Dec
18
2014
4

Barack Obama not yet understanding that he needs to be irrelevant to 2016.

Well, I don’t need him to be irrelevant.  But you know what I mean.

This should be fascinating to watch: “In recent weeks, Democratic operatives have begun to voice concerns that the 2014 midterms made plain the limits of an approach that failed to reach beyond minority groups or those who are reflexively liberal. And yet what should come next is not yet totally clear.” Largely because it’s essentially futile.  The Democrats will not have control over their message in 2016, because in our system a sitting President has tremendous power to define for the public what his political faction does or does not care about.

And the bear is loose:

[Barack] Obama feels liberated, aides say, and sees the recent flurry of aggressive executive action and deal-making as a pivot for him to spend the last two years being more of the president he always wanted to be.

I don’t often feel sympathy for my opposite numbers – and, in fact, in this case I still don’t.  But if I were to feel sympathy, it’d be in the way that they’re going to have to spend the next two years going Never mind Barack Obama without actually looking like they’re going Never mind Barack Obama.  Because while Barack Obama’s popularity generally is in the toilet*, it’s noticeably better among Democratic primary voters. Which means that the Democrats can’t actually tell Barack Obama to sit down and shaddap.

In case you’re wondering: yes, normally second-term Presidents don’t need to be told this.  Generally speaking the sitting President gets out of the way as gracefully as possible so that the eventual nominee from their party can get on with the remarkably difficult task of winning three elections in a row.  Fortunately (for my side), nobody bothered to tell Barack Obama that. Or maybe he doesn’t care.  Or – and this would be the best answer – the man still hasn’t come to terms with the limits to his competence, and Obama thinks that he can (chuckle, snort!) help

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: If Barack Obama thinks that what was going this session was ‘deal-making’ (instead of, say, ‘trying to work around an over-rated Harry Reid’), we will probably find next year to be quite amusing, in its way.

*I should note, by the way, that his reputation will recover, post-Presidency.  That’s what typically happens.  Don’t get bent out of shape over it, because doing so won’t affect the process and you’ll just be there in the dark chewing bitter bones, as the Elves might say.

Dec
12
2014
5

Actually, it’s the *conservatives* who can make better plays to the middle in 2016.

As in, they can do it and still get elected.

Allahpundit is raising an excellent point, here:

Why would a center-right voter prefer Jeb Bush to Scott Walker? We all do understand, I hope, that Walker will be running basically as a centrist, yes? …I think he’s going to run as a similar sort of pragmatist as Bush — lots of talk about jobs and education, squishy on immigration, socially conservative but low key about it, and if tea partiers start getting restless with him, he’ll pull the ol’ “remember the time the unions spent millions to recall me and I kicked the sh*t out of them?” card. And then everyone will quiet down.

(more…)

Dec
04
2014
11

Chuck Schumer and pretending that the Democratic party is not what it is.

This is an entertaining article on Chuck Schumer by Dan Henninger, but this sentence makes me raise an eyebrow: “With [his speech indicating that Democrats should not have concentrated on Obamacare], Chuck Schumer was sending an audible signal to state and local party bosses around the country and to peeved donors—aghast at the midterm results—that not everyone in Washington has lost his mind to the party’s Occupy-and-windmill wing.” …Only, the Democrats in Washington have collectively lost their minds.  Because talk is cheap.

No, seriously, we have heard this song and dance before. In 2006 and 2008 the Democrats ran a lot of candidates who talked a great game about dealing with American pocketbook issues and finding solutions and whatnot. And the American people elected those candidates… who then turned right around and looted the Treasury for the benefit of their pet causes (called the ‘stimulus’), followed closely by howlingly incompetent, and rapidly-approaching-disastrous*, social-economic engineering (‘Obamacare’).  Chuck Schumer was in on that.  The man has the morals of a cat – which is to say, he has none, but he’s legitimately affectionate towards anyone who feeds him regularly – so it doesn’t surprise me that Schumer now wants off of the Carousel. (more…)

Dec
04
2014
4

Preparing the battlespace for a Democratic failure in 2016?

Dang, but those grapes look really sour.

Think of the billions the parties must raise to elect a president in 2016. Consider the millions of paid and volunteer man-hours that will be devoted to this enterprise. The White House is the center of the partisan political universe, and Democrats and Republicans alike measure success or failure by their ability to win and hold the presidency.

Instead, maybe they ought to hope they lose. The surest price the winning party will pay is defeat of hundreds of their most promising candidates and officeholders for Senate, House, governorships, and state legislative posts. Every eight-year presidency has emptied the benches for the triumphant party, and recently it has gotten even worse.

Don’t get me wrong: Larry Sabato has a point.  But it’s just as easy to say that the American people tend to be on an eight year cycle of Throw The Bums Out, with the bums switching off on a regular basis.  Of course, when you put it that way then the efforts of people like Larry Sabato – and, to be brutally honest about it, myself – start looking a good deal less relevant…

Nov
30
2014
16

The Democrats’ surprisingly complicated 2016 Senate problem.

Interesting list of potential Democratic retirements from the Hill, here:

  • Barbara Boxer, 74
  • Joe Manchin, 67
  • Patrick Leahy, 74
  • Barbara Mikulski, 78
  • Harry Reid, 74

Manchin’s on the list because he’s doing all the things that Senators who are planning to run for Governor do: to wit, talking about how much he hates Washington DC, and letting the state party apparatus dip their beaks into his fundraising war chest.  Boxer is… tired, I think.  Also, not raising money. Of the other three: Leahy is actually younger than I thought he was; he’s probably staying.  Reid has two years of pain ahead of him.  Mikulski… Barbara Mikulski would be 80 in 2016.  That’s old for a reelection campaign. (more…)

Nov
11
2014
12

Who *will* we get as a nominee for 2016?

I understand Allahpundit’s concern, here:

Nominate a guy like [Ted] Cruz and he can spend the entire campaign pandering to the middle since conservatives feel 100 percent sure he’ll govern as a conservative in office. Obama benefited from the same logic on the left six years ago: He could reassure Rick Warren and evangelicals that he believed in traditional marriage with nary a peep from his progressive base because none of them thought he was serious. He was a loud and proud liberal, no matter he said in his attempt to get elected. He’d support gay marriage later even if he couldn’t support it sooner. Cruz will have that same advantage from the right. Will anyone else have it, though? Even conservative candidates like Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal, I think, might feel pressure to out-Cruz Cruz in the primaries by tacking further right than they’d prefer. I’m not sure anyone except him is above suspicion by grassroots righties.

…but he’s forgetting one important mitigating factor.  There are, in fact, two ways to reassure the conservative base that Candidate X is reliable: (more…)

Aug
17
2014
8

The Hill more or less publishes its ‘Democratic candidates in 2016′ list.

Oh, sure, they’re calling calling it “Five figures on the left who could challenge Hillary Clinton,” but let’s face it: Democrats who aren’t on the Left these days are rare, and probably dying of old age. And since Hillary is pretty solid Left herself – socialized medicine is not even remotely conservative – the alternatives are pretty darn Left as well.  Below is the Hill’s list, with my sardonic commentary attached:

  • Hillary Clinton. Pros: Bill Clinton. Cons: Bill Clinton.  Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama.
  • Elizabeth Warren.  Pros: Can make a plausible case that Barack Obama hates her.  Cons: Ever see what happens when a Massachusetts liberal runs for President?  It ain’t pretty.
  • Joe Biden. Pros: He’s the only person on this list that has anything like a personality.  Cons: He’s the only person on this list who can’t run against – or away from – Barack Obama’s legacy.  Plus, you know, Joe Biden.
  • Martin O’Malley. Pros: Hey! He’s a sitting governor. Cons: …I don’t find him interesting enough to be worth despising.  Nobody does. That pretty much includes Maryland Democrats, the average one of whom will readily admit after his or her third drink that the man has the charisma of an empty soda bottle.
  • Bernie Sanders. Pros: He’s as close to a Commie as you can get in this country and still be elected to anything. Cons: He’s as close to a Commie as you can get in this country and still be elected to anything.
  • Russ Feingold. Pros: Of everybody on this list, he’s the only one who hasn’t been burned by Barack Obama’s policies, activities, feuds with Congress, or simple guilt-by-association. Cons: Russ Feingold hasn’t held office since 2010, and has been avoiding running for anything since then.  And the Democrats badly wanted Feingold to run for Governor of Wisconsin.

(more…)

Jun
24
2014
4

Sure, Joe Biden thinks that he’s got a shot at 2016.

I don’t know if Glenn Reynolds is any more surprised than I am at the idea that Joe Biden would think that, though. Even if you don’t agree with #2 or #3 in the list below, surely we can all agree with #1 , yes? After all, not having a shot has never stopped Joe Biden from making a run for the nomination anyway.

Anyway, there are three main reasons why Biden thinks that he has a shot:

  1. He’s Joe Biden.  I sometimes wonder what it’s like, there inside Joe Biden’s head. I suspect that it is a place with no soft edges; there are probably no unicorns, but there may be a wise standing stone or two to whisper on the wind the earth lore of the petty-gods.
  2. More pragmatically, he’s the Vice President of the United States. That’s not a bad place from where to launch a Presidential campaign.  It may or may not be the best place, but it’s certainly a legitimate place to start when it comes to getting the nomination.
  3. Look at the field. Seriously. Hillary Clinton is his most likely opponent, and the media has been hammering her ‘inevitability’ mostly because they hope that if they do then nobody will notice that she’s a horrible campaigner with bad political instincts. And after that, there is a deeeeeep chasm before you get to the next clump of candidates, like O’Malley and Schweitzer and Warren.

Personally, I don’t really care whether the Democrats nominate the old white guy with health problems, or the old white woman with health problems. From my point of view, either will be fine. For a given value of ‘fine,’ of course – and it’s a value that the Democratic party would not share.

Jun
06
2014
3

Why it doesn’t much matter who the Democrats pick to lose in 2016.

These two graphs will hopefully help people understand why I’m not panicky about any of the potential Democratic candidates for 2016 actually running.  The first graph shows Bush/Obama’s polling average, as of Election Day 2004/2012:

Bush-Obama-1

…and the second shows Bush/Obama’s polling average today (June 6, 2014/2006):

Bush-obama-2

(more…)

Written by in: Politics | Tags: ,
May
19
2014
8

The Democratic party’s biggest structural problem, in one ‘Senator vs. Governor’ chart.

It boils down to this: the American people are rapidly coming to the conclusion that you probably should be a governor of something before you become President.

(more…)

May
14
2014
6

What if the 2014 electorate *doesn’t* reset in time for 2016?

Here’s the Democrats central problem in 2016:

Seniors, who frequently voted Democratic over pocketbook issues like Social Security and Medicare, have migrated into the Republican column. White blue-collar voters, once a staple of Democratic coalitions past, have become estranged from their old political home over cultural issues. In their place are what my colleague Ron Brownstein labels “the coalition of the ascendant”single women, minorities, and millennial voters. Voters within these groups turned out at high levels in the last two presidential elections to offset Democratic losses elsewhere.

The challenge for Democrats in this year’s midterms is getting these “ascendant” voters enthusiastic about showing up to the polls when Obama isn’t on the ballot—something that Democratic turnout specialists are working overtime to achieve. Even if they don’t show up and Republicans retake the Senate in 2014, the assumption is they’re bound to return at similar levels for the next presidential election. That’s not necessarily the case.

(more…)

May
10
2014
2

:snort: Joe Biden’s candidacy ‘in danger’ of being ridiculous.

Submitted without comment. With snickering, maybe, but without comment.

Joe Biden’s prospective presidential candidacy is in danger of becoming a joke.

Peter Beinart, of course. Trust a member of the antiwar movement to write something like that… OK, so there was one comment. (more…)

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