January 29, 2015

Poll Watch: Fox Has Mitt On Top

Fox News released their latest poll.

The horse race (394 Republicans):

  • Mitt Romney 21%
  • Mike Huckabee 11%
  • Rand Paul 11%
  • Jeb Bush 10%
  • Ben Carson 9%
  • Scott Walker 8%
  • Marco Rubio 5%
  • Chris Christie 4%
  • Ted Cruz 4%
  • Rick Perry 4%
  • Bobby Jindal 2%
  • John Kasich 1%
  • Rick Santorum 1%
  • Lindsey Graham 1%
  • Don’t Know 5%
  • None 4%
  • Other 1%

The poll was conducted by telephone with live interviewers January 25-27, 2015 among a random national sample of 1,009 registered voters (RV). Results based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Head to head versus (Hillary)

  • Romney 46 / (46)
  • Paul 44 / (47)
  • Bush 43 / ( 48)
  • Christie 42 / (48)

 

January 27, 2015

Charlie Cook’s Brackets

Since we had some fun yesterday with placing our bets in Vegas, let’s try doing brackets today. Charlie Cook, in the National Journal, divided the Republican field into four groups – the Establishment, Conservative Governors, the Tea Party, and Social Conservatives.

As always, things aren’t this simple — there are Governors in all four groups, for example – but still, it’s an interesting and different way to look at the field. It will probably help clarify things if you read Cook’s article (it’s short) to see how he defined each bracket.

I’ve created a graphic to help in visualizing the brackets (sorry that some of the lines/boxes are not quite lined up, this was my first time using this software).

Bracket

If you don’t agree with the bracket your guy/gal is in, complain to Charlie. I used his categories, with two exceptions – Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson. Cook said he didn’t know where to categorize them, and I can see why. I early on would have said Jindal belonged very much in the Conservative Gov group, but his recent speech in Iowa indicated (to me, at least) that he’s going more for the SoCon vote, so I put him there. Carson could easily go into either the Tea Party or SoCon brackets, but I somewhat arbitrarily put him into the SoCons – he evens out the numbers there, and I figure he’s not a factor anyway.

Cook seems to have included everybody who has made any noise at all about running (except George Pataki and, as noted below, Marco Rubio*), so there are a lot more people here than I hope we ever see on a debate stage, but I guess that will do no harm for this exercise – just ignore those you think will not run, or will not be a factor if they do.

Today’s assignment, class, is to choose the likely winner (please – not just your favorite!) for each bracket. Herewith mine:

Establishment: Carly Fiorina apparently did quite well in Iowa, but I can’t see her as more than (maybe) a VP possibility. Chris Christie I’ll eliminate on the basis of his unfavorables problem detailed a few posts below. I think Mitt Romney’s staleness and stiffness is less of a handicap than Jeb Bush’s name and contempt for conservatives. Marco Rubio (see footnote) could be the darkhorse winner here, if Bush doesn’t freeze him out of money and staff. Still, I’ll cautiously go with … Winner: Mitt Romney.

Conservative Governors: There might very well be a Midwest Regional already going on as a preliminary round in this bracket. If so, Scott Walker may have frozen out Rick Snyder (who I never thought was running anyway), John Kasich, and Mike Pence. The latter two could be making preparatory moves behind the scenes for all we know, but Walker looks to be way out front of them at this point. I think it comes down to Walker and too-much-baggage Rick Perry. Winner: Scott Walker.

Tea Party: This is the most heterodox bracket, which is perhaps fitting, since the Tea Party is a heterodox movement. I think Cook was fair in assembling this group and saying it is for people who are mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. I’ll also note that in most tournaments there are tough and easy brackets, and this is the easy bracket in this one. Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Donald Trump are probably not going to run, and if they do, they’re going nowhere. Ted Cruz will shoot himself in the foot at some point. Winner: Rand Paul.

Social Conservatives: Rick Santorum is already showing his weakness with Mike Huckabee as an alternative. He may be forced to withdraw early, if not I expect him to be eliminated in Iowa. Ben Carson, as I wrote earlier, is unlikely to be a factor. Jindal v. Huckabee could be interesting – Jindal, I think has the ability to draw votes from other brackets, but Huckabee has his vaunted charm and deep, deep SoCon roots. A close call, but … Winner: Mike Huckabee.

 

* I didn’t notice Rubio’s omission until after I had created the brackets. So please visualize his name among the Establishment bracket, where I think he fits most easily.

Christie is in Serious Trouble

Harry Enten published the following chart on Five Thirty-eight blog:

enten-datalab-christiescatter

Note the close correlation between name recognition and net favorability? It is practically a straight line graph.

But notice how far below the line Chris Christie is. The article goes on to say (emphasis added):

Christie is 25 percentage points off the pace. … Given his high name recognition, you would expect him to have a net favorable rating of +45 percentage points.

Christie’s net favorable rating is more than two standard deviations below what we’d expect from a candidate like him.

Certainly the race has barely began, and you never know what might happen, but it is obvious that Governor Christie has a very long, steep hill to climb if he hopes to win the 2016 Republican nomination for President. Let’s hope for his sake that none of his big money backers read Five Thirty-eight blog.

January 24, 2015

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.

January 23, 2015

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.

 

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

January 22, 2015

POWER RANKINGS: January *UPDATED*

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 20, 2015

Free To Run

This is the time of presidential trial balloons. With a new president certain to be elected in 2016, hopefuls and aspirants in both major parties are testing the waters, rounding up staff members, and appealing to major donors. It is an old ritual with contemporary procedures and techniques. It is big-time American politics on a grand scale.

The establishments of both parties have a tendency to try to control this process. In the case of the Democrats, they have a frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, who is way out in front, with no one yet in sight who can wrest the nomination from her. She leads in all polls, not only against potential Democratic rivals, but also against every Republican opponent. The Democratic establishment therefore would like to end this contest early, and prepare for the general election. When Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren began making competitive waves from Mrs. Clinton’s left, the liberal establishment got nervous, and started trying to warn Mrs. Warren off the contest. Their nervousness was increased by the fact that Mrs. Clinton’s initial campaign roll-out has been notably less than successful. There are several other Democratic wannabes, including Vice President Joe Biden, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, former Virginia Senator James Webb and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Should Mrs. Clinton falter or pull out, other big names in the party could enter, including notably New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

On the Republican side, there is no true frontrunner, but there is an establishment favorite, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Another major candidate would be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Also potentially serious candidates include Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Less serious, there are a number of hopefuls who might take a crack at the nomination. (Abraham Lincoln was at the bottom of the list of nine GOP candidates as late as February, 1860, and look what happened only six months later when he won his nomination.)

Then there is Mitt Romney. In 2008, he was runner-up to John McCain in the GOP nominating contest, and in 2012, he was the Republican presidential nominee. He lost to Barack Obama that year by a relatively small margin, but as it turns out, most of what he said on the campaign turned out be right, or rather more right, than what Mr. Obama said. Nevertheless, the GOP establishment does not want Mitt Romney to run in 2016, and are saying so out loud.

It so happens I agree with those who say Mitt Romney is not likely to be the best Republican nominee in 2016, but I do disagree that he should be told not to run. I don’t agree with much that Elizabeth Warren has been saying, but I also don’t think she should be told not to run.

After all, it’s a free country, isn’t it?

Some folks in both parties fear open contests with many candidates. Republicans particularly point to the large field and numerous debates in 2012 as having hurt their ticket in November. I disagree with that strongly. There were perhaps too many debates (27), but the process, in my opinion, made Mr. Romney a better and stronger candidate. Newt Gingrich, for example, was by far the best debater in 2012; Mr. Romney held his own in the debates, but he had to face someone who was formidable early in the process. Romney did not lose because of the number of GOP rivals he had or the debates. He lost because of the successful (and unanswered) personal attacks on him made by the Democrats early and often, and because the Democrats had a much superior get-out-the-vote effort. (That the GOP did not have a better one, truth be told, was Mr. Romney’s responsibility.)

The nation and its political process is best served, as I see it, by open and competitive nomination contests. The number of candidates does not really matter because the process is designed to weed out those who cannot win very early.

So I say to Elizabeth Warren, Mitt Romney, and anyone else who thinks they should and can be president: Be free to run!

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

January 2, 2015

POWER RANKINGS: January 2015

1. 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 rival, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to get in sooner than he may have wanted. With Christie still on the sidelines and former nominee Mitt Romney likely only to enter the race if the establishment candidates falter, Bush has become the frontrunner, which is now reflected in the early polling.

2. 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 some party elites are shifting their support to the more familiar and less unpredictable former Florida governor. However, the tough-talking, battle-hardened New Jersey governor has the talent and the resources to regain his frontrunner status.

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 like Bush and Christie 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. 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 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 have to do so again if he is to return to the top tier in 2016.

8. 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.

9. John Kasich  Governor of Ohio
Any politician who wins a swing state by 31% deserves some serious consideration for president. Kasich’s economic success in Ohio, his memorable career as a budget-balancing congressman, his private sector business experience, his communication skills and media savvy, and a tragic and moving personal story make the governor an interesting dark horse candidate with potential to move up.

10. Ben Carson  retired neurosurgeon from Maryland
Dr. Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, burst onto the national political scene with his now famous prayer breakfast rebuke of President Barack Obama. Since then he has become a conservative media darling and is an interesting wild card candidate in the early stages of the 2016 race. Still, a brilliant career in medicine doesn’t preclude the mistakes suffered by many novice politicians, and he will have to learn quickly to make up for his lack of experience.

Honorable Mention:  Paul Ryan, Mike Pence, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina

December 17, 2014

Bush is “Instant Frontrunner”, says Krauthammer

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer claims that Jeb Bush is an “Instant Frontrunner”.

I think it is a big deal because those who would be on his wing of the spectrum are going to have to rethink whether they are going to go up against Jeb Bush and how good of a chance they’re going to have. I think it will clear out some of his wing. As for the others, there are a lot of people who would otherwise be on the fringe. It would look like a free for all. It would look like the most open seat in the history of the presidency, so why not throw in your hat. And I think it will, because it creates an instant frontrunner, for good or for ill, it will discourage some of the fringe candidates

Well, maybe. Take a look at these two recent polls, one from the Washington Post, the other from Fox.

Washington Post Fox Poll
w/ Romney w/o Romney
Romney 20 Romney 19
Bush 10 Bush 13 Bush 10
Paul 9 Paul 11 Christie 8
Ryan 8 Ryan 10 Paul 8
Cruz 7 Cruz 9 Huckabee 8
Carson 6 Christie 8 Don’t Know 8
Christie 6 Carson 7 Walker 7
Huckabee 6 Huckabee 7 Carson 6
No Opinion 6 No Opinion 7 Ryan 6
Walker 5 Walker 6 Cruz 5
Perry 4 Perry 5 Rubio 4
Rubio 4 Rubio 5 Kasich 2
Jindal 3 Jindal 4 Perry 2
Kasich 2 Santorum 3 Jindal 1
Santorum 2 Kasich 2 Santorum 1
Other 0 None 0 Other 0
None 2 Other 2 None 2

Bush leads nobody by more than two ppts in either poll — with or without Romney. I don’t know about you, but I have difficulty thinking of someone as a “frontrunner” whose lead is less than the Margin of Error of the poll.

One thing that jumps out at me from either of these polls is the really poor showing of Rick Santorum. These early polls tend to be mainly about name recognition; we all know that. Now remember that Santorum finished the last race solidly in second place. Name recognition should not be a problem for him. So people should know him, and yet his position still sucks.

He has been making noises about running again. Maybe he should save himself some aggravation and a whole lot of money and not bother.

December 16, 2014

More On The Latest McClatchy – Marist Poll

The lastest McClatchy-Marist Poll has been posted already, yet there is still some information to be gleaned from it. For example, on the question to Republicans as to which possible 2016 GOP candidate they would favor:

w/ Romney   w/o Romney
Romney 19 Undecided 18
Bush 14 Bush 16
Undecided 13 Huckabee 12
Christie 9 Christie 10
Huckabee 9 Carson 8
Carson 8 Ryan 7
Paul 5 Paul 6
Cruz 4 Cruz 5
Perry 4 Perry 5
Ryan 3 Rubio 3
Santorum 3 Walker 3
Rubio 3 Kasich 3
Walker 3 Santorum 3
Kasich 2 Jindal 1
Jindal 1 Fiorina 1
Fiorina 1

Note that Bush comes in second whether Romney is included or not. With Romney, Romney is in first place. Without Romney, Undecided leads the pack.

Also notice that Christie is always fourth behind Undecided, Bush, and either Romney or Huckabee. I’m not seeing a real big mandate for Christie here. That’s really not much of a vote of confidence in Christie trying to run as the “Establishment” choice.

With Bush essentially throwing his hat into the ring, that pretty much slams the door on Christie, Rubio, and any other candidate wishing for the backing of the “Establishment”. Perry comes to mind. The only other candidate who would stand a chance is Romney, but Bush’s announcement pretty much closes the door on any Romney 2016 run. Why?

  • One, the “Establishment” likes to consolidate behind their candidate as quickly as possible. If Romney were to run, he’d have to announce before the year is out. He’d then appear as the spoiler, and the “Establishment” doesn’t like spoilers. He’d have to provide very good reasons why they shouldn’t back Bush, and I don’t think Mitt could do that.
  • Two, Bush could crash and burn, and the establishment would go looking for a white knight. This highly unlikely scenario only happens in the movies. Bush would really, REALLY have to screw up before that happened.

So Romney is about 99.9% likely NOT to run.

December 7, 2014

What’s Been Happening in Iowa?

Iowa is home to the Iowa Caucuses, the first real contest on the road to becoming the next President. The Des Moines Register recently published a tally of what possible future Presidential primary candidates have been up to in their state:

Fifteen Republican potential presidential candidates are on Iowans’ radar, ranked here by their events in Iowa since the 2012 elections. Also presented: their support in an Oct. 1-7 Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll.

Candidate Trips Events Days Caucus Support % First Choice % Second Choice %
Rick Perry 8 *33* *15* 13 7 6
Rand Paul 6 24 10 18 10 8
Rick Santorum *9* 19 12 8 3 5
Ted Cruz 6 12 8 13 7 6
Bobby Jindal 4 10 7 5 1 4
Chris Christie 4 8 4 11 6 5
Marco Rubio 4 8 5 5 2 3
Mike Huckabee 5 7 6 17 9 8
Rob Portman 1 7 2 0 0 0
Ben Carson 2 6 3 18 11 7
Paul Ryan 3 4 3 18 8 *10*
Mitt Romney 2 4 3 *25* *17* 8
Scott Walker 2 3 2 9 4 5
Mike Pence 1 1 1 1 0 1
Jeb Bush 0 0 0 12 4 8

Thoughts on the above:

  1. Rick Perry appears to be serious about running. He’s been to more Iowan events in the past two years than anybody else — eleven more than his closest rival, Rand Paul.
  2. Rand Paul has as much support as either Ben Carson and Paul Ryan, yet he has made more trips and has more than doubled the events that they have done put together.
  3. Rick Santorum was the last ABR (Anybody But Romney) standing in 2012. He’s made more trips to Iowa than anybody else. He even won the caucuses last time, yet he registers only single digits in support.
  4. Mike Huckabee has only made a handful of trips to the state yet pulls in a respectful 17% support. He’s a man to watch.
  5. Rob Portman has been to seven events in Iowa during a two day marathon, yet he is the only person with 0% support.
  6. Ben Carson and Paul Ryan only have a small number of visits and events yet each pulls a respectful 18% support. They are definitely men to watch.
  7. Mitt Romney has only made a couple of trips to Iowa. He continues to say he’s not planning on running, yet he has considerable more support in Iowa than anybody else. If you recall in 2012, he didn’t even campaign in Iowa except in the last week or two before the caucuses were held, yet he finished second by less than 25 votes.
  8. Scott Walker doesn’t seem to be doing that well in spite of being a fellow Midwesterner. (Shades of Pawlenty and Bachmann perhaps?)
  9. Jeb Bush has not visited Iowa at all in the past two years yet pulls down double digit support.


Edited to add Jeb Bush line to chart and the comment about his level of support in my thoughts.
MBL

December 1, 2014

The Granite State Still Loves Mitt

A rather surprising poll was released last Monday. It shows Mitt Romney is the overwhelming favorite to win the New Hampshire 2016 primary:

If the 2016 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary were held today and the candidates were:  Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee, and Ben Carson for whom would you vote?

  • Mitt Romney: 30
  • Rand Paul: 11
  • Chris Christie: 9
  • Jeb Bush: 8
  • Ben Carson: 6
  • Mike Huckabee: 5
  • Paul Ryan: 5
  • Ted Cruz: 5
  • Bobby Jindal: 3
  • Rick Perry: 2
  • None of the above: 3
  • Someone Else: 1
  • Not sure: 11

Mitt Romney has repeatedly stated he isn’t interested in running, especially if Jeb Bush runs, and all indications point to Jeb throwing his hat into the ring. Yet Romney continues to show surprising strength whenever his name is included in polling. He leads his nearest competitor by nearly 20 ppts.

This is extraordinary. McCain didn’t have nearly this level of support four years ago in 2010. Everyone was more than glad to let the good Senator from Arizona disappear off the national screen after losing to Obama in 2008. Yet four years later, his successor continues to enjoy fairly wide support among GOP voters. He isn’t too popular with the conservative activists who have never much cared for the man, but the rank-and-file voters still seem to like him.

(more…)

November 21, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 20, 2014

Kasich Draws First Blood

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

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

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

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

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

November 19, 2014

RNC 2018 Straw Poll Lists 33 Possible Candidates

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

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

Write-in votes are allowed.

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

November 16, 2014

How Bad Are Things In Louisiana For Mary Landrieu?

Things just keep getting worse and worse for Mary Landrieu. Not only have the national Democratic party pulled their financial support for her December runoff election against Bill Cassidy, prominent national Democrats are avoiding her like the plague. Not one potential 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate has stuck their neck out for her.

Hillary Clinton is nowhere to be seen. Who can blame her? She does not want another loss tacked onto her long list of midterm losses. Elizabeth Warren, who expressed support for Mary during the general election, has been strangely silent since then. The only Democrat of national stature who has tossed her any sort of a bone is Harry Reid. He is allowing a bill supporting the Keystone XL pipeline to come up for a vote in the Senate at long last. It is an entirely meaningless gesture though. President Obama has promised to veto it.

Meanwhile her opponent, Bill Cassidy, is enjoying support from several potential 2016 GOP Presidential hopefuls eager to be associated with a winner. Rand Paul has stopped by. Ted Cruz has sent an email endorsing him. Marco Rubio has pledged to help. And of course Bobby Jindal is supporting him, as well.

Sarah Palin is not expected to run yet enjoys a fair amount of clout. She stopped by yesterday to stump for him. Even Mitt Romney can claim a small part in Cassidy’s victory since Mitt flew into Louisiana last month to stump and raise money for Bill.

“One is the loneliest number.”

November 12, 2014

A Personal Appraisal of the Early Field

Since some of the other posters from R4’12 seem to be returning (great to see you, Matt and Mark), I thought I might do the same. A good place to start might be with a very preliminary assessment of the field that is shaping up. In order to do that fairly, however, I think I need to first position myself, so that you know from what perspective I’m coming (or, if you prefer, what my biases are).

In the run-up to ’12, I was an ardent Mitch Daniels supporter. After Daniels withdrew, I never really settled on another candidate, though I tried to get hyped up about several, most notably Tim Pawlenty; hell, I even gave Jon Huntsman a look (and then quickly backed away). Eventually, of course, it became obvious that Romney would get the nomination, but I couldn’t work up enthusiasm about him, either, since I was fairly certain he’d lose (admission: there was a point in October where I came around to thinking he might pull it out – wrong again!). However, I was out of the country by then and unable to do anything other than go to the nearest consulate and vote for him).

Which brings us to 2016. I would still support Daniels in a heartbeat, but he seems perfectly happy at Purdue, and getting him to change his mind about subjecting his family to the ugliness that American politics has become is about as likely as the Romney and Palin supporters of R4’12 organizing a ‘Draft Bob Hovic’ movement.

So I’ll have to find someone who can fill the same slot – reformist, executive experience, competence, able to relate to ordinary people, fiscally conservative, socially conservative, and defense-minded.

On those last three points let me add this: our party (and any party that is going to be more than a splinter movement – I’m looking at you, Libertarians) is a coalition. Any candidate that is going to unite a coalition must be acceptable to all major factions. Not that s/he is the favorite of all of them (or any of them). But s/he must not be obnoxious to any of them.

Matt Coulter listed a number of subgroups in his recent (excellent) post, but I’ll be old-fashioned and go with the old ficons, socons, and defcons. The Republican nominee need not be a hard-core deficit hawk, but must not go far in the opposite direction; need not be a culture warrior but must not be pro-choice (or even weakly pro-life); need not be an interventionist, but must not be isolationist. Which means the candidate must be able to thread needles quite nicely.

Oh – and one more qualification: I refuse to support anyone who can’t win.

For an early choice I’m leaning toward Scott Walker. Walker is identified primarily with fiscal and reform issues (especially reining in public employee unions), but his social policy credentials are sufficient that I think my most ardently socon friends would find no problem accepting him (part of why I think this is because he is well to my right on social issues). I know nothing about his defense views (having held only local and state offices, he has not had occasion to take positions on defense). I’ll look forward to seeing what he has to say about defense and foreign policy.

He also comes from a solidly middle-class background (mom a bookkeeper, dad a Baptist minister) and can relate to the suburban and blue-collar people Republicans must get in order to win. He has that Midwestern Nice thing going for him (though it did nothing for Tim Pawlenty). Coupled with his inoffensive (some say ‘bland’ and/or ‘boring’) manner, he (like Daniels) seems able to take strong positions without being offensive to middle-of-the-roaders.

My early second choice is Bobby Jindal, who shares many of Walker’s qualities – a proven record of reform at the state level (including a successful school voucher program), plus strong ficon and socon credibility. In addition, his grasp of policy is legendary, and to be blunt, his skin color is a positive. As with Walker, I know nothing of his defense views, and I’ll be waiting to learn more.

On the negative side, I have a perception of Jindal as being very outspoken on social issues – to the point that it might create problems for him with social moderates (whether or not strongly-held socon positions are a big political negative in a national race is, in my opinion, dependent on words and tone more than the positions themselves). This is just a perception, I admit, and only time will tell. I also think a Midwesterner would be a better choice than a Southerner.

It’s no accident that my two main choices are both governors. I strongly prefer governors for two reasons: 1) If Obama has proven anything, it is that executive experience matters greatly; and 2) I think the anti-Washington mood will continue into 2016, and these two will have little difficulty painting Hillary as an ‘insider’ and contrasting her to themselves.

These are the two I’m most interested in at this point. There’s a long way to go, obviously (at this point last time, Mark Sanford headed my list – but I’d rather not discuss that, thank you), so I retain my option to change at any time.

As for the others, just a few words on why I choose not (for now) to back them.

Mitt Romney – Obviously meets my executive experience criterion, in spades. He totally fails on appealing to blue-collar types and is past his sell-by date. In any case, I’m inclined to think, for now, that he isn’t running.

Mike Huckabee – Another governor who can sell socon positions with a smile, though I think he is so closely identified with social issues that he comes across as a one-issue candidate. His Arkansas record makes ficons like me uneasy, to put it mildly. I can’t support him for that reason, and I think he will have problems with a big enough bloc of Republicans that he’ll be stymied.

Rand Paul – Certainly a better salesman for libertarianism than his father, though that isn’t saying much. (As a libertarian myself, I prayed nightly for Ron Paul to just go away). Unless he starts quickly to moderate his foreign policy views, however, I think he has zero chance of getting the nomination. Also – no executive experience.

Jeb Bush – If only he had a different last name. By all accounts an excellent governor, but … well, let’s put it this way: We have an opportunity to run against a hard-core insider and we are contemplating nominating a Bush? Really?

Marco Rubio – No executive experience. Shot himself in the foot on comprehensive immigration reform, but probably backed away sufficiently that it will be forgiven/forgotten. Probably hasn’t been in Washington long enough to be perceived as being one of them. My problem with him is that I see no reason to support him other than his ethnicity. (We do owe him thanks for ridding the party of Charlie Crist).

Ted Cruz – Another short-term Senator. In addition to having no executive background, the guy is a loose cannon. Heaven only knows what he’d spout on the campaign trail.

Rick Perry — We’ll see if he learned anything from 2012. If he did, he might be worth giving attention to (though I think he’s damaged goods). If he didn’t, we won’t have to wait long for him to be gone.

Chris Christie – “Shut up and sit down!” might go over big in NY/NJ, but it will get real old real fast in the rest of the country. The guy just lacks the temperament for a long national campaign. I’ll never forgive him for embracing Obama right before election day – that finished the guy for me.

Paul Ryan – A ficon’s wet dream and one of my ABR options late in the 2012 primary season. On sober reflection, I don’t think a Representative can do it – though he has the advantage of having run a national campaign (losing, but still …). My objection is no executive experience, but I certainly wouldn’t be upset if he were the nominee.

Rick Santorum – He apparently hasn’t figured out that the only reason he did so well in ’12 is that he was the final ABR. If Huckabee gets in, Santorum will be eliminated in Ames, otherwise he might make it to New Hampshire.

Ben Carson – Okay, I’m scraping bottom now. Time to quit.

November 10, 2014

And So Begins the Race for 2016: GOP Edition

With the midterm elections in the rearview mirror and the Republican Party celebrating greater-than-expected gains across the board (Senate, House, and Gubernatorial races, as well as state houses), the electoral attention of politicos nationwide has now snapped to 2016 and the greatest prize of all: the presidency.

Specifically, who will run? Because of several factors coming to a head at the same time, we anticipate this being one of the largest Republican fields in history. The more interesting question might be: who will decide not to run?

This is where things get incredibly interesting for the Republicans. We are aware of a schism within the Democratic Party between the DLC’ers and the liberal wing of the party (and we will explore that schism, and what it means for their primaries, in a future piece). But we are now seeing a similar schism becoming more well-defined than ever in the Republican Party as well.

Schism

The Reagan Coalition which propelled the Gipper to massive victories in the 1980s (and which provided George W. Bush with two narrower victories in the 2000s) – fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and foreign policy hawks — has fractured and faded, despite the dreams of well-meaning conservatives to the contrary. Replacing the now-tired three-legged-stool analogy is a much more greatly splintered party: neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, Paulite libertarians, soft libertarians, the Tea Party, social/religious conservatives, secular moderates, and on and on.

The galvanizing effect of the Obama presidency along with the local nature of midterm elections allowed those various factions to sweep Republicans to victory last Tuesday; however, with the national race for the presidency the factions will almost certainly turn on one another in an attempt to get “their guy” (or girl) into the White House.

Truthfully, though, the chasms of difference between the groups is largely overstated. The true schism in the Republican Party is a much simpler one, and is familiar to armchair pundits: the “establishment” versus the “conservatives.” Nearly every faction of the Republican Party can be placed (sometimes with a little force) into one of those two camps. True, this divide has always existed at some level, but never in the forefront like it’s about to, and never with the practical ramifications it will have for the 2016 race.

On This Side of the Ring…

On the grassroots/conservatives side you have candidates like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson (who has said the “likelihood is strong” that he will run, and who is airing what could be considered 2016’s first campaign ads this weekend). On the establishment side, to counter their firebrand version of conservatism, is… well, that is the $25,000 question.

Two big names loom large over the establishment, with a third now gaining traction as well, thanks to the midterm results: Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and Scott Walker. The big question for 2016 is this: will Jeb run? He’s given a personal deadline of the end of 2014 to make that decision (not to announce it, but to make it), and that decision will set off a domino effect of sorts which may determine how the 2016 Republican primary plays out.

First, let’s face the facts: none of the candidates on the other side of the equation stand a legitimate chance of winning the nomination. If you support one of these candidates, you are, of course, free to argue and fight against that assertion, but history is not kind to those types of candidates. That does not mean one or two folks out of the Paul/Cruz/Perry/Carson/Santorum group will not win a few primaries, be vocal, and drive some of the agenda during the primary fight. They certainly will do all of the above. But ultimately, they will not be the GOP nominee. How can I say this with such certainty? Two reasons: money and organization (we will explore both of those aspects in a later piece as well).

The establishment, for all its negative stereotypes (milquetoast, squishy, moderate), prevails during GOP primaries election after election after election because they are smarter about how they go about the process. This is the domino effect I spoke of earlier. The establishment is made up of the money men and women of the Republican party as well as the top tier of the campaign staff talent pool. To say the establishment is monolithic would obviously be overstating things; however, they do tend to recognize electoral reality a tad better than the conservative wing of the party.

Here’s what I mean by that: the conservative wing will run as many candidates as they can. All of the candidates mentioned earlier (Paul, Cruz, Perry, Santorum, Carson) will almost certainly run. Other candidates who appeal to the Tea Party, libertarian, or non-interventionist wings of the party will jump in as well. They all believe the splinter of the Republican Party they represent would best represent the American people (or at least best benefit them) in the White House. Meanwhile, the establishment is hanging back, planning and calculating. If Jeb Bush decides to run, they will throw their massive weight behind him. If he doesn’t run, Scott Walker may well be an attractive alternative for their support. Winning three gubernatorial elections in four years in a blue state has a tendency to make everyone sit up and take notice; only Walker’s vanilla personality and extreme stance on abortion might keep the establishment from fully embracing him. If neither of those men choose to run, then the door is flung wide open: Mike Pence, Bobby Jindal, or John Kasich may choose to jump in the race. Or, difficult as it is to believe, Mitt Romney may attempt a third try to win the Oval Office.

Strategy and Collaboration

The establishment of the Republican Party is well aware of this dynamic, and all the money people and staff and campaign talent are talking through 2016 strategy already. This is the benefit the establishment has, for better or worse, over the grassroots/conservative side of the campaign. Where the grassroots splinter among many different choices (think Santorum/Gingrich/Perry/Cain/Bachmann in 2012), the establishment are more determined than ever to win back the presidency in 2016. Their collaboration and strategizing is with the intent to make that happen.

Many in the establishment are urging Romney to run again. Of course, his former advisors and campaign staff are largely behind the push, but the idea garners more support within GOP circles than one might think at first pass. On the record, Romney says no, over and over again — but then notes that circumstances could change. Those circumstances that Romney is watching, according to those inside the proverbial smoke-filled room, all center around who else is running and who else is winning.

If Jeb Bush (and perhaps, to a lesser extent, Scott Walker) decide not to run, or if a candidate on the other side of the equation actually looks like they stand a chance of winning, then, say those with inside information, Romney will likely jump in and run for a third time. Romney has had several meetings with the big-name donors and talent already, and has remarked to them that he is deeply concerned with the possibility of the GOP being represented and defined on a national level by “ideological hardliners” and foreign policy “non-interventionists.” These concerns are shared by the establishment players and will drive them to Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, or Mitt Romney in droves during the primary (or, absent those three, Kasich, Pence, or Jindal).

The Wildcard

The one name that hasn’t been mentioned yet is the final piece of the 2016 puzzle: Chris Christie. He is the 900 pound gorilla in the room (no pun intended), because he does not align himself with either side of the schism. He is the wildcard in the 2016 race because he is primarily only concerned with one thing: Chris Christie. He will almost undoubtedly throw his hat in the ring, and when he does, it will be fascinating to see how things shake out. His moderate-to-liberal policy positions align more with the establishment wing of the party, but his blunt demeanor plays better with the grassroots. On the surface, one would expect him to therefore be the perfect candidate to unite the two sides and win the GOP nomination, but the exact opposite is more likely.

Chris Christie has alienated a large portion of the establishment thanks to his actions in the 2012 and 2014 elections. There is certainly no love lost between Mitt Romney and Chris Christie because of the way Christie acted during the VP vetting process (arrogant, above the rules) and the way he acted days before the 2012 general election (embracing President Obama). The relationship between Romney and Christie is cold at best, which is a problem for Christie because most of the establishment are firmly aligned with Mitt. Further exacerbating the issue is Scott Walker’s similar coldness toward the New Jersey Governor. While Christie is being rightly praised for the wins of GOP gubernatorial candidates across the country last Tuesday, Scott Walker publicly feuded with Christie over RGA support in the days leading up to the midterm election, separating himself from Christie and making sure the Wisconsin voters knew he stood on his own and didn’t need Christie. Finally, the relationship between the Jeb Bush camp and Chris Christie is cold as well, stemming from the attacks on not only Jeb Bush but the entire Bush dynasty by Chris Christie aides and supporters earlier this year. Christie has managed to alienate the backers and supporters of the three biggest establishment players, and in so doing has lost his most natural path to the nomination.

The even bigger problem for Christie with the establishment, though, comes in closed-door comments that have been leaked to the press: nobody in the establishment think Christie is capable of winning the election. Coupled with an already cold relationship, that spells doom for Christie among the establishment.

As far as the other side of the schism goes, Christie faces struggles there as well. The fondness the grassroots feels for Christie because of his demeanor and blunt opposition to unions stands to dissipate quickly once they, those of the ideological purity camp, discover Christie’s liberal stances on issues such as illegal immigration (including in state tuition), gun control, and Obamacare. Poll after poll is already showing the conservative wing of the party overwhelmingly rejecting a Christie candidacy. They view him as establishment, and the establishment doesn’t want him either. He is the homeless wildcard.

The Stage is Set

And so the race for 2016 begins. The board has been unfolded. One side is rushing to fill it with pieces and the other side is patiently observing, nervously hoping they can find a winning piece to place on the board. Meanwhile, across the aisle the Democrats are gearing up for their own race — and while it does not appear to contain any of the drama of the GOP race on the surface, there is plenty going on which stands to make it just as interesting, as we will see in the second installment of this series.

April 4, 2014

Poll Watch: Magellan Strategies (R) Louisiana 2016 Presidential Survey

Magellan Strategies (R) Louisiana 2016 Presidential Poll 

  • Bobby Jindal (R) 45.0%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 40.4%
  • Undecided 14.6%

Please tell me whether you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Bobby Jindal.  

  • Favorable 45.0%
  • Unfavorable 46.7%

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Bobby Jindal is doing as governor?

  • Approve 46.7%
  • Disapprove 48.5%

Survey of 600 registered voters was conducted March 24-26, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 4.1 percentage points. Party registration: 48% Democrat; 36% Republican; 12% Independent; 4% Other.  Political ideology: 51% Conservative; 30% Moderate; 13% Liberal.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 3:49 pm. Filed under 2016, Bobby Jindal, Hillary Clinton, Poll Watch

July 31, 2013

Way Too Early 2016 POWER RANKINGS

1. Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination based on everything we know about past nominating trends. He has tremendous establishment support, mega donors already committed to him should he run after having nearly convinced him to jump into the 2012 race, and favorable/unfavorable ratings that would be the envy of every other candidate, including Hillary Clinton. The governor is the most popular Republican in America, and after an easy reelection and a tour as RGA chairman, he will be poised to enter the race with a national base of support and poll numbers that will make even the Clinton machine nervous.

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

Despite the setback immigration reform has become for the Florida senator among the conservative base, Marco Rubio is still well positioned to be the party’s standard bearer in 2016. He has picked up tremendous backing in establishment circles for going all-in on immigration, and the donor community will reward his risk.  He also remains one of the most gifted speakers in politics and once he’s back on the stump many will remember why they liked him so much the first time around.

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

The junior senator from Kentucky has quickly establishment himself in the early states as the Tea Party candidate, building off of his father’s network of supporters and benefiting from their takeover of a number of local and state GOP parties. Paul has worked to distance himself from his father’s more extreme elements, but he still has some work to do as his recent “southern avenger” staffer problem pointed out.

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

If any candidate can claim “next in line” status from the 2012 election, it will be Rep. Paul Ryan, not former Sen. Rick Santorum. Ryan is still a very popular figure in conservative circles, and fears over how his budget would be portrayed never really panned out. Ryan would have the advantage of having been in a national campaign before and would likely have access to Mitt Romney’s formidable donor base.

5. Jeb Bush,  former Governor of Florida

The scion of the Bush dynasty may finally be ready to jump into the presidential pool. Gov. Bush has been far more open to a run this time than he has the past two cycles, and with his brother’s poll numbers finally on the rise, he may take his shot to become the third President Bush. Still, Bush will find that unlike his brother, he will be unable to clear the field of opposition, and he will come across a Tea Party base more than willing to take on the Bush legacy. Jeb will need every bit of his family’s extensive network to survive the challenge.

6. Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin

The governor of Wisconsin has become a folk hero to many in the conservative base for his heroic stand against public sector unions in his state. The left’s attempt to recall Scott Walker not only backfired, but helped the governor build a national donor base that may be even larger than Chris Christie’s. Walker will have real conservative governance to run on, as well as a record of being battle-tested against the left’s best attacks.

7. Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator from Texas

The junior senator from Texas has quickly made a name for himself after taking office just a few months ago. The Harvard Law graduate and former debating champion is putting his skills to use antagonizing both the Democrats and establishment Republicans, winning plaudits from Tea Party groups and scorn from Beltway elites. Sen. Cruz has the combination of brains and toughness that could make him an ideal Tea Party insurgent in 2016.

8. Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana

The former congressman has quietly gone about his new job, replacing popular Gov. Mitch Daniels, and continuing conservative reforms in the state. While only recently elected governor, Pence has a dozen years in Congress already under his belt and several years more as a talk radio host helped mold him into an excellent communicator. He was nearly recruited to run in 2012, but chose the governorship instead. By 2016, Pence could bridge the divide between fiscal and social conservatives and become a major dark horse candidate.

9. John Kasich, Governor of Ohio

Ohio Gov. John Kasich flirted with a presidential campaign back in 1999, but was quickly overwhelmed by the daunting Bush machine. After twenty years in Congress, Kasich became governor of Ohio, and after initial troubles, has turned both his numbers and the state’s economy around. Should he win reelection in 2014, Kasich could once again look at a presidential run, this time as not only a fiscal hawk, but also the leader of the most important swing state.

10. Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana

The governor of Louisana has seen his star fade somewhat over the past few years. Originally pegged to be the GOP’s counter to Barack Obama, Gov. Jindal flopped in his national debut giving the State of the Union response. Far from being a mortal wound, the governor had plenty of time to rebound from a bad speech. However, a poorly thought out tax reform plan in his state has led to a collapse in his numbers. He still has the brains, talent, and time to rebound, and he will need to in order to launch the national campaign he clearly wants to run.

Honorable Mention:  Susana Martinez, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Kelly Ayotte, Nikki Haley

July 29, 2013

McCloskey Speaker Series: Republican Governors on What’s Working at the State Level

A conversation featuring Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

The McCloskey Speaker Series is a longstanding summer series of wide-ranging discussions on US public affairs issues such as leadership and decision-making, the strength of the national economy and more. Featuring distinguished speakers who have far-reaching impacts on society, the series is made possible by a generous donation from the McCloskey Family Charitable Foundation.




-Hat-tip: The Argo Journal

by @ 9:16 am. Filed under 2016, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie

June 18, 2013

Bobby Jindal’s Puzzling Advice

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has an op-ed today on Politico that essentially tells the Republican Party to stop analyzing the 2012 election and start doing…something:

Let’s stop defeating ourselves, get on offense, and go kick the other guys around. If you’ve followed the news over the past month, they are certainly asking for it. We are the conservative party in America — deal with it. We have a lot of dissenting voices. So what? Deal with it. The American public waxes and wanes. Fine. It will wax again soon enough. Deal with it, and start fighting for our principles instead of against them, so we can be in position to create the next wave.

I find this to be an odd piece of advice from the Governor. We Republicans have lost two elections in a row. Yet, the Governor feels that our Party needs to stop looking at what we have done wrong and what we need to do differently and instead get on with implementing a strategy to get back to winning.

This would be great advice, if the Republican Party had unanimity about what to do next. Instead, what we have now is a Party that is divided on strategy, tactics and policy. We can’t move forward with a policy or strategy because the people in the Party don’t agree on the path forward. On issues like immigration, foreign policy, and gay marriage, there are real, passionate opinions on both sides. These opinions can’t be swept under the rug, and in fact should be debated. Moderates, conservatives, libertarians and people who are combinations of all three are in the Republican Party and they aren’t going to agree on everything. Even if there was a unanimous opinion on policy, there are divisions between pragmatists, who think that the Party has to change with the times, and hard-liners who think that the GOP must return to Reaganite conservatism. Again, these are real, passionately held beliefs and they are not likely to give them up anytime soon in order to “move on” or “get over it”.

Governor Jindal himself has, since the November election, offered up his two cents on what the Party needs to do, often in harsh tones. He has called the GOP “the stupid party” and has said that the Party is too obsessed with fiscal issues. Of course, the Governor might want to focus a little closer to home, but I digress.

After two electoral defeats, a Republican post-mortem was inevitable. McCain’s loss could be dismissed. With the financial crisis, the deep unpopularity of the Bush Administration, and the Messianic nonsense of the Obama campaign, victory by November 2008 was virtually impossible. 2012 was different though; given the poor economy, and that the President’s signature legislative accomplishment wildly disliked, defeat was not inevitable. Republicans felt towards the end of the 2012 campaign that we had at least a decent chance of winning. That was shattered on election night. For the Party to simply ignore what happened in 2008 and 2012 would be a folly in the extreme. Governor Jindal might have a lot of good ideas, but simply moving on for the sake of moving on is not one of them.

by @ 8:17 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Republican Party

March 15, 2013

Bobby Jindal at CPAC



by @ 4:45 pm. Filed under 2016, Bobby Jindal

March 2, 2013

Where The Action Will Be In 2014

It might be hard to believe, but in less than a year, the U.S.  will already be deeply involved in another national election.

The occupant in the Oval Office will not be running this time, and if history is any guide, he will be a “lame duck” with diminishing influence.

Nor is it likely that control of the U.S. house will be at stake, considering how current reapportionment protects most incumbents, including Democrats in most of the nation’s cities, and a larger number of Republicans in most of the exurban and rural areas.

What will probably be at stake is control of the U.S. senate and a significant number of governorships across the country.  In the senate races, many more Democratic incumbents are running for re-election, and are vulnerable. Republicans need to win six Democratic seats to gain control, and 10-12 now seem potentially at play. The advantage in the gubernatorial races, however, is with the Democrats. Not only are there many more GOP incumbent races, many more Republican governors (or their successor candidates if they are term-limited or retire) potentially have close races next year.

A sub-theme of these elections will also be the 2016 presidential election, like it or not.  The presidential nominations for both major parties will be open that year, and likely very competitive. Nominees usually emerge from the U.S. senate and the nation’s governors, either current or former. Current  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, former New York Senator Hillary Clinton, current Virginia Senator Mark Warner are among many names already seriously being circulated and promoted on the Democratic side; current Florida Senator Marco Rubio, current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and current Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal are among many names being put forward for the Republicans.

It is very, very early in the 2016 race, of course, but it is nevertheless likely that the 2014 elections will set the stage for the direction the nation will go after the two Obama administration terms.

The prospect for the duration of 2013 is for political stalemate on most issues, especially economic ones. There is a lot of scrambling for political “position” and ‘branding” going on in the nation’s capital, and an obsessive preoccupation with public relations aimed at short-term leverage and advantage, but it is not at all clear whether Obamanomics and Obamacare will work or not. Much of the “action” for some time has been in the states where conservative governors (and legislatures) have attempted to innovate and program alternative and competitive solutions to the problems facing U.S. society in the prolonged economic downturn.

Democrats are hoping that recent stock market gains correctly anticipate a rebound of the U.S. economy and predict an end to the current prolonged unemployment. Republicans continue to point out that higher taxes and continued federal deficits make the goal shared by all problematic. The next 9-12 months should reveal which side of this debate is more accurate than the other.

The 2014 national elections will therefore be only an interim decision, albeit an important one. If by 2014, the protracted economic problems persist, an impatient electorate might well signal a new and longer-term political direction.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

by @ 9:48 pm. Filed under 2014, Andrew Cuomo, Barack Obama, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio

February 13, 2013

Poll Watch: Fox News 2016 Presidential Survey

Fox News 2012 Presidential Poll

I’m going to read you a list of names and for each one I’d like you to please tell me if you think that person would make a good president or not. If you have never heard of a person, please just say so. 

Hillary Clinton

  • Yes 55%
  • No 42%

Condoleezza Rice

  • Yes 43%
  • No 43%

Chris Christie

  • Yes 37%
  • No 33%

Paul Ryan

  • Yes 37%
  • No 46%

Joe Biden

  • Yes 35%
  • No 59%

Jeb Bush

  • Yes 26%
  • No 56%

Marco Rubio

  • Yes 25%
  • No 29%

Bobby Jindal

  • Yes 16%
  • No 25%

Andrew Cuomo

  • Yes 16%
  • No 39%

Deval Patrick

  • Yes 6%
  • No 19%

Bob McDonnell

  • Yes 6%
  • No 22%

Martin O’Malley

  • Yes 5%
  • No 18%

Survey of 1,010 registered voters was conducted by Anderson Robbins Research (D)/Shaw & Company Research (R) February 4-6, 2013. The margin of error is ± 3 percentage points.  Party ID: 39% Democrat; 35% Republican; 24% Independent/Other.

Inside the numbers:

Clinton (62 percent) and Rice (44 percent) capture more support among women voters than any of the other figures tested.

They are also the top picks among men voters: 47 percent think Clinton would make a good president and 42 percent feel that way about Rice. Ryan (40 percent), Christie (39 percent) and Biden (35 percent) are close behind among men.

Clinton is also the candidate who receives the highest level of support from his or her own party. She would be a good president in the eyes of 83 percent of self-identified Democrats, while with 62 percent support Ryan receives the most backing among self-described Republicans.

Among Democrats, Clinton is followed by Biden (60 percent), Cuomo (25 percent), Patrick (8 percent) and O’Malley (6 percent).

Among Republicans, Rice comes in second to Ryan at 54 percent. She’s followed closely by Bush at 47 percent, Christie at 43 percent and Rubio at 41 percent. Jindal is the only other Republican to receive double-digit support (24 percent).

Ryan (59 percent) and Rice (55 percent) both receive majority backing among self-described very conservative voters.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

January 10, 2013

Jindal Proposes Elimination of Income Tax, Corporate Taxes in LA

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) is throwing down a tax reform gauntlet, proposing the complete elimination of state income and corporate taxes.  Here’s more from the Times-Picayune out of New Orleans:

Gov. Bobby Jindal is proposing to eliminate Louisiana’s income and corporate taxes and pay for those cuts with increased sales taxes, the governor’s office confirmed Thursday. The governor’s office has not yet provided the details of the plan.

“The bottom line is that for too long, Louisiana’s workers and small businesses have suffered from having a state tax structure that is too complex and that holds back economic prosperity,” Jindal said in a statement released by his office. “It’s time to change that so people can keep more of their own money and foster an environment where businesses want to invest and create good-paying jobs.”

Jindal said the plan would be revenue-neutral and that the goal would be to keep sales taxes “aslow and flat as possible.”

The governor’s office has not yet confirmed or denied an article in The Monroe News-Star that reports eliminating the state income tax could require increasing the state sales tax from 4 percent to 7 percent.

The governor’s full statement on the tax overhaul plan:

“We are meeting with every legislator over the coming weeks to discuss the details of the tax reform plan. Our goal is to eliminate all personal income tax and all corporate income tax in a revenue neutral manner. We want to keep the sales tax as low and flat as possible.

“Eliminating personal income taxes will put more money back into the pockets of Louisiana families and will change a complex tax code into a more simple system that will make Louisiana more attractive to companies who want to invest here and create jobs.

“Tax reform will remove administrative burdens from families and small businesses and improve Louisiana’s business prospects; create more business investment opportunities with increased job growth; and raise the state’s profile in national business rankings.

“The bottom line is that for too long, Louisiana’s workers and small businesses have suffered from having a state tax structure that is too complex and that holds back economic prosperity. It’s time to change that so people can keep more of their own money and foster an environment where businesses want to invest and create good-paying jobs.”

Thoughts?

by @ 2:14 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal

December 16, 2012

Jindal: Birth Control Should be OTC

Gov. Bobby Jindal is quickly becoming one of my favorite presidential aspirants for 2016 as he continues to attempt to find ways to diffuse the various cultural “wedge issues” that the Left has successfully used to divide the nation’s former center-right coalition that ruled the country from 1968-2008. Jindal’s issue du jour is making birth control an issue that can truly be left up to the conscience of the individual by taking insurers out of the equation:

(CNN) – The political battle earlier this year over health insurance coverage for contraception wouldn’t be repeated if women could buy birth control without a prescription, Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal wrote in an op-ed Friday.

Jindal was advocating a recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who took the stance in November that birth control pills should be sold over-the-counter in drugstores. Currently contraception pills require a prescription from a doctor, many of whom are represented by the ACOG.

Jindal made the case Friday in the Wall Street Journal that such a shift in policy would eliminate the political back-and-forth over contraception policy, which divided many Americans in early last year.

“As a conservative Republican, I believe that we have been stupid to let the Democrats demagogue the contraceptives issue and pretend, during debates about health-care insurance, that Republicans are somehow against birth control. It’s a disingenuous political argument they make,” Jindal wrote.

This is a brilliant maneuver, in my view, that allows devout Roman Catholic employers to continue to abide by the teachings of the Holy See when it comes to contraception without leaving female employees sans contraception coverage, thus decreasing support for government mandates and subsidies when it comes to health care, which, of course, is the Left’s true goal. It also removes the need for the Right to maintain an official policy position on contraception other than “freedom to choose,” which puts the Right back in the position of being the party of personal liberty, and prevents the Left from suggesting that conservatives are simply using the contraception issue as a back door for a government takeover of individuals’ sex lives or reproductive decisions.

Finally, Jindal, as a devout Catholic himself and a favorite of social conservatives, is able to make such a suggestion without stoking fears on the Right that he himself is a progressive who is trying to use the government to encourage lower fertility rates, contraceptive use, or specific sexual lifestyles. The takeaway message is that the GOP is promoting a policy that enhances liberty, broadens consumer choice, and allows freedom of conscience for everyone, while removing burdensome regulations. That seems to be the sort of tack that Republicans will need to take on issues across the policy spectrum if they want to start rebuilding a party that seems to be on the verge of death by demographics.

by @ 12:00 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal

November 24, 2012

Trashing the Brand Won’t Help the Republican Party or Those Doing It

As often happens  after an electoral defeat, the losing side is going through a period of soul-searching. Right now a whole variety of figures on the right are proposing their own remedies and solutions to help the Republicans out of our current rut. Some are suggesting changes in policy, others in style, and others are for hunkering down. Regardless of what prescription is the way the party will go forward, I feel that any sort of trashing of the GOP brand is the absolute wrong way to go.

By trashing the brand I am referring mostly right now to Governor Bobby Jindal who is calling on the Republicans to stop being the “stupid party”. Not only is this offensive to millions of Republican voters, activists and candidates but it is also very unhelpful to both the Party and to Governor Jindal himself. Firstly, by having a Republican refer to the GOP as the “stupid party”, it is giving the media further license to do so. We Republicans can be furious at the overt bias in the media, but it does exist and we have to adapt to dealing with it. Now the media can turn to every other Republican politician and ask “do you think the Republicans are the stupid party?” or “what is it about the GOP that makes it the stupid party?” It puts other Republicans in a very awkward spot and gives the left and the media (but I repeat myself) a new cudgel to whack the Republicans in the head with.

More important than just causing headaches, the big problem with trashing the Republican brand is that the public will start to hear it and believe it. A Republican politician denouncing the Republican Party is one of the things that can get into the public consciousness. That means that the next time we present a policy, the damage done to the Republican brand by Republican politicians will make it that much harder for Republicans to persuade the public on that policy.

If this is not enough to persuade politicians to stop tarnishing the Republican brand, then one thing above all should; self-interest. After all, attacking the Republican Party is very likely to alienate Republican voters who’ll decide who leads the party in 2016. Look at Jon Huntsman’s bid in 2012. The Ambassador’s disdain for his own party was extremely self-evident during his run for the nomination and Republican voters rewarded him for it by making him place third in the one state he competed in.

So, you may ask, how do we change without going after the Republican brand? It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but a skillful politician can do it. British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Bill Clinton are two examples of politicians who changed the image of their party without directly trashing their own parties. It caused some headaches and it was definitely a bumpy road, but the Democrats in 1992 and the Conservative Party in 2010 managed to persuade enough voters that their parties had changed to propel both back into power after long droughts.

With our defeat in 2012 the Republican Party does need to do some soul-searching. It’s the healthy and right thing to do as we look towards the future. But the idea that the only way we can move forward is by telling everyone how awful Republicans are is not the way to go. All the self-loathing will do is give more ammunition to those who have no interest in helping the Republican Party.

by @ 5:50 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Republican Party

November 19, 2012

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