As the 2012 presidential campaign began to form seriously in 2011, some conservatives suggested that the by-then commonplace slogan “It’s the economy, stupid!” would be replaced by new slogan “It’s Obamacare, stupid!” as the emblematic theme of the Republican attempt to replace the president, then in his first term, the next year.
It was based, quite understandably, on the performance of the 2010 mid-term elections when the Republicans regained control of the U.S. house with a pick-up of 60-plus seats, and a significant pick-up of U.S senate seats, primarily due to negative voter reaction to the just-passed medical care reform law known as Obamacare. Republicans, it should be remembered, became increasingly confident that they could win the 2012 presidential election, and they nominated someone who, because of his support of a similar program when he was governor of a northeastern state, was going to have a difficult time making Obamacare a dispositive issue. Mitt Romney had other political problems, to be sure, and the election was close, but the GOP slogan did not materialize as the difference.
Going into the 2014 mid-term elections, Obamacare is once again driving voters away from Democratic candidates. In fact, it is potentially more serious than in 2010 because the legislation is now being implemented — with disastrous early results.
I am suggesting, however, that a focus on Obamacare by Republicans beyond 2014 is a very bad strategy. The reasons are simple. If voter dissatisfaction with the legislation does resonate in the 2014 elections, it will be repealed or dramatically altered whether or not President Obama agrees to it. Members of Congress of his own party, having seen the writing on the electoral wall of 2014, will vote to override any veto. It will be a matter of political survival, and Mr. Obama will be a very lame duck. If, somehow, Obamacare miraculously (it would take a miracle) succeeds suddenly in 2014, including getting by its inaugural technical glitches, and its implementation is not put off until 2015, there will obviously no issue. In either case, Obamacare would cease to confront voters after 2015.
At the same time, Democrats are developing, as their prime slogan for 2016, “It’s time for a woman president!” This, of course, presupposes that the current Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, is their nominee. There are two problems with this slogan-as-strategy. First, in spite of her huge lead in current polls, the election is almost three years away. Mrs. Clinton enjoyed a similar “insurmountable” lead in 2005, and three years later, she came up short when Mr. Obama won the party nod. Second, and perhaps more important, relying on an abstraction, albeit a sympathetic one for some voters, is a very risky strategy, and not ultimately complimentary to Mrs. Clinton’s qualifications.
I happen to believe it IS time for a woman (from either party) to be elected president, but I certainly would not want to vote for a woman primarily because of her sex. The nation leads outstanding leadership, now more than ever, and the only true major consideration should be a vote for the best person, either liberal or conservative, to serve in the nation’s highest office. Historically, it was theoretically time for a Catholic to be president in 1928 when Al Smith was the Democratic nominee, but it was not until 1960 when John Kennedy was elected. It was time to have a Jew on the national ticket in 2000 when Joe Lieberman was the Democratic vice presidential nominee, but he did not win. Jesse Jackson ran twice for president, and many said that Republican Colin Powell could have won if he ran, but it was Barack Obama who was the first black president.
Today, notably more women already vote Democratic, and notably more men vote Republican. It is difficult to imagine that an even higher percentage of women would vote for a Democratic nominee. It is thus illusory to think that primarily because she is a woman, Mrs. Clinton would win in 2016. Nor will her “resume” alone give her victory. American voters historically don’t vote for “resumes,” including most recently in 2008. If she is her party’s nominee, Mrs. Clinton will have to give voters very good reasons to vote for her, especially after two terms of a president of her own party, the resulting Obama-fatigue that will exist in 2016, and despite her own many controversies, personal and political.
It is, of course, a long time until 2016. In addition to the 2014 elections, numerous events, many of them unanticipated, will occur. Hillary Clinton could indeed be elected president in 2016, but I suspect the main reason would not be simply that she is a woman. (What if, by the way, the GOP nominee chooses the talented New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez as his running mate?) A Republican might indeed be elected president in 2016, but I suspect the main reason would not be voter dissatisfaction with Obamacare.
Slogans, or other short rationales, do rarely win national elections. Long before it was verbalized by the Bill Clinton campaign, the “economy” was almost always was the major factor in a presidential election.
-Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
As Terry McAuliffe appears to be headed for the Virginia governor’s mansion, Bill Clinton has again come out of hiding to stump for his former underling — and to do what he does best, which is revel in the adoration of crowds:
Roland Clark, a 56-year-old defense contractor who lives about a half-hour south of Richmond, has watched Clinton on TV for decades and always wanted to watch him live.
“A lot of people just want to see President Clinton,” he said.
His wife, Brenda, said Clinton will help motivate people to get out and vote.
“President Clinton is just the extra piece to confirm you’re voting for the right guy,” she said.
Bill Clinton was widely credited with boosting President Obama’s standing in the polls after the 2012 Democratic National Convention. There’s not a Democrat alive that doesn’t want a piece of that old Clinton magic.
People don’t actually miss Bill Clinton, however. They miss the 1990s.
Like all masterful politicians, Clinton is skillfully playing upon people’s natural tendency to conflate representations of things with the things that they represent.
Major premise: The 1990s were good. Minor premise: Bill Clinton was president during the 1990s. Ergo, Bill Clinton is good. (Yes, he’s still taking credit for the tech boom and the ‘peace dividend.’)
People miss the 1990s in a terrible way. And why not? It was the second coming of the 1950s: a tyrannical state preaching a horrific totalitarian ideology had finally been felled, the American economy boomed, and we took a so-called ‘holiday from history.’ I was born in 1990. There couldn’t have been a more idyllic decade in which to have been a child.
Or to have been president. Bill Clinton is not the 1990s. He entered office in the midst of a relatively calm international climate, a booming economy, and stable social conditions. One could certainly credit him with not breaking anything, but George W. Bush’s warning about the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ resonates. The political virtues of the Clintons, in this sense, are a sort of mirage — defined by the dictionary as ‘an optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions.’
Hillary Clinton is going to wage a campaign in 2016 that subtly appeals to 90s nostalgia. She might get away with it. But the 1990s are over. Putting a representation of the 1990s in office won’t bring those years back.
- Hillary Clinton 77% (63%)
- Joe Biden 11% (12%)
- Some other candidate 6%
- Undecided 6%
Survey of likely Democratic primary voters was conducted September 16-17, 2013. Results from the poll conducted August 1-2, 2013 are in parentheses.
-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal
Much has been made in the conservative media about the few remaining “moderates” who are Republicans in the U.S. senate. Most notably, these are senators from the Northeast and border states, and they have become targets for some so-called Tea Party conservatives who challenge them in their re-election primaries. Two of these “moderates” (who I prefer to call centrists) are up for re-election next year. They are Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
But there are many more so-called “moderates” or centrists on the Democratic side of the aisle. They include, in varying degrees, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, Senator Christopher Coons of Delaware, Senator Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania, Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Senator Jeff Donnelly of Indiana, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Senator Mike Begich of Alaska and Senator Angus King of Maine (who calls himself an independent, but organizes with the Democrats). Democratic Mayor Cory Booker of New Jersey, who almost certainly will be elected to the senate in an October special election to replace a recently deceased liberal Democrat, is also very much a liberal centrist, and will be added to this group.
The presence of so many centrist Democratic senators is rarely discussed in the Old (liberal) Media, because if it were properly acknowledged, it would reduce the media-supported illusion of the Obama radical agenda.
Most of the above senators, it should be pointed out, are rather liberal on social issues (especially compared to most Republicans) as might be expected, but they have also been voting quite liberal on many economic issues, too; often more liberal than their private views. That has been primarily due to the heavy-handed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and to President Obama, both of whom have advanced a radical liberal agenda, tolerate little dissent, and who have maintained a tight discipline on all Democratic members, regardless of their views.
Just as centrist Republicans face primary challenges in 2014 (and did so in 2010 and 2012), centrist Democrats face serious GOP challengers in their re-election campaigns. Their major problem, unlike their conservative centrist counterparts, is usually not with their party base, but with their statewide electorates. Thus, Senators Landrieu, Pryor, Hagan, and Begich are vulnerable in 2014 (although only Senators Pryor and Landrieu already have a very serious GOP opponent). Other centrist incumbent Democratic senators have simply retired rather than face defeat.
I have pointed out that most of these liberal centrist senators have been voting with the very liberal Democratic senate leadership and with the White House, but a new question arises if the Republicans should win back control of the U.S. senate in 2014. Should the GOP win in 2014, especially if it’s a wave election as it was in 2010, surviving Senate Democratic centrists will face a very different environment in 2015. President Obama will not only be an extremely lame duck, he also would be without the leverage to expand his very liberal agenda. Not having a record of compromising, or any pattern of meaningful relationships with the Republicans in the Congress during his first six years in office, Mr. Obama would be on constant defense, trying to protect his earlier legislation and programs, and unable to expand his agenda.
Since more than 40 per cent of the surviving incumbent Democratic senators would be centrists, and a number of them up for re-election in 2016 and 2018, the ability of any senate Democratic leader to maintain voting discipline would be very problematic. The ability to maintain Obama health care reform, raise taxes, add new government regulations, and increase government spending would be very much at risk not only because Republicans would control both houses of the Congress, but also because many Democrats might well begin voting along more the centrist lines which they believe in, and most importantly, which they can defend when they next go before the voters.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
- Hillary Clinton 63%
- Joe Biden 12%
Note: Several other prominent Democrats (Cory Booker, Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley, and Antonio Villaraigosa) muster five percent (5%) or less support.
Survey of likely Democratic primary voters was conducted August 1-2, 2013.
-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal
For the innumerable faults of the mainstream media there is one thing that they can do better than anyone; set and parrot the conventional wisdom. The idea that “Hillary Clinton is a done deal for 2016” is one that they have latched onto with glee. It makes sense really. At a certain level there is some guilt amongst them for having so openly cheered on Obama during the 2008 primaries (giving Hillary a small sampling of the bias that Republicans always have to contend with), and the other part is history. They helped elect the first African-American President, now it’s time to elect the first liberal woman President. I say liberal woman President because if anyone believes that the media would so openly root for Susana Martinez or Nikki Haley, I have a ski resort in Orlando to sell you. So as is their wont, the media is in full Hillary 2016 mode; she’s inevitable, she’s wildly popular, she’d win in a landslide, Republicans would stand no chance, and the Democratic nomination is nothing but a coronation. If any of this sounds familiar that’s because we heard the same song-and-dance back in 2005 as Clinton pondered running in 2008. She was all those things back then too.
Now, I’m not saying that Hillary, if she decides to run (which is a big if in my opinion, more on that later) won’t be the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination. She certainly will be, but therein lies one of her problems. Democrats simply don’t like to pick their front-runners. Since 1972 when the modern primary system came into effect, there have been 8 Democratic primaries where the incumbent President has not run. In those 8 contests only twice has the Democratic front-runner went on to win; 1984 with Walter Mondale, and in 2000 with Al Gore. Both cases involved a Vice President, and Fritz Mondale nearly lost in 1984 to Gary Hart.
But, you say, Hillary is so popular with the country, the Democrats would be crazy to not nominate her. If Clinton’s popularity was based on actual accomplishment, then yes we should be worried. But it isn’t. Clinton’s popularity right now is based on a carefully crafted narrative; that of the well accomplished, wildly successfully, moderate Secretary of State. It’s all a fantasy. Look at the world we live in; a hyper-aggressive North Korea, Syria in a bloody civil war, Egypt in turmoil, the Palestinians even more useless than usual, the Eurozone collapsing, frost between the US and Israel, China on the ascent, and Iranian centrifuges still working. Is Hillary Clinton responsible for all of this? No, but they all happened or started happening while she was nominally the top US official besides the President in charge of foreign policy. Candidate Clinton would have to answer for every single one of those things. Not to mention the worst one of all, when a mob of savages murdered four Americans, including our Ambassador in Benghazi. The best Hillary Clinton could come up with at the Senate hearing on it was “what difference does it make?” The perception of Clinton is far stronger than the reality of Clinton’s tenure at Foggy Bottom.
The other problem for Clinton is the one that plagued her in 2008; the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Liberals rejected Clinton for two main reasons; one of them was her vote to authorize the War in Iraq. The second one is far more dangerous long term for Clinton. The second reason liberals rejected her was because they were tired of running a Bill Clinton “Third Way” or triangulation campaign. They wanted to win as liberals. This was fundamentally at odds with the Clinton strategy. Clinton felt that even in the primaries, she had to at least talk like a moderate so as not to scare off independents for the fall campaign. That was unacceptable to the left-wing of the Party and they cast their eyes about looking for a liberal alternative. They found one, and he is now President of the United States.
President Obama’s two victories have also taught the left a seductive lesson, one that is very hard to forget; that a liberal, running as a liberal, can win a general election without having to moderate or move to the center. Looking to the Obama example in 2008 and 2012, liberals in the Democratic Party will want their 2016 nominee to be a person of the left. Much like right-wing Republicans who think that we can just reprint the 1980 party platform every cycle and win, the left in the Democratic Party will do the same thing. This type of analysis of course ignores a ton of the factors that go into the election of a President, but it is the lesson those people learn because it is the lesson they want to learn.
This will hurt Clinton because the rest of the would-be Democratic field has already moved left or was always on the left. Andrew Cuomo in New York veered hard left earlier this year with vast new gun control legislation. Elizabeth Warren thinks that banks and Wall Street are the root of all evil. John Hickenlooper in Colorado signed new gun restrictions and is Governor of the state that legalized marijuana. Even Joe Biden has been making noise to please the left. And perhaps the most dangerous one of them all, Martin O’Malley of Maryland has compiled a long list of left-wing accomplishments; raised taxes, abolished the death penalty, and legalized gay marriage to name a few. In short, if the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is still suspicious of Hillary Clinton and the Clintonite Third-Way, there are definitely alternatives out there. And some of those people, particularly O’Malley, will not step aside for Clinton. The aura of invincibility is something that, once gone, is impossible to get back. And Hillary lost it when she lost the nomination in 2008.
Finally, there is no guarantee that Hillary will run anyways. This is usually dismissed as wishful thinking, but I don’t think so. Clinton suffered a relatively serious health scare recently; God willing it’ll be the last, but you just don’t know with that kind of stuff, particularly at her age. Clinton will be 69 years old in 2016 and she knows how physically taxing not only campaigning but actually governing the country is. All she has to do is remember what her husband looked like in 1992 and what he looked like in 2000; the Presidency ages the person who holds the office. Perhaps Clinton will feel that she physically cannot do the job to the best of her ability? Also, there is the legacy argument; as has been stated before she is currently very popular with broad sections of the public. This will not last in the intensity of a presidential campaign. Both her Democratic opponents and whoever we Republicans nominate will comb through her long record, find something, and bludgeon her with it. This vote in the Senate or that comment to the Prime Minister of such-and-such. Why would Clinton want to risk her popularity and star power on one last shot at the brass ring? Why not simply stay the beloved elder stateswoman?
At this point, I have no idea how 2016 is going to play out, and those who say that they are certain are fools and delusional. Four years is an eternity in politics. Old faces will fade away, new ones will come to the forefront, issues that we never thought would be important suddenly are, or the electorate will suddenly want someone with a certain type of experience, who knows? That’s the point; those who already have Hillary Clinton writing her convention acceptance speech and measuring the drapes for the Oval Office are looking at 2016 from the viewpoint of 2013. And that is nothing but folly.
Over at BuzzFeed, Ruby Cramer chronicles Gov. Martin O’Malley’s difficulties generating buzz with the specter of Hillary! 2016 casting a large shadow over campaign already:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ask the Democratic governors gathered at the JW Marriott this weekend who they liked for president in 2016 — as all but every reporter here did — and most would come around to mentioning Martin O’Malley.
The annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association is, traditionally, one of the places the season of the Great Mentioner begins to settle in on the candidates for the presidency, and the Maryland governor — the Democrat with perhaps the best résumé, and the cleanest shot of any here — made himself known as one of the chosen few.
But the reporters at the event, ready to chase down governors in between conference sessions and meals and breaks for the bathroom, weren’t asking about him: They were asking, as Politico did, about Hillary Clinton, leaving O’Malley to embody the frustrating waiting game inhabited by him and all other Democrats not named Clinton.
“I can’t really control what decisions other people make, whether or not they run,” O’Malley said after being asked, not for the first time, whether Clinton’s decision to run would affect his own. “And even if I knew, I don’t think it would change what I have to do this year, which is to govern well, always learn, become better prepared, and most important, deliver results for the people you’re serving.”
Be sure to read Cramer’s full story here.
The Washington Post has the story:
So, what happens if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run in 2016?
It is hard to imagine the presidential field without a woman contender, and here’s one to keep your eye on: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Napolitano is quietly making it known that she is considering the race, and there is reason to take her seriously.
Before coming to Washington, Napolitano was a highly regarded and very popular governor in Arizona, a state not known as a hospitable one for Democrats. In 2005, Time Magazine named her one of the nation’s five best governors, noting: “Positioning herself as a no-nonsense, pro-business centrist, she has worked outside party lines since coming to office in January 2003 to re-energize a state that, under her predecessors, was marked by recession and scandal.”
Full story here.
Kos blogger Constantinople outlines all the reasons why Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s potenetial 2016 presidential bid should is a non-starter for progressives:
On the heels of the historic achievement of legalizing same-sex marriage in New York, a small but influential cabal of establishment pundits (who neither live in New York, nor are progressive) have already begun the Andrew Cuomo for President in 2016 buzz.
Politico, the Washington Post, 538 (is Poblano jumping the shark?), and no less an establishment insider than Bob Shrum are practically ready to start drafting the man’s inauguration speech.
But while the same-sex marriage achievement is a terrific one (shared by Cuomo and many others), Andrew Cuomo has otherwise governed New York like a red-state conservative (not just a New York Republican, but a Christie-like conservative) who has made the New York Post editorial page swoon: ending taxes for millionaires, while cutting services for the elderly, children, disabled, ignoring environmental hazards to protect the deep-pocketed gas drilling industry, and waging a war on labor. These kinds of things are hailed by the establishment types as “taking on the unions” and “making the hard choices.”
But whatever you call them, they ain’t progressive. And progressives would be wise to cut this fledgling speculation off at the legs, before it grows tentacles.
Full post here.
Now that everything is said and done, it’s time to figure out the truly important stuff: Who benefits, duh! (Gotta embrace the new national ethos, right?)
WINNER: Nate Silver, Public Policy Polling, and Pollsters Generally: Surprise! It turns out that professional pollsters know how to do their jobs! Nate Silver and Public Policy Polling especially deserve credit, given the crap that they’ve had to put up with. Many conservative bloggers erupted at them for not telling them what they wanted to hear — but they were right. Mr. Silver’s modeling was highly accurate for the second cycle in a row, and the dreaded PPP nailed this election, calling every state, including Florida, correctly. Marist and Quinnipiac, also slammed by conservatives, were also highly accurate. When I predicted last week that Obama would win reelection and that we’d lose ground in the Senate, almost every single commenter on this site told me that I was buying into the awful biased pollsters and Nate Silver’s nonsense. The lesson here is simple: If you want to criticize a pollster, you need to understand how polling works and then make a specific criticism about the pollster’s methodology. If a poll shows a strong Democratic turnout advantage, it does not mean that the pollster is conspiring against Republicans — it means that more people are telling pollsters that they are Democrats and that they are also likely to vote. Weighting for party ID — ie; what so many people wanted the pollsters to do — is what would have really skewed the polls. Polls showed consistently that Democrats were just as enthusiastic, if not more enthusiastic, about reelecting the president as Republicans were about defeating him — and there’s more Democrats in this country than Republicans. The math is quite simple.
WINNER: Social Liberals: Ballot questions about same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization passed in almost every state that had them. (Oregon rejected a more extreme version of marijuana legalization.) Prominent social conservatives Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lost Senate races that should have been easy GOP pick-ups. Is social conservatism viable? Perhaps, but at the very least, it will have to be repackaged. As a 22-year-old, I find it impossible to have conversations about politics with friends who barely follow the news: “Doesn’t Mitt Romney want to ban abortion? Wasn’t there a Republican talking about how he supports rape? Why would anyone vote for someone who doesn’t support gay people?” They won’t even listen to me try to explain the conservative position on a complicated issue like Medicare — they’ve already closed themselves off to the GOP, because they think it tolerates bigotry. Conservative activists need to learn that young people do not choose a party based on a checklist of issues — they examine the parties, usually in their late teens or early 20s, and try to get a general sense of what they stand for. The social issues are the easiest to understand and are the most emotionally-loaded. If the Republican Party is seen as harboring extremists, it will lose young people’s votes — possibly for a generation. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock are not representative of the GOP mainstream — but too many young people look at the party and say “Well, I’m not sure where I am on all the issues, maybe, but I just know that I don’t wanna be in the same party as the guy talking about legitimate rape.” For your average voter, choosing a party is often no more complicated than that. If we want to make gains among young people, we have to actively suppress the candidacies of social-issues extremists.
LOSER: Rasmussen Reports: Scott Rasmussen can no longer be considered a credible pollster. His projections were disastrous. Furthermore, Rasmussen Reports polls should no longer be included in the RealClearPolitics polling average. If Rasmussen wants to win back his reputation, then he should demonstrate in 2014 that he is not just a partisan hack. But in this cycle, every single one of his state polls — both in the presidential race and in the Senate races — showed a pronounced bias toward the Republican candidate, just like they did in 2010. Rasmussen helped create a counterproductive echo-chamber environment amongst conservatives in this cycle — even as credible pollsters like PPP, Marist, and Quinnipiac showed the president gaining, for instance, conservative activists always were able to point to an inaccurate Rasmussen poll as a reason to believe that Mitt Romney still had a chance and that Rasmussen was catching something that the other pollsters, with their flawed turnout models, were missing. But Rasmussen showed a systemic Republican bias, and he needs to be held accountable for it in some way.
WINNER: GOP Up-and-Comers: With the Romney-Ryan 2016 question out of the way, the field is cleared for a new generation of leaders to truly assume command of the national conversation. Expect to hear more from Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and others — and for a dynamic 2016 primary race to unfold. Despite last night’s wipe-out, it’s an exciting time to be a Republican — for the first time in quite some time, it’s our party that looks like the party of the future. If we can fix our little demographic problem, that is…
LOSER: The GOP, Among Hispanics: Here is the fact that will tell you everything that you need to know: Romney won whites by the same margin that Ronald Reagan did in 1980. He still lost in an electoral landslide. There’s no way around this problem anymore: the electorate was only 72% white this year. We are running out of Joe the Plumbers. We cannot continue to be the party that Latinos perceive as hostile to their race and culture. We can complain all day long about whether that’s fair or accurate — but the problem exists whether he want to acknowledge it or not. It has cost us a variety of races in the past few cycles in states like Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. George W. Bush was on the right track, earning nearly 40% of the Hispanic vote. If his immigration reform bill had passed, we might have a considerable share of the Hispanic vote right now. But we gave into the Tom Tancredos of the world in 2006, just like Mitt Romney did in 2011 when he ran to the right of Rick Perry for short-term personal gain at the party’s expense. He laid his own trap for the general election. Now this problem persists. Obama is going to tackle immigration reform in his second term. If the Republican Party revolts against it, we may lose the Hispanic vote for an entire generation, and with it, the party as we know it. I anticipate a full-on civil war about this issue in the party within the next two years.
WINNER: Bill Clinton: The rehabilitation of William Jefferson Clinton is complete. There is no more beloved Democrat in the entire country. His excellent convention speech was widely credited with launching Obama into his comfortable September lead, and his preferred strategy of painting Mitt Romney as a heartless plutocrat rather than a flip-flopper paid off. Romney bested Obama on questions about the economy and deficit — but when pollsters asked whether Romney understood the problems facing the middle class, he was absolutely blown away by the president. Clinton helped Obama to embrace a truth that few politicians truly understand: That most people don’t vote for ideology. They vote for politicians who they think “get” them. Bill Clinton will also be a tremendous asset to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign — both in the primaries (should they matter) and in the general election. If she decides to run, that is…
NEUTRAL: Paul Ryan: Nobody is blaming Paul Ryan for any part of last night’s outcome. He performed admirably as Mitt Romney’s running mate and has seen his national stature elevated. He finds himself in a position much like John Edwards four years ago. Hopefully he can make a bit more of the opportunity — he is an exceptional politician and he deserves to be one of our party’s leaders.
WINNER: Establishment Republicans / LOSER: Tea Party Republicans: The Tea Party continues to rack up losses in the Senate. In the past two cycles, they have cost us Delaware, Indiana, Colorado, and Nevada. (Full disclosure: I supported Mourdock over Lugar. I did not expect him to self-destruct; I will never again support a Tea Party insurgent against a popular incumbent.) Tea Party favorites Allen West and Mia Love both lost; Michele Bachmann had a scare but managed to hang on. Republicans retain control of the House, though. As Obama’s second term begins, I expect Boehner and Cantor’s influence to grow against the more hardline Tea Party elements of the Republican caucus. The country has voted, and elections have consequences. Boehner and Cantor — as well as Ryan — recognize that. My advice to the Tea Party is this: When qualified, articulate, conservative establishment-types like Rubio, Cruz, and Toomey are nominated, they win. When radical ideologues like Sharron Angle, Richard Mourdock, and Christine O’Donnell are embraced, they lose. It’s not too hard to figure out what to do with such information.
OVERALL: I’m trying to find a silver lining for Republicans, but I just don’t see one. Last night was an utter massacre. Yet, this is no time to whine (or to shoot the messenger). It’s time to figure out why we lost — and what we can do about it.
The Democratic Party held a rally featuring Sandra Fluke in Washoe County, NV (pop 426K). Ten people showed up. Ten people!
The Tea Party held a rally featuring Connie Mack and Allen West in Indian River County, FL (pop 139K). 3000+ people showed up.
By population, the ratio between the two rallies’ attendance is 920 to one. In other words, to match the turnout of the Tea Party rally per population, Fluke should have had 9200 people in Reno there to see her. Instead, she only had ten.
And how many were media people, I wonder.
Political junkies know by now that when the fundraising numbers for each campaign are released every month, things are more complicated than they might seem. The numbers each campaign releases are usually the combined totals of three different entities: the campaign, the party, and the joint “victory fund” between the two. Between those three organizations, for instance, Romney and the RNC raised $171 million in September and began October with an eye-popping $191 million cash on hand.
Obama and the DNC announced earlier in October that their three groups had raised a total of $181 million in September — but have actively refused to tell anyone how much cash they had left for the final month of the campaign.
Well, the filings that will reveal all are due to the FEC no later than tomorrow… and two of the three pieces of the Democratic puzzle have filed their reports today. First, the joint Victory Fund reported raising $82.3 million and ending September with just $45 million on hand.
Then, the DNC reported ending September with only $4.6 million cash on hand — and carrying $20.4 million in debt. (For comparison sake, the RNC ended September with $86 million cash on hand.)
Adding those two pieces together, we get $49.6 million cash on hand… and $20.4 million in debt.
Obama’s campaign better have a ridiculous amount of cash on hand if he hopes to compete with Romney in these final weeks. Either way, their total is not going to come anywhere close to the Romney/RNC total of $191 million. We will know for sure tomorrow…
That didn’t take long. Below is a brand new ad the RNC put out this morning zeroing in on Obama’s atrocious body language last night:
It’s effective, but too bad it’s a minute and a half. That makes is way too long for TV.
The DNC responded with an ad of their own. You could call it, “Mitt is a big meanie!”:
Well if your guy just pummeled on National TV, what else are you going to say?
I doubt it gets run on too many TV stations. You usually don’t broadcast that your presidential candidate is a wimp, and the other guy isn’t.
Maine’s heavy-hitter Democrats gathered Tuesday to speak to students about the need for involvement in the political process. Congressman Mike Michaud, George Mitchell and Emily Cain — district representative for Orono — were just a few of the speakers at the event, which took place in the Wells Convention Center at the University of Maine.
Only four students showed up to the event.
Out of a student body of around 8900 students, only four showed up. FOUR!!! That works out to 0.045 percent of the enrolled students.
“Toto, I don’t think we’re in 2008 anymore.”
It’s striking to me how few people actually argue with the intent to persuade. Every day, political junkies march into battle in the war of words taking place in the blogosphere and on social media websites — yet, it is difficult to imagine many people emerging from these exchanges feeling compelled to change their opinions, let alone reexamine their ideologies. Mostly, people just assert, and when their assertions are challenged, they assert some more, without bothering to examine their opponents’ assumptions about the world — which, right or wrong, are very different than their own.
I joked on my Facebook feed earlier this week that the Democratic Convention reminded me of why I dislike Democrats even more in practice than I do in theory — that, in the abstract, I usually agree with the party about one-third of the time, but that as soon as one of their leaders opens his mouth, I’m reminded that our agreement is basically an accident. I support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, for instance — yet, in my mind, I am not framing that support as a vindication of my own kindness, empathy, and compassion. Despite our mutual support for the bill, I could not recognize myself in the pro-Dream Act speakers, who discussed the argument in terms of heroes and villains — open-minded, compassionate liberals against racist, selfish conservatives. Why is this?
The answer can be found in the makeup of the parties. The essential nature of the two parties’ coalitions is this: the Republican argument is geared fundamentally toward ideology, while the Democratic argument is geared fundamentally toward identity. The Republican Party is a collection of ideological factions — capitalists, defense hawks, and religious traditionalists, all of whom identify first and foremost with their chosen ideology — and the Democratic Party is a collection of identity factions — women, gays, Hispanics, union members, etc., all of whom identify first and foremost with that identity. It’s not a perfect split, of course, but I think, as a general rule, this is true.
Ideology, by definition, is an abstract concern, while identity relates to people’s lived experiences. Ideals of liberty and freedom are worth fighting for — but for those who aren’t already predisposed to identify with and prioritize those values, they’re also hard to relate to, on a day-to-day level. This difficulty is compounded when dealing with people who are members of minority groups — people for whom identity traits are a constant theme in their emotional life. If you’re white, you’re unlikely to spend a lot of time thinking about your race. However, if you’re gay, you’re almost certainly going to spend a lot of time thinking about your sexual orientation, including how that factors into other aspects of your life, such as politics — which leaves less room for other values, like freedoms of speech, association, and religion.
Should that be so? Maybe. Maybe not. But that’s the way it is. And it makes it significantly easier for Democrats to convince minorities to identify with their party — especially at a young age, when they are still in the process of forging an identity, still deciding what values will be meaningful in their lives. Most people — believe it or not — don’t actually pay much attention to politics. When choosing a political party, the average American simply asks himself which party best matches his personal values. Last year, I persuaded my best friend, a fellow young gay man, to become a Republican instead of a Democrat. “I became a Democrat because of gay marriage,” he explained to me. “From there, I just kind of talked myself into the rest of what the party said.” There are millions of stories just like my friend’s.
Those millions of stories translate into a solid foundation of public support for Democrats. The paradox of appealing to “minorities” is that the majority of us fall into one of those categories. Between blacks, Hispanics, feminist women, gays and lesbians, Jewish people, Muslims, and niche constituencies like labor unions, there are a whole lot of people who can properly identify as a member of a minority group — and the Democrats, not the Republicans, are the ones who appeal to them on a visceral, emotional level. Democrats reach out to them on the basis of identity — on the basis of their lived experiences. When it comes to raw, emotional reactions, lived experiences always beat abstractions. This is why Republicans are consistently trounced on the question of empathy — and why Obama is still in a commanding position to win reelection.
If Republicans want to win over minority voters, they have to do so by appealing to their lived experiences — not to abstract ideology. We can’t persuade simply by doubling down on idealistic themes like liberty and free enterprise. These are values that are worth fighting for, to be sure — and they remain our ultimate goals — but in electoral politics, different tactics must be used to appeal to different constituencies. We have to explain to the black urban voter how conservatism, not liberalism, will help his child obtain a better education, become financially independent, and encounter less discrimination in the world. We have to explain to gay voters that capitalism, not socialism, has made life easier for sexual minorities all around the world. These voters are not predisposed to agree with the Republican Party’s values, and they can’t be won over with the same rhetoric that we would use at CPAC. They want to hear language that relates to their lived experiences.
Perhaps in an ideal world, we’d be able to explain our values to left-wingers and moderates in the same way that we do among fellow conservatives and libertarians. Maybe, maybe not. But we’ve already tried asserting. We do that all the time. When it comes to winning over minority voters, it doesn’t work. If we want to close the ‘empathy gap,’ what we need to do is start persuading. And that means meeting other people on their terms. That is, after all, the very definition of empathy.
Obama’s acceptance speech is getting panned today by both the left and the right, but his supporters need not worry. It turns out that is exactly what he wanted to do all along. From the Daily Beast:
Barack Obama’s team wanted an earthbound speech, and they got it.
In short, the president deliberately dialed it down, stopping well short of the altitudes he is capable of reaching. Perhaps that will prove to be a mistake, but the decision to go with a less rousing approach was carefully considered.
So just as they explain the much smaller crowds showing up at his rallies as their desire to have more “intimate” occasions with the President and his supporters, they are now purposefully limiting the height his rhetoric soars. He doesn’t want to overly excite them.
Radio host Peter Schiff finds out:
How does the average Democrat think the economy should work?
Have at it in the comments.
There are no words to describe this… Just watch.
The Democrats opened up their convention with a video proclaiming that the Government is the only thing that we all belong to:
To which Romney quickly tweeted:
We don’t belong to government, the government belongs to us.
Now the DNC and the Obama Campaign are claiming that they had nothing to do with the video. From BuzzFeed:
An Obama aide emails that the Charlotte host committee, not the Obama campaign, produced the video:
“The video in question was produced and paid for by the host committee of the city of Charlotte. It’s neither an OFA nor a DNC video, despite what the Romney campaign is claiming. It’s time for them to find a new target for their faux outrage.”
That explanation doesn’t quite pass the smell test. I can fully accept the fact that things can go wrong in a live event. Technicians might play the wrong tape. Speakers might mangle a word or two, or even go completely off script. (Clint Eastwood, anyone?) Chaos happens. It is a fact of life. However, to assume that the video used to open the 2012 Democratic National Convention wasn’t fully vetted by both the DNC and the Obama Campaign strains credulity to the breaking point.
The Democrats are left with one of two choices. Either the tape was vetted, and they were incompetent fools for letting it run; or they are incompetent fools for not vetting it before letting it run. Neither explanation is particularly flattering.
They are claiming the latter. I am betting on the former. It fits so well with the Democratic philosophy expressed in Obama’s infamous, “You didn’t build that”, speech. It’s all part and parcel of the same thing.
In both cases their mask slipped. What makes it so damning is they didn’t even realize it has slipped until it is pointed out to them. Then they scramble all over themselves trying to push it back into place.
It’s either that, or you must believe that nobody over there knows how to run a nationally televised convention.
Consider the following bullet points from the Democratic Convention:
And that’s only from the first night!
Couple these points with the dismal record of Barack Obama and the almost 100% negative campaign they are running, and you have picture of a party in trouble.
The MSM is overwhelmingly liberal. That is a given fact. But they aren’t stupid, nor do they appreciate being treated as toadies. Yes, they will try as long as possible to rationalize away their support, but sooner or later their professional pride gets in the way of them constantly having to prostitute themselves to cover for a failing president.
Here is a bit of history to consider. Right around September 1980, the media began to abandon Jimmy Carter. Editorials and articles critical of the floundering president began appearing even in most liberal of liberal bastions such as the New York Times. Are we seeing the same thing starting now? Time will tell.
It is now official. Obama will be accepting the Democratic Presidential nomination indoors in a 22,000 seat arena instead of the big 73,000 seat Bank-of-America football stadium. CBSNews reports:
(CBS News) CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democrats are significantly downsizing the final night of their national convention, moving the events — including President Obama’s acceptance speech — from Bank of America Stadium to the Time Warner Cable Arena because of threats of thunder and lightning.
Mr. Obama was slated to accept the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night in the open-air football stadium before a crowd of more than 65,000. The basketball and hockey arena, however, seats just around 20,000.
The Obama campaign said this week that they would keep the events in the stadium through rain but that it would move to the arena if lightning posed safety threats. Rain has hit the Charlotte area every day since Saturday, with remnants of Hurricane Isaac drenching the area Tuesday.
How ironic that the remnants of Isaac would be the stated cause of the switch.
The Democrats might have had another incentive to move the venue, however. The Hill comments:
The announcement comes after Obama campaign officials insisted the speech would go forward in the stadium “rain or shine.” The stadium speech was meant to recall Obama’s 2008 address in Denver, when he closed a largely successful convention with a speech to supporters at Invesco Field.
Republicans took glee in the decision, and expressed doubt that the weather was the real reason for the venue switch.
There have been questions over whether Democrats could fill the football stadium, which holds 73,000 seats, and the GOP was quick to argue that the real reason for moving Obama’s speech was a lack of enthusiasm for the president four years later.
With reports of free tickets being handed out at bars and supporters being bussed in from all over the region — even as far away as Georgia — in a frantic attempt to fill the stadium, this was turning into a logistical nightmare for the Democrats. It’s far better to blame Mother Nature and skip the whole thing.
Oh, the forecast? As of the time of this writing, from weather.com:
Partly cloudy skies with a slight breeze blowing. Some isolated thunderstorms which would have moved out of the area by 10:00PM. Temperature will be a pleasant 73 degrees.
Sounds like almost ideal conditions to be outside listening to a political speech.
Yesterday we discussed Democratic National Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s statement that Israel’s Ambassador to the United States claimed that Republicans were dangerous to Israel. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren categorically denied ever saying such a thing. At the time I speculated as to which path she would pursue when confronted with this. Would she:
Well, today we have our answer. She chose a fourth option. She declared that she never said that, that the reporter had “deliberately misquoted” her.
In response the reporter involved, Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner has released the full audio of her saying exactly what he quoted her as saying. Listen and determine for yourself if she was indeed “misquoted”.
In 2008 the Democratic Platform contained the words: “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” Similar language is nowhere to be found in this year’s platform.
It isn’t just Jerusalem, either. They also dropped language vowing to isolate Hamas until they renounced terrorism, have the Palestinian refugees settle elsewhere and recognize as unworkable the demand that Israel return to its 1948 borders. All that language is now gone.
It isn’t sitting well with some Jewish Democrats. The Daily Caller reports:
Liberal Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz told The Daily Caller that he finds the 2012 Democratic Party platform’s omissions on Hamas and Palestinian refugees “deeply troubling.”
“I think one shouldn’t give too much weight to platform pronouncements, but in this case, I think the omissions are troubling — particularly the omission about the Palestinian refugee issue and Hamas are, I think, deeply troubling”.
“My goal is always to keep support for Israel a bi-partisan issue and never make a national election any kind of referendum on Israel,” he said. “I don’t think it is a good thing that the Republican platform seems to be more pro-Israel than the Democratic platform.”…
It certainly isn’t a good thing if you are pro-Israel Democrat, that is for sure.
Mitt Romney pounced. He issued the following statement:
It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Four years of President Obama’s repeated attempts to create distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment of a simple reality. As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.
The National Democratic Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has developed a reputation second only to Joe Biden for putting her foot in her mouth. Yesterday she made the claim that Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, accused Republicans of being “dangerous” to Israel because of their criticizing of President Obama’s record. Here is her exact quote:
“We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”
“I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel. Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle.”
What an incredibly stupid thing for DWS to say. No ambassador of any nation worth its salt would ever make such a comment to anyone save his own government. There is no way that he would confide such a thing to a political operative of any party, especially one with the reputation of DWS.
This happens at a most inconvenient time for her. It is the week of the Democratic Convention. The National Chairman of the party has to be there and be available to the press. She is going to be asked about this. What is going to be her response? That he lied? Publicly calling the ambassador of a major ally with special ties to a key Democratic constituency a liar is not usually considered a wise thing to do. That she lied? Like she wants to admit that.
I guess she could always suddenly discover that she has a pre-scheduled root canal and have leave the convention as her colleague from California has done. That actually might be more pleasant for her, come to think about it.
Obama’s Campaign had been explaining away the lack of crowds turning out to see him as their desire to purposely limit attendance. It creates a much more intimate environment that way, don’t you know.
Well, it would appear that that strategy is being carried over to his nominating convention, as well. Michael Barone of The Washington Examiner reports:
I’ve been to 22 Democratic and Republican National Conventions in one way, shape or form (see my reflections in this August 25 Wall Street Journal piece) and I’ve been on the floor in 17 of them. So naturally on arriving in Charlotte, I wanted to see the floor of the 18th. So I went over to the Times-Warner Center (the Charlotte Convention Center, like the Tampa Convention Center, houses the press; the convention in each case is in a basketball/hockey arena). And I have one word to report to you. Tiny! Bill Plante of CBS News, who started attending conventions in 1968, when he lugged baggage for Mike Wallace at the Republicans’ convention in Miami Beach, agreed with me that it was the tiniest convention floor he’s ever seen.
In previous conventions held in such structures, including Tampa, the podium has been placed in the center of the long side of the arena. Here that appears to have been impossible, because there’s no space for a corridor through the spectator seats. So it was placed in the center of one of the short sides of the arena. Opposite and facing it are giant TV camera enclosures looming high above the floor. They take up almost half the space on the floor. There is room for only what looked like 200 to 300 seats between the camera platform and the podium.
Two final notes. One: the videoscreen directly above the podium is the largest I’ve ever seen at a convention. The technicians were testing it, and the images struck me as looking like something out of 1984. Two: it’s been raining off and on today, with some really heavy rain coming down for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. weather.com puts the chance of rain on Thursday, when Barack Obama is scheduled to give his acceptance speech in an open stadium, at 40%. The fallback venue—which I’m guessing the Democrats are extremely likely to choose—is the Time-Warner Center.
So the floor space is the smallest of any convention ever — no bigger than a good size movie theater, and the giant videoscreen behind the podium is the largest ever. Maybe they are going for the IMAX experience.
First came news of an increasingly large number of Democrats would be skipping their convention. Then we learn that Nancy Pelosi gave her House Democrats cover by telling them to stay home and campaign. Last week came the news that nearly all of the A-list celebrities who populated the 2008 convention making it the “in” place to be are taking a pass this year. Now comes word that Hillary Clinton will join with so many others in being elsewhere during the big party next week. The Hill reports:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be overseas during the Democratic National Convention next week, according to reports Wednesday.
She departs Thursday and is scheduled to attend meetings and talks with officials in the Cook Islands, China and the Russian city of Vladivostok, as well as touring Asia. She will not return to the United States all next week, according to reports.
What is the reason being offered?
“As secretary of State, she is no longer engaged in retail politics, but she remains a keen observer,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told Reuters.
She was supported in this by none other than Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State under George W. Bush.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday noted it is “tradition” for the current secretary of State to skip political conventions.
“Indeed, I didn’t go to the 2008 convention,” she told Fox News’s “Fox and Friends.”
Still, if this keeps up the only Democrats of any real national significance attending the convention will be Obama, Biden and Bill Clinton.
It would appear that Democratic officeholders up for election this year aren’t the only ones avoiding their convention. So are all those Hollywood celebrities that made it to the 2008 Convention. They are busy finding reasons to avoid the place, too.
LOS ANGELES – President Obama recently praised Hollywood superstar George Clooney, calling him a “wonderful guy” and good friend. But even in the wake of the headline-grabbing compliments, a rep for the Oscar-winning actor confirmed he will not be attending the forthcoming Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina.
And it seems the majority of Clooney’s high-powered Hollywood counterparts are also passing on the 2012 convention – a far cry from 2008’s showdown in Denver, Colorado which attracted dozens of A-listers including Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Silverman, Fallout Boy, John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, Ashanti, Fran Drescher, Ashley Judd, Rage Against the Machine, Aisha Tyler, Anne Hathaway, Susan Sarandon, Jon Hamm, Cash Warren, Jessica Alba, Fergie, Will.i.am, Kanye West, Matthew Modine, Kerry Washington, Stevie Wonder, Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Hudson, Shawn Johnson, Forest Whitaker, Star Jones, Wilmer Valderama, Daniel Dae Kim, Kelly Hu, Jamie Foxx, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfuss, Melissa Etheridge and Pharrell Williams.
Just to name a few.
We reached out to reps for all of the above in an attempt to find out if these stars would be attending the DNC again this year. A majority did not respond, but of those who did, few will be making a return trip.
Not only will there be fewer famous faces, but fewer lavish affairs too. For one, Vanity Fair, which co-hosted a hotly-ticketed to-do in 2008, is not holding an event this year.
But loyal Democrats needn’t worry that Obama may be losing his “coolness”. According to his campaign, it’s all part of the plan.
Yet one source closely connected to the party assured us that the lack of Hollywood types this year is very deliberate, as the “Democrats try to keep celebrities away as they think it hurts their image.”
So along with them purposely limiting the size of the crowds and encouraging people to donate less, it seems that the Democrats are now deliberately cutting back on the amount of star-power surrounding the President.
And they said that with a straight face, too.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan is offering a prime-time prayer at the Republican National Convention next week. Not wanting to appear partisan and wishing to be even-handed, he contacted the Democrats several weeks ago and offered to say a prayer at their convention, as well. He has not heard from them since. An Obama spokesman has stated that all the high-ranking Catholic clergy who are going to be invited have been invited.
Cardinal Dolan is considered by many to be the most important Catholic leader in America. For the Democrats to refuse to let him pray at their convention after the Republicans asked him to do so at theirs borders upon stupidity.
But Dolan and Obama have clashed in the past over those HHS regulations demanding Catholics institutions go against their consciences and cover contraception and abortions in their insurance packages. Is Obama so petty as to risk putting his reelection in jeopardy over a policy disagreement? Apparently so.
Is giving prayers at the convention that big of a deal? Not really. The benediction at these conventions is usually a signal to the news media to begin summing up the day’s events. They talk right over it. So even if the prayer is offered in prime time, nobody outside of the convention hall gets to hear it.
Still, why stick your thumb in somebody’s eye when you don’t have to? If who gives what prayer isn’t really that important, then why not accommodate Cardinal Dolan? What harm would it do? Not to do so is just one more small, petty thing done by one of the smallest, pettiest men ever to be elected President of the United States.
Former Obama campaign co-chair to stump for Romney
(CNN) – A former four-term Democratic congressman from Alabama and one time strong supporter of President Barack Obama will campaign for Mitt Romney Wednesday.
A Romney campaign aide confirms to CNN that Artur Davis will stump for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in the battleground state of Virginia.
Davis, who is black, may be best known for seconding Obama’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, when he served as an Obama campaign co-chairman. Davis said he had hoped Obama’s presidency would make a huge dent in race relations, as well as move the Democratic Party further to the center.
Davis said in June that he thinks his one time political party was becoming more unwelcoming towards Southern conservative Democrats.