William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 10:25 P.M. ET:  

RYAN – Many questions are being asked about what happens to Paul Ryan now?  Well, first, Ryan was able to run for vice president and the House of Representatives simultaneously, and he won back his seat in Congress from Wisconsin.  He is considered a major player in the Republican Party, especially on fiscal matters.  He is also young enough to grow, and we might be looking at a future governor, and possible presidential candidate.  His greatest liability:  He's another white male in a party now seriously looking to expand its base.

CHRIS CHRISTIE – One of the most popular figures in the Republican Party before last week, when, as governor of New Jersey, he heaped effusive praise on President Obama during Hurricane Sandy.  There's real fury toward Christie, which I think is misplaced.  He's in a state where potential challengers to his re-election as governor in his Democratic state next year are within two to four points of him.  His praise for Obama might have been a bit too much, but I doubt if it affected the vote in, say, Ohio.  Still, Christie is in the doghouse for a time, with Romney staffers furious at him.

BLACK REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES – The party needs them, but they don't always do so well at the polls.  One of the great truth-tellers in Congress, Allen West of Florida, is struggling to hang onto his House seat.  The current count from yesterday shows him losing, but he is demanding a recount and the impounding of ballots, charging irregularities.  In Utah, Mia Love, who made such an impression at the GOP convention, was not successful in her race for election to the House.  The idea now is to keep both West and Love active, and ready to fight another day.  They are both terrific, but will get little respect in their own community, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.

THE BIG OPEN SLOT – Speculation has begun over who will be the next secretary of state, and a lot of speculation surrounds the possibility that the name will be a surprise.  Conventional wisdom favors John Kerry or Susan Rice.  But Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton came out of the blue, and he might go that route again.  (There is even talk of Bill Clinton.  I kid you not.)  The one name to worry about:  Thomas Pickering, the former U.S. ambassador to a bunch of places, who is heading up the investigation into what went wrong at Benghazi.  Pickering is known for pro-Arab sympathies and for being a bit cozy with the Iranian regime.  But if he does his dirty work in the Benghazi probe, Obama might reward him.

November 7, 2012