Friday, June 05, 2015

Former Oklahoma Sen. Coburn speaks his mind on Republicans in 2016

By Richard Barry

I've always had a bit of a warm spot for former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. I guess it's that whole straight shooter thing. Not my politics, but I've always gotten a good vibe.

On Sirius XM radio on Thursday he provided a rather pithy and generally insightful run down of GOP presidential hopeful that went a little something like this:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush:  “I don’t think that America will elect another Bush president.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul: “Scares me to death” on foreign policy. He added Paul didn’t “speak truthfully” about the NSA and he “would not vote for him for president.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: "Of all that are out there right now probably my favorite.”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker "Not ready for primetime in my opinion.” He said Walker didn’t win the recall election in 2012 but “Republicans around the country did it for him.”

Ben Carson: Coburn said he had “a personal bone to pick with him on integrity that I witnessed” with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. The former senator said Carson was asked not to attack President Obama in his National Prayer Breakfast speech but said “his speech was nothing but an attack on the president.”

Former New York Gov. George Pataki: "Probably smart enough” to be president but didn’t have the conservative fiscal credentials.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry: A "good guy” but “I don’t think he's capable at that level."

Lindsey Graham: His effort is solely to talk about foreign policy and “that’s what he ought to stick to.”

Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina: "Smart, savvy, and experienced.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: "Not ready for primetime.”

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Capable of “attracting votes from both sides.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum: The presidency was not “within his reach."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: "Likes the fact that he answers questions directly.”

I agree about Bush and Walker and their vulnerabilities, but unless you agree with Coburn that Rubio is the guy, and I don't, that opens up the race considerably. Like I said earlier, Gov. Kasich anyone?

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Blame Jeb

By Richard Barry

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has put into words what we've all been thinking about the size of the GOP presidential field, which is that it's all about Jeb Bush's inability to leave others in the dust.
"I didn't think I was going to be back up here again because frankly, I thought Jeb was just going to suck all the air out of the room, and it just hasn't happened," Kasich told Seacoast business leaders Thursday afternoon, at question and answer session [in New Hampshire] organized by GOP activist Renee Plummer.

Could Kasich make a credible run? Sure. Could he win the nomination? Maybe.
Asked in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News how he could stand out, the two-term governor and former longtime congressman said “I think it's the resume and the record. I mean I have a resume that's unique among anybody who's thinking about running with both national security and Washington experience and success and also being governor of a big state, being an executive. it's basically results."

Much has been written about Jeb Bush's massive war chest and how that will keep him in the race for the long haul, and how he could emerge the winner through attrition. But, and I think there is a lot to this, if Jeb never really catches fire and other relatively mainstream candidates like Scott Walker continue to say really dumb things, Gov. Kasich could be just the sort of candidate establishment types, with the money they bring, look to.

If Bush, Walker, and Rubio are in the first tier right now, I see Kasich as just on the outside waiting for a break to be a part of main event, certainly more so than Paul, Cruz, Perry, Jindal, and all the rest.

All because Jeb Bush couldn't close the deal early.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

It's Jindal time

By Richard Barry

Why do I keep forgetting about Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal? I'm not sure, but it now seems he's going to announce he too will be running for the GOP presidential nomination. This according to a "person close" to him.

One recent survey has Jindal at 1% nationally.

Oh, yeah. That's why I keep forgetting about him.

June 24th in New Orleans. Be there, or read about it as a brief news item on the inside pages of your daily newspaper like the rest of us.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Thank you for playing, Elizabeth Warren

While it would have been fun to watch Elizabeth Warren campaign for the Democratic nomination, I have never been impressed with her political chops. Love the message, but the messenger leaves me more than little cold. Another overly earnest lefty without, it seems, the ability to lighten up. Have you seen her on Jon Stewart? Can you imagine a year and a half of that?  No thank you.

Politics is about performance and the mirthless Senator from Massachusetts is not up to the job. 

I was therefore not saddened to see that the advocacy groups pushing Warren to run have finally given up or, more accurately, suspended operations.
Though leaders of Democracy for America and, the two groups behind the six-month-old “Run Warren Run” effort, acknowledged not achieving their “central goal,” they are not admitting defeat.

Ilya Sheyman, executive director of Political Action, and Charles Chamberlain, executive director of DFA, wrote in a Politico op-ed Tuesday morning that Warren’s influence is already present in the race for the White House. “In the six months since we launched the Run Warren Run effort, Senator Warren’s agenda and message have transformed the American political landscape,” Sheyman and Chamberlain asserted.

Agreed on the influence Sen. Warren has had but, regarding her potential run, please admit defeat. You have been defeated. Elizabeth Warren is not running.

Having said that, Elizabeth Warren has had and is having a positive impact on the campaign. Feel good about that. Even Mrs. Clinton is using Warren-esque language in her stump speeches. Serious discussion about the Trans-Pacific-Partnership trade deal, a higher minimum wage, and the importance of organized labour are taking place in part due to Sen. Warren's efforts. The fact that Bernie Sanders is being taken seriously at all can be attributed in part to Sen. Warren. It's all good and laudable.

But it's over now. Let's move on. Let's enjoy the little dog and pony show that will be the Democratic nomination process, with the cast such as it is, before we all get on the Hillary bandwagon and kick some Republican ass.

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Monday, June 01, 2015

Dick Cheney is back. GOP rejoices (not)

Several media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, note that former vice president Dick Cheney and daughter Liz intend to be a part of the foreign policy debate in the 2016 election cycle through their advocacy group, Alliance for a Strong America.

As the Times writes, now that the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East has pushed Republicans to embrace a more interventionist foreign policy, the Cheney's want to make sure they don't get weak-kneed about it.
The organization is planning online and perhaps television ads pushing a muscular line on national security, according to a Republican strategist familiar with the group’s planning. The initiative may also pay for polling to help nudge Republican candidates toward hawkish stances in the primary season.

Certainly instability in the Middle East is a concern, and will continue to be an issue through the campaign and beyond, but is Dick Cheney, unpleasant and unpopular bastard that he is, really the guy Republicans want to see as the face of the party's security policy?

My guess is that most GOP contenders would like to see Dick and Liz follow the example of W. and just go away.


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