Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

The Debate: Ronald Reagan versus Bush 43.5,Bush 43.6, Bush 43.7 and Bush 43.8

Ronald Reagan towered above any of these Republican candidates doing various imitations of Bush 43.5, Bush 43.6, Bush 43.7 and so forth.

Lets start with Rudy, the candidate who will implode, the only question being when.

Rudy is the guy imitating Karl Rove with the kind of attack fear politics on terror that led Bush to 35 percent popularity and led Republicans in Congress back to minority status.

Rudy, you may remember, was the genius who ignored all advice and put his emergency command center in the World Trade Center that was previously attacked. Another common denominator with Bush: not listening to advice from those who know far more about certain matters than he.

Rudy masterminded the poorly functioning system of communications that proved disastrous on 9-11.

Tonight: The 10 White Men

Tonight at the Reagan Library the GOP presidential candidates, known as the 10 White Men, all hope they will have a chance to break away from the pack. We are sure to hear much gushing about their hero, Ronald Reagan, and some awkward statements about the current Republican president, George W. Bush. But to make an impact the candidates clearly need to talk about themselves, and  to do a good job of it.

This task is hardest for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who has built his career as a politician defined by his independence — that is, until recent years, when he has become defined by his contradictions. All eyes are on him tonight as the former frontrunner fighting to regain his momentum. To win, candidate McCain must become someone beyond the guy who infuriated conservatives and opposed Bush, then the guy who embraced conservatives and Bush.

Thoughts on Tonight's Debate

A couple quick thoughts this morning before tonight's GOP presidential debate in Southern California at the Ronald Reagan Library:

1.    Intensity, intensity, intensity. It ain't there. If the GOP doesn't fall in love with their eventual nominee by next year, they aren't going to turn out to vote. And that, of course, could have a ripple effect throughout the country in state and local races. I think part of the angst is that Republicans aren't sure what they would get by voting for any of the top three candidates. Would McCain be a good capitalist in the White House? Not sure. Would Romney be as eager to veto socially liberal bills as he says he would spending bills? Maybe. Would Rudy go a tad too far in wire-tapping every citizen for the sake of the greater good?  Who knows.

Missed Opportunity for Obama

Barack, Barack, Barack. What is it going to take for this guy to take a gimme?

According to a story in our paper yesterday by Alexander Bolton, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was asked a year ago by the Congressional Black Caucus to do a fundraiser for the CBC political action committee and still hasn't found the time.

Has Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) found the time? You betcha. Why would
she pass up the chance to help? And Bill Clinton has found the time to lend a hand as well — no surprise there — with plans to chair a charity golf and tennis tournament organized by the spouses of Black Caucus members.

There You Go Again, Karen Hanretty

Karen, having the taken the opportunity to quote my favorite Reagan line, you missed my point, reiterated here.

I was not particulary bothered and did not mention the death penalty issue or the comparison between Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on the matter.

What I did respond to was, first, the incorrect suggestion that there was some major booing of Hillary at the San Diego meeting, which did not happen, and, second, the portrayal of those who opposed the war policy as "lefty bloggers" or "granola caucus" or "peaceniks."

To My Colleague Mr. Brent Budowsky

Mr. Budowsky takes issue with my term "granola caucus" (not granola chompers, although I like that one too) and "lefty bloggers" as "derisive and insulting disrespect." Um, OK. Such sensitivity strikes me as overblown, but I suppose the granola caucus (or chompers, either way) needs its shining knights like the rest of us.

And he seems particularly bothered that I would draw any comparison between Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) position on the death penalty (which put her at odds with the base of her party when she was running for office in 1994) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) position on the Iraq war (which has her at odds with some in her party today). 

Obama Beats Hillary in First National Poll

The Rasmussen poll ended on April 26 shows Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) beating Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), albeit by the slim margin of 32-30. This is, of course, the first national poll among Democratic candidates that shows Obama in the lead. Rasmussen, whose polls seem to be one step ahead of everybody else's, has the candidates tied as of two weeks ago and has shown Obama creeping up with each survey.

The sense of Hillary's inevitability is gone. Now how will the game play out?

The 'Overemphasized' Hillary Boo Birds, Part 3

As originally portrayed, it never happened, which tells the tale of several things that have gone wrong with American political discourse, as well as the war in Iraq.

"Hillary Boo Birds," Karen Hanretty's Pundits Blog post from yesterday, made it appear there was a chorus of booing at the San Diego Democratic meeting. "Hillary Boo Birds 2" appeared to be a partial and deserved retraction. Needless to say, the "story" was wrapped in prepackaged talking-point spin with terms such as "lefty bloggers" and "granola," complete with the usual attack on labor unions.

Let's go to the tape. The idea was "borrowed" from the Washington Times headline, and the Washington Times headline was "borrowed" from the long and widely distributed Republican talking points.

Fred Thompson — Readying a Stump Speech?

Former U.S. Sen. and current "Law & Order" television star Fred Thompson has a blog at the American Enterprise Institute, which politicos should check out every few days. (What I call a "blog" the AEI think tank more high-mindedly refers to as a "short publication.")

With all the chatter of Thompson as the next Reagan (see Sunday's London Telegraph article quoting former Reagan deputy chief of staff Michael Deaver about the man he says "could really make a difference"), it's interesting to see what and how Thompson writes. Is this, perhaps, a future candidate in the midst of designing his stump speech and campaign platform?

If you've got the time today, read the post entitled "The Draft" and see if you think he's drawing an analogy between drafting football players and picking political candidates.

'WInging It' — Maybe Not a Good Idea for Obama

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) — as our fellow blogger Dick Morris has pointed out — is lucky to have a foil in Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). And when they stood onstage at South Carolina State University last week, things were looking good for him — he was calm and smiley, while she was pinched in hyper-focus.

But it was Brian Williams's question about a terrorist attack that threw off Obama and gave Clinton the edge with her powerful, punctual and of course prepared "I think a president must move as swiftly as prudent to retaliate" response. It was an excellent answer, and "prudent" is so presidential in that George H.W. Bush way. With Obama struggling to respond later to perfect his terrorism response, during a question about global warming, it was simply advantage Clinton, hands down. It's surprising, too, because it sounds like the kind of question professional campaign staff would have anticipated.