5:19 PM, Aug 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
From the boss's weekly newsletter:
I think the historical record supports my sense that it's hard to predict the next Republican nominee, or the next president, over two years out--especially when we're dealing with an open seat election rather than a presidential re-election.
Consider where the last seven men elected president stood at this point in the cycle:
In late August 1966, very few observers or even insiders thought Richard Nixon would be the GOP nominee in 1968--let alone the next president (the GOP was going to be in the wilderness for decades after Goldwater!).
In late August 1974, no one would have bet on an obscure one-term Georgia governor, Jimmy Carter, to be the Democratic nominee or president (in addition to everything else, he was much too conservative for a newly McGovernized Democratic party!).
In late August 1978, Ronald Reagan wasn't a clear favorite for the GOP nomination, and surely not for the presidency (the GOP was going to be in the wilderness for decades after Watergate!).
In late August 1986, George H. W. Bush seemed like a weak vice president who'd have trouble winning his party's nomination. And no party had held the White House for more than two consecutive terms since 1948.
In late August 1990, most observers ranked Bill Clinton's chances behind those of Mario Cuomo, Dick Gephardt, Al Gore, and Bill Bradley, among others. And in any case, everyone "knew" there was a Republican "electoral college lock" that virtually guaranteed them the White House for the next few elections!
1998 is the exception: in late August, George W. Bush probably was the front-runner for the GOP nomination and was thought to have a decent shot at winning the general election.
But in late August 2006, everyone was getting ready for the Hillary Clinton-Rudy Giuliani clash of the titans in the 2008 general election.
My conclusion: Pundits want politics to be predictable. But American politics is volatile and unpredictable. More generally, while thought wants to be at rest, politics is about motion. The great thinkers, including Shakespeare, could teach us that.
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9:03 AM, Aug 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Forget Bill Clinton. And Richard Nixon. And, for that matter, George W. Bush. The president who has faced the greatest "level of obstruction" is, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the current president of the United States -- Barack Obama.
The Democratic group made the sweeping pronouncement in a fundraising email to supporters over the weekend.
"No President in U.S. history has faced the level of obstruction that Barack Obama has," the email reads. In parentheses, the group adds: "(It’s not even close at this point)."
7:19 AM, Aug 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Rep. Donna Edwards, a liberal congresswoman from Maryland, had very nice things to say about Jim Webb and his possible run for president of the United States:
"Let me talk about Jim Webb," Edwards said on ABC's This Week. "I think Jim Webb has a really strong sense of social justice. And that in addition to his military experience.
"He was one of the first to raise this issue of increased sentencing and disproportionate sentencing in the Senate.
10:18 AM, Aug 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Elizabeth Warren, the popular Democratic senator from Massachusetts, declined an opportunity to say whether Hillary Clinton is the best choice to be president in 2016:
A reporter asked, "Do you believe that Hillary Clinton is still the best choice coming up for your party coming up for 2016?"
"Hillary is terrific," Warren said, dodging the question.
"But is she still the best choice?" the reporter pressed.
9:01 PM, Aug 18, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
How does a Democratic Senate candidate running in a conservative state in 2014 try to win? There are many strategies, from Louisiana’s incumbent senator Mary Landrieu emphasizing her ties to the energy industry to Michelle Nunn of Georgia running as a business-friendly moderate willing to work with Republicans. Behind the various strategies is an underlying principle: These Democrats should distance themselves as far as possible from their unpopular party and its head, the increasingly unpopular Barack Obama.
One in five black men under age 30 voted for Romney; youngest 'millennials' lean even more conservative.
8:20 AM, Aug 12, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
In the midst of rioting in St. Louis over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, the New York Times decided to stoke the embers of racial animus even further with an incendiary op-ed titled, "Can the G.O.P. Ever Attract Black Voters?"
Elizabeth Warren leads the party’s leftward march.Aug 18, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 46 • By FRED BARNES
Republicans had Barry Goldwater. Democrats now have Elizabeth Warren. What do they have in common? Years back, he pointed the way for his party, and now she’s doing the same thing for hers.
Goldwater was already a force in Republican politics when his Conscience of a Conservative was published in 1960. He pushed the party toward a conservative future. Warren is riding a liberal surge among Democrats and prodding them in an even more liberal direction.
Jul 28, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 43 • By TERRY EASTLAND
On the topic of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the contraceptive mandate case decided on the last day of the recent Supreme Court term, the Democrats are fighting mad. They don’t like the decision. No, they despise it. Indeed, their rhetoric on Hobby Lobby has become so misleading, even strange, that the fact checkers at the Washington Post have felt compelled to call them to task, reminding the Democrats, among other things, that the decision does not outlaw contraceptives, and it does not allow bosses to prevent women from seeking birth control.
12:34 PM, Jul 9, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar ripped President Obama for being "aloof" and "detached" by not visiting the Texas border to see first hand the immigration crisis. Cuellar made the comments on MSNBC:
12:00 AM, Jul 5, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
After celebrating our Declaration of Independence from the British oppressor, we will return to work Monday having consumed 155 million hot dogs and, for some 41 million of us, bucked traffic jams, long security lines at airports, or storm-induced flight delays in order to visit family or whatever place attracts us in this huge country of ours.
7:11 AM, Jun 30, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Writing on the White House blog, Ambassador Susan Rice, the president’s national security advisor, accuses the Senate of harming national security by not confirming more ambassadorial nominees. Rice contends that the current backlog of forty-eight is unnecessary and harmful:
12:01 PM, Jun 27, 2014 • By JAY COST
Despite Hillary Clinton’s disappointing book sales, and a gaffe-prone publicity tour, she remains the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination. If anything, the last few weeks have only confirmed her advantage. Despite these disappointments and mis-steps, there is no substantial anti-Clinton movement building in the party. All we hear are crickets.
1:28 PM, Jun 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hoping that fear will cause Democrats to donate money. The latest plea comes in an email with this subject line: "kiss all hope goodbye."
"Today, in a closed door meeting, Boehner announced he’s transferring $1,5OO,OOO.OO into Republican campaign coffers dedicated to growing the Tea Party majority," the opening of the email reads.
"This news could not come at a worse time. Earlier this month, Boehner authorized $3O,2OO,OOO.OO targeting top Democrats nationwide.
12:11 PM, Jun 23, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Most Republicans say the United States should doing something about the violence in Iraq, according to a poll from CBS News and the New York Times. The poll found 52 percent of Republican adults say the U.S. has a "responsibility" to act in Iraq over the recent wave of terrorism there, and 53 percent say the country should be doing more there. Just 43 percent of Democrats and only 37 percent of independents said the U.S. has a responsibility in Iraq.
12:37 PM, Jun 19, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senate majority leader Harry Reid claims that one side--the Democrats--doesn't "have any" billionaire backers:
"The decisions by the Supreme Court have left the American people with the status quo in which one side's billionaires are pitted against the other side's billionaires," he said this morning on the Senate floor. "Except one side doesn't have any billionaires."