Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

The Hobson's Choice

Is it me, or does anyone else see the irony of the McCain in McCain-Feingold having severe campaign fundraising problems? And also the irony of his being in such miserable shape because of his unwavering support for some of the least popular policies of his erstwhile nemesis, George W. Bush?

But there he is ... out there on the limb on Iraq, supporting a war that so many others say is unsupportable. But the very arguments he and the president make about staying the course, and the opposite "get-out-while-we can" arguments made by their adversaries, point up the real dilemma here: There are only lousy choices.

What Now for McCain?

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shook up his campaign team yesterday and replaced his current management with the architect of his improbable 2000 presidential campaign. Commentators are focusing on his lack of money in the bank and the instability caused by the staff moves as reasons to count him out. I think those criticisms miss the mark. Money and stability are important, but the bigger challenge for his new team will be to fashion a sharper message that will allow him to  appeal to a broader constituency within the Republican Party and Republican-leaning independents.

First to stability: Every campaign gets one “do over.” This is McCain’s. Winning campaigns in the past have shaken up their staff — successfully, in many cases. The question is whether the new management can induce the changes necessary for the campaign to begin to gain momentum and traction. 

Why McCain Is Losing (Hint: It's Not Iraq)

Listen up, mainstream media and Chris Matthews: John McCain isn’t doing poorly in the polls and being rejected by Republican voters because of his support for the Iraq war. It’s about taxes, and campaign finance reform and immigration. Period. How many times do you all have to be told this before it sinks in? It ain’t about Iraq.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) summed it up best last March during an interview on Hugh Hewitt’s conservative radio program: 

Campaign Memos Advertisements, Not News Stories

Breaking News Alert! Clinton Campaign Strategist Writes Memo: Says his client is doing super-duper in the polls.

Other Breaking News Alert! Washington Post so desperate for breaking news they report Clinton Memo like it’s actually newsworthy.

When did campaign memos addressed to “Interested Parties,” which essentially means “Anyone who will read this,” become newsworthy?

Today’s most obsequious “Hillary’s So Awesome” reporting comes by way of Anne Kornblut in The Washington Post, who for some unknown reason took seriously a campaign memo addressed to no one in particular about how great Hillary’s poll numbers are. 

No Fun Being a Front-runner

Big Fred, the not-yet-candidate, has finally learned what fun it is to be a front-runner. And after the rough month Rudy Giuliani has endured, he is probably pleased to share the spotlight and some of the heat.

Thompson has faced some noise from detractors who question his pro-life credentials, waving around some questionnaire he once filled out. In response Fred has stood comfortably behind his record with National Right to Life, with whom he voted his entire Senate career. Now comes news that Thompson helped out the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, according to minutes of a board meeting from 1991 showing the group hired Thompson that year.

Draft Al Gore, The True Heir to FDR and JFK

Last week a poll in New Hampshire showed Al Gore winning the primary in that state, and this coming fall I predict Al Gore will win the Nobel Prize for peace.

Every so often, in America, voters have an opportunity to fire the shot that will be heard around the world, to lift the spirits of America and lift the stature and reputation of America around the world.

Every American should read Al Gore's book The Assault On Reason, a manifesto for freedom and democracy in the modern world, a sweeping indictment of the sins and shames of the George Bush era and a call to arms for everything that America can be. 

The Clinton Symbol

Bill Clinton has become a symbol for both Hillary and Obama — and a vehicle each uses to throw an implicit negative at the other.

To Hillary, Bill demonstrates her experience and permits her to claim his record as president as her own. Without those White House years, her resume scarcely justifies her candidacy. But with it, she can figure Obama as an ingenue, incapable of "hitting the ground running" as president.

The Problem With Being Married to Bill

So far, it’s all been good for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in her race for the White House — or the Restoration, as it has been called. She leads in every poll and it’s due primarily to her service as first lady in the White House of her husband, the 42nd president, Bill Clinton. He has bequeathed to her his popularity in the Democratic Party, visibility, experience with national issues, gobs of money and endorsements and a team of experienced operatives who know how to run presidential campaigns.

But for the first time this week, we have seen the potential downside of this alliance. At a time when all Democrats are either outraged over or chortling about the Libby pardon, Mrs. Clinton has found out all too well about the less desirable aspects of being inextricably tied to her husband. 

Gingrich’s ideas bold and refreshing — perhaps too much so to get implemented

I want to issue a warning in case Newt Gingrich gets in the race for president: I find the guy infinitely fascinating. As you all know, the Newtster is gearing up for some big September announcement about running or not running, but he is currently paying scientific attention to the Fred factor and just how much the Thompson candidacy is shaking up the race. More on that later. ...

In today’s Washington Post Gingrich penned an editorial that distinguishes him from the rest of the field with the exception, perhaps, of Sen. John McCain. In it he argues that his party must ask more of itself and more of voters, and that the next president must truly dismantle the dominance of interest groups strangling our government. In his piece Gingrich refers to the success of his latest hero, Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France. The truth is so much better than fiction — after France became a Republican punching bag Gingrich is now preoccupied with a new French president. If this is the third time I have seen him talking about Sarkozy he must speak of him often. Gingrich says, “Sarkozy had the courage to campaign on the theme that the French will have to work harder.” Gingrich criticizes American politicians for losing the will to change or at best being “hostage to advisors who don’t have the will to change.”

Mom, Pop and Apple Pieowa

Hillary and Bill and Mitt and Ann. Omigod: Talk about a meeting of the platitudinous TITANS! There they were, "Spouse of" Bill Clinton, showing he still has that ability to talk while biting his lower lip, and Mitt Romney, with wife, showing he can move his lips and say very little. Meanwhile, candidate Hillary as usual was no slouch either with the cliches, both in the chance encounter with the Romneys and everywhere else.

Oh yeah, she has a new slogan: "Ready for change, ready to lead." I think that replaces "More taste, less filling."

For the most part, the candidates were serving up that native dish in Iowa: white bread. It was almost refreshing to hear also-running Joe Biden show his dark side by calling the president of the United States "brain dead."