Many US Republicans are unhappy with the weekend's deal with Iran to curb the country's controversial nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, and some experts said the Republican Party (GOP) may push for tougher measures.
"Congress is probably going to send up to (President Barack) Obama additional sanctions on Iran," Republican Strategist Ford O' Connell told Xinhua. "And the only question is whether the ( additional possible) sanctions occur before or after this interim deal."
"If you are President Obama, the next six months with this deal is going to be tough, because you know it's not just Republicans griping. There's a lot of Democrats griping too," he said, adding that some Democrats will likely join GOP calls for stiffer sanctions.
Indeed, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer said Sunday he was " disappointed" with the deal, saying the terms did not seem " proportional".
O'Connell added that Obama is likely to keep the sanctions as limited as possible before the 2014 midterm Congressional elections in an effort not to arouse more attacks from Republicans.
Read more at Global Times
The fight between Liz and Mary Cheney over gay marriage is both sad and symbolic. It’s sad because they are thoughtful, caring, and conservative sisters who love each other, and the issue of gay marriage is driving a wedge between them—“big time.” Their fight is symbolic because the issue also is driving a wedge between the Republican Party and voters, especially young voters.
Many young Americans agree with Mary Cheney: Gay marriage is a fundamental right, and those who disagree are “on the wrong side of history.” Other voters are less strident in their support, but they think of themselves as tolerant people. They support civil unions. They enjoy reruns of Will & Grace. They enjoy being a part of the lives of their gay friends and family members. When they see people like Mary Cheney, her wife, Heather Poe, and their beautiful children, they see a family with value—even if they also believe that “marriage” is between a man and a woman.
Read more from Ford O'Connell at The Daily Beast
After a string of setbacks and losses, the insurgent Tea Party movement is at a crossroads, between learning to live within the Republican Party or pursuing its fight against those it sees as not conservative enough.
The choice is an easy one for Tea Party activists, who vow to keep up their campaign to vote out of office those Republican politicians they say have betrayed the tenets of the conservative cause - smaller government and less federal spending and taxes.
Voters nationally blame October's partial government shutdown on Republicans, and particularly the Tea Party, which lost elections earlier this month in Virginia and Alabama.
With important mid-term congressional elections coming in November 2014, the Tea Party is under pressure from within the Republican Party to call off their insurgency and focus on the end game of defeating Democrats, rather than bruising primaries to clobber Republicans, some of whom could be in close contests to keep their seats.
Republican strategist Ford O'Connell said the Tea Party movement needs to decide its long-term strategy.
"Are they interested in toppling Republicans or winning elections? If they don't win some elections they're probably going to die on the vine," O'Connell said.
A series of interviews with Tea Party activists preparing for 2014, mainly in southern states, produced a clear consensus of the path forward, with possibly unsettling implications for Republican incumbents.
Read more from Nick Carey at Reuters
Republicans on Tuesday called on President Obama to pull down the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov website as a key administration technology officer testified that they still haven’t built a payment system that needs to be up and running by the new year.
Henry Chao, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official who oversaw construction of HealthCare.gov, said they are still building a part of the health exchange program that will handle “back office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems,” which account for at least 30 percent of the site.
Yet, Mr. Chao assured a congressional panel that the new work will be tested by January, and said the front-end part of the portal, which consumers are using now, is secure.
With Mr. Obama’s credibility lagging and armed with a newly disclosed report about the federal health exchange’s shortcomings, House Republicans launched a fresh round of attacks against the health care law Tuesday, focusing on testing and security of the federal health insurance marketplace.
With little to no hope of repealing the health care law while Mr. Obama is in office, the GOP has turned to problems with HealthCare.gov. and rising distrust of the president’s word — a trend borne out in public opinion polls — as catalysts for their attacks on Obamacare.
“This is Machiavelli 101 and Republicans are not going to let a good crisis go to waste,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said. “They are likely to keep piling on until President Obama has zero credibility with the American people on health care, or any subject, for that matter.”
Read more from Tom Howell Jr. at The Washington Times
Pressure is mounting on U.S. President Barack Obama over his floundering healthcare rollout, even after a recent tweak to the law intended to help those affected by the problems with the controversial legislation.
Healthcare.gov, is a centerpiece of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as it's commonly known, through which visitors can enroll in health insurance plans. However it has seen myriad technical problems since its Oct. 1 launch.
An estimated 2 million Americans have been dropped from their previous healthcare coverage, as their plans did not adhere to Obamacare's strict new coverage standards, landing the president in hot water after his repeated vows that Americans would be able to keep coverage they like.
The broken promise sparked much controversy, and recently forced Obama to tweak part of the law in a "fix" that allows some dropped policyholders back on their previous plans.
"I don't think it's a fix that's going to pass muster," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua, adding that the move is a bid to buy time.
"This is a temporary fix for Democrats who might be on the chopping block in 2014," he said.
Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a key architect of the Affordable Care Act, is trying to restrain nervousDemocrats from backing a measure that could knock the foundations from under the law - even as erstwhile Democratic allies Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and former President Bill Clinton endorse similar changes.
The changes would allow millions of people who bought health policies on the individual market, including 1 million people in California, to keep their plans even if those plans fail to meet minimum coverage standards under the new law. Insurance companies' mass cancellations of such policies since the law took effect Oct. 1 have been a public relations nightmare for President Obama, who promised repeatedly over the years that no Americans who liked their current plans would be forced to change them under his signature law.
On Tuesday, Feinstein signed onto a bill by Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat up for re-election next year, that would allow those who already hold such policies to keep them indefinitely. The Senate bill is less dangerous to the law than the one confronting Pelosi in the House, by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., which would allow insurance companies to continue to sell the old policies to new enrollees.
GOP political strategist Ford O'Connell surmised that Feinstein is trying to pressure the administration to come up with a fix, given that failure could topple the Democratic majority in the Senate, and with it, every Democratic committee chairmanship, including Feinstein's. She heads the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
"As a realist, she understands that Republicans are going to take control of the Senate if Democrats are sitting there doing nothing," O'Connell said.
As for Clinton, O'Connell said the former president is "trying to create a firewall for Hillary," his wife and the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
Read more from Carolyn Lochhead at the San Francisco Chronicle
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is accelerating efforts to explore another bid for the presidency. But few Republicans, including some past supporters, are excited at the prospect of him launching a second White House campaign.
Perry is making all the moves of a traditional candidate, with multiple visits to Iowa, an upcoming trip to South Carolina and a flurry of recent appearances on cable news networks.
But following his disappointing 2012 campaign, and heading into an election where the GOP field appears to be much stronger, few strategists think he would stand a real chance of winning the 2016 nomination.
The Texas governor’s biggest hurdles, say strategists, are overcoming voters’ memory of his infamous “oops” moment in a 2011 GOP debate, and convincing the big donors who fueled his campaign last time to stick with him over other contenders.
“There are several options this time for the big-money donors: [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie, [Florida Sen. Marco] Rubio, [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker, and others. When [Perry] ran last time, they dumped $17 million into his account, and that won’t be there,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said.
“And it’s really hard to forget ‘oops,’ especially with Republicans worried about Hillary [Clinton].”
Read more from Cameron Joseph at The Hill
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will take his turn at hammering the rollout of ObamaCare on Wednesday when his panel hears testimony from five administration witnesses.
The hearing will mark the culmination of a strategic assault on President Obama’s healthcare plan by congressional Republicans.
It follows a series of tactical document leaks from Issa that have created mini-firestorms for the White House and infuriated the Republican lawmaker’s critics, who accuse him of acting in bad faith over the last month.
While Issa is largely following the playbook he used during past investigations, the ObamaCare issue is proving more widely relevant than his probes of the Internal Revenue Service’s political vetting and the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.
The California Republican tends to rely on releasing a slow drip of information, often in the form of redacted documents or partial transcripts, to argue incompetence or political interference on the part of the Obama administration.
Critics accuse Issa of framing his findings in a way that misleads the media. But analysts see a crucial difference in how he has handled the issue of Obama-Care’s rollout and how he’s benefited from the wider narrative of problems with HealthCare.gov.
“Instead of coming out like Rambo, he’s realized that he can control the narrative, put Democrats on the defensive and still maintain the attention spans of the television networks,” said GOP political strategist Ford O’Connell.
“He’s learned to become a storyteller instead of a flamethrower. … If you can talk people through these issues, you can keep the story alive.”
Read more from Elise Viebeck at The Hill
As journalists across the country struggle to put meaning to the Virginia and New Jersey races that occurred earlier this week, I see five lessons Republicans of all stripes need to learn quickly – as in, before any more elections are held.
1) Campaign like an amateur, lose to a Clinton goon: Did the Republican Party give up on Ken Cuccinelli too early? Perhaps, although it couldn't exactly have planned for the Obamacare launch to go so cosmically bad. Was the Libertarian candidate a stalking horse? Also perhaps, but he appears to havedrawn votes roughly equally from Cuccinelli and former Clinton bagman and now Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe.
But, even though McAuliffe was a dog with serious and well-known fleas, Cuccinelli's truly hapless campaign allowed the Democrat to paint their man as an extremist and a brigadier general in the War on Women. It's not the issues that must be thrown overboard to win – equally pro-life Chris Christie captured 60 percent of the vote in even-bluer New Jersey, and Bob McDonnell dominated four years earlier on a firm pro-life platform. It is that voters sensed Cuccinelli was distancing himself from his own issues. If he didn't want to be near them, they didn't either.
Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report
On the Thursday edition of The Chad Hasty Show, author and GOP strategist Ford O’Connell talked with Chad Hasty about how the Republicans can get back into power in Washington.
In O’Connell’s book, “Hail Mary: The 10-Step Playbook for Republican Recovery,” he outlined some of the ways the Republicans can regain power in Congress, and even get back in the White House. With 2014 on the horizon, he predicted that health care should definitely be the major focus for the Republicans. O’Connell also pointed out that one of the problems with the Republican party is that they let the Democrats define them in the media and that they need to do a much better job of articulating their agenda.
“One of the things Republicans really have to do…is they really have to articulate a 21st century agenda going forward. They have to project their positive agenda. They have to project themselves as problem-solvers. And really, they have to expand the tent. Unfortunately, we seem to stick ourselves inside the echo chamber in FOX News and Rush Limbaugh, who I love dearly. But we have to get outside and start talking to people where they are and bring those voters into our tent.”
O’Connell agreed that the Republican party is split up, but said that regardless of whether the party decides to go the Tea Party route or the more establishment route, the Republicans need a “just win” mentality. O’Connell praised New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a great example of this mentality, especially with his win in this week’s elections. He said that Christie is a fighter and can appeal to the whole country, not just his state of New Jersey.
Read more from Ariel Walden at KFYO News Talk 790 AM