Big Tent Republicanism and Looking Ahead to 2016

Former Secretary of State Condi Rice was on CBS this morning to talk election aftermath and where the GOP goes from here.

“Right now, for me the most powerful argument is that the changing demographics in the country really necessitates an even bigger tent for the Republican Party. I also think that many of the things for which the party stands are broadly popular with the American people — fiscal responsibility, a chance to educate your children in the way that you think best, the possibility of strong national defense — these are all things I think that can unite us,” Rice said.

She continued: “But when you look at the composition of the electorate, clearly, we are losing important segments of that electorate and what we have to do is to appeal to those people not as identity groups but understanding that if you can get the identity issue out of the way, then you can appeal on the broader issues that all Americans share a concern for.”

If you listened to Condi’s speech at the GOP Convention, she talked about this…about how the message of the Republican Party is to give the people opportunity to advance. We need to become a bigger, more inclusive party, pushing a message of freedom, opportunity, individual liberty, and social advancement through personal ambition.

Condi, who is in favor of civil unions and a comprehensive immigration reform, is the right speaker for our party. Strong on national defense and security and where our party needs to go on social issues. She’s an advocate for school choice and will make a great spokesperson for our party.

Moving forward, the path to the 2016 nomination looks twofold: for the Democrats, it goes through Hillary Clinton. According to PPP, in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida, Hillary races out of the pack and would be the clear favorite to succeed President Obama. If she chooses not to run, it looks like a knock down, drag out fight between Vice President Biden, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, and MD Governor Martin O’Malley, with others sprinkled in.

For the Republicans, there is no clear favorite. In Iowa, Mike Huckabee; in New Hampshire, Chris Christie; in Florida, Jeb Bush. Paul Ryan, Condi Rice, and Rick Santorum are in the mix as well. Personally, I do not think Jeb will run, he knows he missed his chance and his mentee, Marco Rubio, will be one of the hot names. Jeb will be Education Secretary in a future administration or a viable candidate against Bill Nelson in 2018. Sarah Palin will not run and I encourage her to run for Senate in 2014. Rick Santorum’s time has come and gone, as has Mike Huckabee’s. I think Chris Christie is viable if he wins the governorship in 2013 again; if he loses, he might need to redeem himself with a Senate race in 2014. I wish wish wish wish wish Condi Rice will run but I think her path is the 2014 California Governor’s Race and she will win it.

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2014 is not that far off

The GOP screwed the pooch in 2010 and 2014. I hope – HOPE – they learned their lessons in time for 2014.

The entire House is up and 20 Democratic Senators and 13 Republican Senators are up for re-election. Let’s look at those.

  • Alabama: R Jeff Sessions is up again. R LOCK
  • Alaska: D Mark Begich is up again. Alaska is still a very GOP/Libertarian state. The right candidate can pick up this seat (SARAH?!?!). TOSS UP
  • Arkansas: D Mark Pryor is up again. Arkansas is a state that has become very unfriendly for Democrats since 2010. No shortage of good candidates. R PICKUP
  • Colorado: D Mark Udall is up again. A race with a moderate/libertarian-ish Republican can pick this up (a la Jane Norton, Bill Owens). LEANS D
  • Delaware: D Chris Coons is up again. If Mike Castle runs again, maybe? STRONG D/LOCK
  • Georgia: R Saxy Chambliss is up again. R LOCK
  • Illinois: D Dick Durbin is up again. D LOCK
  • Idaho: R Jim Risch is up again. R LOCK
  • Iowa: D Tom Harkin is up again. There are some good Republicans that can run in this race – Latham, King, Brandstad. LEANS D
  • Kansas: R Pat Roberts is up again. R LOCK
  • Kentucky: R Mitch McConnell is up again. A strong D candidate could beat him, but I don’t think Kentucky has the bench. STRONG R
  • Louisiana: D Mary Landrieu is up again. A state that has turned away from Democrats, I could see her losing this seat easily. TOSSUP/R PICKUP
  • Maine: R Susan Collins is up again. If she runs (and no indication she isn’t), she wins. R LOCK
  • Massachusetts: D John Kerry is up again. If he does not become Secretary of State, it remains his seat. D LOCK
  • Michigan: D Carl Levin is up again. He will easily be re-elected. D LOCK
  • Minnesota: D Al Franken is up again. Can the right Republican make this a race? Maybe, but doubful. STRONG D
  • Mississippi: R Thad Cochran is up again. R LOCK
  • Montana: D Max Baucus is up again. This won’t be an easy race for him, but he has been re-elected a lot. TOSSUP/D LEAN
  • Nebraska: R Mike Johanns is up again. R LOCK
  • New Hampshire: D Jeanne Shaheen is up again. It looked like she would not run again, but she will. The right R can win this race, such as a Charlie Bass? LEANS D
  • New Jersey: D Frank Lautenberg is up again. The man is near 90. If he chooses to retire, could Chris Christie jump in? STRONG D
  • New Mexico: D Tom Udall is up again. New Mexico is no longer friendly to Republicans. D LOCK
  • North Carolina: D Kay Hagan is up again. This could be one of the best pickup chances for Republicans. The state is moving away from the Democrats. TOSSUP/R LEAN
  • Oklahoma: R Jim Inhofe is up again. R LOCK
  • Oregon: D Jeff Merkley is up again. Not terrible popular. If Congressman Greg Walden jumps in, could be a great pickup. D LEAN
  • Rhode Island: D Jack Reed is up again. Depending on an appointment to the Obama cabinet or not, its still Rhode Island. D LOCK
  • South Carolina: R Linsdey Graham is up again. Graham is not terribly popular in SC, but any R who wins that primary wins the seat. R LOCK
  • South Dakota: D Tim Johnson is up again. Another seriously hard race for Democrats, Republicans have the history to beat him. TOSSUP/R LEAN
  • Tennessee: R Lamar Alexander is up again. R LOCK
  • Texas: R John Cornyn is up again. The state isn’t a swingy one yet. R LOCK
  • Virginia: D Mark Warner is up again. If he runs again, it won’t be an easy race. No indication if he is running again or not. Term-limited Bob McDonnell could be a strong opponent. D LEAN
  • West Virginia: D Jay Rockefeller is up again. This one is an easy pickup for Republicans. Congresswoman Shelley Capito Moore will jump in. R PICKUP
  • Wyoming: R Mike Enzi is up again. R LOCK

Right now, the Senate is 55-45 in favor of the Democrats.

At a minimum, it will be 50-50 but the Republicans can pick up a minimum of 5 seats (Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, West Virginia). Other potentials: Iowa, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia to give the GOP the majority.

All The President’s Men

It is conventional wisdom that President Obama’s cabinet will be drastically different looking after January 20, 2013. Let’s look at the changes and how it will affect the current political map:

  • Treasury: Geithner is gone as soon as sequestrian is over. This has been known and in the works for some time. It will be the toughest cabinet secretary position in Obama’s second term. Possible replacements: Jack Lew, current Obama Chief of Staff or a CEO (Honeywell, Google, BlackRock….); Erskine Bowles is a darkhorse
  • Commerce: Bryston has been acting-Secretary for a while now and a definite replacement has been in the works. Possible replacements: any of the CEOs who don’t get Treasury Secretary; Ron Kirk, US Trade Rep and former Dallas mayor; Fred Hochberg, current Ex-Im Bank President
  • State: This is the big one, with Secretary Clinton all but ready to leave and start up her 2016 Presidential bid. Possible replacements; Susan Rice, UN Ambassador; John Kerry, U.S. Senator; NSA Tom Donilon. If Kerry, could open up a Senate comeback for defeated Scott Brown in a special election
  • NSA: Only open if Donilon moves up, which is unlikely.
  • Chief of Staff: if Jack Lew goes to Treasury Secretary. Possible replacements: Ron Klain, former Biden COS; former Majority Leader Tom Daschle
  • Defense: Panetta will leave after sequestrian is over. Possible replacements: Ash Carter, current Deputy Secretary of Defense; Michelle Flourney, who would be the first female SecDef; Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy; darkhorses include General Petraeus, soon-to-be former Virginia Senator Webb, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Rhode Island (RI has an independent/former Republican as governor who could appoint a Republican to the open seat), and maybe even former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, who would lend bipartisan appeal as a Republican
  • Attorney General: embattled Holden will be on his way out. Possible replacements: U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island (same problem as Jack Reed, could be replaced with a Republican); current Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm; current DHS Secretary Napolitano, who is both interested in SCOTUS and the Arizona senate seat in 2016
  • Homeland Security: if it opens, possible replacements: Merrick Garland, D.C. Court of Appeals Judge
  • Health and Human Services: does not appear to be a change coming
  • Labor: does not appear to be a change coming
  • Education: does not appear to be a change coming, however, if Duncan left, former DC Schools Chief Michelle Rhee or current Delaware Governor Jack Markell
  • HUD: does not appear to be a change coming
  • Agriculture: does not appear to be change coming; Tom Vilsack’s wife lost her Congressional bid on Tuesday
  • Interior: Salazar has indicated he will be moving on to the private sector. Possible replacements: former ND Senator Byron Dorgan; former Wyoming Governor Dave Fruedenthal; soon-to-be former Washington Governor Christie Gregoire (there’s a desire for the next Interior Secretary to be a Westerner)
  • Energy: Chu is on his way out after the Solyndra scandal. Possible replacements: Cathy Zoi, who worked with Al Gore on climate change; Kathleen McGuinty, Clinton-era chair of Council on Environmental Quality; could also go to a green energy CEO
  • EPA: Lisa Jackson is heading out, either to New Jersey or New Orleans for a political future; Possible replacements: former Clinton aides

There’s discussion of whether Obama will bring in any number of Republicans for Cabinet positions to burnish his bipartisan credentials in his second term. Possible names (including above): Chuck Hagel, Dick Lugar, Mitt Romney (Secretary of Business or Commerce??)

Why We Endure

1800 – The Peaceful Revolution; Power switches for the first time from the Federalists to the Democrat-Republicans

1824 – No candidate receives an electoral majority; House of Representatives choose John Quincy Adams as president

1841 – William Henry Harrison dies in office; John Tyler assumes the presidency

1861 – Eleven states secede from the United States, forcing a Civil War

1865 – Abraham Lincoln is assassinated

1867 – Andrew Johnson is impeached but acquitted

1876 – Samuel Tilden wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College to Rutherford B. Hayes

1881 – James Garfield is assassinated; Chester A. Arthur assumes the presidency

1901 – William McKinley is assassinated; Teddy Roosevelt assumes the presidency

1912 – Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party forces a three way election scenario that Woodrow Wilson wins

1923 – Warren G. Harding dies in office; Calvin Coolidge assumes the presidency

1932 – Herbert Hoover loses re-election as America falls into the Great Depression

1940 – Franklin Roosevelt runs for an unprecedented third term and wins

1944 – Franklin Roosevelt runs for an unprecedented fourth term and wins

1945 – Franklin Roosevelt dies in office; Harry Truman assumes the presidency

1963 – John F. Kennedy is assassinated; Lyndon B. Johnson assumes the presidency

1974 – Richard Nixon resigns the presidency; Gerald Ford assumes the presidency

1998 – Bill Clinton is impeached but acquitted

2000 – Al Gore wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College to George W. Bush

2001 – 9/11 Terrorist Attack

In every one of these cases, our nation endured. Because we believed in the process. We believed in our founding principles, the Constitution, that provided for us to continue even in our darkest times. We survived two world wars, a terrorist attack, four presidential assassinations and two more dying in office, two impeachments, and countless crazy elections to let the process hurt us now. We’ve had 57 presidential elections and none of them have led to the destruction of this nation.

We will endure because that is what this nation has always done. It is because we share a common idea – the idea that America is and always will be the greatest country in the world.
God bless America.

Election Post Mortem

First off, I extend my congratulations to President Obama and his supporters. It was a hard fought race for both sides, its over, and it is time for us to come together as Americans.

My predictions were way off. As of right now, this is a center-left country and probably will be until the Grand Old Party decides to become the Grand New Party. The GOP is a party destined for death in its current form.

I hope my party decides to modernize its positions with regards to: same-sex marriage, illegal immigration, and women’s reproductive rights. It is pointless to fight the culture wars right now – this is not the America of the 1970s and the Democrats have beaten us to the popular positions. We have to modernize our positions and make them more palpable to younger and minority voters. This is the end of the Solid South majority, those people are dying off and being replaced with a more technology-savvy, liberal youth and increasing minority/immigrant population.

  • Ground games beats air waves always. The Democrat and President Obama had an exceptional ground game that gave them more paths to 270.
  • Hispanics, minorities, and young voters voted in droves for the Democrats. The Republicans have to step their game up — we can’t keep being seen as the party of old white guys.
  • There is ZERO reason we can’t elect a moderate Republican — but that Republican has to stay moderate. Romney tacked too far right in the primary (“severely conservative”) to get nominated. It isn’t going to work.
  • WE HAVE TO STOP PURGING MODERATES FROM THE PARTY. We blew the Senate races because we fear moderates – guys like Akin and Mourdock should never have been nominated in the first place.
  • We cannot be afraid to tackle the big ideas. I still commend guys like Paul Ryan who are willing to tell the truth and try to fix the problem. We have to be the party of ideas and solutions.
  • Look at the ballot referendums – gay marriage passed, legalization of marijuana passed…The Democrats (and the Libertarians) have these positions, the Republicans don’t. Something has to change.

The world will keep spinning tomorrow. The sun will rise in the morning. We still have a lot of work to do to rebuild this country. This is the greatest country in the world, there is zero reason we can’t maintain that. And for the next four years, I get to work to modernize and make my party better. I will fight tooth and nail to continue being the party of low taxes, fiscal discipline, and less government. You may not like it, but the GOP has to become the party who wants LESS REGULATION IN YOUR PERSONAL LIVES. We don’t have to compromise our ideals or morals, but we have to make them appealing.

EDIT: After seeing Governor Romney’s concession speech, I am so proud to have voted for him. No one wishes for the destruction of this nation to advance our political agendas. This nation will endure because it always has – in 1800, in 1824, in 1865, in 1876, in 1912, in 1932, in 1945, in 1963, in 1965, in 2000, and now in 2012. We are stronger than political divisions because we share a common idea – the idea of America being the greatest country in the world.

I will pray for President Obama to succeed in a second term. Let our nation become strong again. It will take all of us to make it so.

 

*Side note: Wow. Big congratulations to Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay Senator. Clearing the way for someone like me to one day serve in the U.S. Senate. Proud to see my country breaking barriers.

2012 Election Predictions

U.S. President

  • Romney 51% – Obama 47%
  • Romney 297, Obama 241
  • Romney: Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire
  • Obama: Nevada, Ohio, Michigan

U.S. Senate

  • GOP 51 – Dem 48(49)
  • GOP: Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Virginia, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota
  • Dem: New Mexico, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio … Maine (Indie)

U.S. House

  • GOP 240 – Dem 195

Harris County

  • President: Obama 52% – Romney 47%
  • Sheriff: Garcia (D) 55% – Guthrie (R) 45%
  • District Attorney: Oliver (D) 51% – Anderson (R) 49%

And That’s a Wrap (On Debate Season)

Last debate until the 2016 primary season (2015)….Final thoughts:

  • Obama had the upper hand being the incumbent. 90% of his job is foreign policy, so he knows it inside and out. That isn’t to say a Governor cannot be strong on foreign policy (Clinton, Bush, Reagan), but the advantage of being the incumbent is huge in this case.
  • Romney won on substance. He laid out specifics, he challenged President Obama on his failures in foreign policy, and he showed gravitas when it mattered. In the end, the incumbent looked more like the challenger and the challenger like the incumbent.
  • Romney worked hard (and maybe a tiny bit successfully) to shed the hawkish image of the GOP. War is the last resort, you don’t win by killing people, etc. At the least, he placated independents worried about a warmonger.
  • Please, do not let bayonets become the new Big Bird or binders. Please, we can’t take much more.

Who won?

  • Draw. Romney won on substance, Obama won on everything else. The polls were not definitive, if anything, they showed Obama “won” on the surface but Romney won underneath. Like the second debate, it won’t be enough to give Obama a boost heading into the final two weeks.
  • Romney looked the part of president, which is what this was about. A tie is all he needed to actually win.
  • PPP had it best – Obama won; but, he lost. Independents are more likely to vote for Romney after the debate, and less likely Obama. In other words, he did nothing to stop the shedding of the independents that will doom him. CNN put it another way: 24% more likely to vote for Obama, 25% Romney, 50% neither. It’s too late in the game.

Best quotes:

  • Obama: “When I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors. I didn’t attend fundraisers. I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there to remind myself of the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel would be unbreakable.”
  • Obama: “Gov. Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that Al Qaeda is a threat because a few months ago when you asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia – not Al Qaeda – you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling and asking for their foreign policy back.”
  • Obama: “Governor, you say you want a bigger military. You want a bigger Navy. You don’t want to cut defense spending. What I want to ask you — we were talking about financial problems in this country. Where are you going to get the money?”
  • Romney: “I congratulate him on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in Al Qaeda, but we can’t kill our way out of this mess.”
  • Romney: “Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East, and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel.”
  • “I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin and I’m certainly not going to say to him, ‘I’ll give you more flexibility after the election.’ After the election, he’ll get more backbone.”
  • Romney: “This is a critical opportunity for America. And what I’m afraid of is we’ve watched over the past year or so, first the president saying, ‘Well we’ll let the U.N. deal with it.’”

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