TIME russia

U.S., EU Boost Sanctions On Russia

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to reporters about new sanctions imposed on Russia as he departs the White House
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to reporters about new sanctions imposed on Russia as he departs the White House in Washington D.C.on July 29, 2014. Joshua Roberts—Reuters

"It doesn't have to be this way"

The United States is escalating sanctions on the Russian economy nearly two weeks after the shootdown of a civilian airliner over eastern Ukraine and amid growing violence along that country’s border with Russia. President Barack Obama announced the new sanctions Tuesday hours after the European Union approved similar measures.

“Today the United States is imposing new sanctions on key sectors of the Russian economy: energy, arms, and finance,” Obama said from the White House.

The Treasury Department sanctioned three Russian banks: Bank of Moscow, Russian Agricultural Bank, and VTB Bank OAO, in an effort to increase “costs” on Russia, Obama announced, while the U.S. government is restricting exports of energy-related parts to Russia.

The new sanctions also apply to United Shipbuilding Company, the largest such company in Russia. “We have hit five of the six largest state-owned banks in Russia,” a senior administration official said Tuesday.

The U.S. will also require export licenses for energy-related technology for new Russian deepwater, arctic offshore and shale projects, a according to that official. Additionally, the official said there would be no new Ex-Im Bank transactions with Russia.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Obama said, calling on Russia to rein in separatist forces and become a “good neighbor” to Ukraine. “This is a choice that Russia, and President Putin in particular, has made.”

Obama said that since the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that Russia and “its proxies in Ukraine” have in several ways impeded the crash investigation, including by tampering with evidence. The U.S. government believes that Russian-backed separatist forces deployed a SA-11 surface to air missile provided by Russia to shoot down the airliner, likely confusing it with a Ukrainian military aircraft.

Obama said the new sanctions would further weaken the Russian economy, which has suffered from capital flight amid the ongoing crisis, adding that still more sanctions could be imposed if Russia doesn’t reverse course. When asked if the rising diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia represent a “new Cold War,” Obama balked. “No, this is not a new Cold War,” the President said.

TIME Military

Senate Confirms McDonald as VA Secretary

(WASHINGTON) — The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Affairs secretary, with a mission to overhaul an agency beleaguered by long veterans’ waits for health care and VA workers falsifying records to cover up delays.

McDonald, 61, of Cincinnati, will replace Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, who took over in May after Eric Shinseki resigned.

McDonald has pledged to transform the VA and promised that “systematic failures” must be addressed. He said improving patient access to health care is a top priority, along with restoring transparency, accountability and integrity to the VA.

The 97-0 vote to confirm McDonald comes as Congress appears poised to approve a $17 billion compromise bill to overhaul the VA.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said it was important that Congress act on the reform bill as quickly as possible in order “to give Mr. McDonald and his team the resources they need to ensure American veterans are getting the care we’ve promised them.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said McDonald “has a tough job ahead of him,” but said that if McDonald “is willing to work in a collaborative and open manner with Congress, he will find a constructive partner on this side of the aisle.”

House and Senate negotiators have approved the VA bill, which is intended to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat them, and make it easier to fire executives at VA. The vote by the 28-member conference committee late Monday sends the bill to the full House and Senate, where approval is expected later this week.

The measure includes $10 billion in emergency spending to help veterans who can’t get prompt appointments with VA doctors to obtain outside care; $5 billion to hire doctors, nurses and other medical staff; and about $1.5 billion to lease 27 new clinics across the country.

Florida Rep. Jeff Miller, who chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who chairs the Senate panel, say the bill will require about $12 billion in new spending after accounting for about $5 billion in unspecified spending cuts from the VA’s budget.

Despite the steep cost, Miller said he is confident he can sell the bill to fellow Republicans, including tea party members.

“Taking care of our veterans is not an inexpensive proposition, and our members understand that,” Miller said Monday. “The VA has caused this problem and one of the ways that we can help solve it is to give veterans a choice, a choice to stay in the system or a choice to go out of the system” to get government-paid health care from a private doctor.

Pressed on the point by reporters, Miller said there will be “an educational process that will have to take place” before the House votes on the compromise plan later this week. “Obviously some of our members will need a little more educating than others.”

Rep. Tim Huelskamp., R-Kan., a tea party favorite and a member of the House veterans panel, said “throwing money at the VA won’t solve their problem,” adding that “a fundamental change in culture and real leadership from the president on down is the only way to provide the quality, timely care our veterans deserve.”

Sanders, for his part, said funding for veterans should be considered as a cost of war, paid for through emergency spending.

“Planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war. So is taking care of the men and women who fight our battles,” he said.

Miller and Sanders both predicted passage of the bill by the end of the week, when Congress is set to leave town for a five-week recess.

If approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama, the veterans’ bill would be one of the few significant bills signed into law this year.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama welcomes the bipartisan deal as “much-needed reforms that need to be implemented.”

The White House is especially pleased that the bill includes emergency spending “to provide VA the additional resources necessary to deliver timely, high-quality care to veterans through a strengthened VA system,” Earnest said.

The VA has been rocked by reports of patients dying while awaiting treatment and mounting evidence that workers falsified or omitted appointment schedules to mask frequent, long delays. The resulting election-year firestorm forced VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign in late May.

The compromise measure would require the VA to pay private doctors to treat qualifying veterans who can’t get prompt appointments at the VA’s nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics, or those who live at least 40 miles from one of them. Only veterans who are enrolled in VA care as of Aug. 1 or live at least 40 miles away would be eligible to get outside care.

The proposed restrictions are important in controlling costs for the program. Congressional budget analysts had projected that tens of thousands of veterans who currently are not treated by the VA would likely seek VA care if they could see a private doctor paid for by the government.

TIME LGBT

Obama Urged to Address LGBT Rights in Africa

Africa Anti Gay Laws
Kenyan gays and lesbians and others supporting their cause wear masks to preserve their anonymity as they stage a rare protest, against Uganda's increasingly tough stance against homosexuality outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya on Feb. 10, 2014. Ben Curtis—AP

Advocates issue report on the dreadful state of LGBT rights in Africa, as world leaders and leading figures from the continent prepare for the US-Africa Leaders Summit

Updated at 4:38 p.m. ET Tuesday

The White House will host more than 40 African heads of state for a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit next week, the first event of its kind and the largest such event any U.S. president has held with African governments. Some 200 African and U.S. CEOs are invited, and numerous faith leaders will gather to discuss their role in advancing development. To mark the historic event, LGBT advocates have issued a report on the state of LGBT rights in Africa. Their conclusion? It ain’t good.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Human Rights First report contains some stark numbers. A total of 37 African nations currently criminalize same-sex relationships. Four countries—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—allow for the death penalty against LGBT people in parts or in all of the country. Cameroon arrests more people based on their sexual orientation than any other country in the world. Ghana treats same-sex relationships as a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years in prison. In Kenya, the sentence is up to 14 years. Only one country, South Africa, grants full marriage equality to LGBT citizens.

The U.S.—Africa summit, these advocates argue, is the perfect time for the White House to stand up for LGBT rights on the continent. Voices for equality on the ground deserve U.S. support, they say, and the U.S. should help create the political environment to ensure human rights are respected.

“The United States should demonstrate its firm commitment to upholding the fundamental principle that LGBT rights are human rights,” Ty Cobb, director of global engagement at the Human Rights Campaign, says. “This includes making clear that the United States will be a champion of LGBT rights abroad, and that we will not tolerate efforts to enact state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people in any country.”

The authors of the report aren’t alone. Representatives from the Council for Global Equality, Advocates for Youth, Amnesty International, GLAAD, and a dozen other organizations wrote a letter to President Barack Obama on July 25 urging “particular attention” at the summit to the rights of the next generation of LGBT Africans.

“We are confident that with your support, and the robust contribution of civil society, the summit will provide a unique opportunity to emphasize that LGBT and other marginalized communities suffer disproportionately from governance deficits, and that too many governments scapegoat LGBT individuals to distract public attention away from those structural failures,” they wrote. “The economic themes of the conference also provide an opportunity to emphasize that homophobia, transphobia and related forms of intolerance have economic costs, including to the trade and investment environments in emerging markets.”

Activists also note that the moment has particular importance as some African countries are taking more steps toward equality. “There are reports that Malawi will stop arresting LGBT people and review its laws,” Shawn Gaylord, advocacy counsel for Human Rights First, explains. “A move to pass new anti-gay legislation (and hold a massive anti-gay rally) was stalled in Ethiopia this year. Two young men were just acquitted in Cameroon. It’s too early to say if this is part of a larger trend or just a few independent rays of hope but it’s a trend we should watch and support.”

The Obama administration has already reacted to anti-LGBT legislation in Africa. Last month, the White House increased sanctions against Uganda for its anti-gay law signed in February, which made certain homosexual acts punishable by life imprisonment. The summit will give the president an opportunity to make the case in person, if he chooses. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni is slated to attend, as is Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who also signed an anti-homosexuality law this year.

“This summit is a unique opportunity to tell the story of how our nation and every nation grows stronger and more prosperous when all citizens—including LGBT people—are accepted by society and provided equal treatment under the law,” Cobb says. “Every citizen must be empowered to reach their maximum potential, and we should urge these nations to reject laws, policies, and practices that discriminate against LGBT people.”

National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price tells TIME that LGBT equality in Africa will be on the table at the summit. “The Obama Administration has long spoken out—including with our African partners—in support of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals,” he says. “We expect the Summit will provide an opportunity to continue these conversations.”

– Zeke J. Miller contributed to this report

TIME Congress

GOP Conference Bids Eric Cantor Farewell With Video Tribute

But don't cry for Cantor. He is likely to be just fine.

In what will likely be former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s last conference meeting before he’s expected to resign, House Republicans paid tribute on Tuesday to Cantor’s legacy.

“While it’s impossible to fully capture your leadership on behalf of House Republicans, I wanted to remind everyone of a few of your many highlights,” said House Conference Chair Cathy McMorris-Rogers introducing the above video.

The video emphasizes Cantor’s work with children and, set to hopeful music, America’s bright next generation. It ends with the Virginia Republican’s own words from a recent speech on children’s issues: “Each setback is an opportunity and that there’s always optimism for the future.”

Cantor’s next steps are largely unknown. Many have speculated he’ll take a lucrative lobbying or government relations or consulting job. Though his dreams of becoming speaker were dashed when he lost his GOP primary last month, Cantor’s future is certainly not looking too shabby with what are surely many multi-million dollar options on the table.

TIME White House

The Story Behind President Obama’s Custom Golf Balls

Not all golf balls are created equal when the President tees up for a foursome

Golfing at the tony Congressional Country Club this weekend, President Barack Obama shanked a ball off the first tee into the woods, providing a similarly unlucky player with a keepsake souvenir—a personalized presidential golf ball.

Dallas resident Pace Doherty found the president’s ball on Sunday, a day after the duffer-in-chief hit the links with aide Marvin Nicholson and ESPN personalities Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. The Titleist balls were personalized with Obama’s official nicknames, with the word “POTUS” on one side and the number “44” on the other. (Obama is the 44th President of the United States, and POTUS is the quasi-official acronym for his job title.)

A source familiar with the president’s golfing confirmed that Obama personally pays for the golf balls, which retail for $57.99 a dozen, or about $10 more than a non-customized set.

Doherty posted a photo of the custom golf ball on Instagram.

Titleist spokesman Eric Soderstrom identified the ball as from the company’s signature Pro V1 line, currently played by 2013 Green Jacket winner Adam Scott. “We have been supplying golf balls to golfing presidents for many years,” he said Monday. “It is harder than you think to stamp perfectly on a round sphere with dimples in it.”

In his definitive tome on presidential golfing, First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers and Cheaters from Taft to Bush, ESPN reporter Don Van Natta, Jr. records former President Richard Nixon playing with custom golf balls featuring his signature and the presidential seal. Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush all had golf balls featuring their signatures as well.

Presidential golf balls and boxes, 1970-92.
Presidential golf balls and boxes signed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush senior. Sarah Fabian-Baddiel—Heritage Images/Getty Images

The golf ball in question differs slightly in design from Obama’s first presidential model, also a Pro V1. The initial version featured the “44” with the presidential seal on the opposite side. Titleist sold Obama those balls in a custom half-dozen box emblazoned with the presidential seal.

As recently as 2010, double-digit play numbers were reserved for the commander in chief alone, requiring the company to make special modifications to its processing line. But no longer. The company upgraded its manufacturing systems to allow anyone to print double-digit play numbers. Custom Pro V1 golf balls monogrammed with a “44” and “POTUS” like Obama’s retail for $57.99 on the website Golfsmith.com.

Amazon.com sells the monogram-free stock dozen Pro V1 golf balls for $47.95.

 

 

 

TIME Ukraine

Kerry Says Not ‘a Shred’ of Evidence Russia Wants to Ease Ukraine Fighting

Kerry warned Russia would face stiffer sanctions if it continued to arm and support Ukraine's separatists

+ READ ARTICLE

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened to impose wider sanctions on Russia in a Tuesday press conference, arguing that Russian officials had “not shown a shred of evidence” that they want to de-escalate the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Kerry accused Russia of continuing to ship arms, funds and personnel into eastern Ukraine even after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. If Russia failed to reign in its separatist allies, “we and our European partners will take additional measures and impose wider sanctions on key sections of the Russian economy,” Kerry said during a Washington, D.C. appearance alongside Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.

The announcement echoed a warning from the White House on Monday that the United States and European Union were prepared to tighten sanctions over key sectors of the Russian economy.

Kerry also blasted separatists militias for blocking international investigators’ access to the MH17 crash site and failing to return victims’ remains and belongings to their families. Kerry urged Russia to intervene, calling the behavior “an appalling disregard for human decency.”

TIME Congress

Boehner: House GOP Introduces $659 Million Border Bill

John Boehner Holds Media Briefing At The Capitol
U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) answers questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol July 24, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee—;Getty Images

The bill is well short of the $3.7 President Obama requested

Updated at 3:48 p.m.

House Republicans introduced a $659 million bill to address the surge of migrant children coming over the southern U.S. border Tuesday, well short of the $2.7 billion proposal the Senate plans on voting on later this week.

In another sign that there’s little chance of finding a compromise before the workweek’s end and subsequent five-week recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested that if the House passed its bill, as House Speaker John Boehner expects, the chambers could discuss a conference meeting on the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill passed last year. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the number-two Democrat in the chamber, flat-out opposed the House bill.

“Certainly it won’t have enough money to get the job done, but a lot depends on the substantive language,” said Durbin, who added that he would not support a House provision that would change the due process of migrant children from noncontiguous countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, where many of the unaccompanied minors hail.

The House bill attempts to relieve backlogged immigration courts by allowing those Central American children to be treated as if they were Mexicans, who are screened more quickly by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid oppose changing that provision, arguing it would grant the unaccompanied minors fewer legal protections and that there are other ways of speeding up immigration cases. The Obama Administration supports the policy change.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers broke down the House bill into three pots of funding: border control, temporary housing and foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The majority of the money, $405 million, is set aside to boost the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Another $197 million would be allocated for the Department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with taking care of the migrant children until their family members or guardians can be found while the minors’ immigration cases are handled. There’s also $22 million in funding to hire judges and speed up judicial proceedings, $35 million to send the National Guard to the border and $40 million to support uniting the families in the aforementioned Central American countries. The bill would cover the costs through the end of September.

The bill would be offset, Rogers announced, primarily through a $405 million cut from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Other cuts to the State, Defense and Justice departments will bring the bill to be fully offset.

Some House Republicans told TIME that the bill is a patch but not a solution.

“We’re probably going to have to deal with this again,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). “It’s obvious we’re trying to get this thing through.”

“If that’s what they’re doing, [it’s] probably all they can get passed right now,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) of the Republican leadership’s plan to fund the bill for two months. When asked if Congress should do more, he said, “I think we have to.”

The Obama Administration predicts that as many as 90,000 unaccompanied minors could be apprehended on the U.S.-Mexico border before the end of September.

TIME 2014 Midterm Election

The ‘Super PAC to End All Super PACs’ Is Backing These Candidates

The 18th Annual Webby Awards - Inside
Professor Lawrence Lessig poses backstage at the 18th Annual Webby Awards on May 19, 2014 in New York City. Theo Wargo—2014 Getty Images

And gives Congress an ultimatum before revealing its entire slate

The Mayday Super PAC, a crowdfunded Political Action Committee designed to support pro-campaign finance reform politicians, announced two of the candidates it will support in the upcoming 2014 midterm elections.

The PAC is supporting State Senator Jim Reubens in the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary. It’s also supporting Democrat Staci Appel in the race to represent Iowa’s third congressional district.

Reubens has made “fundamental reform to the way campaigns are funded” a central platform in his campaign, the group said. In that race, the group is also opposing former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who it says opposes several key campaign finance reform measures and supports the lightning rod Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Appel, meanwhile, is also a dedicated campaign finance reformer.

Mayday PAC has said it will support a total of five candidates in this year’s midterms. However, it has left three of the five candidates it will ultimately support unannounced as a “warning shot,” as the group calls it, to other politicians.

“If a candidate for Congress wants to be inoculated from being on our target list,” the group said in a press release Monday, “there is an easy way to do so: get on the right side of reform.”

Mayday PAC says candidates have until 5 p.m. eastern time on August 5 to meet the group’s requirements or else risk being named a target. Whether any candidates will switch their positions on campaign finance reform as a result of the groups’ ultimatum remains to be seen.

The “Super PAC to end all Super PACs” was launched by the academic and campaign finance reform activist Lawrence Lessig. The group has raised $7.7 million to spend influencing key races this year, much of it Kickstarter-style through small donations.

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 29

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the News: Israeli media blasts Kerry; U.S. says Russia violated arms treaty; Michelle Nunn's leaked memos; WH report on impact of climate change; and using threat of Obama's impeachment as fundraising tactic

  • Barack Obama immigration moves could raise legal questions [Politico]
  • WH report details economic impact of delaying climate action [TIME]
  • Michelle Nunn’s leaked memos offer rare glimpse of campaign calculation [TIME]
  • Spending big to fight big donors in campaigns [NYT]
  • “A ballot initiative that would support breaking California into six smaller and more coherent states is being backed by Timothy Draper, a tech investor. It’s a great idea. But why stop with California? Breaking up all of the too-large states would increase both the accountability and efficiency of the U.S. government.” [Salon]
  • A Tea Party Tempest in Tennessee [TIME]
  • Senator Patrick Leahy unveils ‘historic’ NSA reform bill [The Hill]
  • “If Congress makes no change in existing law, officials said, Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund will be exhausted in 2030, four years later than the administration projected in May 2013. The Social Security trust fund, they said, will be depleted in 2033, the same as expected last year.” [NYT]
  • Politicking off impeachment chatter [Politico]
  • It’s up to the Senate to save you from sunburn now [National Journal]
  • Israel knocked out Gaza’s only power plant, flattened the home of its Islamist Hamas political leader and pounded dozens of other high-profile targets in the enclave on Tuesday, with no end in sight to more than three weeks of conflict.” [Reuters]
  • The one thing everyone in Israel seems to agree on: John Kerry blew it [Washington Post]
  • “In another sign of deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia, the U.S. government said on Monday that Moscow had violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty, and urged immediate bilateral talks on the issue.” [Reuters]

 

TIME Opinion

A Tea Party Tempest in Tennessee

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announces the kickoff of his "Standing Up for Tennessee" bus tour at Sullivan's Restaurant in his hometown of Maryville, Tenn., as his wife Honey and State Rep. Art Swann look on on July 25, 2014.
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announces the kickoff of his "Standing Up for Tennessee" bus tour at Sullivan's Restaurant in his hometown of Maryville, Tenn., as his wife Honey and State Rep. Art Swann look on on July 25, 2014. Tom Sherlin—The Daily News/AP

Why Lamar Alexander should prevail against a hard-right challenger

I’ve always thought that Lamar Alexander’s Little Plaid Book, a collection of political wisdom gleaned from more than half a lifetime in the arena, is an underappreciated classic. (My favorite rule is #73, “Walk in Parades,” followed by #74: “If it is the Mule Day parade, walk at the front.”) Subtitled “Rules, Reminders, and Lessons About Running for Office and Making a Difference, Whether It’s for President of the United States or President of Your Senior Class,” the book is the kind of thing that might have resulted if Machiavelli and Dale Carnegie had teamed up to write a primer on Southern politics.

Like other incumbents, Alexander, a former governor who is now seeking his third term in the U.S. Senate, is facing a Tea Party primary challenge, and voters will choose between Alexander and state representative Joe Carr on Aug. 7. While the race is not especially close in the polls, Alexander knows the risks.

The defeat of Eric Cantor in Virginia and the political near-death experience of Thad Cochran in Mississippi have invested Tea Party campaigns like Carr’s with tragic electoral possibilities for incumbents who do not take such incursions seriously. An Alexander victory would signal that the GOP, at least at the senatorial level, has more in common with the passionate pragmatism of Ronald Reagan than with the provocative postings of Sarah Palin.

Alexander is one of the last of a kind—a politician with a passion for governing, and to govern, as we know, is to choose, and choice tends to require compromise, for, like life, politics is not perfectible.

This last point is essential, and it goes to the heart of the Tea Party primary campaigns of 2014. From immigration to Obamacare, Tea Party conservatives are out for total ideological victory—though what might come on the day after is less clear. As Newt Gingrich said in endorsing Alexander, projecting a GOP takeover of the Senate, “As a committee chairman next year, he will play a vital role in ending the Obama era in health and in education. We need Lamar’s experience and shrewdness to fix Washington.”

It’s an old truth: you can’t beat something with nothing, and it takes serious legislators to effect serious change.

I grew up in Tennessee when Alexander was governor and have watched him closely through the years. He is what people ought to want in a senator: an experienced, sensible man with a record of achievement. He first sought public office more than four decades ago. He lost that first gubernatorial race in 1974, but won four years later. He has been a two-term governor, a university president, a secretary of Education, a presidential candidate, and a United States senator. He was one of the early Southern governors who courted automakers to come to right-to-work states in the Old Confederacy—and, as he points out, by end of the 1980s, Tennessee had gone from the third poorest state in the Union to the state with the fastest growing family incomes.

With no state income tax, Alexander used the public sector to create conditions for private-sector growth, including building critical roads while leaving the state with no road debt. He was also an innovator in education. Alexander did all this from 1979 to 1987 with a legislature that was in Democratic hands.

Carr has buzzy endorsements, chiefly from Palin and from Laura Ingraham, who played such a critical role in defeating Cantor for renomination in Virginia. “It’s time for bold colors. Abandon the pastels,” Ingraham told Andy Sher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “We need fighters. Lamar’s had his time. He’s had a good run.” Alexander, she added, is “kind of like an old sweater. He was really comfortable and sharp looking at one point, but now it just takes up room in your drawer.”

In endorsing Carr, Palin thanked Alexander for his service but said it was time for a change: “With the new challenges in D.C., the time has come for new leaders who are willing to stand up to the political establishments and the Obama administration and say, ‘no mas!’”

It’s worth remembering, though, that a senator like Alexander has much more in common with the real Reagan—a master compromiser—than any reflexive ideologue has. Reagan would have walked in front of the mules, right along with Alexander, who’s earned at least six more years of such parades.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described Carr. He is a current member of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

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