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:
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.
- 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
ABC News had a recent panel discussion of possible alternatives to Hillary:
The names they threw out were:
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:
Why Not Al Franken in 2016? http://t.co/jYWzXjU6oa
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) November 16, 2014
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.
Mitt Romney appeared on the CBS show, Face the Nation, yesterday. He made four points:
(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.)
“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”
“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,”
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.
ATLANTIC CITY – 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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
I will usually give three warnings before banning a reader from commenting. Some actions, however, may result in an ban without a prior warning.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the Sarah Palin Information blog: (emphasis added)
Governor Palin talked with Neil Cavuto and Lou Dobson last night about the midterm results and about the prospects for 2016.
[H]e asked again, “Would you be open to a Presidential run yourself?” Governor Palin answered, “Of course. Anybody who loves this country as much as I and you do, anyone who has the willingness and ability to do so, would be crazy to say no, at least to the possibility of thinking about it.”
Oh this is going to be fun before it’s over.
A couple of interesting stories are running in Politico today.
The first one deals with a meeting with major liberal donors:
Vice President Joe Biden will join Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other leading progressives in addressing a closed-door gathering of elite liberal donors — a roster of speakers that notably doesn’t include Hillary Clinton.
The annual winter meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a group of funders of liberal causes, isn’t a presidential cattle call. But speculation about the 2016 Democratic presidential race looms over the four-day gathering, which started Wednesday at Washington’s Mandarin Oriental hotel. Last year’s meeting was a lovefest for Warren, whose speech fired up the crowd. This year’s program, reviewed by POLITICO, includes sessions on numerous progressive causes — including fighting climate change, reducing the role of money in politics and more rigorously regulating Wall Street — on which Warren is seen as more liberal than Clinton.
A major meeting with liberal donors that deliberately snubs Hillary Clinton? That can’t be good for the aura of inevitability she has been trying to culture. But whom did they invite instead? Why Elizabeth Warren of course.
Which brings up the next Poltico story today:
Senate Democrats are enlisting progressive firebrand Elizabeth Warren to be a member of their leadership team, likely to serve as a liaison to liberal groups.
Harry Reid, the incoming Senate minority leader, is engaged in private talks with the Massachusetts freshman to create a special leadership post for the former Harvard professor, according to several people familiar with the matter.
In the new position, Warren is expected to serve as a go between to liberal groups to ensure their voice is part of the leadership’s private deliberations, a source said. She would be part of the messaging and policy team.
Warren’s star is rising in the Senate with the help of Harry Reid. She’s only been in the chamber for less than two years, and here she is being considered for a leadership position.
It’s doubtful that Senator Reid is doing anybody any favors. He, the master politician, is trying to stave off any rebellion against him for Senate Democratic Leader after the disastrous midterms. If that means elevating Ms. Warren at a time when the Clintons would prefer her kept out of the limelight, so be it. Numero Uno comes first.
Perhaps Mrs. Clinton road to the 2016 nomination isn’t going to be as smooth as once thought.
The Democrats are starting the race for 2016 with a distinct disadvantage. Take at look at this map from the NCSL:
It shows that after last week’s election, the Republicans control both houses of the Legislature in 31 states. If you add up the electoral votes those states represent, it comes to 314 Electoral Votes. That’s 44 more than the magic number 270 needed to win.
Now if you take away the five states above that will have Democratic Governors (assuming Alaska’s GOP governor wins), you are still left with 264, only six shy of the mark needed to win.
The numbers for the Democrats are far worse. If you add up the electoral votes in the states whose Legislature is completely controlled by the Democrats, you only start with a base of 141 electoral votes — 29 shy of 270. Take away those that will have a Republican Governor and you end up with a paltry 86, barely half the number needed to win.
No, the GOP does NOT have this thing sewn up, not by a long shot. Two years in the future might as well be 100 years when you are talking electoral politics. There hasn’t been a single candidate on either side who has even announced yet. So nobody should be counting any chickens just yet. All the same at this point in time, I would say that the Democrats have the rougher road to make it to the White House in 2016.
Since some of the other posters from R4’12 seem to be returning (great to see you, Matt and Mark), I thought I might do the same. A good place to start might be with a very preliminary assessment of the field that is shaping up. In order to do that fairly, however, I think I need to first position myself, so that you know from what perspective I’m coming (or, if you prefer, what my biases are).
In the run-up to ’12, I was an ardent Mitch Daniels supporter. After Daniels withdrew, I never really settled on another candidate, though I tried to get hyped up about several, most notably Tim Pawlenty; hell, I even gave Jon Huntsman a look (and then quickly backed away). Eventually, of course, it became obvious that Romney would get the nomination, but I couldn’t work up enthusiasm about him, either, since I was fairly certain he’d lose (admission: there was a point in October where I came around to thinking he might pull it out – wrong again!). However, I was out of the country by then and unable to do anything other than go to the nearest consulate and vote for him).
Which brings us to 2016. I would still support Daniels in a heartbeat, but he seems perfectly happy at Purdue, and getting him to change his mind about subjecting his family to the ugliness that American politics has become is about as likely as the Romney and Palin supporters of R4’12 organizing a ‘Draft Bob Hovic’ movement.
So I’ll have to find someone who can fill the same slot – reformist, executive experience, competence, able to relate to ordinary people, fiscally conservative, socially conservative, and defense-minded.
On those last three points let me add this: our party (and any party that is going to be more than a splinter movement – I’m looking at you, Libertarians) is a coalition. Any candidate that is going to unite a coalition must be acceptable to all major factions. Not that s/he is the favorite of all of them (or any of them). But s/he must not be obnoxious to any of them.
Matt Coulter listed a number of subgroups in his recent (excellent) post, but I’ll be old-fashioned and go with the old ficons, socons, and defcons. The Republican nominee need not be a hard-core deficit hawk, but must not go far in the opposite direction; need not be a culture warrior but must not be pro-choice (or even weakly pro-life); need not be an interventionist, but must not be isolationist. Which means the candidate must be able to thread needles quite nicely.
Oh – and one more qualification: I refuse to support anyone who can’t win.
For an early choice I’m leaning toward Scott Walker. Walker is identified primarily with fiscal and reform issues (especially reining in public employee unions), but his social policy credentials are sufficient that I think my most ardently socon friends would find no problem accepting him (part of why I think this is because he is well to my right on social issues). I know nothing about his defense views (having held only local and state offices, he has not had occasion to take positions on defense). I’ll look forward to seeing what he has to say about defense and foreign policy.
He also comes from a solidly middle-class background (mom a bookkeeper, dad a Baptist minister) and can relate to the suburban and blue-collar people Republicans must get in order to win. He has that Midwestern Nice thing going for him (though it did nothing for Tim Pawlenty). Coupled with his inoffensive (some say ‘bland’ and/or ‘boring’) manner, he (like Daniels) seems able to take strong positions without being offensive to middle-of-the-roaders.
My early second choice is Bobby Jindal, who shares many of Walker’s qualities – a proven record of reform at the state level (including a successful school voucher program), plus strong ficon and socon credibility. In addition, his grasp of policy is legendary, and to be blunt, his skin color is a positive. As with Walker, I know nothing of his defense views, and I’ll be waiting to learn more.
On the negative side, I have a perception of Jindal as being very outspoken on social issues – to the point that it might create problems for him with social moderates (whether or not strongly-held socon positions are a big political negative in a national race is, in my opinion, dependent on words and tone more than the positions themselves). This is just a perception, I admit, and only time will tell. I also think a Midwesterner would be a better choice than a Southerner.
It’s no accident that my two main choices are both governors. I strongly prefer governors for two reasons: 1) If Obama has proven anything, it is that executive experience matters greatly; and 2) I think the anti-Washington mood will continue into 2016, and these two will have little difficulty painting Hillary as an ‘insider’ and contrasting her to themselves.
These are the two I’m most interested in at this point. There’s a long way to go, obviously (at this point last time, Mark Sanford headed my list – but I’d rather not discuss that, thank you), so I retain my option to change at any time.
As for the others, just a few words on why I choose not (for now) to back them.
Mitt Romney – Obviously meets my executive experience criterion, in spades. He totally fails on appealing to blue-collar types and is past his sell-by date. In any case, I’m inclined to think, for now, that he isn’t running.
Mike Huckabee – Another governor who can sell socon positions with a smile, though I think he is so closely identified with social issues that he comes across as a one-issue candidate. His Arkansas record makes ficons like me uneasy, to put it mildly. I can’t support him for that reason, and I think he will have problems with a big enough bloc of Republicans that he’ll be stymied.
Rand Paul – Certainly a better salesman for libertarianism than his father, though that isn’t saying much. (As a libertarian myself, I prayed nightly for Ron Paul to just go away). Unless he starts quickly to moderate his foreign policy views, however, I think he has zero chance of getting the nomination. Also – no executive experience.
Jeb Bush – If only he had a different last name. By all accounts an excellent governor, but … well, let’s put it this way: We have an opportunity to run against a hard-core insider and we are contemplating nominating a Bush? Really?
Marco Rubio – No executive experience. Shot himself in the foot on comprehensive immigration reform, but probably backed away sufficiently that it will be forgiven/forgotten. Probably hasn’t been in Washington long enough to be perceived as being one of them. My problem with him is that I see no reason to support him other than his ethnicity. (We do owe him thanks for ridding the party of Charlie Crist).
Ted Cruz – Another short-term Senator. In addition to having no executive background, the guy is a loose cannon. Heaven only knows what he’d spout on the campaign trail.
Rick Perry — We’ll see if he learned anything from 2012. If he did, he might be worth giving attention to (though I think he’s damaged goods). If he didn’t, we won’t have to wait long for him to be gone.
Chris Christie – “Shut up and sit down!” might go over big in NY/NJ, but it will get real old real fast in the rest of the country. The guy just lacks the temperament for a long national campaign. I’ll never forgive him for embracing Obama right before election day – that finished the guy for me.
Paul Ryan – A ficon’s wet dream and one of my ABR options late in the 2012 primary season. On sober reflection, I don’t think a Representative can do it – though he has the advantage of having run a national campaign (losing, but still …). My objection is no executive experience, but I certainly wouldn’t be upset if he were the nominee.
Rick Santorum – He apparently hasn’t figured out that the only reason he did so well in ’12 is that he was the final ABR. If Huckabee gets in, Santorum will be eliminated in Ames, otherwise he might make it to New Hampshire.
Ben Carson – Okay, I’m scraping bottom now. Time to quit.
The good news keeps coming for Senate Republicans. First, up in Alaska, the AP, CNN and all the other outlets have called the race for Dan Sullivan over Mark Begich. Sullivan had a lead since Election Day, but the Last Frontier takes quite a long time to count their votes. Regardless, congratulations to Senator-Elect Sullivan on being Republican Senator number 53.
With Alaska called, there is one more Senate race to decide; the Louisiana runoff between Senator Mary Landrieu and Congressman Bill Cassidy on December 6th. Last week, the DSCC (Democrat Senate Campaign Committee) announced they were cutting their ad buys in the state, not exactly a vote of confidence in Senator Landrieu. Nevertheless Landrieu, who recently called her own constituents racists and sexists (which makes it hard to win their votes just an fyi), has been touting her seniority and her place on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Obviously, this is an important committee for an energy-rich state and Senator Landrieu has raised her position on the committee as a reason to reelect her.
Your move Senator McConnell:
McConnell said in a statement released by Cassidy’s campaign on Wednesday that Cassidy would be appointed to the (Energy and Natural Resources) committee if he wins the Dec. 6 runoff.
“I’m confident Dr. Cassidy will use this position to succeed where Sen. Landrieu failed,” McConnell said.
“One of our top priorities will be actually passing the Keystone XL pipeline. And Dr. Cassidy will help lead the charge to rein in EPA regulations that are raising utility rates and costing jobs. And he’ll fight for Louisiana families against President Obama’s assault on energy jobs.”
“Louisiana will have a senator that will use his clout to support energy jobs, not President (Barack) Obama,” McConnell added.
This is an easy, but brilliant move by McConnell. It instantly undermines one of Landrieu’s arguments, costs very little, and gives Cassidy a boost, although he probably won’t need it. Landrieu won only 42% of the vote in round one of Louisiana’s jungle primary, and the Democrats are so demoralized, they probably won’t put up much of a fight. What this move shows is that McConnell, for all his faults, is a very, very shrewd operator. The Tea Party and Democrats in Kentucky both underestimated him and paid for it. I have a feeling President Obama and McConnell’s Senate foes (on both the left and right) are going to be figuring out this lesson soon enough.
Defense One, a website dedicated to National Security, recently ran a poll of “…427 individuals currently serving within the national security community, including from the State Department, Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security”. They were asked whom they preferred as the new Commander-in-chief in 2016. The results are rather telling.
Defense One has not released the percentage results yet; those will be revealed next week. They did, however, release the order of finish. Here it is:
I am surprised to see Mitt Romney’s name atop that list. He has never struck me as the sort of person that a National Security professional (aka: “hard men who put their lives on the line so we can sleep safe at night”) would prefer as CinC.
From the Washington Post:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee … is reconnecting with activists and enlisting staff to position himself in a growing field of potential Republican presidential candidates.
This week, Huckabee is leading more than 100 pastors and GOP insiders from early primary states on a 10-day overseas trip with stops in Poland and England.
Huckabee’s newly formed non-profit advocacy group, America Takes Action, has begun to serve as an employment perch for his political team, recently bringing on a number of experienced campaign operatives.
Advisers are already scouting real estate in Little Rock, Ark., for a possible presidential campaign headquarters.\
. . .
I have always said that anyone who has been through the meat grinder of a Presidential Campaign has a leg-up on those who have not, and Mike Huckabee was in it from the very beginning to the very end of 2008.
This should be interesting.
How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as president?
- Strongly approve 23%
- Somewhat approve 24%
- Somewhat disapprove 12%
- Strongly disapprove 40%
President Obama Job Approval
- Approve 47%
- Disapprove 52%
Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
According to several top Republicans, Romney made more than 80 phone calls to GOP candidates last Tuesday and Wednesday — including Senate candidates Joni Ernst of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — to congratulate them on their victories.
And then they added this:
In the days after the elections, a group of Romney supporters began circulating a memo that compared the success of his midterm endorsements with those made by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
The documents, which were obtained by The Washington Post, concluded that two out of three Romney candidates won their elections, compared with one in three for Clinton.
According to three Republicans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid, Romney’s associates are convinced that, if former Florida governor Jeb Bush does not run, Romney could consider another White House bid. He has told friends that he feels positive about the likely GOP field but also worries that many of the contenders may not have what it takes to beat Clinton.
Yes, I can see a bunch of his supporters still beating the bushes (so to speak) for him, and him not being all that enthusiastic about it. However, those 80+ phone calls he personally made on Election Night… hmmmmm. That doesn’t exactly sound like someone who wishes to slip into a nice comfortable role as senior party statesman to me. It sounds like someone who wants to keep his options open.
Just where exactly does Mitt stand on running again? I strongly suspect that he would much rather not. He’s pushing 70, and he really doesn’t want to submit to the massive grind that is a Presidential race, especially since he lost last time. And then if he won, he could look forward to the most demanding job in the world for the next four years at least. Mitt Romney is many things, but a masochist he is not. If he continues to feel positive about the 2016 GOP field, he won’t run.
However, he really wants to see a Republican in the White House, and if he is convinced that the field of candidates that begins to take shape is not up to getting there, he may end up throwing his hat into the ring one last time.