Republican groups trying to trick Democrats with faux-left attacks on Hillary Clinton

U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listens as she sits with workers and management of Whitney Brothers children's toy and furniture factory during a round table while campaigning for the 2016 Democratic presidential

Progressives should work to push Hillary Clinton to the left on issues ranging from Wall Street reform to Keystone XL to trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership to criminal justice reform. Absolutely. But it would be nice if they didn’t employ tools from Republican groups in doing so.

For months now, America Rising has sent out a steady stream of posts on social media attacking Mrs. Clinton, some of them specifically designed to be spotted, and shared, by liberals. The posts highlight critiques of her connections to Wall Street and the Clinton Foundation and feature images of Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, interspersed with cartoon characters and pictures of Kevin Spacey, who plays the villain in “House of Cards.” And as they are read and shared, an anti-Clinton narrative is reinforced.
America Rising is not the only conservative group

Continue reading “Republican groups trying to trick Democrats with faux-left attacks on Hillary Clinton”

Jeb Bush enters the Falwell primary with speech at Liberty University

During the 2000 Republican presidential primaries, Arizona Senator John McCain proclaimed Jerry Falwell an “agent of intolerance.” But after losing the nomination to George W. Bush, McCain determined he would not repeat his mistake the next time around. So, in May 2006, the Maverick acknowledged he was going to what John Stewart deemed “crazy base world” to deliver the commencement address at Falwell’s Liberty University.
Now, making the journey to Liberty University is a rite of passage for Republican White House wannabes competing in the first-in-the-nation Falwell primary. So on Saturday, Jeb Bush followed in the footsteps of John McCain, Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal to pledge his fealty to the GOP’s evangelical voters who will control his fate.

Bush’s speech followed the usual script for such occasions. Echoing the words of Ted Cruz (“Religious liberty has never been more under attack”) and Bobby Jindal (“The war

Continue reading “Jeb Bush enters the Falwell primary with speech at Liberty University”

Mitt Romney denies the reality of mass incarceration

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as he debates President Barack Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Wow, Mitt Romney. Just wow. At a time when even many Republicans are pretending to care about mass incarceration, Romney instead attacked Hillary Clinton for saying that we need to “end the era of mass incarceration.” In fact, he denied that it’s a reality:

I was concerned that her comments smacked of politicization of the terrible tragedies that are going on there. When she said we’re not going to have mass incarcerations in the future, what is she referring to? We don’t have mass incarcerations in America. Individuals are brought before tribunals, and they have counsel. They’re given certain rights. Are we not going to lock people up who commit crimes?

Mitt Romney is famously a business guy, so presumably he likes numbers and facts. Let’s turn to one very basic fact on incarceration in America.

Incarceration rates for OECD nations. United States WAY WAY above everyone else.

That is mass. Politicians have to grapple with this, and there are

Continue reading “Mitt Romney denies the reality of mass incarceration”

How anti-abortion intensity wins in pro-choice America

For four decades, American public opinion on the issue of abortion has been largely unchanged. As the numbers from Gallup, the Pew Research Center, and other polls show, roughly half of Americans have identified themselves as “pro-choice” even as consistent majorities support keeping abortion legal in all or many circumstances.
But now, a new survey conducted for Vox by the communications and strategy firm, PerryUndem, revealed that for Americans abortion is “not so black and white.” Where past polls found a public bitterly divided over the legality of abortion, the Vox survey found nuanced views and surprising common ground. When questions moved “beyond legality and into [the] reality” of the abortion experience for American women, a much different picture emerged.

Nearly four in 10 respondents said they were “neither” (21 percent) or “both” pro-choice and pro-life. Just changing the wording from “abortion should be

Continue reading “How anti-abortion intensity wins in pro-choice America”

Republicans stay focused on their caricature of Hillary Clinton, not the campaign she’s running

Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally for Democratic challenger for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, October 9, 2014. The general election day in Pennsylvania will be held on November 4, 2014. REUTERS/Mar

Conventional political wisdom going into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announcement was that she needed to provide a reason she was running for president, a rationale beyond “it’s my turn.” It’s not a big ask, but it’s one many candidates have failed on. General consensus, though, seems to be that Clinton succeeded with her announcement video focusing on other people’s stories and opening her campaign with a sort of populist-lite narrative:

In the 2007 video announcing the 2008 run, she spoke somberly from a couch in her home about the deficit, the war in Iraq, energy independence, health care and the failings of then-President George W. Bush. She talked about her own record and biography, and was accompanied by a confident statement on her Web site, “I’m in and I’m in to win.”
This time, her video says little about her biography, issues and plans, and much about the lives of Americans she wants to win over. It is upbeat, with humor, music and images of everyday Americans talking about challenges and opportunities in their lives.  This time, she says, with considerably more humility: “I’m hitting the road to earn your vote.”

So maybe, against all insider expectations, she’s going to run a pretty good campaign.
@BuzzFeedBen

Friend not in politics says she “literally cried” during Clinton video. After she checked to make sure it wasn’t an ad for something else.
@jeneps

In fact, there was more Facebook discussion of Clinton’s announcement than of the announcements of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul combined.
Of course, Republicans couldn’t let themselves lose a stride, and they’d marked out their lines of attack well in advance of Clinton’s actual announcement. They swarmed the Sunday morning talk shows to get that message out. Mitt Romney’s line of attack was priceless:

“She’s a creature of Washington,” Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, added. “She’s been there a long time.”

As opposed to Romney, who did his damnedest for years and couldn’t quite get to Washington. Rand Paul, meanwhile, went with Benghazi on CNN’s State of the Union. RNC Chair Reince Priebus was tweeting up a storm about the need to #StopHillary (and build the RNC’s email list along the way). Carly Fiorina was continuing on her own “you need me, Republicans, because you need a woman to attack Hillary” path. In short, business as usual. It will be interesting to see when, if ever, Republicans adjust their attacks to the campaign Clinton is running—the one with the populist, voter-focused message where she’s on her way to Iowa for some small, voter-centric events—or if they just keep running against the candidate they want her to be.

The Fix: Mitt Romney: “Never read the comments”

In an interview with Yahoo!’s Katie Couric (which is still an amazing combination of words, but I digress), two-time Republican presidential hopeful Willard “Mitt” Romney offered a bit of sage advice crucial to those who spend any time online: Do not read the comments.Read full article >>



Donald Trump forming ‘exploratory committee’ to run for president

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) shakes hands with businessman and real estate developer Donald Trump at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada February 2, 2012. Trump re-injected himself and his wealth int

The ceremonial passing of the $100 bill.

Behold, as the lines between reality television and the Republican presidential primaries meet, then cross:

Donald Trump will launch a presidential exploratory committee Wednesday, the eve of the business mogul’s return to New Hampshire.
A senior adviser tells the New Hampshire Union Leader that Trump will not be renewing his contract with NBC for the reality television “Apprentice” series.

Meanwhile, on the tropical Romney islands:

[Mitt Romney] is slated to fight former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield in the marquee event during a several-bout evening at the Rail Event Center near the Union Pacific Depot in Salt Lake City on May 15.
“It will either be a very short fight, or I will be knocked unconscious,” Romney quipped in an interview recently. “It won’t be much of a fight. We’ll both suit up and get in the ring and spar around a little bit.”

So the part of Mitt Romney in the upcoming primary debates will be played by televised rich person Donald Trump. Won’t that be fun.

Mitt Romney weighs in with his own attempt to scuttle U.S.-Iranian talks

U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney arrives to make remarks on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, in Jacksonville, Florida September 12, 2012.     REUTERS/Jim Young  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS EL

Tip: calling on your political opponent to “courageously” do whatever you tell them to do is the laziest possible type of punditry. People who engage in it should be laughed at.

Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama could silence critics like him by walking away from a nuclear agreement with Iran, arguing in a USA Today op-ed published Friday that it would be “courageous” and “right.”

We already know what Mitt Romney thinks about these things. He and the other fellow had debates in which they both gave their visions of what American policy ought to look like, and America picked the other fellow because they thought his ideas were better. That isn’t to say that Mitt Romney has to forever shut up about these things, but it should be noted that Mitt Romney has no expertise in the matter that makes his particular demands any more compelling than those of the hundred other Republicans deeply put out that the sitting administration isn’t listening more closely to them, either.
Unfortunately for Republicans, the nation is still viscerally aware of what Republican foreign policy ideas are and how Republican foreign policy ideas work out when acted upon. We have very much done that. Recently. To effects so horrific that the president who set his administration to the task of doing all the Republican think-tank foreign policy ideas has had his name systemically scrubbed from Republican conversation. We also know that Republican reflex is to presume every last policy endorsed by their political rivals is, in fact, a secret plot to make Republicans look bad.

“The Iranian pooh-bahs would appear tame and responsible. The president would look, well, presidential,” Romney wrote, adding that an agreement would also be a boon for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential prospects—“achievement by association.”

Please head below the fold for more on this story.

Rubio-Lee tax plan means more debt and greater income inequality

For Republicans, there are only two certainties in life: debt and tax cuts. During his eight-year tenure, President Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt accumulated over the first two centuries of the republic. (The hemorrhaging from his 1981 tax cut would have been worse, but for 11 subsequent tax hikes the Gipper signed to help cauterize the revenue drain.) His supply-side tax-cutting successor, George W. Bush, nearly doubled the red ink. And with their massive tax-cut windfalls for the wealthy and cowardly silence about which tax breaks they’d end, Mitt Romney (20 percent across the board rate decrease) and Paul Ryan (two brackets, lower corporate tax rates) each would have left Uncle Sam at least $5 trillion poorer within 10 years.
Now, Republican Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have unveiled a new version of what they call the “Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan.”  Unfortunately, this blueprint supposedly designed to provide help to the middle class is fairer to some families than others. And with its golden showers for the richest Americans, the Rubio-Lee proposal can only mean more debt and greater income inequality for everyone else.

Of course, you’d never know that judging by the reactions from the best and brightest among the Young Guns of the conservative movement. Ramesh Ponnuru called it “a tax plan Republicans should learn to love.” Yuval Levin agreed, gushing in the National Review, “I think Ramesh is right to describe the result as ‘the most pro-growth tax reform since Calvin Coolidge’s presidency,’ and Ryan Ellis of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform is right to say that this is ‘what pro-growth looks like in the 21st century.'” Meanwhile, James Pethokoukis proclaimed, “Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have cooked up the first great tax cut plan of the 21st century.”

The near-orgasmic response of the Reformicons should come as no surprise. After all, many of the ideas in the Rubio-Lee framework had their genesis in their 2014 manual, Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class. But as Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center lamented, there’s not a whole lot for the middle class in it:

[W]hile it is not accompanied by a budget score, the elements that it specifies would add trillions of dollars to the nation’s debt over the next decade.

Continue reading “Rubio-Lee tax plan means more debt and greater income inequality”

Hillary Clinton used personal email account as secretary of state

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks past after arriving at the airport in New Delhi May 7, 2012. Clinton said on Monday that Pakistan had not taken enough action against Hafiz Saeed, the Islamist blamed for masterminding the 2008 attack by Pakis

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton used a personal email account for all her correspondence, the New York Times reports. “To comply with federal record-keeping practices,” Clinton has turned 55,000 pages of emails over to the State Department.
Previous secretaries of state, including Colin Powell, have similarly used personal email accounts to conduct official business. And other Republicans, including Mitt Romney and many in the Bush-Cheney administration, have used private accounts or actively sought to hide correspondence. Democrats should expect higher standards, of course, but it’s not actually clear that Clinton was trying to hide anything. That, however, is the spin the New York Times took from whichever Republican campaign or committee fed it the story:

The story, coming on the heels of recent news accounts criticizing the Clinton Foundation’s handling of foreign donations, could present a challenge for Mrs. Clinton’s fledgling campaign, feeding the perception that she is secretive — an accusation that has dogged her since her time as first lady.

Way to make it clear that feeding that particular perception is what this is all about. Clinton should certainly continue to do everything possible to ensure that her records are properly preserved, and should offer some explanation of how and why this happened, but the proper context for reading reporting on this is “Republicans push story that furthers narrative they’ve taken a long time building.”

Scott Walker surges to the top of the GOP pack. Why? Because he’s played conservatives brilliantly

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker talks with other governors before the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama to address the National Governors Association at the White House in Washington February 23, 2015. .REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4QUFF

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)

PPP’s newest poll of the Republican Party’s nascent presidential primary shows thrice-elected Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker breaking away from the peloton and shooting into the lead. Here’s where Walker and his brethren stand, with January’s poll numbers in parentheses:

Scott Walker: 25 (11)
Ben Carson: 18 (15)
Jeb Bush: 17 (17)
Mike Huckabee: 10 (9)
Chris Christie: 5 (7)
Ted Cruz: 5 (9)
Rand Paul: 4 (4)
Rick Perry: 3 (2)
Marco Rubio: 3 (–)
Other/undecided: 11 (5)

Two key things happened since PPP last tested the field. The first is that Mitt Romney, who’d previously led with 21 percent, said adios, leaving the rest of the gang to try to scoop up his supporters. The only candidates to materially benefit, though, were Walker (who shot up 14 points), and the mythical “someone else,” whose support doubled. Quite interestingly, the other establishment stalwart in the race—Jeb Bush—didn’t benefit one whit from Romney’s departure.
But that’s because Bush’s supporters hail from the more liberal (don’t laugh) wing of the GOP while Romney, despite being the father of Obamacare, actually had a fair bit of support from more conservative quarters. And it’s those conservative cohorts that are now cottoning to Walker, because he knows exactly how to stoke their resentments and has had ample opportunity to do so of late—the second crucial development in this race.

Indeed, you know exactly how he’s been doing this. After all, you’ve been reading Daily Kos. Walker kicked off the month by proposing huge funding cuts for the University of Wisconsin—to the right-wing purists, a foul bastion of liberalism. And to make sure the tea partiers were paying attention, he also tried to delete the school’s mission to “extend knowledge,” foster “public service,” and “improve the human condition” from state law—and replace it with a directive that the university should strive to “meet the state’s workforce needs.”

When the Disneyland-generated measles outbreak became national news, Walker made sure not to offend freedom-loving conservatives, offering an incoherent multiple-choice response when asked if vaccinations should be mandatory. He maintained his passive-aggressive scientific cluelessness on a trip to London shortly thereafter, when he famously declared he would “punt” on the question of whether he believed in evolution (at a Darwin Day event, no less).

Head below the fold to see how Walker has surged ahead.

Continue reading “Scott Walker surges to the top of the GOP pack. Why? Because he’s played conservatives brilliantly”

The othering of the president

Back in October 2008, then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain had one of the finest moments of his career. When angry Minnesota town hall questioners claimed Democrat Barack Obama was “an Arab” who could not be trusted, Sen. McCain was quick to respond. After first lecturing the crowd that “I have to tell you, Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States,” McCain made clear he was having none of their hate-mongering :

“No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].”

Sadly, that was probably the last time a major Republican figure publicly and emphatically denounced his party’s transparent attempts to portray Barack Obama as “the other,” a somehow dangerous and demonic figure skulking outside the pale of American society. Six years into his presidency, President Obama still routinely faces slanders calling his faith, his citizenship, and even his patriotism into question. And with their silence, GOP presidential candidates and congressional leaders past and present are complicit in the conservative campaign to cater to what RFK aptly called “the dark side of the American character.”

Continue reading below about the GOP’s othering of President Obama.

Scott Walker, Republican porn star

In the span of just two weeks, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has catapulted into Republican superstar status. Mitt Romney’s premature withdrawal from the 2016 presidential race cracked open the doors for the emergence of a hardline right-wing alternative to the party establishment’s lone remaining consensus candidate, Jeb Bush. And with his surprisingly animated speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit, Walker smashed those doors down and jumped to the front of the pack in Iowa and New Hampshire.

With his rhetorical guns blazing at every enemy of Wall Street Republicans and tea party conservatives alike, Walker has emerged straight from central casting as a Tarantino-like hero for the GOP. For the faithful, he is unambiguously good. Like them, he believes his Democratic foes aren’t just wrong, but unambiguously evil. Whether the villains are unions, pro-choice supporters, the poor, minority voters, public schools, or pointy-headed “liberal elites,” the righteous Walker, too, hates them all. He talks and fights tough, which for the right wing is not a means but an end in itself. And after the Republicans’ two humiliating defeats at the hands of Barack Obama, Walker possesses the most important quality of them all. At the end of the movie, he wins.

Walker’s rapidly evolving persona goes well beyond the post-Vietnam lesson of Rambo (“Do we get to win this time?”) that so entranced President Ronald Reagan. Against impossible odds, the Republican uber avenger doesn’t just miraculously avoid defeat and certain death. Free of any doubt and unencumbered by any moral constraint, he inspires not just fear but abject terror in arrogant enemies once viewed as invincible. As with the Nazi leaders and Southern slaveholders in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained respectively, he slaughters the evil-doers of his age and thus rewrites history itself. It’s no wonder Tarantino’s actors described the brutal justice meted out by Jewish-American commandos and French resistance fighters to Hitler and his minions as “Jewish porn.

Continue reading “Scott Walker, Republican porn star”

2012 campaign sources differ on whether Mitt Romney was an unbelievable jerk or merely a huge one

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as he debates President Barack Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

He seemed so nice when he was lecturing us all.

A former Mitt Romney aide is pushing back against the David Axelrod story of Mitt’s 2012 concession call to the president. According to Axelrod:

When Obama hung up, he told Axelrod and others who were present that Romney had said: “You really did a great job of getting the vote out in places like Cleveland and Milwaukee.” Axelrod writes that the president added: “In other words, black people. That’s what he thinks this was all about.”

Didn’t happen, says a furious Garrett Jackson:

“When I read that, I was furious. … It didn’t happen. … I was right next to the Gov. Hell, it was my phone. I was the one who called [Obama aide] Marvin Nicholson […]”

Did too, says Obama campaign manager Jim Messina:

Every word of @davidaxelrod mitt e-night call is true. I was standing with axe & POTUS. That’s what happened.

Who’s lying? Why are they lying? And are any of us obligated to give a damn? All these questions and more will be answered probably never.
The Axelrod/Messina account is very similar to Romney’s debriefing call to his fundraisers after his loss, a conference call in which he repeatedly explained that minorities had voted for Obama because the Obama administration was “very generous in what they gave to those groups.” That itself bore much similarity to Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments, in which he supposed that percentage of America wasn’t going to vote for Mitt Romney no matter what because they were too attached to their lifestyles of mooching off the government. The sentiments attributed to Romney in Axelrod’s book, then, were indeed ones that Romney himself seemed to be enamored with at the time.

Continue reading “2012 campaign sources differ on whether Mitt Romney was an unbelievable jerk or merely a huge one”

Jeb Bush would rather skip to the general election than lower himself with primary pandering

Jeb Bush

Presidential brother/son/candidate Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush has a plan for the 2016 general election, but his plan for the Republican presidential primary might need some tweaking. See, Bush knows that running to the far right is not going to be helpful in the general election … but, in the bind that Mitt Romney also faced in 2012, running to the far right may be necessary to get to the general election to begin with, given the influence of the early Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary.
Bush is a serious conservative, but that’s not the campaign he’s running, and it’s not how Republican voters seem to see him, in part because of how he’s gotten the media to portray him:

Article after article has depicted him as a relative moderate, as a candidate of the establishment seeking to consolidate the support of the party’s elite. It’s not hard to imagine why this hasn’t worn well among the party’s conservative, populist base, and why his ratings among conservatives may have sunk as a result.

His challenges probably run beyond specific policy grievances on Common Core or immigration. Marco Rubio, for instance, holds policy views similar to those of Mr. Bush, including his own weakness among the base on immigration reform. But 74 percent of voters in Iowa with an opinion felt Mr. Rubio was “about right” ideologically, compared with just 48 percent who thought the same thing about Mr. Bush.

Bush wants to suck up all the establishment money and support and appeal to the desire of Republican voters to win, presenting himself as the best bet for victory even if they don’t believe in his ideological purity. But as much as Republicans do want to win, when we’re talking about Iowa caucus-goers, we’re talking about people who’ve put Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee on top over the past two cycles. Bush faces a real challenge positioning himself for this campaign, and so far it looks like he just thinks he’s above talking to rank-and-file voters and would rather campaign entirely among elites.

Jeb Bush would rather skip to the general election than lower himself with primary pandering

Jeb Bush

Presidential brother/son/candidate Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush has a plan for the 2016 general election, but his plan for the Republican presidential primary might need some tweaking. See, Bush knows that running to the far right is not going to be helpful in the general election … but, in the bind that Mitt Romney also faced in 2012, running to the far right may be necessary to get to the general election to begin with, given the influence of the early Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary.
Bush is a serious conservative, but that’s not the campaign he’s running, and it’s not how Republican voters seem to see him, in part because of how he’s gotten the media to portray him:

Article after article has depicted him as a relative moderate, as a candidate of the establishment seeking to consolidate the support of the party’s elite. It’s not hard to imagine why this hasn’t worn well among the party’s conservative, populist base, and why his ratings among conservatives may have sunk as a result.

His challenges probably run beyond specific policy grievances on Common Core or immigration. Marco Rubio, for instance, holds policy views similar to those of Mr. Bush, including his own weakness among the base on immigration reform. But 74 percent of voters in Iowa with an opinion felt Mr. Rubio was “about right” ideologically, compared with just 48 percent who thought the same thing about Mr. Bush.

Bush wants to suck up all the establishment money and support and appeal to the desire of Republican voters to win, presenting himself as the best bet for victory even if they don’t believe in his ideological purity. But as much as Republicans do want to win, when we’re talking about Iowa caucus-goers, we’re talking about people who’ve put Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee on top over the past two cycles. Bush faces a real challenge positioning himself for this campaign, and so far it looks like he just thinks he’s above talking to rank-and-file voters and would rather campaign entirely among elites.

Iowa poll: Gov. Scott Walker leads Republicans, Hillary dominates Democratic field

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker addresses his supporters at a rally on election night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin November 4, 2014. REUTERS/Sara Stathas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTR4CVJ0

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s speech at the Iowa “freedom” summit two weeks ago really wowed conservative Iowans and he’s surging in the latest Iowa poll from Bloomberg Politics and the Des Moines Register.
Walker’s now the frontrunner in that poll at 15 percent (up from four percent last October) followed by Sen. Rand Paul at 14 percent, and 2008 Iowa caucus winner, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, at 10 percent. The poll was conducted before Mitt Romney dropped out and he finished at 13 percent.

Jeb Bush, who didn’t attend the Iowa summit, came in at a weak eight percent. The Bloomberg article note that he is “increasingly is viewed negatively by likely Republican caucus-goers.” But if Bush is serious about winning both the nomination and the general election, not playing in Iowa may actually work to his advantage.

Gov. Chris Christie, who did attend, did even worse than Bush at just four percent.

More troubling for Christie: He’s viewed unfavorably by 54 percent, among the highest negative ratings in the potential field. At 9 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson pulls more support than either Bush or Christie.

Meanwhile Hillary Clinton trounced virtually every potential candidate on the Democratic side, with 56 percent, followed by Mass. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent and Vice President Joe Biden at nine percent.
When Romney supporters are reallocated, here’s how the field shakes out.

Continue reading “Iowa poll: Gov. Scott Walker leads Republicans, Hillary dominates Democratic field”

The Fix: In football, America loves a winner — and a runner-up

You’ll forgive us a slight digression from all-politics-all-the-time, given that this weekend is America’s greatest secular holiday: St. Pigskin’s Day. (I guess that isn’t secular, but whatever.) While your humble author is more of a college football fan than pro (having gone to the undisputed national champion Ohio State University), it’s impossible not to pay at least some attention to what’s going on in the NFL. (Although someone with whom we are acquainted keeps asking who is in The Big Game (no needed) and, when told, has twice exclaimed, “The Patriots? They always win,” which has not been true over the last 12 months.)Read full article >>



Romney’s out!

U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney arrives to make remarks on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, in Jacksonville, Florida September 12, 2012.     REUTERS/Jim Young  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS EL

Mitt Romney is sparing us a third try, which means the 2016 field will be slightly less gaffe-alicious but still plenty lively with more than a dozen Republican candidates eyeing a run. Here’s the basics:

Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, shared his decision on a conference call with a small group of advisers.
In a second call to a larger group of supporters, Mr. Romney said, “After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”

Naturally, the news helps clear the way for Romney’s main rival, Jeb Bush. The donor and consultant classes are no doubt jockeying for new position with Romney out.

But perhaps this is the beginning of the slow peel toward a smaller group. Let’s face it, if Romney thought he could make a case for a third run, anyone could make the case for a run. Clearly, he thought better.

Meet the reinvented Mitt Romney, who sounds exactly like the old Mitt Romney

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney greets the audience at the end of the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION)

If you’ve been curious to hear how a newly reinvented Mitt Romney would bring his new anti-poverty, pro-middle class message to the Republican campaign trail, your wait is over. Meet the new Mitt Romney, and the new Mitt Romney has a lot of fresh new takes that you just can’t get from those other conservatives.

Mitt Romney praised marriage as an antidote to poverty, noted that he’s “not a big fan of Vladimir Putin’s” and acknowledged that “short term, our economy is looking up” during an appearance Wednesday evening.

Ending poverty by getting the poor people to hitch up? What a bold new concept in conservative anti-poverty thinking; surely, Mitt Romney is bringing the full breadth of his intellect to the battle. I cannot wait to hear the New Mitt Romney’s revised economic strategies for helping America’s shrinking middle class to stabilize their increasingly tenuous economic positions. Encouraging higher pay? Reinvigorating labor law to prevent abuses?

“How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn’t know where jobs come from in the first place?” Romney said. “And how does President Obama expect to make America the best place on earth for businesses, as he promised in his State of the Union address, if he persists in business taxation that is the highest in the developed world, regulations that favor the biggest banks and crush the small ones, a complex and burdensome health care plan, and a slanted playing field for unions and trial lawyers?”

Hmm. At first glance this seemed like the old Mitt Romney message of cutting corporate taxes, deregulating banks, dismantling Obamacare and blaming union labor and greedy lawyers for America’s woes, but I see that he has replaced it with a new and much-refined Mitt Romney platform of cutting corporate taxes, deregulating banks, dismantling Obamacare and blaming union labor and greedy lawyers for America’s woes. A clever rebranding, and no doubt one that will allow Mitt Romney to claim the mantle of Republican candidate most in touch with our harried middle class.
All that it needs now is a clever bumper sticker, something like Mitt Romney ’16: Get married or piss off. It’s a little rough, I know, but we’ll get Frank Luntz to polish it up.

Fri Jan 30, 2015 at  6:59 AM PT (Laura Clawson): Romney is expected to make his final, official decision on whether to run for president public this morning, and most observers expect it to be yes, he’s running.