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

John Podhoretz Likes Scott Walker for 2016

In an opinion piece in the New York Post, John Podhoretz extols the positives of a Scott Walker run for President in 2016:

The Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016 may be Scott Walker’s to lose. If your response, as it might be, is “Scott Who?” then you’re not paying attention yet.

I just spent a week among people who are: 550 conservative and Republican voters who traveled on National Review magazine’s semi-annual cruise.

The cruisers are consumed with politics. And overwhelmingly — and I mean no one else was even close — their favorite for 2016 is the governor of Wisconsin.

They want someone who reflects their values and beliefs, who’ll stand up for conservative principles — and who has proved he can win.

Walker appears to hit this trifecta. On Nov. 4, he was re-elected in a state Barack Obama carried twice.

Most important, in 2011, he won a decisive victory in a recall election forced by public-sector unions.

In the end, he won the recall by 6.5 points, and on Nov. 4 won re-election by 5.5 points.

He has come through the fire, forged and strengthened.

And vetted: By one estimate, Walker has faced $130 million in opposition spending against him in the recall and the re-election effort. If there are any skeletons in his closet, that must be one deep closet.

Scott Walker is popular among Conservatives, and his name has been actively batted around for a possible 2016 Presidential run. But against that is his continual talking about spending the next four years governing Wisconsin. Not just governing the Badger State for the time being, mind you. He keeps talking about those four years.

I doubt he will be running.

 

by @ 8:59 am. Filed under 2016, Scott Walker

Here’s a Thought. Hillary Might Be the Youngest Democrat in the 2016 Race

A number of alternatives to Hillary have been put forward. Among them are:

  • California Governor Jerry Brown
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Vice President Joe Biden
  • Virginia Senator Jim Webb

What do they have in common? One thing is that they are all older than Hillary. In 2016 Brown will be 78, Sanders 75, Biden 73, and Webb 70. Hillary will be 69.

Yes, we have heard Elizabeth Warren’s name batted about as a possible alternative to Mrs. Clinton. She would be younger than our former First Lady, but not by much. Senator Warren would be 67 in 2016.

And this is the party of the youth?

As an aside, Harry Reid will be 77 and Nancy Pelosi will be 76 in 2016.

 

by @ 7:37 am. Filed under 2016, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Jerry Brown, Joe Biden

Poll Watch: Gravis Marketing North Carolina 2016 Presidential Survey

Gravis Marketing North Carolina 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Rand Paul (R) 47% [48%] (43%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% [42%] (45%)
  • Unsure 8% [10%] (11%)
  • Rand Paul (R) 47% [48%] (44%)
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 34% [32%] (35%)
  • Unsure 20% [20%] (21%)

Survey of 1,006 likely voters was conducted October 29-30, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Party ID: 39% [39%] (39%) Democrat; 34% [34%] (34%) Republican; 27% [27%] (27%) Independent/Other. Results from the poll conducted October 16-18, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 22-27, 2014 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul

November 18, 2014

Mitt Romney Addresses BYU Students

Mitt Romney spoke to students on the campus of BYU in Provo, Utah, in the capacity of their weekly devotional forum. As such, his speech had very little if any politics in it and mainly consisted of counsel to the students on life and spiritual matters.

Here are a few nuggets from his speech:

Romney called his last run for the White House against President Barack Obama the “most remarkable of my life’s journeys,” and said despite his loss, “the experience was extraordinary and revealing.”

He said he came “away more optimistic about the country” after meeting people across the nation.

He said, “While it is fashionable in some circles to deny it, I firmly believe that America is the greatest nation on earth”

Mitt recounted a number of heroes he met during his campaign and how they left him feeling humbled. He told the students of the power of one person to affect the lives of many other people, and encouraged them to be heroes to the people they meet.

Romney said that what he and his wife, Ann, treasured most from the campaign “was not the pomp and popularity” but the friends they made including the Secret Service detail that had been assigned to protect them.

“In fact, as we prepared to go on the stage to concede victory to President Obama, more than one of those agents fought back tears,” Romney said. “We miss them as friends, not as power candy.”

During the question and answer period following the address, one student called from the rafters,  “Running for president?” Romney replied,  “I did that, actually.”

As mentioned, it was not a political speech, but more of an advice-to-the-students-about-their-lives speech. The address lasted 30 minutes  and can be watched in full here.

by @ 11:39 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Breaking News. Keystone Pipeline Bill Defeated in Senate 59-41

So Mary Landrieu voted in almost lockstep for her party all these years, but when it came time to support her in her desperate hour of need, they turned their back on her. It was a safe bill to vote for since Obama was sure to veto it anyway, and so-called “Global Warming” was a big loser this past election. Yet they couldn’t be counted on to toss her even this little bone.

And what does this say about the influence Harry Reid has on his fellow Democrats? He brought it to a vote specifically to help her out. He couldn’t even round up enough votes to save it.

by @ 6:22 pm. Filed under 2014, Senate Races

Rand Paul: Gruber Should Return The Money

Rand Paul, a potential 2016 GOP candidate for President, appeared on Hannity and said that Jonathan Gruber of “American voters are stupid” fame should be made to return the money he got for crafting Obamacare.

“The one thing we can do is that this Mr. Gruber… he was paid and now he’s admitted he was deceptive and deceitful, I’m going to ask for an investigation from the Investigator General and I’m going to ask that he return his pay,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on the “Hannity” show last night. “Because how can you — how can we pay someone to be a consultant to government who’s frankly admitting they were dishonest? So I think he should be made to return his pay.”

That should be fun to watch. :)

by @ 6:12 pm. Filed under 2016, Rand Paul

Jerry Brown a Possible Alternative to Hillary?

John Fund over at National Review, writes to suggest that California Governor Jerry Brown might run against former First Lady Hillary Clinton to be the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee.

Jerry Brown, governor of the nation’s largest state, just won reelection in California by nearly 20 points. He spent very little of the $25 million he raised for his campaign. So when his political aides sent out an invitation for a $5,000 fundraiser in Sacramento next Monday, there was inevitable speculation: Jerry Brown may run for president for the fourth time.

If he challenges Hillary Clinton, Brown can claim solid credentials as a liberal leader. He has raised taxes on the rich, been an avid backer of climate-change regulation, and was one of the few Democrats in the country to win white males this past election. “He convinced California voters to support a water bond, a rainy day fund, a reduction in prison sentences, and more,” notes Joel Pollak of Breitbart News. “He is Elizabeth Warren with real executive experience and without the fake heritage.”

That’s an interesting idea. When Brown ran for the President the last time in 1992, it was against Hillary’s husband, Bill. He gave Bill fits, and Hillary isn’t nearly as smart as her husband.

He will be 78 in 2016, however. Hillary will be 69. Running for President, especially a tough race as this one could prove to be, is not for the weak. It severely challenges the candidate both mentally and physically. Would a man pushing 80 be up to the task? That’s an open question. We shall see what Governor Moombean ends up doing.

(Editor’s note: Apparently an earlier version of this post was inavertently erased. It has now been restored.)

by @ 1:26 pm. Filed under 2016, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jerry Brown

Walker on Running For President

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin appeared on his local Fox affiliate last Sunday. He was asked a number of questions, including some about him having any 2016 Presidential aspirations. This was his reply:

“To me, I’m not going to run just because of the pundits or anything else like that. The closer you get to something like that the more you realize — and I say this only half jokingly — that you have to be crazy to want to be president. And anyone who has seen pictures of this president or any of the former presidents can see the before and after. No matter how fit, no matter how young they are, they age pretty rapidly when you look at their hair and everything else involved with it. Whether it’s two years, six years or 20 years from now — because I think of Hillary Clinton. I could run 20 years from now and still be about the same age as the former Secretary of State is right now. The only thing I think someone is sane should want to be president, or should run for president not because they want to be or yearn to be, but because they feel called to. Right now, I still feel called to be the governor of the state of Wisconsin, and I’m going to do the best job I can over the next four years.”

I don’t see a whole lot of wiggle room in there. I would place him in the, “Could-run-but-not-likely-to”, column. He could run if he decided to, but right now he just wants to settle down and govern the Badger State for the next four years.

by @ 12:45 pm. Filed under 2016, Scott Walker

More Christie News: He Addresses Incoming GOP Congressmen

A story in the Associated Press tells of Governor Chris Christie meeting with the incoming Republican Congressmen and offering them some advice:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Making a rare Capitol Hill appearance, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday encouraged the GOP’s newest members of Congress to embrace compromise and common ground as they shift to a governing role following their party’s midterm rout.

The Republican governor, who is contemplating a 2016 presidential bid, addressed newly elected House Republicans and their spouses during a closed-door orientation luncheon inside the Capitol. The often-outspoken Christie declined to answer questions from reporters afterward, but attendees said offered a distinctly bipartisan tone.

“He did talk about compromise and finding common ground,” said incoming Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J.

 

Christie avoided immigration altogether during his remarks, according to attendees. The two-term governor, who is often criticized by his party’s most passionate conservatives, talked instead about energy policy – including the need for the Keystone Pipeline – tax reform and reducing government regulation.

“He alluded to shutting the government down was not a good idea,” said incoming Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont.

“I asked him what he was going to do about uniting the party,” Zinke added. “His answer was focus on things we can agree on.”

 

No, I have not suddenly become a Christie fan, but he has certainly been in the news a lot in the past few days.

by @ 9:14 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie

Christie’s Term of Leading GOP Governors Ending

According to the Wall Street Journal:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is set to arrive in Florida on Tuesday to wrap up his yearlong job as Republican Governors Association chairman, a position that brought national visibility to the potential 2016 contender.

Mr. Christie will join 28 other Republican governors from across the country for the annual RGA conference, which runs from Wednesday through Thursday. About a half a dozen governors who are potential 2016 presidential candidates are scheduled to attend the event in Boca Raton, Fla.

The conference comes on the heels of Republicans picking up four gubernatorial seats in a particularly strong showing during the midterm elections. The GOP now controls 31 governor’s seats, a high last reached in 1998.

Governor Christie can point to a very successful election year for the governors as a positive in any potential Presidential race he may run. It might help. Mitt Romney held the same position in 2006 which was not a good year for Republican governors, and he lost in 2008. Coincidence?

(*edited per Chip’s comment)

by @ 8:08 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney

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