January 26, 2015

Trouble in Paradise, Obama/Clinton Tensions Rise

It would appear that all is not rosy between Barack Obama and his presumptive successor, Hilary Clinton. The Hill reports:

New tensions are emerging in the relationship between allies of President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

At issue is the fate of the political equivalent of gold dust — the enormous email list, comprised of many millions of supporters and donors, that the Obama team has compiled over the course of his two presidential campaigns.

The Clinton camp would dearly love to get its hands on the list, but there is no promise as yet that the president’s aides will comply.

It’s really quite simple. Knowledge is power, and Obama doesn’t want to give up any power even if it might help the Democrats keep the White House and maybe even take back Congress after he is gone. It’s all about Barry. That’s pretty much been his story from the beginning. Why would anyone expect him to change now?

If he continues to horde the list, fellow Democrats must come to him to use it. That means a continual influence in the party. In other words, they would still have to bow and scrape to him (or so he hopes).


by @ 10:07 am. Filed under Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton

Cruz, Paul, and Rubio Debate Foreign Policy

National Review reports:

An economic policy panel discussion sponsored by a Koch-backed free market group turned into a foreign policy debate between Senator Rand Paul (R.Ky.), Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), and Senator Ted Cruz (R. Texas)

“I’m kinda surrounded on this one,” Paul cracked as ABC’s Jonathan Karl opened up a conversation about President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba, which Cruz and Rubio oppose.

Paul suggested that Richard Nixon’s decision to open up China “has made us less likely to go to war and while China is still an oppress regime they’re less oppressive probably than they were in the 70s.”

Rubio, seated next to Paul, reminded the audience that “there is no contemporary example of where an economic opening by itself made a democratic opening.” As for China, he said that the U.S. economic gestures toward the regime had made it “the richest tyranny in all of human history.” Rubio concluded by faulting Obama for making those concessions to Cuba without getting anything in return.

There was much more to the discussion. The linked article makes a good read.


by @ 9:30 am. Filed under Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz

Another Shoe Drops for Christie

Chris Christie has formed his leadership PAC, “Leadership Matters for America”. NBC News reports:

Christie filed paperwork late Friday with the FEC to form the “Leadership Matters for America” political action committee. Christie is staffing up and plans several political trips in February. Christie aides say the Governor has not made a final decision about a White House run at this time.

“There is a vehicle now for donors to get involved,” an aide said.

This PAC isn’t the same as a presidential campaign committee, but it would allow Christie to raise funds, travel the country and support other candidates. Aides say this “gives a more formal structure” to his political operation and his major donors. Christie’s Iowa trip this weekend to speak at the Freedom Summit fell under this new PAC.

by @ 9:24 am. Filed under Chris Christie

January 25, 2015

Scott Walker Making a Run at All Three Legs of the Stool

I spent a good chunk of the morning clearing out space on my DVR and I came across Governor Scott Walker’s appearance on Fox News as a guest on The Kelly File with Megyn Kelly.

As Bob Hovic outlined this morning, Governor Walker’s speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit certainly had the makings of the beginning of a presidential campaign. Yet his appearance on The Kelly File was an even bigger hint of things to come because the governor was on to discuss…..wait for it…..the crises in the Middle East as regards Al Qaeda, ISIS and the recent collapse of the pro-American Yemeni government.

Now, I might be in the minority here, but when I’m looking for expert analysis on the military and geopolitical goings-on in the most complex region of the world, I seek out the views of a governor from the American Midwest.

Snark aside, and, for the record I like the Dairy State Governor, his appearance on The Kelly File was a clear signal he intends to run for president, especially considering the subject matter of the interview. Governors usually do not appear on cable news shows to discuss foreign policy matters, especially when, as in Walker’s case, the governor is not a former member of Congress, nor a former State or Defense Department official and has never served in the military.

As he did in his speech in Iowa, Walker handled himself well in his appearance with Kelly and it was clear he had been prepped on the subject matter at hand.

Governor Walker’s mere appearance on Fox News – a network watched religiously by many on the right – to discuss matters of foreign policy was a hint in and of itself that he is heavily considering a run. During the course of the interview, Walker hit all the right points one would expect a Republican presidential candidate to hit– he criticized the Obama Administration’s lack of leadership, he used the term “Radical Islamic Terrorists,” he said the Administration’s handling of Iran and Israel sends mixed messages to our closest ally in the region (Israel).

Walker, deftly I might add, made mention of President Reagan (a must for any candidate) and subtly compared Regan’s handling of the Air Traffic Controllers strike as something of a show of force to the USSR about the new president’s seriousness. The obvious implication was that Walker stared down the unions in Wisconsin just as he, as president, would not be afraid to confront the terrorists.

Walker is smartly positioning himself as a conservative candidate who can be acceptable to just about all segments of the base, even if he is not everyone’s first choice. On economic and fiscal issues, he can point to his record governing a blue state in a conservative fashion. Walker’s tenure in Wisconsin has been further to the right than the tenures of another pair of blue state governors – Mitt Romney and Chris Christie – and did so in almost as unfriendly of territory.

By staking out some ground as a hawk on defense matters, or at least defense matters pertaining to the Middle East – but doing so in a manner that looks and sounds reasonable, he can put to rest the concerns of “defcons” who might question a Midwestern governor’s foreign policy chops. He does not have to be John Bolton to get the hawks’ votes.

As an Evangelical Christian, Walker has a natural appeal with “socons” who are large in number in both Iowa and South Carolina. He might not use the same vernacular as other darlings of the religious right like Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum, but speaks the language well-enough that these voters can get on board with him. He also checks all the right boxes on the socon issues.

In addition to appealing to all three legs of the conservative stool from an ideological standpoint, Walker has executive experience as a governor (a sitting governor mind you, not a governor who was last in office ten-plus ears ago). Also working in his favor relative to the other establishment favorites, Jeb Bush and Romney, is that he a fresh face, not someone who has run and lost for president before and is not part of a dynastic political family.

The one criticism of Governor Walker, and it is a valid one, is his rather bland and dry personality. He will not wow voters with fire-and-brimstone type speeches that we are likely to see from Cruz, he is not as charismatic and affable as either Christie or Marco Rubio. However, after electing a president largely because of his ability to give a rousing speech (and suffering the disastrous results) voters, both in the primary and general elections, might not have a problem electing a president who has a bland personality if he can be seen as competent and reasonable. And one must remember that his most likely opponent in the general election – Hillary Clinton – is not exactly a dynamic personality herself.

I think Governor Walker has a chance to be something of a breakout candidate. I would not say he is the odds-on favorite to win the nomination, but he is quickly ascending the ranks to the first tier of contenders.

What say you?  Have at it in the comments section.

by @ 4:51 pm. Filed under 2016, Scott Walker

Left-Wing Populists Win in Greece

I’ve posted a couple times previously on the rise of populist parties in Europe, which is semi-off-topic for this blog, because … well because it’s both important and interesting, and because I see it as very similar to developments here (the Tea Party and Occupy, and a broader-based feeling among many that the average person has been forgotten).

The populist parties in Europe are of both the right and left, and in a few cases fascist. But they have in common a desire to do away with rule by the Elite. As an item posted yesterday in Weekend Miscellany said:

Political earthquakes could be in store for Europe in 2015, according to research by the Economist Intelligence Unit for the BBC’s Democracy Day.

It says the rising appeal of populist parties could see some winning elections and mainstream parties forced into previously unthinkable alliances.

Europe’s “crisis of democracy” is a gap between elites and voters, EIU says.

Today, it appears that the first of maybe several shoes has fallen, as a leftist-populist party, Syriza, appears to have won the election there. Per AP:

Official results from 17.6 percent of polling stations counted showed Syriza with 35 percent and Samaras’ New Democracy with 29.3 percent. An exit poll on state-run Nerit TV projected Syriza as winning with between 36 and 38 percent, compared to ND with 26-28 percent.

Earlier projections had given Syriza 146-158 seats in parliament, and New Democracy 65-75 seats.

151 seats would give Syriza a majority in parliament. Even if they fall a few seats short, there are communist and socialist parties that would likely ally with them. The consequences of this sort of revolt, if it spreads as EIU speculates it might, would be enormous for the European Union, and therefore for the US.

I think it also offers a lesson for the 2016 election in the US, the subject of this blog. Assuming the Democrats go ahead with their coronation of Hillary Clinton, they will be extremely vulnerable to an attack by the Republican candidate based on appeals to small business, blue-collar workers, suburbanites, soft libertarians, socons, and others who feel oppressed by big government and/or tired of condescension and contempt from the media, urban elites, and establishment politicians.

Clinton and the Democrats will be vulnerable, that is, unless the Republicans nominate a candidate equally old and establishment-based and incapable of running a credible populist campaign.

by @ 3:44 pm. Filed under Hillary Clinton, International

Looking More and More Like Walker’s In

Periodically, there has been doubt expressed here that Scott Walker would enter the presidential race. I’ve never been certain of it myself, and I’m still not, but the signs are increasingly pointed that way.

The most obvious sign is today’s yesterday’s speech in Iowa, which I thought was very good (others disagree), you can decide for yourself here). Good, bad, or mediocre, though, it was clearly, to me, a presidential campaign speech (if nothing else, note his comment near the end that he plans to return to Iowa often). He also committed this week to a March speech in New Hampshire.

As he continues to gear up for a likely Republican presidential bid, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is planning his first trip to New Hampshire of the 2016 campaign season.

On March 14, Walker will be the keynote speaker at an event that is being hosted by the New Hampshire Republican Party in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

“We have enacted bold, successful reforms in Wisconsin and we have a great story to tell,” Walker said in a statement announcing his visit. “I look forward to sharing our common sense conservative message with grassroots activists, and I thank the New Hampshire GOP for this exciting opportunity.”

This Time article is a week old and may already have been referenced here (I was mostly computerless then), but it discusses his recent speech at the Republican National Committee meeting:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker left little doubt Thursday that he is planning to run for the White House in 2016.

Speaking to the Republican National Committee (RNC) at its winter meeting in San Diego, the union-busting Midwesterner cast himself as a “new, fresh leader,” laying out a clear rationale for his candidacy as a blue-state governor with a proven record of reforming government.

“I look at our country, and I’m worried about our country the same way that I was worried about my state back in 2009,” Walker said when discussing his two sons, craftily referencing the year he decided to launch his first campaign for the governorship.

In addition, here’s a Des Moines Register item saying that Walker has signed on Joni Ernst’s top strategist, David Polyansky:

Polyansky, a Texan who played senior roles in two Iowa presidential campaigns and was the top strategist in Republican Joni Ernst’s successful campaign for U.S. Senate this past fall, will be Team Walker’s senior adviser in Iowa, sources told The Des Moines Register Thursday.

The news was confirmed by both Polyansky and Rick Wiley, who is set to manage Walker’s campaign if he opts to run.

Seven years ago, Polyansky helped orchestrate former Baptist minister Mike Huckabee’s victory in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, but for the 2016 cycle, he’s jumping on board with Walker, a pastor’s son known for winning three campaigns in four years in a blue state, and for confrontational government reforms.

The ‘invisible primary’, as has been noted here often, is about assembling a heavyweight team and lining up donors. It appears that Walker is succeeding in at least half that effort. We’ll see about the money game.

by @ 10:00 am. Filed under Scott Walker

January 24, 2015

Iowa Freedom Summit Open Thread

The Iowa Freedom Summit is taking place in Des Moines today and features several 2016 GOP hopefuls. I will post links to the speeches as the become available as well as reactions. The Des Moines Register has a live feed of the event here. Consider this an open thread. Note: Longtime R4’16 reader Joe Hanna is contributing coverage to this event.


Scott Walker

Dr. Ben Carson

Donald Trump

Rick Santorum

Ted Cruz

Carly Fiorina

Mike Huckabee

Rick Perry

Chris Christie

UPDATE: National JournalScott Walker Scores Standing Ovation In Iowa – The Wisconsin governor proves he can connect with these important primary voters.”

Further updates beneath the fold.

by @ 3:08 pm. Filed under 2016, Iowa Caucuses

Zogby Poll: GOP Presidential Race

A number of people have linked to this poll in the comments, so I thought I would go ahead and give it its own thread.

This is a Zogby poll, which is not exactly considered the gold standard of polls. To begin with, it is an on-line poll. That means it is not a random sample. The people participating signed themselves up to do so. Second, it attempts to take a snapshot of the entire nation using a sample of only 223 likely Republican primary voters — a very small number four or five times smaller than any reputable polling firm uses. As it is, they claim a MOE of 6.6% which means Rand Paul could be in first place for all we know.

Anyway, here it is:

  • Romney 16%
  • Bush 13%
  • Rubio 13%
  • Christie 11%
  • Huckabee 9%
  • Walker 6%
  • Jindahl (sic) 4%
  • Paul 3%
  • Perry 3%
  • Cruz 3%
  • Haley 0%
  • Portman 0%
  • Martinez 0%
  • Santorum 0%

As I said, it’s Zogby, so take it with a grain of salt. About the only thing that can be said is once again Romney’s in first place, Bush is in second, and Santorum is at or near dead last.

Weekend Miscellany

Sorry about the absence — I’ve been mostly computerless for the past couple weeks. Anyway, the same (lack of) rules apply. Add your own miscellany in the comments.


The Most Forgotten Presidents

A recent survey of college students says that the six most remembered presidents are the most recent four, plus Washington and Lincoln. Not a surprise. The most forgotten?

Pierce 4%
Fillmore 4%
Arthur 6%
Harding 7%
WH Harrison 8%
B Harrison 8%

Apparently we shouldn’t castigate ignorant students of today too much, since the report says that the results are similar to previous studies.


European populists

A few weeks ago, we had a Miscellany item about the rise of populist parties, of both left and right, across Europe. Here’s a BBC report on the subject:

Political earthquakes could be in store for Europe in 2015, according to research by the Economist Intelligence Unit for the BBC’s Democracy Day.

It says the rising appeal of populist parties could see some winning elections and mainstream parties forced into previously unthinkable alliances.

Europe’s “crisis of democracy” is a gap between elites and voters, EIU says.

Sounds sorta like the US, doesn’t it?

The first test of the proposition will come in just a few days, in Greece:

A snap general election takes place there on 25 January, triggered by parliament’s failure to choose a new president in December.

Opinion polls suggest that the far left, populist Syriza could emerge as the strongest party. If it did and was able to form a government, the EIU says this would send shock waves through the European Union and act as a catalyst for political upheaval elsewhere.

“The election of a Syriza government would be highly destabilising, both domestically and regionally. It would almost certainly trigger a crisis in the relationship between Greece and its international creditors, as debt write-offs form one of the core planks of its policy platform,” the EIU says.

The UK will hold elections in May, and it will be interesting to see how UKIP does there.


Voter Participation

In the same BBC article mentioned above, there is a graph on voter participation rates. We in the US are often lectured by our Elites that we should be more like those good Europeans, who vote at much higher levels. Passing laws to make voting easier is a favorite pastime of such folks.

It’s interesting to see, therefore, that what has been happening is that most developed countries are becoming more like the US in terms of participation in elections:

voting percentage


A Useful Tool for Political Junkies

I came across this browser plug-in and have installed it myself. The idea is that it highlights the names of politicians in articles one is reading. Hovering over the highlighted name will bring up a pop-up showing that politician’s contributors (per Opensecrets.org).

As I said, I’ve installed it (I use Google Chrome) and it works pretty well (it misses a significant number of names). Still, it’s a useful tool, and probably will be refined over time.


More College Rape Nonsense

You’d think after the University of Virginia story blew up in their faces, the people pushing the idea that there is a ‘rape culture’ on US college campuses would be a bit more careful. You’d think it, but you’d be wrong.

The latest thing that has been all over the internet is that one-third of male college students would commit rape, as long as they could call it something else. According to Newsweek (yes, they’re still in business):

Nearly one-third of college men admit they might rape a woman if they could get away with it, a new study on campus sexual assault claims. Of those men, however, far fewer will admit this if the word rape is actually used during the course of questioning.

Sounds pretty bad, except that it is based on a single study, at the University of North Dakota, which consisted of 86 students who filled out a questionnaire. Projecting the attitudes of the roughly 7.5 million US male college students based on a sample of 86 would be pretty dubious in any case – the margin of error would be quite large – but these weren’t even a random sample:

Eighty-six male college students received extra credit for their participation.

Oh well, as long as it advances the narrative, right?

It seems to be a common practice of advocates for a cause, to overstate the prevalence of a problem in an effort to lure supporters to their side. Unfortunately, they often go so far overboard, as in this instance, that they instead make themselves look absurd, and trivialize their cause.

Hey, we get it — rape is a serious issue, however often it happens, on-campus or off. You don’t need to do bogus surveys and phony ‘news’ stories to convince folks.

by @ 11:23 am. Filed under Misc.

Jeb Bush’s Speaks to the National Automobile Dealers Association

Last night Jeb Bush made his first major address since announcing he was seriously looking into running for President. He spoke to the National Automobile Dealers Association in their annual convention in San Francisco.  The Washington Post reports:

[T]he Republican former Florida governor spoke confidently and in significant detail about the broad range of issues beginning to shape the campaign for the White House. Bush signaled he would offer the country the “adult conversations” he said are lacking in Washington and would focus on people who have been left out of the economic revival.

Bush was sharply critical of Washington — not only of President Obama but also of the Republican-controlled Congress — saying there were too many “academic and political hacks” with “hard-core ideology” who are running the country without making progress.

“They’re basically Maytag repairmen,” he said. “Nothing gets done.” Bush added, “It is time to challenge every aspect of how government works — how it taxes, how it regulates, how it spends — to open up economic opportunity for all.”

The LA Times added:

“Just a lot of reasons to be angry or grumpy and negative and then react to the overreach,” the former Florida governor told a gathering of the nation’s auto dealers in San Francisco after delivering a long and scathing assessment of President Obama’s time in office, both domestically and on the world stage.

But, he went on, “we’re not going to win votes as Republicans unless we can lay out a hopeful, optimistic message that’s based in reality, that’s grounded in a set of policies that are real, that people believe can actually happen. Hope and a positive agenda wins out over anger and reaction every day of the week.”

He was asked at one point about his meeting with Mitt Romney the day before. He replied:

“We talked about the Patriots. We talked a little bit about politics, not as much as you might imagine. We talked about the future of the country. We talked about the need for a more engaged foreign policy..?.?.The awkward side of this, about running and such, we put aside.”

All in all not a bad speech. It is a strong start for a campaign for the Oval Office.


by @ 9:10 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

Texans Apparently Like to Run For President

How many Texans does it take to run for President? Five apparently.

In the maneuvering preceding the upcoming GOP race for the top, five people with Texas roots have been busy. They are:

  • Rick Perry, the outgoing Governor of Texas.
  • Ted Cruz, the state’s junior Senator.
  • Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida but born and raised in the Lone Star State.
  • Rand Paul, Senator from Tennessee Kentucky but born and raised in the Houston area. His father was a former Texas Congressman.
  • Carly Fiorina, former head of Hewlett Packard who had an unsuccessful 2010 run for California Senator and the only woman (so far) in the field. She was born in Austin, but raised elsewhere.



by @ 8:44 am. Filed under Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz

January 23, 2015

***>> Public Service Announcement <<*** (*Updated)

Some of you have started to copy large amounts of text from other sites and paste it here. This is a very dangerous practice and has to stop. Race4 could get into a lot of trouble with copyrights if we allowed this to continue.

Yes, we are allowed to quote an excerpt or two from other websites here. That is called, “Fair Use”, and is recognized and protected by law. But copying wholesale another person’s work and posting it here is not protected by law and is called something else — “Stealing”. Don’t do it.

How much we can legally copy? It varies. When in doubt, don’t. It is always safest to just mention the point you wish to make and provide a link to the article. If you feel you must quote portions of the article directly, try to limit your excerpts to a highlight or two — no more than two or three sentences — and leave it at that.

Thanks. Back to your normal commenting.


On Matthew Kilburn’s suggestion,  here is a reminder. You cannot post more than one link in a comment. If you do, the SPAM filter will catch it and place it in a Moderator queue where it will sit until a moderator happens to log in and notice the pending comment. So if you have several links you wish to make, you need to spread them out over several comments with no more than one link in any given comment.

by @ 6:26 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

Palin Is Interested In the 2016 Presidential Race “Of Course”

ABC News reports:

Just before she heads to Iowa for the first major conservative showcase of the 2016 election cycle, Sarah Palin said “of course” she’s interested in the 2016 presidential election.

“Yeah, I mean, of course, when you have a servant’s heart, when you know that there is opportunity to do all you can to put yourself forward in the name of offering service, anybody would be interested,” Palin told ABC News’ Neal Karlinsky while serving wild boar chili to the homeless in Las Vegas Thursday.

When asked again if she could be “possibly” interested in a presidential campaign, she answered, “We definitely had enough of seeing that — America has had enough of seeing that — sign on the Oval Office door saying, ‘No Girls Allowed.’ I know that.”

While serving up bowls to those gathered in line, the former Alaska governor clarified, “It doesn’t necessarily have to be me, though, but no, America is definitely ready for real change.

“It doesn’t have to be myself, but yes … happy to drive that competition, because competition will make everyone better and produce more and be more candid regarding their solutions they will offer this country. I am very interested in that competitive process and, again, not necessarily me.”

She IS right; America is ready for a change.  The question is, to what? The candidate who can best articulate that change we are ready for will be our next President.


by @ 3:18 pm. Filed under Sarah Palin

Hot Air Poll

The Conservative blog, HotAir recently polled its members on the nascent 2016 GOP presidential primary race. The results are as follows:

  • Scott Walker 25% (682 votes)
  • Ted Cruz 25% (671 votes)
  • Mitt Romney 20% (542 votes)
  • Ben Carson 8% (209 votes)
  • Rand Paul 5% (146 votes)
  • Rick Perry 5% (132 votes)
  • Bobby Jindal 3% (77 votes)
  • Marco Rubio 2% (52 votes)
  • John Kasich 1% (36 votes)
  • Jeb Bush 1% (35 votes)
  • Mike Pence 1% (28 votes)
  • Mike Huckabee 1% (25 votes)
  • Chris Christie 0% (11 votes)
  • Rick Santorum 0% (4 votes)
  • —-
  • Other 3% (85 votes)

Some observations:

  • These guys eat, drink, sleep, and breath politics so blaming “Name Recognition” for any of the results just doesn’t cut it.
  • Walker and Cruz came in far stronger here than anywhere else. The HotAir crowd really likes these guys.
  • Romney finishes in a very strong third place. He is only five ppts off the leaders. This is rather unexpected given the makeup of the HotAir readership.
  • No one else broke double digits.
  • Jeb Bush, who is supposed to be Romney’s main competition for the nomination, is way down the list barely registering a weak 1%.
  • Chris Christie, the other supposed big competitor in the Establishment wing is so far down in the mud that he registers a mere 0%.
  • Rick Santorum, as he often does in almost any poll, anywhere, shows up dead last. Nobody drags bottom like Rick.


Romney Inner Circle To Meet Today

Things are moving fast. Yesterday Mitt met with Jeb in Salt Lake. Today, Mitt is meeting with his inner circle in Boston. The National Review has the story:

The meeting will include members of the former Massachusetts governor’s inner circle: his son Tagg; top aides Spencer Zwick and Matt Waldrip; longtime confidante Beth Myers; political consultant Eric Fehrnstrom; longtime pal Bob White; and adviser Ron Kaufman.

[M]any of Romney’s famously loyal donors … don’t want a repeat of 2012. … “It’s been incredibly impressive how many of the large contributors remain solidly committed to Mitt and are prepared to support him in the race,” says one top Romney donor. “What they’re looking for is a political strategy that leads to victory in the general election and they’d like to see a strategy that introduces the real Mitt Romney, the Mitt Romney that they know, to the American voters.”

It’s been two weeks since the word went out that Mitt was seriously considering running again. That’s two weeks for the impact of the idea to sink in, two weeks to gauge reaction, and two weeks to identify the key strengths and weaknesses that may affect a potential run.

I’m predicting that this is the last true bail-point, the last chance for Mitt to call off a possible run with little or no damage. If he calls it off today, nobody would hold it against him. But if he doesn’t, the momentum behind the run will be nigh impossible to stop. He will be fully committed.

I suspect it’s fish or cut bait time for Mitt.


by @ 12:52 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Poll Watch: Rest of Rasmussen’s National GOP Presidential Poll

Rasmussen released partial results yesterday for their latest 2016 GOP Presidential Poll. Here are the rest of the results:

Horse Race Fav Unfav Never Heard Not Sure Support Certain Support Uncertain
Romney 24 77 20 1 2 31 27
Bush 13 64 28 3 5 20 14
Carson 12 51 16 26 7 21 11
Walker 11 52 17 23 8 9 15
Christie 7 53 36 6 5 6 6
Paul 7 57 27 7 9 5 10
Perry 5 54 29 10 7 3 7
Rubio 5 58 22 11 8 21 11
Other 4
Not Sure 12

How Certain are you of your vote:

  • Certain: 30%
  • Uncertain: 70%

Some observations:

  • Mitt Romney is currently enjoying a double digit lead over his closest competitor
  • Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, and Scott Walker are battling it out for second place.
  • Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio are down in the noise.
  • With a 30/70 ratio of vote certainty, nobody has this race sewn up.


Christie Moves to Save Atlantic City

NJ.com reports:

ATLANTIC CITY — Gov. Chris Christie announced today that he’s signed an executive order to install an emergency management team in Atlantic City to help dig financially strapped gambling resort out of “an enormous hole.”

Christie tapped Kevin Lavin, a corporate finance attorney who specializes in helping troubled companies, to overhaul the daily operations and finances of the city, which has seen four casinos close and more than 8,000 people lose their jobs over the last year.

The Republican governor also named Kevyn Orr, a former corporate bankruptcy lawyer who led Detroit through the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history last year, as a special counsel to Lavin.

“I can’t wait any longer,” Christie said while making the announcement at the third summit he has held in Atlantic City with casino executives, business leaders, union leaders, and state and local officials to search for ways to revive the city. “We need more aggressive action. It’s time to confront the dire circumstances with which we are confronted.”

The move comes as Christie considers whether to launch a bid for the 2016 Republican nomination for president and could have implications for his campaign.

They also had this to say in a separate story:

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s appointment of an emergency manager to oversee Atlantic City gives the appearance of a take-charge leader doing everything he can to help a desperate city.

“When you have a leader that takes action, that’s what people want,” said Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson. “They want action. And he gave them action. There’s no more pussyfooting around. This is what we’re going to do. And we’re going to bring in people who understand what to do.”

But the move also underscores a big risk to Christie’s 2016 presidential prospects: That he could be selling his management skills to the country while an iconic American city spirals out of control under his watch, with thousands of jobs lost and hulking empty towers left behind as city residents complain of skyrocketing property tax bills.

Yes, there is certainly a great deal of risk here for Christie. If he should fail, it could easily mean the end of any hope he might have of winning the Presidency. But if his efforts succeed, it will give him a lot of cred for being a problem-fixer. Considering the mess that Obama will be leaving his successor, that can only be a plus.

by @ 10:36 am. Filed under Chris Christie

Our Laws Should Come From God, Not Man, Says Huckabee

Raw Story reports:

During an appearance on the Christian Life Today program, Huckabee told televangelist James Robinson that he was considering a 2016 presidential bid because the country needed to become a “God-centered nation that understands that our laws do not come from man, they come from God.”

“It’s the natural law of God,” the former Arkansas governor said, adding that he was not calling for a theocracy.

The big problem with that is that somebody has to decide what God wants to put into law. And who gets to decide that? Are we going back to “the divine right of kings”?

*sigh* First Huckabee began a one-man crusade against Beyoncé and accused the Obamas of being poor parents. Now this.  That’s two gaffes in less than two weeks.

What is going on? Huckabee wasn’t nearly this bad in 2008. Now he seems to be putting his foot in his mouth an awful lot. What happened?

If this keeps up, perhaps he needs to reconsider his presidential ambitions. It’s not like he has nowhere else to go. I’m sure Fox would be more than happy to take him back if he asked.


by @ 10:11 am. Filed under Mike Huckabee

Jindal Jumps on Jittery Congress Junking Abortion Bill

In case you missed it, Congress tabled a bill yesterday that would have banned late-term abortions. It was scuttled primarily through the efforts of GOP Congresswomen. That has caused quite an uproar in So-con circles as you can imagine.

Bobby Jindal was not impressed. Newsmax reports:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was unhappy that House Republicans didn’t take a vote on a bill banning most late-term abortions on Thursday.

“I hope they don’t continue to disappoint us because voters outside of D.C. are looking for a big change, not incremental changes,” Jindal said Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”

House Republicans did pass another bill later in the day, but Jindal wanted them to pass a bill that banned most abortions after 20 weeks. That bill failed to gain the support of several Republican women because its exception for rape and incest required the crime to have been reported to police.


by @ 9:37 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal

Marco Making Meaningful Moves

It seems Marco Rubio is starting to get serious about running. ABC News reports:

Sen. Marco Rubio has begun taking concrete steps toward launching a presidential bid, asking his top advisors to prepare for a campaign, signing on a leading Republican fundraiser, and planning extensive travel to early-voting states in the coming weeks, ABC News has learned.

“He has told us to proceed as if he is running for president,” a senior Rubio advisor tells ABC News.

Leading the effort to raise the $50 million or more he’ll need to run in the Republican primaries will be Anna Rogers, currently the finance director for American Crossroads, the conservative group started by Karl Rove that raised more than $200 million to help elect Republicans over the past two elections.

Rogers will begin working at Rubio’s political action committee on February 1 and would become the finance director of Rubio’s presidential campaign.

Rubio, 43, will gather on Friday and Saturday at the Delano Hotel in Miami with 300 supporters and major donors to his Reclaim America PAC to discuss his political future.


by @ 7:48 am. Filed under Marco Rubio

Romney and Bush Meeting No Big Deal

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Two of the Republican Party’s top presidential talents met privately in Utah on Thursday, raising speculation they may have cut some sort of political deal. But those close to Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush said instead it was simply a cordial, political conversation between friends and potential rivals.

“It has absolutely no strategic implications. Period,” said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, a close adviser to Romney. “I think it is two people who know each other, who like each other, who have common interests and who realize they may be in an awkward place soon.”

Bush hopped a Delta flight from Washington, D.C., to Salt Lake City International Airport, where a KUTV reporter talked to him. The former Florida governor said the meeting wouldn’t be uncomfortable.

“Nah, not at all,” Bush said. “I respect him a lot. I admire him a lot. He is a great American. I look forward to seeing him.”

Asked what they would talk about, Bush said: “The future.”

After the meeting at an undisclosed location, possibly one of Romney’s two homes in the state, Bush aides wouldn’t shed any light on what was said.

“Governor Bush enjoyed visiting with Governor Romney and has great respect for him,” offered Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell.

The Deseret News reported:

Thursday’s private meeting in Utah between potential 2016 presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush shouldn’t be seen as any sort of showdown, one of Romney’s top advisers said.

“There’s none of that,” said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who headed the transition team that would have prepared Romney to take over the White House had he defeated President Barack Obama in 2012.

“There are two men who have known each other a long time and like each other, and they want to make sure there’s good communications between the two of them,” Leavitt said. “And absolutely nothing beyond that.”

So much for Allahpundit’s “RINO Yalta”. Both of the parties involved are playing down the importance of the meeting, and nobody appears to be changing the trajectory of their pre-campaign campaign. It is an unusual move to be sure, but it is nice to see two potential competitors being nice to each other. It shows a fair amount of class.

by @ 12:01 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

January 22, 2015

Poll Watch: NH1 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary

A new poll came out yesterday on the 2016 Republican presidential primary for New Hampshire. The polling firm is NH1 News. They polled 827 New Hampshire voters likely to vote in the 2016 GOP primary.  It was conducted Wednesday, January 21, 2015, by an automated dialing system with a MOE of 3.4%.

  • Mitt Romney 29%
  • Jeb Bush 11%
  • Scott Walker 8%
  • Chris Christie 8%
  • Rand Paul 7%
  • Ben Carson 7%
  • Mike Huckabee 5%
  • Ted Cruz 4%
  • Marco Rubio 3%
  • Someone Else 18%

Once more we see where Mitt Romney easily leads all the rest of the field. Of the rest of the field, Jeb Bush is the only one in double figures, and he’s barely there.

There is a huge logjam at 8-7%. The four candidates Walker, Christie, Paul, and Carson are all jumbled together practically on top of one other. Bush is only manages to separate himself from this group by a mere three ppts.


2016 GOP Debate Preview This Weekend

We will get a preview of sorts of the forthcoming Republican presidential debates this weekend at a panel sponsored by the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce:

Three of the most talked about potential GOP presidential candidates will appear together this weekend at a panel sponsored by the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, in this year’s first forum of presidential hopefuls.

At the group’s winter meeting Sunday in Palm Springs, California, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will participate in a panel discussion on domestic economic issues, including health care and energy policy. ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl will moderate the discussion.

The Arlington, Virginia-based Freedom Partners is a not-for-profit advocacy group affiliated with Charles and David Koch, two of the country’s best known conservative mega-donors.

The hour-long “American Recovery Policy Forum” featuring the senators is a first of its kind for the organization. It’s an attempt to have the organization play a more active role in shaping the national political dialogue, according to James Davis, a spokesman for Freedom Partners.

The panel discussion will take place Sunday at 8:30 p.m. PT, and an ABCNews.com livestream will feature the event.

Hat-tip: Hot Air

by @ 4:55 pm. Filed under 2016, Marco Rubio, Presidential Debates, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Bush/Romney Head-to-head

Rasmussen asked 787 Likely Republican Voters on January 18-19, 2015, the following question: If the 2016 Republican presidential primary were held in your state today, … [and] it was a contest between Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, whom would you choose?

Here are the results, bearing in mind that this is a poll of Republicans:

Romney Bush Margin Neither
All 49 32 17 19
Conservatives 51 30 21 19
Moderates 49 31 18 20
Liberals 35 55 20 10

So Mitt easily out polls Bush with all Republican likely voters save liberal Republicans. With them, Jeb is the big favorite. Not only does Bush lead Romney in the raw liberal vote, but the liberals seem more certain of their choice. They want Bush.

How interesting is that?

Romney should temper his elation at this poll, however. Nearly 20% of the Republicans want neither he nor Bush even if they were the only two names on the ballot. That’s hardly an overwhelming vote of confidence.

All the same, this is the sort of result that will make the upcoming Utah meeting between Mitt and Jeb all the more interesting, don’t you think?

by @ 11:53 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Poll Watch

Columba Bush, A Portrait of Who May Be Our Next First Lady

The Daily Mail has published a major article detailing the life story of Columba Bush, Jeb Bush’s wife, and our potential next First Lady. It is far too long and detailed for any excerpts to do it justice, but here are the bullet points they used to start of the article:

  • Columba Bush was born and raised in Leon, 250 miles outside Mexico City, where she met Jeb Bush and married him when she was 20
  • Jeb is a Republicans presidential front-runner for 2016; if he wins she would be first Hispanic first lady and only the second born outside the US
  • Daily Mail Online can reveal her father was born to a peasant family and entered America illegally to work
  • He had a stormy marriage to her mother and the couple divorced – but Columba’s account differs from his and his relatives’ in Mexico today
  • Columba was estranged from her father after her marriage and he twice reached out to the Bush family, including her brother-in-law, for contact
  • He went to his grave without meeting his three grandchildren and ‘followed his daughter’s life through newspaper clippings’

It is very thorough and informative. It sheds some much needed light upon the woman who may become our next First Lady.

by @ 11:05 am. Filed under Columba Bush

Romney On Country’s Challenges

Mitt Romney spoke to an audience in Salt Lake City last night about the challenges he sees facing America. The Deseret News reports: (Bullet Points added)

“It relates to the conclusion that I have, that the major challenges that this country faces are not being dealt with by leaders in Washington,” Romney said. “Both sides of the aisle, we just haven’t been able to take on and try and make progress on the major issues of our day.”

• Starting with the nation’s $18 trillion debt, Romney used a series of charts and graphs to warn the nation’s financial situation “could get worse” as interest rates rise and the spiraling debt climbs another $750 billion annually.

• He also tackled climate change, describing himself as “one of those Republicans” who believe the world is getting warmer and people contribute to the temperature changes and calling for “real leadership” to deal with coal emissions.

• Poverty and helping the middle class, topics Romney has started talking about since acknowledging to a group of donors recently he was considering getting in the 2016 race for president, were brought up several times.

“Let’s deal with poverty. Have we done it? No,” he said to applause, citing limited changes in the numbers of Americans living in poverty. “It’s just a crime to these poor families who deserve better.”

• The solution, he said, is to remove disincentives to marriage while helping break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by helping people find ways to finish their education and enter the workforce.

What won’t work, Romney said, is taking money from the wealthy to help the poor.

“I’m all for helping people who need help and giving them a lifting hand,” he said, but a better way is encouraging economic opportunity.

• “The rich do just fine,” Romney said later, adding that he believes “free enterprise and the principles of conservatism create more good jobs.”


by @ 10:26 am. Filed under Mitt Romney

A Possible Bush Scandal?

The Washington Post reports:

One of Jeb Bush’s many new business ventures after he left the Florida governor’s mansion in 2007 was InnoVida, a Miami-based company marketing a composite panel that could be used to quickly assemble temporary housing without the need of cement, steel or wood.

Bush joined the company as $15,000-a-month consultant in late 2007 and then as a board member in 2008. He stayed on until September 2010, when he resigned after another board member expressed suspicion that its chief executive, Claudio Osorio, was mismanaging its funds.

Osorio was later indicted by federal prosecutors on nearly two dozen fraud and money laundering counts. He accepted a plea deal in 2013 and was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison. InnoVida’s chief financial officer, Craig Toll, was convicted at trial and sentenced to four years.

There is no evidence that Bush had any knowledge of the fraud. Spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said that “as soon as concerns regarding the company were brought to Governor Bush’s attention, he took action to address them immediately.”

It could well be that Jeb truly didn’t know anything about the fraud. However, the man was a member of the company’s board for two whole years and yet never once took a serious look at the company’s operations?

I’m not impressed.


by @ 9:49 am. Filed under Jeb Bush

Jeb to Meet Mitt in Utah

The New York Times reports:

Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are scheduled to meet privately this week in Utah, raising the possibility that the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns that would split the Republican establishment next year, two prominent party members said Wednesday night.

The meeting was planned before Mr. Romney’s surprise announcement two weeks ago to donors in New York that he was considering a third run for the White House.

Mr. Bush proposed the meeting, according to one of the party members familiar with the planning, who did not want to be quoted by name in discussing a secret meeting.

The original idea was for Mr. Bush, who announced his presidential ambitions in December, to show his respect for Mr. Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee. The meeting stayed on both men’s calendars even as Mr. Romney took steps to test the presidential waters, moves that could make the meeting awkward.

Aides to Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush did not reply to requests for comment.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in that meeting!

by @ 8:49 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney


1. Mitt Romney  former Governor of Massachusetts
Third time’s the charm? That old cliche will be alive and well among the throngs of donors, activists, staffers, and volunteers who have been asking Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 standard bearer, to run again in 2016. After many denials, the former nominee has let it be known that he is seriously considering another bid. Romney’s name recognition, fundraising machine, political operation, and decade of recent campaign experience send him back to the top of the ladder. While Romney’s flaws are well known, and his 2012 failure is sure to be used against, he has cultivated much goodwill among GOP office holders and activists across the country. He is also primed for a major “I told you so” victory lap regarding many of President Obama’s second term failures. In the crowded 2016 lineup, a third Romney run is no more outlandish than a third Bush family campaign. As of now, it is the son of George Romney, not George Bush, in the best position to win.

2. Jeb Bush  former Governor of Florida
The scion of the Bush dynasty has all but declared his candidacy, launching a surprisingly early bid into the 2016 fray. Bush announced on Facebook that he would explore a bid for president, but the release of emails from his time as Governor of Florida and his resignation from many corporate boards signals he’s far past the exploratory phase and is already running. The early jump by Bush gives him both a head start on consolidating establishment support and puts pressure on his main establishment rivals, former nominee Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to get in sooner than he may have wanted. Still, family connections and money can only take Bush so far, and he will have to shake off the rust and prove himself a modern candidate if he is to prevail in 2016.

3. Rand Paul  U.S. Senator from Kentucky
The libertarian-leaning senator remains a top contender due to his his strong grassroots organization in Iowa and New Hampshire. Paul has successfully capitalized on his father’s prior campaigns to gain a foothold in the early states. Still, Paul’s unconventional positions, such as his isolationist foreign policy and his ideas for policing and social justice, put the senator out of step with the establishment he has tried hard to win over. Paul’s chances rest more on attracting a new coalition of younger, more diverse conservative voters than by winning over the GOP elite, who will have centrist heavyweights to rally around.

4. Scott Walker  Governor of Wisconsin
The governor of Wisconsin’s third election in four years in a state carried twice by President Obama and in the face of unprecedented liberal opposition has made him a party favorite. On paper, Walker could be a top contender and his battle-tested tenure has given him a huge donor base and the most diverse group of admirers in the field, from business leasers to grassroots activists. He could be positioned as the best compromise candidate, uniting both the Bush/Christie wing and the Cruz/Paul wing of the party.

5. Marco Rubio  U.S. Senator from Florida
Sen. Rubio was an early frontrunner for the 2016 nomination, but the combination of his troubles with immigration reform and the entry of Jeb Bush into the field have complicated the young senator’s path. Rubio’s team says they will not be pushed out of the race by Bush, but the competition for staff and donors in their shared Florida base will likely favor the former governor. Still, Rubio has proven in the past that he can cut an establishment favorite down to size and may be able to do it again. The son of Cuban immigrants is may be the most talented Republican communicator in the country, and should not be underestimated.

6. Chris Christie  Governor of New Jersey
With unexpected victories in the 2014 midterms tied to his tenure at the RGA, his own landslide reelection in a blue state, and the flop of the Democratic-led investigation into Bridgegate, Gov. Chris Christie is now ready to rally the national support and favors his accumulated these last several years. Once the unmistakeable establishment favorite, Christie’s 2014 hardships have opened the door for Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, and if both establishment heavyweights enter the field, Christie’s path will narrow dramatically. With top contenders and Democrat investigators both smelling blood, Christie will need to show a new level of resolve to regain his footing.

7. Mike Huckabee  former Governor of Arkansas
Gov. Huckabee is once again considering a presidential bid, and once again his strengths and weaknesses are clear. The author and former Fox News host retains positive favorable numbers and a deep connection to the party’s evangelical Christian wing while struggling with the donor class. Despite strong name recognition, Huckabee hasn’t been able to build a viable fundraising network outside of the evangelical grassroots. He will need a serious national effort to win over the party establishment if he is to overcome his 2008 pitfalls.

8. Ted Cruz  U.S. Senator from Texas
The Tea Party firebrand will be the favorite of many hardcore activists and religious conservatives. But Cruz has burned a lot of bridges with the establishment, and will likely struggle to build a significant national operation with both his senate colleagues and the business wing of the party working against him. With both Jeb Bush and Rick Perry likely to run, Cruz may also struggle to rally support in his own backyard. The conservative darling will need to rely on a strong grassroots effort, his network of evangelical leaders, and his debating and media savvy to break through against the support aligning against him.

9. Bobby Jindal  Governor of Louisiana
Bobby Jindal has been one of the more active potential candidates, leaving little doubt that the term-limited governor will launch a 2016 bid. Jindal’s campaign will be centered around his record as a conservative reformer with real achievements in education and tax policy. He has worked hard to win over the evangelical and activist base of the party without burning bridges to the establishment. The Louisiana governor will have to over come doubts about his stage presence and slipping numbers in his home state if he is to climb into the top tier.

10. Mike Pence  Governor of Indiana
The conservative governor of Indiana is a rare find in GOP politics; he is someone both well liked by the establishment and grassroots. The former congressman has a strong fiscal conservative record to match his staunch but friendly social conservatism. Pence is a gifted communicator with a background as a talk radio show host prior to entering politics. Despite a solid resume of experience, he will likely be criticized for a lack of accomplishments as a governor with a strong GOP majority in the legislature. Still, if the establishment and grassroots are looking for a compromise candidate, Pence could be their man.

Honorable Mention: Ben Carson, John Kasich, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina

No Chance: Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump

Dropped Out: Rob Portman, Paul Ryan

January 21, 2015

Huckabee Does Daily Show

Mike Huckabee went on “The Daily Show” to discuss his new book, “God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy”. He also remarked that he is “very likely” going to run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Huckabee took the opportunity to double down on his criticism of watching Beyonce.

“Young girls want to be like her. Do you know any parent who has a daughter who says, ‘Honey, if you make really good grades, someday, when you’re 12 or 13, we’ll get you your own stripper pole.’ I mean, come on, Jon, we don’t do that in our culture.”

Jon replied that that was outrageous and played a clip of Huckabee playing bass with Ted Nugent.

by @ 6:05 pm. Filed under Mike Huckabee

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