No One Saw this Coming

Jeb Bush is going to actively explore a run for the White House.  I wonder what he’ll find?  Maybe diamonds, gold, a lost civilization, or a many rich, older,white guys who are really pumped to have yet ANOTHER Bush in the White House.

Hard to say isn’t it.

This does have HUGE implications on the race.  First, Chris Christie is no longer the favorite to win the backing of Bush Republicans (what some call the Establishment).  Bush will have instant access to their money and support, which Christie was banking on for a run. Second, Marco Rubio will feel the squeeze.  Although his star was already on the decline having Bush in the race means many Florida people will be torn between the two and probably go with the elder over the Senator.

Third, Democrats can no longer assume 2016 will be a slam dunk.  If Bush is the nominee he will be a tough opponent.  He puts Florida, Colorado and Nevada back in play and takes away the chance for the Democrats to take Arizona or North Carolina.

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The Suspense Is Killing Me, Well Maybe Not

Marco Rubio has said he’ll make a decision about whether to run for President and announce it in a few weeks.  The January announcement is a coin flip.

Let’s remember that under Florida law Rubio can’t be on the ballot for President and Senate.  While he can back out of the Presidential race and run for Senate up to winter 2016, given that Florida is a swing state and the Democrats will try to get a top-tier challenger either way (i.e. NOT Debbie Wasserman Schultz) and he might face primary challenge, Rubio really can’t have it both ways for too long.

So what will he do? Two years ago this was a no-brainer.  Rubio was seen as the party’s future, dubbed the “RJ III of American Politics” by GOP pollster Whit Ayers, and riding high in the polls.  Since his support for immigration reform, and then trying flip flop against it, Rubio’s standing in the polls with primary voters has dropped.  If he does run Rubio will start in the middle of the pack behind Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and Jeb Bush.  He’s kind of in political no-man’s land.  Rubio is not the favorite of the Bush Republicans nor is he the darling of the Tea Party.

As I mentioned, it’s not a slam dunk that Rubio will get re-elected if he focuses only on the Senate.  In a presidential year, without a Tea Party wave, higher turnout and top-notch challenger, Rubio could lose.  Some polls show his unfavorable rating has risen.

But what if Rubio doesn’t run for the White House in 2016?  Might he miss his one chance?  If the GOP wins in 2016 and Rubio is re-elected, the Senator will have to wait until 2024 to run again.  In politics 9 years is a lifetime and Rubio will no longer be the fresh face (9 more years in the Senate takes away that newness) and will have to go through another re-election fight in 2022.

Of course if Rubio runs for the White House and doesn’t win that’ll likely be the end of his political career.  Decisions, decisions for Rubio.  The suspense isn’t killing me but it might be doing a number of the Florida Senator.

A Brave New World

Well, gentlemen start your engines.  You can bet after last night’s many victories the GOP will have a plethora of candidates looking to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Why not?  They won big and feel the political wind is at their backs after having crushed Obama and the Democrats.

Who will in this cast of characters?  Here is a preliminary list:

  • Chris Christie
  • Rand Paul
  • Ted Cruz
  • Mike Pence
  • Scott Walker/Paul Ryan
  • Jeb Bush
  • Marco Rubio
  • Ben Carson
  • Peter King
  • John Bolton
  • Rick Santorum
  • Bobby Jindhal
  • Rick Perry
  • At least one Congressman you’ve never heard of
  • Someone who’s never held elected office

Of it’s going to fun.  Welcome to the brave new world.

#Boycott Coke – Sister Souljah Moment

If a Republican candidate is looking for a way to stand up to some segments of their party and show moderate voters the party is moving in their direction, they should attack the #boycottcoke people.  Apparently some people are flipping out that Coke had an ad during last night’s Super Bowl that had America the Beautiful being song in a number of different languages while a diverse montage with shown.

This is pure stupidity.  It’s an ad.  And it does reflect how diverse the country is becoming.  A Republican politician who denounces that ad will show they get the country is changing and they are not afraid to lead in this more diverse environment.

Will any?  Guess we’ll see how has the guts to take a big risk and get a big reward.

SOTU tonight – Don’t Respond to the Message

Tonight is the annual State of the Union speech.  It will probably be the usual mix of soaring rhetoric and a laundry list of proposals (most of which go nowhere).  There have been very few memorable SOTUs.  The one Bush gave in 2003 was the last one I really remember because it told the world we were going to war with Iraq (we all know how well that turned out).

This is also the chance for the other party to respond.  Most of these are usually very forgettable.  The only one I remember is Jim Webb’s response where he broke with tradition and didn’t try to respond to everything Bush said but focused on two issues he cared about.

As a sign of how united they are right now, the GOP will have three responses to the speech.  First, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington delivers the GOP’s  official response. Then Utah Senator Mike Lee will give the Tea Party response (has the novelty of this worn off yet?). Lastly, Rand Paul will give the official “Rand Paul Response” to the speech.  Why?  Why the fuck not.

For a politician it seems like a suicide mission to give the party’s response to the SOTU.  First, no one really cares.  Second, you can’t compete with the imagery of the President being before Congress and your being in a studio.  Lastly, it creates a real chance for a big screw up (Marco Rubio) or a big letdown (Bob Dole responding to Clinton in 1996).

 

 

Happy New Year

Hope everyone had a great new year’s eve and has a wonderful 2014. A great deal can happen in a year.  Don’t believe me, ask Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz.  A year ago one was being heralded as the next great leader of the GOP and the other had not been sworn in to office yet.

Now Rubio is fighting to stop poll numbers from falling and Ted is headlining events in Iowa.  Just goes to show you how things can change and change fast.

This is why today’s poll numbers are not set in stone.

Saber Rattling Iran Style

The Obama Administration’s deal with Iran over nuclear weapons is already drawing criticism from Republicans.  This is not a foreign policy blog, so I really don’t know if this is a good deal or not (I do know that talk, talk, talk is better than war, war, war) but I do know this will be used to score political points.

For example, 2016 GOP hopeful Marco Rubio said:

“This agreement shows other rogue states that wish to go nuclear that you can obfuscate, cheat, and lie for a decade, and eventually the United States will tire and drop key demands.”

Republicans will certainly rally around Netanyahu’s charge that this is a historical mistake.  Already, publications like the Weekly Standard (which completely supported the Iraq war) are attacking the deal.

The most interesting Republican on this may be Rand Paul.  The Kentucky Senator has openly discussed the idea that we rely on the policy of containment when it comes to a nuclear Iran.  Wonder how he will react to the deal.