“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.
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.
“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.
The term for Lautenberg’s vacant seat runs until November 2014. Christie had two options in how to fill it. Option one: Simply appoint someone to serve out the rest of the term and let voters elect a new senator on schedule next year. Assuming Christie appointed a Republican, that would give the national GOP an extra vote in the Senate for almost 18 months — granted, likely a moderate vote, but that’s still preferable to a liberal Democrat. Maybe the appointee would impress Jerseyans with his Senate record and would stand an incumbent’s fighting chance to hold the seat against Cory Booker next year. Or maybe he wouldn’t intend to run against Booker at all, which would free him up to vote as a conservative for the remainder of the term. Jersey Democrats threatened to sue Christie if he went this route, but as Ed Krayewski noted at Reason, he had cover from the state’s bipartisan Office of Legislative Services. Reportedly, they issued an opinion earlier today stating that the 18-month appointment would be just fine legally. Option two: Christie could throw all of that away by appointing a very short-term replacement for Lautenberg and scheduling a special election for sometime later this year. That would give Booker all kinds of advantages. Not only wouldn’t he have to face a GOP incumbent with more than a year’s experience in office, he also wouldn’t need to worry about his opponent having lots of time to fundraise. The risk to Christie in choosing this option was that it would bring all sorts of Democratic voters out to the polls on election day who might otherwise have stayed home. And that means Christie, who’s cruising to victory at the moment, could suddenly see his own gubernatorial reelection bid jeopardized by the big surge in Democratic turnout. All of which makes this a no-brainer, right? Appoint a Republican to finish Lautenberg’s term and trust that Christie’s big lead in the gubernatorial race won’t suffer too much for it. How angry could Jersey Democrats be if he appointed a Republican as squishy as he is? So which option did Christie choose? Option two, of course — except that, in order to protect his own ass electorally, he decided to schedule the Senate special election in October, not on election day in November. Now he gets the best of both worlds, all but handing the seat to Booker ASAP to burnish his “bipartisan” brand while ensuring that he himself doesn’t have to face the extra Democratic voters who’ll turn out to vote for Booker.
“I don’t know what the cost is and I quite frankly don’t care. I don’t think you can put a price tag on what it’s worth it have an elected person in the United States Senate and I will do whatever I need to do to make sure those costs are covered because all the people of the state of New Jersey will benefit from it. And we’re not going to be penny wise and pound foolish around here,” said Christie at a press conference.
“There’s no political purpose. The political purpose is to give the people a voice,” Christie said in announcing his decision today.
But there is political impact.New Jersey will elect a new senator Oct. 16 — a mere 20 days before the state’s gubernatorial election, in which Christie is the undisputed frontrunner for a second term.
That means Christie’s race will top the ballot Nov. 5, instead of a Senate race that could well feature Newark Mayor Cory Booker. The intense interest in the Senate race — in solidly blue New Jersey, in a race that could feature an African-American Democratic rising star — would have almost certainly siphoned votes from Christie.
Democrats teed off on Christie after his announcement at a news conference. The governor’s 2014 Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, called the governor’s move “cynical and arrogant” and said Christie “made it clear that he does not care about wasting taxpayer money.”…
Matt Canter, deputy executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, made that point when responding to the special election dates.
“Republicans have not won a Senate race in New Jersey in more than 40 years. Their only shot was an appointee who had a year-and -a-half to establish themselves before an election in 2014,” he said. “With this news I assume operatives at the NRSC are busy planning Christie’s defeat in Iowa and New Hampshire right now.”
Saratoga Springs Utah mayor Mia Love asked the crowd “are you tired yet?” when beginning her adress at CPAC. When cries of “NO” responded, she said, “I’m not either”. Little did the attendees know however, that further implications may have been present in the statement. Watch her speech which contained other alluding to comebacks and bouncebacks…
In preparation for a bid, Love has hired former state GOP Chairman Dave Hansen, who was widely heralded last year for successfully managing the re-election campaign of Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Love and Hansen sat down with CQ Roll Call for an interview Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she was scheduled to speak.
“We are looking at it very seriously,” Love said. “We are trying to get people engaged and going, and let them know that we have to start early so that we are not starting from behind.”
Love is reaching out to donors now, some 20 months before the election, and putting in place a campaign team far earlier than last cycle. Love didn’t formally enter the wide, 4th District Republican field until January 2012. She shocked Republicans by emerging from the April state party convention with the nomination in hand.
“Getting that message out takes a lot of effort, a lot of funds, so we want to make sure that we are defining ourselves before the opposition does,” Love said.
As the nominee, Love quickly gained national attention – including a coveted speaking slot at the Republican National Convention – for her unique background and potential to become the first black Republican woman in Congress. That looked to be a strong possibility in Utah’s redrawn and Republican-leaning 4th district, much of which was new to Matheson.
Survey of 500 Texas voters was conducted January 24-27, 2013. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points. Party ID: 43% Republican; 32% Democrat; 25% Independent/Other. Political ideology: 30% Moderate; 25% Very conservative; 22% Somewhat conservative; 15%Somewhat liberal; 8% Very liberal.