ontario provincial elections this summer (which ended disastrously for the Tories), and was leaving the safe council seat. But as soon as Rob Ford quit the mayoral race, Doug Ford announced that he would swap in. Instead of a mayor who smoked crack as an adult, Toronto may get to elect one who merely dealt drugs as a kid.

Even if the Other Ford triumphs, Rob Ford will no longer rule North America's fourth-largest city. Unless Rob Ford runs for Doug Ford's seat, which used to be the Rob Ford seat (I'm sorry about this), will never see the Full Ford in bloom again.

This was one of two times he invited a reggae band into city hall.

Sept. 12 2014 11:17 AM

Should You Worry About Another Government Shutdown?

Probably not. (Remember Betteridge's law of headlines!) If the House GOP's agenda had survived the week, there would have been a Thursday vote on a measure to fund the government through Dec. 11—a continuing resolution. Senate Democrats had agreed to this. The last shutdown had been great for their party, producing a one-time polling surge that could not be retained as the Obamacare rollout began. As late as Tuesday, Republicans were ready to go.

And then, later that day, the Obama White House asked that funds to train Syrian forces be superglued into the CR. Even though most Republicans who stated a position were in favor of this, the bill was held. Why? Because there was no real hurry—the CR is not needed until Oct. 1—and because Republican leaders need to put out two small fires. One: The current bill includes funding for the Ex-Im Bank, which was seen as a dead letter after Eric Cantor was primaried, but which aggressive lobbying from business groups (Boeing, but plenty of other groups in the Chamber of Commerce) rescued. Two: a campaign by Ted Cruz and Mike Lee to get the House Republicans to extend the CR's funding from December to early 2015. Their reasoning is simple, and not crazy: "Presumably, a lame-duck session would be used to try to pass partisan, unpopular bills in November or December that might be indefensible before the federal election on November 4th."


The irony, and the reason why a real standoff is unlikely, is that Cruz's interests converage with the Chamber of Commerce's/Boehner's. Even if Democrats defy expectations in two months, they are guaranteed to lose at least three Senate seats and a few more House seats. (I'm assuming, say, that West Virginia's Republican candidate for Senate, Shelley Moore Capito, will not suddenly decide to quote from Todd Akin's memoir while personally closing down a coal mine. The frontrunners should remain the frontrunners.) Republicans increasingly believe that they'll win the Senate outright. In any scenario, they're in a stronger negotiating position in 2015. Just as the Ex-Im compromise allows a 2015 fight over the bank, a longer CR would allow the next Congress to kick off with a spending fight against a weakened, lame-duck president.

If Republicans worried about losing clout in the next Congress, they might scrap over what to win this month. But they're not worried. Just as the party avoided turmoil before the 2012 election, when a Romney win looked possible, they're trying to do no harm until all those new red-state senators arrive.