Monday, September 22, 2014

Recycling an Ad Theme

At Vox, Andrew Prokop notes a new ad from Americans for Shared Prosperity.


In After Hope and Change, we discuss the potential candidacy of Mitch Daniels, who eventually opted out of the 2012 race.  The ad above is very, very similar to a 2011 spot by a student group supporting Daniels:

Huck Speaks

At The Daily Beast, Lloyd Green reports on an interview showing that Mike Huckabee will not bee the elites' candidate in 2016:
For example, domestically, Huckabee views America’s policies as running counter to the needs of middle-class America. Huckabee points out that “Open immigration policies bring foreign labor to work on the cheap—even in high-tech sectors where students who worked in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] programs are being passed over for immigrants.”

Huckabee’s stance is likely to put him at odds with influential Silicon Valley moguls and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but the Arkansan is in sync with public sentiment. When Obama seeks to punt immigration to a lame duck Congress—that is, when the voters are least likely to be paying attention— that is a tell-tale sign that our porous borders are a loser with the public at large, a notion that even Hillary Clinton appears to be embracing.

Domestically, the former governor offers an avowedly nationalistic agenda, focused on American self-sufficiency. As he says, “We should focus on three things: Feed ourselves (agriculture), Fuel ourselves (energy), and Fight for ourselves (manufacture our own weapons of defense and not outsource it).”

Energy policy and production are not just national security items on his agenda, but go to the very heart of giving the middle class a boost. Huckabee adds, “High energy and higher food costs take away any upward mobility of the middle class. Extracting our own energy is not only job creation, but wealth retention for the middle class.”
Yet, where Huckabee is actually groundbreaking is the Middle East, where he rejects decades of stated U.S. policy and received wisdom. With Barack Obama having made an Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority at the beginning of his administration to no avail, and then giving Secretary of State John Kerry free rein to endlessly shuttle between Jerusalem and Ramallah and having nothing to show for it, Huckabee put it bluntly: “The so-called two-state solution is a politician’s pipe dream.”

Sunday, September 21, 2014

CA GOP Problems

At The Los Angeles Times:Michael Finnegan and Seema Mehta report on the California GOP convention:
The gathering opened on a sour note Friday, when the evening's keynote speaker, state controller candidate Ashley Swearengin, told reporters she was still mulling whether to vote for Kashkari or Brown. "I'm looking at the two candidates like other Californians are," she said.
And Pete Peterson, the Republican running for secretary of state, said in an interview that he was not endorsing Kashkari — or anyone else on the statewide ballot — and did not plan to vote a straight party ticket.
The extraordinary display of disunity led Ron Nehring, a former state Republican chairman and underdog candidate for lieutenant governor, to vent his fury in a profanity-tinged email to party brass just before midnight Friday, after news organizations began reporting the dust-up.
"This does NOT help the party, and it distracts from the efforts made to convey a positive theme," Nehring wrote. "The coverage is not of a party expanding its reach. It's about a party that isn't unified because its candidates can't get it together and get on the same page.
David Siders reports at The Sacramento Bee about the reaction of state party chair Jim Brulte:
Brulte said he hadn’t reviewed media coverage of the convention but that “I will trust Ron that our story line is getting stepped on...and that is tragic.”
Harmeet Dhillon, the party’s vice chair, responded that she agreed with Brulte.
“I also fully support our ticket and don’t think it is cool of any candidate to distance themselves from it,” she wrote. “I have said nothing but good things about all of them in the media.”
She went on, “We have many media opportunities today. I hope everyone can be a team player and not complain about each other, on or off the record. Our party deserves better.”
Aaron McLear, a Kashkari adviser, responded to the party leaders in an email, saying Kashkari “will continue to say nice things about everyone, and I’ll continue to be baffled by the Mayor’s (Swearengin’s) strategy. As Ron notes, it is absolutely eclipsing whatever message she and the CRP (were) hoping to deliver this weekend.”
Brulte responded: “Felony stupid.”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Party Strength

At RealClearPolitics, Sean Trende and offer five measures of party strength:
  • It’s commonplace to say that the Republican Party is in decline. When this claim is made, the explanation offered is usually some combination of the party’s supposedly limited appeal at the presidential level and demographic decline. There is certainly a case to be made at the presidential level, although the stronger case is that this is simply the effect of random noise.
  • But even assuming that the Republican Party is weakening at the presidential level, at the other levels of government, this is much less true, especially if one takes a long view of United States history. For example, despite some self-inflicted wounds in Senate races over the past few cycles, as of 2012 the GOP was still above median strength in the postwar period.
  • In the House, the GOP has the sixth best showing in the postwar period, despite a 2012 election that many described as disappointing.
  • What about governorships? After the 2012 elections, the GOP controlled a larger share of the nation’s governorships than at any point except after the 1994, 1968, 1998 or 1996 elections.
  • Finally, in the state legislatures, Republicans likewise find themselves in roughly as strong a position as they have been in living memory; only in 1946, 1952, 2002 or 2010 did they find themselves in stronger positions in the state legislatures.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Oppo's Golden Age

Kenneth P. Vogel and Byron Tau write at Politico:
In an election in which candidates have mostly dodged the big issues facing the country, the dark art known as “oppo” seems to be filling the void. And the trend lines suggest oppo’s golden age may just be beginning.
“In all my years of doing this I’ve not seen a cycle where I’ve seen this many seemingly oppo-driven hits shape so many big races,” said Joe Pounder, a veteran GOP researcher who last year co-founded America Rising, a new model of super PAC and LLC that plans to spend between $8 million to $12 million in the 2014 cycle digging up dirt on Democrats.
Some of the best oppo hits are never definitively traced back to such research, or are only revealed well after the election. That often feeds speculation among rival campaigns and media outlets about the derivation of damaging scoops. After POLITICO in May broke the news that Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby was accused by her ex-boyfriend of “stalking” him, The Oregonian revealed that the police report on which the story was based had been requested first by a Democratic Party researcher.
Reporters contacted about the stories cited in this piece either declined to comment or did not respond to questions.
Reporters and researchers have an interest in keeping the trade out of public view, since proof that a controversy started as oppo can be used to minimize it, even when the information is independently corroborated, bolstered and contextualized by diligent journalists whose credibility depends on getting it right.

Meanwhile, campaigns and committees — eager to avoid charges of playing dirty or of telegraphing their moves — have been known to cloak payments to opposition researchers by channeling them through general consultants or polling firms.

The article attributes the oppo boom to the rise of outside spending and  the decline of mainstream journalism.  That is, the oppo groups have the resources and newspapers don't.  Another important cause is the development of technology:

  • Smartphones make is much easier to take video, and to do so surreptitiously.  Mitt Romney and Bruce Braley made gaffes while apparently unaware that somebody was recording them.
  • The shift from analog to digital makes it much easier to store and transmit video.  And now we have sites such as YouTube (not even ten years old!) that allow for wide dissemination.  Such things were not possible 20 years ago.
  • Nexis did exist 20 years ago, but the World-Wide Web was just getting under way.  There is vastly more material available.
  • Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites provide for rapid dissemination and crowdsourcing.

Crossroads GPS v. Pryor on Social Security, Obamacare, and Immigration

Crossroads GPS goes after Mark Pryor on Social Security (again), Obamacare (again) and immigration:


Thursday, September 18, 2014