Saturday, October 24, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 43

There were a lot of developments this week in the Presidential race, particularly on the Democrat side, as we are now within 100 days of the first votes of Campaign 2016 being cast in Iowa.

Vice President Joe Biden finally ended the speculation, mostly. Despite some media reports that seemed to stress he was indeed going to run for the White House spot he has long coveted, Biden took to a spot outside the building in the Rose Garden, and with his wife and Barack Obama at his side, announced he would not run. Nonetheless, his statement made it seemed like he really did want to run and had mixed feelings about passing up the chance. He phrased it as a matter of timing and a political "window being closed." Even in his remarks, he seemed to continue to take a shot at Hillary Clinton and her recent debate comments about Republicans being her enemies. While Biden will not be entering any contests, it seems sort of obvious that he would welcome the opportunity to jump in, if Clinton were to truly implode politically

However, she is now more likely than ever before of being her party's nominee. The field has shrunk even further, with Jim Webb, a former Republican bureaucrat, turned left-wing blog political favorite, turned uncomfortable Democrat Presidential candidate exited the race.  He did seem to leave open the possibility that he would run try to run as an Independent candidate for President. His presence on the ballot, especially in his home state of Virginia, might certainly hurt the eventual Democrat nominee, although an unconventional Republican nominee like Donald Trump for instance, might also lose votes to Webb under such a hypothetical.

Additionally, Lincoln Chafee ended his hapless Presidential candidacy yesterday, with the former Republican turned Independent turned Democrat indicating he would support his new party. All of this leaves Clinton and Bernie Sanders as by far the major candidates for the Democrat nomination. Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and college professor Lawrence Lessig will face an even more difficult time getting media attention.

The main political event of the week though was Hillary Clinton's day long testimony in front of the House Benghazi Committee. There were not really many surprises in terms of the political aspects of what happened at the hearing or the reactions that people had afterwards. Partisans of Clinton though were buoyed by her performance and felt that she got the best out of her tough questioners. None of that should really come as a surprise to anyone, as Democrats consider anything to do with Benghazi to be a political sideshow. It is true that Clinton showed considerable deft in dodging questions and while she never lost her temper (although there was an uncomfortable coughing fit towards the end), her body language and demeanor will not have endeared her to anyone who already dislikes her. There was no "smoking gun" in terms of anything that might derail her Presidential candidacy to come out of the hearing, but numerous contradictions did come to light. If the FBI was watching and really cares, there could be eventual ramifications for the former Secretary of State.

I do not want to take too much time to write about Benghazi. There are lots of reasons to believe the attack that killed the Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya could have been avoided or minimized, but nobody should suggest that Clinton or the Obama Administration wanted that tragedy to happen. In my mind, the larger scandal is the aftermath of what happened. The evidence, including Hillary Clinton's own emails make it clear that they correctly realized it was a coordinated terrorist attack on the anniversary of September 11th. However, numerous Administration officials, including Hillary Clinton publicly suggested or considered that it was not an anti-American terrorist attack, but instead a spontaneous demonstration to an anti-Islamic YouTube video posted by a private citizen. That was definitely not the case, but the Administration, in an election year, was so intent on claiming that terrorism was no longer an issue under Obama, that they bent over backwards to deny what really happened. When the flag draped caskets of the brave Americans killed returned to U.S. soil, Hillary Clinton took the podium, and literally over their dead bodies, talked about a YouTube video, that she knew then and there had nothing to do with their deaths. According to the family of one victim, she stated they would find and prosecute the person behind the video. Those actions alone should forever disqualify her from public office.

So, if Bernie Sanders is not able to deny Hillary Clinton a spot in the general election (the GOP should be so lucky as to get to face him, and people would really enjoy Larry David appearances as Sanders on Saturday Night Live), it will be up to the eventual Republican nominee.

Whom that person will wind up being remains to be seen, and many of the candidates will have a third debate this upcoming week. Donald Trump has been leading in the polls for quite a while now, and there appears to be some increasing concern, at least in media circles, that he could actually win the nomination. I still have major doubts on that. Ben Carson has now moved ahead of Trump in a few polls, and appears to be the new Iowa frontrunner. I would not at all be surprised if Carson wins Iowa in 100 days, but I also do not see him as much of a chance of becoming the Republican nominee, and like the Trump phenomenon, I am somewhat at a loss to understand the enduring appear of Carson, a candidate who still claims the U.S. should not have taken military action to find Osama bin Laden in 2001.

As readers know, I support former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and definitely believe he has avenues towards eventually earning the nomination next year. However, the media cycles of late have not at all been friendly, and as far as political expectations have gone this year, it has been a rough ride for the Bush campaign. With that in mind, they have now cut expenses even further, including many staff jobs at the Miami headquarters, but remain committed to investing heavily in the early states. Political junkies of various stripes are starting to look for buzzards circling the campaign of the third Bush to seek the Presidency, but I feel that is premature.

Jeb Bush will almost certainly not win Iowa 100 days from now, and I think it might be a good idea to just skip it altogether, as former nominee John McCain used to do,  in order to focus on New Hampshire, but once people really start taking these candidates seriously after the holidays, Jeb might look like a more palatable option, as opposed to some other unorthodox or crazy things the GOP might wind up doing.


At 7:45 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey, my thoughts:
1.) Christie's last gasp if he doesn't perform strong in tonight's debate in Boulder, CO.

2.) Jeb is getting backed into big corner as donors are getting restless with his poor polling numbers.

3.) Cruz (my home state's junior United States Senator from TX) is slowly rising.

4.) Rubio will likely benefit from Jeb's likely implosion!

5.) Time for Jindal, Graham, Pataki, Gilmore, Fiorina & Santorum to pack it in & quit!


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