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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Reid: The End Justifies the Means

In his book The Good Fight, Harry Reid wrote:  "No amount of spin will make a falsehood the truth."

Chris Cillizza writes:
One of the more outlandish moments of the 2012 campaign came when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went to the floor of the world's greatest deliberative body and accused GOP nominee Mitt Romney of not paying any taxes at all for the past 10 years. Reid's evidence? Someone had told him. (That "someone" is alleged to be Jon Huntsman, father of the former Utah governor. Huntsman denies involvement.)
Reid's claim, which seemed outrageous on its face, was widely dismissed by fact-checkers. .
..
And yet, the clip above shows Reid, in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, not only refusing to apologize for the claim but defending it — in a very weird way.
"Romney didn't win, did he?" Reid said in response to Bash's question of whether he regretted what he had said about Romney.
Think about that logic for a minute. What Reid is saying is that it's entirely immaterial whether what he said about Romney and his taxes was true. All that mattered was that Romney didn't win.




Monday, March 30, 2015

The Tale of the Age Tape

At RealClearPolitics, Tom Bevan has the tale of the age tape, from Bernie Sanders to Bobby Jindal:

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Israel and Republicans

Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, writes in The Washington Examiner:
I lead a partisan organization concerned with getting more Jewish Americans to vote for Republicans. My job is inherently political, but recently I have been shocked at how Israel, once a bipartisan issue, has become so very partisan.
Today, there is daylight between the state of Israel and the Democratic Party, owed in large part to Barack Obama. This daylight has been nurtured by a president who has allowed personal enmity for Prime Minister Netanyahu and a vainglorious attempt at a foreign policy legacy to hijack one of our most important international relationships.
Recently, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., wrote an op-ed in Politico complaining that Republicans were playing a "dangerous game" on Israel. Unfortunately it seems that Congressman Israel cannot escape his own bias in understanding the problems we face. It is the cynical political game Democrats and this president are playing with Israel, not Republicans.
Peter Baker reports at The New York Times:
That shift really began in earnest under President George W. Bush. Although he, too, had his differences with Jerusalem at times — he was the first president to make support for a Palestinian state official American policy — he became known as probably the strongest ally Israel had ever had in the Oval Office.
Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary at the time, recalled a flare-up of violence between Israel and Arabs. He was given talking points with a typical American message for such episodes urging both sides to refrain from violence.
“I took them to Bush, and Bush said: ‘No, don’t say that. Just say this: Israel has a right to defend itself,’” Mr. Fleischer said. “It was one of those decisions that sent shock waves through the bureaucracy. But that was Bush.”
Mr. Bush, and other Republicans, came to identify with Israel’s struggle with terrorism. “Sept. 11 made it vivid, made it real and made it powerful,” said Mr. Fleischer, now a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board of directors. “It happens to them, it happens to us, we’re on the same side. Being pro-Israel is a no-brainer, absolutely moral issue to take inside the Republican Party.”

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Asians, Hispanics, and Turnout: A Case Study in Orange County

A Los Angeles Times analysis of a recent Orange County supervisorial race shows how Republicans can still win because Asian American voter turnout tops Latino turnout.
The outcome, the analysis found, turned on the high number of Santa Ana voters who failed to return the absentee ballots that had been mailed to them.
In the core of Santa Ana, where voting heavily favored [Democrat Lou] Correa, only 22% of the absentee voters got around to returning their ballots, far below the state and county's 50% return rate for absentee ballots in the 2014 general election. The unreturned ballots represented tens of thousands of votes.
[Republican] Andrew Do, by contrast, got a big boost because more than 40% of the absentee voters in Little Saigon returned their ballots.
The special election swung nearly entirely on mail-in ballots, which made up about 84% of the total vote.

Destruction of Evidence

Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line:
The latest news about Hillary Clinton’s email destruction may take her emails saga to another level. As John and Scott have discussed, Clinton apparently had her server wiped clean of emails after a congressional committee had been established to investigate matters as to which she knew her emails were relevant Even more importantly, Trey Gowdy says that Clinton made this decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked her to return her public record.
The destruction of documents after they have been requested by a body authorized to do so is a quite a serious matter. As Scott says, in a court of law such conduct ordinarily result in sanctions if, as must be the case here, the destruction was intentional.
Scott mentions one sanction — the drawing of an adverse inference, i.e., concluding that the documents destroyed contained information that hurts the destroyer’s position in the case. Monetary sanctions in one form or another are often awarded as well.
In extreme cases, courts may go further and rule adversely on one or more of the destroying party’s contentions or claims. Courts may even dismiss the plaintiff’s case entirely or enter judgment against the defendant.
Here, the operative court is the court of public opinion. John asks, “Will the Democrats really hold their noses and nominate Hillary?”

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reid Retires

Harry Reid has announced his retirement. As Buzzfeed, John Stanton takes a skeptical look at his career.
[O]ver the last 12 years, Reid has increasingly leaned on his pugnacious side as he picked often personally bitter fights with Republicans. And as Reid became increasingly consumed with fighting first President George W. Bush, then Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and then Mitt Romney, his conference — and the Senate — followed suit.

At the behest of the White House, Reid used his political muscle to force through Obamacare with virtually no Republican support, eschewing the time honored traditions of the chamber.

Following the 2010 rise of the Tea Party, legislating essentially came to an end in the Senate, which held fewer and fewer votes as partisan warfare took hold. Then, Reid spent most of 2012 using the Senate as a platform to wage war against Romney and any Republican who happened to be in his way.

And, again, the chamber followed suit. Aside from a bipartisan immigration bill that died in the House, the Senate essentially ground to a halt. Days, weeks would go by between procedural votes as Republicans filibustered virtually anything Reid put on the floor.

True, Reid had plenty of help from Republicans. Immediately following President Obama’s election, McConnell and other top Republicans vowed to blockade anything the new president sought to pass. And when Republicans retook the House in 2010, conservatives insisted on a brand of confrontational politics that essentially precluded the notion of compromise.
But Reid’s role in transforming the Senate into a partisan Thunderdome is all the more remarkable because of his past devotion to the institution’s rules and social mores. Last year, the same man who railed against former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for considering changing the filibuster rules and who bitterly criticized Bush’s use of signing statements and executive orders, suddenly championed not only the end of filibusters for most nominations but President Obama’s use of executive power in the absence of congressional action.

Jeb Bush and Christian Conservatives

Tim Alberta and Tiffany Stanley write at National Journal:
[P]owerful Christian conservatives are operating what amounts to a stealth campaign on Bush's behalf. Some are old allies from the Florida days; others are holdovers from George W. Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns. Some are both, including Ralph Reed, president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a longtime friend of Jeb's who served as Southeast regional chairman of George W.'s 2004 reelection effort (and thus practically lived in Florida). Multiple GOP sources say that Reed has been urging Jeb Bush for several years to make a 2016 run and spoke with him recently to game out the campaign. Like many of the organizations that Bush's supporters lead, Reed's coalition demands impartiality from its leaders, so Reed can't openly back his man—unless, as some suspect will happen, Reed ultimately decides to join the campaign officially. (Reed declined to comment for this story.)
While the candidate isn't hitting the hustings to woo rank-and-file Christian voters, he's been busy surreptitiously building a formidable coalition of socially conservative luminaries. Last summer, Bush flew to Colorado for a private luncheon with the brass of Focus on the Family. Several of America's best-connected evangelicals broke bread with Bush, including Jim Daly, Focus's president, whose radio program reaches a large, loyal audience, and Tim Goeglein, who was the faith liaison in George W. Bush's White House. People familiar with the meeting—and unaffiliated with Bush—say the former governor made a striking impression, one that echoed through the uppermost echelons of the evangelical world. (Neither Daly nor Goeglein would comment.)
...
In this endeavor, his old friend Jim Towey will be a key asset. When Bush first ran for governor in 1994, Towey was on the other side, serving as Gov. Chiles's director of Florida's Health and Human Services agency. The loss that sparked Bush's conversion led to an after-election lunch with Towey, a relative stranger but also a high-profile Catholic whose brain Bush was eager to pick. The two quickly became the closest of friends, and that friendship, in turn, led to Towey's appointment as the second director of George W. Bush's faith-based initiatives. Towey is now president of Miami's Ave Maria University, one of the nation's foremost incubators of conservative Catholic doctrine, while serving unofficially as Bush's point man for religious outreach.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Biden

Why is nobody taking Vice President Biden seriously as a potential presidential candidate?  According to Nick Gass at Politico, Former Representative Barney Frank has some thoughts:
Joe is his own worst enemy,” Frank said on “PoliticKING with Larry King” on Ora.tv. “He’s a very bright guy, very good values,” Frank said, noting the vice president’s years-old plan to divide Iraq into Sunni, Shia and Kurdish sections. “But he just — he can’t keep his mouth shut or his hands to himself.”

“It’s out of good intentions, but I think he has unfortunately diminished people’s perception of his abilities,” Frank added.
The vice president drew unwanted attention last month for putting his hands on the shoulders and whispering into the ear of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s wife, Stephanie, while her husband spoke.
Stephanie Carter later said she wasn’t offended, but the close contact became fodder for late-night jokes and memes on social media.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Conservatives Coalesce Around a Consensus Candidate?

At The Cook Political Report, Amy Walter explains why it will be tough for conservatives to coalesce around a consensus candidate:
First, despite the rise of the Tea Party, the overall primary electorate is majority "somewhat conservative" to "moderate" in ideology. In 2012, according to exit polling, 34 percent of the GOP electorate defined itself as "very conservative", while the other 57 percent defined themselves as either "somewhat conservative" (33 percent), or "moderate," (24 percent). This obviously fluctuates state by state with almost half of Iowa caucuses goers defining themselves as very conservative and 35 percent of New Hampshire Republicans identifying themselves as moderate. Even so, taken as a whole, the GOP electorate is not as ideologically aligned to the far right some make it out to be.
Then there's that fact that in a field as crowded as this one, it's hard to believe that any candidate is going to get the "very conservative" space to him/her self. In 2012, Mitt Romney was the obvious establishment candidate. The three anti-establishment candidates (Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul), split up that very conservative vote. Santorum took the lions' share with 36 percent, but Gingrich took another 26 percent and Paul siphoned off 7 percent. Meanwhile, Romney took almost half (46 percent) of the somewhat conservative and 48 percent of the moderate vote. In 2016, Ted Cruz, who is clearly gunning to be the face of the conservative wing of the party, will face a crowded field of candidates for that space including Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee.

Billionaires Bump Bundlers

At The Washington Post, Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger ask:  who needs a bundler when you have a billionaire?
“A couple presidential elections ago, somebody who had raised, say, $100,000 for a candidate was viewed as a fairly valuable asset,” said Washington lobbyist Kenneth Kies. “Today, that looks like peanuts. People like me are probably looking around saying, ‘How can I do anything that even registers on the Richter scale?’ ”
[Why super PACs have moved from sideshow to center stage]
Consider the scene last weekend in South Florida, where top supporters of the Republican National Committee gathered for their spring retreat at a luxury resort in Boca Raton. In the past, members of the RNC’s Regent and Team 100 donor programs attracted the focused attention of presidential aspirants. But this time, there were distractions.

A number of White House contenders in attendance — including former Texas governor Rick Perry and Govs. Scott Walker (Wis.), Chris Christie (N.J.) and Bobby Jindal (La.) — devoted much of their time to private meetings with high rollers, according to people familiar with their schedules. Bush came to Boca Raton after an afternoon super-PAC fundraiser in Miami.
Then on Sunday, the governors made a pilgrimage to Palm Beach for a private Republican Governors Association fundraiser hosted by billionaire industrialist David Koch at his 30,000-square-foot beachfront mansion.

In the words of one veteran GOP fundraiser, traditional bundlers have been sent down to the “minor leagues,” while mega-donors are “the major league players.”
The old-school fundraisers have been temporarily displaced in the early money chase because of the rise of super PACs, which can accept unlimited donations. This year, White House hopefuls are rushing to raise money for the groups before they declare their candidacies and have to keep their distance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Baker and the WASPs

Lloyd Green writes at The Daily Beast:
Since Baker’s forced retirement in 1993 at the hands of Bill Clinton, both America and the GOP have changed. The Republican Party has increasingly become an assembly of White America at Worship, an America that vividly and painfully remembers 9/11, and for whom Islam and ISIS spell a real and personalized threat and challenge. In 2012, Evangelicals comprised just over half of all Republican primary voters in contested states, and their views predominate. 
In other words, the Republican Party is no longer the party of a WASP Establishment, just as Mainline Protestantism no longer defines the American religious mainstream. And Baker’s view on the two-state solution is a casualty.
Still, it’s not just about demographics. The fact that Baker’s take on the Middle East lacks a natural home within the GOP is not mere happenstance, and Baker himself had had a hand in that, however unintentionally.
In case anybody forgot, it was Baker who reportedly mouthed off “Screw the Jews. They don’t vote for us anyway,” and on a certain level Baker got it right. Taking Baker’s words to heart, Jewish voters stuck it to Bush and Baker. In 1992, Bush won just 11 percent of the Jewish vote, down from 35 percent just four years earlier.
Enter the neoconservatives, who were alarmed by Baker, but who were also disturbed by the Democrats social liberalism, and disgusted by the Ghost of George McGovern.
According to TheWeekly Standard’s William Kristol, “the big story in the Republican Party over the last 30 years… is first the eclipsing of I’d say the [George H.W.] Bush [Brent] Scowcroft [James] Baker traditional—it’s unfair to say— hostility to Israel— but lack of closeness and warmth for Israel.” Feeling Israel in one’s kishkes is now another requirement for seeking the Republican presidential nod, at least according to Kristol.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cruz's Challenges

Katie Glueck reports at Politico:
When Ted Cruz officially launched his presidential bid on Monday, he joined the ranks of a group with a dismal recent track record. No other first-in candidate has won the presidency in the past 15 years, and only one, Al Gore, has even clinched a party nomination.
...
“It has nothing to do with getting in first. It has to do with, most of the time, the establishment candidates get nominated by both parties,” said Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor whose launch of an exploratory committee early two years before the 2004 election helped him lay the groundwork to achieve frontrunner status, even if it was short-lived. “It’s a function of the fact that those who get in first are usually fighting an uphill battle from the beginning.”
Anna Palmer writes at Politico:
After the theatrical launch of his presidential campaign Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz now faces a massive hurdle: raising the tens of millions of dollars it will take to mount a year-and-a-half long campaign.
The Texas Republican and tea party darling is months behind his competitors in recruiting the megadonors and bundlers essential to a credible GOP primary bid. He’s not well-liked among cash-flush lobbyists. And his uncompromising policy positions and role in forcing the government shutdown in 2013 didn’t exactly excite the financiers and business executives who make up the elite donor class. Those considerations, along with the need to capture attention in a crowded field of conservatives, contributed to the decision to become the first Republican to formally enter the race.
Manu Raju reports that John Cornyn is not endorsing Cruz, proving that the world is round.
“You know, we’ve got a lot of Texans who are running for president, so I’m going to watch from the sidelines,” Cornyn said when asked if he would back Cruz. (Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is considering a run as well.)
Cornyn denied his position was retribution for Cruz’s refusal to back him during his Senate primary last year.

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Make America Great Again" -- Ronald Reagan, Not Donald Trump

Ben Kamisar reports at The Hill:
Trump claimed he had come up with Cruz's line about making America great again and questioned whether he should have secured the rights to it ahead of the 2016 campaign.

"The line of 'Make America great again,' the phrase, that was mine, I came up with it about a year ago, and I kept using it, and everybody's now using it, they are all loving it," Trump said.
"I don’t know I guess I should copyright it, maybe I have copyrighted it."
Trump is talking nonsense.  He did not coin the phrase.  Reagan used it dozens of times.  Here are just a few examples out of many.

GOP Rules

At The New York Times Magazine, Jim Rutenberg nicely sums up change in the GOP nominating process:
At the 2012 convention in Tampa, a group of longtime party hands, including Romney’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, gathered to discuss how to prevent a repeat of what had become known inside and outside the party as the “clown show.” Their aim was not just to protect the party but also to protect a potential President Romney from a primary challenge in 2016. They forced through new rules that would give future presumptive nominees more control over delegates in the event of a convention fight. They did away with the mandatory proportional delegate awards that encouraged long-shot candidacies. And, in a noticeably targeted effort, they raised the threshold that candidates needed to meet to enter their names into nomination, just as Ron Paul’s supporters were working to reach it. When John A. Boehner gaveled the rules in on a voice vote — a vote that many listeners heard as a tie, if not an outright loss — the hall erupted and a line of Ron Paul supporters walked off the floor in protest, along with many Tea Party members.
At a party meeting last winter, Reince Priebus, who as party chairman is charged with maintaining the support of all his constituencies, did restore some proportional primary and caucus voting, but only in states that held voting within a shortened two-week window. And he also condensed the nominating schedule to four and a half months from six months, and, for the first time required candidates to participate in a shortened debate schedule, determined by the party, not by the whims of the networks. (The panel that recommended those changes included names closely identified with the establishment — the former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the Mississippi committeeman Haley Barbour and, notably, Jeb Bush’s closest adviser, Sally Bradshaw.)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fortress Florida

Michael Barbaro reports at The New York Times that Jeb Bush is working to make Florida a fortress both for the nomination campaign and the general election.
The plan, code-named “Homeland Security,” seeks to try to neutralize two potentially grave but homegrown threats to Mr. Bush’s long-anticipated run for president: the likely challenge from a charismatic young Republican senator from Miami, Marco Rubio, who is expected to seek the Republican nomination himself, and a demographic drift within Florida that could doom Mr. Bush there in a fall campaign against a Democrat. 
...
In what advisers said could amount to a $50 million undertaking by Election Day, Mr. Bush and his team are rushing to lock up Florida’s best-known political operatives, elected officials and campaign donors — offering them contracts, face time and blandishments, according to those who know of the tactics.
Their forceful message to the state’s top campaign minds: “Keep your schedules clear,” said Dan Dawson, a Republican operative in Jacksonville who specializes in digital strategy and may work with Mr. Bush.
...
The state last week set a winner-take-all primary on March 15, 2016, the earliest date possible under Republican rules. That means that, after early contests in smaller states where he may struggle and a round of primaries in which delegates will be allocated proportionally, the fight for Florida’s 99 delegates could give Mr. Bush a chance to clinch the nomination, pull away from the pack or recover from a stumble.
...
Mr. Bush’s next steps are clear, advisers said. He must prevent Mr. Rubio from building a credible operation in the state; make the case that as a Spanish speaker with a Mexican-born wife, he can overcome demographics that might otherwise favor the Democratic nominee; and, lastly, construct a robust fund-raising operation that can collect the tens of millions it would cost Mr. Bush to win Florida in a primary and general election.
Behind the scenes, those close to Mr. Bush are moving quickly to undermine Mr. Rubio. A close Bush ally, David Johnson, has taken over the state’s Republican Party as interim executive director and, in a blunt interview here, sought to discourage Mr. Rubio from entering the presidential race.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Familiarity and Favorability

A March 2-4 survey of  653 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents has bad news for Christie. Frank Newport writes at Gallup:
Of 11 potential candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush are the most well-known and have the highest net favorable ratings among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. While Chris Christie is one of the most familiar Republican figures among the party base, he has the lowest net favorable rating.
Potential 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates: Familiarity and Favorability, March 2015
.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The $20 Million Cover Charge

Karl Rove explains why the rock-bottom cover charge for the 2016 campaign is $20 million.
One way to get a rough sense of the likely buy-in to the GOP race is to examine the cost of running four weeks of television in each of the sanctioned contests in February 2016—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. These first four states collectively have 133 delegates, or only 5.4% of the 2,471 delegates likely to be at the convention.

A week of television—enough for an average viewer to see an ad about 10 times—in the four states would cost roughly $4 million, according to GOP TV buyers. It’s reasonable to expect most campaigns would look for at least four weeks of TV, making the cost to run ads in the February states right around $16 million.

Of course, TV is not the only way campaigns would convey messages. In addition, the prices TV stations are quoting are for third-party groups like Super PACs. The law guarantees candidates the lowest rate, which stations are loath to estimate now.

But even if candidates paid less for TV, the additional costs for Internet activity, mail, phones and radio would mean candidates could still spend close to $20 million to mount strong campaigns in all the February contests.

Staffers as Oppo Targets

At Politico, Jonathan Topaz and Katie Glueck note that Scott Walker's online media coordinator had to quit over over some old tweets.
The danger level has risen,” said Tad Devine, a veteran of Democratic presidential campaigns and an informal adviser to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is considering a 2016 bid. “There’s more awareness of the fact that if you’re going to hire somebody on a payroll of a campaign, that person needs to be subjected to some kind of scrutiny.”

Devine noted that in the late 1970s and 1980s, when a fax machine qualified as cutting-edge technology, opposition research meant hiring a private detective — an expensive expenditure. There were fewer media outlets to pitch the material to at the time, and fewer still that were interested in reporting on campaign aides. Now, Devine says, anyone can dig up dirt online quickly and inexpensively, and can easily find a home for it in some corner of the Internet.
Terry Giles, a top adviser to prospective presidential candidate Ben Carson, said it’s close to impossible to avoid stepping on staff-related land mines given the pressures facing campaigns.
“It is each [campaign’s] job to hire the best people you can and [vet] them properly,” said Giles, in an email to POLITICO. “But unless you have been involved in organizing a national presidential campaign, you cannot imagine how hard it is to make as many decisions as you need to, as fast as you need to, while everyone else are competing for the same people, and not make some mistakes regarding personnel.”
Giles knows it better than most: The Carson campaign itself is currently dealing with revelations that one of its operatives made crude remarks about President Barack Obama and called Ferguson protesters “thugs.” Giles called the statements “disappointing.”
Like Giles, Devine pointed to the challenging logistics involved in vetting midlevel staffers, noting that campaigns just don’t have the time or resources to use a team of lawyers to comb through records. “I do not think staffers are going to be vetted the way candidates for vice president are vetted,” he said.
Rich Galen writes:
  • How does this stuff come out? The professional opposition research firms that have sprung up over the past few years put the NSA to shame when it comes to following digital breadcrumbs.
  • And, while a candidate's allies will go to great lengths to protect the principal (see, also Sec. Clinton's emails), no donor or major player will lift a finger to help a staffer caught with their fingers on the SEND key.
  • One of the issues with Twitter, etc. is to write something that will get other people to make it a "Favorite" and/or to "ReTweet" it to their followers. The game is to get as many "Followers" of your own as you can.
  • There's an old saying at the Galen School of Political Press: "Anyone can make news if they say something stupid enough."
  • Here are some guiding principals for young people who want to be professional political operatives:
    • Don't Tweet stupid stuff.
    • If you've been drinking, don't Tweet at all. It will be stupid stuff
    • If you pause for even a nano-second before hitting the "Tweet" key, erase it. Your internal governor is trying to tell you something.
    • You can't generate context in 140 characters
    • Irony doesn't render properly on Twitter. And, it has never worked in Iowa

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wehner on Conservative Reform

At Commentary, Peter Wehner writes:
It doesn’t surprise many of us that confidence in government is so low during the presidency of a committed progressive, Mr. Obama, whose faith in government appears boundless and whose tenure has been marked by rank incompetence and seen the size and reach of the federal government reach unprecedented levels. The temptation for conservatives will be to take advantage of and build on this widespread distrust, to dial up their anti-government rhetoric, and to continue to focus solely on what government should not be doing.
But as I have argued before (here and here), such an exclusively negative approach to the question of the role of government is not only electorally insufficient; it is unbecoming of conservatism and of the deep commitment that conservatives claim to the nation’s founding ideals.
The way to both re-limit and improve government lies with structural reforms–to our tax code; our entitlement, health-care, and anti-poverty programs; our immigration and elementary, secondary, and higher-education systems; and the energy and financial sector. The fact that government is held in contempt by so many Americans ought to trouble all of us, including conservatives; and making our government one we can once again be proud of ought to be our object and aim. Government is, after all, “the offspring of our own choice,” in the words of Washington, and should have “a just claim to [our] confidence and [our] support.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why New Hampshire Matters

At The New York Times, Jonathan Martin explains the significance of he 2016 GOP primary in New Hampshire:
“Not only is there not an heir apparent, there’s not even a whiff of an heir apparent,” said Stephen Duprey, a Concord businessman and the state’s Republican national committeeman.
Unlike the last two Republican primaries here, and many before, this one will not feature a candidate who has previously won significant votes in the state.
Beyond the sheer uncertainty, the other factor increasing New Hampshire’s importance is that it offers a tantalizing opportunity for some of the establishment-oriented Republican candidates, who will almost certainly need to notch at least one victory to survive the initial contests. If there is no truly contested Democratic primary here, the unaffiliated voters who are allowed to participate in either party’s balloting could flood into the Republican race and bolster one of the more moderate candidates.
“The more independents you get in a potential Republican electorate, the more unpredictable the electorate becomes,” said Thomas D. Rath, a former state attorney general and longtime Republican strategist.
Sandwiched between the Iowa caucuses and the South Carolina primary, in which the Republican electorate is heavier on religious conservatives, the New Hampshire primary is the early contest where Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor, and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey will compete aggressively for a clear win.
With a large number of conservative candidates vying to capture the Iowa caucuses, potentially splintering the vote, and with the prospect of Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina competing in his home state, New Hampshire could prove clarifying.
“Everyone has to compete in New Hampshire, which means a win here is going to mean something,” said Fergus Cullen, a former state party chairman.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Hillary Clinton Advantage

Gallup reports:
Nearly eight in 10 Democrats (79%) have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton. Should she seek her party's 2016 presidential nomination, she would begin the campaign with a commanding lead in favorability ratings over several potential Democratic opponents, including a 15-percentage-point advantage over Vice President Joe Biden and 42-point margin over Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

These results come from interviews with 649 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in a March 2-4 Gallup poll. Clinton's candidacy for the presidency, though widely expected, is still officially unannounced. And, at least for the moment, Clinton's presidential ambitions seem almost secondary to the still-unfolding controversy from her decision as secretary of state to conduct official government business through a private email server.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Rubio Rises Again

Jeb Bush’s announcement in December launched both a fundraising juggernaut and an aggressive hiring spree, and Scott Walker’s speech in Iowa the following month lifted Walker to the top of national polls. But a little more than a month later, says the operative, “The Jeb boom is over and people are having second thoughts about Walker.” The beneficiary in terms of buzz is Marco Rubio, who now has many of the party’s top donors looking at him in a way they weren’t even a month ago. 
Though Rubio hasn’t made as much noise as his competitors as the 2016 campaign has gotten underway in earnest, his knowledgeable presentations and obvious political talent are nonetheless turning heads or, at least, enough of them. Rubio hasn’t made a big splash, neither building a “shock and awe” campaign like Bush nor delivering a marquee speech like Walker (who afterward seemed almost to be caught off guard by his rapid ascent). Instead, Rubio appears to be gambling on the idea that, in what is sure to be a long primary with a crowded field, a slow-and-steady approach will prevail.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Super PACs and Candidates: Why They're Taking Their Time with Declarations

Matea Gold writes at The Washington Post:
In the last presidential contest, super PACs were an exotic add-on for most candidates. This time, they are the first priority.
Already, operatives with close ties to eight likely White House contenders have launched political committees that can accept unlimited donations — before any of them has even declared their candidacy. The latest, a super PAC called America Leads that plans to support Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, was announced Thursday.
The goal is simple: Potential candidates want to help their super PAC allies raise as much money as possible now, before their official campaigns start. That’s because once they announce their bids, federal rules require them to keep their distance.
Official candidates can still appear at super PAC fundraisers, but they cannot ask donors to give more than $5,000. And they cannot share inside strategic information with those running the group.
“Once someone becomes a candidate, there will be some very important guardrails you have to abide by,” said Michael E. Toner, a Republican campaign finance attorney who served on the Federal Election Commission.

But for now, there are few guardrails for most of the 2016 hopefuls. That’s why former Florida governor Jeb Bush is headlining $100,000-a-head fundraisers for a super PAC already ballooning with tens of millions of dollars in donations. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s political committee is soliciting corporate money and six-figure checks. And on Monday in New York, former New York governor George Pataki was the guest of honor at a fundraiser for his super PAC at a private Manhattan club, where co-chairs were asked to contribute $250,000 each.
Also at the Post, Dan Balz writes:
It’s widely believed that super PACs must operate with complete independence from a candidate’s campaign. But the walls between them are quite porous. An official candidate’s campaign team cannot consult and coordinate how his or her super PAC spends its money. Nor can it share strategic information. Candidates can help to raise that money, with some restrictions.
If no one is a declared candidate, as is the case today, the rules are even looser. That is one reason that so many politicians this year are not declaring candidacies yet, even if they walk and talk like candidates. Instead, they are spending considerable time lining up those super PAC angels, courting them with detailed descriptions of their paths to victory and directly asking them for huge amounts of money.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Romney and Rubio

Each campaign sets the table for the next.  At The Washington Post, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker report:
Sen. Marco Rubio has been cultivating a relationship with Mitt Romney and his intimates, landing some of the 2012 Republican nominee’s top advisers and donors and persistently courting others as he readies an expected 2016 presidential campaign.
...
Some Romney loyalists harbor bad feelings about several candidates. Privately, they say Bush was not as active in his support as they expected in 2012 and that they think he tried to muscle Romney out of the 2016 race in January.
They hold a grudge against Walker for sharply criticizing Romney in his 2013 book, “Unintimidated,” for doing “a lousy job” connecting with voters. And many Romney insiders were steamed at Christie for his high-profile embrace of President Obama, after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore in the final week of the campaign.
By contrast, Romney’s allies almost universally praise Rubio, who was vetted as a possible vice-presidential pick and worked on Romney’s behalf during the campaign. They singled out his prime-time speech — introducing Romney — at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Friday, March 13, 2015

PAC Bravery

At Open Secrets, Russ Choma and Doug Weber reports on PACs that switched sides after the election:
With a notable list of upsets in the 2014 election, particularly in the Senate, disclosure filings from PACs for late 2014 show a particularly energetic effort to show support for the winners who knocked out the candidates they had invested so much in just weeks earlier. According to OpenSecrets.org data, 208 different PACs — mostly affiliated with corporations and trade associations, but also a handful of unions — made the delicate jump from financially backing the incumbent in the run up to Election Day, to cutting a check for the victorious challenger in the days and weeks afterwards.
These 208 organizations gave 17 incumbents more than $1.8 million prior to their defeats, and in the final 57 days of 2014 had already showered their replacements with $1,040,000.
Newly anointed GOP Sens. Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) were suddenly powerful magnets for PAC money: Both collected more than $100,000 in checks from PACs that had backed the incumbents in their states by the end of November. Given that the races they won were the hardest fought — Tillis’ race was the most expensive congressional race ever — it wasn’t surprising that many PACs might be caught on the wrong side of the fight and then would quickly attempt to make peace with the giant killers.
Among victorious Senate challengers, Tillis led by a mile in picking up financial support from PACs that previously backed his opponent, Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. By the end of December, he’d collected more than $330,000 from 103 different PACs that had shelled out $485,000 for Hagan in the 2014 cycle. That’s a significant number, though less so in context: In the 2014 cycle, Hagan’s campaign had raised more than $2.8 million from 1,539 different PACs.
Cotton also ended up doing well with PACs that had backed Democrat Mark Pryor— 63 groups that gave Pryor $393,000 quickly pivoted and turned over at least $195,000 to Cotton.
In the words of Monty Python:
MINSTREL: Brave Sir Robin ran away
ROBIN: No!
MINSTREL (singing): Bravely ran away away
ROBIN: I didn't!
MINSTREL (singing): When danger reared its ugly head, He bravely turned his tail and fled
ROBIN: No!
MINSTREL (singing): Yes Brave Sir Robin turned about
ROBIN: I didn't!
MINSTREL (singing): And gallantly he chickened out Bravely taking to his feet
ROBIN: I never did!
MINSTREL (singing): He beat a very brave retreat
ROBIN: Oh, lie!
MINSTREL (singing): Bravest of the brave Sir Robin
ROBIN: I never!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Reform Republicanism

Peter Wehner writes at The New York Times:
Too often, Republicans express a purely negative vision of government. This is both politically perilous and intellectually inadequate. Republicans oppose the liberal vision of the role of the state because they support a different, conservative vision. They need to articulate that vision, since many presidential voters will be reluctant to give their trust to leaders who have nothing but contempt for the government they wish to run.
He gives examples of conservative success: welfare reform, crime control, and the EITC.
What conservatives should be aiming for is not a slightly less costly liberal welfare state or simply slowing government’s one-way ratchet toward progressivism. They should be more ambitious and more creative: transforming government programs to make them more modern, efficient, responsive and accountable — to have them support and encourage individual initiative, not replace it.

Conservatives are rightly proud of our Constitution, yet many of them are disdainful of our government. But the Constitution created our system of government, and our goal in political life should be to reform that government back into one we can be proud of again.

Understanding government in this way, and taking the steps necessary to enable it to work better and therefore regain the trust of the American people, is a worthy calling. And a deeply conservative one, too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rubio and Walker

Michael Warren writes at The Weekly Standard:
A new poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News shows Florida senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker have the most goodwill among Republican primary voters ahead of both men's possible bids for the presidency.

Rubio, however, received a higher percentage of those saying they could not see themselves supporting him for president (26 percent) compared to Walker (17 percent).The wide-ranging poll surveyed registered GOP presidential primary voters about the long list of potential candidates, asking if they could see themselves supporting each one. Of those polled, 56 percent said they could see themselves supporting Rubio, with 53 percent saying the same about Walker.
The other candidates register significantly worse ratings on one or both questions. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, for instance, has 53 percent of voters who say they could see themselves supporting him—but 40 percent who say they could not. There are similar numbers for former Florida governor Jeb Bush (49 percent who could support, 42 percent who could not), Kentucky senator Rand Paul (49 percent and 40 percent), and former Texas governor Rick Perry (45 percent and 40 percent).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Clinton Email, Continued

Hillary Clinton held a press conference to quell controversy over her emails.  She failed, as Dustin Volz explains at National Journal:
"Important questions remain about security," said Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, shortly after Clinton's presser began. "The State Department sets the policy of what is acceptable security procedure. Connecting a State Department device to an unknown server should have raised flags internally. This gets to basic perimeter security."
"Overall, I don't see this briefing putting the matter to rest," Castro added.
Clinton's now infamous email domain, clintonemail.com, was hosted on an independently run and privately held server, an unusual move that potentially left her account exposed to hackers who would have a keen interest in reading the correspondence of the nation's top diplomat.
Part of the reason Clinton could do little Tuesday to reassure her critics is due to a series of unknowns presented by her private account that simply can't be explained away. Computer experts contend that no overtures of transparency now can erase the doubt that she may have surreptitiously destroyed emails that would be irretrievable even for the most independent and scrupulous of investigators.
"The hardest thing to do with forensics is to prove a negative," Jason Straight, chief privacy officer and senior vice president of cybersecurity at UnitedLex, a global firm that provides legal services on electronic-data discovery, told National Journal last week. "Absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence."

Monday, March 9, 2015

Clinton, But...

Anne Gearan writes at The Washington Post that HRC was supposed to be the candidate of experience.
But over the past two weeks, with back-to-back revelations that she was working with foreign countries that gave millions of dollars to her family’s charitable foundation and that she set up and exclusively used a private e-mail system, that argument has been put in peril.
Instead of a fresh chapter in which Clinton came into her own, her time as the country’s top diplomat now threatens to remind voters of what some people dislike about her — a tendency toward secrecy and defensiveness, along with the whiff of scandal that clouded the presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton.
That side of Hillary Clinton also plays directly into the main Republican argument against her, that she is a candidate of “yesterday” — as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida recently put it — who comes with decades of baggage the country no longer need carry.
“Part of the reason the story is gaining traction is that it reminds people of what the Clinton White House was like,” said American University political science professor Jennifer Lawless. “It reminds people of the scandals, the secrecy and the lack of transparency that were often associated with Bill Clinton’s eight years in Washington.”
Amy Chozick writes at The New York Times that HRC was supposed to be the champion of women.
But the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation has accepted tens of millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Algeria and Brunei — all of which the State Department has faulted over their records on sex discrimination and other human-rights issues.
The department’s 2011 human rights report on Saudi Arabia, the last such yearly review prepared during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure, tersely faulted the kingdom for “a lack of equal rights for women and children,” and said violence against women, human trafficking and gender discrimination, among other abuses, were all “common” there.
Continue reading the main story
Saudi Arabia has been a particularly generous benefactor to the Clinton Foundation, giving at least $10 million since 2001, according to foundation disclosures. At least $1 million more was donated by Friends of Saudi Arabia, co-founded by a Saudi prince.
Republicans quickly zeroed in on the apparent contradiction. Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief, told a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month that Mrs. Clinton “tweets about women’s rights in this country and takes money from governments that deny women the most basic human rights.”
Maureen Dowd writes:
Everyone is looking for signs in how Hillary approaches 2016 to see if she’s learned lessons from past trouble. But the minute this story broke, she went back to the bunker, even though she had known for months that the Republicans knew about the account. The usual hatchets — Philippe Reines, David Brock, Lanny Davis and Sidney Blumenthal — got busy.
The Clintons don’t sparkle with honesty and openness. Between his lordly appetites and her queenly prerogatives, you always feel as if there’s something afoot.
Everything needs to be a secret, from the Rose Law Firm records that popped up in a White House closet two years after they were subpoenaed to the formulation of her health care plan.
Yet the Clintons always act as though it’s bad form when you bring up their rule-bending. They want us to compartmentalize, just as they do, to connect the dots that form a pretty picture and leave the other dots alone.
If you’re aspiring to be the second president in the family, why is it so hard to be straight and direct and stand for something? Why can’t you just be upright and steady and good?
Given all the mistakes they’ve made, why do they keep making them? Why do they somehow never do anything that doesn’t involve shadows?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

SNL on HRC

Mediaite reports:
SNL wasted no time tonight, getting right to the controversy over Hillary Clinton‘s emails in its cold open. And this Hillary––”a relatable woman on a couch”––won’t let a little thing like email get in the way of ascending to the presidency.
Clinton looked slightly possessed as she insisted that “there will be no mistakes in my rise to the top” and dared the media to go through not just her emails, but her Netflix and Instagram accounts.
Clinton declared, “I will ascend to the high office of president and claim my rightful place in history!!!… if I choose to run!”
Video here

On his own show, SNL alum Jimmy Fallon also mentioned HRC:


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Walker U

In an episode of The West Wing, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) said:  "When I was running as a governor, I didn't know anything. I made them start Bartlet College in my dining room. Two hours every morning on foreign affairs and the military."

Philip Rucker and Robert Costa report at The Washington Post:
On a recent Monday at Washington’s Willard InterContinental hotel, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was schooled on the world by some of the GOP’s leading foreign-policy lights. In a two-hour tutorial, seated around a table in the Taft Room sipping sodas and coffee, they used detailed regional maps to lead the likely presidential candidate on a tour of the globe’s hot spots: Israel and the Middle East, Latin America, Russia and Ukraine.​
The reason for Walker’s crash course was urgent: He has not impressed many leading Republicans with his grasp of foreign affairs. He drew mockery from members of both parties last month for refusing to talk about foreign policy on a trip to London and then for comparing his experience battling labor protesters to taking on Islamic State terrorists.
...
Walker, who has surged into the top tier of Republican presidential contenders, has been packing his calendar with foreign-policy sessions like the one at the Willard — a visit with a former Navy secretary one day, a tête-à-tête with a former secretary of state on another. He has trips planned to five countries this spring, including Israel. This weekend, he has booked four sit-downs with foreign-policy scholars at the American Enterprise Institute’s summit in Sea Island, Ga.
At the close of each meeting, Walker solicits reading recommendations and has told tutors he has already digested the 9/11 commission report and Henry Kissinger’s “World Order.”

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Very Bad Choice by Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee has severely undermined his own credibility by becoming a pitchman.  Last month, Max Brantley reported at The Arkansas Times:
My ears did not deceive me. I DID hear Mike Huckabee in a radio ad this morning extolling the benefits of the "diabetes solution kit," purported to be a "natural" solution to diabetes.
It appears to include a video about healthy habits, most of which can be found for free at numerous websites, and a tout of herbal supplements, such as cinnamon. Barton Publishing has been around selling this 'solution' for a processing fee, add-on charge and subsequent pitches for additional items since at least 2012.
The full news release of Huck's involvement is on the jump. It quotes Huckabee as saying he's "fit as a fiddle" and said he'd used the "techniques" in the diabetes solution kit to lose 110 pounds and reverse his Type 2 diabetes after a diagnosis in 2004.
The news release adds:
Huckabee admits he has put back some of the weight recently, but is working on losing the pounds again.
"The only way I know to achieve this is by making the right food choices and engaging in simple exercises," he said.
"I may not run for president again. And I may not get to be Governor again. But I definitely won't be a victim of diabetes again. There's simply no reason for it," he said.
I can't think of another presidential candidate working in spare time as a radio pitch man for natural health cures — for a "nominal fee." Can you? Here's a website that contains some unhappy customer reports about Barton publishing.
See another website with customer reports. 

This is not the first time he has engaged in moneymaking and campaigning at the same time.  In the 2008 race, he kept making paid speeches.

Moreover, his PAC has paid $400,000 to family members.

Such activity feeds the narrative that he is a profiteer.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Walker's Email Problem

It is not just Hillary ClintonAt The Daily Beast, Lloyd Green reminds us of Scott Walker's email problem and other gum on his shoe:
Before Walker was elected governor, when he was Milwaukee County Executive, Walker’s staff kept a secret email system and set up a secret wireless router in Walker’s government office that commingled government and campaign business on private Gmail and Yahoo email accounts.
On top of that, county employees were doing campaign work on government time and, by extension, on the taxpayers’ dime—in violation of state law. As the story goes, one of Walker’s aides, Darlene Wink, copped to a misdemeanor guilty plea, and got off with probation for doing campaign work during office hours. Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker’s deputy chief of staff when he was county executive, pleaded guilty to a single felony count for spending “significant time” working as a fund-raiser on government time for Brett Davis, Walker’s running mate.
But it didn’t end there. Brian Pierick, one of the secret website’s webmasters, was convicted of enticing a minor. Another Walker webmaster, Timothy Russell, was sentenced to two years in prison and five years’ probation for stealing from a veterans group, using the money for trips to Hawaii and the Caribbean, and for meeting with Herman Cain’s presidential campaign on the veterans’ tab.
Walker will face questions about these things.  Will he be ready to answer?  Jonah Goldberg casts doubt:
It’s a bigger problem than it might seem. Walker planned on defining himself to the country on his timetable. With that plan in ashes, he’s facing a liberal news corps and a Republican field of competitors hell-bent on defining Walker if he won’t. From the media, that means lots of questions about President Obama’s religion, Walker’s views on evolution and other ridiculous gaffe hunts.
Walker has been “punting” — his word — on such questions, but also on more serious topics. That is a fine tactic when few are paying attention. Other candidates have been punting on various issues too, but no one knows or cares because they aren’t the front-runner. When you’re in the spotlight, punting stops being a way to avoid giving an answer and instead it becomes the answer.
Walker is in danger of being the guy known for not having a good — or any — answer to tough questions. That’s particularly poisonous for him, given that he is running on leadership and truth-telling.
Governor, welcome to the NFL.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Clinton's Server Error

Jack Gillum and Ted Bridis report at AP:
The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails - on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state - traced back to an Internet service registered to her family's home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives. It also would distinguish Clinton's secretive email practices as far more sophisticated than some politicians, including Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, who were caught conducting official business using free email services operated by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.

...

Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails. And since the Secret Service was guarding Clinton's home, an email server there would have been well protected from theft or a physical hacking.

But homemade email servers are generally not as reliable, secure from hackers or protected from fires or floods as those in commercial data centers. Those professional facilities provide monitoring for viruses or hacking attempts, regulated temperatures, off-site backups, generators in case of power outages, fire-suppression systems and redundant communications lines.
Gabriel Debenedetti reports at Politico:
Within hours of a report that Clinton had relied heavily on her personal email address while serving as secretary of state, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican eyeing 2016, tweeted to demand that she release all her emails. By Tuesday morning, the GOP opposition group America Rising filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the State Department, requesting copies of emails sent to Clinton.
In a sense, the situation bears some resemblance to the case of Romney and his tax returns. Repeated demands from Democrats — and some Republicans — that the former private equity executive disclose his returns hindered the GOP nominee’s campaign in 2012. It took him until September 2012 to release his 2011 documents, by which point Democrats had successfully painted him as an out-of-touch plutocrat.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"A Serious Breach"

Michael S. Schmidt reports at The New York Times:
Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.
“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.
...
[Nick] Merrill, the spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, declined to detail why she had chosen to conduct State Department business from her personal account. He said that because Mrs. Clinton had been sending emails to other State Department officials at their government accounts, she had “every expectation they would be retained.” He did not address emails that Mrs. Clinton may have sent to foreign leaders, people in the private sector or government officials outside the State Department.
Ken Westin writes at Tripwire:
Not only would such an activity circumvent record retainment requirements, but also security requirements. For someone as high up as Hillary Clinton to be using a private email address for official government business, it raises a number of security concerns. This is shadow IT at a grand scale. With no visibility into how the Clinton’s emails were being secured it would be impossible for the government to ensure the communications were not compromised by espionage.
According to the Washington Post that the worst scenario may have come true when hacker “Guccifer” reportedly released several emails pertaining to Benghazi which appear to be between Sidney Blumenthal and Hillary Clinton at the “clintonemail.com” domain. The domain was registered January 2009 through Network Solutions.