Tag Archives: current-events

Senate: ROUND 2

In South Dakota, former Governor Mike Rounds is entering the race to face Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) in 2014. Entering now dissuades other candidates from jumping in, namely Rep. Kristi Noem. Senator Johnson suffered a brain injury and has had past health problems and is 65. No word yet on whether he will run again or not. If he chooses to retire, the seat is safely in the hands of Rounds or whoever wins the primary.

Suffice to say, the GOP may have picked up two of the six seats they need in 2014 just this week alone. Even so, there’s chatter of Arkansas (definite pickup) and the Alaskan Lieutenant Governor jumping into that race (slight pickup).

That Rice is Cooked and Other Thoughts

Susan Rice is in a boatload of trouble if she think she’s the next Secretary of State. Despite allegations that her critics are racist and sexist Republicans (um, Colin Powell and Condi Rice, anyone?), she’s having a hard time gaining the necessary 5-7 Republicans she will need for Senate confirmation. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has vowed to put a hold, and she is one of the influential Three Amigos of the GOP Foreign Policy Team. As well, very moderate Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has a lot of questions. We just want real answers.

In one of the two 2013 races worth a hoot, Virginia LG Bill Bolling is stepping aside for Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli to run unabated for the nomination. In addition to stopping a nasty primary, it also allows Bolling the opportunity to jump into the 2014 Senate race if Governor Bob McDonnell chooses not to. Cuccinelli will run basically unopposed against former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe.

West Virginia Rep Shelley Moore Capito, under fire from right-wing groups like the Club for Growth and Senate Conservative Fund after announcing her run for the 2014 Senate seat held by Jay Rockefeller, says the GOP had poor communication in 2012. I agree.

“We as Republicans have those solutions; we just have poorly communicated that,” she said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.” “And that’s why I think I’m excited about being a woman running for Senate, but I’m proud to say I’m a great Republican that believes our solutions are what’s going to help women in my age bracket help those children and help those parents have a better life.”
It was not the message, but how we delivered it, and who delivered it. Some people just shouldn’t be allowed the opportunity to communicate our message because they are crazy whackadoodles.
Maybe Delaware isn’t as boring as we all thought? Freshman Senator Chris Coons, who got so lucky getting to run against Christine O’Donnell in 2010, isn’t taking chances for 2016, in the event she runs again, or Beau Biden, son of VP Joe Biden, primaries him. My opinion: he’s safe.
Chris Christie is like, omg, so popular! 72% approval rating for a Republican in New Jersey is pretty remarkable.
In the most interesting news of the day: vulnerable Senator Saxy Chambliss, often targeted as being the most likely to be primaried in 2014, has picked up a potential rival: RedState.com founder Erick Erickson. He is very conservative, but it is Georgia, and would be a better Senator than Chambliss’ other declared opponent, Karen Handel. If Georgia wants him, I’m all for it. Good guy who cares about the cause.

Punting on Plans

2014 Senators are already punting on their re-election decisions, though not all:

  • Rockefeller (D-WV): vague statement on making decision
  • Harkin (D-IA): vague statement on making a decision
  • Enzi (R-WY): yes
  • Roberts (R-KS): yes
  • Cochran (R-MS): vague statement on making a decision
  • Johanns (R-NE): most likely
  • Hagan (D-NC): vague statement on making a decision
  • Alexander (R-TN): yes
  • Landrieu (D-LA): yes
  • Durbin (D-IL): planning on it, but hasn’t made a final decision
  • Johnson (D-SD): no idea
  • Warner (D-VA): no comment
  • Levin (D-MI): vague statement on making a decision
  • Lautenberg (D-NJ): vague statement on making a decision

Of those, Rockefeller’s seat is a near-definite pickup, as is Hagan’s, Landrieu’s, and Johnson’s.

Filling the Bench for the GOP

2016 isn’t too far off and hell, 2010 isn’t either. 2014 is crucial for the GOP to fill in its bench for 2016 and beyond. We have a great bench of governors for 2016: Fallin, Haley, Walker, Christie, Martinez. I’ve handicapped the 2014 Senate races where the GOP will make gains. Now the gubernatorial races:

Term Limited Republicans

  • Arizona (Jan Brewer): AZ law limits office holders to two consecutive terms and Brewer served out the remainder of Napolitano’s term and then was elected to her own term in 2010. The Dem bench is terrible and Brewer is challenging “ambiguities” within that law. GOP should hold with Brewer or Sec. of State Ken Bennett.
  • Nebraska (Dave Heineman): Easily GOP hold.

Term Limited/Retiring Democrats

  • Arkansas (Mike Beebe): already going to be a great picking opportunity for the GOP.
  • Maryland (Martin O’Malley): easily a hold for the Democrats. O’Malley will be a 2016 player for the Democrats if Hillary doesn’t run.
  • Massachusetts (Deval Patrick): eligible to run again but has declared retirement. In an open race, if Kerry doesn’t leave for State or Defense, Scott Brown could be a player, as well as 2010 Republican nominee Charlie Baker.

Republican Incumbents Running Again (Declared)

  • Florida (Rick Scott): not terribly popular, but his saving grace is his job approval is on the rise. Former Republican and now Democrat Charlie Crist will run for his old job. I’m not sure how popular Crist is as a party switcher, lots of oppo material here. Tossup.
  • Idaho (Butch Otter): easily retained.
  • Nevada (Brian Sandoval): Sandoval is pretty popular as a Republican governor in a blue state. He’s also a darkhorse 2016 candidate if he wins again and he should. Hold.

Republican Incumbents Eligible to Run Again

  • Alabama (Robert Bentley): regardless of his decision to run again or not, GOP will retain.
  • Alaska (Sean Parnell): if he runs again, he will hold. He’s a darkhorse contender to run against Dem. Senator Mark Begich as well. GOP should hold this seat regardless.
  • Georgie (Nathan Deal): will hold regardless of decision.
  • Iowa (Terry Branstad): no decision made yet, polls have him up 2-4 points over potential opponents but down to current Ag Sec Vilsack. Branstad is also a darkhorse 2014 Senate candidate. If Branstad jumps to Senate race, Lt. Gov Kim Reynolds would be the favorite. GOP hold until Vilsack decides what he wants to do, then tossup.
  • Kansas (Sam Brownback): GOP hold. No more Sebelius’ coming around
  • Maine (Paul LePage): in a three way race, he won; in a rematch three-way race, he would lose. If 2014 is 2010, he can win again but he’s not terribly popular. However, the Democratic party has a hard time putting up good candidates. If he runs again, its an Independent pickup; if he doesn’t, depends on how jumps in for the Republicans – Charlie Summers….or Olympia Snowe? Right now, Dem pickup
  • Michigan (Rick Snyder): his popularity is on the rise, so I will assume if he runs again, he wins. GOP hold.
  • New Mexico (Susana Martinez): most popular Governor in the country. Up 12-13 points on potential challengers. GOP hold.
  • Ohio (John Kasich): his popularity is on the rise and the Ohio economy is getting better by the month. He can win again. GOP hold.
  • Oklahoma (Mary Fallin): GOP hold regardless but it’s important she runs again as a female governor who is very popular. Darkhorse 2016 contender.
  • Pennsylvania (Tom Corbett): not very popular and will probably lose if he runs again. Dem pickup.
  • South Carolina (Nikki Haley): another governor we need to stay in office and I think she will run again. GOP hold.
  • South Dakota (Dennis Daugaard): should run again barring a surprise entrance into the Senate race, but all decisions on that are based on former Gov. Rounds’ decision. GOP hold.
  • Tennessee (Bill Haslam): GOP hold.
  • Texas (Rick Perry): if he runs again, he’s very vulnerable to a primary challenge by AG Greg Abbot. If he wins that, he will win the race because the Dem party in Texas is in shambles, they can’t win statewide. GOP hold. A Governor Abbot could be a contender in 2020…A Governor Perry is a 2016 dud (again, haha).
  • Wisconsin (Scott Walker): blue state governor who won, was recalled, won again, and should win again; the Dem bench is awful with Tammy Baldwin going to D.C. GOP hold for Walker
  • Wyoming (Matt Mead): GOP hold regardless.

Democrat Incumbents Eligible to Run Again

  • California (Jerry Brown): he’s old and California is a blackhole. There’s a lot of Dems gunning for this (Newsom, Kamala Harris, Antonio Villaraigosa) and on the Republican side, the big name is Condoleezza Rice – she is a Republican California could elect (minority, moderate, pro-gay marriage, pro-choice). If Condi jumps in, its a top-tier race she can win. Tossup with Condi, Dem hold without.
  • Colorado (John Hickenlooper): he was a darkhorse 2016-er if Hillary stayed out, but his recent divorce would suggest he will stay out and run again. Dem hold.
  • Connecticut (Dan Malloy): he’s not popular and a rematch with Tom Foley would probably swing the GOP’s way. GOP pickup for Foley
  • Hawaii (Neil Abercrombie): Dem hold. No Linda Lingle walking through the door.
  • Illinois (Pat Quinn): he’s very unpopular (most Illinois governors are); this is a prime pickup opportunity for Republicans – he’s unpopular and the state economy is in shambles. GOP pickup
  • Minnesota (Mark Dayton): Dem hold. I’m sick of waiting for Minnesota to turn purple again.
  • New Hampshire (Maggie Hassan): NH makes you run every two years rather than four; NH is prone to wild partisan swings in midterms so she isn’t safe. I will lean Dem hold as she hasn’t even taken office yet!
  • New York (Andrew Cuomo): Dem hold. Look out 2016!
  • Oregon (John Kitzhaber): probable Dem hold barring Greg Walden skipping the Senate race and gunning for governor. Dem hold.
  • Vermont (Peter Shumlin): Dem hold regardless of decision.

Independents Eligible to Run Again

  • Rhode Island (Lincoln Chafee): he’s very unpopular; if he runs again, GOP pickup; if he says out, Dems technically pickup

The GOP needs its stars like Haley, Fallin, Sandoval, Walker, and Martinez to run again and win. They are all favorites. There’s opportunities for new faces (Abbot, Condi Rice, Scott Brown) that we need to take advantage of.

Petraeus, Scott Brown, and the Rebuilding GOP

  1. Oh General Petraeus, why? WHY? You had everything going for you and you blew it. You were going to be like Eisenhower, someone both parties were going to fight over to run for President. You would become immensely popular on both sides of the aisle and unite a divided nation with your leadership, and you blew it.
  2. Rumors of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry moving into SecDef role. While I think that is hilarious, Kerry, weak, spineless, John Kerry as Secretary of DEFENSE, it does open up a Senate seat. A 2013 special election would be perfect for Scott Brown — Senate control is not up in the air, he’s way popular still, and those idiots in MA can have the best of both worlds, Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. He’d run for a full term in 2014. So that’s 2010 special, 2012 general, 2013 special, 2014 general. Poor man.
  3. Susan Rice will not be Secretary of State. She won’t get through Senate confirmation. That I can say with absolute certainty. Darkhouse: Jon Huntsman.
  4. 2014 Senate races heating up. 3 of the 4 Republican House members in Arkansas are exploring potential runs against Mark Pyror. I’d say his time is running out. Within the next few months, we will candidates gear up for races in Alaska, Louisiana, South Dakota, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Colorado, West Virginia and Minnesota.
  5. Seems like GOP leaders are looking hard in the mirror. In the past few days, we’ve seen immigration reform, tax reform, potential tax hikes, and gay marriage work their way into the soul searching of the GOP before 2016. The party of small government: tax reform, immigration reform, civil liberties, and getting government out of your personal life (gay marriage and drug laws). Winning message.
  6. Texas secession = shut up. Same to you Louisiana and Alabama. Just shut up.

In the words of Meghan McCain this week, “I am not a moderate Republican. I am a modern Republican.”

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.

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.

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