November 27, 2014

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Generic Congressional Ballot Survey + Thanksgiving Day Open Thread

Rasmussen Generic Congressional Ballot Survey

  • Republicans 43%
  • Democrats 39%

The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Inside the numbers:

Two weeks after they won full control of Congress, Republicans now lead Democrats by four points on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending November 23 finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Republican in their district’s congressional race if the election were held today, while 39% would choose the Democrat. This is the largest lead the Republicans have held since early August.

Happy Thanksgiving Day everyone! Have at it in the comments!

by @ 1:02 pm. Filed under 2016, Poll Watch

November 26, 2014

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

Quinnipiac 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Jeb Bush 14% [10%] (11%) {11%} [11%] (10%)
  • Chris Christie 11% [10%] (12%) {17%} [13%] (14%)
  • Ben Carson 9%
  • Rand Paul 8% [11%] (13%) {14%} [17%] (15%)
  • Mike Huckabee 7% [10%]
  • Paul Ryan 7% [8%] (13%) {9%} [10%] (17%)
  • Scott Walker 6% [8%] (6%) {5%} [4%] (2%)
  • Ted Cruz 5% [8%] (9%) {13%} [10%]
  • Rick Perry 3% [3%]
  • Bobby Jindal 3% [1%] (3%) {3%} [3%] (3%)
  • Marco Rubio 3% [6%] (8%) {7%} [12%] (19%)
  • John Kasich 2% [2%] (2%) {2%}
  • Rick Santorum 2% [2%]
  • Rob Portman 1%
  • Don’t know 19% [20%] (22%) {17%} [19%] (18%)

Survey of 707 registered Republican and GOP-leaning voters was conducted November 18-23, 2014.  The margin of error is +/- 3.7 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted June 24-30, 2014are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 15-19, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted December 3-9, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted September 23-29, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 26 – April 1, 2013 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 11:27 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Survey

Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Poll 

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as president?

  • Strongly approve 23%
  • Somewhat approve 23%
  • Somewhat disapprove 11%
  • Strongly disapprove 41%

President Obama Job Approval

  • Approve 46%
  • Disapprove 52%

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

by @ 11:26 am. Filed under Barack Obama, Poll Watch

November 25, 2014

Mitt Romney, the Adlai Stevenson of the Republican Party

Just mention the name Mitt Romney and you’re likely to provoke debates amongst Republicans. I’m not intending to rehash these discussions; they’ve been had multiple times since 2007. What I am trying to do is find the proper place to put Governor Romney within the Republican Party. My love of obscure historical references took me to the 1950’s and I found the historical figure who best parallels Romney at this point; he’s the Republican Party’s Adlai Stevenson.

Governor Stevenson of Illinois was the Democratic nominee in both 1952 and 1956, losing both times in landslides to Dwight D. Eisenhower. In the process though, he gained the affection of much of the Democratic Party. In 1960, despite his two losses, a strong segment of the Democratic Party wanted Stevenson to run again, when it seemed he would have a much better chance of winning. Stevenson did well in national polling throughout the primary season and there was much speculation about his intentions. The Kennedy campaign was just as concerned about Adlai Stevenson as they were with Lyndon Johnson. At the Democratic Convention, Eugene McCarthy electrified the convention with his speech nominating Stevenson, calling him “not the favorite son of any single state, but the favorite son of fifty states” and the prophet of the Democratic Party. The demonstration after Stevenson’s nomination was the most enthusiastic, passionate one of the Convention, lasting close to an hour. Even though he didn’t win the nomination (or come close), it was clear where the heart of the Democratic Party was, if not its head.

The Stevenson comparison is apt for several reasons. First, like Stevenson, Romney is being seen as the man who was right all along about the ineptitude, foolishness and stupidity of the present administration. Romney is seen as the prophet of the Republican Party, especially on foreign policy. Second, there is a faction of the Republican Party that has deep affection for Romney and are stubbornly loyal to him and want him to run for a third time. In the 1950’s the Stevenson people were eggheads, today we have Rombots. Another key similarity is that both Romney and Stevenson were well-known commodities by the time their third presidential election came around and their opponents were all new, relatively untested candidates. We’re comfortable with Romney since he’s been around for a while; we know what to expect with this old commodity. New things are interesting, but also nerve-wracking. As a conservative party, we Republicans don’t do new things with great gusto or without checking if there are other options available.

Finally, and perhaps most poignantly, there is a feeling of “what might have been”. I’m sure many Republicans, including yours truly, believe that Mitt Romney would have made a genuinely good President; certainly better than the incompetent childish whiner who currently occupies the White House. The thought of what a good solid Republican Administration would have brought to the country over the last few years is painful one. Similarly, Adlai Stevenson in his 1956 run came up with a program called the “New America” which helped lay down the foundations for the New Frontier and Great Society. Until 1960, liberal Democrats didn’t know if they would have the chance to implement their policies.

The Stevenson example is one that can give some hope to Romney fans. Stevenson didn’t end up becoming the Democratic nominee, but he remained a senior statesman within the party and would become Jack Kennedy’s UN Ambassador. He became America’s voice internationally during the Berlin Crisis and Cuban Missile Crisis. Stevenson would not become President but he did become a widely admired statesman, and that’s not too bad of a legacy to have.

by @ 7:09 pm. Filed under 2016, Mitt Romney, Presidential History

And So Begins the Race for 2016: The Timing of it All Edition

The media has already begun asking when the first candidates will announce for the 2016 primaries. Ben Carson’s “introduction ad” a couple weekends ago did little to quiet the fervor, and every time a reporter comes within a hundred yards of one of the 37 potential 2016 hopefuls, the first question asked is, “Are you going to run for President?”

Of course, the media is out in front of this story a little early and they, along with the rest of us, will be waiting for several months before anything official happens (although reading the tea leaves between now and then is a fantastically fun hobby). Historically speaking,  the stream of candidacy announcements begins in February. First, the candidates with low name recognition (to the rest of the country, not to us armchair pundits) will jump in. Following that, the heavyweights (one of whom will actually win the nomination) will jump in sometime around April, and finally a wave of white knights who purport to rescue the voters from the shortcomings of the field will enter the fray at the end of summer/beginning of fall. It’s the way every cycle in recent history has played out, and there’s no reason to think this year will be any different.

Of course, candidates in the 2008 primaries bought into the media hype and the 24/7 social-media-soaked atmosphere and began announcing in January. (One candidate, Duncan Hunter, even announced before the midterm elections in October 2006.) Recognizing that the early announcements made the primary season drag on far too long, however, the 2012 primaries became the latest-starting primaries in recent history, not getting the first official candidate until March. My guess is that the 2016 race will snap back to historical averages and begin again in February.

But then what? A presidential primary campaign does not appear out of thin air. It takes a lot of work, a lot of managing, and a lot of planning to pull it off. The well-prepared candidates understand this and approach the calendar appropriately.

Three Act Play

There’s an old axiom in politics that the voters don’t really start paying attention until Labor Day. Understanding that, then, we can roughly divide the primary calendar into three sections: pre-Memorial Day, Memorial Day to Labor Day, and post-Labor Day.

Every candidate will approach these three divisions a little differently based on their needs. But let’s begin with the heavyweight establishment candidates who will announce around April as a starting point for our discussion. Those candidates will generally attempt to follow what Mitt Romney most recently successfully pulled off in the 2012 primaries:

  1. Pre-Memorial Day: Use this time to build your campaign team. Put the framework in place, fill it with talent, grease up the machine, and get ready to push the start button. This first phase is when you plant field offices, meet with early backers and surrogates, and most importantly, hire talent. At this early stage, the most important thing to do is build a lasting framework that will carry you through the next year and a half — and which will not require your attention during the crazier, busier seasons to come.
  2. Memorial Day to Labor Day: Normal people don’t pay attention to politics during the summer months, so once you have a campaign framework in place take this time to do as many fundraisers as humanly possible. This is your chance to build a warchest with which to dispatch your opponents once the race begins in earnest. Lay low, don’t oversaturate, and fund that campaign.
  3. Post-Labor Day: Campaign, campaign, campaign. This is when people start paying attention, so this is when you start introducing yourself to them. Media blitzes, interviews, ad buys, and public campaign stops in early primary and caucus states all start now and do not end until you bow out of or win the race.

These three phases might seem pretty obvious, but they’re not for many candidates. Without a long-term plan like this is place, many candidates will attempt to do all three things (campaign structure, fundraising, and campaigning) all at the same time, ending up doing none of the well. Additionally, many candidates will waste time holding public events and campaigning during the summer months, then enter the post-Labor Day race woefully low on funds (meaning they cannot campaign as much during the most important portion of the race because they will be fundraising) or having peaked too early with no way to continue momentum (see Romney, 2008).

Of course, none of these are hard and fast phases. They bleed together — every candidate will do some fundraisers during each stage, for instance, to keep the coffers from going empty. And media outlets will have dollar signs and ratings charts in their eyes, scheduling primary debates whenever they can throughout the calendar. But as a good general rule of thumb, sketching out a campaign according to that calendar is what leads to a successful nomination attempt.

What of the candidates with low name recognition or low national stature? These three phases illustrate why little-known candidates generally do not do well in a primary election: they are more or less forced to commit the cardinal sin of the calendar and focus on all three phases at once, beginning in February. They will be dividing their time for the entire campaign between building their structure, fundraising, and campaigning. Nobody knows who they are, so they have to do public campaigning and ad buys and events before they have had a chance to lay down a campaign structure or do serious fundraising. They don’t have an automatic “in” with the top-tier campaign staff talent, so they have to expend more energy finding quality staff . And because they have to start their campaign two months before more well-known candidates, they rack up two months’ worth of extra bills they have to find a way to pay. They are at a disadvantage nearly from square one of the entire process.

One way to overcome some of that disadvantage is to use the time leading up to a formal announcement to do some of the behind-the-scenes structure work. Ted Cruz, for example, is already meeting with potential staff and beginning to lay the very rough framework for a campaign. Other candidates hire staff through their existing PACs, who will later transition onto the candidates’ campaigns. However, there is a thin line, legally speaking, near which potential hopefuls dance while doing this: campaign laws strictly dictate what you can and cannot do before you officially announce a candidacy.

Finally,  this calendar strategy also explains why White Knights — those who swoop in at the last minute to “save” the voters from the current crop of candidates — also have not fared well in recent history. Orrin Hatch, who tried to play the role of the white knight in 2000 after publicly decrying the field’s lack of experience, famously explained why white knight candidacies simply do not work: “I got in too late. I regret having not gotten in earlier. I think it would have made a difference. To be honest with you, most every Republican was taken by the time. I don’t think you can do it in a six-month campaign. I think I’ve proven that.”

Believe it or not, it takes a lot more than a group of supporters who say they will vote for you to win the nomination contest of a major political party. It takes months and months of sustained effort: thousands of volunteers and campaign staff, tens of thousands of feet of office space, hundreds of phones and copiers and pens and notebooks… it requires asking people for money to the tune of $50 million or more… and it requires more hand-shaking, baby-kissing, name-remembering, debate-preparing and speech-making than any human being can do.

Over all of that, a successful candidate will lay out a schedule and control the timing of it all as much as possible.

Get out the popcorn: it will likely all begin in February.

by @ 11:38 am. Filed under 2016, Presidential History

Poll Watch: Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Survey

Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Poll 

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as president?

  • Strongly approve 23%
  • Somewhat approve 22%
  • Somewhat disapprove 11%
  • Strongly disapprove 41%

President Obama Job Approval

  • Approve 45%
  • Disapprove 52%

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

by @ 10:53 am. Filed under Barack Obama, Poll Watch

November 24, 2014

Rand Paul Calls for Declaration of War to Combat ISIS

From The New York Times:

Senator Rand Paul is calling for a declaration of war against the Islamic State, a move that promises to shake up the debate over the military campaign in Iraq and Syria as President Obama prepares to ask Congress to grant him formal authority to use force.

Mr. Paul, a likely presidential candidate who has emerged as one of the Republican Party’s most cautious voices on military intervention, offered a very circumscribed definition of war in his proposal, which he outlined in an interview on Saturday. He would, for instance, limit the duration of military action to one year and significantly restrict the use of ground forces.

Unlike other resolutions circulating on Capitol Hill that would give the president various degrees of authority to use force against Islamic militants, Mr. Paul would take the extra step of declaring war — something

Full story here.

Related: Hagel OUT as Sec. Def.

by @ 12:09 pm. Filed under 2016, Barack Obama, Foreign Affairs, Rand Paul

Poll Watch: Reuters/Ipsos Iowa 2016 Presidential Survey

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 42%
  • Paul Ryan (R) 41%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 40%
  • Chris Christie (R) 37%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 43%
  • Rand Paul (R) 36%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 44%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 36%
  • Paul Ryan (R) 45%
  • Joe Biden (D) 32%
  • Chris Christie (R) 41%
  • Joe Biden (D) 30%
  • Rand Paul (R) 39%
  • Joe Biden (D) 33%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 40%
  • Joe Biden (D) 33%
  • Paul Ryan (R) 41%
  • Andrew Cuomo (D) 27%
  • Chris Christie (R) 39%
  • Andrew Cuomo (D) 24%
  • Rand Paul (R) 37%
  • Andrew Cuomo (D) 30%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 36%
  • Andrew Cuomo (D) 30%

Online survey of 1,129 likely voters was conducted October 23-29, 2014.  The margin of error is +/- 3.3 percentage points. Party ID: 33% Republican; 32% Democrat; 34% Independent.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Joe Biden, Paul Ryan, Poll Watch, Rand Paul

November 23, 2014

Poll Watch: Reuters/Ipsos Iowa 2016 Democratic Caucus Survey

Reuters/Ipsos Iowa 2016 Democratic Caucus Poll

  • Hillary Clinton 60%
  • Elizabeth Warren 17%
  • Joe Biden 4%
  • Andrew Cuomo 3%
  • Bernie Sanders 2%
  • Kirsten Gillibrand 1%
  • Martin O’Malley 1%

Online survey of 552 likely Democratic and Democratic-leaning Independent voters was conducted October 23-29, 2014.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 10:52 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Iowa Caucuses

Poll Watch: Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Survey

Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Poll 

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as president?

  • Strongly approve 23%
  • Somewhat approve 24%
  • Somewhat disapprove 10%
  • Strongly disapprove 41%

President Obama Job Approval

  • Approve 47%
  • Disapprove 51%

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

by @ 10:50 am. Filed under Barack Obama, Poll Watch

November 22, 2014

Weekend Miscellany

Immigration Map, 1903
This map shows numbers and percentages of immigrants, as well as their occupations, by ‘race’ (race was defined a bit differently then, as you’ll see) as of 1903. I don’t know (or care) whether it has any relevance to current events, but I found it fascinating, which is pretty much the only requirement for being included in this post.

I think you’ll have to go Slate and click on the map to get it large enough to read.

ImmigrationMap

Oman
Been giving a lot of thought to Oman’s succession policies lately? Probably not, but it could be the Mideast’s next trouble spot.

 

Sometimes What Isn’t Said Is More Important Than What Is
I recently read a Yahoo News report containing this sentence:

Obama has aggressively used his regulatory power to curb greenhouse gas emissions over fierce objections from Republicans and the energy industry.

It’s true that Republicans and the energy industry have complained about such actions, but so has another group. Labor unions look at many such actions, quite reasonably in my opinion, as job-killers.

The favoring of greenies over workers by Obama and most of the far left represents another opportunity for Republicans to pry even more blue-collar workers away from Democrats, further rupturing the Democratic coalition.

 

The Top 5 Foreign Policy Lessons of the Past 20 Years

That’s the title of this piece from Foreign Policy. I’m not sure it’s all that accurate, but still it might serve as a conversation-starter.

Trying to predict the issues of the next campaign is almost always an exercise in futility. It does seem likely, the way things are going, and given the incompetence of our president (which, since he never learns anything, seems unlikely to change), that foreign policy will play an important role in 2016; that likelihood increases dramatically, of course, if Hillary Clinton is the Democrat’s nominee.

The five lessons are:
No. 1: Great-power politics still matters. A lot.
Which might be rephrased as: the Cold War isn’t over.

No. 2: A lot of global politics is (still) local. 
Despite globalization local issues, rivalries, and disputes still matter. I don’t know who needed to learn this lesson – it should be self-evident to anyone with even a passing awareness of the Mideast.

No. 3: The only thing worse than a bad state is no state.
Examples: Libya, Iraq, Somalia.

No. 4: “Take it or leave it” is bad diplomacy.
Well, yeah. But then so is endless negotiation.

No. 5: Beware hubris.
This is something we just learned recently? The problem, I think, is recognizing hubris.

 

This Week’s Unintended Consequence
The State of Washington just passed a new law (I-594) broadening the rules for background checks on gun purchases (or loans, or other transfers). A small museum, to avoid potential legal hassles, is returning various WW2 weapons to those who loaned them for an exhibit.

And the spokesperson for the group that pushed the law says (of course), “This is clearly not what was concerned when I-594 was designed.”

A small museum in Washington state is removing World War II-era weapons from an exhibit to avoid having to comply with a new voter-approved law requiring background checks on gun transfers.

The Lynden Pioneer Museum, near the Canadian border in the state’s northwest corner, wrote on its Facebook page that it would risk violating Initiative 594 to keep the 11 rifles past Dec. 4, when the law takes effect. The weapons will be returned to the collectors who lent them.

Something About Ebola I Had Not Considered
From the BBC:

Nearly half of all Liberians who were employed when the Ebola outbreak began are no longer working, a survey by the World Bank has found.

by @ 11:11 am. Filed under Uncategorized

November 21, 2014

Obama Was NOT Being Unconstitutional. He Was, However, Being Arrogant and Foolish

In spite of all you heard last night and this morning about Obama the king, the tyrant, the emperor, the trampler of the Constitution, what he did was not actually against the Constitution.

“What?”, you say, “What about the separation of powers in the Constitution?” Well, what about them? The Constitution gives Congress the power to create laws and the President to enforce them. Part of the power to enforce is also the power NOT to enforce them through a principle known as prosecutorial discretion.

There is an interesting thing about the Constitution of the United States. It actually sets no limits on a President’s power. Let me repeat that. There are NO limits on a President’s power expressed in the Constitution. You don’t believe me? Here is a link to the actual text of the Constitution of the United States. Read it. See if you can find any real limits on a President’s power. Good luck, they simply are not there. It puts limits some very specific limits upon what Congress, but there’s nary a word about what a President cannot do.

“Wait a minute”, you say. “Didn’t I learn in school that the Founding Fathers were afraid of a king?” Yes, you did. However, the framers of the Constitution had just lived for over a decade under governments of the various states that had had over-bearing legislatures. They knew first hand the evils of a legislature that had too much power. One delegate even commented that given the choice, “…we had better chuse a single despot at once. It will be more easy to satisfy the rapacity of one than of many.”

The Founders wanted a “vigorous Executive”. That phase crops up again and again in the notes of the Convention. They wanted the President to be strong so that he could do what he has to do, and they limited the power of Congress from handcuffing him as so many Legislatures had done (think Parliament). The genius the Constitution is that they somehow managed to limit the power of a President without actually placing any limits on his power.

Wow! (more…)

by @ 12:38 pm. Filed under Barack Obama

OPINION: Help Us, Chris Christie, You’re Our Only Hope

The 2014 midterm elections were long expected to go well for Republicans. What was surprising was just how good a night the GOP wound up having, and that is in large part due to the extraordinary success of Chris Christie and the RGA.  Long thought to be the Democrats’ silver lining in 2014, the governors races ended up delivering a succession of crippling blows to the President’s party. Holding key states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida, while adding blue states like Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois, was the unexpected highlight of the election and the crowning achievement of Christie’s record-breaking tenure as RGA chairman. This accomplishment has rightly put Christie back in the frontrunner’s position for 2016.

Naturally, his return to the top has angered some on the far right, as well as some Bush loyalists in the establishment. But despite the naysayers, Christie is still better positioned and better suited to be the party’s standard bearer in 2016 than anyone else. This is due not only to Christie’s strengths, but also the profound weakness of his competition. Here are a few reasons why the 2016 field doesn’t stand much of a chance against the New Jersey governor:

1. Bush Baggage – The notion of Jeb Bush as a frontrunner has been a perplexing one for me. True, his family connections and donor base will give him a early jump on some of the new faces looking at the race, but other than that what does a third Bush run offer? The former Florida governor has been out of office for over a decade, a lifetime in politics. He champions a number of policies despised by the conservative base and attempts to sell these positions with a stage presence and style that would make Al Gore seem exciting. Worst of all, after painstakingly moving the party out of the shadow of George W. Bush, brother Jeb would pull us right back in. In a field of candidates unburdened by votes for the Iraq War or a bailout for the financial industry, Jeb Bush will be made to defend both. He is uniquely positioned to be the only Republican still carrying those albatrosses around his neck.  Add that to the fact that the Democrats are relying on a dynastic relic of their own for 2016, and it all seems incredibly stupid for the GOP to do the same. Why would we want to create a contrast between the Clinton economy of the 1990’s and the Bush economic collapse of 2008? Why hinder ourselves with the burden of the Bush family when we can finally run a new generation candidate in a change election? Without question, Jeb Bush is the worst possible option for 2016.

2. Empty Resumes – After two terms of Barack Obama and years of complaining from the GOP faithful about how unqualified and unprepared this half-term senator was for the job, the conservative base seems eager to offer up even less qualified candidates of their own. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio all have resumes even weaker and devoid of accomplishments than Sen. Obama offered in 2008. While some would argue that Rubio doesn’t belong in this group due to his short time in the Florida legislature, I would argue his flip-flop on immigration reform (a bill he helped write) has damaged his credibility even more so than his unqualified fellow senators. If these three were not unfit enough, conservatives are also pushing Dr. Ben Carson, a man with no political or governing experience whatsoever. None. Zip. Zilch. The shocking lack of qualifications among this group would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

3. Untested Governors – The common refrain among Republicans is that the 2016 field is so deep and talented. This notion seems to stem from the accomplished crop of governors that the party has cultivated. At first glance this seems to be the case, but upon further review, this group of big talents appears to be a collection of paper tigers. Take Rick Perry, the outgoing governor of Texas, who humiliated himself in the last presidential race despite his state’s good economic record. There is Bobby Jindal, often cited as a big thinker, who has also made himself a punch-line on the national stage when he wasn’t busy being the South’s most unpopular Republican. Even Mary Landrieu, the about-to-be-ousted senior senator from Louisiana boasts a high approval rating. Gov. Mike Pence checks a lot of boxes for the GOP, but he has a stunning lack of accomplishment for someone who has been in office as long as he has. Compare his record as governor to his predecessor and you will quickly see that Pence is as big a do-nothing governor as he was a do-nothing congressman. He also has no real experience dealing with the opposition, a gaping hole in the resume shared by Perry and Jindal.

4. Retreads – The rest of the field of pretenders is full of candidates who have run and lost before, and in some cases multiple times. Rick Santorum is planning to run again, despite having spent the last 15 years losing elections and saying embarrassing, bigoted nonsense every time he’s on television. Mike Huckabee, a moderately successful television and radio entertainer, is pondering another run to be President of Iowa, but like his previous campaign proved, he has little appeal outside the tiny, caucus electorate.  Mitt Romney has seen a bit of a comeback in the media, almost entirely due to the failures of the man who soundly defeated him. While he would have a few “I told you so” points to make in another race with Obama, he has no real appeal in a race against anyone else. Paul Ryan could be considered the “next-in-line” candidate due to his role as Romney’s defeated running mate, but he faces the same daunting realities that plagued other defeated VP nominees. Add in the fact that no member of the House has won the presidency in over a century and his path becomes even more unrealistic.

5. Real competitors – For all the problems the field has, there are a few bright spots who could lead to real challenges for Christie. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio can claim to be just as tested and even more accomplished than the New Jersey governor. True, only Christie has a powerful Democratic legislature to deal with, but Kasich and Walker faced fierce opposition from labor unions, and came out winners. While neither can command a stage or a late night show with Christie’s charisma, their mid-western charms may be compelling to voters in search of candidates to relate to. Most importantly, both men have shown they can win in purple states, which is one of Christie’s biggest assets. Both men have a long way to go to be able to stand toe-to-toe with the New Jersey governor, but they have a better shot than anyone else considering a run.

When you really examine this “deep bench” you begin to see that it doesn’t live up to the hype. Gov. Christie became a national star for a reason; he possesses the intangibles and talent that often accompany successful politicians. He can masterfully play both wrecking ball and common man, someone who can both feel your anger and your pain. He has accomplished a lot in a state long bereft of leadership, and with a mountain of problems thirty years in the making. He showed real leadership during a natural disaster that tore through his state. He demonstrated a level of accountability unseen on the presidential level in years during his marathon Bridgegate press conference. He has withstood a full-court assault from the media in an attempt to destroy his 2016 prospects. Through it all he has shown a remarkable resiliency, even more amazing considering just how blue his home state is. Some will nitpick about New Jersey’s economic numbers, or they’ll attempt to hype non-scandals, but these efforts will likely fail, just as they did when they were used to attack Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.

Gov. Chris Christie is the best chance the GOP has at defeating Hillary Clinton and taking back the White House, and it will take an extraordinary effort by someone far less talented to change that reality.

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Louisiana 2014 Senatorial Runoff Survey

Rasmussen Louisiana 2014 Senate Runoff Poll

  • Bill Cassidy (R) 56% [50%] (52%) {44%} [43%] (44%)
  • Mary Landrieu (D) 41% [46%] (43%) {41%} [46%] (40%) 

Survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted November 16-19, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted October 22-23, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted October 13-14, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted September 2-3, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 8-9, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted January 28-29, 2014 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 10:12 am. Filed under 2014, Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Survey

Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Poll 

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as president?

  • Strongly approve 23%
  • Somewhat approve 24%
  • Somewhat disapprove 12%
  • Strongly disapprove 40%

President Obama Job Approval

  • Approve 47%
  • Disapprove 52%

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

by @ 10:11 am. Filed under Barack Obama, Poll Watch

November 20, 2014

Does McCain Have a Challenger?

David Scweikert, a three-term member of the US House from AZ-6, may challenge John McCain for the latter’s Senate seat, according to Roll Call. Well, to be more precise, he’s ‘keeping his options open’ about it.

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., plans to keep his options open for 2016, saying he would consider future runs — including a primary challenge to Sen. John McCain — after the holidays.

“My wife and I made an agreement that we would wait until after the holidays, and then we would have a family meeting,” Schweikert told CQ Roll Call in between votes Tuesday, his wife by his side. “The whole thing: whether you’re gonna run at all over again, do you weigh options for other things.”

“Like everything we do in the political world, we’ll do it very disciplined,” he added. “We’ll do it with math and data and polling, and go from there.”

There are mixed opinions about Schweikert, and I’ll wait a bit before making up my mind on this race (or at least wait to see whether there will be a race). There can be no doubt, though, that Schweikert would be a huge improvement on McCain’s last primary opponent, J. D. Hayworth, and would likely give McCain a more serious race.

by @ 8:11 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

Time to Kill the Iowa Straw Poll

There are few events in the Republican pre-primary process with as much fanfare and press attention as the Ames Iowa Straw Poll. First held in 1979, every time there is an open GOP contest, the Straw Poll has been a part of the pre-primary ritual. But the 2011 Straw Poll ought to be the last one. It’s time to kill off the Iowa Straw Poll.

First, let’s get a few things out of the way to start. Yes, the Straw Poll brings a huge amount of media coverage to our side of primaries. Yes, the Straw Poll raises a ton of money for the Iowa Republican Party. Yes, there is often genuine suspense about what the results will be. Yes the candidates use it to get an early test of their organization. Yes, it gives us political junkies a chance to look at the field before it winnows down by the end of the year. All of these things are true, but the negatives about the Straw Poll outweigh the positives.

One of the biggest complaints about the Straw Poll is the money involved. It’s very expensive to compete in the Straw Poll; in 1999, George W. Bush spent north of $750,000 on the Straw Poll and Steve Forbes shelled out even more than that. Mitt Romney spent a good deal of money in 2007 and in 2011 the only Tim Pawlenty campaign ads of the cycle were to try and appeal to Straw Poll goers. Even with some of the ridiculous spending that goes on in presidential campaigns, the Iowa Straw Poll is almost in a category all its own. Steve Forbes is the best example of this; to earn a second place in 1999, he had a two story, air-conditioned tent and a blimp inside the coliseum. Money is a precious commodity in presidential campaigns and candidates who are on a shoe-string budget find it very hard to compete at this event.

The second big problem with the Straw Poll is the overemphasis that is put on an event. Remember, the Straw Poll is only a small subset of the caucus goers. The 2011 Straw Poll had 16,892 participates while the actual 2012 Iowa Caucuses had 121,140 participants. In other words, less than 20% of the people who went out to caucus had gone to the Straw Poll. Secondly, a lot of candidates end up putting all their eggs in the Straw Poll basket. Tim Pawlenty, Tommy Thompson, Sam Brownback, Dan Quayle, Lamar Alexander in 2000, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting were all driven out of the race because of an even that had nothing at stake. I’m not saying any of these people should’ve been our nominee or would have done well in the actual Iowa Caucus, but one could argue that their campaigns were prematurely ended because of the Straw Poll.

Most importantly, the Iowa Straw Poll is often wrong. Very wrong. The last Straw Poll in 2011 is the most egregious example of this. The top three candidates were Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty. Out of those three, Pawlenty dropped out the day after the Straw Poll, Bachmann finished dead last in the Caucus, and Ron Paul, whatever your feelings about him, was never going to be the Republican nominee. In fact, in the last three Straw Polls, one of the top three candidates have dropped out of the race before the Caucuses even began. Most tellingly, the last two Republican nominees for President skipped the Straw Poll in the year they won the nomination. John McCain never competed in the Straw Poll in either 1999 or 2007 and Mitt Romney, after winning the Straw Poll in 2007 but losing the caucuses, skipped the Straw Poll altogether and nearly won the caucuses anyways.

Fortunately there are voices in Iowa that recognize the increasing irrelevancy of the Straw Poll. Governor Terry Branstad, who is popular enough to have been elected to a sixth term as Governor declared that the Straw Poll has “outlived its usefulness” and should at the very least be radically restructured. The new Chairman of the Iowa GOP, Jeff Kaufmann is an ally of Governor Branstad and has said that the Straw Poll will be addressed before the end of the year. Here’s hoping they just decide to nix the Straw Poll altogether.

by @ 3:39 pm. Filed under Opinion, Republican Party, Straw Polls

Walker is Prepping for Presidential Run

Politico reports:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, pivoting from his bigger-than-expected reelection win this month, is taking active steps toward a presidential campaign.

Walker currently lacks people on his payroll who have extensive experience in the early 2016 states, and the governor … knows he needs to bulk up his political staff. Reams of resumes are pouring in from potential consultants, aides say.

I would be very surprised if he does run, but the pieces are definitely starting to fall together. The article goes much further in outlining some of those pieces. The telling part is hiring campaign staff. You don’t do that unless you are seriously considering running.

by @ 1:25 pm. Filed under 2016, Scott Walker

Rick Perry: Texas May Sue Obama

From Politico:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the Lone Star State might sue Barack Obama’s administration over the president’s planned executive order to grant relief to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.

“I think that’s probably a very real possibility,” Perry said during a panel here at the Republican Governors Association’s annual meeting.

Perry, who is considering another presidential bid in 2016, said the cost of illegal immigration is “extraordinary.” He said his state spends $12 million a month on securing the border.

by @ 1:01 pm. Filed under 2016, Rick Perry

Kasich Draws First Blood

It looks like John Kasich and Scott Walker had a bit of a set-to at the RGA, with Kasich coming out on top (if this article can be relied upon).

Kasich drew upon his deeper experience in Washington, which will be an asset if he decides to run.

The occasion was a panel discussion at the RGA meeting in Florida featuring five possible presidential contenders – Kasich, Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Mike Pence.

Read the article, it’s not that long, but it will provide plenty of fodder for everyone’s viewpoints in the comments.

by @ 12:52 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Mike Pence, Rick Perry, Scott Walker

Hello and a Quick Introduction

Hello R42016 family!

I have been a contributor here for the last two cycles, posting under the non de plume ‘Colorado Guy.’ A few months ago I reached out to Kavon and asked if I could contribute to the front page for the 2016 cycle.

Kavon, gracefully, approved and welcomed my contributions.  I am excited to share my, admittedly unique, perspective on the upcoming presidential race. I have enjoyed, even if not always agreed with, the prognostications of this site’s current and former front page contributors and I hope to help to generate the same lively debates we have had in years past.

I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself and explain a little about my ideology and how it impacts my views on the 2016 race. There will be times that I will share my outright opinion on the various candidates and their campaigns and there will be other times where I will put on my analyst hat and attempt to be as objective as possible.

So, about me. I am in my early 30s, never married and with no children. I have a Bachelor’s Degree from a public university and have a career I love and one in which I have enjoyed a small measure of success. I have lived along the Colorado Front Range my entire life and my parents, who have been married for over 40 years and are originally from northeastern Illinois, raised us with strong Midwestern values.

I am a baptized and confirmed member of the Lutheran Church of America and was raised in a (somewhat) religious family. While I consider myself a religious person, and that has shaped my moral and political philosophies, it is most certainly not a central component of my life and I have not attended a church service in several years.

Like many westerners, I have a strong ‘live and let live’ political philosophy, putting me squarely in the libertarian wing of the conservative movement. I am not a hardcore Libertarian, I have a libertarian philosophy; I believe the government that governs best is the one that governs least. And I firmly believe that whatever services the government must provide should be provided by the lowest level of government possible, e.g. decisions about a public school’s curriculum should be made by a local school board with heavy parental involvement, not by the Federal Government.

I am pro-life but also favor same-sex marriage (or, at the very least, equal rights for same-sex couples) and I support legalized marijuana (but not legalized cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine).

I believe income tax rates should be lower, flatter and the code greatly simplified. I believe there are far too many regulations on commerce and taxes on corporations are way too high.

I am concerned about government spying and invasions of privacy, but I am not a tin-foil hat, black helicopter conspiracy theorist.

I believe the United States should possess a military second to none, but agree with those who say there is far too much waste in the Pentagon. While it is important for America to project its power across the globe to protect our interests and those of our allies (and yes, the most especially includes the State of Israel) we do have to be careful not to get too deeply entangled in problems overseas. In short, I am not Dick Cheney but I am also not Ron Paul.

While I am more liberal on social policy than many who also vote Republican, social issues are not terribly important to my voting decisions. I will not support a candidate who makes a central plank of their platform a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, however, if a candidate is asked his or her views on the subject in an interview or public forum and responds with something along the lines of “I think marriage should be between one man and one woman, but let’s talk about lowering taxes and reducing burdensome federal regulations on small business,” they have a good chance of garnering my support.

I am not seeking a candidate in 2016 that I am in lock-step with on every single issue but I also do not want to vote for just another Republican. I want someone who can win and brings fresh, new ideas to the table rather than simply repeats the same tired GOP talking points we have been hearing for years.

Thank you again to Kavon for welcoming my contributions here. I look forward to the Race 4 2016 and I’m excited to share it with all of you here.

by @ 11:55 am. Filed under 2016, Misc.

Jeb Bush Has Been Busy Lately

The New York Daily News reports that Jeb Bush has been busy:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is quietly meeting with major Wall Street donors in New York to line up financial backing for a potential 2016 presidential run, people familiar with his plans said.

A finance industry executive said Bush was at a downtown Manhattan bank Monday, his fifth visit to the city since June. The source declined to name the bank, saying the sitdown was confidential.

Bush has said he is considering a run, and supporters, including his younger brother, former President George W. Bush, say Jeb is undecided.

“Governor Bush has not made a decision whether or not to run for President in 2016,” said Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell.

Bush will “make a decision at the end of this year or the beginning of next,” she said.

But in the meantime Bush, a pragmatic pol favored by big business and establishment Republicans, is laying down the necessarily groundwork for a run by lining up donors. That move that may keep them from committing to other potential GOP candidates.

Lining up donors is one of the first signs that a person is seriously considering running for President. Right now I’d say it’s strictly him keeping his options open. But he nevertheless knows that a campaign requires a lot of careful groundwork done before you can ever have a chance of winning.

by @ 10:02 am. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush

Jim Webb Forms an Exploratory Committee

Jim Webb has formed an Exploratory Committee (thanks Ben Christie for the tip)

Jim Webb, the former Democratic U.S. senator from Virginia, said he launched a committee to explore running for president in 2016, according to a 14-minute video he sent to supporters by email just before midnight on Wednesday.

Webb gave no notice he would announce the committee this week. He has only said in recent months that he is considering a presidential run.

The video was sent in an email to subscribers of Webb’s website. The message linked to another website, headlined, the Webb 2016 Exploratory Committee.

The first 2016 shoe has dropped.

by @ 8:54 am. Filed under 2016, Democrats, Jim Webb

Get Ready for Rick Perry?

The Washington Post reports:

BOCA RATON—Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t ready to announce his candidacy for president in 2016; that decision will come in May or June of next year. But the longest-serving governor in the history of his state said Wednesday that this time, he will be ready if he decides to try again.

“I was a bit arrogant” in 2012, Perry said in an interview at the Republican Governors Association meeting here in Florida, as he looked both back and ahead. His arrogance, he said, stemmed from his belief that, as a sitting governor from one of the nation’s most populous states, he could “step into that role of candidate and stand up in front of the American people…I was mistaken.”

He has spent, by his own admission, most of the past two-plus years paying penance and doing due diligence, trying to undo the damage from his 2012 campaign.

Yes he was — arrogant, I mean. He honestly thought he could show up late, slam Romney, throw out some red meat, talk in his Texas drawl, and the nomination would be handed to him. I suspect that he, like Fred Thompson four years before, made the mistake of listening to the people clamoring for him to run, and didn’t sit back and take serious stock of all the hard work and preparation that must go into a successful run for President. “Never listen to the flatterers”, was the first rule he broke, and it doomed his 2012 run.

If he runs in 2016, we shall see if he has learned his lesson. Who knows, it just might work. Americans love to give second chances.

by @ 6:27 am. Filed under 2016, Rick Perry

November 19, 2014

Is It Possible Walker Might Be Running?

I wonder if this might shake the convictions of those on this site who are absolutely, positively, 100%, no-chance-in-hell certain that Scott Walker won’t run. Do you think they might at least reexamine the question a bit?

Probably not.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he is seriously considering whether to get into the race for president in 2016, but he hasn’t decided yet whether he feels the call to run.

“My personal process is I have to feel like it’s a calling, particularly for the time and the effort and the impact it has on family and friends,” Walker told AP in a telephone interview from Boca Raton, Florida, where he is attending the Republican Governors Association meeting this week. “It’s not something you should yearn for…”

[…]

Walker has taken several steps to keep his name in the mix as a potential GOP contender. Walker published a book in 2013 about his effort taking on public unions that spurred his recall election, he’s traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire, and has courted large conservative donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Gee, publishing a book, visiting early primary states,  talking to donors — you might almost think he’s not definitely out, wouldn’t you?

The state legislature typically passes the budget in late June, but Walker has said he wants to be more aggressive this year and possibly get it done earlier. The time it takes to pass the budget is a factor in his timing for deciding on whether to run for president, Walker said.

If one thought that he might be interested in running, late June might present a problem, but since we know he isn’t, he must have some other reason for wanting to speed up the budget process, right?

Okay, /sarcasm. I have no idea whether Scott Walker is going to run or not. Neither, I suspect, does anyone else, except maybe Scott Walker and his wife. I just think a little humility is in order when stating opinions (i.e., state them as opinions, not as facts). If your opinion is that Walker won’t run — cool. Say so: “I don’t think Walker will run”, or even “I’m nearly certain Walker won’t run.” But if you flat out state, “Walker won’t run” you a) look like a fool for not knowing the difference between an opinion and a fact, and b) risk considerable embarrassment if you should happen to be wrong.

The same principle of course applies to other candidates — Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, etc — or other events that have yet to happen.

by @ 4:37 pm. Filed under Scott Walker, Uncategorized

Some Cold, Hard Facts about the Campaign Calendar

It takes more than just name recognition to get nominated for the President of the United States. It requires much preparation and a lot of hard work mostly behind the scenes. That preparation must begin months before the first primaries and caucuses. If a candidate does not prepare, he will not make it to the finish line.

First he must build up an organization. The organization is the one responsible for getting the signatures necessary to get on the ballot of a state’s primary. No staff, no signatures. No signatures, no name in primary. It is as simple as that.

There must be staff at the national level and the state level. The Federal Government has its set of election rules to follow. Each state has theirs. The candidates must hire experts in both in order to not run afoul of the law.

The campaign staff sets up the speech venues for the candidate. They must be able to predict accurately the size of the crowd expected and match the venue to it. They want a full venue. They don’t want people getting turned away. Nor do they want empty seats. Those look terrible when published on the Internet.

At every level there are a few high-quality campaign operatives available. They are the ones with many years of experience in running campaigns either at the federal level or at the state and lower level. They know what has to be done, what pitfalls to avoid, what mistakes not to make, which buttons to push, which knob to twist. These experts go fast. “If you snooze, you lose”, is the rule here. Any candidate that gets in late has to be content with the left-overs. So not only are they starting behind the rest of the pack, they will be doing it with inferior staff.

(more…)

by @ 2:00 pm. Filed under Campaign Hires, Campaign Strategy

RNC 2018 Straw Poll Lists 33 Possible Candidates

The Republican National Committee recently began an on-line straw poll asking its members which candidate they would like to see. The respondents are to circle any three. The list includes:

  1. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte
  2. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour
  3. Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton
  4. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
  5. Businessman Herman Cain
  6. Dr. Ben Carson
  7. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  8. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
  9. Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels
  10. Former CEO Carly Fiona
  11. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
  12. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
  13. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
  14. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
  15. Ohio Gov. John Kasich
  16. New York Rep. Peter King
  17. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez
  18. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
  19. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
  20. Former Rep. Ron Paul
  21. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
  22. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
  23. Texas Gov. Rick Perry
  24. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman
  25. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  26. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
  27. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan
  28. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval
  29. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
  30. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
  31. South Dakota Sen. John Thune
  32. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
  33. Former Florida Rep. Allen West

Write-in votes are allowed.

The results have not been published anywhere that I’ve seen, and I don’t particularly wish to sign up just so they can get my email address to spam me. However, if you are inclined to participate, here is the link.

2016 POWER RANKINGS: Post-Midterm Edition

1. Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie has returned to frontrunner status after a wildly successful tenure as head of the RGA. A year that began with a scandal that appeared poised to destroy his national ambitions has ended with the New Jersey governor triumphant. With successful defenses of key governorships and unexpected wins in Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts, combined with a record-breaking fundraising haul, Christie is now poised to cash in more chits than any of his rivals.

2. Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky

The junior senator remains a top contender due to his his strong grassroots organization in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Paul has successfully capitalized on his father’s prior campaigns to gain a strong foothold in the early nominating states. However, the unrest in Iraq and the rise of ISIS as a major terrorist threat has turned GOP opinion against the first-term senator’s more isolationist foreign policy.

3. Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator from Florida

Sen. Rubio has continued to rebound from his earlier immigration flop. His work on addressing inequality and poverty with conservative solutions position him a credible challenger to the elite, establishment legacy of the Clinton dynasty. He campaigned successfully for a number of GOP winners this fall, and has an early lead in building an organization. The historic nature of his candidacy is also something that cannot be overlooked.

4. Jeb Bush,  former Governor of Florida

The scion of the Bush dynasty is still considering a bid, and the establishment seems to crave a third Bush presidency. But dynastic politics, baggage from his brother’s still-unpopular presidency, new business ventures, and a growing divide with conservatives on hot button issues will likely keep this rusty Florida politician in retirement.

5. Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin

The governor of Wisconsin’s third election in four years in a state carried twice by Obama and in the face of unprecedented liberal opposition has made him a favorite of activists and elites alike. On paper, Walker could be a top contender, but his personality and stage presence could also make him the Tim Pawlenty of 2016.

6. Paul Ryan, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin

Ryan would rightly be considered  “next in line” if he wanted to run. Thought he maintains nothing is off the table yet, it appears likely that he will focus on being Chairman of Ways and Means rather then pursue the GOP nomination.

7. Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator from Texas

The Tea Party firebrand will be the favorite of many hardcore activists and religious conservatives. But he has burned a lot of bridges with the establishment, and will likely struggle to build a significant donor base with both his senate colleagues and his home state governor working against him.

8. Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana

On paper, Pence may be the most agreeable choice to all wings of the party. He doesn’t have much of a national network or donor base, but should still be considered a dark horse to watch.

9. John Kasich, Governor of Ohio

Any governor who wins a swing state by 31% deserves some serious consideration. But John Kasich’s lengthy career in congress and on Wall Street will likely keep him off center stage and on VP short lists.

10. Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas

If he’s serious, he has a strong base in Iowa on which to build on. But years out of office and a lucrative career on television will likely keep the Fox host on the sidelines.

Honorable Mention:  Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Rob Portman, Ben Carson, Mitt Romney

by @ 11:08 am. Filed under 2016

NSA Reform Bill Defeated.

A bill meant to rein in the NSA’s snooping on Americans went down to defeat in the Senate. Several potential 2016 GOP Presidential candidates had differing opinions on it.

Rand Paul, the Libertarian has long been a critic of the NSA. He opposed this bill, however, claiming it didn’t go far enough.

Marco Rubio opposed it too. His reasoning was that it would make America more vulnerable to attacks by ISIS and other terrorists groups.

Ted Cruz, the Texas Tea Party Senator supported it.

 

by @ 11:06 am. Filed under 2016, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz

Dana Milbank: Money Makes a Warren Run Less Likely

Dana Milbank writes an editorial in the Washington Post by Dana Milbank explaining why Elizabeth Warren will have a tough time becoming President — Democrats need rich people too.

After extolling her many bona fides as a populist dedicated to fighting for the little guy against the big guy, Dana adds this:

Yet there’s a limit to how far Warren, and the Democrats, can go with their little-guy theme, for one simple reason: They can’t afford it.

More than ever in America, elections are purchased, not won. And that money comes from corporate and wealthy interests. Run against corporations and you lose that money — and the election.

The 2014 McCutcheon ruling struck down limits on the aggregate amount a wealthy donor could give to candidates, parties and political action committees. In addition, the wealthy are finding more ways to exploit the 2010 Citizens United ruling and other campaign-finance decisions that give super PACs and unregulated “dark money” even more influence — further diluting the power of low-dollar contributions.

This has left Democrats dependent on rich people’s cash; in 2014 they fully embraced super PACs and brazenly emphasized big-dollar contributions. Though campaign-finance law makes this dependency necessary, it undermines any populist theme. As The Post’s Matea Gold noted last week, Democrats failed in their attempt to make the conservative Koch brothers an issue in 2014, discovering “how hard it is to move voters who view both parties as captives of wealthy patrons.”

That leaves Democrats in a weak position to make a credible appeal to the little guy — which is unfortunate, because Warren does it so well.

So demonizing wealthy people and corporations makes them less likely to support you. And slamming them yet accepting their money makes you look like a hypocrite.

Funny how that works.

Of course, Milbank is being a little disingenuous in blaming the McCutcheon ruling for the Democrats’ troubles. Democrats have long been claiming to be the little guy party, but the truth is they’ve been dependent upon rich liberals for most of their funding for a long, long time. McCutcheon merely forced them to acknowledge it. Now they can’t hide it so easily.

 

by @ 9:30 am. Filed under 2016, Elizabeth Warren

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