- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It’s not easy to be named to a has-been list, but such is life for lawmakers, even powerful lawmakers. Roll Call has issued its top 10 list of the “most vulnerable” senators; a list for House members will be issued Wednesday. For now, though, nine Democrats and one Republican — Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — are on the endangered list.

Some are more vulnerable than others, however. The list begins, in fact, with someone on the thinnest ice of all. That would be Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat who faces a vigorous challenge from Rep. Bill Cassidy. The next four slots are occupied by Democrats as well. In second place is Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Udall of Colorado.

The lone GOPer Mr. McConnell is in sixth place, followed by another quartet of Democrats: Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Jeff Merkley or Oregon, Al Franken of Minnesota and Mark Warner of Virginia


SEE ALSO: Eric Cantor heads to Wall Street for new adviser role at Moelis & Co.


“Republicans, who need a net gain of six seats to take control of the chamber, are expected to get halfway there by picking up the open seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. Its open-seat opportunities don’t stop there, but the GOP will likely need to defeat at least two sitting senators to win the majority,” the publication reports.

THE $100 MILLION GUARANTEE

The Republican National Committee is ticking off the days, one by one, until election day dawns and their grass-roots efforts pay off.

“Taking back the United States Senate is our number one priority,” says chairman Reince Priebus. “For months we’ve been in communities building relationships and helping state parties and campaigns with data and technology and we’re excited for the opportunity to help turn out voters on the road to taking back the Senate.”

The committee has put its money where it’s aspirations are, spending $100 million on those get-out-the-vote efforts — with much emphasis, Mr. Priebus says, on early voting and absentee ballots.

VICE CHAIRMAN CANTOR

He’s not leaving the rolling hills of Virginia any time soon. Nevertheless, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has joined the Manhattan-based and independent global investment bank Moelis & Co. as vice chairman and managing director, and will serve as a “strategic counsel”, the Wall Street firm announced Tuesday. Mr. Cantor will receive a reported $3.5 million in cash and stock.

“The news that Eric Cantor has taken a job on Wall Street comes as little surprise,” sighs Kevin Broughton, national communications director for the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund. “After Dave Brat’s upset victory in June, many analysts accused Cantor of paying more attention to Wall Street than to the people of Virginia’s 7th District. He certainly didn’t waste any time validating that theory.”

TYPO DU JOUR

“Zenger Society Meeting — Special Guest — Sen. Tom Cruz!”

— From a press release issued by the Zenger Society for an media event later this month in the nation’s capital. Sen. Ted Cruz is the actual guest. This small but telling infraction was spotted by none other than John Solomon, editor of The Washington Times.

THE ESTONIA FACTOR

So why is President Obama visiting Estonia? Here’s a cogent explanation from Heritage Foundation analysts Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis: “This visit is a welcome announcement. Up until the recent events in Ukraine, the importance of the Baltic region to NATO and the threat Russia posed to it was generally overlooked by the Obama administration. The visit sends an important signal to friends and foes alike in the region that the U.S. takes Baltic security and its obligation under NATO seriously,” the pair say.

“The U.S. should seize on the momentum of the President’s visit and push for concrete actions to bolster security in NATO’s Central and Eastern European member states. As the Afghan mission winds down and Russian aggression increases, getting back to the basics of collective security should be the top priority for the alliance. There is no better place to start than the Baltic region,” Mssers Coffey and Kochi continue.

They also note that the visit can highlight and reinforce just how far Baltic nations have come in embracing economic freedom and democracy since the Cold War.

“A visit to Estonia sends the right message, but how the U.S. and NATO follow through on their promises will be watched even more closely,” the analysts add.

C-SPAN2 will carry Mr. Obama’s visit live at 8:30 a.m. ET, incidentally.

TRUE GRID

Here comes yet another dire warning: Either the Islamic State or other U.S. enemies could “inflict existential damage upon this country by attacking its vulnerable electric grid.”

So says the Secure the Grid Coalition, an ad hoc group of analysts and experts, who fret about porous borders, bold militants and electromagnetic pulses. They will get vocal and make their case on Wednesday at the National Press Club with a panel that includes Frank Gaffney, a former assistant Defense Dept. secretary, Michael Maloof, a former senior Defense analyst and Peter Vincent Pry, former career CIA analyst. See their reasoning here: SecuretheGrid.com

A REAGANITE AT THE WASHINGTON POST

A family dynasty is about to end at The Washington Post when Katharine Weymouth steps down as publisher on October 1, to be replaced by Frederick J. Ryan. Ms. Weymouth was advised of the impending change by Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos in mid-August; the news organization announced it on Tuesday. Mr. Ryan, 59, is an attorney and entrepreneurial-minded media entity who founded Politico seven years ago and was the former president of Allbritton Communications, which was bought by Sinclair Broadcasting, the deal finalized only last month.

Mr. Ryan’s political heritage is an interesting dynamic. He served in the Reagan White House beginning in 1982, and was ultimately named “Assistant to the President,” this according to White House records. Mr. Ryan went on to write two books about Ronald Reagan, is a board member of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and remains close to Nancy Reagan.

“Ryan’s background in Republican politics also is certain to raise questions about the direction of The Post’s editorial page, among the most influential in the nation,” wrote Post reporter Craig Timberg. “Ryan said he planned to keep the newspaper’s current executive editor, Martin Baron, and its editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt. Ryan said he did not anticipate changes in The Post’s editorial policies and would protect the independence of the newsroom, saying Baron ‘does a superb job’.”

The publisher-in-waiting appears ready to rumble. “You don’t shrink your way to success,” he said. “The Post is on the move.”

POLL DU JOUR

48 percent of Americans say it would be “very difficult” asking to borrow money from their parents.

42 percent say it’s difficult to ask for money back loaned to a friend or family member.

37 percent say it’s difficult to ask for a raise.

25 percent say its difficult to ask “boomerang kids” to move out.

23 percent say it’s difficult to talk about family budgets with their spouse.

15 percent say it’s difficult to tell an adult child to get a job.

Source: A Northwestern Mutual family finance poll of 2,092 U.S. adults conducted January 21-February 5 and released Tuesday.

Impatient questions, polite applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com.