Saturday, April 18, 2015

Percy Sledge: "Take Time To Know Her" (1968)

By Richard Barry

R&B legend Percy Sledge died last week. He was best known for “When a Man Loves a Woman,” which topped the charts in 1966. He was 74.

"Take Time to Know Her"  was a single released in 1968 from an album of the same name. It reached No. 11, which made it his second highest charting song (US Hot 100).


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On the Hustings

Carly Fiorina

Boston Globe: "19 potential GOP candidates stream into New Hampshire" 

Washington Post: "Huckabee says he’ll announce his presidential plans May 5" 

Time: "How Hillary Clinton is trying to win over liberal critics" 

Real Clear Politics: "Fiorina says she'd neutralize Clinton's gender arguments" 

New York Times: "Republicans in quandary over vote on Loretta Lynch" 


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Is Hillary Clinton pushing herself to the left? What?

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Standing with Martin O'Malley (maybe)

By Richard K. Barry

But let's get a better campaign photo

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is saying she expects Hillary Clinton to get a challenger or three and is working on setting up primary debates accordingly.

As reported by The Hill, Wasserman Shultz says that "party officials were thus mapping out a “series of sanctioned debates that we expect our presidential candidates to participate in."

The DNC chairwoman mentioned Vice President Biden, former Gov. Martin O’Malley (Md.), former Sen. Jim Webb (Va.) and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee as other likely contenders.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), she added, would be a welcome entrant provided he switched party affiliations for the primary.

Although I would be surprised if Biden gets in, and Wassserman Schultz probably had to add his name to be polite, the others could all well run. 

As for myself, I'm getting interested in O'Malley.
Speaking at Harvard University on Thursday night, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley cranked up the pressure on Hillary Clinton by calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage and voicing his opposition to President Barack Obama’s massive trade deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership.

"As we gather here tonight," he said, "wealth and economic power in the United States of America have now been concentrated in the hands of the very few as almost never before in the history of our country."

During her first week in the presidential campaign, Clinton has tried to win over progressives in the Democratic Party by attacking CEOs for not paying their workers enough and saying that gay marriage should be a constitutional right. But both the minimum wage and trade pose an early test of Clinton's progressive credentials. Her positions on those issues will offer a clear indicator where she stands in the Democratic Party—and what her potential presidency could look like.

Run, Martin, Run. 


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Too bad for Jeb Bush New Hampshire does not equal America

By Richard K. Barry

Cranky like my mama

If the whole country was like New Hampshire, Jeb Bush would be the Republican presidential nominee in a walk.

For Jeb Bush, New Hampshire serves as a linchpin of his strategy. Sandwiched between contests in Iowa and South Carolina that draw large numbers of evangelical voters, New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary has served as a firewall of sorts for mainstream, center-right candidates such as Bush. The last two Republican nominees — Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 — both came in first place here after losing the Iowa caucuses to more socially conservative rivals.

"The more mainstream, sort of center of the party shows up in big numbers here," said New Hampshire's Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey. "It's more favorable to candidates like Gov. Bush" and other centrist choices in the wide GOP field.

Too bad for Jeb the rest of the country isn't like New Hampshire, at least not enough if it.

It shouldn't be very hard to remind the more conservative Republican voters of what Jeb Bush said in June of 2012, which was that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush would have a “hard time” fitting in during this Tea Party era.

One can argue that the Tea Party is not as influential now as in 2012, but they cannot be easily ignored. As the New York Times wrote about Jeb's comments at the time, and which still ring true, they exhibit "a growing distance between the [Bush] family, which until not very long ago embodied mainstream Republicanism, and the no-compromise conservative activists now driving the party."

Maybe Jeb can pull it off. Maybe he can find a way to talk to the more Conservative party activists who can be convinced that what they really need is a relative moderate who can beat Hillary Clinton.

I haven't noticed that much pragmatism from these people yet, nor have I noticed Jeb's ability to pander to them in quite the same way someone like Mitt Romney did.


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Friday, April 17, 2015

Kasich gets ready - time to rent more lecterns

By Richard K. Barry

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will "launch a national political committee that would allow him to raise money and his profile as he considers a run for president in 2016."
A source, who spoke to Northeast Ohio Media Group on the condition of anonymity, said the governor's team is "finishing work" and will register the organization soon. Another said the team is hammering out plans for an announcement.

Records show that a nonprofit called New Day for America incorporated this week with the Ohio secretary of state. The name is similar to one Kasich has used for his gubernatorial inaugural committee. The incorporator is listed as E. Mark Braden, an attorney and election-law specialist who has worked for Kasich before and who once served as chief counsel to the Republican National Committee.

According to the story, "New Day for America will operate as a tax-exempt political organization under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code," and that "this is not an official declaration of candidacy or a committee that will accept donations for a full-fledged Kasich-for-president campaign."

Yeah, but still.


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Hillary Clinton's left-speak

By Richard K. Barry

Don't you sometimes wonder how much Hillary Clinton is really enjoying having to share even a small part of the stage with "darling-of-the-left" Sen. Elizabeth Warren?

Oh, sure, in the latest edition of Time magazine, Clinton was asked to contribute a short piece on her BFF Elizabeth in a feature on the world's 100 most influential people, and no doubt gladly complied
"She never hesitates to hold powerful people's feet to the fire: bankers, lobbyists, senior government officials and, yes, even presidential aspirants," Clinton, the clear front-runner to win the Democratic nomination for president, wrote in an apparent wink to herself.

"Elizabeth Warren never lets us forget that the work of taming Wall Street's irresponsible risk taking and reforming our financial system is far from finished," Clinton wrote in Time after the magazine named Warren, a former Harvard law professor and a senator for Massachusetts, one of the world's 100 most influential people.

Though Clinton has talked about fighting growing income inequality, we know virtually nothing about what specific policies she might propose or how, for example, she might increase Wall Street regulation.

But there she is, making the right noises.

One of the more foolish things said in politics concerns the potential danger of pissing off a significant flank of a given party such as the far left of the Democrats or far right of the Republicans. Some say it doesn't matter because "where are they going to go?", meaning they aren't going to vote for the other party.

No, but they could stay home, forget to vote, forget to volunteer, or forget to give money.

The left-wing of the Democratic Party is increasingly vocal and active. They know Hillary is not really their cup of tea, but if she at least makes an effort to say a few things to placate them, it could help her immeasurably.

And if she has to do it by smiling through gritted teeth while embracing Senator Warren, that's okay.

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Democrat Russ Feingold with big lead over incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

By Richard K. Barry

Russ Feingold
A poll released yesterday by Marquette University Law School showed Wisconsin Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson significantly behind former Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold. Johnson had 38% and Feingold had 54%.
Johnson unseated Feingold in 2010. Feingold hasn't announced his plans but is widely expected to run again.

Johnson's lag behind Feingold is a sign "that (Feingold's) not been forgotten, nor has the public seemingly turned against him in his time away from the state," said Charles Franklin, director of the poll.

Jessie Opoien at The Cap Times writes that "while Democrats are aggressively targeting Johnson," considered by many one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection, "Republicans have already started going after Feingold as the presumed challenger, painting him as an out-of-touch Washington insider."

Ah, yes, the out-of-touch-Washington-insider card. An oldie but goodie. 

You want out-of-touch?  Here's what Johnson said back in 2010 about climate change
A global warming skeptic, Johnson said extreme weather phenomena were better explained by sunspots than an overload of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as many scientists believe.

"I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change," Johnson said. "It's not proven by any stretch of the imagination."

Johnson, in an interview last month, described believers in manmade causes of climate change as "crazy" and the theory as "lunacy."

There are a number of other reasons to show this guy the door, but this is a good one.  

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ted, I'm sorry the other senators won't play with you



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Lincoln Chafee says Hillary Clinton shouldn't be president because . . . Iraq

By Richard K. Barry

I'm very sympathetic to the argument that Hillary Clinton should continue to be hammered on that whole Iraq war thing, but, um, I sure wish we had someone more articulate making the case. Geesh!

If you missed it, and that would have been easy, Lincoln Chafee, this guy, is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

To be fair, because it's nice to be fair:
On paper, Chafee’s resume is presidential caliber: He’s served in the Senate, as governor and as the mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island. But he faces several obstacles to being considered a serious rival to Clinton for the nomination. For one, he only joined the Democratic Party in 2013 — after serving in the Senate as a Republican and running for governor as an independent — and lacks the political infrastructure of former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who served for two years as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

He also lacks the national profile of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who says she’s not running despite a big grassroots push for her to do so, or even independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has cultivated a large following on social media.

So, no one knows who he is, he has limited political infrastructure in place, and he can't, apparently, put together a coherent sentence. 

Sure, why not?


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Is it better for Hillary to have Democratic challengers?

By Richard K. Barry

Doyle McManus at the Los Angeles Times discusses whether it would be a good or a bad thing for Hillary Clinton to get a challenger or challengers for the nomination.
Like many pundits, I've written that it would be good for Clinton to have real debates with capable sparring partners, under the theory that she needs a tune-up before taking on the GOP nominee. Almost every professional campaign strategist I've talked with says that's nuts. For a front-runner, they say, debates are mostly an opportunity to commit gaffes and lose support.

He lands on the view that primaries "aren't only about choosing candidates," but are also about "refining the ideas that the nominee will take into the general election." Following that logic, he thinks it would be useful if Clinton were forced to address a number of issues such as potential increases to Social Security benefits, a higher minimum wage, stronger financial regulation, and what many see as her hawkish foreign policy. 

I would add that if Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, or Jim Webb can help make those discussions happen, that's good for Democratc politics in America, particularly progressive politics.

Is it better for Hillary Clinton, the likely nominee, to have to put herself through these paces? Would the benefit of getting a tune-up before the general election campaign outweigh any damage from potential gaffes she might make? Maybe not, but I don't care.

The left-wing of the Democratic Party should be able to hear what she has to say on issues important to them, in a context in which see can be pushed from the (relative) left.

If we only hear from her in debates with the eventual Republican nominee, anything she says will make her sound lovely to progressive ears in comparison.

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Good news for the economy, bad news for Republicans

By Richard Barry

In what is surely good news for Hillary Clinton, a new Bloomberg poll finds that more Americans are feeling optimistic about the state of the economy and President Obama's handling it.
Americans are becoming more optimistic about the country's economic prospects by several different measures. President Barack Obama's handling of the economy is being seen more positively than negatively for the first time in more than five years, 49 percent to 46 percent—his best number in this poll since September 2009.

[. . . ]

“The uptick extends not just to Obama but to the mood of the country and to things getting better,” says J. Ann Selzer, president of West Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “This will be an interesting potential transition, if it's a movement that signals the country is more cognizant about things turning better and that, in an indirect way, they're feeling better about Obama.”

On the downside:
[T]he national survey of 1,008 adults, conducted April 6-8, also reveals that about three-fourths of Democrats and independents, along with a majority of Republicans, say the gap is growing between the rich and everyone else—and a majority of women want the government to intervene to shrink it.

Aside from the obvious takeaway that a strong economy is good for the incumbent party, perception of a growing wealth gap can't be good for Republicans, even as they attempt to make themselves over as the party of economic opportunity.

They will try to argue that the reason the middle class isn't doing better is because government is somehow keeping them down. And we know that constant chatter about higher taxes and unnecessary government regulation will inform much of GOP campaign. But is that likely to work amid perception that the economy is improving?

Doubt it.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hillary Clinton's campaign launch video: It's morning in a more diverse America

By Richard K. Barry

James Hohmann at Politico writes that some Republican political operatives were not entirely scathing in their assessment of Hillary Clinton's campaign launch video.

A significant — and surprising — majority of GOP insiders in the early states offered at least some praise for her presidential campaign roll-out in a special Wednesday edition of The POLITICO Caucus, our weekly bipartisan survey of the most important activists, operatives and elected officials in Iowa and New Hampshire.

These are people who will never vote for her, but they have their fingers on the political pulse in the two states that kick off the nominating process. While most Republicans thought the former secretary of state’s announcement was contrived or phony, they nevertheless viewed it as a savvy and effective campaign launch.

Though I have no idea what the words "contrived" and "phony" mean in this context, beside the fact that some Republicans refuse to associate much positive with Hillary Clinton, I think the GOP is more concerned with this video, this approach, than they are letting on.

The conservative movement in America is so much about anger, and hatred and painting Democrats as destroyers of a country that doesn't, in some inexplicable way, belong to them.

But smart politicians understand that most often voters simply want to know where you want to take them, what kind of life you imagine for them and how you can help them get there. Voters tire of the nastiness after a while.

Was the Hillary video a bit of a Hallmark card? Sure, just like Ronald Reagan's iconic "Morning in America" piece was not entirely unlike a coffee commercial. But people like Hallmark cards, and coffee in the morning.

A bunch of people, with significantly different backgrounds, talking about their hopes for the future, which is to the Clinton campaign's point. Make it about the voters, and you might just win an election.

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A foreign policy election in 2016?

By Richard Barry

A recent National Journal article cites a new GOP poll which reinforces "Republican strategists' conviction that foreign policy will be a major issue in 2016," an issue, the piece suggests "the party believes it can wield to its advantage against Democratic congressional candidates and Hillary Clinton."
The internal survey, conducted by the GOP firm OnMessage, found that security issues ranked first on a list of top priorities for voters, ahead of economic growth, fiscal responsibility, and moral issues, among others. A 22 percent plurality of all respondents ranked it as the top issue, compared with 13 percent who listed economic growth as their top concern. (14 percent listed "fiscal responsibility" at the head of their list.)

Perhaps more interesting is the thought that Americans are feeling secure enough about the economy to begin worrying about other things. And which party rescued the country from the economic mess left by George W. Bush? Why, it was President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Perhaps too Republicans believe they can score political points against Hillary Clinton by saying the word Benghazi at every opportunity, which, really, no one cares about unless they already mainline Fox News.

I think it might actually be fun to watch some of these Republican nitwits attempt to outshine the former Secretary of State on foreign policy issues.

But again, if Republicans think that they've lost on the economy to the point that they believe foreign policy is their trump card, they've already lost the election because "it's the economy, stupid."


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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

On the Hustings

National Journal: "After Rubio, Florida Senate scramble starts in earnest" (Andrea Drusch)

The Hill: "Sanders: American people 'don't know' what Hillary is running on" (Ben Kamisar)

Business Insider: "Bill de Blasio doubles down on his questions about Hillary Clinton" (Colin Campbell)

ABC News: "Christie proposes overhaul of Social Security benefits" (Jill Colvin)

Washington Post: "Maryland Teamsters endorse Chris Van Hollen" (Rachel Weiner)


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Nate Silver is no fun at all

By Richard Barry

Nate Silver wants us to know that it's really too early to say anything much about who will win the presidency in 2016. He also wants us to know that it's a 50/50 proposition at this point, and "we're not likely to learn a lot over the rest of 2015 to change that."

There’s already plenty of bad punditry regarding the chances of Hillary Clinton — who officially announced her candidacy on Sunday — to become the 45th president. You can find Democrats boasting about their “blue wall” in the Electoral College and how hard this will make it for any Republican to win. Or Republicans warning that the Democratic Party rarely wins three elections in a row.

Most of this analysis is flimsy. So is the commentary about the ups-and-downs in early swing state polls. And when you see some pundit declaring a minor misstep to be a “game changer,” find someone else to follow on Twitter.

Holy shit, Nate, we're just having some fun here. You must be a laugh riot at cocktail parties.

Oh, and by the way, I have no idea if my New York Giants will be any good this season, but I'm going to talk about it anyway. That okay with you?


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Can Republucans run as the party of the middle class and poor with a straight face?

By Richard Barry

Jonathan Chait wrote yesterday in New York magazine about how Marco Rubio has remade himself in order to be acceptable to the Republican base as he pursues the GOP presidential nomination.

The first move, which is well-known, is his renunciation of immigration reform. The bigger move, as Chait writes, is his shift on economic policy.

Last year, Rubio positioned himself as a “reform conservative” who aspired to aim tax cuts at middle-class families rather than the rich. Instead, when he unveiled the plan, it consisted of a massive, debt-financed tax cut that would give its greatest benefit to the rich, not just in absolute terms, but also as a percentage of their income. Even that plan proved to be too stingy for Republican plutocrats, so Rubio revised his plan to make it far friendlier to the rich. The newest version took his old plan and added complete elimination of all taxes on inherited estates, capital gains, and interest income. Grover Norquist, guardian of the party’s anti-tax absolutism, cooed his approval.

And yet in his announcement speech Rubio claims that he wants to make helping the poor and middle class a Republucan issue.

On its face the hypocracy is mind-blowing, but it doesn't end there.

In a recent story at Politico, Ely Stokols writes that the approach Republicans plan to take to attack Hillary Clinton is coming into focus.

Interviews with GOP consultants, party officials, and the largest conservative super PACs point to an emerging narrative of a wealthy, out-of-touch candidate who plays by her own set of rules and lives in a world of private planes, chauffeured vehicles, and million dollar homes.

With no hint of irony, Republicans may be ready to embrace a candidate whose economic policies dramatically favour the rich over the middle class and poor while preparing to run against a Democratic candidate on the grounds that she had too much money.


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Monday, April 13, 2015

Is Marco Rubio Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare?

By Richard K. Barry

Yes, I will pretend I care about poor people.

Earlier today Sen. Marco Rubio announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. John King at CNN called him the best athlete in the field, though conceding that his performance over time will bear close scrutiny. Many call him the best communicator among GOP contenders. He has a compelling personal story, and is an attractive candidate.

What then are his chances?

Well, maybe not that good.

Nate Cohn at the New York Times writes that:
[Jeb] Bush’s pre-emptive bid to build elite support has denied Mr. Rubio the opportunity to consolidate the centre-right wing of the party. Perhaps this wouldn’t be a big problem if Mr. Rubio were a favourite of the conservatives skeptical of Mr. Bush’s candidacy, but the field is full of candidates who are equally good or better fits for many conservative voters.

It is sometimes easy to forget that the nomination process is not a top-line popularity contest but a long and hard state-by-state struggle. Momentum, or lack thereof, has an outsized impact on final success. If Marco Rubio does too poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, it will be very difficult to recover, and the truth is that he is well positioned to do poorly in those states.
The challenge for Mr. Rubio is heightened by the first two nominating contests, Iowa and New Hampshire, which are better understood as factional winnowing contests. The Iowa caucuses are deeply conservative — 47 percent of caucus-goers in 2012 identified as “very conservative” — and even more evangelical: 57 percent identified as born again or evangelical Christians. New Hampshire, on the other hand, is among the most moderate contests in the country: 47 percent of New Hampshire primary voters were self-identified moderates four years ago. It is not surprising that a candidate with broad but shallow appeal, like Mr. Rubio, has struggled to gain a strong foothold in either state.

As Cohn writes, "the presidential primary is not just about skill," it's also about positioning. In the above scenario Rubio is, as Cohn writes, "boxed out" by being unable to successfully compete for the hard-core conservative vote on the one hand or the moderate conservative vote on the other.

If, however, Rubio has done reasonably well once the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire are counted, and Jeb Bush turns out to be more unpopular with the base than most of us thought, and Scott Walker ends up looking as inexperienced and unready on the national stage as many believe he will, and if the harder-core right-wing candidates fail earlier than expected, then Rubio's skills might matter. He might have a shot.

Who knows? But those first two primaries will tell us all we need to know about Marco Rubio.

If he is still in fighting shape when they are over, he could be Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare, a Republican with broad but shallow appeal.

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Could Marco Rubio surprise?

By Richard Barry

On Morning Joe today (yes, I still watch), there was considerable chatter about how Marco Rubio could appeal to both younger and Hispanic voters in a general election and thus be a problem for Clinton. This assumes, of course, that he could get to the general.

Harry Enten, who works at FiveThirtyEight, writes that when he and his colleagues talk around the office, they usually put Rubio in the top tier of GOP contenders, despite his current poor showing in the polls.

Rubio is both electable and conservative, and in optimal proportions. He’s in a position to satisfy the GOP establishment, tea party-aligned voters and social conservatives. In fact, Rubio’s argument for the GOP nomination looks a lot like Walker’s, and Rubio is more of a direct threat to the Wisconsin governor than he is to fellow Floridian Bush.

To win a presidential nomination, you need to make it past the party actors (i.e., elected officials and highly dedicated partisans). You can have all the strong early poll numbers in the world (hello, Rudy Giuliani), and your candidacy can still fail if party bigwigs come out against you. Rubio has a real chance of surviving — or even winning — the invisible (or endorsement) primary.

While Jeb Bush is not popular with the base and Walker is a relative unknown, at least in terms of how he will perform, Rubio could surprise everyone if he is as good at centre stage as so many think he could be.


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The odds favour Hillary

By Richard Barry

In an article in New York magazine yesterday, Jonathan Chait tells us, in a very persuasive article, why he thinks Hillary Clinton is likely to be the victor in the 2016 election:

He begins with this statement:

Unless the economy goes into a recession over the next year and a half, Hillary Clinton is probably going to win the presidential election. The United States has polarized into stable voting blocs, and the Democratic bloc is a bit larger and growing at a faster rate.

And ends with this one:
The argument for Clinton in 2016 is that she is the candidate of the only major American political party not run by lunatics. There is only one choice for voters who want a president who accepts climate science and rejects voodoo economics, and whose domestic platform would not engineer the largest upward redistribution of resources in American history. Even if the relatively sober Jeb Bush wins the nomination, he will have to accommodate himself to his party's barking-mad consensus. She is non-crazy America’s choice by default. And it is not necessarily an exciting choice, but it is an easy one, and a proposition behind which she will probably command a majority

I don't know. Is there anything else that needs to be said? Okay, the only thing I would add is that if Jeb Bush, assuming he is the nominee, is able to push back against his "party's barking-mad consensus" it will be because the establishment wing of the GOP and all the money and influence it commands has been able to force some sanity on the situation. If they can do that, it will be more interesting than Chait suggests.

Still, the odds have to be with Clinton.


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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Shocker! Hillary Clinton Is running for president!

This morning, The New York Times sent me a news update, Breaking News: Hillary Clinton Will Run for President in 2016, Top Aide Says. This is why I subscribe to their updates. I don’t want to miss out on anything. I would hate to be hanging out in the lunch room at work and muse aloud, “I wonder whether Hillary Clinton will run for president.” Only to have a coworker embarrass me, “You haven’t heard? Hillary Clinton is running for president!” Boy would my face be red.
Since I got that update from The New York Times, I’ve been waiting for other breaking news. Really, at this point, it could be anything:
  • Hillary Clinton Married to Former President, Top Aide Says
  • Hillary Clinton Unlikely to Change Hair Colour in 2016, Top Aide Says
  • Hillary Clinton Recently Became Grandmother, Top Aide Says
  • Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Contestant on Dancing With the Stars in 2016, Top Aide Says
  • Hillary Clinton Not Controlled by Reptilian Extraterrestrial, Top Aide Says
Actually, that last one might qualify as news. I’ve been intrigued this last week that there was the announcement that Hillary Clinton would announce her candidacy for president. And so there was lots of “news” about her upcoming announcement, as if it were, you know, news. And now that she has officially announced her candidacy, there will be lots of news about that. I know it won’t happen, but it would make sense if next week we got the headline:
Hillary Clinton Still Running for President in 2016, Top Aide Says
I have nothing especially against Hillary Clinton. If it comes to it, I will vote for her. But with Clinton, Cruz, and Paul, this is really not news. They have all been running for president for some time. So a formal announcement ought to be treated as such. This isn’t earth shattering. It is along the lines of a business that has been a sole proprietorship is changing into an S corporation. That’s how big this news is: not big.
Now her campaign put out this very nice video announcing her candidacy. And I am not nearly cynical enough to not like it. It’s good (post at The Reaction earlier in the day). And it is a hell of a lot better than Ted Cruz’s staged speech where he wanted us to all imagine a world in which fifty years of social progress was washed away.
Just the same, I am cynical enough to think that The Onion nailed her candidacy better than her campaign or the mainstream media ever will:
  • Campaign Slogan: “I deserve this”
  • Campaign Strategy: Overwhelming tide of inevitability
  • Spouse: Former Arkansas attorney general William Jefferson Clinton
  • Wingspan: 7 feet, 6 inches
  • Ideal Running Mate: Primary opponent who knows how to gracefully step aside when the time comes
  • Biggest Scandals: Deaths of four Americans at Benghazi, use of private email account for government emails, choice of Nina McLemore dress at a 1998 presidential function
  • Grandchildren: One, but pushing Chelsea for one more before Iowa caucus
  • Stance On Abortion: Supports a woman’s right to choose for her husband’s mistress
  • Birthplace: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming
  • Number Of Times Teeth Gritted To Date: 489,346
  • Things She Personally Understands As A Grandmother: Hope, faith, future, education, children, all that crap
  • Greatest Fear: Charismatic young senators from the Midwest
  • Number Of Big Macs That Fit In Mouth At One Time: 2
  • Biggest Challenge: Not completely blowing it
My hope is that if she completely blows this, she will do it soon. But if she does, the media will probably miss it because they are busy covering Jeb Bush’s announcement.
(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)


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Hillary's announcement

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Rand Paul's libertarianism requires sleight of hand

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul wants to cast himself as the kind of politician who thinks people should be allowed to do what they want to do, that the federal government should stay out of the lives of ordinary Americans.

Paul has long called for the government to stop meddling in private lives and for a ban on NSA spying; he has said that he hopes his presidential campaign appeals to the so-called "leave me alone coalition." Saturday, Paul emphasized the libertarian branch of his conservative "libertarianish" philosophy in a far more robust way than he has on other stops this week. Individual rights and limited government are messages that resonate heavily here in Nevada, [a recent campaign stop, and] a state with a strong libertarian, individualist streak, where Paul's father, Ron, saw a strong well of support.

The problem for Paul is that conservatism has never been about staying out of people lives. It's been about ensuring that those people conservatives disagree with are forced to embrace a specific notion of Americanism. 

Back in the '60 there was a charming little slogan in use among conservatives: "America: Love it or Leave It." That, my friends, is not a libertarian perspective. The meaning is clear: "Do things my way, or get the fuck out," a view shared by many conservatives today. 

Republicans may be confused about the meaning of certain philosophical terms, like libertarianism, but they certainly don't embrace the idea that people, all people, should be allowed to do what they want to do. 

To put a fine point on it, people who want their country back have an very clear notion of how others should live.

When it comes down to specifics, Rand Paul is going to have difficulty with his core message. Of course, when that happens he can just walk out of the interview. 

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