June 4, 2015

The VP Candidate No One is Talking About

  8:00 am

With everyone and their brother running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, plus tied up polls, it’s hard to get less predictable than this race.

But the good news – or bad news, if you’re a political junkie – is that the veepstakes circus will be a lot simpler.

Barring the still highly unlikely outcome of nominee Carly Fiorina, the GOP candidate will be a male. Barring another highly unlikely outcome, his general election opponent will be the first female major party presidential nominee in US history.

That presents no small challenge to the GOP on an already challenging landscape. Females are the majority of the U.S. electorate. White females are the largest voting sub-demographic, and they’re fairly swingable.

Running an all-male GOP ticket versus an on-the-verge glass ceiling breaker would give the media and Democratic Party goose bumps and be a kamikaze mission for the GOP.

A Handful of Choices

There will no doubt be talk of a long list of potential GOP veeps talked about, but the odds are that being a female will ultimately be a necessity. That narrows the list down dramatically.

Republican operatives still suffer from PTSD from the Palin 2008 drama, and want to be as safe possible. Gender aside, safe and seasoned always trumps boldness when it comes to victorious VP picks. See George H. W. Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden.

Only a woman with proven experience seasoning in the big leagues would make the cut. That narrows down the list even more:

Condi Rice: repeatedly chose to eschew a run for any political office thus far, it’s doubtful she’d be interested in the VP slot.

Carly Fiorina: If – a big “if” – Carly’s run for the top slot ends up being as strong throughout the campaign as it is now, she’d certainly be a contender. However, her lack of elective experience and controversial tenure at HP would dampen her chances.

The Governors: Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, two dynamic minority executives with statewide electoral success, would certainly be contenders. Both, however, may be a bit too unpredictable to meet the do-no-harm test.

Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is the dream veep in many ways – young swing state mom with foreign policy experience – but her charisma deficit and potential tough 2016 reelection race may nix her too.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers – chair of the House GOP Conference – would be yet another strong contender. However, her ID with unpopular GOP House leadership, lack of statewide elective experience, and strong Evangelical roots and social conservatism, may be seen as negatives in the final stretch of a heated general election campaign.

A Surprise?

One solid potential veep pick that has gotten virtually no buzz is newly elected Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

With over 15 years in Congress and a fair amount of experience with the national media, Senator Moore Capito passes the experience test. Her federal experience plus age advantage can provide the ideal balance for a younger top-of-ticket like Marco Rubio or Scott Walker. At the same time, she’s still six years younger than Hillary Clinton, has a wholesome family, and scandal free past.

Senator Moore Capito proved her political prowess last November when she crushed her credible female Democratic opponent by 27% in a state that still leans Democratic at the statewide level. National Journal tagged her as the GOP’s “Secret, Best Candidate” of the successful 2014 cycle.

The Senator is very natural and likable as a retail campaigner and in front of the cameras. Though the daughter of a political dynasty, with smooth political skills, she exudes no country club aura. Mrs. Moore Capito was a stay at home mom until age 43 and connects very well with working class voters in a distinctly poor state.

In addition to helping the GOP on the female equation, the senator’s background can help the party amongst crucial white, working class voters. These voters are enormously important to Republicans looking to blunt Democrats’ huge advantage amongst African-Americans and Hispanics. They can be key to GOP victory in states like Ohio, Iowa and Virginia, and possibly even Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

When it comes to ideology and temperament, Shelley Moore Capito strikes an optimal balance for a general election campaign. She passes the basic conservative litmus test – pro-life, pro – gun, anti-Obamacare, pro- traditional marriage – yet can in no way be portrayed as a hardline ideologue. The hard right winces at her, and no less than the Democratic Party chairwoman publicly touted her friendship with the senator.

With the veepstakes being the latest Romney 2016 rage, rest assured that “binders full of women” will be there instead.

Simon Blum is a freelance journalist and marketing copywriter. Follow Simon on Twitter @sbpundit.


June 11, 2014

Susana Martinez!

  2:41 pm

The governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, has been gaining national attention in recent years. First elected governor in 2010, she had spent the previous 25 years as a public prosecutor, including three terms as the elected district attorney in her home county. She was the first Hispanic woman elected a governor in the nation.

Enormously popular in her home state, she is heavily favored to win re-election this year. A divorced Roman Catholic, she has remarried, and has one son. She is 54 years old and an attorney.

In 2012, she was frequently mentioned as a possible Republican vice presidential choice, but in 2016, she will likely be one of the front runners for the post, no matter who the GOP nominee is. There is also some political speculation that she could be a dark horse presidential candidate herself.

With the growing likelihood that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, Governor Martinez becomes one of the logical frontrunners to be on the Republican ticket.

Martinez’s parents were legal immigrants to the U.S., and her great grandfather was the legendary revolutionary general of the 1910 Mexican revolution, Toribio Ortega, who led one of the first bands tot take up arms that year against the Mexican dictator.

Since it is so very early in the 2016 presidential race, especially in the contest for the Republican nomination, it is particularly speculative to discuss possible GOP vice presidential nominees. But Governor Susana Maritnez’s background, experience and public record are so pertinent to likely GOP aspirations in the next election for control of the White House, it seems inevitable that Americans of all parties will now become much more familiar with this formidable American political figure in the months ahead.

Mark my words.

Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


April 16, 2014

Mother Jones’ Dumb Hit Piece On Susana Martinez

  1:55 pm

Mother Jones has published a hit piece against Susana Martinez, accusing her, essentially, of being a vindictive airhead. Headlined “Is New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez the Next Sarah Palin?,” the article features a graphic of smoke surrounding her angry, disembodied, caricatured head.

The piece is a fine example of a fake news article; a piece whipped up solely for the purpose of being deployed in a future negative ad campaign, should Governor Martinez be nominated for vice-president. Most of the article is virtually content-free: the author, Andy Kroll, drones on and on about her biography for almost thirty paragraphs, briefly promising here and there to deliver the goods, which ultimately turn out to be that her policy proposals didn’t originate entirely from her own mind (“On policy, Martinez drew on borrowed ideas”), she sometimes privately swears and calls her opponents mean names, she doesn’t always get along with the state party, and that she and her aides nefariously plot to project a clean public image (“[C]ampaign emails and audio recordings also show how Martinez and her team strategized to maintain her straight-shooting image while avoiding actually being up-front with the public…”).

Stop the presses — Susana Martinez is a politician!

At one point, the article inexplicably contradicts its own headline, suggesting that while “[i]n the media, Martinez is often compared to Sarah Palin…perhaps the best comparison is to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.” In “the media”? You mean, in this very article?

Look, I know that when you write for an ideological news outlet, you’re obligated to try to discredit the opposing party’s up-and-comers. But speaking as someone who used to take part in this sort of fake journalism, it’s easily one of the most obnoxious elements of the business — and, while this article may yet serve its real purpose, should Governor Martinez run for higher office, nobody should think that it actually reveals anything damning. The worst that can said for Martinez after perusing Mother Jones’ evidence is that she is simply a politician and a human being — ambitious, calculating, and imperfect. Basically, just like Hillary Clinton. I eagerly await Mother Jones‘ hit piece comparing Secretary Clinton to Sarah Palin.


November 3, 2012

Was Christie Mitt’s “First” VP choice?

  9:54 am

Politico seems to think so:

Exclusive: Christie was Mitt’s first choice for VP

One of the most tantalizing subplots of the 2012 campaign has been the curious and sometimes controversial performances of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Now, campaign insiders tell POLITICO that Christie was Mitt Romney’s first choice for the Republican ticket, lending an intriguing new context to the continuing drama around the Garden State governor.

The strong internal push for Christie, and Romney’s initial instinct to pick him as his running mate, reflects how conflicted the nominee remained about choosing a running mate until the very end of the process. At least on the surface, Christie and Paul Ryan are about as opposite as two Republicans could be: a brash outsider from the Northeast versus a bookish insider from the heartland.

And yet Romney switched from Christie to Ryan in a span of about two weeks, according to a detailed inside account provided to POLITICO.

Well, maybe. These “insider” stories need to be taken with a grain of salt. Not one source in the article is named. It could very well be true. It could also be true that Mitt seriously considered a number of candidates; each one in their turn being his “favorite”. He gives them all a fair shot that way. That is in line with what we know about Mitt and his decision making process. He likes to thoroughly investigate all the possibilities without prejudice.

The bottom-line is his final choice was Paul Ryan.


October 12, 2012

New RNC Ad — Biden Smiles

  10:07 am

This web ad was put out by the RNC less than two hours after the debate:

It is somewhat reminiscent of the initial ad the DNC put out after the first debate. Remember this one?

Is there a difference? I would say, “Yes”. Romney was being assertive. Biden was being a jerk. Not once did Romney show disrespect to the President of the United States throughout that debate. Biden was dripping with condescension and disdain towards his opponent — which, come to think about it, isn’t that much different from the way Obama acted during the first debate. Biden was just more aggressive about it.


October 11, 2012

Vice Presidential Debate Open Thread with HD Live Feed

  6:00 pm

Paul Ryan and Joe Biden square off tonight at the Centre College in Danville, Kentucky in the one and only debate scheduled between the vice-presidential candidates. The event is scheduled to begin at 6PM-PT / 7PM-MT / 8PM-CT / 9PM-ET and will last 90 minutes. The overall topic is Domestic and Foreign Policy and will be moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

The rules are as follows:

  • The program will be divided into nine segments of approximately 10 minutes each.
  • At the beginning of each segment, the moderator (Martha Raddatz) will introduce the topic for the segment. Each candidate will then have two minutes to respond to the topic. The balance of the segment’s time will be taken up with a discussion on the topic facilitated by the moderator.

It is scheduled to be broadcast live on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, CSPAN, FNC, FOX, MSNBC, NBC and PBS.

C-SPAN’s live feed can be found here. It is scheduled to go live two hours before the event — the same time this thread does.

So choose your poison and as always, have at it in the comments.


Thoughts on Tonight’s Debate

  7:19 am

I can sum it up with three words, “Don’t get cocky!”

I have been watching presidential debates since the 1976 Ford/Carter showdown. That was the first such debate since the one-off experiment between Nixon/Kennedy in 1960.

1976 marked the beginning of what some call the modern era of presidential debates. That year they held three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate (sound familiar). Since that time, every election cycle has seen one VP debate with the sole exception being 1980. There was a VP debate scheduled that year, but arguments over whether or not to include the third party candidate for the office caused it to be cancelled.

VP debates historically have had little impact upon the race and have served little more than half-time entertainment. People vote for the president. They seldom vote for the vice-president or pay little attention to him. If the vice-president has any effect at all, it is more along the lines of confirming the voter’s choice for president, NOT vice-president. This year’s VP debate promises to conform with that assessment.

The election buzz right now has been about the first debate last Wednesday between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. That is almost all that either side is talking about. Obama entered the debate leading in nearly all the polls. The narrative was rapidly settling into “Obama has this in the bag”. The debate changed all that. What people saw that night was a competent, on-fire Romney and a listless, peevish, incompetent Obama. It blew apart the narrative and caused people to think, “Hmmm, maybe this Romney character is worth a serious look”.

Which is where tonight’s debate comes in. Tonight, the voters will be tuning in to see if what they saw eight days ago was a one-off thing, or can they really trust this Romney/Ryan team. They are looking to it to confirm what they saw.

Tonight promises to be a doozie of a debate. You have long-time Washington stalwart Joe Biden up against young Paul Ryan. Joe Biden has the reputation of being an idiot, but don’t be fooled. The guy has been around for a long time and is highly experienced in bare-knuckles fighting. Ryan on the other hand is young, brash, smart as a whip, and knows his facts and numbers inside and out and every which-a-way. Having served as the House Budget Committee Chairman, he has plenty of experience of his own in bare-knuckles fighting.

After Obama’s disastrous debate, Team Obama is eager to come out fighting. Anything short of an outright win will confirm to the voters that Romney/Ryan is worth a serious look. They have to blunt the narrative that has developed in the past week. They have to head off the stampede. If they cannot do that, they will be in serious trouble.

This places an uncomfortable, unnatural burden upon Obama’s runningmate. The bottom of the ticket has to outshine the top of the ticket. VP’s aren’t supposed to do that.

Then there is the matter of Biden’s folksy, slightly dotty uncle image. It makes him lovable, and he has used that to great advantage. The problem is it’s hard to be that AND be an aggressive attack dog at the same time. Can he pull it off? If anyone can it’s Joe Biden.

The task for Ryan is a little easier. The star at the moment is Mitt Romney. It was Romney, not Ryan that decimated the president in Denver. A win by Ryan would be a serious, perhaps decisive blow to Obama’s chances. Anything else short of a complete washout would only serve to blunt Romney’s momentum, not reverse it.

Predictions? I really cannot say. I predicted last week’s outcome almost exactly. I wish I could claim some great prognostic skills in that, but I can’t. It was blatantly obvious to any objective observer that Obama was an incompetent empty suit, and Romney was the exact opposite. The result was about as inevitable as anything in politics can be.

But this debate? Let me put it this way — Obama will not be on the stage tonight. Two proven professional, competent politicians will be. I can honestly see it going either way. All things being considered though, I give the edge to Ryan. He doesn’t have to defend the indefensible Obama record, Biden does.

I will make one observation as a note of caution. As stated above I’ve seen all the debates since 1976. Two other debates featured an older, more seasoned political veteran against a younger, more energetic opponent. That would be the 1988 Quayle/Bentsen debate and the 2008 Palin/Biden debate. The older guy won both times.

Just something to think about.



October 10, 2012

Obama was Guest at VP Debate Moderator’s Wedding

  6:35 am

The moderator for tomorrow night’s VP debate had President Obama at her wedding. The Daily Caller reports:

President Barack Obama was a guest at the 1991 wedding of ABC senior foreign correspondent and vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz, The Daily Caller has learned. Obama and groom Julius Genachowski, whom Obama would later tap to head the Federal Communications Commission, were Harvard Law School classmates at the time and members of the Harvard Law Review.

The article goes on to describe what appears to be an attempt by ABCNews to cover-up the story. Read it and draw your own conclusions.

To me, this is a statute-of-limitations on stupidity sort of thing. While I’ll be the first one to point out liberal-bias in the media, and the effects of this cancer on our “free press”, the wedding happened over 20 years ago. The “happy couple” involved have since divorced and have gone on to marry other people. The article makes no mention of any more recent close ties between Obama and Raddatz other than the wedding. So I have to say that her being a member of the liberal press now is far more concerning to me than this little tidbit from her distant past.



August 31, 2012

Anonymous Source: Romney Vetted Rice

  12:04 pm

Found online:

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney didn’t pick former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to become his vice-presidential running mate because she is pro-choice, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting.

“Condi was fully vetted to become Mitt Romney’s running mate and turned over financial records, including tax returns,” a source close to Rice tells Radar.

“Mitt thought she would add much needed foreign policy experience to the ticket, thinks she is incredibly bright and he knew she would help with the all important female vote and African American support.

“However, Mitt’s advisers talked him out of it because Condi is pro-choice and she isn’t willing to change her position on the controversial issue. Condi also supports same sex civil unions which again, put her at odds with Romney. Mitt had a hard time getting the ultra conservative support of the GOP and was told if he picked Condi that would immediately be lost and so he ultimately picked Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate.”

First point: This comes from the infamous, “source close to …”, which could mean anyone from Condi herself to the third cousin twice removed of the man who drives the street sweeper past her house twice a month.

Second point: It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Rice did get vetted. In fact, it would surprise me more if she wasn’t. However, the highly detailed explanation as to why Mitt ultimately went with someone else is suspect. I especially don’t trust the account of his advisers talking him out of it. That makes it sound like Mitt would have gone with her if it hadn’t been for his mean old advisers ganging up on the poor lady. I suspect that somebody is putting their pro-Rice spin on the story.



August 16, 2012

Hillary Queried by White House Staff About VP Post

  10:34 pm

From CNBC’s Kudlow Report:

So the bottom line is Hillary got asked by the White House staff if she wanted the job. She doesn’t. She’s burned out after four years as Secretary of State. She also sees it as a lose-lose for her. If Obama loses, it will hurt her in 2016. If Obama wins, she will then have to defend his far-left policies when she runs in 2016.

The wild card is Bill Clinton. He likes the idea, and may be able to persuade her if Obama gets desperate.



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