Dusting The Cobwebs Out

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Hello…..is this thing on?

Yes this post is actually happening….I don’t know how many people will read this but after a bit of a hiatus (ya know, the garden variety half-year breaks that we are all so accustomed to); I’m in the process of starting to want to discuss politics again.

To those who read this blog, all eight of you, I apologize for the long absence.  I’m perfectly fine, I graduated college and still can’t find a job in my career (I’m making a little bit of money in the produce section of my local supermarket) which has taken a bit of a toll on me.  But I have a ton of spare time now and in between Netflix marathons (Mad Men, House of Cards and now in the midst of Season 2 of Breaking Bad); I decided that I started missing politics again.

But to explain why I was gone, well Bridegate did me in.  In my local state, such blatant acts of political corruption got under my skin.  It made me angry but also disillusioned.  It seemed ridiculous to talk about future elections and give my best reporting, plus I was dedicated to trying and find a job.  It sucked.  In fact I completely ignored all things political minus the occasional “like” of a Facebook status that corresponded with my views.

It was also rough to pour your heart and soul into something and only get about 50 views a day.  Selfish yes, but after over a year of blogging, I thought I would have some steady readership.  But I’m going to start posting what I want to post and hope the eyes turn back on to this.  Really I hope so.

Now I realized I actually miss all of this.  I’m angry again but now I want to do things.  I want to do my best to give my opinion instead of staying silent.  I was sick of having something that was unfinished.  I can’t promise you I will update as frequently but now Pollitics Today will be something to at least check out.

So sit back and enjoy, hopefully you will come back and read!

The Right Wing Has Pushed Me To The Center

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If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of disclaimers.  In fact, any piece that is solely by me usually comes with some type of disclaimer as I believe in transparency.  I believe that before I discuss an issue, I need to tell you what my thought process was right before I decided to type it.  Its my idea of personalization and also gives you all a peek into my brain which is of course a national treasure.

So here’s a disclaimer.  I’m just as progressive as I’ve ever been.  I’m a firm believer in a public option (or potentially single-payer, though I can’t pretend to know too much about it), in green energy investment, in higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, for a minimum wage hike, for Phil Robertson to still be suspended and for gun reform.

But over time, I’ve realized that the right wing has seemingly gone off the rails.  Now, I won’t say they are crazy.  I have far too many friends who disagree with me politically and I’m very against the idea of calling someone with a different opinion (sans conspiracy, tin-foilers) “crazy”.  Just because you believe in trickle-down economics doesn’t mean you are insane.

However, we live in a world of quick-140 character sound bites, Facebook memes and knee-jerk reactions.  The political climate reflects the national psyche quite well; in fact I think that’s the only thing our politics has been able to represent well.  They are just like us and have really bottled it up and distributed to the public efficiently.

The right wing however, continues to frog march its way to a new stratosphere of caricature conservatism.  It seems that what’s conservative today, is moderate tomorrow and liberal in the future.  Its frustrating really, but as 2013 winds down and I prepare for 2014; I realize that I am more and more becoming someone who is willing to defend relatively centrist (or even right-LEANING) ideology because we have nearly lost the Republican Party.

Now, don’t get me wrong; you won’t see me trying to sell some Third Way bullshit on this blog.  You won’t see us turning into a corporatist blog that is sponsored by General Electric and edited by Joe Lieberman.

But look at us right now.  Look how much we’ve changed just because the right continues to run rightward.

Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act is better than nothing in both political and actual sense.  “Obamacare” is detractors and defenders alike term it, had a borderline horrendous rollout but its seemingly improving by the day as enrollment continues to skyrocket.

However, the ACA is a Republican idea; a market-based law that basically allows hospital executives and the pharmaceutical industry prosper.  It does, however, allow more people to be insured which should be the end goal and should allow some plans to be more affordable than they were before.  That is good.

We on the left, though, remember how much we had to fight to get the public option (which didn’t make it) into the dialogue when the bill was being written and debated.  We had the idea that single payer just wasn’t ready to happen yet, so we went to the next logical step below.

However, we lost that battle.  So now, liberals and progressives are all defending a bill that ideologically doesn’t match up to what we want.  If a public option is the junior varsity deal to single payer’s varsity; the ACA is basically an intramural squad.  But here we are defending it from asinine Republican attacks simply because we are trying to be optimistic that it will pay off down the line with an actual healthcare overhaul.

We are still waiting.

Phil Robertson and A&E

Phil Robertson should’ve been suspended and in an ideal world, A&E would’ve cancelled Duck Dynasty.  But we don’t live in an ideal world and A&E will make out like bandits here as they have reinstated the family patriarch and will surely have a ratings supernova when the season premiere has an emotional opening of hugs, tears and prayers.

But just to see how topsy-turvy everything is; how bizarre was this Robertson situation?  Conservatives actually DEFENDED an employee’s right to free speech while chastised a corporation for doing what was best for the company.  Meanwhile, progressives backed the corporation and was against the employee; which we should have been.

Still though, I never expected to see the day when I actually defended a corporation’s right on Pollitics Today.  Hell, I didn’t think I even needed to but thanks to the fecal matter tossing from the right; here I am doing just that.  Now though, we know that A&E is spineless, gutless and greedy which is the corporations that we all know and love; right?

Other Issues

I’ve largely stayed away from the Edward Snowden affair because, sadly; I’m not well-informed enough and I’m not bothered.  That’s terrible I am admitting that but its true; I kind of assumed we all knew since the Patriot Act that this stuff was happening with the government.

However, regardless of our opinions on the NSA: we should want some type of transparency when it comes to national security.  I am firmly of the belief that the NSA is a problem but its far bigger than the White House and overhauling it will take more Congressional action (fat chance).

When it comes to gun reform, we willingly backed Manchin-Toomey (another intramural squad level fix) just because the right was probably inching closer to universal gun ownership.  Somehow it seems that we as a nation are closer to that than we are with simple background checks.

We have really made no headway on environmental issues, as Rolling Stone awesomely (I am nominating this for one of the best reads of 2013 by the way) it seems the President has kind of turned a blind eye to it.

We are constantly having to hope that midnight deadlines don’t go because it seems that the government is always on the verge of a shutdown, unemployment benefits are about to be exhausted and a continued resolution is the closest we will get to a major piece of legislation being signed.

Hell, I even had to defend a policy of George W. Bush that Obama was wrongly getting credit for.  I am talking about that whole “OBAMA IS GIVING AWAY CELLPHONES” thing which is actually a policy that George W. Bush enhanced.

But here I am; migrating to the center because of a right wing that is about to fall off of the flat Earth that I’m sure some still believe in.

Why I’m Running For Congress: Vic Meyers (CO-04)

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Here is something exciting that I’ve been working on for the past few months.  As we are about to conclude our famous Taking Back The House series, I thought it would be interesting to keep it going in another way.  I was looking for candidates we have spotlighted to write a brief op-ed for us so they can tell us why they chose to run for Congress and what they can bring in.

Our first installment is by Vic Meyers, who is running against Cory Gardner in Colorado’s 4th congressional district.  Vic’s district will likely not be spotlighted in our series but I got to know Vic a bit over the past few months.  Vic is not your everyday politician, because frankly, he isn’t one.  instead he’s an everyman who is trying to represent his constituents and not special interests.  To donate to Vic Meyers’s campaign, click here.  To check out his campaign site, click here.  To view his Facebook page, click here and to follow him on Twitter, click here.    

Without further ado, please take it away Vic.

I was born in Colorado but I had the great fortune of attending kindergarten in Jamestown, New York.  Some of the lessons I learned there about who started our country and why are still with me today.  I turned nine years old in our country’s bi-centennial year and remember the red-white-and-blue celebration that culminated with the election of the new president.  I was sitting in front of the T.V. when Walter Cronkite (I think it was him) was telling me about how only in America can a peanut farmer from Georgia be chosen by the people to be their new leader.  He remarked about how other countries did not have changes in government without great turmoil and sometimes bloodshed.

It was these two periods of my life that put into me the seed of desire to serve my country.  It’s why I enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school.  It’s why the idea of representative government as described best by Abraham Lincoln, of by and for the people, isn’t just a slogan to me.  I view it as the greatest legacy ever given since the first time mankind developed an organized society.  It’s a legacy that is worth fighting for and one that we must all do our part to protect.

As I watch the spiraling decline of our Congress and their inability to recognize the damage they are doing to our legacy, I am compelled to act.  We all complain and I can complain as well as anybody.  But I’m not satisfied with just complaining.  I’m the kind of person who has to do something more than complain when I believe it’s within my power to do so.  That’s why I decided to run for Congress in Colorado’s 4th district.  My current Congressman is the epitome of what’s wrong in our national government.  If he ever understood the origins of our government, if he ever read Thomas Paine or the Federalist Papers then he has forgotten what he learned.  He represents the Tea Party, a group that is representative of only a small fraction of the people in our district.  Defeating him is one of the many things I can do, my part, to protect our legacy.

My district is very large and very rural.  The average income is around $50K/yr.  Agriculture is a key industry and our small towns are struggling to survive.  That is why I’ve chosen to run on protecting Social Security against Chained CPI and other attacks, Immigration Reform and Infrastructure Investment.  There are over 80,000 people in my district that rely on their Social Security income.  Fighting to protect it is a perfect example of representing the needs of the people.  The same goes for immigration reform.  While my opponent sings the Tea Party tune, the dairies and farms in our district struggle to bring their products from the field to the market because they depend upon immigrant labor.  They need immigration reform.  So do the families of the immigrants who work for them.

As the roads and bridges of America crumble for lack of attention, the 4th CD is not exempt.  By investing in infrastructure today we save money over the long run and finally get the recovery to reach beyond Wall Street and onto Main Street by creating living-wage jobs.  While we’re at it, we can build new infrastructure to support wind and solar energy production.  This will create more jobs, local revenues and positive effects against climate change.

I’m a working class husband, father and grandfather.  I’m not a wealthy man and I’m not well connected in the political world.  I enlisted after high school and was recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm.  After the war I finished college, earning a B.S. in Mathematics.  My first job after college was in software, working for a defense contractor.  Not liking that job, I took a job with the Colorado Dept. of Corrections where I’m now a case manager with sixteen years in the department.  I have life experience that is much more like the average citizen of my district than that of my opponent.

Voter registration and past elections suggest that I cannot win this election.  The wealth and power of King George also suggested that our country could never be founded.  I have great obstacles in front of me.  The most obvious one is money.  I’ve traveled to all parts of the district and I’m building a grass-roots effort.  If my message is true of purpose, I believe it is, and if the people of my district are as fed up with Congress as I am, I believe they are, then this is not an unwinnable race.  It wasn’t that long ago that a Democrat represented this district and the last one that ran underperformed.  It’s much more winnable than conventional wisdom suggests.

Because somebody like me isn’t supposed to be able to win a race like this, the benefits of winning will reverberate across the nation.  Imagine the message that will be sent when the 4th CD voters stand up and declare that they will no longer be manipulated by gerrymandering.  Imagine the message to Senators and Representatives of both parties when they realize that we still have an America where, after enough frustration, there is no such thing as a “safe” seat.

I’m not so arrogant as to believe that I alone am the lone savior of our forefathers’ legacy.  I am hopeful enough to believe that there are enough people left in this country who value this legacy as much as I do.  While I’ll be working my tail off over the next year to get enough people to believe in me it all starts with getting people to believe WITH me.  I need people to believe WITH me that our country is still the same one where a peanut farmer became president.  I need them to believe WITH me that if Bill Clinton and Barack Obama can start life where they did and become president, then I can become a U.S. Representative.  I need them to believe WITH me that we have a legacy worth fighting for and we all have something we can do to fight for it.  I’m doing what I can.  What are you doing?

 

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Am I Really Going To Write A Post About Miley Cyrus And Phil Robertson?

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Ugh.

One of the main tenets of Pollitics Today that I pride myself on is when I notice all of my friends on Facebook discussing something, I try to give an explanation on here.  I find that a blog gives you much more room to analyze things.

For example, I looked over the “red equal sign”, the comparison between Trayvon Martin and Marley Lion, as well as what the government shutdown actually meant.  Sometimes I notice this actually helps people learn things and gets a few people to like my post which is really all I’m about.

However the newest meme that’s going around is irritating me completely.  But I feel compelled to do it and if you are a regular viewer who is only here for election coverage; I apologize.

1470318_794272297253700_493763766_nYes this picture is now on my blog.  Again, ugh.

But let’s take a look at this and how its not exactly right.  First off, in what news do you follow where Miley Cyrus got a pass from what she did?  If anything, her dancing for about thirty seconds on TV induced more pearl-clutching outrage that hasn’t been seen since Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl.

Here’s what some prominent people (on both sides of the aisle) said about Miley Cyrus back when she twerked on Robin Thicke for four seconds:

Then we got into some bigger problems, some which I do agree with, such as the racial implications of Miley’s performance(s).  As well as inspired some hilarious FCC complaints.

By now you know what’s going on with Phil Robertson so its pointless to continue to explain it.

However, I see why there’s some outrage and I am trying to look at this objectively.  If you are religious and someone espouses an opinion citing religion (I’m not saying its right or wrong, but Phil Robertson’s interpretation is important); you might see yourself being attacked for an opinion.  A&E knew his opinions, hell anyone with Google Search, has heard him preach about homosexuality before.  It is not a “SHOCK” that Phil Robertson said that.

You might also see that well freedom of speech should imply that you are allowed to say an opinion and not be fired/suspended (Robertson has yet to be banned).  I am an atheist so maybe I can’t relate to the average person of faith in this country so I would never tell you how you are “supposed to act”.  But you see other “shocking” things air and you think that they should face the same repercussions.

Martin Bashir was forced into resignation for basically swearing on TV about Sarah Palin’s comments on slavery.  Adam Lambert was essentially banned from ABC for kissing another man for a few seconds at the AMAs.  Or the Dixie Chicks for criticizing the Bush administration?  But where were you then?

Free speech shouldn’t be politicized yet you are doing that by sharing that meme.  I know you might like the show or you might be against marriage equality but Miley is in no way similar to Phil Robertson.

Miley Cyrus is a pop singer.  One who is obviously kind of a major poser, but nonetheless she’s a pop star.  When you are a pop star, outrage sells.  No pop star craves to be Pat Boone, they want to be Madonna or Lady Gaga or David Bowie or Jim Morrison.  Some of them use sexuality to do so but “twerking” is not a political issue.

Marriage Equality, on the other hand, is a big issue in America.  As is welfare.  If Miley twerked on Robin Thicke while wearing a unitard that said “Bomb-Bomb-Bomb Bomb Iran”; then we would have a realistic comparison.  The VMAs solely exist to generate attention since they are “celebrating” attention-getting videos.

Duck Dynasty is just some reality show about multi-millionaires.  Phil Robertson’s comments, if they were on Fox News or theBlaze, wouldn’t generate much besides some outrage on this blog (I would definitely jump on that and I would be a hypocrite if I said otherwise) and other like-minded ones but it wouldn’t become a big deal in the end.

If I may be honest though, I think this is all a ploy by A&E.  I think they will reinstate Phil Robertson and there will be an episode where they cry and hug, which will generate HUGE ratings.

So we are all kind of sheep here.

Just don’t compare the two, ok?

 

Scott Brown Moves To New Hampshire: The Election News Dump

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Hey remember this feature we used to have?  In case you are a new follower or reader, the election news dump is basically a roundup of all the election news that didn’t get its own article on Pollitics Today.  Its mostly brief news bits with a small bit of analysis.  We look at the Senate races, White House races and some of the Taking Back The House districts when applicable.

So sit back and see what has happened that you might’ve missed!

Senate ’14

New Hampshire:  Scott Brown Moves To New Hampshire, Conservative Looks Into Race

One of the bigger stories to follow within the next year is if former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown decides to vie for the Republican nomination for Senate in New Hampshire.  Brown, who lost in 2012 to Elizabeth Warren after his dramatic 2010 special election win, has seemingly been flirting with the idea throughout the calendar year.

Brown claims the move is “strictly personal” but he is going to have to make a decision soon as the state party is getting antsy with his flirtation.  I guess the possibility of a 2016 presidential run isn’t completely far’fetched but Democrat Jeanne Shaheen is waiting in the wings as her first term winds down.

So will Brown make a move?  Carpet bagging, especially after JUST losing in a highly covered race, probably isn’t the best idea.

As Brown continues to waffle, state Rep. Al Baldasaro is looking into running for office.  Baldasaro might best well be known for his claim that the state of New Hampshire sold a adopted child to a homosexual couple for $10,000,

Pollitics Today encourages him to run.

Montana:  Obama Campaign Manager Says “No” To Possible Appointment

After the news of President Obama tabbing retiring Sen. Max Baucus (of Montana) to be the newest Ambassador to China; some speculation settled on former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina to be a placeholder.

However Messina, a former chief of staff to Baucus, tweeted that he had no interest in being appointed and cited that he wanted to continue to help President Obama and grow his own firm.

Iowa:  Republican Candidate Hits The Air; Braley Barely Leads

Republican businessman Mark Jacobs, running for the party’s nomination for Senate, is hitting the airwaves with a $100,000 (!) buy.  Jacobs is a former executive of Reliant Energy and just moved to the state last year.  So he’s basically trying to buy his way to face likely Democratic nominee; Bruce Braley.

Even in light of President Obama’s lowest approval ratings in Iowa, likely Democratic nominee Rep. Bruce Braley still seems to be the frontrunner.  Braley leads state senator Joni Ernst by a 44-38 margin, U.S. attorney Matt Whitaker by a 43-40 margin and Jacobs by a 46-37 gap.

I can only imagine that Republicans will likely expend their energy in other states before Iowa but its probably best to assume that them winning Iowa would be a “cherry on top” scenario.  Luckily Democrats have a solid candidate who is vying to replace longtime Sen. Tom Harkin so hopefully they won’t need to spend too much on this race considering the Iowa GOP is summing up their JV team.

Now President Obama’s approval ratings could be worrisome, however this far out (eleven months); I wouldn’t worry too much yet.

Texas: Hahahahahahaha

One of the big things I regret not covering is Rep. Steve Stockman’s announcement that he would challenge Sen. John Cornyn in a primary.  Stockman, the definition of a bombastic Tea Party-backed congressman (i.e. his mouth is bigger than his power), doesn’t have much money on him but he will certainly bring the fun to what would’ve been a boring primary (other perennial-esque candidates are in the race too).

Well, here’s a laugh.  Stockman currently polls 6% against Cornyn’s 50%.  I guess stranger things have happened but as of now, hahahahahahahaha.

White House 2016

Republican Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, in his thousandth term as Governor, stated that if VP Joe Biden is willing to make a third presidential bid (as he is widely assumed to be considering) he would be “dead meat’ due to his association with the current administration.

I’d venture that if Biden does make a run, he’d most likely either be defeated because of Hillary Clinton or the fact that a better challenger comes in.  No Democrat will bash Biden too hard as they wouldn’t want to upset President Obama whose endorsement will likely be very much coveted amongst Democratic hopefuls.

I think of all the candidates, from both sides of the aisle, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is one of the most likely to make a presidential run.  Schweitzer, the very popular and charismatic ex-Gov., has been visiting Iowa lately and has been blasting presumed frontrunner Hillary Clinton over her Iraq War vote.

Schweitzer has been polling in the very low single digits throughout the early polling of 2016 and while there’s plenty of time, he might want to start getting established in Iowa now than later.

More to come throughout weekend.  Send any tips to polliticstoday@gmail.com

Phil Robertson Can Say What He Wants, As Well As Face The Consequences

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Every few months it seems that a celebrity really says some messed up shit.  This year was no different with Riley Cooper, Paula Deen and now Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson joining the fray of people exposing their true colors in a pretty disturbing light.

In case you haven’t heard, Robertson told GQ’s (and Deadspin’s funniest writer) Drew Magary his views on LGBTQ Americans (and how they are similar to those who commit bestiality) as well as growing up in the South.  Of course, what he said was pretty messed up though sadly not exactly surprising and yes; the uproar has been loud.

Listen.  I can’t throw stones.  I’m not perfect.  I’ve said things in the past that aren’t perfect, I’ve sworn at people I shouldn’t have and I’ve probably at least five times in my life done something that wouldn’t be considered cool.  I’ve been guilty of a too soon joke now and then as well as other failed attempts at humor.

I’m glad I get the chance to say that because well, I live in a country that luckily has a First Amendment.  Phil Robertson, just like every American in the country, has the right to say whatever he wants.  He in many ways is symbolic of the American Dream, considering the millions they have made and they even got their own lousy reality show about their duck whistle business.

I’ve never watched it, mainly because I’m awful at keeping up with television shows, but I can tell its impact on our society.  One of my friends dressed up as one of those dudes for Halloween and was pretty much recognized by everyone in our small college town.

However, there are those who are totally-pro Phil Robertson and totally anti-him being suspended.  Part of that is likely them being jaded by the fact that they love the show and are terrified of changes to it, as I assume the patriarch of the family is pretty important to the “unscripted” show.  I guess it would be like suspending Don Vito from Viva La Bam, which should’ve happened if the show lasted longer.

Still, whenever these controversies prop up, there is a large segment of the population that decry those who get punished for their “opinion”.  They say that somehow A&E is violating Robertson’s First Amendment rights and so on and so forth.

Let’s end this now in under eight hundred words.  Robertson had every right to say what he wants to say.  He has every right to believe in what he wants to believe and there is nothing you can do about it.  Its all intrinsic when it comes down to what someone believes is their belief.

BUTBUTBUTBUTBUT, having the right to free speech and utilizing it does not mean you are free from criticism.  It does not mean that there are automatically zero repercussions for the words that you say, especially if it demeans a segment of the global population.  If I worked at CVS and went into the parking lot and said the company sucked, then went on Twitter to say it more; I probably shouldn’t be shocked to get fired.

Time and time again, this argument comes up and it gets tiring.  Robertson can not be jailed by his government for his words.  He can’t be deported or tried or anything because he has an opinion.  But the people around him including private citizens, corporations, family members and TV channels can do what they want with him.  You can still watch the show.  Hell if you agree with his words (then this blog isn’t for you) you can stand by him.  You can fight on his behalf.

That does not mean though that you won’t be impervious to eye rolling, criticism and more.

So own your words and when you get criticized, don’t hide behind the First Amendment.  It doesn’t make you teflon.

Hillary Clinton To Announce Presidential Plans In 2014

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The “will she or won’t she” question surrounding a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign may be answered sooner rather than later.

In an interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters, who named the former Secretary of State the Most Fascinating Person of 2013, Clinton acknowledged that she would make a decision on her future plans in 2014.

Obviously, I will look carefully at what I think I can do and make that decision sometime next year.

Clinton proceeded to state it was too early to talk about future elections (don’t tell us!) as the country should be worried about more pressing issues such as the unemployment rate, people getting kicked off food stamps and small businesses not getting credit.

Of course; that sounds like a candidate right there.  Hillary has had some issues with her health in the past, following her concussion, and deserves a break after essentially being in the spotlight nonstop since 1991.  When you are the First Lady who later embarks on a Senate bid after a sex scandal rocks your husband, turns down a run for President, then is in the midst of the most widely covered primary dogfight in our lifetime before becoming the Secretary of State; well, take some time.

Still though, when it comes to 2016; Hillary is best to make a decision sometime next fall.  If she makes up her mind before the congressional midterms then she (or other candidates) will have time to campaign for endangered or emerging candidates.

I would imagine when Hillary makes her choice, a lot of dominoes will soon fall into place when it comes to 2016.  If she says “yes”, expect a lot of ire to be drawn her way from potential Republican rivals such as Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan.  You can also expect some Democrats like Andrew Cuomo praise Clinton but not close the door on running and hear some noise from the left (Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley) on what Clinton needs to do for them to stay on the sidelines.

If no, expect a bunch of praise from both sides of the aisle.  You’ll hear the words “courageous”, “distinguished”, “lifelong career” and other superlatives that would praise her while keeping the door open for themselves.  You’ll start to see candidates who are polling in the low single digits such as Brian Schweitzer and O’Malley to quickly announce bids and capitalize on the media attention towards 2016.  You’ll hear Joe Biden publicly mention his plans and the media may turn to Elizabeth Warren, John Kerry, Howard Dean or even Jerry Brown to spice the race up much like they did to Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan in 2012.

Regardless, there has been way too much attention on 2016 and that mainly has to do with Clinton.  Does she want to?  Or more importantly, does she feel like it?  She deserves to take her time.

Reports: Max Baucus To Be New Ambassador To China

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Well, well, well how about this?  Longtime Montana Senator Max Baucus announced earlier in the cycle that he would not run for reelection.  Baucus, who has evolved into a Lieberman-esque pain in the neck to progressives over the past few years, actually did the right thing by retiring which would’ve allowed popular ex-Gov. Brian Schweitzer to run for the position.

Then Schweitzer decided not to run and Democrats hopes were pretty much dashed as a host of other candidates declined before Lieutenant Governor John Walsh entered the fray, only to be joined by his predecessor John Bohlinger in a potentially contested primary.

So, today’s news is that Baucus will be appointed to be the newest ambassador to China sometime soon.  This allows Governor Steve Bullock to appoint a temporary replacement which is widely expected to be Walsh.  This could be a decent thing as Walsh will be able to get some experience in Washington and become a known quantity, which will help out in what is expected to be a dogfight against Rep. Steve Daines.

Now it might not be the best thing in Montana to have Washington experience but this could only drive up how many people know of Walsh.  With Democrats expected to probably take a hit, big enough to maybe lose the majority in the Senate, this might be a game changer as every state will count.

Good news is that Baucus won’t be in the Senate but also President Obama is showing some shrewd political calculating here.  Baucus, an architect of the Affordable Care Act, is peacing out and will be in China while Walsh should do enough to defeat Bohlinger and have a better shot at withholding Daines.

Let the games begin.

PPP Releases New 2016 National Poll

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Its been awhile since we have checked in on the ongoing saga that is the trek to 2016, but thankfully Public Policy Polling exists as they have a new poll hot off the presses.  The North Carolina-based polling outfit takes a look at both the Republican and Democratic fields as well as some head-to-head matchup.

Not too much has changed on the Republican side as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is still the favorite over his more conservative counterparts.  Christie leads with 19% over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 14%, Mike Huckabee at 13% and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 11%.  Rounding out the field is Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush who are tied at 10%, Marco Rubio at 7%, Scott Walker at 4% and Bobby Jindal bringing up the rear at 3%.

Some interesting tidbits is that Huckabee, who has recently announced that he is not saying no to the idea of a presidential run (which will likely mean he won’t do anything) is the most popular of the group but it seems that there isn’t that much excitement around him.  By contrast, Chris Christie has an average favorability rating but his supporters are all in for him.

If Huckabee doesn’t run, Christie’s lead swells to 23% to 15% over Cruz.  Also worth noting is the slow fall back to the field that Rand Paul has had and Marco Rubio’s descent into the back portion of the field.  Scott Walker may not be a threat now but don’t be shocked if an infusion of money behind him can catapult him to the top of the field especially considering the likely implosion of a Ted Cruz campaign.

For the Democrats though, ho-hum same story as before.  Hillary Clinton is up 66% to 10% over Vice President Joe Biden with 6% for Elizabeth Warren.  Tied at 2% is Cory Booker, Martin O’Malley, Howard Dean, John Kerry, Andrew Cuomo and 1% over Brian Schweitzer.  Joe Biden is the early favorite if Clinton demurs on a run with 35% over John Kerry and Elizabeth Warren tied at 13%.

Without the big guns of Clinton, Biden, Kerry and Dean; Warren is up 24% to 14% over Cuomo, 13% for Booker and O’Malley at 7%.

What are the main takeaways on the Democratic side?  Hillary remains the clear favorite with Joe Biden in position to capture some excitement should she not run.  Without them?  The most exciting candidate is Elizabeth Warren who I have reservations on if she really wants to run or stay in the Senate where she could likely do more good.

Its hard for a progressive because we finally have a rockstar like Elizabeth Warren but we can’t lose her if she has an unsuccessful run.  It might be best if she stays in the Senate and gains more and more seniority.  I also don’t think Booker would be willing to immediately jump into the fray either and will likely look at 2020 or 2024 (after possibly being a top VP candidate) so that leaves us with a field headlined by Cuomo, O’Malley and Schweitzer.  Eek.

But don’t sweat it too much; Clinton is still expected to probably run.

When it comes to head-to-heads, Christie appears to be the slight favorite over 1,000 days from election day (I’m aware of how ridiculous this is) inching out Clinton by a 45/42 margin thanks to Christie’s popularity amongst independents.  Christie crushes Kerry by 11, Biden by 14, Warren by 16 and Dean by 22.

To be fair though Christie is popular now but I don’t know how he can maintain that when he will get bombarded by ads.  He’ll get thrown through the ringer with his “temperament”, his new bridge controversy and there’s no way he will remain that popular amongst Democrats as the election wears on.  His record is staunchly conservative and we’ll see how it lasts.

 

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