Can Joni Ernst win in Iowa?

You’d think Iowa would be tired of politics by now.

In most recent presidential elections, Iowa has been considered a battleground state as well as the epicenter of straw polling, making it a must-stop for every major candidate.

And with every major candidate comes other luminaries–former candidates, Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and political influencers who are there to stump for their guy and gal.

Iowa has a Senate seat in play this year, with Sen. Tom Harkin (D) retiring after four decades in office, the first time the seat has become unoccupied since Watergate.

The election pits Bruce Braley, a Democratic Congressman, against Joni Ernst, a Republican State Senator.

The polling has been tight in recent months, with the seat varying from D+4 to R+9 in recent months, but hovering around Tied on at least 5 occasions.

Both candidates have canvassed across Iowa’s 99 counties, both candidates have debated, and both candidates have released controversial, election-year-stealing, farm-themed ads, with Braley portraying his opponent as a baby chick and Ernst talking about castrating hogs as a younger woman.

With the election just a week away, Ernst is tentatively in the lead by 3 points, so while Iowa may seem too close to call, it ever-so-slightly leans pink.

If elected, Joni Ernst would become the 5th sitting female Republican senator.

Spoiler alert: here’s what happens in the 2016 election

DEMOCRATS

Hillary does the opposite of before where she jumped in early and hangs back, says a bunch of BS about “being a new grandmother” and such.

Biden, Martin O’Malley, and and Jim Webb try to get a head start on the campaign, and they all smack the s**t out of each other over the course of months while Hillary hangs back and laughs.

Cuomo promises to stay out because Hillary promises him a Vice-Presidency (until she pulls the rug out from under him and sticks Julian Castro in instead–besides, what could Cuomo do to hurt Hillary when he outlives his usefulness?)

So you have this historical Clinton/Castro ticket which runs up against the Republicans…

REPUBLICANS

Reps are feeling good after taking back the Senate (barely) in 2014. Establishment consultants take the credit and wait and see. Huckabee jumps into the race early, claims “the Lord told me to save this nation” or some BS like that.

Bachmann enters the race and of course is hindered by having no political or marketing skill whatsoever but exceptional conviction and an insane work ethic.

Peter King enters as well, but he’s bats**t and couldn’t be more unlikable, playing the Newt Gingrich of the race and laying it on thick at odd intervals.

Speaking of Newt, he takes the position of “kingmaker” and negotiates a deal for something, ANYTHING, even expressing interest in being a cabinet secretary for a new department of his own design (he proposes elimination of DHS and DOE and replacement with DOI–Department of Innovation) in a new administration.

Chris Christie keeps people waiting and expresses consistent interest, takes many public swipes at Huckabee and it’s a fight of the ex-fatties. He smells blood, and enters, and fizzles.

Ben Carson remains statesman-like but secretly just wants to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Perry jumps in late, instead of his early entry and popcorn fart exit from last time, and this time he’s Rick Perrier than ever–gliding between campaign stops in his all-black wardrobe like a ghost of candidate-past, promising “Real Talk”, pushing immigration reform or criticizing Republican Senate efforts on it (he’ll take whatever position is most expedient, honey badger don’t care) and he gets a lot of serious consideration.

But overall, nobody has done much of anything thus far and it’s embarrassing–which is further compounded when Santorum makes his candidacy known, which literally nobody could give a lesser s**t about. He and Huckabee also fight mercilessly.

Huntsman threatens third party, even coming up with a running mate for a bi-party ticket–Maggie Hassan, Dem Governor of NH. So now you’ve got a complete mess of a campaign and no winners.

Jeb Bush thinks it’s his moment now, but is hammered and becomes the modern-Perry–much ballyhooed, big failure, and family scandal becomes an endless timesuck.

John Bolton stays loud–too loud, and in this election, enemies become friends, with him picking up the phone and contacting Condi Rice, who would rather be left out of everything altogether. Both approach a Romney campaign and offer themselves as SoState (Bolton) and VP (Condi)–but Romney keeps his distance for the moment.

Jindal makes VP noises, and then you have Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in a game of who’s on first.

I’d make the audacious bet that there’s a huge likelihood neither run and disappoint the s**t out of everyone, but the longer the campaign goes with no solution the more likely one would jump in, even considering a P/VP situation with Cruz at the top that would be an automatic win. but if they both stay out, then Romney slides in beautifully and wins an election against a haggard, beat-up, old-looking and backwards-policy Hillary with an unknown VP and a fresh-faced Romney/Condi ticket–a mirror of 08–under the following campaign of:

1) I was right (about Putin, Iraq, Syria, everything else)

2) Illegal immigration hurts minorities

3) This is what happens on Day One of my administration (list of 10-12 major principles that are consistently repeated and messaged)

THE REST

Obama is like LBJ or GWB in this election–everyone would appreciate his endorsement, but could you stand over there please? As far away as possible? Thanks.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg steps down on the Supreme Court after Dems lose the 2014 election–Obama won’t be able to get another nominee in there before the end of his term.

Barbara Boxer, who couldn’t stand the thought of stepping down from her seat despite her age, wants to be appointed to replace her good friend Ginsburg on the Court, which would shock the political classes since no non-lawyer has been appointed to the Court in 75 years–not since Robert H. Jackson in 1941.

However, Obama appoints another Californian–Kamala Harris, giving the Supreme Court its youngest member, its first female African-American member, and even more of a minority to replace Ginsburg.

A defeated Barbara Boxer is begged to run for just one more term by her fellow Senator, Dianne Feinstein, who is now 83 years old, the oldest member of the Senate, and ready to retire herself. Boxer agrees to one more term and has already chosen her replacement–up-and-comer Joaquin Castro.

By 2018, Dianne Feinstein is 86 years old and simply finished. She only steps down on one condition–a very specific individual replaces her.

That individual is Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama has ruled out running for Senate in Illinois, but hey, how about Hawaii? Michelle eyes the seat in 2020, which would be a sure win against an unknown like Schatz. But that’s too far away.

The Obamas have made the choice to abandon Chicago for good after a brief stint in the city, and while they have the Hawaii vacation house, their disdain for Washington is clear.

They set up shop in Los Angeles, putting the Secret Service on edge, who compromise with them on a Palm Springs area residence that is high-security, functioning as a safe city escape, a “Camp David” of sorts that’s close to the golf course. Another residence is maintained in the Bel Air area for their infrequent trips into town and more-frequent trips as the 2018 election nears. At some times, they stay in separate residences–Sasha is already in college (and considers a West Coast private school like Loyola to stay close to her parents) and Malia is ready to graduate high school, so the Obamas are getting ready for empty-nester life.  Former-President Obama writes his memoirs, helps his Organizing for Action continue to fundraise for candidates, and jockeys for a Supreme Court nomination further down the decade under a Dem admin a la Taft.

California Democrats, embarrassed at the lack of up and coming leaders not named Joaquin Castro, leap at the opportunity for a Senator Michelle, with celebrities beating the crap out of each other to campaign for her.  She wins handily thanks to O4A, as California is one of the last states that, outside of the traffic they cause, is still in love with the Obamas.

This may be the most unintentionally hilarious campaign ad of the year

Does the name Sean Eldridge ring a bell?

He’s a Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 19th District, located north of NYC and including Woodstock. It’s a district that has been redistricted in recent years, and has been represented by a Republican for 16 of the past 20 years.

However, the Cook PVI is D+1, and the district went slightly in Obama’s column in 2008 and 2012.

Eldridge is a former Obama community organizer, founding Students for Barack Obama in 2007 and he served as a Democratic Party delegate for the district in 2012.

Pelosi-e1373900370199

His ties to the NY-19 run deep.

In fact, he’s lived there since January 2013, waiting a whole six months from the purchase of his $2 million mansion to clear to announce his congressional candidacy.

Previously, he was a two-year resident of the neighboring district, NY-18.

He abandoned the $5 million estate he purchased there because winning the candidacy of NY-18, an R+2 district with a young and vibrant Democratic representative, was simply “unattainable”.

But this isn’t much of a problem. See, he’s married to someone of means.

Does the name Chris Hughes ring a bell?

He’s the co-founder of Facebook, and worth around $500 million.

However, with all the money to run a campaign and the support of billionaire hedge fund tycoon George Soros and Napster co-founder Sean Parker, Eldridge is having a little trouble trying to appear as a local:

He raised an impressive $300,000 in the first three months of this year, but only a small fraction of the donations came from individuals in the district. And Mr. Eldridge’s voter registration, which he applied for in January, was placed on the inactive list after a confirmation postcard sent to his new home was returned to the local board of elections marked: “Return to sender. No mail receptacle.” His registration has since been reactivated.

That hasn’t stopped Eldridge from pumping as much money into the district as he can to gin up support:

Since late last year, [Eldridge's] firm has provided at least $800,000 in loans to businesses in the district, including Bread Alone bakery and Prohibition Distillery. And Mr. Eldridge has dug into his own pocket, donating $250,000 to a $1 million effort in the district to build a 3-D printing technology center at SUNY New Paltz.

Without the support of any major Democratic Party organizations, Eldridge has turned to the election year classic, the campaign ad, to introduce himself to members of his district.

What follows is nothing short of embarrassing:

ELDRIDGE: I grew up in a small town. I went to public schools. My dad was, actually, the first person in his family to graduate from high school.

I’ve been very fortunate in my life. My husband Chris was one of the founders of Facebook. So I have the independence to reject special interest contributions and do what’s right.

To fight for our environment, for a woman’s right to choose, and to reform our broken campaign finance system. I will be an independent advocate. And I won’t represent anybody but you.

I’m Sean Eldridge and I approve of this message.

Mind you, all of this is being said while an unusually-diverse, equally bored-and-confused crowd of local yokels sit and emphatically, overactingly nod.

Jodie Foster lookalike who nods precisely when Eldridge says “fight for a woman’s right to choose”

One woman even mouths “that’s right” to complete the spectacle in the round.

she receives her cameo right when he says he’ll reform our campaign finance system

Interesting how “independence to reject special interest contributions” is a euphemism for “I am extraordinarily wealthy” and “reform our broken campaign finance system” is an equal euphemism for “I am receiving millions in donations from my wealthy friends from completely outside the district”.

The “small town” Eldridge grew up in is Ottawa Hills, Ohio, a wealthy Toledo suburb with a median household income over $100,000 that is “ranked 13 out of 1065 political subdivisions in the state of Ohio by per capita income”.

small town living

The “public schools” Eldridge attended were ranked 1st in the state of Ohio.

Eldridge attended Deep Springs College in rural California, a highly-exclusive private all-boys school with a Vanity Fair profile (“the most successful experiment in higher education in U.S. history!”) and a student body of 26 (women were finally admitted in 2013, so until 2013, women did not have the right to choose to attend Deep Springs College).

Eldridge graduated with a degree in philosophy from Brown University (also not a public school) and attended Columbia Law (not a public school).

His dad, the “first in his family to attend college” is Dr. Stephen Eldridge, “chairman of the radiology department at St. Luke’s Hospital and executive vice president of Consulting Radiologists Corp” who graduated from the University of Ottawa, one of Canada’s top medical schools.  Dr. Eldridge is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of Toledo.  

And Dr. Eldridge is not the only Dr. Eldridge in the family.  Dr. Sarah Taub (Eldridge) is Sean’s mom, and she’s a dual-board-certified physician who is also a graduate of the University of Ottawa.

Sean Eldridge has little in common with his new neighbors/sought constituents.

But that isn’t stopping him from pretending as if he’s “one of the locals”.

just don’t use this photo, that’s at the old mansion in the 18th district

In the old days, they would call someone who determined where they’d buy real estate year to year depending on which elections they could enter and win a “carpetbagger”.

Even the New York Times calls Eldridge “Young, Rich and Relocating Yet Again in Hunt for Political Office” in a 2013 profile.

When the New York Times is onto the fact that you’re moving between mansions to win elections, it’s game over.

Neel Kashkari on Poverty

“Neel Kashkari is the Republican underdog challenging Gov. Jerry Brown (D). Last week, he was a homeless guy in Fresno.” Read More.

“California Comeback!” is the favorite slogan of Sacramento politicians cheering a temporary budget surplus provided by a roaring stock market. But California also has the highest poverty rate in America at 24%. Is California back? I wanted to see firsthand what that comeback looks like for many Californians.

So, last Monday morning I took a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles to Fresno. With only forty dollars in my pocket (and no credit cards), a backpack, a change of clothes, and a toothbrush, I planned to find a job and earn enough money to get by. I am an able-bodied 40-year old. Surely I could find some work?

Over the next seven days, I walked mile after mile in one hundred degree heat searching for a job. I offered to do anything: wash dishes, sweep floors, pack boxes, cook meals, anything. I went to dozens of businesses in search of work but wasn’t able to get any. In seven days, I didn’t see a single “help wanted” sign but I did see plenty of signs that fast food outlets now accept food stamps.

I was committed to finding a job. It was my top priority, but halfway through the week my priority was forced to change: I barely had any money left and needed to find food. Fortunately, kind-hearted homeless residents in Fresno pointed me to a shelter, Poverello House, which provides services to the homeless. I had no choice but to join the hundreds of men, women and families who go to the shelter for food.

Kathleen Sebelius Resigning to Run in 2016?

Kathleen Sebelius resigned as Secretary of Health and Human Services today after the disaster that has been the ObamaCare rollout.

Her speech was a disaster as well, as she paused partway through and said that, “unfortunately, a page is missing”.

Before that, she spoke candidly about:

the folks who approach me, the strangers who approach me, at a meeting, or pass me a note on a plane, or hand me a phone with someone on the other end saying thank you, their stories are so heartening about finally feeling secure and knowing they can take care of themselves and families.

Remember, this is a woman resigning a post as a cabinet secretary, giving a speech that sounds oddly…presidential.

After the missing page fiasco, Sebelius speaks off-the-cuff about her father’s legacy in Congress, Medicare and Medicaid, how ObamaCare is “the most significant social change in this country in that 50 year period of time” between the passage of the Civil Rights Act and now.

Her speech has gotten rave reviews:

Salon:

The audience laughed and Sebelius immediately transitioned to a more informal, off-the-cuff style of speaking. All in all, a minor hiccup. But in the sense that Sebelius’ stewardship of the HHS will be defined many as a story of incompetency followed by a recovery that surpassed expectations, the moment had a certain poetry to it.

TPM:

That allowed Sebelius to end on a high note in the Rose Garden. But, in some cruel cosmic jest, there was one more glitch for Sebelius. Her going-away remarks were missing a page. She paused, noted the problem for the audience and continued off-script. It was an impressive recovery.

While most people will laugh at Sebelius missing a page, liberals aren’t laughing. They see this women as a hero. By 2016, ObamaCare will be completely rolled out, and few will remember the rocky start. Sebelius will be seen as the turnaround artist.

Sebelius has executive experience—she was Governor of Kansas from 2003 to 2009, not to mention head of Health and Human Services since then and was nearly chosen as Vice-President in 2004 and 2008 (with Kerry, and Obama’s campaign bought the domain ObamaSebelius.com).

According to ABC News:

Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas, was among Obama’s earliest supporters back in 2008. Her endorsement — over Hillary Clinton — came at a critical time in his first race for the White House.

Needless to say, she has no love for Hillary Clinton, so running in 2016 would not be a problem.

If Hillary runs, Sebelius will be the alternative who outpaces Hillary on every issue:

  • Hillary advocated for universal healthcare, Sebelius actually implemented it
  • Hillary champions women’s and children’s issues, Sebelius expanded HeadStart and women’s health initiatives
  • Hillary has cabinet experience as Secretary of State, Sebelius stayed in the cabinet much longer as Secretary of HHS

Not to mention the fact that she comes without any of the controversy of other candidates. She’s more moderate than an Elizabeth Warren and yet still has the liberal credibility, which Hillary struggled with in 2008.

Sebelius resigned today for no actual reason. ObamaCare is supposed to be successful now, with 7 million signed up. She didn’t give an excuse that she wanted to “spend more time with her family”.

While Hillary has been using her time since her resignation to give speeches around the country and dodge shoes, Sebelius was holding on just long enough for ObamaCare to be deemed a success. She gets to leave on a high note, and gets a shot to start running on the race to 2016.

Why Rand Paul would be the least exciting candidate ever

I watch CPAC from afar every year the same way Diddy attends an awards show— far removed enough to not interfere with the action, but close enough to see everything going on.

I wear my sunglasses and nod silently as well—but that’s more for effect.

stay hydrated, my friends

Rand Paul won the CPAC straw poll by a large margin—for the second year in a row.

I don’t understand his appeal. He is vanilla mousse in a suit. He has no personality. He’s a modern day James Madison (smart, bookish) mixed with John Quincy Adams (erm, we like ur dad but you too I guess?).

trust no bitch

So let’s say Rand runs for President.

What’s the Rand Paul platform? The Rand Paul driving force? The Rand Brand?

There is none—and it’s a real problem.

Senators like McCain and Dole (and Kerry) lose badly (except Obama who was barely a senator–he may as well have been a private citizen who gave a DNC speech).

Governors like Bush and Reagan (and Clinton) win (when we support them *cough* Romney *cough*).

Romney was like Rand—intelligent, politically-famous and well-regarded father, inoffensive on the issues, big on charity—with the added bonus of being a Governor and having executive experience.

Maybe that’s why Rand is in the lead—he’s just milquetoast enough on policy issues that he doesn’t rile people like a Christie does–and there’s a discernible safety there. He hasn’t said or voted “wrong” on anything of note.

But can anyone name one of his positions or—wider focus—anything he’s ever said?

You can’t have supporting actors playing leading man roles.

I’m not just ragging on the right either. The Democrats have nobody decent/young/appealing. There’s no Obama heir-apparent. You have Hillary Clinton (Medea—not the Tyler Perry version), Martin O’Malley (candidate equivalent of a gaffer—useless union ‘tough guy’), Elizabeth Warren (crazy aunt from every family movie) and, of course, Joe Biden (Gary Busey impersonator).

But in 2008 there was no Obama either—until there was Obama. Remember how it was “Hillary’s Time”? Her supporters are still unearthing forged Kenyan birth certificates.

Outside of male opera divas (Christie), young guns who can’t memorize their lines (Rubio), and three ugly stepsisters (Huckabee, Santorum, and Huckabee), it’s no wonder the Rand Brand is catching on.

By default.

Joe Biden launches 2016 kickoff tour, according to GOP

A Biden candidacy would challenge the “inevitability” of a Clinton nomination.

But here’s the really fun part: Biden has a good shot at playing the spoiler. Because there’s a fact that Biden’s detractors and Clinton’s groupies are loath to acknowledge: Biden is the much better politician. It’s not that Biden is a fantastic politician; it’s that Clinton is a very boring one.

But that’s not all. Vice presidents have a terrible record of getting elected to the Oval Office on their own. George H. W. Bush was the first president since Martin Van Buren to be elected straight from V-POTUS to POTUS. (Also ominous for Democrats: 1988 was the only time in the last half-century that a party has won the White House for the third time in a row, a fact attributable to Ronald Reagan’s popularity and Michael Dukakis’s Dukakisness.) But vice presidents have more success securing the nomination. You have to go back to 1952 and Alben Barkley to find one who sought but failed to win his party’s nomination.

I’d be stunned if Biden actually beat Clinton in the primaries, but he doesn’t need to win to ruin things for her. Simply by running, Biden would contest Clinton’s claim of entitlement and light a match on the Hindenburg that is her “inevitability.” He would encourage others from outside the establishment to run against them both and to portray them as a pair of old-guard retreads who want the presidency out of a sense of entitlement.

The Left is warming up to Hillary.

“Obama by definition has lowered the bar of expectations for progressives,” says Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor of California, who backed Clinton in 2007 and plans on supporting her again. “It’s clear to me she’s running.”

Clinton seems to have largely rehabilitated her image in the eyes of liberal primary voters and interest groups, a remarkable feat given just how bitter things got in 2008. Back then, many on the left flank of the party villainized her husband as a reckless narcissist who foisted NAFTA and financial deregulation on the nation, and skewered her as a calculating hawk who had cheered the Iraq War and helped pass George W. Bush’s regressive 2005 bankruptcy bill, among other alleged evils.