November 19, 2014

Here’s a Thought. Hillary Might Be the Youngest Democrat in the 2016 Race

A number of alternatives to Hillary have been put forward. Among them are:

  • California Governor Jerry Brown
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Vice President Joe Biden
  • Virginia Senator Jim Webb

What do they have in common? One thing is that they are all older than Hillary. In 2016 Brown will be 78, Sanders 75, Biden 73, and Webb 70. Hillary will be 69.

Yes, we have heard Elizabeth Warren’s name batted about as a possible alternative to Mrs. Clinton. She would be younger than our former First Lady, but not by much. Senator Warren would be 67 in 2016.

And this is the party of the youth?

As an aside, Harry Reid will be 77 and Nancy Pelosi will be 76 in 2016.

 

by @ 7:37 am. Filed under 2016, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Jerry Brown, Joe Biden

Poll Watch: Gravis Marketing North Carolina 2016 Presidential Survey

Gravis Marketing North Carolina 2016 Presidential Poll

  • Rand Paul (R) 47% [48%] (43%)
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 45% [42%] (45%)
  • Unsure 8% [10%] (11%)
  • Rand Paul (R) 47% [48%] (44%)
  • Elizabeth Warren (D) 34% [32%] (35%)
  • Unsure 20% [20%] (21%)

Survey of 1,006 likely voters was conducted October 29-30, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Party ID: 39% [39%] (39%) Democrat; 34% [34%] (34%) Republican; 27% [27%] (27%) Independent/Other. Results from the poll conducted October 16-18, 2014 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 22-27, 2014 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul

November 18, 2014

Mitt Romney Addresses BYU Students

Mitt Romney spoke to students on the campus of BYU in Provo, Utah, in the capacity of their weekly devotional forum. As such, his speech had very little if any politics in it and mainly consisted of counsel to the students on life and spiritual matters.

Here are a few nuggets from his speech:

Romney called his last run for the White House against President Barack Obama the “most remarkable of my life’s journeys,” and said despite his loss, “the experience was extraordinary and revealing.”

He said he came “away more optimistic about the country” after meeting people across the nation.

He said, “While it is fashionable in some circles to deny it, I firmly believe that America is the greatest nation on earth”

Mitt recounted a number of heroes he met during his campaign and how they left him feeling humbled. He told the students of the power of one person to affect the lives of many other people, and encouraged them to be heroes to the people they meet.

Romney said that what he and his wife, Ann, treasured most from the campaign “was not the pomp and popularity” but the friends they made including the Secret Service detail that had been assigned to protect them.

“In fact, as we prepared to go on the stage to concede victory to President Obama, more than one of those agents fought back tears,” Romney said. “We miss them as friends, not as power candy.”

During the question and answer period following the address, one student called from the rafters,  “Running for president?” Romney replied,  “I did that, actually.”

As mentioned, it was not a political speech, but more of an advice-to-the-students-about-their-lives speech. The address lasted 30 minutes  and can be watched in full here.

by @ 11:39 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Breaking News. Keystone Pipeline Bill Defeated in Senate 59-41

So Mary Landrieu voted in almost lockstep for her party all these years, but when it came time to support her in her desperate hour of need, they turned their back on her. It was a safe bill to vote for since Obama was sure to veto it anyway, and so-called “Global Warming” was a big loser this past election. Yet they couldn’t be counted on to toss her even this little bone.

And what does this say about the influence Harry Reid has on his fellow Democrats? He brought it to a vote specifically to help her out. He couldn’t even round up enough votes to save it.

by @ 6:22 pm. Filed under 2014, Senate Races

Rand Paul: Gruber Should Return The Money

Rand Paul, a potential 2016 GOP candidate for President, appeared on Hannity and said that Jonathan Gruber of “American voters are stupid” fame should be made to return the money he got for crafting Obamacare.

“The one thing we can do is that this Mr. Gruber… he was paid and now he’s admitted he was deceptive and deceitful, I’m going to ask for an investigation from the Investigator General and I’m going to ask that he return his pay,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on the “Hannity” show last night. “Because how can you — how can we pay someone to be a consultant to government who’s frankly admitting they were dishonest? So I think he should be made to return his pay.”

That should be fun to watch. :)

by @ 6:12 pm. Filed under 2016, Rand Paul

Jerry Brown a Possible Alternative to Hillary?

John Fund over at National Review, writes to suggest that California Governor Jerry Brown might run against former First Lady Hillary Clinton to be the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee.

Jerry Brown, governor of the nation’s largest state, just won reelection in California by nearly 20 points. He spent very little of the $25 million he raised for his campaign. So when his political aides sent out an invitation for a $5,000 fundraiser in Sacramento next Monday, there was inevitable speculation: Jerry Brown may run for president for the fourth time.

If he challenges Hillary Clinton, Brown can claim solid credentials as a liberal leader. He has raised taxes on the rich, been an avid backer of climate-change regulation, and was one of the few Democrats in the country to win white males this past election. “He convinced California voters to support a water bond, a rainy day fund, a reduction in prison sentences, and more,” notes Joel Pollak of Breitbart News. “He is Elizabeth Warren with real executive experience and without the fake heritage.”

That’s an interesting idea. When Brown ran for the President the last time in 1992, it was against Hillary’s husband, Bill. He gave Bill fits, and Hillary isn’t nearly as smart as her husband.

He will be 78 in 2016, however. Hillary will be 69. Running for President, especially a tough race as this one could prove to be, is not for the weak. It severely challenges the candidate both mentally and physically. Would a man pushing 80 be up to the task? That’s an open question. We shall see what Governor Moombean ends up doing.

(Editor’s note: Apparently an earlier version of this post was inavertently erased. It has now been restored.)

by @ 1:26 pm. Filed under 2016, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jerry Brown

Walker on Running For President

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin appeared on his local Fox affiliate last Sunday. He was asked a number of questions, including some about him having any 2016 Presidential aspirations. This was his reply:

“To me, I’m not going to run just because of the pundits or anything else like that. The closer you get to something like that the more you realize — and I say this only half jokingly — that you have to be crazy to want to be president. And anyone who has seen pictures of this president or any of the former presidents can see the before and after. No matter how fit, no matter how young they are, they age pretty rapidly when you look at their hair and everything else involved with it. Whether it’s two years, six years or 20 years from now — because I think of Hillary Clinton. I could run 20 years from now and still be about the same age as the former Secretary of State is right now. The only thing I think someone is sane should want to be president, or should run for president not because they want to be or yearn to be, but because they feel called to. Right now, I still feel called to be the governor of the state of Wisconsin, and I’m going to do the best job I can over the next four years.”

I don’t see a whole lot of wiggle room in there. I would place him in the, “Could-run-but-not-likely-to”, column. He could run if he decided to, but right now he just wants to settle down and govern the Badger State for the next four years.

by @ 12:45 pm. Filed under 2016, Scott Walker

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

Poll Watch: Gravis Marketing/Human Events (R) Louisiana 2014 Senate Runoff Survey

Gravis Marketing/Human Events (R) Louisiana 2014 Senate Runoff Poll

  • Bill Cassidy (R) 59%
  • Mary Landrieu (D) 38%
  • Unsure 3%

Survey of 643 likely voters was conducted November 12-14, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points. Party ID: 44% Democrat; 36% Republican; 20% Independent/Other.  Gender: 52% Female; 48% Male.  Race: 69% White; 25% Black; 2% Hispanic; 1% Asian; 3% Other.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2014, Poll Watch

November 17, 2014

Democrats Toss Out Some Possible Alternatives to Hillary

ABC News had a recent panel discussion of possible alternatives to Hillary:

The names they threw out were:

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren D-MA
  • Senator Bernie Sanders D-VT
  • Vice President Joe Biden
  • Senator Al Franken D-MN

Jonathan Karl pointed out that Warren used to say, “No, no, no, no, no”, when asked about running for President. Now she is simply saying, “I’m not running”.

Donna Brazile, who mentioned Franken, did not recommend him in this clip, but says that she is starting to get tweets about him. However, she herself gets in on the act:

The nursery rhyme comes to mind:

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to her cupboard
To fetch her poor dog a bone.

But when she got there,
the cupboard was bare,
and so the poor dog got none.

For the Democrats, after Hillary, the cupboard truly appears bare. The pickin’s are mighty slim.

by @ 2:48 pm. Filed under 2016, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden

Mitt’s Been Busy

Mitt Romney appeared on the CBS show, Face the Nation, yesterday. He made four points:

  1. Obama made a mistake when he told the world that the US would not use ground troops to combat ISIS. Romney was not advocating sending in troops. Instead it was that we shouldn’t tell ISIS that we wouldn’t. We should never take any option off the table, at least not publicly, when dealing with our adversaries.

    (Editorial aside: You’d think that after six years of on-the-job training, Obama would have learned that basic, fundamental rule of governance by now.)

  2. If Obama carries through with his announced plan to unilaterally grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, he would be “poking the Republicans in the eye”.

    “He’s poking an eye of the Republican leaders in Congress and he’s making it more difficult for there to be a permanent solution to this issue. What he’s proposing to do is a temporary solution, which would ultimately be reversed by a Republican president. It’s the wrong way to go”

  3. The midterms were a message to Obama:

    “The president said that he was not on the ballot in the election that was just held, but that his polices were. And the American people sent a very clear message to the president about his policies, they are not happy about them,”

  4. On the subject of a possible governmental shutdown in response to Obama’s amnesty order, Mitt stated that there were more productive ways for the Republicans in Congress to achieve their goals than a temporary stop-gap.

Is this a sign that Mitt is running? I doubt it. Instead, I suspect it is more a sign that he is a senior GOP statesman expressing his opinion on current events. Mitt is, after all, the last Republican to go toe-to-toe with Obama on an equal footing. Like it or not, former Presidential nominees carry a lot of weight with the press.

by @ 11:26 am. Filed under 2016, Mitt Romney

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

And So Begins the Race for 2016: Democratic Edition

The conventional wisdom is that 2016 will be the Year of Hillary — that she will easily dispatch the token opposition in the Democratic primaries, and that she will just as easily cruise to becoming the 45th president of the United States. So far, polls show that assumption to be true. But it is two years before the election right now, and in that time a lot can and will go wrong – and right – for candidates on both sides of the ring. The die has not yet been cast; after all, everyone thought 2008 would be the Year of Hillary as well.

There are two huge questions looming over the Democratic primary at this moment: will Hillary run, and if she does, can she win? At first blush, these seem like absurd questions. Of course she will run — the Clintons are power hungry and will not give up a golden opportunity like this to occupy the Oval Office again. And of course she will win — all the polls show her demolishing any and all opponents on both sides of the aisle by double digits. But what if we took a step back and questioned those assumptions for a moment?

Uncertain Certainties

I’ve predicted ever since 2008 that Hillary Clinton will not run for president again. How could she pass up such a perfect opportunity? Because it might not be so perfect after all, for all the following reasons:

  1. Age. Consider: on election day 2016, Hillary Clinton will be 69 years old. If elected, she will tie Ronald Reagan for the oldest president in the history of the country. Of course, that would be a Hillary supporter’s rejoinder: so what if she’s that old – so was Reagan. However, Reagan didn’t suffer major health concerns before running like Hillary’s fainting spells and head injury, and Reagan’s age did become an issue as early Alzheimer’s sadly set in during his waning years in the White House and dementia became more and more apparent. More to the point, not only will the American people need to decide if we want another septuagenarian in the White House, Clinton will have to decide herself if she (and Bill, who has had several heart surgeries now) is healthy enough to run — and if this is how she truly desires to spend her twilight years. Which leads us to the second point.
  2. Family. The Clintons have a new grandbaby, and while the hardened political cynics were quick to point out how a baby is a perfect “political prop,” the opposite could be just as true. A desire to spend time with their new grandchild is certainly part of the equation Clinton is processing.
  3. Campaigning. As in, Hillary Clinton is just no good at it. In this, she shares many similarities with Rudy Giuliani on the other side of the aisle. In 2007, when Giuliani was the larger-than-life NYC Mayor who helped rebuild after 9/11, he was skyrocketing and leading all the polls. As soon as he hit the road and actually started campaigning, his numbers fell to earth. The same could be said of Hillary Clinton: when people think of her in general terms, they get warm fuzzies remembering the 90s when Bill was president and thinking about the possibility of having a female president, among other things. Then Hillary shows up and starts talking, and those memories are shattered, replaced by a much grittier reality. This was never more on display than the 2008 primaries, and to a lesser extent during her book tour earlier this year. Hillary has always lacked the political acumen of her husband, and she realizes it. Which takes us to point four.
  4. Losing. Yes, the polls show Clinton ahead of her closest Democratic competitor by 50 or 60 points right now. There is still a very real possibility that she could lose if she chooses to run. The word from insiders is this is one of the major variables the Clintons are considering as they weigh whether or not to run. If Hillary runs and loses a second time, it will tarnish their legacy as a power couple in Washington. They risk damaging the Clinton brand, which would damage the work they are doing through the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, as well as damaging prospects of high dollar speaking events.
  5. Obama. Hillary Clinton served the party faithfully by accepting Obama’s invitation to be his Secretary of State. What was supposed to be a goodwill gesture to help heal the party — and yes, to further her own potential future — turned out to be harmful instead. Russia, Syria, Iran, the Arab Spring, Iraq, ISIS, Benghazi… oh, and did we mention Russia? Hillary’s term as Secretary of State was nothing but one unmitigated failure after another. Is there a single foreign policy success Clinton oversaw while in the Obama administration? To be fair, many of these were not her fault: she was serving a feckless President who lacked the courage or the will to advance a strong foreign policy, and even when she attempted to do what was right (see: Syria response) her comments were walked back and overridden before she was back stateside. In 2008, Hillary Clinton had the glow of the 90s as well as the mini trail of success she had paved as a United States Senator; in 2016 she will have the stink of five years of failed foreign policy following her which open up brand new lines of attack should she run. Understanding that — and how it plays into point four above — may be enough to keep her out of the race.

Filling the Void

So if Hillary Clinton ends up not running, who will step in to fill the void? This is where the schism in the Democratic Party rears its ugly head, mirroring the struggle that will occur with the Republicans as well.

I’ve written about the DLC and the New Democrats several times before here at Race, but the backstory bears repeating because it will play a key role in what’s going to happen in the 2016 race.

After Jimmy Carter’s dismal failed term and Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in 1980, the Democrats nominated ultra-liberal Walter Mondale to face Reagan in 1984. They watched, panic-stricken, as Reagan won an even larger landslide victory, and a rumbling began. Deciding that they were done playing to the fringe elements of their party, powerful factions of Democrats veered toward centrist moderation in an attempt to rebrand themselves and sell themselves to the American people anew.

These moderate factions came together to found the Democratic Leadership Council in 1985 in order to promote a more centrist approach to Democratic governance. They threw their weight behind moderate Senator Gary Hart of Colorado (runner-up to Mondale four years earlier) in the 1988 primaries, only to see their hopes dashed by his extramarital affairs. The Democrats ended up with yet another ultra-liberal nominee in Michael Dukakis and lost in yet another landslide.

Four years later, the DLC finally found success on the Presidential level when DLC’er Bill Clinton won the White House. Clinton ran a campaign (and ostensibly an administration) based on the new “third way” of centrism in national politics, rejecting the liberalism that Democrats had embodied for the previous three decades. And after Clinton became the first Democratic President to be re-elected since FDR, people really sat up and took notice of the DLC and their so-called “New Democrats”.

After eight years of George Bush in the White House, the 2008 election featured a great opportunity for the DLC to regain their power and prominence with their candidate of choice (and former DLC Chair) Hillary Clinton. Instead, Hillary lost to Barack Obama — who was not a member of the DLC and in fact went out of his way on multiple occasions to say he wasn’t aligned with or endorsed by the DLC. In fact, Obama probably ran the most anti-DLC campaign since Howard Dean infamously declared that the DLC “represented the Republican wing of the Democratic Party” in 2003.

It didn’t take long, despite shallow overtures of peace made by Obama, for the DLC to become disillusioned and angry with Obama and the liberal wing of Democratic politics he represented. The DLC shuttered their doors in 2009 when they couldn’t raise enough money to stay afloat, thanks to the perception (encouraged by Obama) that they were not an ally of the White House. Ever since, they’ve been harboring resentment and longing for the opportunity to put one of their own in power once again.

In This Corner…

That’s where it starts mattering in our story. The DLC (or, rather, the former members of the now-dissolved DLC) has an incredibly deep bench for the 2016 primaries. All they have to do is figure out who to coronate as their champion (or choose two or three of them for strategic purposes, to help drown out the din of the liberal wing of the party). Moderate Democrats like Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley, Brian Schweitzer, Jim Webb, and Mark Warner all make the list of potential 2016 hopefuls, and all are former members of the DLC. O’Malley and Warner may have been damaged a little by the results of the midterm elections, but by next year when the campaign begins that will be forgotten history.

This is one of the reasons I think Hillary will find it easier than some think to make the decision not to run. Bill and Hillary own the Democratic Party establishment (much in the same way Bush/Romney own the Republican establishment) because of their leadership of the DLC. Both have served as DLC chairs and have worked tirelessly to advance DLC causes. So then, here is Hillary’s out: she and Bill endorse one of the fellow DLC’ers in the 2016 race and work to get them elected. They work against the liberal wing of the party which burned them so badly for the past eight years, and exact revenge while rebranding the Democrat brand at the same time. Meanwhile, they never risk tarnishing their own legacy in the process. It’s a win-win for the Clintons.

On the other side of the schism sit all the liberal, grassroots candidates. This group will be comprised of folks like Elizabeth Warren, Howard Dean (yes, he says he is eyeing another run), and Bernie Sanders (actual, literal Socialist) — and probably a surprise or two, like a Dennis Kucinich-type character.

So who will win? After eight years of an Obama presidency which has produced low approval numbers and a desire for change, the DLC candidates will be most likely to succeed. Among them, two stand out as top tier: Andrew Cuomo and Martin O’Malley. Cuomo has made a name for himself in New York and has managed to upset the liberal wing of his party while maintaining a decent approval rating among Republicans — a magical feat, to be sure, in a state like New York. And O’Malley is widely known as the hardest working potential candidate, willing to work long hours and embrace the daily grind in order to build a winning campaign structure. He did more fundraisers and campaign stops for more candidates than anybody on either side of the aisle during the midterms, which is impressive considering he did so in an unofficial capacity. But his goal went far beyond helping candidates win (which obviously didn’t happen) — his goal was to create and garner goodwill among a nationwide network of supporters that would be in place when he launches his campaign next year.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the major DLC players sit back and collaborate on which of them will enter the race, much like the Republican establishment is doing on the other side of the aisle. So far, with the potential exception of Elizabeth Warren, the DLC wing doesn’t have any serious competition for the nomination, which could make the general election very interesting – and a little tougher for the GOP.

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Barack Obama, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley

November 16, 2014

Oregon Sent Obama a Message, but He’ll Probably Ignore It

I had forgotten about this issue in Oregon, though I recall reading about it at some point this summer. At the time, I just assumed, as most folks did, I would imagine, that the issue would be voted down easily. Instead, it won easily.

The fate of a little-noticed ballot measure in strongly Democratic Oregon serves as a warning to President Barack Obama and his party about the political perils of immigration policy.

Even as Oregon voters were legalizing recreational marijuana and expanding Democratic majorities in state government, they decided by a margin of 66-34 to cancel a new state law that would have provided driver’s licenses to people who are in the United States illegally.

This happened, remember, in a blue state that was in the process of re-electing its Democratic Governor and Senator and returning strong majorities to both houses of the legislature; Democrats won four of the five US House races.
The article is framed in terms of the vote being a message to President Obama that opposition to illegal immigration is far stronger and far more widespread than he, and the rest of the coastal elite, think.

I agree with that assessment, but I have a growing feeling that Obama no longer cares what anybody thinks – that he intend to do whatever he wants for his remaining twenty-six months. I hope I’m not right about that, even if it would mean that the Republicans would win big in 2016.

by @ 3:03 pm. Filed under Barack Obama

How Bad Are Things In Louisiana For Mary Landrieu?

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

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

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

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

“One is the loneliest number.”

Thing not All Rosy for Hillary in Iowa

Politico has an article written by Lee Rood, a columnist for the Des Moines Register. It is entitled, “Is Iowa Already Sick Of Hillary?”

DES MOINES, Iowa — If you’re a die-hard Democrat in New York hoping to overcome the disappointment that was Nov. 4, you’re worried.

But here in Iowa, where the first-in-the-nation caucuses are a mere 14 months away, some are breaking into a cold sweat.

Most party leaders here will assure you all conversations about the 2016 presidential nomination still begin and end with Hillary Clinton.

Crawford, who has led presidential campaigns in Iowa for almost three decades, acknowledges Clinton could easily stumble out of the gate if sometimes contrarian Iowans believe they are being force-fed an unlikeable candidate.

“Democrats are worried,” said Jack Hatch, the veteran Democratic state senator from Des Moines who sputtered in his bid to take on four-term Republican Gov. Terry Branstad. “I’m very worried.”

The Des Moines Register has long enjoyed a reputation par excellence of reflecting very accurately the state of politics in Iowa at any given moment. If they say Iowa’s Democrats are nervous about Hillary, they are nervous about Hillary. They are worried that the former First Lady may be open to a surprise ambush by an attractive upstart. That would throw the 2016 primary season into disarray and chaos. And given the drubbing the party received in 2014 and the deep unpopularity of their sitting President, that is exactly what they don’t need.

by @ 8:23 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Iowa Caucuses

Poll Watch: PPP (D) New Hampshire 2016 Republican Primary Survey

PPP (D) New Hampshire 2016 GOP Primary Poll

  • Jeb Bush 15%
  • Ben Carson 15%
  • Chris Christie 11%
  • Mike Huckabee 11%
  • Rand Paul 10%
  • Ted Cruz 10%
  • Marco Rubio 7%
  • Paul Ryan 7%
  • Rick Perry 3%
  • Someone else/Not sure 11%
Survey of 673 Republican primary voters was conducted November 1-3, 2014.  Party ID: 61% Republican; 38% Independent/Other; 2% Democrat.  Political ideology: 40% Somewhat conservative; 26%Moderate; 25% Very conservative; 6% Somewhat liberal; 2% Very liberal.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under 2016, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, New Hampshire Primary, Poll Watch

November 15, 2014

USA Today is Reporting Hillary Will Announce Mid-January

The following story appears in USA Today:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe this week said Hillary Rodham Clinton would make up her mind about a presidential bid in about 60 days.

A mid-January announcement is pretty much in line with Clinton’s previous statements about the matter, but there has been increasing talk that she is speeding up her preparations, including planning a campaign headquarters near her home in the suburbs outside New York City.

Speeding things up, huh? Could it be that she is hearing footsteps approaching her from her left? Or maybe all the talk of her not being the best candidate for 2016 might be making her nervous?

 

by @ 9:15 pm. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton

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 14, 2014

Oh Good Grief. It’s Already Starting.

The campaign hasn’t even started yet and already ABCNews is reporting disharmony, backstabbing, and feuds within the Hillary camp.

For the past five years, a prominent Democratic operative who is a leading contender to manage a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has maintained a private email listserv for friends and associates that carries a provocative name: the “Mook Mafia.”

The listserv, which one member said reaches more than 150 fellow campaign veterans, has been a means for Robby Mook and a close friend Marlon Marshall to stay connected with many of the operatives who would likely populate a Democratic presidential campaign in 2016. Mook and Marshall have both been mentioned as possible Hillary Clinton campaign managers

Copies of a cache of the emails obtained by ABC News, and revealed publicly for the first time, show Mook and Marshall demonstrating an aggressive tone in rallying their friends behind political causes, in exchanges that are often self-mocking and sometimes border on being profane.

That the emails are emerging publicly reflects the ferocious intra-battle to populate the top positions of an expected Clinton campaign.

This sort of thing is old hat for Hillary. Tales of infighting, turf battles, and a poisonous work environment abounded in her 2008 campaign. The Atlantic wrote an extensive post mortem on the campaign in September 2008.

How did things look on the inside, as they unraveled?

To find out, I approached a number of current and former Clinton staffers and outside consultants and asked them to share memos, e-mails, meeting minutes, diaries—anything that would offer a contemporaneous account.

Wow, it was even worse than I’d imagined! The anger and toxic obsessions overwhelmed even the most reserved Beltway wise men. Surprisingly, Clinton herself, when pressed, was her own shrewdest strategist, a role that had never been her strong suit in the White House. But her advisers couldn’t execute strategy; they routinely attacked and undermined each other, and Clinton never forced a resolution. Major decisions would be put off for weeks until suddenly she would erupt, driving her staff to panic and misfire.

It goes on like that for many pages. Read it if you want to see how NOT to run a campaign.

Déjà vu all over again.

by @ 5:11 pm. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton

Race42016’s Comment Policy

With the Race for 2016 upon us, it has been brought to my attention that now may be a good time to revisit R4’16’s comment policy:

1. Comments may not contain profanity or use suggestive sexual language
2. Comments must be cogent to the subject of the post
3. Comments may not attack the family members of candidates or a candidate’s religion or religious beliefs (or lack therof)
4. Comments may not advertise other websites (spamming)
5. Comments may not inflame the tone of the conversation unnecessarily (trolling) or contain ad hominem attacks against the author or other commenters.
6. Commenters must choose one name to post under and are strictly prohibited from employing sock-puppets.

Also:

  • All Authors can police their own threads. They may edit/delete any and all comments posted on their threads as they see fit.
  • Administrators have the authority to ban people from commenting. The Admins for R4’16 are myself and Mark B. Lowe.

I will usually give three warnings before banning a reader from commenting. Some actions, however, may result in an ban without a prior warning.

by @ 3:43 pm. Filed under Misc.

Gruber a Problem for a Possible 2016 Romney Run

Jonathan Gruber’s comments on video have been doing the Obama Administration and his fellow Democrats no favors. He has revealed that Obamacare was all based on lies, a massive wool-over-the-eyes-pull on the American people.

Lost in the shuffle has been his ties to Romneycare. He helped write it, and when Romney attempted to distinguish between it and Obamacare three years ago, Gruber responded:

“The problem is there is no way to say that, because they’re the same f***ing bill. He just can’t have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it’s the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he’s just lying. The only big difference is he didn’t have to pay for his. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes.”

Personally I could never understand how a 70 page plan (Romneycare) could be “exactly the same” as a 2700 page plan (Obamacare) as so many people kept claiming it was, including its so-called “architect”, Jonathan Gruber. I had a hard time believing it three years ago, and I’m not inclined to believe it now, especially when the one making the claim has been proven to be perfectly willing to twist the truth and flat-out lie in order to see Obamacare succeed.

Whether Gruber is lying or telling the truth, it will make life more difficult for Romney if he should happen to decide to run. Who wants to re-fight the same 2012 battles? I sure don’t, and I doubt anyone else will, either.

This could well be the final nail in the coffin of any potential 2016 run by the former Massachusetts Governor.

by @ 2:06 pm. Filed under 2016, Mitt Romney

“We Can’t Explain Why Hillary is Running”, MSNBC

You know Hillary is in trouble when even the good folks on MSNBC have difficulty explaining the rationale for her running beyond simply, “It’s her time. It’s her turn”.



They brought up what happened when Ted Kennedy was asked in 1980 why he was running for President and his rambling two minute response that never really answered the question. They contrasted that to Elizabeth Warren, who if the same thing happened to her today, would be able to explain it in two sentences. They doubted Hillary could do the same.

They pointed to her less-than-stellar book tour this summer as proof of her difficulty in articulating the need for her to be President.

They even (this is MSNBC, remember) pointed out that the electorate has really soured on Obama, and Hillary was part of his administration. She would have a difficult time separating herself from him.

One of them summed it all up rather neatly at the very end of the above clip, “Her biggest problem…people are just tired of [her]. People are just ready to change the channel. It’s as simple as that.”

by @ 10:45 am. Filed under 2016, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton

McCain Expects to face a Tea-party Challenger in 2016.

John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 Presidential nominee, recently appeared on MSNBC discussing his potential 2016 run for the Senate.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that he’s “absolutely” leaning toward running for reelection to the Senate in 2016 and that he’ll be the “number one target of the tea partiers” if he does decide to run again.

“You have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” McCain told msnbc when asked whether he was anticipating a tea party challenge. “I definitely think that I would have to absolutely anticipate a tea party candidate or two or three … everybody tells me that I’m the number one target of the tea partiers.”

McCain, who will be 80 years old in 2016, said he’s already begun laying the groundwork for his reelection campaign.

“We’ve already talked with finance people in the state, we’ve already talked to different groups and organizations ranging from the Arizona Chamber to the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance to build the coalitions we need to build,” McCain said.

I suspect he is right. If you recall in 2010, he beat off a Tea-party challenge from J.D. Hayworth primarily on the strength of Sarah Palin’s, his former VP running-mate, endorsement. He also campaigned on “building the ‘damn’ fence”. He went on to win the general election.

Once the echos of his victory speech had died out, and he no longer needed their support, he turned his back on the Tea-party referring to them as “wacko birds” and “hobbits”. He forgot about the d*** fence and instead joined up with Marco Rubio and the rest of the “Gang of Eight” in pushing the comprehensive amnesty bill.

Party elders will be looking at the 2016 Senatorial election map where the GOP will be defending twice as many seats as the Democrats. They will be sorely tempted to work against the Tea Party in Arizona. However, if this past election has proven anything, it is that the Tea Party has not been standing still. They put forward far fewer Christine O’Donnells and Sharron Angles this time around. Instead, they backed a large number of quality candidates such as Joni Ernst of Iowa. As long as the Tea Party puts up another quality candidate in the 2016 Arizona Senate race, John McCain will have his hands full getting out of the primaries.

by @ 9:52 am. Filed under 2016, Sarah Palin, Senate Races

Politico on Rand Paul

Politco has an article on Rand Paul. Entitled Rand Paul’s Greatest Weakness — It’s Himself, it reads in part:

There are two common threads running among Democrats and Republicans who want to beat Paul. The first is a shared sense of exasperation, the kind of furious disbelief expressed by teenage protagonists after they’ve shot the machete-wielding intruder 78 times and he keeps getting up. The other is a belief that time and attention will finally bring their monster down.

Conversations about Paul with Republican strategists and insiders follow the same pattern: (1) Paul is doing amazing things to broaden the appeal and resurrect the brand of the Republican Party; (2) he sure knows how to draw attention to the things he wants to talk about, and he’s done a great job of mending fences and establishing new relationships within the establishment; and (3) there’s no way someone with his past views and positions wins the Republican presidential nomination.

His base is the Libertarian wing of the party, plus he is viewed favorably by a large number of Conservatives in general. He does have the unfortunate habit of putting his foot in his mouth, and we all know what the left-leaning media will do with that come general election time.

I doubt he will get the nomination, but he will be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming primaries.

by @ 7:52 am. Filed under 2016, Rand Paul

November 13, 2014

Alabama Democrats Ask Supreme Court to Overturn the Law of Unintended Consequences

Well, okay, the headline is not 100% accurate. What is actually going on is that a group of black and Democratic Alabamans are suing to overturn the state’s redistricting on the grounds that the minority districts have too many minority people.

No, I’m not kidding.

According to this Washington Post article, some of the justices met the arguments with the same surprise you just did.

The Supreme Court seemed divided Wednesday over and perhaps even stumped by a request that Alabama redo its state legislative redistricting plan that challengers said was drawn with too much emphasis on the race of voters.

But, I hear you saying, aren’t legislators, under the Voting Rights Act, obligated to consider race, and create districts that guarantee that more minority legislators are elected than were in the ugly past?

If I heard you properly, then you are qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.

… more than one justice pointed out during oral arguments that minority voters used to come to the court to demand that legislatures specifically use race in order to ensure that blacks and Hispanics be represented in government.

And, it would appear, this redistricting plan meets the intent of the Voting Rights Act – the population of Alabama is 25% black and so is the Legislature, according to the attorney representing the state.

The problem, of course, is that one of the results of the VRA, an unintended consequence one might say, has been that it effectively requires states to gerrymander. The basic idea behind gerrymandering, of course, is to pack a few districts with as many members of the opposing party as possible, thus creating more districts winnable by your own party.

To the degree that blacks tend to be Democrats (which is a very large degree), this can be accomplished by closely adhering to the VRA, and is part of the reason why white southern Democrats are close to extinction in the US House.

WaPo notes that:

The question could come down to whether Alabama had partisan gerrymandering goals in mind — the court has allowed that — rather than racial gerrymandering. And that is complicated when, as in Alabama, racial and political identities are closely linked.

I think the Law of Unintended Consequences may be my favorite law.

by @ 11:20 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

So What is Jeb Going to do?

From The Hill:

The 2016 GOP presidential nominating contest, which began after last week’s midterm elections wrapped up, already includes 17 potential candidates and their families, hundreds of would-be staff and several dozen top Republican donors. Though they aren’t saying it out loud, all of them are waiting for the decision of one person: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

In the weeks to come, Bush is expected to declare himself a candidate for president or to officially bow out. Money men need to know, as do candidates crafting messages against one another and, of course, those who influence Mitt Romney. Aides close to the 2012 GOP presidential nominee have already said Romney is not yet confident about the field and could run if Bush decides not to.

Bush is definitely the two-ton elephant in the room. His decision to run or not to run weighs heavily upon all the would-be 2016 contenders. Every one of them is waiting for that shoe to drop before they firm-up any definite plans.

I do have one quibble with the article. It makes it sound almost like it was an either/or situation with Bush and Romney — we’ll get one or the other but not both. Instead, I think it is more we will get Jeb, or maybe perhaps we will get Mitt if he can be convinced to run, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

by @ 3:19 pm. Filed under 2016, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

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