December 18, 2014

And Now the Spotlight Is On Christie

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Jeb Bush’s move to actively explore a 2016 White House bid is likely to complicate the path for fellow Republican Chris Christie and pressure the New Jersey governor to shore up donor support as he considers his own campaign.

Mr. Christie has spoken with a range of donors in recent weeks, according to people familiar with his conversations, among them billionaire backer Ken Langone. Mr. Christie has indicated in those talks that Mr. Bush’s entry alone wouldn’t keep him from the race, those people said.

The second-term governor hasn’t been as overt about hiring potential campaign staff as some other possible 2016 GOP contenders. But some political analysts said Mr. Christie should quickly move to convince senior staff and top donors that he is serious, or risk losing their support to Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor who is expected to appeal to a similar part of the electorate.

Christie had stated earlier that he would announce his 2016 intentions in early 2015. He may have to announce sooner than he wanted.

Jeb Bush’s announcement that he is seriously in the race has really put the pressure on Christie and anyone else hoping to run with “Establishment” support. Jeb Bush can now begin openly recruiting staff and lining up donors.

When it comes to quality staff and to a lesser extent the donors, the phrase, “First come, first served”, applies more often than it doesn’t. The top resources want to get in on the ground floor of the winner’s campaign as quickly as possible. This means if you hope to be a top tier candidate, you have to be one of the first to announce if you want any chance at getting the best of the best behind you. Any latecomers have to be content with fighting over the leftovers.

That is why the Bush announcement is a major “fish or cut bait” signal. Anybody sitting on their hands while Bush nails down all the key operatives and donors will enter the race greatly handicapped. This hard, cold, cruel fact of life applies even to fairy tale “white knights” who plan on showing up (as Bullwinkle J. Moose put it), “in the — Ta-da! — nick of time“, to save the day.

If that “White Knight” doesn’t have top-drawer staff and donor money to back him up (which he can’t have because the candidates who’ve been in the race for months already have them tied down and committed to them instead of him), the results will bring to mind Princess Leia’s famous exasperated comment, “This is some rescue! You came in here, but didn’t you have a plan for getting out?”

by @ 10:43 am. Filed under Chris Christie, Jeb Bush

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.

Poll Watch: Fox News 2016 Presidential Survey

Fox News 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49% {52%} [51%] (51%)
  • Jeb Bush (R) 42% {39%} [42%] (38%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51% {52%} [51%]
  • Rand Paul (R) 40% {41%} [42%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 52% {50%} [50%] (49%)
  • Chris Christie (R) 40% {40%} [42%] (38%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 53% {54%}
  • John Kasich (R) 37% {35%}

National survey of 1,043 registered voters was conducted July 20-22, 2014 under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Party ID: 41% {43%} [39%] (40%) Democrat; 39% {35%} [38%] (34%) Republican; 18% {18%} [20%] (23%) Independent/Other. Results from the poll conducted July 20-22, 2014are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 13-15, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 2-4, 2014 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 10:09 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Herman Cain, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Poll Watch, Rand Paul

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 15, 2014

Poll Watch: PPP (D) North Carolina 2016 Presidential Survey

PPP (D) North Carolina 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Ben Carson (R) 44%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 44%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 46% [45%] (42%) {44%} [42%] (44%) {46%} [43%] (44%) {45%} [43%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% [43%] (46%) {45%} [45%] (45%) {47%} [47%] (46%) {46%} [47%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 44% [45%] (45%) {45%} [44%] (46%) {46%} [45%] (42%) {42%} [43%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 42% [38%] (38%) {41%} [40%] (44%) {42%} [42%] (43%) {45%} [46%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46% [45%] (45%) {46%} [47%] (48%) {49%} [48%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 44% [46%] (44%) {43%} [43%] (43%) {42%} [43%]
  • Ben Carson (R) 45%
  • Joe Biden (D) 40%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 47%
  • Joe Biden (D) 42%
  • Ben Carson (R) 44%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 37%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 46%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 39%

Among Independents

  • Ben Carson (R) 42%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 32%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 46% [39%] (43%) {45%} [40%] (45%) {38%} [35%] (41%) {44%} [41%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 38% [36%] (39%) {35%} [33%] (39%) {46%} [50%] (36%) {37%} [40%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 36% [36%] (37%) {36%} [36%] (38%) {39%} [47%] (33%) {31%} [31%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 33% [37%] (42%) {39%} [39%] (45%){38%} [33%] (39%) {50%} [46%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 41% [45%] (46%) {46%} [46%] (44%){34%} [36%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 38% [38%] (39%) {37%} [39%] (38%) {48%} [52%]
  • Ben Carson (R) 43%
  • Joe Biden (D) 28%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 44%
  • Joe Biden (D) 34%
  • Ben Carson (R) 41%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 28%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 42%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 29%

Among Moderates

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 52%
  • Ben Carson (R) 26%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 54% [57%] (59%) {55%} [57%] (60%) [58%] (58%) {59%} [61%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 29% [29%] (27%) {30%} [23%] (29%) [25%] (25%) {30%} [26%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 52% [59%] (58%) {53%} [59%] (60%) [54%] (50%) {51%} [54%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 27% [26%] (28%) {30%} [18%] (31%) [31%] (32%) {32%} [36%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 54% [60%] (59%) {58%} [64%] (62%) [60%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 26% [31%] (28%) {25%} [21%] (28%) [25%]
  • Joe Biden (D) 46%
  • Ben Carson (R) 28%
  • Joe Biden (D) 55%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 28%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 41%
  • Ben Carson (R) 23%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 46%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 27%

Among Men

  • Ben Carson (R) 53%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 37%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 53% [51%] (48%) {51%} [47%] (50%) {49%} [46%] (49%) {51%} [46%] 
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 41% [36%] (39%) {39%} [39%] (42%) {42%} [45%] (41%) {38%} [42%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 49% [45%] (42%) {45%} [43%] (47%) {48%} [46%] (49%) {51%} [51%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 38% [38%] (39%) {41%} [39%] (42%) {40%} [41%] (37%) {35%} [37%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 51% [53%] (50%) {48%} [49%] (47%){44%} [46%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 39% [39%] (40%) {42%} [43%] (45%) {47%} [47%]
  • Ben Carson (R) 54%
  • Joe Biden (D) 35%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 52%
  • Joe Biden (D) 37%
  • Ben Carson (R) 54%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 30%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 54%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 32%

Among Women

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51%
  • Ben Carson (R) 36%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51% [50%] (52%) {49%} [50%] (49%) {50%} [49%] (51%) {53%} [52%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 39% [40%] (37%) {39%} [38%] (39%) {43%} [41%] (38%) {39%} [40%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50% [51%] (51%) {49%} [49%] (49%) {52%} [48%] (47%) {49%} [47%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 36% [33%] (35%) {37%} [36%] (42%) {37%} [38%] (38%) {40%} [42%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51% [51%] (50%) {50%} [50%] (50%) {52%} [50%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 37% [40%] (38%) {38%} [38%] (40%) {41%} [41%]
  • Joe Biden (D) 45%
  • Ben Carson (R) 38%
  • Joe Biden (D) 46%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 42%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 44%
  • Ben Carson (R) 35%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 45%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 39%

Among Whites

  • Ben Carson (R) 56%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 32%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 57% [55%] (51%) {54%} [51%] (55%) {57%} [54%] (55%) {58%} [53%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 33% [33%] (38%) {35%} [39%] (37%) {35%} [37%] (34%) {35%} [37%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 54% [47%] (46%) {48%} [46%] (54%) {51%} [50%] (53%) {57%} [56%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 32% [35%] (37%) {35%} [39%] (37%) {36%} [36%] (32%) {30%} [33%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 57% [56%] (52%) {53%} [51%] (53%) {53%} [54%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 33% [35%] (37%) {35%} [39%] (38%) {37%} [38%]
  • Ben Carson (R) 57%
  • Joe Biden (D) 28%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 60%
  • Joe Biden (D) 30%
  • Ben Carson (R) 56%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 26%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 59%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 27%

Among Blacks

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 83%
  • Ben Carson (R) 9%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 83% [81%] (77%) {82%} [69%] (77%) {86%} [82%] (86%) {81%} [81%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 12% [9%] (11%) {11%} [9%] (8%) {9%} [7%] (7%) {9%} [13%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 80% [84%] (78%) {82%} [68%] (78%) {80%} [78%] (79%) {81%} [77%]
  • Chris Christie (R) 9% [9%] (12%) {12%} [11%] (13%) {14%} [11%] (11%) {9%} [17%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 82% [83%] (76%) {86%} [78%] (80%) {89%} [82%]
  • Mike Huckabee (R) 6% [11%] (13%) {8%} [10%] (10%) {9%} [9%]
  • Joe Biden (D) 75%
  • Ben Carson (R) 11%
  • Joe Biden (D) 75%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 10%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 68%
  • Ben Carson (R) 9%
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 69%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 7%

Survey of 823 registered voters was conducted December 4-7, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3.4 percentage points. Party ID: 42% [45%] (42%) {43%} [42%] (42%) {42%} [39%] (43%) {43%} [45%] (43%) Democrat; 36% [34%] (31%) {36%} [35%] (36%) {35%} [34%] (33%) {34%} [33%] (34%) Republican; 22% [21%] (27%) {22%} [23%] (22%) {23%} [27%] (23%) {23%} [21%] (24%) Independent/Other.  Gender: 53% [53%] (53%) {53%} [53%] (53%) {53%} [53%] (53%) {53%} [54%] (57%) Women; 47% [47%] (47%) {47%} [47%] (47%) {47%} [47%] (47%) {47%} [46%] (43%) Men. Race: 72% [73%] (75%) {75%} [74%] (74%) {74%} [75%] (73%) {73%} [73%] (72%) White; 22% [20%] (20%) {20%} [20%] (20%) {20%} [20%] (21%) {21%} [20%] (22%) Black; 6% [7%] (5%) {5%} [6%] (6%) {6%} [5%] (6%) {6%} [6%] (6%) Other.  Results from the poll conducted September 11-14, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted August 14-17, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted June 12-15, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted May 9-11, 2014 are in square brackets.Results from the poll conducted April 3-6, 2014 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted March 6-9, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted February 6-9, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted January 9-12, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted December 5-8, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 8-11, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 11-14, 2013 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

December 14, 2014

Poll Watch: PPP (D) North Carolina 2016 Republican Primary Survey

PPP (D) North Carolina 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Ben Carson 19%
  • Jeb Bush 15% {17%} [15%] (18%) {12%} [15%] (14%) {15%} [16%] (9%)
  • Chris Christie 14% {12%} [9%] (12%) {15%} [11%] (17%) {19%} [20%] (10%)
  • Mike Huckabee 14% {17%} [19%] (22%) {19%} [20%] (15%)
  • Paul Ryan 11% {8%} [6%] (9%) {4%} [8%] (11%) {7%} [7%] (12%)
  • Rick Perry 7%
  • Ted Cruz 5% {12%} [17%] (12%) {14%} [8%] (11%) {12%} [12%]
  • Rand Paul 5% {12%} [15%] (9%) {12%} [14%] (14%) {13%} [12%] (6%)
  • Marco Rubio 4% {5%} [5%] (5%) {5%} [7%] (9%) {10%} [10%] (21%)
  • Someone else/Not sure 7% {11%} [9%] (6%) {12%} [9%] (13%) {11%} [13%] (8%)

Among Men

  • Ben Carson 20%
  • Chris Christie 18% {14%} [9%] (12%) {16%} [14%] (18%) {18%} [19%] (10%)
  • Mike Huckabee 13% {18%} [13%] (19%) {15%} [15%] (14%)
  • Paul Ryan 11% {7%} [7%] (8%) {3%} [5%] (10%) {5%} [6%] (12%)
  • Jeb Bush 11%{12%} [15%] {13%} [18%] (14%) {14%} [14%] (11%)
  • Rand Paul 7% {14%} [18%] (8%) {13%} [19%] (14%) {15%} [16%] (9%)
  • Ted Cruz 6% {12%} [19%] (16%) {16%} [7%] (14%) {15%} [16%]
  • Rick Perry 5%
  • Marco Rubio 2% {4%} [6%] (6%) {3%} [7%] (7%) {10%} [9%] (22%)
  • Someone else/Not sure 7% {11%} [7%] (4%) {12%} [6%] (9%) {7%} [10%] (7%)

Among Women

  • Jeb Bush 18% {23%} [15%] (21%) {11%} [13%] (13%) {16%} [18%] (8%)
  • Ben Carson 17%
  • Mike Huckabee 16% {16%} [26%] (24%) {24%} [25%] (16%)
  • Paul Ryan 11% {9%} [4%] (9%) {5%} [12%] (11%) {8%} [9%] (12%)
  • Chris Christie 9% {10%} [9%] (12%) {13%} [7%] (17%) {19%}[20%] (10%)
  • Rick Perry 8%
  • Marco Rubio 6% {5%} [4%] (5%) {7%} [7%] (11%) {10%} [10%] (19%)
  • Ted Cruz 4% {11%} [13%] (7%) {11%} [9%] (9%) {10%} [9%]
  • Rand Paul 3% {9%} [11%] (11%) {10%} [9%] (14%) {11%} [8%] (4%)
  • Someone else/Not sure 8% {10%} [10%] (7%) {14%} [13%] (17%) {15%} [17%] (10%)

Survey of 390 Republican primary voters was conducted December 4-7, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 5.0 percentage points. Political ideology: 39% {40%} [45%] (39%) {37%} [35%] (38%) {37%} [36%] (44%) Very conservative; 38% {37%} [35%] (32%) {35%} [33%] (40%) {39%} [36%] (35%) Somewhat conservative; 18% {20%} [13%] (21%) {20%} [22%] (16%) {16%} [21%] (13%) Moderate; 5% {2%} [4%] (6%) {4%} [7%] (4%) {7%} [4%] (6%) Somewhat liberal; 1% {1%} [4%] (3%) {3%} [3%] (2%) {1%} [3%] (1%) Very liberal. Results from the poll conducted May 9-11, 2014 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted April 26-28, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 3-6, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted March 6-9, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted February 6-9, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 9-12, 2014 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted December 5-8, 2013 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 8-11, 2013 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 6-9, 2012 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

December 11, 2014

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac New Jersey 2016 Presidential Survey

Quinnipiac New Jersey 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50% {50%} [50%] (49%)
  • Chris Christie (R) 39% {40%} [42%] (45%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 53% {53%} [54%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 31% {32%} [34%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 55% {55%} [55%]
  • Rand Paul (R) 31% {31%} [35%]

Among Independents

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 44% {46%} [48%] (44%)
  • Chris Christie (R) 41% {40%} [42%] (48%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% {53%} [54%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 33% {32%} [32%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50% {52%} [52%]
  • Rand Paul (R) 32% {32%} [34%]

Among Men

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49% {43%} [44%] (35%)
  • Chris Christie (R) 41% {46%} [47%] (58%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 51% {46%} [49%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 33% {39%} [37%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 52% {47%} [49%]
  • Rand Paul (R) 34% {39%} [40%]

Among Women

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 50% {56%} [54%] (60%)
  • Chris Christie (R) 38% {36%} [38%] (34%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 55% {60%} [59%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 28% {26%} [32%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 57% {62%} [61%]
  • Rand Paul (R) 28% {25%} [31%]

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Hillary Clinton 58% [60%] (67%) / 35% [38%] (29%) {+23%}
  • Chris Christie 45% [47%] (69%) / 47% [47%] (22%) {-2%}
  • Rand Paul 25% [31%] / 32% [33%] {-7%}
  • Jeb Bush 25% [32%] / 35% [33%] {-10%}

Do you think Chris Christie would make a good President or not?

  • Yes 40% [39%]
  • No 53% [55%]

Would you like to see Chris Christie run for President in 2016 or not?

  • Yes 44% [46%]
  • No 50% [49%]

Survey of 1,340 registered voters was conducted December 3-8, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 2.7 percentage points.  Party ID: 34% {33%} [34%] (33%) Democrat; 23% {23%} [24%] (25%) Republican; 37% {37%} [35%] (36%) Independent; 7% {7%} [7%] (7%) Other/Don’t know. Results from the poll conducted September 25-29, 2014 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted July 31 – August 4,2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted February 13-17, 2013 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 10:10 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Poll Watch

December 10, 2014

Chris Christie and Donald Trump Headed To Iowa Next Month.

Add New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s name to the list of speakers at next month’s Iowa Freedom Summit being held in Des Moines. He will be joined by “The Donald” himself, Donald Trump.

Christie’s 2016 Presidential ambitions are well known, Trump’s less. NewsMax reports:

Just one day after the midterm elections, Donald Trump let it slip that he’s “going to take a very serious look” at making a bid for the White House in 2016.

Granted, for years he’s floated the idea of running for president, but it seems this time could be different. I spoke to him in depth about his views on politics, the 2016 presidential field, and why he’s moving closer to taking up the call.

“The reason that I’m looking at it very strongly this time is I’m so sick and tired of politicians. I am so sick and tired of watching these politicians who are all talk and no action. As an example, Benghazi, the IRS…I’ve just watched so much of the talk and the rhetoric and nothing gets done,” Trump told me.

Trump said that he will be making the decision about whether to run in March or April, but I felt he gave some strong hints about which way he is leaning.

“I have an instinct for things. I think the country is ready for someone who gets it. I think the country is ready for somebody who can take it to greatness again,” he said.

by @ 11:15 am. Filed under Chris Christie, Donald Trump

December 9, 2014

Poll Watch: Bloomberg Politics/Selzer & Co. 2016 Presidential Survey

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 42% [45%] (52%) 
  • Chris Christie (R) 36% [38%] (39%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 43% [47%]
  • Jeb Bush (R) 37% [38%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% [47%]
  • Rand Paul (R) 37% [38%]
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 46%
  • Ted Cruz (R) 33%
National survey of 753 likely voters was conducted December 3-5, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3.6 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted June 6-9, 2014 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 7-10, 2014 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 10:56 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Poll Watch, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz

December 8, 2014

Bloomberg Poll Places Hillary On Top

The lastest Bloomberg poll is out. Things appear to look real good for Hillary:

Candidate Hillary Republican Diff Other / None Favorable Unfavorable Diff
Clinton 0 0 0 0 52 42 10
Bush 43 37 6 17 32 37 -5
Christie 42 36 6 18 36 35 1
Paul 45 37 8 15 32 29 3
Romney 45 39 6 14 43 44 -1
Cruz 46 33 13 16 26 29 -3

The Bloomberg Politics Poll, conducted December 3 is based on interviews with 1,001 U.S. adults ages 18 or older.

*Head-to-head was, “Among 2016 likely voters; n=753. Margin of error: ± 3.6 percentage points.”

However, please note that it is a poll of adults, not registered voters. Polls of adults are notoriously skewed to favor the liberal Democrat. Now if this was a poll of registered voters, or — even better — likely voters, we would be in deep trouble. But those sorts of polls are much harder to do and thus are more expensive.

Another problem with this poll is that in the head-to-heads, Bloomberg included “Other”. “Other” polled in the mid to high teens in each match-up. Guess what, at this point, there aren’t that many Democrat “others” but a ton of Republican “others”.

So take this poll with a large grain of salt.

Edited to add head-to-head note and the “other / none” column. Thanks GS and SunshineState.

by @ 10:48 am. Filed under Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz

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 5, 2014

Bridgegate — A Bridge Too Far?

You remember Bridgegate, don’t you? Supposedly Governor Chris Christie used the power of his office to reek revenge upon a city that crossed him by closing the lanes to a bridge. It was reported upon breathlessly for weeks on the nightly news. It was declared to be the end of the popular governor’s career, his Lewinsky moment.

Well, first the Federal government reported last September that after a nine month investigation, they couldn’t find one solid piece of evidence that suggested that Christie knew anything about it. Now the New Jersey legislature (one of the few legislatures in the country completely controlled Democrats by the way) has issued their report. They couldn’t find any evidence, either. They did, however, include the statement that since he was accused of the crime, he may have committed the crime. They just couldn’t find any evidence that he actually did it.

So Governor Christie has been exonerated by all. All the huffing, puffing, and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth amounted to nothing in the end.

The bill for the New Jersey report wasn’t nothing, however. As of last September the bill to the New Jersey taxpayers stood at $6.5 million dollars. It is likely far more now that three more months have past. Who knows how much the Federal probe cost.

 

by @ 12:58 pm. Filed under Chris Christie

More Trouble for Hillary?

Last month’s Quinnipiac poll has been commented upon before in this blog, but there are still a nugget or two that can be dug up out of it. One of them is how well Hillary Clinton does against proposed opponents.

Hillary % Opponent % Diff Fav % Unfav % Haven’t Heard Enough
Hillary Clinton 50 45 3
Mitt Romney 44 45 -1 44 42 11
Chris Christie 43 42 1 38 33 27
Paul Ryan 46 42 4 36 28 35
Rand Paul 46 41 5 35 26 37
Mike Huckabee 46 41 5 36 29 34
Jeb Bush 46 41 5 33 32 33

The fact that she is only within five ppts against the six top GOP contenders in this poll has been commented upon before here at Race4. But take a look at the last column. When the voters were asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of a potential candidate, a certain percentage declared that they hadn’t heard enough about the person to make up their minds. The results are listed in the last column.

Only 3% of the voters hadn’t heard enough to make up their minds on Hillary. 3%. That strongly implies that the voters’ opinions of her are fairly fixed and not likely to move much one way or the other. In other words, after more than three decades in the public’s eye, voters have pretty much made up their minds on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Her potential opponents, on the other hand, enjoy double digit values in that column. Even last election’s GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, has more than 10% of the population saying they haven’t heard enough about him to make up their minds. Christie is at 27%, and the rest have percentages in the thirties.

This implies that each of Hillary’s projected opponents have a fair amount of wiggle room to grow in the minds of the voters. With her numbers nearly fixed and her opponents’ numbers more fluid, it is not going to be a cakewalk for her to become the next President of the United States.

December 4, 2014

An Open Letter To Mitt Romney

I just read the following in the Business Insider:

Mitt Romney held meetings with donors in New York this week that left one attendee convinced he is running for president again in 2016.

A member of Romney’s inner circle who spoke to Business Insider said the former governor of Massachusetts traveled to New York City on Monday where he met with key financial backers of his past campaigns to lay the groundwork for a 2016 White House bid.

In addition to potential donors, the source said Romney met with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) this week.

Christie endorsed Romney during his last race. However, he is expected to mount his own White House bid in 2016.

Romney’s meetings this week are not his first efforts to reconnect with former donors and campaign staff. In October, The Washington Post reported on a “flurry of behind-the-scenes activity” that Romney’s “friends” said was leading him to “more seriously consider” running for president again. This activity included multiple meetings with donors and “supporters in key states” as well as an October dinner in Boston that Romney and his wife hosted for “former campaign advisers and business associates.”

In September, Romney’s wife, Ann, indicated Romney would be discouraged from mounting another White House bid if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) enters the 2016 field. … Bush has said he is thinking about launching a campaign. In an October interview, Ann said Romney was “done” running for president. However, the source who spoke to Business Insider said she would be fully supportive if her husband does decide to run in 2016.

(more…)

December 3, 2014

We Have A Front Runner. Wait, Romney’s Not Running. Never Mind.

Two surveys came out last week polling Republicans as to the 2016 presidential choice. The results are as follows:

Quinnipiac 11/26 CNN 11/24
Romney: 19 Romney: 20
Bush: 11 Carson: 10
Christie: 8 Bush: 9
Carson: 8 Christie:8
Paul: 6 Huckabee: 7
Ryan: 5 Paul: 6
Walker: 5 Ryan: 6
Huckabee: 5 Cruz: 5
Cruz: 5 Walker: 5
Rubio: 2 Perry: 4
Jindal: 2 Rubio: 3
Kasich: 2 Kasich: 2
Perry: 2 Santorum: 2
Santorum: 1 Jindal: 1
Portman: 0 Pence: 1
Portman: 0
Other: 1
Won’t Vote: 1 Other: 6
Undecided: 16 None: 2
No Opinion: 3

• Quinnipac polled 707 Republicans with a MOE of +/- 3.7%
• CNN polled 510 Republicans with a MOE of +/- 4.7%

Both show pretty convincingly that Mitt Romney is currently the undisputed front runner for the 2016 GOP nomination. One problem though, Romney has repeatedly stated that he has no intention of running. So when the polls recalibrate for that and exclude Mitt, the results were anything but clear cut:

Quinnipiac 11/26 CNN 11/24
Bush: 14 Bush: 14
Christie: 11 Carson: 11
Carson: 9 Huckabee: 10
Paul: 8 Christie: 9
Ryan: 7 Ryan: 9
Huckabee: 7 Paul: 8
Walker: 6 Cruz: 7
Cruz: 5 Perry: 5
Rubio: 3 Walker: 5
Jindal: 3 Kasich: 3
Perry:3 Rubio: 3
Kasich: 2 Santorum: 2
Santorum: 2 Jindal: 1
Portman: 1 Pence: 1
Portman: 0
Other:1
Won’t Vote: 1 Other: 6
Undecided: 19 None: 2
No Opinion: 4

Yes, without Romney Jeb Bush leads in both polls, but only by 3 ppts. That’s well within the margin of error of both polls. And if you look even closer, the race is even tighter. The Quinnipiac Poll shows three candidates within five ppts of each other, CNN shows five within five.

The conclusion is inescapable. Jeb Bush might be the current titular leader in the race, but the race is wide open. (And him making comments about not needing conservatives to win won’t help him to pull away from the pack.)

December 2, 2014

Poll Watch: Rasmussen 2016 GOP Nomination Survey

Rasmussen 2016 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Paul Ryan 20% (13%)
  • Scott Walker 20% [5%] (6%)
  • Jeb Bush 18% [12%] (16%)
  • Chris Christie 15% [22%] (21%)
  • Rand Paul 13% [20%] (15%)

Survey of likely Republican primary voters was conducted November 20-21, 2014.  Results from the poll conducted November 7-8, 2013 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted August 1-2, 2013 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 12:05 pm. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Poll Watch, Rand Paul, Scott Walker

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 24, 2014

Poll Watch: Reuters/Ipsos Iowa 2016 Presidential Survey

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

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

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

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

November 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 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 18, 2014

More Christie News: He Addresses Incoming GOP Congressmen

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

Christie’s Term of Leading GOP Governors Ending

According to the Wall Street Journal:

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

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

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

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

(*edited per Chip’s comment)

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

Christie is Getting into Fighting Trim

In nearly the past two years, Chris Christie has lost at least 100 pounds. From NJ.com:

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie refuses to disclose exactly how many pounds he’s shed since undergoing weight loss surgery, but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating.

Christie, who’s visibly trimmed down since undergoing Lap-Band surgery in February 2013, lost at least 100 pounds, according to a doctor who was provided before and after pictures of the governor by The Record of north Jersey.

“He’s lost 100 pounds, if not a little bit more, which puts him on a very good track,” Dr. Jaime Ponce, former president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, told the newspaper.

Weight reduction serves many purposes for the Governor of New Jersey:

  1. It’s healthy.
  2. It gets him into shape for the long, strenuous hours of running for President.
  3. It’s not likely Americans will elect a fat President.
by @ 7:52 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie

Christie to Veto New Jersey Bill. Thinking of Iowa?

Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey has indicated that he’s considering vetoing a bill pending in his state’s legislature. The bill would ban the use of so-called “Gestation Cages” by hog farmers. They are used to confine pregnant sows during their gestation, hence the name.

The bill would have pretty much zero effect in New Jersey. There are only a small number of hog farmers in the state, and none of them use the cages. So it’s pretty much a meaningless bill — in New Jersey.

So why would the Governor of New Jersey want to veto a largely symbolic bill in his state? In a word, Iowa.

It turns out that gestation cages ARE a big deal in Iowa. There are tons of hog farmers in Iowa, and the use of the cages is quite common. One or two of the farmers expressed to Governor Christie when he visited the state recently that they really don’t see how anyone who’s never set foot on a hog farm could ever have an informed opinion on the cages. Christie agreed with them.

And which state has the first Presidential contest in the nation? Iowa, which makes it very important in the realm of Presidential politics.

And that’s how an essentially meaningless bill in New Jersey suddenly becomes controversial.

by @ 7:11 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie, Iowa Caucuses

November 17, 2014

Does Christie Have a Gambling Problem?

Gov. Chris Christie has a gambling problem — one that will stretch far beyond this resort city if he runs for president next year.

As the gaming industry continues its free fall, Christie says he wants to “stop the bleeding” in Atlantic City, where the municipal government is a financial train wreck and the casinos have become mostly losing bets for their owners as former patrons flock to competitors in neighboring states.

It’s a dilemma with added political urgency for Christie as he nears an announcement on seeking the 2016 Republican nomination for president — a campaign in which rivals surely will try to pin New Jersey’s ills (Atlantic City isn’t the only one) on Christie.

“Any governor running for president wants to be able to point to successes in his state,” Rutgers University political scientist Ross Baker said. “Christie has a problem in Atlantic City.”

Thus begins an article in the New Jersey Daily Journal entitled, Chris Christie’s Gambling Problem. Its basic premise is that since Atlantic City’s gaming industry is dying and taking Atlantic City with it, that is going to be a problem for Christie should he run for President.

Well maybe it will, or maybe it won’t. Right now I’m on the side of maybe it won’t.

(more…)

by @ 10:19 am. Filed under 2016, Chris Christie

November 15, 2014

Weekend Miscellany

This is planned to be a regular weekend compendium of short comments on (mostly) minor news items, mostly but not exclusively political in nature. It is also an opportunity for you to post your own items in the comments (there’s no such thing as being off-topic on a Miscellany post). We did this in 2011-12 and had fun with it – I hope for the same this go-round.

 

The Mary Landrieu Preservation Act of 2014
WaPo takes a rather cynical view of Senate Democrats’ efforts to rescue one of their own.

Suddenly, the full legislative force of the government has been marshaled to try to tilt the results of the Senate runoff in Louisiana. And voters thought lawmakers couldn’t get together to do what’s best for the nation?

Additionally, they note that theDemocrats may be giving away a valuable bargaining chip and getting little (probably nothing) in return.

…Landrieu had put her fellow Democrats in an awkward spot. Approval of the pipeline was likely to happen eventually, but Obama could have extracted significant concessions from the Republicans for it. Now they may be giving away that chit for nothing, to aide a colleague in a race she’s unlikely to win anyway.

I doubt it matters anyway. Most speculation I’ve seen has been that President Obama will veto any such bill.

 

Should Ben Carson Be Taken Seriously?
In my post a few days ago assessing the early field, I laughed off Ben Carson. This article by Scott Conroy in RCP tries to make the case that maybe that’s not valid.

Okay, I read the article and tried to keep an open mind. Nonetheless, I came away still convinced that a Carson candidacy ain’t goin’ nowhere. I was impressed by the fundraising numbers Conroy cited:

The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee (also known as Draft Ben Carson) has raised over $11 million since it was founded in August 2013, more than $8 million of which has come from contributions under $200.

If they can keep that up, maybe they can keep their guy in the game until the big money that comes to winners starts arriving. I was also impressed that they have operations in every county of Iowa.

My doubts returned, though, when the discussion turned to Carson’s biggest obstacle – his mouth.

And like previous Republican long-shot contenders who rallied the conservative grassroots only to flame out eventually, Carson has a tendency to overreach in searching for the punchiest sound bite.

He is particularly fond of doling out dubious comparisons between the United States under President Obama and Nazi Germany under Hitler, for which he has refused to backtrack whenever given the opportunity to do so.

During an interview with liberal radio host Alan Colmes that was conducted just before the midterms, Carson speculated that if Republicans did not win the Senate, there might not even be an election in 2016 because “there may be so much anarchy going on” in the United States.

One or two of those in a debate, and he’s finished. The problem is that the media will ensure that his wild statements reflect on the whole Party.

 

Was Hillary the Big Winner in the Midterms?
I thought that would get your attention. Of course she wasn’t, but that has been the theme of a number of pieces of wishful thinking by assorted lefties. Their logic, such as it is, goes like this:

  • The rejection of Obama lessens the threat to her from the left
  • It was a rejection of Obama’s leadership, and not of Democratic policies
  • Republicans are wackos and will make a mess of things

Ross Kaminsky does an excellent job of detailing these arguments and then destroying them in The American Spectator. Since Miscellany is intended to be short, I won’t get into details. Read it.

 

Update from Arizona CD-2
Since I’m back in my home state, you’ll have to put up with some Arizona-centric posting. For the second straight election, the race in CD-2 was between Martha McSally and Ron Barber, and for the second time it’s really, really close. Barber, the Democrat, won a tight one (about 1400 votes) last time, and McSally is ahead in an even closer one this time.

So close that it’s going to a mandatory recount. Arizona law says that recounts are required when the margin is either less than 200 votes or less than 0.1% of votes cast. Since McSally is ahead by 161 votes of 219,000 cast, this one qualifies on both measures.

Recounts are usually accompanied by lawsuits, of course, and this one seems likely to be no different. Barber has threatened a suit over 782 provisional ballots that were disallowed, and McSally earlier threatened a suit when Pima County counted provisional ballots that had not been certified by precinct election judges.

The recount won’t start until December 1, I believe, so things are on hold until then. I think McSally, if she survives the recount (which she probably will) and also survives Barber’s probable shot at making it best two out of three, could be a future star in Arizona, so I’ll be watching closely.

 

Chris Christie Ponders Pig Crate Bill
A bill has passed the New Jersey legislature banning the use of ‘gestation crates’ by pig farmers, of whom there aren’t all that many in the state.

Christie has until early December to decide whether to sign a bill that would ban pig farmers in the state from using devices called gestation crates, or metal cages, that are so small that pregnant pigs can’t turn around.

The bill has the overwhelming support of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers in New Jersey, where it would have little-to-no impact – the state’s roughly 300 pig farms don’t regularly use the crates.

Pretty much of a no-brainer, right? It’s a bi-partisan bill of the feel-good variety, probably popular in the Jersey suburban communities, and it won’t do a lot of harm. So sign it, already.

But wait! There are a whole passel of pigs in Iowa, and that state’s governor, Terry Bransted, has called Christie to lobby against the bill. Terry Bransted is somebody potential presidential candidates like to make nice with.

Oh dear, what to do?

 

The Ted Cruz Superhero Coloring Book. Yes, Really.
How much is there to say about such a thing? A picture is worth a thousand words, I’m told, so here are a couple, and you can see the rest at the link.

cruz3
That’s it for this week. Please post your comments or, as mentioned earlier, your own miscellany.

by @ 11:19 am. Filed under 2014, 2016, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz

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.

Whom do the National Security Professionals Favor as Future Commander-in-chief?

Defense One, a website dedicated to National Security, recently ran a poll of “…427 individuals currently serving within the national security community, including from the State Department, Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security”. They were asked whom they preferred as the new Commander-in-chief in 2016. The results are rather telling.

Defense One has not released the percentage results yet; those will be revealed next week. They did, however, release the order of finish. Here it is:

  1. Mitt Romney
  2. Jeb Bush
  3. Hillary Clinton
  4. Paul Ryan
  5. Chris Christie
  6. Rick Perry
  7. Rand Paul
  8. Joe Biden
  9. Marco Rubio
  10. Ted Cruz

I am surprised to see Mitt Romney’s name atop that list. He has never struck me as the sort of person that a National Security professional (aka: “hard men who put their lives on the line so we can sleep safe at night”) would prefer as CinC.

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.

November 8, 2014

Christie Is Back!

The 2016 presidential election is now on the minds of many Americans who pay close attention to politics, and although there will be no incumbent president running in 2016, the Democratic nomination seems to have been settled on Hillary Clinton, assuming that she runs.

The Republican nomination, however, seems to be a wide open question right now, and even lacks a consensus frontrunner.

I  suggest that, once again, the most formidable contender for the conservative party’s nomination is Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

He had been a early favorite many months ago until a local New Jersey scandal threatened to demolish any aspirations he might have for higher office. The “scandal” itself was “distasteful” and inexcusable, but any direct or even culpable indirect role of the governor in the event turned out to be non-existent. That this “scandal” was meant to derail a very promising Republican national figure, however, became obvious. Governor Christie’s handling of the allegations and insinuations was something to behold. He, in effect, wrote a new book in political crisis management.

He is no stranger to controversy. In the final days of the 2012 presidential campaign, after a hurricane devastated parts of New Jersey, Christie welcomed and “embraced” President Obama to the state at a time when the election outcome was in doubt. Governor Christie needed presidential help to meet the serious problems arising from the natural disaster, but he seemed oblivious to political appearances. Many Republicans declared they would subsequently not ever support Christie if he ran for president. His poll numbers took a dive. “Sage” political observers, political consultants and pundits alike, wrote and rewrote his political obituary.

Employing his natural instinct to remain on offense, and his remarkable speaking skills, Christie immediately faced the public and the press after the New Jersey “bridge scandal” with his side of the story. Damage had unquestionably been done, but in subsequent months, employing his role as chair of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), he demonstrated his skills as a spokesman, inspiration and fundraiser for his party.

He had won re-election in New Jersey with 58% of the vote in spite of the state being a very Democratic or “blue” state. After the scandal, his poll numbers dropped precipitously. Today, they are partially recovered, especially among Republicans.

Not only did he raise more money for gubernatorial campaigns in 2014, he raised more money than anyone had before. He campaigned tirelessly for GOP gubernatorial candidates, both incumbents and challengers, and everywhere he went he was enthusiastically welcomed (unlike a certain incumbent president of the United States). So much for his political obituary.

The biggest media story from the results of the 2014 national midterm elections was the Republican takeover of the U.S. senate. Perhaps the bigger political story, however, was the performance of GOP governors in winning re-election against considerable odds. There were many more incumbent Republican governorships at stake in 2014, and virtually all observers predicted  Democratic net gains even if there were a GOP wave in congressional races.
Governor Christie, as RGA chair, skillfully raised funds for GOP gubernatorial races (significantly out-raising the Democrats), and as the biggest Republican “star,” campaigned non-stop for virtually all of his party’s gubernatorial candidates, many of whom were very vulnerable in 2014. Most of them nevertheless won. As a result, he can take some notable credit for the the remarkable outcome, I think it’s fair to say that Governor Christie was the biggest individual winner of 2014 and he wasn’t on any ballot.

I am not yet predicting he will be the Republican nominee for president in 2016, but after reviewing the many other known hopefuls for that nomination, I feel safe to say that he is among the two or three frontrunners for it, and perhaps already (again) the man to beat.

He has obvious political handicaps to overcome before the 2016 GOP national convention. As a conservative governor from a liberal state, some of his political views do not conform to party orthodoxy. Some Republicans have not forgotten his “embrace” of Barack Obama in 2012, and others remain skeptical about his role in the recent scandal. “Perhaps he could win the general election,” some go on to say, “but he cannot be nominated.”

The nomination process lies ahead, and how he might win that prize is the challenge that faces him and his strategists, but I point to the central strength of his candidacy: He is the only national Republican figure who understands his party’s need to assume the offense in national politics, and to take the risk of confronting the liberal establishment of regulatory advocates, class warriors, union leaders and other forces of liberal special interests. He is also by far the national Republican personality with the most charisma.

He does have weaknesses and shortcomings, and these might yet keep him from the nomination. He will face a large field of fellow Republicans in the primary/caucus process, and then, even if he is successful, he will probably have to face Mrs. Clinton. All of this is yet to come, and will be formidable. More than anything else, Chris Christie will have to demonstrate to his party, and then to the nation, that he can learn from his own past, and from the polarizing travail of the Obama years.

By 2016, not only his party, but the whole nation, will be yearning for someone to take charge in Washington, DC, someone who can not only lead well and wisely, but also truly inspire.

—————————————————————————————-
Copyright 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

by @ 12:01 am. Filed under 2016, 2016 Headlines, Chris Christie, R4'16 Essential Reads

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