If he is going to throw his hat into the ring, his first hurdle will be persuading folks that he has a realistic strategy to perform better this cycle than he did in 2008. Folks in GOP circles chuckle that he spent almost $50 million to win a single delegate; what’s easy to forget is how much he underperformed even the most modest expectations in almost every primary state.
He finished sixth out of seven in Iowa with 4 percent, a distant fourth in New Hampshire with 9 percent, sixth place in Michigan with 3 percent, sixth place in Nevada with 4 percent, sixth place in South Carolina with 2 percent. Finally, with the future of his campaign riding on the results of the Florida primary, he finished a distant third with 14.7 percent, and departed the race the next day.
There’s an argument that the Republican grassroots want someone combative to carry their banner in 2012, and Giuliani is certainly combative. But Giuliani trailed John McCain and Mitt Romney by quite a bit in almost every early key state, and let’s face it, a lot of GOP voters weren’t thrilled with McCain. What has changed to make Giuliani a stronger candidate in this field?
Also note that Giuliani’s name has been mentioned for just about everykeystatewide New York race since he left politics, and he’s never taken the plunge. It’s easy to believe this may be the former mayor’s biennial flirtation with another big campaign, a flirtation that rarely pans out.
Well, here’s a development sure to irk backers of every Republican not named Chris Christie. A group of Iowa Republican donors is traveling to Trenton to, in effect, beg him to run for president:
Some of Iowa’s top Republican campaign contributors, unhappy with their choices in the developing presidential field, are venturing to New Jersey in hopes they can persuade first-term Gov. Chris Christie to run. The entreaty is the latest sign of dissatisfaction within the GOP over the crop of candidates competing for the chance to run against President Barack Obama in 2012.
Bruce Rastetter, an Iowa energy company executive, and a half-dozen other prominent Iowa GOP donors sought the meeting with Christie, the governor’s chief political adviser, Mike DuHaime, told The Associated Press. The get-together is set for the governor’s mansion in Princeton, N.J., on May 31.
“There isn’t anyone like Chris Christie on the national scene for Republicans,” Rastetter told the AP. “And so we believe that he, or someone like him, running for president is very important at this critical time in our country.”
Last cycle Rastetter gave the maximum $2,300 to Mitt Romney, then Rudy Giuliani.
Rastetter was the top fund-raiser for Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad last fall, and he was wowed by Christie when Christie appeared with Branstad last fall.
It’s getting exciting out here. You and I may be the only two people who haven’t acknowledged interest yet. Rudy is weighing another run. Yeah! If he gets two delegates, he’ll have done 100% better than 2008, right?
(Actually, Rudy Giuliani finished 2008 with no delegates, so if he wins two delegates, he will have performed infinitely better.)
Now comes word [former governor] Buddy Roemer of Louisiana is considering a run. That comes from Jonathan Martin and all I can say is awesome. It’s going to be fun watching the debates from Iowa when Alan Keyes pops up on stage with Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. Any word if Jim Gilmore and Tommy Thompson have set a timeline? How about Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo? There could be 15 guys and gals in the first debate and ranging from a caribou hunter to a pot smoker! Pass the popcorn! In all seriousness, the potential field is getting comical.
The good news is that not all of these folks are genuine candidates; some Republican figures haven’t had any attention lately, and hinting they’re running for president is a quick, easy way to generate profiles and speaking invitations and op-ed acceptances. They may suddenly attract folks who tell them they should run for president, and they may actually start to believe it. Who knows? Maybe one of these folks will come out of past obscurity to roar ahead. We’ve seen quite a few “overnight sensations” in recent years — Barack Obama, Scott Brown, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Ron Johnson, Sharron Angle — you could even argue Christine O’Donnell. (Obviously, most of those folks were working hard for years, outside of the spotlight.)
But . . . the presidency is a much tougher stage, with a much higher bar to clear.
Rob Bluey sends along some interesting news: The Heritage Foundation is about to become much more than a think tank.
Heritage’s board of trustees today approved the creation of a 501c4 grassroots advocacy group to actively encourage lawmakers to embrace our free-market, limited government policy prescriptions for America. The new group is called Heritage Action for America and will be able to exert influence on elected officials in new and creative ways. Heritage recently surpassed 630,000 members.
Heritage Action will be led by Mike Needham, a former chief of staff to Heritage President Ed Feulner and a policy adviser on Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. Needham will be the CEO and Tim Chapman will be Heritage Action’s COO. Chapman is Feulner’s current chief of staff and a former adviser to Sen. Jim DeMint.
The new organization will be based in D.C. and plans to have a staff of 10 by the end of the year.
I mentioned Mark Kirk’s $2.2 million haul in the last quarter, the second-best quarterly number I’ve seen, next to Marco Rubio.
But hey, it’s not like Kirk’s Democratic rival, Alexi Giannoulias, has to worry about money. I mean, his family owns a bank.
The family of Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias stands to collect more than $10 million in federal tax refunds even if its Broadway Bank fails, which Mr. Giannoulias said this week is likely.
The family bank of Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias loaned about $20 million to two convicted Chicago crime figures, The Chicago Tribune says.
$20 million to mobsters? Well, that’s bad, but this is Illinois. I’m sure other Democrats have his back.
Asked if the problems at the Giannoulias family-owned Broadway Bank would affect the candidate’s voter support in the Senate race, [Powerful Democratic House Speaker Michael] Madigan replied, “I’m glad I don’t have any deposits there.”
I’m sorry, did one of the state’s most powerful Democrats just say he wouldn’t trust his party’s Senate candidate when it comes to money?
Democrats, Republicans, endorsed, not endorsed — look, don’t bother Senator Specter with the details. The important thing is that he wants to keep his job, and he’ll join whatever party he has to in order to keep it.
And he “would love” to appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
One of my favorite subjects of Jay Nordlinger’s writing is the rapid destruction of “politics-free zones” in American life. We’re also rapidly losing any corner of American culture where Dear Leader doesn’t pop up. He’s making Taylor Swift look obscure.
Again, note that the only time Obama didn’t show up on our televisions was the three days after somebody tried to blow up a plane over Detroit.
In what could be a worrisome sign for the party that controls the White House and Ohio governor’s office, substantially more Democrats than Republicans are switching parties this year in early absentee-ballot requests from Ohio’s largest counties.
In Cuyahoga County, for example, the number of Democrats switching to the GOP outnumbered Republicans becoming Democrats by nearly 7 to 1 as of Tuesday. Two years ago, nearly five times as many Republicans switched in Ohio’s largest county.
Democrats lead the party conversions by almost 9 to 1 in Hamilton County, while it’s about 6 to 1 in Franklin County. Statewide totals aren’t available, but the three counties contain about 30 percent of all registered voters in Ohio.
Experts say it’s too soon to draw firm conclusions, but they think part of the reason for the change is that Republicans who switched for the heated Democratic presidential primary in Ohio two years ago are moving back to the GOP.
What’s really surprising about this is that the Democrats have a relatively hotly contested Senate primary between Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, but the GOP candidate for Senate is almost certain to be Rob Portman, and the gubernatorial candidate is near-certain to be John Kasich. In other words, it’s not heated primaries that are driving registration and switching; I suspect it reflects how Ohioans feel about each respective party.
As I mention in the introduction, today’s edition of the Jolt arrives later than usual, not because of Chaka but by my writing ability’s near-obliteration by an 11-hour car ride. North Carolina flew by, but I had to be more careful in my home commonwealth, since other drivers tell me Gov. Bob McDonnell is closing the state’s budget gap, one speeding ticket at a time . . .
I Await the 12-Part Ken Burns Miniseries on McDonnell’s Governorship
Speaking of Bob McDonnell, how many governors have stepped in it as needlessly as he has in the past week? He’s apologized, and Rich offers a useful quote for further discussions of the subject.
When it comes to the problems facing Virginia, I’d rank insufficient commemoration of Confederate History Month somewhere between 1861st and 1865th on the list. Beyond that, I think Ed Morrissey puts it well: “As a history buff myself, I agree that it’s important to study history, but that doesn’t require a Confederacy Appreciation Month, which is what this sounds like. McDonnell could have broadened the perspective to a Civil War History Month, which would have allowed for all of the issues in the nation’s only armed rebellion to be studied. This approach seems needlessly provocative and almost guaranteed to create problems for Republicans in Virginia and across the country. It might have a short term effect of strengthening McDonnell’s attachment to his base, which didn’t appear to be threatened at all in the first place.”
. . . As Ed notes, Southerners often accuse those outside the south of not “getting” the attachment of Southerners to the Confederacy. He’s right, we don’t; Confederaphilia strikes me as being wildly enthusiastic and nostalgic about the Whiskey Rebellion as more than an excuse for drinking. Outside the South, perhaps instruction on that era is oversimplified into the Union being good guys and the Confederacy being bad guys. But when a guy says he’s really proud of his heritage, and then seems to relentlessly focus on the four years of his heritage that constituted violent insurrection against our government from a conflict that ultimately stemmed from whether a man is actually a man or whether he could be cattle based on his race . . . well, he begins to perform that era’s amputory surgery on the benefit of the doubt in a lot of non-Southerners’ minds. What’s more, once you start loudly touting the little-known facts of how the Confederacy was underrated, a lot of folks tune out anything else you might say.
Wow, this is lame. The DCCC is getting involved in Hawaii’s special House election, except that the Republican candidate, Charles Djou, is about as menacing as a Care Bear. So their line of attack is . . . for signing a pledge not to raise taxes. Djou signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, stating that he opposes any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar-for-dollar by further reducing tax rates.
The DCCC contends Djou is “protecting tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas.” And every other company, and every other individual. You might as well argue he is protecting tax breaks for serial killers, too. (Somewhere at the DCCC, some underling is reading the above sentence and jumping up: “Boss, I just read this great idea!”)
By the way, that’s it. That’s all the DCCC puts in the ad, and their extraordinarily sparse “Djou Facts” site. Djou’s been a Honolulu city councilman, and you figure at some point he might have made an unpopular vote, but if that’s the case, Washington Democrats can’t find any.
The other day I mentioned Connecticut Democrat Jim Himes’s GOP challenger, Dan Debicella. Another Republican running in this district, Tom Herrmann, first selectman of Easton and businessman, is off with a bang, too: He announced his campaign raised $383,409 (and retains $365,344 cash on-hand) in his first 23 days in the race for the Republican nomination.
Periodically I’ll hear a fan of Obama argue that the health-care plan’s critics don’t know what’s in the bill, thus their opposition is meaningless, or irrelevant, or based upon ignorance, or likely to wither, etc.
Yes, we’ve all heard the Democrats joking about constituents who fear Medicare turning into a government program. But I’d bet the average opponent knows more, and has more realistic expectations, about the bill than the average supporter:
“They’re saying, ‘Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?’ ” said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com. The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states.
McLean said the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage. That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism.
“We tell them it’s not free, that there are going to be things in place that help people who are low-income, but that ultimately most of that is not going to be taking place until 2014,” McLean said.
The average Obamacare opponent thinks that a big, complicated, expensive government program is going to be full of mistakes and snafus and frustrate large swaths of the public, not exactly a longshot bet. Meanwhile, the supporters showed up and chanted, “affordable quality health care for all,” as if yelling it loud enough could make it appear.
By the way, how revealing is it that the DCCC is invoking Bush instead of running on the health-care bill?
Multiple Democratic sources now confirm that party chairs decided Monday night that Matthew Zeller is their candidate should a special election to replace Rep. Eric Massa take place.
“Should”? How about “when”?
If they don’t hold a special election, this corner of New York state goes unrepresented in the House of Representatives for three-quarters of a year.
It’s expensive? The cost is put at $700,000, in a state with a proposed budget of $134 billion in 2010. Boy, that would have made a hell of a rallying cry at Omaha Beach. “Remember, boys, we’re fighting for democracy, representative government, and free elections, unless, you know, it’s expensive.”
Look, if Zeller looked like a sure winner for the Democrats, David Paterson could probably set up a special election in a manner that breaks land speed records. Instead, Republican Tom Reed looked like a strong candidate before anybody had heard Massa’s tales of shower showdowns and office tickle-fights, and he obviously looks like he’s got a good shot in a special election. After two special elections in New York state since January 2009, suddenly the state’s Democrats aren’t all that eager to see an empty House seat get filled.
Not long ago, I laid out how Bart Stupak’s chances for reelection had shrunk from near-certain to significantly challenged. Now it’s possible he might not even try:
With just a few days to go before the end of this recess, House Democrats are cautiously optimistic that they could get through it without a single retirement announcement. That said, there is still a concern that some important incumbents in districts that they are uniquely suited could call it quits. At the top of the concern list this week: Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak. The Democrat best known this year as the Democrat who delivered the winning margin of votes for the president’s health-care reform bill is said to be simply exhausted. The criticism he received — first from the left, and then from the right — has worn him and his family out. And if he had to make the decision now, he’d probably NOT run. As of this writing, a bunch of senior Democrats (many of the same ones who twisted his arm on the health care vote) are trying to talk him into running. The filing deadline in Michigan is still a month away, but veterans of that state’s politics are skeptical anyone other than Stupak can hold that district in this political climate.
This is a heavily Catholic, rural, working-class, poorer district. It’s not the hardest of terrain for Democrats, but it’s far from the easiest. Also note that while it’s still early, GOP gubernatorial options are outpacing their Democratic counterparts; not much help for any Democratic entrant from the top of the ticket.
This year may bring many sweet and unexpected turns in politics; one of them is the strong possibility that Illinois Democrats may cease running the president’s home state:
Democrats thought they received a break when Bill Brady surprisingly won the Republican nomination for Governor of Illinois, but with Pat Quinn’s approval rating at just 25% it may not have mattered that much who the GOP put forward. Brady leads Quinn 43-33 in our first poll of the general election. He’s getting 80% of the Republican vote while Quinn earns just 53% of the Democratic vote, and he also has a 39-31 lead with independents.
Finally, Rod Blagojevich has a reason for pride: he may have helped end an era of one-party rule in Springfield.
At today’s White House press briefing, liberal radio hostBill Press asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about recent comments by CNN’s Erick Erickson. Specifically, he asked if Erickson’s threat to “pull (his) wife’s shotgun” on a census worker had caused concerns about security for census takers.
Erick and the gang argue that that’s a deliberate misreading of his comments, which can be heard here in their entirety. In short, he joked he would pull a shotgun on anyone who theatened to arrest him for refusing to answer a question about how many times he flushes his toilet each day.
In other words, former Democratic state-party chairs now get to ask questions of the press secretary of a Democratic president at the White House press briefing.
It’s a free country, and Gibbs can answer any questions he likes. But could we put the former paid political staff at the back of the line? A few years back, weren’t we assured that Jeff Gannon’s questions represented the most outragously outrageous outrage ever?
Amount of money raised this quarter by Harry Reid: $1.5 million.
Amount of money raised this quarter by Mark Kirk: $2.2 million.
Amount of money raised this quarter by Pat Toomey: $2.3 million.
Amount of money raised this quarter by Marco Rubio: $3.6 million.
Obviously, other factors come into play – a campaign’s burn rate and the amount of cash-on-hand, whether a state is expensive to campaign in or inexpensive, the economic circumstances in that part of the country, and so on. But this does seem interesting, as we would expect the embattled Senate majority leader, helping move the biggest Democratic agenda item in a generation through Congress, to be outraising a selection of GOP challengers, no?
Gallup Daily tracking for the week ending April 4 finds the two major parties tied at 46% in the congressional voting preferences of registered voters nationally. In the two weeks since Congress passed healthcare reform on March 21, Democrats have tied or trailed the Republicans, after having at least a slight advantage in the weeks prior. Given Republicans’ typical voter turnout advantage in midterm elections, even Republican parity with the Democrats in the candidate preferences of registered voters could translate into significant Republican gains on Election Day. While it is too early to predict voter turnout by party this November, Republicans continue to show much greater enthusiasm than Democrats about voting in the 2010 elections.
Also note that today, 49 percent of registered voters say the representative in their congressional district deserves reelection, and 40 percent say their representative does not. In late October 2006, the split on that was 54 percent “deserves,” 33 percent “doesn’t deserve.” In November 1994, the split on that question was 54 percent “deserves,” 30 percent “doesn’t deserve.”