Political Trough: DHS Bill Clears House, But Don’t Call it Clean

A Keystone override vote should take place later this week.  Speaking of Keystone, we all heard about Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) getting his four Pinocchios from The Washington Post…well,now President Obama is getting his Pipeline Pinocchio’s. Those stories and more are in this week’s Political Trough.

Plus, remember Max’s appointment troubles?  Well, now there’s this: Obama hit for filling embassies with political allies, highest in 27 years.  And, Gianforte says a lot of folks are asking him to run for Governor.  Hillary should be toast…and finally, don’t worry- Sanjay is okay.  (And we don’t think Frank Underwood had anything to do with it.) 

But first, the US House passes a DHS funding bill…but don’t you dare call it clean! 

Oh hey, remember that appointment of Sen. Max Baucus to serve as ambassador to China and the criticism that got?  Now, there’s this:

The Washington Examiner: Obama hit for filling embassies with political allies, highest in 27 years

Overall, 34.9 percent of Obama’s picks in six years have gone to political allies. That includes the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel B. Shapiro.

That is the highest percentage in 27 years, since when former President Ronald Reagan’s “political” rate was 38 percent. Under George W. Bush, political appointees took just 29.8 percent of ambassadorships and under Bill Clinton it was even lower, at 28 percent.

Politico’s Morning Energy:  KEYSTONE TIDBIT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed for cloture on President Barack Obama’s Keystone XL pipeline veto message last night, setting up the vote to break the Democratic filibuster on the veto for Wednesday. The actual, ill-fated override vote is expected to come Thursday.

Washington PostObama’s Claim That Keystone XL Oil ‘Bypasses The U.S.’ Earns Four Pinocchios

“President Obama, seeking to explain his veto of a bill that would have leapfrogged the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline, in an interview with a North Dakota station repeated some false claims that had previously. Yet he managed to make his statement even more misleading than before, suggesting the pipeline would have no benefit for American producers at all.

Politico’s Playbook on Tuesday serves up a good reminder that 2016 is expected to be a very easy year for Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) to chair up the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)…so what happens if that ends up not to be the case?  Either way…

LARRY SABATO in Politico Magazine, “Can Democrats Retake the Senate in 2016? “: “All Democrats have to do to re-take the Senate is to win the three yellow toss-up states [WI, IL and PA] where they have a natural advantage, plus a couple of the current ‘lean Republican’ states that have voted for Obama. … Democrats will need only one ‘lean R’ state if the party wins the White House, guaranteeing that a Democratic vice president would break a 50-50 Senate tie. This appears doable. The Democrats’ job in 2016 is not much different than the GOP’s task last November.” http://politi.co/18Imles


Driving the Day for 2016 coverage…Hillary should be toast:

— N.Y. Times, top of col. 5, “Clinton Used Personal Email At State Dept.: Lack of Archiving May Break Federal Rules,” by Michael S. Schmidt: “Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure … It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. …

The above note is also from Politico’s Playbook.

Washington Examiner: Obama’s Blind Hostility Toward Israel

The Washington Examiner’s Editorial Staff (3/2) writes: “In June 2008, candidate Barack Obama spoke before thousands of delegates to the pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to assuage concerns that he harbored animosity toward the Jewish state. In a paragraph of his speech that began with the phrase “Let me be clear,” Obama declared that under his vision for peace, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” The next day, after the statement triggered fierce criticism from Palestinian leaders, Obama backtracked. The reversal was an early signal of what has become a pattern during his presidency — professing profound support for Israel when it suits him, only to reverse himself when it comes to actual policy. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the United States this week, President Obama won’t meet with him — even as the administration plays a dangerous diplomatic game with Iran. Though administration officials would like to write off the current tension between the United States and Israel as being specific to Netanyahu and his decision to speak to Congress, the reality suggests that it’s a product of a broader concerted effort by Obama to rupture the relationship between the two allies.”

Great quote by Kevin McRae- if you see him in Helena, give him a pat on the back and say thanks for supporting veterans.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Montana veterans guaranteed in-state tuition by new law

The revised law will require Montana campuses to consider all veterans and their dependents who live within the state to be state residents and to charge them in-state tuition — or else. Montana would stand to lose $15 million in payments from the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“We’re fine with that,” said Kevin McRae, deputy commissioner and spokesman for the University System. “It will not cause us any problem whatsoever.

“We’re a vet-friendly state. We are proud to accept veterans from all states.”

No matter how many times he brings Elsa to town, Gov. Bullock may just have to say “Let It Go” when it comes to this proposal…

MTPR.org: Gov. Bullock’s Preschool Program Faces GOP Opposition

Other criticisms center on whether it would work in smaller schools or reach the students who need it most. Senators Taylor Brown, R-Huntley, and Llew Jones, R-Conrad, both said school representatives told them Early Edge won’t help small schools and that students who need it most won’t enroll in the programs.

One of the more outspoken critics is Gordon Hahn, superintendent of Saco Schools. Hahn wrote an opinion piece that ran in the Billings Gazette in late January, calling for higher teacher pay instead of investment in Pre-K.

Despite the release of House of Cards season 3…no- this was not a Frank Underwood style hit…that we know of. (sarcasm)

KXLH-TV: Man hit by SUV in Helena cross-walk

An SUV hit a man in a cross-walk in Helena on Thursday afternoon. The Helena Police Department reports that an SUV driven by a 59-year-old woman was westbound on 6th

Avenue and crossed Montana Avenue.

The man — later identified as KXLH reporter Sanjay Talwani — was using the crosswalk on the west side of the road walking north when the SUV hit him.

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