IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Has the Democratic Party lost its mind?

Some disagreement in politics is normal, but the vehemence of progressive opposition to Obama's trade bill is unprecedented.
Hillary and answering the “why”: A reminder she never gave one in early 2007… A sneak peak at part of the “why” Hillary will lay out on Saturday… Changes of conviction? Or changes of convenience?... Today’s big trade showdown in the House… Has the Democratic Party lost its mind over this trade vote?... Will Pelosi back Obama on trade?... Can Jeb pull off the message that someone with the last name of Bush is a Washington outsider?... Mark Kirk on Lindsey Graham: He’s a “bro with no ho”… And on “Meet the Press” this Sunday: Mitt Romney, John Podesta.
*** Has the Democratic Party lost its mind over this trade vote? Given that we live and breathe politics, we get disagreements over policy. But the vehemence coming from Democrats and Democratic groups over these trade votes is something we haven’t seen in the 6 ½ years of Obama’s presidency. Consider last month, when Sen. Sherrod Brown accused President Obama of being disrespectful to Elizabeth Warren by referring to her by her first name (even though he’s referred to Brown by his own first name). Consider yesterday, when anti-trade Rep. Rosa DeLauro accused House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of misreading her caucus on these votes. (Those are fighting words telling a leader that she is misreading her rank-and-file.) And now consider Howard Dean’s old Democracy for America outfit, which is threatening to primary any House Democrats who vote for the trade package. “[W]e will encourage our progressive allies to join us in leaving you to rot, and we will actively search for opportunities to primary you with a real Democrat,” DFA says. Wow. One of the backstories here is organized labor. They’re not as influential or powerful as they once were (see Wisconsin), but thanks to gerrymandering, they still have plenty of influence INSIDE the Democratic Party.
*** Will Pelosi back Obama on trade? One final thing to keep an eye on: Pelosi is expected to give a floor speech today. She hasn’t said publicly if she supports the “fast track” measure, but the pro-trade Democrats are expecting (or hoping) that she will support it.
*** Hillary and answering the “why”: As Hillary Clinton is set to appear at her first big campaign-style event on Saturday, it’s worth remembering that she never gave a why-I’m-running-for-president speech at the beginning of her campaign in 2007. Her launch was a video of her speaking to the camera that she wanted a conversation with American voters. "Let's talk, let's chat, let's start a dialogue about your ideas and mine.” But there was nothing about WHY she was the best person to lead the country over the next four to eight years, or even WHY she wanted the job. By contrast, Obama answered the WHY in his Feb. 10, 2007 kickoff, using Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield, IL as the backdrop:
  • By ourselves, this change will not happen. Divided, we are bound to fail. But the life of a tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer tells us that a different future is possible. He tells us that there is power in words. He tells us that there is power in conviction… That's why I'm in this race. Not just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform a nation.” Obama’s WHY: He was the only presidential candidate who could truly transform the country.
  • Here was even Mitt Romney’s WHY at his presidential announcement in June 2011: “All of these experiences -- starting and running businesses for 25 years, turning around the Olympics, governing a state -- have helped shape who I am and how I lead... Turning around a crisis takes experienced leadership and bold action.” Translation: I’m the businessman and turnaround artist this country’s economy needs!
*** A sneak peak at part of the “why” Hillary will lay out on Saturday: The Clinton campaign insists we’ll hear the WHY from her on Saturday. And we’re already getting some clues about what it will be. First is the location -- Roosevelt Island in New York City -- as a way to invoke both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. “Clinton chose a park honoring FDR in the state where she served as senator for eight years, a choice campaign officials say is meant to invoke Roosevelt’s legacy,” MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reports. “‘She could have chosen anywhere to make her announcement,’ said Felicia Wong, the President of the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive think tank dedicated to carrying on the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. ‘By choosing this venue, she and her team have put themselves squarely in the legacy and the spirit of Franklin Roosevelt, who re-wrote the rules of the 20th century.’” Another clue is Hillary’s expected focus on her mother. “As a child, Dorothy Rodham was abandoned by her parents and sent to live with strict relatives. Not able to bare it anymore, she ran away at 14 and worked as a housekeeper for a kind-hearted woman who took her in and showed her what parenting should look like. That trauma and resilience, Clinton has said, taught her and how to be tough and made her want to help people in difficult circumstances,” Seitz-Wald adds. So, to put Saturday another way, it’s fair to call it the first-EVER Hillary Clinton presidential announcement address
*** Changes of conviction? Or changes of convenience? In her speech tomorrow, Hillary is also expected to embrace being a progressive -- more than she ever did at this point in 2007. Yet don’t forget that she has made quite a few position changes to get her: supporting gay marriage, backing immigration-reform changes beyond President Obama’s executive actions, favoring drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants, supporting normalization with Cuba. It will be interesting to see if these changes tomorrow come across as changes of conviction or changes of convenience/ One other thing to keep in mind about tomorrow: Delivering big speeches at rallies has never been one of Hillary’s strengths.
*** Today’s big trade showdown in the House: So Hillary’s rally in New York is the big political story tomorrow. But today’s big story is the House vote to give President Obama trade-promotion authority, or “fast track” authority. Per NBC’s Alex Moe, the votes on the various trade packages will likely take place in the 11:00 am ET hour. Yesterday afternoon, Moe adds, the rule setting up today’s votes barely passed by a 217-212 vote. It was only able to pass after eight Democrats threw their support behind the measure after it looked like it would go down to defeat. The Democrats voting yes: Earl Blumenauer (OR), Gerry Connolly (VA), Jim Cooper (TN), Henry Cuellar (TX), John Delaney (MD), Hank Johnson (GA), Ron Kind (WI), and Rick Larsen (WA). Don’t miss Luke Russert’s primer explaining this congressional showdown over trade. And NBC’s Frank Thorp reports that President Obama is meeting with House Democrats on Capitol Hill at 9:30 am ET.
*** Can Jeb pull off the message that someone with the last name of Bush is a Washington outsider? On Monday, Jeb Bush will OFFICIALLY launch his presidential bid from Miami, and Politico gets a sneak peak at Jeb’s remarks. “He plans to say that people inside D.C. can’t fix D.C. -- a swipe at the senators in the race (Rubio, Rand, Cruz, Graham).” But can someone named Bush pull off that message? Yes, we know Jeb is the former two-term governor of Florida, and we know he resides in Miami. But given his father’s and brother’s presidencies, and given the DC lobbyists who support him and are giving him money, can he sell GOP voters on that message?
*** Mark Kirk on Lindsey Graham: He’s a “bro with no ho”: If you’re a senator facing a tough re-election, there is one lesson you live by: do no harm. But Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) ignored that lesson when he was caught saying this about Sen. and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham at a hearing: He’s a “bro with no ho.” Graham took no offense, saying per NBC’s Frank Thorp: “Sen. Kirk said he regrets the comments. I believe that is the appropriate response."
*** On “Meet” this Sunday: NBC’s Chuck Todd will interview Mitt Romney and Hillary Campaign Chair John Podesta.
OFF TO THE RACES: Jeb accomplished Rule 1 of going abroad: doing no harm
BUSH: He appears to have avoided a major mistake on his European trip, something his predecessors have struggled to do.
In a post on Medium, the DNC hammers Bush for wanting to “shame” single mothers.
CHRISTIE: He's arguing that his brash style is needed to counter foes like Vladimir Putin.
CLINTON:'s Alex Seitz-Wald: "Those who make onto Roosevelt Island or watch on TV from home will see a very different Clinton than the one who lost the 2008 Democratic primary. Whereas Clinton was seen as impersonal and bloodless then, she now says the chief motivation of her public life is her mother. Whereas Clinton was seen as moderate and cautious then, she will now embrace a president who remade the country in a more progressive image."
The New York Times also previews Clinton's launch speech: "It took a long time for Hillary Rodham Clinton to fully understand the story of her mother’s devastating childhood. But now, four years after her death, Dorothy’s story is forming the emotional foundation of her daughter’s campaign for president, and will be a central theme in her big kickoff speech on Saturday."
POLITICO: "Policy is what Hillary Clinton lives for, and her team is committed to portray her as a wonk warrior, which has the added virtue of being true. In 2008, the candidate emphasized her inevitability and her toughness (she was obsessed with the idea that male voters would view a woman as a weak potential commander-in-chief), but for 2016, she’s building her strategy around a series of domestic policy rollouts."
KASICH: Don't miss this from yesterday: Perry Bacon Jr. asks "Is John Kasich too cranky to be president?"
JINDAL: From the Times-Picayune: "After holding out for weeks, the Louisiana House agreed Thursday to go along with Gov. Bobby Jindal's national "no tax" pledge and avoid the governor's veto pen. Legislators said they didn't feel like they had any choice but to approve the anti-tax measure, with Jindal threatening to reject funding bills largely dedicated to higher education"
O'MALLEY: "A Wall Street Journal survey of many of the top Obama fundraisers found that some are backing other candidates or weighing their options. Interviews with donors also found that Mr. O’Malley, a former Maryland governor, is making an aggressive push to win their allegiance."
TRUMP: visited Trump's 2016 headquarters in Manchester.
WALKER: Time magazine outlines Walker's woes when it comes to attempts to save Bucks stadium.
The Washington Post notes Walker's sudden move to push abortion restrictions, now likely to be passed by the GOP-dominated Assembly.
CONGRESS: Today’s trade showdown
Here's NBC's explainer on the trade showdown in Congress.
From the New York Times: "The House on Friday will take up two critical bills already passed by the Senate. The first would offer so-called trade adjustment assistance — including job training, relocation allowances and assistance with health care costs — to workers who lose their jobs because of free trade deals. The second would grant this president and the next “trade promotion authority” — the power to negotiate international trade accords that could not be amended or filibustered by Congress."
The Washington Post notes that even Chicago's Democrats aren't on board with Obama when it comes to trade.
OBAMA AGENDA: That cyber theft looks worse than it originally appeared
Furious lobbying continues as the June 30 deadline for completing the Iran deal approaches.
Via the AP: "A major federal union says the cyber theft of employee information is more damaging than it first appeared, asserting that hackers stole personnel data and Social Security numbers for every federal employee."
Mark Murray and Carrie Dann contributed to this report.