Welcome to the terrordome, 2016

10 11 2014

D’ya like that as a theme? Too much?

I’ma play around with themes for a bit before I settle on one for the Long March.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Now that the midterms have ended,  it is officially Not Too Early to discuss the presidential election—so let the games begin.

They have, pace Jonathan Bernstein and the “invisible primary”, already begun: prospective candidates have already been sussing out talent and numbers and lining up the money folks like a bank of ATMs. Absent such resources they will be relegated to either to sentimental/puzzling sincere long-shot (Buddy Roemer, Dennis Kucinich) or clown-candidate status (Herman Cain, Donald Trump)—the latter of which at least helps plump future revenue streams.

In any case, let’s consider who on on each team is maybe-possibly assembling to beat each other bloody before reaching center ring:

Republicans: Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan

This site lists many more, but I don’t think Nikki Haley or Susannah Martinez will run—no resources—but could end up on VP lists.

The Half-Guv deserves no comment.

Whatever you think of this bunch, you can at least see it is a bunch, and thus likely to create the kind of conflict and bloodletting that makes primary politics such a delight.

(As a side note, I generally hate cringe-comedy—I cringe too much to enjoy it—but I do loves me some cringe-politics, especially when it’s the other side creating the cringe.)

Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schweitzer

Again, there are more possibilities, but what is so notable about this bunch is that they are not, in fact, a bunch. Barely even a handful.

This is bad.

It is true that most folks don’t pay attention to primaries, but I think they serve to prepare the candidates, and the candidates’ operations, for the main card fight: primaries are where weaknesses are exposed, where one learns how well a candidate can take a hit and how well s/he recovers, as well as how well they can hit.

In addition to get-out-the-vote and money-raising and message-honing and all that, course. And good  candidates can bring in fresh volunteers who, after their preferred candidate does lose, nonetheless may stick around to help the nominee.

That’s party-building 101.

So, yes, I want more contenders because I’m not enthused about Hillary Clinton, but also because I think the fight would do the eventual nominee (which may very well be her), and the party, good.

Thus, while Democrats try to rustle up some contenders for the White House, I’ll do my part and try to rustle up some lyrics for blogging about that contention.





On Wisconsin!

2 05 2014

I haven’t lived in the Badger State since the late ’80s, but jeez, this is just embarrassing.





Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’

5 03 2014

It’s too soon for Barack Obama to say “fuck it”.

I know it’s too soon for Obama to say “fuck it”—midterm elections and all that—but is it too much to ask that he stiff-arms any Republican whinging about his “weakness” on Ukraine, and directs his press secretary to laugh at any and all questions regarding that whinging?

Yes, yes, there is a role for Congress to play in foreign policy, and Republicans have the right, even duty, to criticize the president if they think he’s going awry, but if these motherfuckers can’t be bothered to come up with anything better than Obama sux! , then fuck ‘em.

And if it’s too soon for that, then an eye roll will do.





Across the river to the Jersey side

5 02 2014

I’m still unwilling to weigh in in any sustained manner on the 2016 presidential race—let’s get thru the midterm elections first, shall we?—but I’m not not paying any attention whatsoever.

We’re at the stage that Jonathan Bernstein calls the “invisible primary”, when all of the action is behind-the-scenes and limited to a comparatively few people: potential candidates, fundraisers, high-level organizers and would-be staffers. If you’re not one of those folks, and if you’re not a political scientist, there’s no reason other than sheer cussedness (or masochism) to pay attention now.

Still, things do pop up. Or just plain ‘pop’.

I’m talking, of course, about Chris Christie.

I didn’t/don’t take him seriously as a 2016 candidate because I’m not taking anyone seriously: I’m not a part of the invisible primary and while I am a political scientist, American politics ain’t my field. Still, I’m not willing to poke out my eyes, so I have noticed one or two items about his possible candidacy.

I know some Dems were/are worried about him, but I think they were/are foolish to do so. It’s not that he wouldn’t be (or wouldn’t have been) a strong general-election candidate, but that the main work of shredding him would be performed by his fellow Republicans.

Yes, any decent Dem is going to do all of the opposition research and analysis, but chances are any dirt would be dug by the GOP, specifically, those who would run against Christie in the primary. Ted Cruz would be the one to ferret out corruption and Rand Paul would bring up issues of government spending; Rick Perry would talk about the difficulties of doing business in the Garden State and Scott Walker would hit him on union issues. And Rick Santorum. . . , well, christ, he’d do his Rick Santorum thing.

Could Christie make it through that gantlet?

I don’t know. It’s possible—primary voters have to pick the best available candidate, not the theoretically-best candidate—and it’s not as if Christie’s skills have suddenly disappeared. But his weaknesses have become manifest, and magnified, since the bridge scandal broke, and it’s not at all clear that his skills will be enough to overcome those problems.

Especially if his fellow Republicans insist upon drawing attention to those problems.

In the meantime, Christie’s problems shouldn’t matter to you if you’re not a) a New Jersey resident; b) an invisible-primary actor; c) a political scientist; or d) cussed and/or a masochist.

We now resume our regular programming.





Bridge over troubled water

9 01 2014

Since I haven’t formally embargoed any and all 2016 presidential discussion. . . .

I have no idea if this bridge-bollixing will do any long-term damage to Chris Christie, but if I were a Republican operative working for, say, Ted Cruz or Rick Perry, I’d be paying very close attention to the goings-on on the other side of the Hudson River.





It was sad, so sad

21 11 2013

Don’t do it, Harry! Don’t do it! You’ll regret it! Why, we might turn around and cram the courts full of Scalias and Thomases and. . .

Wait, what’s that you say? That that’s what we did, anyway? Weelllll, we’ll just. . .

BOOM!

~~~

Dave Weigel has some really nice observations at Slate, noting in particular that

They didn’t demand the change because they’re ignorant about the 2014 polls. If they lose that election, they’ll have given themselves a year to confirm judges and executive nominees. If they lose the presidency in 2016, they’ll have empowered a Republican to put judicial robes on whichever Federalist Society member he wants. But they expected Republicans to break the filibuster anyway. “I know that if there is a Republican president and a Republican majority,” Sen. Merkley said this month, “they will force up-and-down votes, because they demonstrated their commitment to that principle in 2005.”

Merkley’s opponents never really reckoned with his logic. Progressives did not consider filibuster reform a “risk.” They saw a way to kick over an impediment to majority rule, before Republicans took power and kicked it over themselves. They’re trading something that might have brought “consensus” for something that empowers the party that wins elections. And they’re fine with that.

Just so.

And now we see what happens next.





Knights in white satin

30 10 2013

More shit on whether Republicans should try to compete for the vote of African-Americans, with white folks saying, Why bother, black people won’t vote for us anyway.

Two (and a-half) things: One, while African-Americans are a reliably Democratic voting bloc, non-neglible percentages have voted Republican in national races. It’s also quite possible that African-Americans vote for Republicans for state and local offices.

Two, even if any decent strategy to woo African-Americans voters would likely fail, it might nonetheless work as a signal to non-African-American voters who won’t vote for candidates who they think are racist.

A-half: There’s nothing those GOP motherfuckers could do to get this pale pinko to vote for their presidential candidates, obviously, but most white folks who aren’t racist also aren’t socialists, so Republicans do have a shot with them—but only if they can convince those skeptics that the GOP isn’t, in fact, racist. Appealing to rather than disdaining African-Americans might help with that.

But, whatever: it ain’t my party.

(*Update* Okay, so that added link doesn’t really support my specific point—not that it contradicts it, either!—but it’s such a pretty, pretty chart. . . as is this one.)








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