March 5, 2015

Passing the Test: Prepared to be President?

The first test any candidate running in a presidential primary must pass is simple: the public must be able to picture you being the President.

There’s a lot wrapped up in that analysis, of course, but for most voters, it comes down to one thing: competency. Are you intelligent and capable of leading a country? If not, the electorate will (rightly) toss you aside and move along to the next candidate.

Along those lines, every verbal slip, campaign trail gaffe, and moment of misspeaking will get noticed and dissected in front of the entire nation. The best politicians have learned over time to successfully navigate these perilous waters, while newcomers often learn the dangers the hard way as they watch their presidential ambitions sink into the icy water.

It’s no surprise that little-known candidates suffer this fate far more often. Case in point is the series of “flavors of the month” from the last primary campaign whose wings of wax continually melted under the hot lights of national media scrutiny. Rick Perry had several awful moments stretching several debates that killed his candidacy. Herman Cain imploded due to a series of massive gaffes on foreign policy, abortion, and immigration, before allegations of sexual harassment ended his campaign for good. Michelle Bachmann had a playlist of gaffes a mile long when she had her chance at the top of the polls, touching on anything from John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy, vaccinations and mental retardation, and the founding fathers and slavery. Newt Gingrich was, well, Newt Gingrich, but he had a list of gaffes as well: unveiling a plan to pay poor kids to be janitors, expressing a desire to lecture black people about food stamps and paychecks, calling for the return of poll tests to vote, and promising to colonize the moon. (What?!?)

At any rate, the 2012 primary was a clear example of what happens when candidates are underprepared for the spotlight. Hopefully we won’t see a replay of that sort of ineptitude for a very long time in Republican politics, but it is instructive to us today. Candidates had better be prepared to answer questions on mainstream issues in an intelligent and coherent way. Which brings us to two of our fresh new faces in this campaign who need to heed this lesson quickly: Dr. Ben Carson and Governor Scott Walker.

Last summer, Carson made it into the news for suggesting that the marriage equality movement in America was actually a communist plot to take down the United States and start the infamous New World Order. Now, Carson has expounded on his views on homosexuality by invoking… prison sex. According to Dr. Carson, being gay is a choice because people who weren’t gay when they went to prison engage in gay sex while in prison.

Setting aside the obvious logical fallacies in Carson’s argument (orientation vs. behavior, choice vs forced sex, etc.), what these sorts of comments make clear is that Carson is nowhere near ready for the bright lights of the national stage yet.

Joining him is current frontrunner Governor Scott Walker. At the end of his recent CPAC speech (which thrilled many but admittedly left me feeling entirely underwhelmed due to its overly generic nature), the Governor took questions. Asked about the threat posed by ISIS militants, Walker answered, “If I can take on 100,000 protesters [in Wisconsin], I can do the same across the world.” In one fell swoop, Walker equated the public workers in Wisconsin with Islamic terrorists and undercut his own national security/foreign policy credentials at the same time. Just stop and ask yourself one question: if a Democratic candidate-to-be compared a conservative group to ISIS militants, what would Republican reactions be?

Now, luckily, these gaffes come at a time when most of the nation is not paying attention. They are getting some media coverage, but not a lot — and the coverage they are getting is largely not being watched. This is the warmup phase of the primary campaign which gives Walker and Carson — as well as all of our candidates who have yet to experience the harsh reality of the limelight — time to practice their responses.

The bottom line is this: people need to be able to envision a candidate being president before they will consider voting for them for president. This takes priority over any policy stance and ideology, especially for candidates like Walker and Carson who have yet to introduce themselves to the public on a national level. All of the Republican candidates should take a lesson from the debacle that was the 2012 primaries and use this time to tighten up their message — after all, it’s not just themselves they’re representing, but the Republican Party as a whole as well.

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Ben Carson, Press Releases, Republican Party, Scott Walker

March 4, 2015

Brutal Winter Puts So-Called “Global Warming” on Ice

NEW YORK — Winter 2015 has become a combination of Dr. Zhivago and the scary scenes of Frozen. This has rendered champions of so-called “global warming” eerily quiet.

Boston, the epicenter of this epic chill, has amassed a near-record 105.7 inches of snow this season. While Bostonians traverse snow mazes, trains have been idled, and at least 147 roofs have collapsed beneath the white stuff in Massachusetts alone.

Amid last week’s single-digit temperatures, Manhattan drug stores sold ski-resort-style toe warmers — a first in my 27 years here. Meanwhile, ice breakers crushed through the Hudson River, to keep ships moving.

Much of Niagara Falls has frozen solid. Using ice picks, Canadian adventurer Will Gadd on January 27 became the first person to climb 130 feet up the landmark over which daredevils have tumbled in barrels.

Across Dixie and beyond, ice has rendered car brakes useless. Numerous multiple-vehicle pileups have triggered injuries and deaths. Further south, Florida citrus farmers fear that their crop will become frozen concentrated orange juice, even before harvest.

Overseas, snow in Saudi Arabia inspired a cleric to instruct Muslims not to build snowmen, since Islam forbids human images. Some 29 migrants fleeing ISIS-inspired carnage in Libya died of hypothermia February 9 after Italian sailors plucked them from the frigid Mediterranean. The Guardian of London reports that English and Welsh death rates are 32 percent higher than normal this winter, as the cold kills.

In a cosmic irony, a student group called Fossil Free Yale cancelled a February 13 global-warming protest as temperatures hit -9 Fahrenheit.

It’s not supposed to be like this.

Citing the United Nations Environment Program’s Noel Brown, the July 5, 1989 Miami Herald reported that “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos.”

Current eco-guru Bill McKibben predicted that year that “a few more decades of ungoverned fossil-fuel use and we burn up, to put it bluntly.”

Carbon dioxide is rising, which should poach the Earth in this greenhouse gas. As of last September, CO2 emissions “were on track to hit a record 40 billion metric tons…10 times more than in 1943 (4.007 billion tons),” reports the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Marlo Lewis, Jr. As CO2 soars, however, average temperatures flat line, and winter readings plunge. This capsizes the vaunted greenhouse effect.

The computer models behind so-called “global warming” similarly predict relentless heat. And yet satellites show no increase in Earth’s average temperature since 1997. A peer-reviewed paper recently published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences identifies a faulty equation common to these climate models. It wrongly forecasts warming at levels double or even triple actual observations.

Garbage in. Garbage out.

But wasn’t 2014 “the hottest year ever?” Surface thermometers so indicated. However, ground-level gauges can be swayed when creeping urbanization warms previously rural measuring stations. Far from such confounding variables, space-based Remote Sensing System satellite data rated last year the sixth hottest on record.

Also, most journalists failed to mention that NASA reported a 62 percent probability that their “hottest year” calculations were wrong. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated 52 percent odds that it was mistaken. In a court of law, such a wealth of reasonable doubts would make it impossible to convict a ham sandwich of jaywalking. So, in this case, 2014 most likely was not the hottest year ever.

Despite abundant and obvious counter-evidence, the so-called “global warming” alarmists cling to their precious theory. For them, it’s not about facts. It’s about faith.

Rajendra Kumar Pachauri admits as much. He chaired the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Vatican of Warmism. Pachauri quit the IPCC on February 24 amid sexual harassment charges. “For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is [sic] more than a mission,” his resignation letter stated. “It is my religion and my dharma.”

As the ice and snow accumulate, and CO2 inexplicably increases, the alarmists will stop preaching so-called “global warming” as soon as radical imams stop issuing fatwas.


-Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. A version of this piece first appeared at

by @ 7:30 pm. Filed under Deroy Murdock, Misc., Opinion

Poll Watch: Gravis Insights/Howie Carr (R) Florida 2016 Republican Primary Survey

Gravis Insights/Howie Carr (R) Florida 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 23% (33%)
  • Scott Walker 22%
  • Marco Rubio 11% (14%)
  • Mike Huckabee 10%
  • Ben Carson 8%
  • Chris Christie 6% (6%)
  • Rand Paul 5% (11%)
  • Ted Cruz 2% (11%)
  • Rick Perry 1%
  • Unsure 12% (13%)

Survey of 513 Republican voters was conducted February 24-25, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted November 19-20, 2014 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 12:14 pm. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Poll Watch, Republican Party

New RNC Web Ad: A Very Serious Matter

New attack ad on Hillary Clinton. Feel free to comment below.

by @ 8:23 am. Filed under 2016, Campaign Advertisements, Hillary Clinton, Republican Party

Poll Watch: Rasmussen 2016 Presidential Survey

Rasmussen 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46%
  • Scott Walker (R) 41%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% (47%)
  • Jeb Bush (R) 36% (33%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 47% [45%]
  • Ben Carson (R) 36% [38%]

Survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted February 28 – March 1, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted June 4-5, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted March 4-5, 2014 are in parentheses. 

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Poll Watch, Republican Party

March 3, 2015

Heighten the Contradictions

I’ve had a couple Chicago-themed items in my ever-growing Miscellany file; when I came up with a third, I decided to combine them into a single post.

While I realize this blog is about the 2016 presidential campaign, still I have been surprised how little attention has been paid here to Chicago’s mayoral race, which features an old favorite nemesis of ours, Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel is seeking re-election and, having failed to reach 50% in the first round, is facing a county commissioner, Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, in a run-off.

Tom Bevan argues today in RCP that Emanuel, having received a well-deserved black eye by being forced into the run-off, now should get the support of sensible folks.

But now that the schadenfreude has worn off, Chicagoans face a choice.

As is the case in many big cities across the country, Chicago has been ruled exclusively by Democrats for a long time — since 1931, to be precise. The city’s last mayor, Richard M. Daley, ruled for 22 years before retiring in 2011, using a number of budget gimmicks on his way out the door to paper over the city’s profound fiscal problems — most notably a ticking time bomb pension payout set to detonate next year.

It’s hard to see how Garcia, a Democrat who’s more liberal than Emanuel and far more simpatico with the unions and other entrenched special interests, will be able to muster the political courage to make the tough choices that need to be made.

What Chicago really needs is a pragmatic, center-right technocrat — a Windy City version of Michael Bloomberg, for example — who could implement meaningful and lasting reforms to get the city’s fiscal house in order. But such a person isn’t on the ballot and, even more depressing, probably could not be elected if he (or she) were.

So Chicago faces a “lesser of two evils” election. It’s an unfortunate situation, but one that brings to mind the old saying “better the devil you know.” Rahm Emanuel is the devil we know — even if he has egg on his face.

It’s a perfectly reasonable viewpoint – which I, being often unreasonable, choose to reject. I will reach back several decades to my days hanging around with campus Marxists for the ‘why’, as well as for the title of this post.

‘Heightening the contradictions’ is an old Marxist idea that making the tottering capitalist system even more oppressive would make the workers more conscious of their burden and thus push them toward rebellion (or something like that – not being a Marxist, I was a bit hazy on the details). In the late sixties, though, my Marxist friends would often use the phrase in the course of arguing, for example, that Nixon was preferable to Humphrey, since Nixon was clearly a tool of the oppressors, while Humphrey posed as a friend of the workers.

It’s pretty much the opposite of the ‘lesser of two evils’ argument Bevan offers.

I’m taking this contrarian position because of the accumulating fiscal dilemma Chicago faces. Bevan alludes to it, and this recent item spells it out a bit more.

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago drew closer to a fiscal free fall on Friday with a rating downgrade from Moody’s Investors Service that could trigger the immediate termination of four interest-rate swap agreements, costing the city about $58 million and raising the prospect of more broken swaps contracts.

The downgrade to Baa2, just two steps above junk, and a warning the rating could fall further still, means the third-biggest U.S. city could face even higher costs in the future if banks choose to terminate other interest-rate hedges against fluctuations in interest rates. All told, Chicago holds swaps contracts covering $2.67 billion in debt, according to a disclosure late last year.

“This is an unfortunate wake-up call for anyone still asleep over the fiscal cliff facing the city of Chicago,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Chicago-based government finance watchdog, The Civic Federation.

Chicago’s finances are already sagging under an unfunded pension liability Moody’s has pegged at $32 billion and that is equal to eight times the city’s operating revenue. The city has a $300 million structural deficit in its $3.53 billion operating budget and is required by an Illinois law to boost the 2016 contribution to its police and fire pension funds by $550 million.

Cost-saving reforms for the city’s other two pension funds, which face insolvency in a matter of years, are being challenged in court by labor unions and retirees.

If one accepts, as I do, the idea that Chicago will sooner or later follow Detroit into bankruptcy, then why not sooner? Let’s move things along so that it becomes increasingly difficult for everyone but the willfully blind to deny that the blue model is failing. If Garcia, as is likely, would refuse as mayor to do anything to rein in pensions and benefits while maintaining or expanding social spending – so much the better.

This poll says the run-off is roughly a dead heat, though I have no idea how credible the pollster is.

Bring on the revolution!

by @ 2:40 pm. Filed under Misc.

Poll Watch: CNN/ORC 2016 Democratic Nomination Survey

CNN/ORC 2016 Democratic Nomination Poll

  • Hillary Clinton 60% {66%} [65%] (67%) {64%} [63%] (65%)
  • Joe Biden 15% {8%} [9%] (8%) {13%} [12%] (10%)
  • Elizabeth Warren 12% {9%} [10%] (10%) [7%] (7%)
  • Bernie Sanders 3% {3%} [5%]
  • Jim Webb 2% {1%} [1%]
  • Martin O’Malley 1% {1%} [0%] (2%) {4%} [2%] (2%)

Survey of 475 Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents was conducted February 12-15, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted December 18-21, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 21-23, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 18-20, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted March 7-9, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 18-20, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted September 6-8, 2013 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 10:30 am. Filed under 2016, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, Joe Biden, Martin O'Malley, Poll Watch

Poll Watch: PPP (D) 2016 Democratic Nomination Survey

PPP (D) 2016 Democratic Nomination Poll

  • Hillary Clinton 54% (60%)
  • Joe Biden 16% (15%)
  • Elizabeth Warren 12% (10%)
  • Bernie Sanders 5% (2%)
  • Jim Webb 2% (1%)
  • Martin O’Malley 1% (1%)
  • Someone else/Undecided 10% (11%)

Survey of 310 Democratic primary voters was conducted February 20-22, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 5.6 percentage points.  Political ideology: 29% (38%) Moderate; 28% (22%) Very liberal; 26% (26%)Somewhat liberal; 14% (11%) Somewhat conservative; 3% (3%) Very conservative. Results from the poll conducted January 22-25, 2015 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, Joe Biden, Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Iowa 2016 Democratic Caucus Survey

Quinnipiac Iowa 2016 Democratic Caucus Poll

  • Hillary Clinton 61%
  • Elizabeth Warren 19%
  • Joe Biden 7%
  • Bernie Sanders 5%
  • Jim Webb 2%
  • Martin O’Malley 0%

Survey of 619 likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants was conducted February 16-23, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 3.9 percentage points.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, Joe Biden, Poll Watch

March 2, 2015

News, And Yet No News

The CPAC event just concluded in Washington, DC has proven, through its straw poll, to be another mostly irrelevant marker in the presidential election cycle. The winner of the straw poll was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Coming in second was Wisconsin Senator Scott Walker. Third and fourth were Ben Carson and TexasmSenator Ted Cruz. Only Mr. Walker has a serious chance to win the nomination, but his finish at CPAC had already been foreshadowed weeks before, following a speech he made in Iowa, and in all of the recent polls. Coming in a distant fifth at CPAC was the Republican frontrunner former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Further down the list was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a potentially serious contender, especially after the first debates and the primary/caucus season begins.

The next GOP presidential campaign marker will be the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames in August. This will be, as it has been in the past, another mostly irrelevant event. In 2011, the Straw Poll winner was Michele Bachmann who turned out not to be a serious contender. The Straw Poll rarely is won by the eventual GOP nominee.

A parade of self-promoting wannabes, such as Donald Trump and Rick Santorum, will continue to win media headlines in the coming months, and various other political figures will attempt to rise about the lower tiers of the field. It can be done. Scott Walker has already done this. But the eventual nominee will be someone who can win votes in the primaries and caucuses from the broader base of the conservative Republican Party. And if that nominee is to win the presidency in November, 2016, he or she will need to win a majority of votes from the non-affiliated independent voters in the nation. A good many, if not most, of those voters are more centrist than the base voters of either party, and that is why the serious contenders for president do not come from the far right or the far left.

On the Democratic side, the party awaits the formal decision of former New York Senator Hillary Clinton. She has been the overwhelming frontrunner of her party for 2016 from the beginning. Her image and her numbers have declined a bit in recent months, and her “handlers” have thus kept her out of the campaign spotlight, but her lead remains very large. Only Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has emerged as a potential threat, yet Mrs. Warren might not even run.

There are two campaign seasons in the race for president of the United States. The earlier and longer one is managed with the cooperation of the political party activists and the news media. It is usually an extended melodrama punctuated by such events as the CPAC conference, the Iowa Straw Poll, Jefferson dinners and talk shows where large numbers of hopefuls attempt, with histrionics and bravado, to become larger than life, and grab the notice of the relatively few folks who are paying attention. The second campaign is the one where voters increasingly pay attention, and which climaxes on Election Day.

I don’t have to say which of these campaigns counts most.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

Poll Watch: Gravis Insights Nevada 2016 Presidential Survey

Gravis Insights Nevada 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49%
  • Scott Walker (R) 43%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49%
  • Rand Paul (R) 42%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 47%
  • Chris Christie (R) 38%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 37%

Survey of 955 registered voters was conducted February 21-22, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Party ID: 43% Democrat; 37% Republican; 21% Independent/Other.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Poll Watch, Republican Party

Poll Watch: Gravis Insights Nevada 2016 Democratic Caucus Survey

Gravis Insights Nevada 2016 Democratic Caucus Poll

  • Hillary Clinton 58%
  • Elizabeth Warren 20%
  • Joe Biden 8%
  • Bernie Sanders 4%
  • Jim Webb 3%
  • Martin O’Malley 0%
  • Unsure 7%

Survey of 324 Democratic primary participants was conducted February 21-22, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 6 percentage points.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Poll Watch

March 1, 2015

The Media Keep Adding to the Throne of Skulls

Two recent media hit pieces on Scott Walker have turned into embarrassments for those involved. You’re probably aware of both.

The first, in mid-February, was Gail Collins’ New York Times column that accused Walker of being responsible for teacher layoffs that occurred the year before he took office. Although the error was so glaring that it was debunked almost instantly, it still took the NYT two days to post the following:

Correction: February 15, 2015

An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated that teacher layoffs in Milwaukee in 2010 happened because Gov. Scott Walker “cut state aid to education.” The layoffs were made by the city’s school system because of a budget shortfall, before Mr. Walker took office in 2011.

More recently, a website called Jezebel posted a report that Walker was trying to stop reporting of sexual assaults by the University of Wisconsin. The report was immediately picked up by Daily Beast, HuffPo, and probably others. Once again, retractions followed (though this time a bit more quickly). From Daily Beast:

CORRECTION AND RETRACTION: A Daily Beast college columnist at the University of Wisconsin based this article off a Jezebel posting which was incorrectly reported. Jezebel updated their post on Saturday with the following after USA Today published a story debunking Jezebel’s account and clarifying Gov. Scott Walker’s position. “UPDATE: After Jezebel ran this item yesterday, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin came forward—over two weeks after the budget was released—to clarify: the University requested that Gov. Walker delete the requirements because efforts were redundant with their compliance of the Cleary Act. Scott Walker’s camp assures that he’s committed to protecting victims.”

In a reaffirmation of Mark Twain’s dictum that “[a] lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”, even today the original lie is still being propagated.


In addition to proving Twain right, the tweet also shows that the crazier lefties either can’t or don’t read, since what they sent contains the retraction.

This isn’t (primarily) a story about Walker. It’s more about the viciousness and negligence of the media (negligence since either mistake could have been easily avoided, viciousness because they seem not to care). To the degree it is about Walker, it’s still about the media – why is it that Walker, of all the Republican potentials, seems to drive the Democrats/media particularly nutso?

That question is actually the close, but I’ll add this note about the header: back in November, just after his re-election, The Federalist wrote:

Does Walker sizzle? Not exactly. Is he a particularly charismatic speaker? No, he isn’t. But does he sit upon a throne made of the skulls of his enemies? Yes, yes he does. The November 4 election proved that in a definitive fashion.

Not surprisingly, it being a rather vivid term, and one that sums up an important part of his appeal, Walker’s supporters have jumped on the phrase.

I chose it for a header just so I’d have an excuse to close with this tweet from Iowahawk.


by @ 5:41 pm. Filed under Scott Walker

Poll Watch: Gravis Insights Nevada 2016 Republican Caucus Survey

Gravis Insights Nevada 2016 GOP Caucus Poll

  • Scott Walker 27%
  • Jeb Bush 19%
  • Chris Christie 8%
  • Ted Cruz 6%
  • Mike Huckabee 6%
  • Rick Perry 6%
  • Marco Rubio 4%
  • Rick Santorum 4%
  • Rand Paul 3%
  • Bobby Jindal 1%
  • Unsure 16%

Survey of 438 Republican primary participants was conducted February 21-22, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 5 percentage points.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 12:00 am. Filed under 2016, Poll Watch, Republican Party, Scott Walker

February 28, 2015

Rand Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll

CNN has the story:

Sen. Rand Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll for the third year in a row on Saturday, with 25.7% of the vote, event organizers announced Saturday at the National Harbor, Maryland, Confab.

But the biggest winner of the straw poll was perhaps Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who catapulted from fifth last year to second place this year and came in just four points behind Paul, with 21.4% support. He delivered one of the conference’s best-received speeches, laying out his vision for the economy and drawing enthusiastic applause that overshadowed a tone-deaf answer he gave on foreign policy.

Read the full post here.

by @ 5:00 pm. Filed under 2016, Rand Paul, Straw Polls

Weekend Miscellany

It’s been a very miscellaneous week. Lots of stuff to cover. Probably I missed some, so add yours in the comments.


Why Is China Building New Islands?

We had a discussion here a few weeks ago about China’s actions in the South China (aka West Philippine) Sea, and the possibility of a Japanese naval response. This article discusses China’s building of artificial islands over coral reefs in the sea. That region bears watching.

Since last summer, China has been busy transforming underwater reefs hundreds of miles from its coastline into artificial islands. Dredging vessels have been sucking out sand to create land where none was found before, and China is building new installations on the islands, including possibly airstrips, barracks, and radar sites.

In recent months, Chinese work has accelerated on about half a dozen disputed bits of coral in the South China Sea, according to new surveillance photos published by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, an arm of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The construction activity is just the latest chapter in a long-running conflict over the South China Sea that has pitted China against most of its maritime neighbors and has brought it into conflict with the United States and Japan. China’s push into the area seems designed to bolster Beijing’s  claim to the resource-rich waters — which teem with fish and may hold plentiful reserves of oil and natural gas — and to increase China’s ability to project military force in an area traditionally dominated by the United States and its allies.


Are We Entering the Post-European Era?

The idea that we are in a ‘post-American era’ is a well-worn idea (particularly among the class of commentator that hopes it’s true). This article explores Europe’s many, many problems (my list would include immigration, demographics, economic stagnation, a dysfunctional currency, excess regulation, an out-of-touch bureaucracy, and more) and how they may be signaling Europe’s fade from a major role on the world stage.

In the years after the Cold War, much was written about Europe’s emergence as the third great force in the global political economy, alongside Asia and the United States. Some, such as former French President Francois Mitterand’s eminence grise Jacques Attali, went even further: in his 1991 book Millenium Attali predicted that in the 21st century, “Japan and Europe may supplant the United States as the chief superpowers.”

This notion of a fading America has been embraced among some here as well, by authors such as Jeremy Rifkin who has written extensively about a “European dream” supplanting the American one on a global scale. In 2008, CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria predicted the rise of what he called “the post-American world,” with the U.S. still preeminent but losing ground, particularly to emerging countries in Asia. This view is widely held in American elite circles, including many people in or close to the Obama administration.

Yet something funny happened on the road to a post-American era: it didn’t happen. Even under two of the most incompetent administrations in our country’s long history, we are headed not to a “post-American” world, but more likely a “post-European” one.


Bought a Lenovo Laptop Recently? Sorry to Hear It

It’s hard to believe that a computer company could be stupid enough to sell their laptops pre-loaded with adware, but Lenovo is indeed that stupid. What’s double amazing is that they try to justify it as enhancing the customer experience.

Since at least September, Lenovo has been shipping OEM Windows laptops preloaded with Superfish “adware,” which would rudely inject its own shopping results into your browser when you searched on Google, Amazon, and other websites. This sort of behavior is associated more with spyware than with factory-shipped operating-system installs, and by itself would be a new low for Lenovo. But Superfish is more than just pesky. It’s the most virulent, evil adware you could find.

By installing a single self-signed root certificate (trust me: That’s really bad) across all of Lenovo’s affected machines, Superfish intentionally pokes a gigantic hole into your browser security and allows anyone on your Wi-Fi network to hijack your browser silently and collect your bank credentials, passwords, and anything else you might conceivably type there.

The linked article contains sites you can use to test whether your computer is infected with this garbage. Die, Lenovo, Die!


The Salmon Cannon

An innovative solution to the problem of helping salmon return to their spawning grounds. Said to be suitable for other fish as well.


More Ecuador Fun

As I noted in last weekend’s Miscellany, I got a lot of amusement out of640px-La_Compañía,_Quito_-_5 my stay last year in Quito (beautiful city – if you ever get the chance to visit, do so, and don’t miss the Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus, which is stunning). Picture of the main altar at right.

For ongoing amusement though, little can match the long-running legal battle Ecuador has been waging with Chevron over the oil company’s alleged responsibility for environmental damage in the Amazon.

No one disputes that such damage occurred, and that the people of the region have suffered as a result – the question is how much of the damage is Chevron’s responsibility and whether Chevron did enough to clean it up. There is a very juicy side issue over the corrupt practices of the plaintiff’s legal team – the whole thing is fascinating, and one of these days I may go into it in more depth. What is not amusing is that the issue has dragged on and on, with no end in sight, and no help for the indigenous people of the region.

But, back to the fun, one of Ecuador’s tactics in the fight has been to bring a bunch of celebrities to Ecuador to be photographed dipping their hands in oily water and saying nasty things about Chevron to the accompanying media.

Among those in the celebrity parade have been Mia Farrow, Danny Glover, and Sharon Stone. Except that Stone was a no-show, and she didn’t return the $250k (!) Ecuador paid her, so now Ecuador’s PR firm, which hired her, is suing to get the money back.


Can California’s GOP Be Resurrected?

I don’t agree with all of this guy’s ideas, but the subject is one that needs to be discussed. Most of us would agree that the approach the party takes in Wyoming or Utah will not work in California, but what approach will work? I’m glad I’m not responsible for answering that question.

The problem is of course much complicated by the fact that the party has pretty much no bench.


Briefly Noted

Royal Gossip: Did Charles betray his sons to make himself look good, post-Diana?

Some Endorsements Are Valuable, Others Not So Much: Dan Quayle is backing Bush.

Why is income from college sports not taxed? ” … if the [non-profit/tax-exempt] organization regularly carries on trade or business activities that are unrelated to its exempt purpose, the income from those activities is subject to federal income taxation at the same rates applicable to for-profit corporations.”

Canadian Supreme Court Approves Doctor-Assisted Suicide: The ruling has been delayed for a year to allow Parliament to makes new rules.

RTW Passes in Wisconsin Senate: Walker will sign it quickly, of course, after it passes the House. It will be interesting to see if this sets off a new series of states passing such laws.

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

Poll Watch: Rutgers-Eagleton New Jersey 2016 Presidential Survey

Rutgers-Eagleton New Jersey 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 58% {49%} [51%] (51%)
  • Chris Christie (R) 35% {39%} [40%] (41%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 58%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 32%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 60%
  • Scott Walker (R) 29%

Survey of 694 registered voters was conducted February 3-10, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 4.2 percentage points. Party ID: 34% {34%} [33%] (36%) Democrat; 21% {20%} [19%] (23%) Republican; 45% {46%} [47%] (41%) Independent/Other. Results from the poll conducted December 3-10, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 28 – August 5, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted February 22-28, 2014 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Poll Watch

February 27, 2015

Poll Watch: Elon University North Carolina 2016 Presidential Survey

Elon University North Carolina 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45.7%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 40.2%

Survey of 773 registered North Carolina voters was conducted February 16-20, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.52 percentage points

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 11:30 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch

Poll Watch: PPP (D) 2016 National Presidential Survey

PPP (D) 2016 National Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 47% [46%] (47%) {46%} [48%] (49%) {47%} [51%] (49%)
  • Rand Paul (R) 40% [39%] (42%) {43%} [43%] (37%) {39%} [41%] (43%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48%
  • Rick Perry (R) 41%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48% (48%) {45%} [51%] (49%) {49%} [51%]
  • Marco Rubio (R) 41% (40%) {40%} [41%] (42%) {41%} [37%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48% [45%] (46%) {45%} [42%] (44%) {43%} [47%] (46%) {46%} [44%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 40% [40%] (42%) {43%} [45%] (39%) {42%} [44%] (42%) {41%} [42%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48%
  • Ben Carson (R) 40%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 48% [45%]
  • Scott Walker (R) 40% [42%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50% (49%) {46%} [48%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 41% (42%) {43%} [42%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50% [45%] (47%) {45%} [48%] (48%) {44%} {49%} [51%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 40% [41%] (44%) {43%} [43%] (39%) {41%} {43%} [37%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50% (51%) {47%} [49%] (50%)
  • Ted Cruz (R) 40% (40%) {41%} [41%] (33%)
  • Jeb Bush (R) 45% (43%) {45%} {45%}
  • Joe Biden (D) 39% (42%) {41%} {48%}
  • Jeb Bush (R) 43%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 41%

National survey of 691 registered voters was conducted February 20-22, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.7 percentage points. Party ID: 40% [39%] (41%) {39%} [40%] (38%) {41%} [41%] (38%) {42%} [43%] (44%) Democrat; 34% [37%] (34%) {36%} [34%] (34%) {32%} [33%] (34%) {33%} [34%] (32%) Republican; 26% [23%] (26%) {26%} [26%] (28%) {26%} [26%] (28%) {25%} [23%] (24%) Independent/Other.  Results from the poll conducted January 20-21, 2015 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted March 6-9, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted January 23-26, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conductedDecember 12-15, 2013 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted October 29-31, 2013 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted July 19-21, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted May 6-9, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 27-30, 2013 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted January 31 – February 3, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 3-6, 2013 are in square brackets.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Poll Watch

February 26, 2015

The Science Is Settled: Scott Walker Is Boring

… or so we were repeatedly assured for months and months. And then the Iowa speech happened.

Just a fluke probably. No doubt he’d put the CPAC crowd to sleep. Or maybe not.

National Review says he received ‘several’ standing ovations, and Drudge’s headline as I write this is Wowwow Walker.

From NR:

Walker Thrills a Packed House at CPAC

Walker’s speech, one of the most anticipated of the conference, capped off the first day, and had the auditorium filled to capacity, including crowds standing alongside the walls. Before Walker wrapped up, the crowd briefly erupted into a chant of “run, Scott, run” when talk on stage turned to 2016. “I’ve run three time in the last four years, so I’m getting pretty used to it,” he said.

Like I said – really, really boring.

by @ 6:40 pm. Filed under Scott Walker

Jeb Bush Pro Same Sex Marriage?

Buzzfeed thinks he just might be:

Bush’s official stance is that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that states should have the right to craft their own laws on the matter, free of tampering from federal courts.

But inside Bush’s orbit, some believe his personal feelings on the subject may have evolved beyond his on-the-record statements. Three Republican supporters who have recently spoken with Bush as he’s blitzed the GOP fundraising circuit told BuzzFeed News they came away with the impression that on the question of marriage equality, he was supportive at best and agnostic at worst.

“He wants to do the respectful, human thing,” said one of the Republicans, a donor who requested anonymity to comment on private conversations.

If, as many observers expect, the Supreme Court rules this June to extend marriage rights to all same-sex couples nationwide, some of Bush’s pro-gay donors are hoping he will use the moment to fully pivot toward an embrace of marriage equality — turning himself into the first serious pro-gay GOP presidential candidate.

“His thinking appears to have evolved,” said David Aufhauser, a former senior Treasury official who co-hosted a fundraiser for Bush earlier this month in Virginia.

This is the man who has expressed concern about pretending to be Conservative in order to win the nomination.

You don’t suppose that this getting published the day before Sean Hannity is going to interview Bush live onstage at CPAC is purely coincidental, do you?

by @ 4:04 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush

Ben Carson at CPAC

Ben Carson gives the opening address at CPAC. C-SPAN has video of the first round of speeches here. His speech begins at 11:45.  It runs about twenty minutes.

Here are just a couple highlights:

“It’s interesting to me that the Left in particular loves to re-label and rename things. For instance, if you’re pro-life, you’re anti-woman. If you’re pro-traditional family, then you’re a homophobe…if you’re black, and you oppose a progressive agenda, you’re crazy. .”

“We are a very smart people and a very compassionate people, and we need to find out how [to] strengthen the framework of this country. It is our responsibility to take care of the indigent; it is not the government’s responsibility.”

PPP has him in second place behind Scott Walker and ahead of Jeb Bush in their latest national poll. Quinipiac recently had him in third place in Iowa, trailing Walker and Rand Paul, tied with Mike Huckabee, and once again ahead of Jeb Bush who only manages a fifth place finish.

For now he is solidly on the leaderboard. Can he stay there? Who knows. Go to the video and determine for yourself if you think he has what it takes to finish strong, or if he is going to end up being just another flash-in-the-pan.



by @ 3:46 pm. Filed under Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Scott Walker

Walker Pushes Back

Scott Walker has an op-ed in today’s USAToday. In it, he pushes back at the news media who have been trying to rip him to shreds these past weeks:

Americans believe our nation is facing some substantial challenges. Government spending is out of control. Terrorists seek to destroy our way of life. Our economic recovery has been slow. Our borders aren’t secure. The federal government has usurped powers that rightly belong to our states.

And every day across Wisconsin, and as I travel the nation, I hear from people who share with me their worries about — and their hopes for — our country.

He goes on to list a series of issues that he feels Americans across the country are concerned about. He then finishes his op-ed:

There has been much discussion about a media double standard where Republicans are covered differently than Democrats, asked to weigh in on issues the Democrats don’t face. As a result, when we refuse to take the media’s bait, we suffer.

I felt it this week when I was asked to weigh in on what other people said and did and what others’ beliefs are. If you are looking for answers to those questions, ask those people.

I will always choose to focus on what matters to the American people, not what matters to the media.


by @ 9:30 am. Filed under Scott Walker

Walker, Education, and Image

People don’t vote for candidates, they vote for an image.

That’s a general axiom Democrats seem to understand much better than Republicans at this stage of the game. Politics has always been about trying to market yourself — we can go all the way back to Abraham Lincoln’s campaign team famously choosing “Honest Abe” to market their candidate, for instance — and likewise, marketing your opponent as someone Jack and Jill Voter couldn’t pull the lever for. But in today’s intensely media-saturated, image-and-symbol driven culture, it matters more than ever before.

As I wrote about seven years ago (!) here at Race, President Barack Obama is a modern shining example of this fact. Nobody cared what his positions were on the issues. For most American voters, Obama was simply and powerfully an image of hope and progress. They never factored in his actual stances on issues, they were not voting for an agenda or a political viewpoint or a party… they were voting for an image. A caricature of sorts. A carefully crafted, marketed image.

And it worked.

In 2012, Mitt Romney was the victim of the converse of this rule. President Obama and his team managed to paint Governor Romney (sometimes with the Governor’s unintended assistance) as a wealthy, out-of-touch woman-hater. Even though the facts stood contrary to that image (see Women, Binder Full of), that is how voters saw and believed the image of Governor Romney. The election did not come down to Obama and Romney, it came down to hope and inspiration versus the rich guy who doesn’t care.

This issue of image is immediately what came to mind when the brouhaha over Governor Scott Walker’s education was suddenly thrust into the top headlines this past week. Governor Walker, for those who may be arriving late to the scene of the crash, left college before he finished his senior year. He has no college degree to his name. For some in the media, this calls into question his fitness to serve as President of the United States.

Allow me to pause for a moment and be as clear as possible here: I do not believe a college degree is, or should be, a requirement to serve as President of the United States. The Constitution never places any kind of qualifying educational standard on potential candidates. Governor Walker’s accomplishments stand on their own, with or without a college degree, and to somehow denigrate them now, after the fact, because he didn’t finish his senior year is beyond the pale.

Those are the facts. However… again, we must take into account the issue of identity. By itself, a lack of college degree would be meaningless. At the same time the media began questioning that, however, they also realized something else about Scott Walker: he doesn’t believe in evolution. Now again: on this specific issue, I give a hearty, “Who cares?”. I excoriated the debate moderators way back in 2007 for asking the GOP candidates if they believed in evolution or creationism, and I would excoriate them again today. Factually speaking, it has no bearing on how well someone will govern this country. But now we have two pieces of information on which opponents will begin crafting Scott Walker’s image: he never finished college, and he doesn’t believe in evolution.

Now, add a third item of interest: Wisconsin is currently experiencing some pretty sizeable bumps fiscally speaking (which will undoubtedly and messily complicate Governor Walker’s campaign-to-be). In order to close a large budget deficit, Walker has proposed cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from… Wisconsin state university budgets.

So now we can easily imagine the line of attack on Governor Walker: a college dropout who doesn’t believe in evolution and wants to cut the budgets of higher learning institutions across his home state. Not exactly a pretty picture. Not a winning image. The cherry on top, of course, is that Governor Walker is a Republican, a party many Americans already see as being anti-science and anti-education (see AP History in Oklahoma, for instance). He plays into the stereotypes with little to no effort required from his opponents.

Of course, Governor Walker isn’t the only Republican governor talking about cutting higher education funding, which just exacerbates the problem. Governors Jindal and Christie have proposed cutting university funding in Louisiana and New Jersey as ways to fill their respective state budget shortfalls as well. When you are a potential candidate exploring a presidential primary full of voters who believe the words of Grover Norquist as gospel truth, common sense financial solutions can take a back seat to becoming a perceived enemy to higher education. This is especially true and dangerous for Governor Walker, given the overall image starting to be painted of him. Every stumble and misspoken phrase along the campaign trail, which might be forgiven from other candidates, will be treated as headline news from the Wisconsin governor.

None of this is a reason for Republicans to avoid nominating Walker. He may well end up being the best candidate in the field. But if they do, the GOP must understand the hand they’ve been dealt and respond accordingly — and the past week hasn’t been an encouraging response on that front. Republicans can circle the wagons and rally ‘round the flag as much as they want on this one, screaming about a biased and elitist media until their face turns blue. But that will do little to nothing to actually solving the image problem Walker is about to be branded with. Walker must work overtime to paint an alternative image — a more positive picture of who he is that can shatter some of these early stereotypes and display him as an intelligent, competent leader. There is a massive difference between being viewed as a blue collar, folksy midwesterner (on the balance, a very positive image) and being lumped in with the Sarah Palins and Rick Perrys of the world. It will be interesting to watch if and how Walker and his team steer this ship toward the former.

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Barack Obama, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, Scott Walker

February 25, 2015

Carly Fiorina’s Supporters Form Super-PAC

The Washington Times reports:

Looking toward the 2016 White House race, supporters of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced Tuesday that they were rolling out a Super PAC on her behalf, as they look to strengthen her likely bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

“Carly For America will continue to build conservative support and help lay the groundwork for a potential presidential candidacy,” Steve DeMaura, executive director of the Super PAC, said in a press release. “Her dedication and understanding of how to unlock the potential of Americans across the country is a breath of fresh air for the GOP.”

The Super PAC also rolled out a 2-minute online ad introducing voters to Ms. Fiorina, as part of its broader effort to draw attention to her life story and promote what they see as her “record of leadership and success.”

Here is the ad they mention:

It’s a good beginning.

Welcome to the race, Carly. The best of luck to you.

by @ 3:45 pm. Filed under Carly Fiorina

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Iowa 2016 Republican Caucus Survey

Quinnipiac Iowa 2016 GOP Caucus Poll

  • Scott Walker 25%
  • Rand Paul 13%
  • Ben Carson 11%
  • Mike Huckabee 11%
  • Jeb Bush 10%
  • Ted Cruz 5%
  • Chris Christie 4%
  • Marco Rubio 4%
  • Rick Santorum 4%
  • Rick Perry 3%
  • Bobby Jindal 2%
  • John Kasich 0%

Survey of 623 likely Iowa Republican caucus participants was conducted February 16-23, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 3.9 percentage points. Gender: 60% Men; 40% Women. Political philosophy: 45% Very conservative; 28% Somewhat conservative; 25% Moderate/Liberal.


  • Walker’s doing very well in Iowa. He nearly doubles his closest competitor and enjoys a double digit lead.
  • Carson continues to be a strong second tier candidate.
  • The second tier in Iowa currently is Paul, Carson, Huckabee, Bush. They are bunched up within 3 ppts of each other — the MOE.
  • Bush barely cracks double digits.
  • The “noise” candidates are Cruz, Christie, Rubio,  Santorum, Perry, and Jindal. They are in the lower single digits with only Cruz managing to crack 5 ppts.
  • I am continually struck at the poor showing of Rick Santorum. He finished second in 2012. He should, by all rights, be at least in the second tier, but he consistently polls at or near the bottom of every poll.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

Rubio is Running and Will be a Powerful Contender – But Will Republicans Recognize It?

If the New York Times is to be believed, Senator Marco Rubio has begun telling donors he will be running for President, and will likely announce his candidacy in April.

This could well be a defining moment for a Republican field that is taking longer than expected to take shape. Mitt Romney bowing out of the race opened the door for the candidate many presumed to be the obvious frontrunner: Jeb Bush. Governor Bush is almost certainly running, having spent the past several weeks assembling an all-star fundraising team and enjoying the wide support of the Republican establishment. His behind-the-scenes shock-and-awe strategy is designed to convince others not to run. The grassroots candidates such as Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, and Rand Paul remain largely unswayed by this show of strength, of course, operating fully in the realm of ideology rather than pragmatism, as is their modus operandi. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Potential candidates on the other side of the equation, however, have a difficult calculation to make now: can they legitimately pose a threat to a Bush candidacy? Can they sway establishment support away from Governor Bush in an atmosphere where the establishment possesses a desire to act more monolithically than ever before?

For some, the answer is becoming clearer, and it’s not what they hoped. Most politicos, for instance, would now consider it a surprise if Governor Chris Christie chose to throw his hat in the ring — quite the change from a year ago. Others like Paul Ryan, Susana Martinez, and Rob Portman have also chosen to bow out.

The only legitimate challenger Jeb Bush seems to have at this early stage in the game is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who at first blush seems to be a fantastic figure to bridge the gap between the Tea Party and the establishment wings of the party. Both groups seem open to at least giving Governor Walker a chance to impress them; what remains to be seen is whether he can meet their expectations (this pundit would personally be surprised if he did).

That leaves a large group of potential candidates who are stuck running the numbers on the backs of cocktail napkins these days. Governors John Kasich and Mike Pence both remain noncommittal, saying they’ll make a decision later in the spring or early summer. If Governor Bush wasn’t headlining this concert, we’d have to believe both men would already be up on stage for a sound check.

Likewise, Governor Mike Huckabee is trying to balance his fundraising ability against the financial realities of Governor Bush’s machine. He’s using his PAC in a way few do any longer: to actually test the water. Governor Huckabee has said it will be “months” before he makes his decision. (Meanwhile, he’s embarking on another book tour that looks an awful lot like the separate book tours he and Governor Palin took during the lead up to the last primary.) Similarly, Governor Bobby Jindal has only narrowed the timeline for his decision down to “the first half” of 2015, potentially leaving the door open for the next four months.

Bringing this back to Senator Rubio, then: this means the Florida Senator is now the first candidate who has looked at the bottom line on the back of that napkin and decided it was worth it to challenge the two-headed Bush/Walker frontrunner. Make no mistake: this could not have been an easy decision for Rubio. In fact, he had more to lose with this decision than any other potential candidate: like Rand Paul, he had to choose between running for President or running for re-election in the Senate. Unlike Rand Paul, Rubio was (and is) being heavily courted by the establishment to keep his Senate seat. Giving up his seat at this stage would mean two things: one, the potential end of his bright career with massive potential in national GOP politics; and two, the potential alienation of the establishment.

At first blush, Marco Rubio and the last GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, seem to have little in common. One is a young, charismatic Senator and the other an aging, wooden Governor. But when Senator Rubio throws his hat in the ring this April, the two will share this vitally important distinction: neither will have the full support of their party, and that will make winning the general election an uphill battle.

Governor Romney was never part of the Republican establishment, only earning their begrudging support in 2012 by default because none of their chosen candidates (Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbourl, John Thune, Jeb Bush, et al) ran. And he was never part of the Republican grassroots, either, despite (and because of) his attempt to remake his record in the 2008 primary. This half-hearted support from Republicans can easily be pointed to as the reason Romney lost the election. Despite winning independent voters by the largest margin for a Republican candidate in recent history — an unbelievable five percent margin over President Barack Obama, and up to a ten percent margin in some swing states like Ohio! (Obama won independents by 8% in 2008, Kerry won them by 1% in 2004, Bush won them by 1% in 2000, and Clinton won them by 8% in 1996 and 6% in 1992) — Romney still lost the election. Why? Because of depressed Republican turnout. Republican turnout as a percentage of the electorate in 2012 matched a recent historical low. In other words, Republicans have nobody but themselves to blame for Obama’s second term in the Oval Office.

Could Senator Rubio find himself in the same boat this time around? He certainly has the same kind of appeal to independents Governor Romney had, and a heaping serving of charisma which the Massachusetts Governor could only dream of. His youth, positive demeanor and vision, and his Hispanic background would all be a massive boon for a party who is desperately trying to expand their identity past the stereotype of angry old white men. All one has to do is picture national campaign ads with Senator Rubio looking directly into the camera and speaking fluent Spanish to understand how powerful his candidacy could be for the Republican Party.

And yet, Republicans are, at this stage, more than quick to attack Rubio and tear him to shreds. The establishment doesn’t like him because he’s not Jeb Bush. The base doesn’t like him because of his break with conservative orthodoxy on immigration (despite the fact that conservative orthodoxy on the issue is both wildly impractical and one of the main reasons the GOP has an identity issue to begin with). And so, should Senator Rubio end up with the nomination (and there is a decently clear path for him to do so — more on that in a later column), he would find himself in the same place as Governor Romney four years ago: with an incredible chance to win the White House, if the Republican Party can get their act together.

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Marco Rubio, Republican Party

February 24, 2015

Are the Media’s Efforts to Destroy Walker Backfiring?

In the past week we’ve have seen where the liberal news media has been doing a full-court press on Scott Walker. First there was Credential-gate. They were downright indignant that somebody who didn’t finish college would have the temerity to even hint at running for the Oval Office. While that was going strong, we got the Giuliani blowup on Obama’s patriotism followed by a couple of reporters asking Walker if he thought Obama was a Christian or not. In both the latter cases, the media took offense at Walkers fairly neutral, non-committal answers and went into an apoplectic meltdown of shock, horror, and outrage. Hours (literally) were spent in panel discussion after panel discussion detailing how terrible Walker was for not immediately rushing to the side of Obama defending his honor and roundly condemning anyone who suggested that the President might be less than perfect.

But if their goal was to marginalize Walker and kill his nascent 2016 Presidential campaign before it had a chance to take hold, they appear to have failed. What they did manage to do instead was to bring the name of Scott Walker to the minds of millions of conservative and moderate voters across the nation. It’s been millions of dollars worth of free publicity for Walker, and the results have been rather telling. In three short weeks, the PPP GOP Presidential Primary poll has Walker more than doubling his numbers. He went from 4th place and 11 ppts on January 30th to being out in front with 25 ppts on February 24. He went from being 10 ppts behind the leader to being 7 ppts ahead over his nearest competitor.

This sort of movement is very easy to do early in a campaign before people’s minds have been made up. Scott Walker owes a debt of gratitude for the hyperventilating national press for helping to introduce him to so many of his potential constituents.

And Walker is no flash-in-the-pan either as the string of ABRs were in 2012. He is a sitting governor of a blue state that has been thoroughly vetted already. Any and all dirt about him has already been dug up and aired. And he is used to dealing with the hostile press.

No, I suspect that Walker is on the leaderboard to stay. He may not win the nomination, but he is going to be there to the end. Scott has the efforts of our liberal news media to thank for that.


by @ 5:10 pm. Filed under Scott Walker

Poll Watch: PPP (D) 2016 Republican Nomination Survey

PPP has just released their latest 2016 Presidential polling for the Republican Nomination. Their results for the end of February are as follows:

PPP (D) 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Scott Walker 25% (11%)
  • Ben Carson 18% (15%)
  • Jeb Bush 17% (17%)
  • Mike Huckabee 10% (9%)
  • Chris Christie 5% (7%)
  • Ted Cruz 5% (9%)
  • Rand Paul 4% (4%)
  • Rick Perry 3% (2%)
  • Marco Rubio 3%
  • Someone else/Not sure 11% (5%)

Survey of 316 Republican primary voters was conducted February 20-22, 2015.  The margin of error is +/- 5.5 percentage points.  Political ideology: 38% (38%) Somewhat conservative; 38% (35%) Very conservative; 17% (21%) Moderate; 6% (5%) Somewhat liberal; 2% (1%) Very liberal. Results from the poll conducted January 22-25, 2015 are in parentheses.

Trend lines:

PPP 2016 GOP Presidential Race

Some thoughts:

  1. I think it safe to call Scott Walker the legitimate front runner for now. This in spite of the almost manic frenzy the liberal press has been having lately trying to knock him out of the race.
  2. Jeb Bush is not doing so well. He is stagnating.
  3. Ben Carson is doing very well. He even tops Bush, though well within the MOE.
  4. Mike Huckabee is the only candidate that went from single to double digits. The rest of the field: Christie, Cruz, Paul, Perry, and Rubio — are going nowhere fast.
  5. Mitt Romney dropped out. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, it would appear that Walker and Someone Else/Not Sure are the key beneficiaries of Mitt’s withdrawal.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

Poll Watch: UT/TT Texas 2016 Democratic Primary Survey

  • Hillary Clinton 62% (60%) {64%} [67%] (66%)
  • Elizabeth Warren 12% (13%) {15%} [5%]
  • Joe Biden 6% (10%) {8%} [7%] (11%)
  • Bernie Sanders 5%
  • Jim Webb 1% (1%)
  • Martin O’Malley 1% (0%) {0%} [1%] (0%)

Internet survey of 401 registered Democratic primary voters was conducted February 6-15, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.89 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted October 10-19, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted May 30 – June 8, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted October 18-27, 2013 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted May 31 – June 9, 2013 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 10:24 am. Filed under 2016, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Poll Watch

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