Weekly Musing 4-26-15

Weekly Musing 4-26-15

Saul Anuzis

Rubio Cruz

‘Hotline’ Shows Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz Rising in Polls Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have markedly improved ratings in the National Journal’s “Hotline” rankings of GOP presidential candidates after officially announcing their campaigns this spring, but Sen. Rand Paul’s standings dropped slightly. Rubio, of Florida, is now tied for second place with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker behind his friend and one-time mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, while Cruz comes in just behind the two, according to the publication’s rankings, which were released Friday. Paul, though, dropped one place in the Hotline rankings after his campaign rollout, after questions arose about his temper. Paul clashed with popular “Today” show correspondent Savannah Guthrie on the second day of his campaign announcement tour. For its rankings, National Journal compared the announced and potential GOP candidates’ chances of winning the 2016 nomination, comparing their strengths and weaknesses, poll numbers, and determined that Bush remained the “fragile front-runner.”

Bush is followed by a virtual tie between Walker and Rubio in second and third place, respectively, followed by Cruz and Paul. Next, moving down the line, are: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Bush remains at the top of the Hotline list, but while his name is his key money-raising asset, it may be dragging him down as people like Rubio gain power. Bush will most likely have plenty of funds to compete, but there are some in the party who worry that putting him on the ballot against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton may not give the party the best chance to take the White House next year.

http://www.newsmax.com/%E2%80%A6/ted-cruz-mar%E2%80%A6/2015/04/24/id/640519/

Impressive Republican Field Readies to Take on Hillary

One, the Republican field of candidates (and potential candidates) is far superior to the field of Republican candidates four years ago.

Two, the GOP candidates are fresher, livelier, and less touched by scandal than the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.

And three, the Republicans have more credible rationales for seeking the presidency than does Clinton.

Encouraging as these sound, they don’t guarantee Republicans success. My one political rule: The future in politics is never a straight line projection of the present. Events intervene. The first televised debate among Republicans is four months away. The first contest, the Iowa caucuses, is nine months away. The New Hampshire primary is a week later.

That Republicans are better off than they were in the last presidential cycle is indisputable. Remember businessman Herman Cain and Representative Michele Bachmann?  They were prominent candidates in the 2012 race. Each led the Republican field in at least one national poll.

This time, 10 current or former governors and four U.S. senators are in the mix.  When Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination last week, the Economist wrote, “The Republican presidential field grows more crowded and more impressive.”

In his new book 2016 and Beyond:  How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America, GOP pollster Whit Ayres provides a “checklist” for candidates. Among the items:  a candidate must be optimistic, have held a major office, have an agenda that deals with the economic anxieties of middle class voters, can unite the factions of the Republican coalition, and appeals to minorities, blue-collar white voters, and young people. A Republican who meets most of these criteria, “stands a very good chance of being competitive against the Democratic nominee,” Ayres writes. A dozen or so Republicans qualify.

Best of all for Republicans, they won’t have to run against President Obama again. Clinton lacks Obama’s appeal as a candidate. At the moment, she is bent on keeping a strong rival out of the Democratic race. This is why her advisers boast of raising $2.5 billion for her campaign, a figure designed to scare challengers from running.

http://m.weeklystandard.com/blogs/impressive-republican-field-readies-take-hillary_924599.html

Our Endless Presidential Campaigns

On March 23, Ted Cruz announced he is running for president in a packed auditorium at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. On April 7, Rand Paul announced he is running for president amid the riverboat décor of the Galt House hotel in Louisville, Ky. On April 12, Hillary Clinton announced she is running for president in a brief segment of a two-minute video. On April 13, Marco Rubio announced he is running before a cheering crowd at the Freedom Tower in Miami. And these are just the official announcements.

Jeb Bush made it known in December that he is interested in running. Scott Walker’s rousing speech at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 24 left no doubt that he will enter the race. Chris Christie’s appearance in New Hampshire last week strongly suggests the same. Previous presidential candidates Mike Huckabee,Rick Perry and Rick Santorum seem almost certain to run. Pediatric surgeon Ben Carson is reportedly ready to announce his run on May 4 at the Detroit Music Hall.

With some 570 days left until Election Day 2016, the race for president is very much under way—to the dismay of a great many Americans. They find the news coverage of the candidates tiresome (what did Hillary order at Chipotle?), are depressed by the negative campaigning that is inevitable in an adversarial process, and dread the onslaught of political TV ads. Too much too soon!

http://www.wsj.com/articles/our-endless-presidential-campaigns-1429294188?mod=WSJ_hp_EditorsPicks

Super PACs are poised to take over for traditional campaigns—starting by stealing their top talent.

Mike Murphy was destined to be the chief strategist for Jeb Bush‘s 2016 White House campaign. The California-based Republican operative has been a close friend and confidant to Bush for decades; he knows the candidate inside and out. Indeed, when the former Florida governor began the exploratory phase of his presidential effort late last year, Murphy was manning the controls—playing a central role in deciding where Bush would go, what he would say and to whom. This is precisely the part he was expected to play in Bush’s presidential effort. And yet, it is increasingly likely, according to Republicans inside Bush’s orbit, that throughout the official campaign, the candidate and confidant will barely speak.

That’s because Murphy is expected to run Bush’s super PAC—an accompanying outside group that can raise unlimited contributions, but whose officials cannot communicate with the candidate or any campaign officials.

That Bush’s team would believe it’s in his best interest to send away a top strategist is an emphatic indication that the era of super PAC supremacy has arrived. Viewed at the outset of the 2012 presidential cycle as illegitimate if not downright unethical—so much so that President Obama initially forbade his lieutenants from forming one on his behalf—super PACs emerged by Election Day 2012 as the most devastating force in modern presidential politics. Their ability to raise bottomless money, and the deployment of those funds toward destroying rival candidates, instantly altered the political landscape, and in the 2016 campaign’s nascent stages, their reach has dwarfed that of official campaigns.

When presidential contenders Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio officially jumped into the presidential race in recent weeks, each was accompanied by at least one supportive super PAC. Allies of Cruz operating a constellation of super PACs have bragged about pulling in $31 million in a single week—nearly eight times the haul Cruz’s official campaign team had been boasting about. Others, like Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry, are officially still mulling whether to run, yet there are already supportive super PAC operations up and running.

“They have so radically changed the game that serious candidates for president cannot, will not be able to compete without a very substantial super PAC or set of super PACs,” says Gregg Phillips, who was a 2012 strategist for the pro–Newt Gingrich group Winning Our Future. “If you’re a candidate, you have to raise money in $2,700 increments. If you’re a super PAC, you can raise money in million-dollar chunks.”

http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/2016-election-super-pacs-staff-20150417

 Katie Article

Congrats…and Go Katie!  These Women are Teaching Republican Candidates How to Talk to Women

On this, little boys and the women of Burning Glass Consulting agree: It’s hard to talk to girls. But, lately, it seems not even local elementary schoolers are as likely to strike out as Republican politicians.

In December 2014, Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin proposed a bill that would require a woman seeking an abortion to receive signed permission from “the father of the unborn child.” Except, he added, in the event of a “legitimate rape.” In God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, which Mike Huckabee published in January, the former Arkansas governor described Beyoncé lyrics as “obnoxious and toxic mental poison” and wondered whether Jay-Z had crossed the line from husband to pimp for “exploiting his wife as a sex object.” In February, Rand Paul reminded everyone of their worst ex-boyfriends when he “shushed” CNBC anchor Kelly Evans, telling her to “calm down” in the middle of a tense interview.

Your neighborhood bully could do better. Longtime political operatives Katie Packer Gage, Ashley O’Connor, and Christine Matthews know it. In 2013, the trio joined forces to establish Burning Glass Consulting. The firm is the first of its kind—a strategy outfit designed to help Republican candidates win over female voters. And its founders—two of whom worked for Mitt Romney during his run for president in 2012—want to correct the mistakes that have undone conservative campaigns in the past.

http://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/news/a27998/the-women-of-burning-glass-consulting-want-to-teach-republicans-to-talk-to-women/?src=spr_TWITTER&spr_id=1448_172995382&linkId=13762383

Interesting Analysis:  The Democrats’ white-voter problem — in 2 maps

Red and blue America are no more constant than our use of “blue” and “red” to describe the major political parties. Different parts of the country shift slowly over time — particularly in the longer scale of presidential politics.

To illustrate that point, you need only look back to the 2000 election, the year the “red-blue” divide was born. There have been four presidential elections since then — 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 — and while many counties have voted for one party consistently, many have also flipped back-and-forth.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/04/24/the-democrats-problem-with-white-voters-in-2-maps/

HillaryObama

Obama/Clinton Disaster in the Making: Russia and America: Stumbling to War

In the United States and Europe, many believe that the best way to prevent Russia’s resumption of its historic imperial mission is to assure the independence of Ukraine. They insist that the West must do whatever is required to stop the Kremlin from establishing direct or indirect control over that country. Otherwise, they foresee Russia reassembling the former Soviet empire and threatening all of Europe.

Conversely, in Russia, many claim that while Russia is willing to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (with the exception of Crimea), Moscow will demand no less than any other great power would on its border. Security on its western frontier requires a special relationship with Ukraine and a degree of deference expected in major powers’ spheres of influence. More specifically, Russia’s establishment sentiment holds that the country can never be secure if Ukraine joins NATO or becomes a part of a hostile Euro-Atlantic community. From their perspective, this makes Ukraine’s nonadversarial status a nonnegotiable demand for any Russia powerful enough to defend its national-security interests.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Russia was on its knees, dependent on Western assistance and consumed by its own internal affairs. In that context, it was not surprising that Western leaders became accustomed to ignoring Russian perspectives. But since Vladimir Putin took over in 1999, he has led a recovery of Russia’s sense of itself as a great power. Fueled by rising oil production and prices that brought a doubling of Russia’s GDP during his fifteen-year reign, Russians increasingly bridled at such treatment.

Americans would do well to recall the sequence of events that led to Japan’s attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into the Second World War. In 1941, the United States imposed a near-total embargo on oil shipments to Japan to punish its aggression on the Asian mainland. Unfortunately, Washington drastically underestimated how Japan would respond. As one of the post–World War II “wise men,” Secretary of State Dean Acheson, observed afterward, the American government’s

misreading was not of what the Japanese government proposed to do in Asia, not of the hostility our embargo would excite, but of the incredibly high risks General Tojo would assume to accomplish his ends. No one in Washington realized that he and his regime regarded the conquest of Asia not as the accomplishment of an ambition but as the survival of a regime. It was a life-and-death matter to them.

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/russia-america-stumbling-war-12662

NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

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Weekly Musing 4-19-15

Weekly Musing 4-19-15

Saul Anuzis

Snyder6

Snyder to launch national economic campaign

Gov. Rick Snyder is preparing to launch a national campaign promoting Michigan’s economic turnaround that Republicans say could be used to propel him into the 2016 race for president, or keep his name in the running for another federal post.

Snyder’s supporters are creating a nonprofit advocacy group “Making Government Accountable: The Michigan Story” that the governor will use to travel the country seeking to “change the perception of Michigan and why it’s a good state to grow a business or move to,” spokesman Jarrod Agen said Friday.

Snyder is beginning the national road show next weekend with a speech at the Milliken Institute in California, followed by a speaking engagement in New York in early May, Agen said.

Former state Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak and other Republicans close to the governor have been making phone calls in recent weeks seeking financial commitments to Snyder’s national cause, three Republican sources told The Detroit News.

The effort has caused some to conclude Snyder wants to test the presidential waters in the coming months as the GOP primary field for the White House begins to fill up.

“He’s moving toward running for president,” said a Republican source with ties to Snyder.

…Some Michigan Republicans speculate Snyder is keeping his name in the mix of a crowded field of 21 Republicans to position himself for the eventual GOP nominee’s running mate, or for a cabinet secretary position.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2015/04/17/snyder-launch-national-economic-campaign/25963867/

Marco Rubio Walking

With a generational pitch, Rubio looks to bridge GOP divide Marco Rubio’s case for the GOP nomination is simple. He believes he can emerge as the consensus candidate who bridges the divide between the Republican establishment and tea party activists. And the 43-year-old believes that the conservative grassroots is ready for “Something New,” which not coincidentally is the name of a Swedish dance song that played Monday night at the end of his presidential campaign kickoff rally in Miami.

Rubio has decided his odds are good enough that he’s willing to give up a second term in the Senate.

With a thousand supporters chanting “Marco” at Freedom Tower, the son of Cuban immigrants invoked his inspiring personal story — suitable for framing as the embodiment of the American Dream — and showed he will inject a youthful vigor to the field.

“We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future,” he said. “We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.”

Rubio’s strategists believe that the GOP base is in no mood for a coronation. So they plan to aggressively court support from both movement conservatives and establishment leaders exhausted by the idea of another Bush and drawn to the appeal of a relative newcomer – the son of a bartender

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/with-a-generational-pitch-rubio-looks-to-bridge-gop-divide-116931.html#ixzz3XFtqhFWQ

A Very Fluid Race for the Republican Nomination

Two weeks ago, Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for president at Liberty University, and last week, Rand Paul announced at the Galt House hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Marco Rubio is expected to announce this week at the Freedom Tower in Miami. Others will follow.

So what have we learned about the race for the Republican nomination for president so far?

Nobody is running away with it. In no national poll of Republican primary voters this year has any one of the dozen or so candidates tested received more than 20 percent of the vote.

And only twice has any candidate received more than 20 percent in the multiple polls conducted in the four early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Some commentators expected Jeb Bush to jump into a significant lead when he made it clear he would in time announce. That hasn’t happened. At this point in the 2000 cycle, Gallup showed George W. Bush with over 50 percent of the primary vote. Jeb Bush’s current Real Clear Politics average is 17 percent, just tenths of a percentage point ahead of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Republican primary voters are shopping around, uncertain whom to back, with nothing approaching a consensus choice.

…Bottom line: It’s a very fluid race and an opportunity for candidates to offer new ideas and expand the electorate — two things

Republicans need to maximize their chances in November 2016.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/04/14/a_very_fluid_race_for_the_republican_nomination_126252.html

UPDATED 2016 Presidential Primary Calendar  

Reading the Map:

As was the case with the maps from past cycles, the earlier a contest is scheduled in 2012, the darker the color in which the state is shaded. Michigan, for instance, is a much deeper shade of blue in February than California is in June. There are, however, some differences between the earlier maps and the one that appears above.

http://frontloading.blogspot.com/p/2016-presidential-primary-calendar.html

HillaryObama

Can Hillary hold together the Obama coalition?

As Hillary Clinton begins her presidential campaign, one fundamental question will determine the outcome of the 2016 presidential election: Is the coalition of voters that President Obama put together in his 2008 and 2012 victories indicative of a permanent change in the American electorate that favors any Democratic candidate? Or were the super-sized margins Obama enjoyed among groups such as minorities and young voters specific to the first African-American president?

If demographics are destiny, then Republicans will be in danger no matter how strong a campaign they mount against Clinton. If not — and if she can’t make up votes with other groups of voters — her candidacy will likely fail.

The challenge of keeping Obama’s coalition together is clearly on the minds of Clinton’s campaign strategists. The carefully orchestrated video announcing her candidacy released on Sunday featured a cross-section of Americans from diverse racial backgrounds as well as gay and lesbian couples. The transparent purpose was to exploit the image of Republicans as being out of touch with the changing nature of the American electorate.

A look at exit polls dating back to 1976 from the Roper Center (and CNN) shows that Obama is in a league of his own when it comes to Democratic victory margins among young voters and African-Americans.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/can-hillary-hold-together-the-obama-coalition/article/2562934

Signs of Hope!?!  Hillary Clinton Isn’t Inevitable

Seemingly alone among commentators, I am bearish on Hillary Clinton. Not “she can’t win” bearish, but “something less than a 50 percent chance of winning” bearish. Why is everyone else convinced she’s a lock?

If you believe the “wisdom of crowds” argument, the answer is that I’m wrong and they’re right. And fair enough. But this crowd is composed of mostly left-leaning journalists and academics, so there might be a wee bit of sample bias.

Jonathan Chait has a smart piece in New York magazine on why Clinton is probably going to win. Here’s my bear-side case for why I don’t think she will.

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-04-14/hillary-clinton-isn-t-inevitable

Why this man believes the GOP is set to win everything

Arthur Laffer has a simple theory of politics. It’s about as simple as his theory of economics, which has been guiding Republican presidential candidates for nearly 40 years now. The economic theory says that the lowest, simplest tax code will produce the most growth. The political theory goes like this: Politicians crave love from voters. So if you want to get a politician to do what you think is right, give him a plan he can easily sell, and make sure that plan will deliver a lot of crowd-pleasing economic growth.

Laffer, the legendary supply-side economist, is certain that 2016 is the year his political and economic theories align — producing a wave election for Republicans, then the most aggressive tax-cutting legislation since Ronald Reagan was president, then massive growth and finally, a generational lock on Washington for the GOP.

And the beauty of it is, he thinks any candidate in the current Republican crop could deliver those results. It’s simply a matter of combining their need to be loved with a tax plan he is certain voters will adore.

“Each one of these candidates, in my mind, has the natural resources, whatever it is, to be a good president” – and implement pro-growth policies, Laffer said in a recent interview.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/13/why-this-man-believes-the-gop-is-set-for-total-domination/

Top 20% of Earners Pay 84% of Income Tax

The tables show just how progressive the income tax is. The three million people in the top 1% of earners pay nearly half the income tax.

Why is the share of income taxes negative for 40% of Americans? In recent decades Congress has chosen to funnel important benefits for lower-income earners through the income tax rather than other channels. Some of these benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Credit for education, make cash payments to people who don’t owe income tax. …

The share of tax paid by the top 20% of Americans also changes when such social-insurance levies are included: It drops from more than 80% of income taxes to about 67% of all federal taxes.

The average American pays an income tax rate of 10.1 percent, the Joint Committee shows, although that varies quite a bit depending on income:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/04/top-20-of-earners.html

George-Soros

Wealthy donors on left launch new plan to wrest back control in the states

A cadre of wealthy liberal donors aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the left’s political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort that has reshaped statehouses across the country.

The plan embraced by the Democracy Alliance, an organization that advises some of the Democrats’ top contributors, puts an urgent new focus on financing groups that can help the party regain influence in time for the next congressional redistricting process, after the 2020 elections. The blueprint approved by the alliance board calls on donors to help expand state-level organizing and lobbying for measures addressing climate change, voting rights and economic inequality.

“People have gotten a wake-up call,” Gara LaMarche, the alliance’s president, said in an interview. “The right is focused on the state level, and even down-ballot, and has made enormous gains. We can’t have the kind of long-term progressive future we want if we don’t take power in the states.”

The five-year initiative, called 2020 Vision, will be discussed this week at a private conference being held at a San Francisco hotel for donors who participate in the Democracy Alliance. Leading California Democrats are scheduled to make appearances, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The alliance, which does not disclose its members, plans to make some of the events available to reporters via a webcast.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/wealthy-donors-on-left-launch-new-plan-to-wrest-back-control-in-the-states/2015/04/12/ccd2f5ee-dfd3-11e4-a1b8-2ed88bc190d2_story.html

Pretty Darn Close: Here is a PERFECT Explanation About the Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

In case you haven’t noticed, a world of difference between Democrats and Republicans — substitute the word “conservatives” here in case “Republican” leaves a sour taste in your mouth — but articulating that difference for the “politically impaired” can be a bit challenging.

Thankfully, there’s a little quiz, a test of sorts, one can take to help sort out the political identity confusion and help you discover whether or not you’re a liberal or conservative.

This is hilarious.

http://www.youngcons.com/here-is-a-perfect-explanation-about-the-difference-between-democrats-and-republicans/

NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

My goal is for this to be a weekly political update…sharing political news and analysis that should be of interest to most activists.

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http://thatssaulfolks.com/

Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 4-12-15

Weekly Musing 4-12-15

Saul Anuzis

Ted Cruz Big Flag

“GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz vaulted to the top tier of the 2016 money race Wednesday, as supporters announced that super PACs backing his bid had raised $31 million in a single week.

The haul — which ranks as one of the biggest fundraising surges in modern presidential history — served as a sudden wake-up call for the rest of the likely Republican field, particularly Jeb Bush, who until now had enjoyed his status as the premier fundraiser in the contest’s early stage.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/groups-backing-ted-cruz-raise-31-million-in-a-single-week/2015/04/08/36defc18-de0c-11e4-a1b8-2ed88bc190d2_story.html

Join the Ted Cruz for President Team

If you agree with me and believe Ted Cruz is the right person to lead our country…please go to their website and sign up as a volunteer, supporter and hopefully contributor…EVERY contribution helps!

http://www.tedcruz.org/

Rand Paul

Rand Paul Announces for President

The Best Reason to Take Rand Paul Seriously Has Nothing to Do With His Politics

Paul’s (relative) unorthodoxy makes him that rare candidate whose policy views draw gobs of media attention: He’s teaming up with Democrats to scale back mandatory-minimum drug sentencing and likens the war on drugs to Jim Crow? (The same Rand Paul who once said he opposed parts of the Civil Rights Act?) He’s in the same party as Senator John McCain, and yet he opposed arming the Syrian rebels?

But in fact, it’s the boring details of the organization that Paul is building that provide the best reason to take him seriously. If Paul’s views are unusually idealistic, the ground game that his team is planning is pure realpolitik. His staff is focused on the delegate math and party rules that could determine the next Republican nominee — a game-theory style of presidential politics at which the Paul team is particularly adept.

The process by which presidential candidates are nominated is, at its most basic level, a race toward a magic number of party delegates — in the Republican Party’s case, 1,235 required to win — amassed state by state and, in some cases, congressional district by congressional district. Getting them depends not only on the speechifying, door-to-door vote-hunting and million-dollar ad buys we associate with campaigning, but also on a bewildering array of procedural minutia: obscure national bylaws that overlay a mind-bending patchwork of local rules that can vary drastically from state to state, some of which award delegates not based on votes received in primary elections but on back-room wrangling at local party conventions and meetings that take place weeks or even months after votes are cast.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/10/magazine/the-best-reason-to-take-rand-paul-seriously-has-nothing-to-do-with-his-politics.html?_r=0

Ted Cruz’s Really Big Show Texas senator Ted Cruz was the last major speaker at the National Rifle Association’s Leadership Forum on Friday – an indicator that NRA convention organizers knew attendees would stay in their seats until the end to hear him. Cruz’s dynamic speech, and the attendees’ enthusiastic response, offers one more example of how the senator whose style often irked his colleagues is riding that style to top-tier status in the opening weeks of the 2016 GOP presidential campaign. …Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, and other candidates are attempting to emulate Cruz’s no podium, no teleprompter, no-notes, earpiece-microphone speaking style he showcased at the 2012 Republican convention. (The speech was nothing special, but Cruz’s ability to deliver it, entirely from memory and naturally while walking back and forth upon the stage, worked.)

…To rock-ribbed conservatives eager for red meat, Ted Cruz’s role in the government shutdown and other high-stakes fights that didn’t turn out so well for Republicans is a strength, not a weakness. His message going forth is going to be, hey, I fought when no one else was willing to do it. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416800/ted-cruzs-really-big-show-jim-geraghty

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz’s serious — and seriously underestimated — fundraising machine

Ted Cruz has hit pay dirt — and he might have Jeb Bush to thank.

In his first week as a presidential candidate, the Texas senator raked in more than $4 million for his campaign account, including $1.5 million from major donors, and he has already brought in hundreds of thousands more dollars since. A herd of super PACs supporting Cruz brought in another $31 million, Bloomberg reported Wednesday — an eye-popping sum that has stunned more than a few competing Republicans.

Bush, a former Florida governor whose powerful family has deep roots in Texas, has factored prominently into Cruz’s pitch to big donors. Cruz and his allies have stressed some urgency in light of Bush’s early success raising money, and have pressed upon potential supporters that Cruz is the strongest conservative alternative to Bush.

“What I tell people is, look, if you’re going to wait, then effectively you’re going to say you’re fine with Jeb being the nominee, because Jeb is going to have plenty of money,” said Hal Lambert, who left his fundraising role with the Texas Republican Party to join Cruz’s campaign as finance co-chair. “For Sen. Cruz to mount a strong campaign and be the nominee, then we’re going to have to raise the money.”

And Cruz has so far delivered impressively, bucking the conventional wisdom that his conservative campaign would be propelled solely by grassroots fuel. In addition to the money Cruz has raised, his campaign has secured commitments from roughly 200 bundlers, who will each bring in at minimum $50,000 (the “federalist” tier) or more than $500,000 (the “founders”).

http://m.washingtonexaminer.com/ted-cruzs-serious-and-seriously-underestimated-fundraising-machine/article/2562814?custom_click=rss%3Fcustom_click%3Drss

Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign Launch Destroyed Rand Paul’s On Facebook

Despite all the digital sophistication—and a few missteps—propping up his presidential campaign, Rand Paul is already lagging on Facebook behind one of his biggest rivals: Ted Cruz.

Cruz, who formally launched his White House bid last month, attracted nearly three times as much buzz—measured in likes, posts, comments, and shares—on Facebook during the 24-hour window surrounding his announcement as Paul, who announced on Tuesday.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/2016-elections/ted-cruz-s-presidential-campaign-launch-destroyed-rand-paul-s-on-facebook-20150408

Hillary Clinton’s Main Obstacle: Her Own Inevitability

And while Clinton’s experience makes her a promising leader to her acolytes, many voters view her as a cozy Washington insider, a Westchester elite in bed with New York banks and D.C. lobbyists. And though she is known among close friends and family to be to be warm and loving, Clinton has had trouble connecting with voters on the campaign trail. In 2008, after a tough loss in the Iowa primary, Clinton showed voters a more personal side. Her challenge is to make voters see her as a confidante and a listener from the get-go.

http://time.com/3774585/hillary-clintons-main-obstacle-her-own-inevitability/

Hillary Economist

What does Hillary stand for?

ANY day now, Hillary Clinton is expected to declare that she is running for president. For most Americans this will be as surprising as the news that Cinco de Mayo will once again be on May 5th. Mrs Clinton has had her eye on the top job for a long time. She nearly won it in 2008 and is in many ways a stronger candidate now. She and her husband have built a vast campaign machine. The moment Mrs Clinton turns the key, it will begin openly to suck up contributions, spit out sound bites and roll over her rivals. Some think her unstoppable: Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker, gives her a 91% chance of capturing the White House in 2016.

Steady on. The last time she seemed inevitable, she turned out not to be. The month before the Iowa caucuses in 2008, she was 20 points ahead of other Democrats in national polls, yet she still lost to a young senator from Illinois. She is an unsparkling campaigner, albeit disciplined and diligent. This time, no plausible candidate has yet emerged to compete with her for the Democratic nomination, but there is still time. Primary voters want a choice, not a coronation (see article). And it is hard to say how she would fare against the eventual Republican nominee, not least since nobody has any idea who that will be. The field promises to be varied, ranging from the hyperventilating Ted Cruz to the staid Jeb Bush. Rand Paul, a critic of foreign wars and Barack Obama’s surveillance state, joined the fray on April 7th (see article). Still, Mrs Clinton starts as the favourite, so it is worth asking: what does she stand for?

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21647969-most-familiar-candidate-surprisingly-unknown-what-does-hillary-stand

The Alinsky Way of Governing

But targeting institutions and their leaders is pure Alinsky; so are the scare tactics. Mr. Grijalva’s staff sent letters asking for information about the professors, with a March 16 due date—asking, for instance, if they had accepted funding from oil companies—using official congressional letterhead, and followed up with calls from Mr. Grijalva’s congressional office. This is a page from Alinsky’s book, in both senses of the word: “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have,” reads one tip in his 1971 “Rules for Radicals.”

Yet adopting Alinsky’s tactics may not in this case fit with Alinsky’s philosophy. This is Alinsky with a twist. Despite myriad philosophical inconsistencies, “Rules for Radicals” is meant to empower the weaker against the stronger. Alinsky writes: “The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

In a similar vein, the political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain supported Alinsky’s work in getting disengaged communities—typically in lower socio-economic strata—to assume the difficult responsibilities of citizenship. As a way of challenging “big government,” even conservatives such as former House Majority Leader Dick Armey have recommended Alinsky’s tactics (minus his professed hatred of capitalism, etc.).

But what happens when Machiavelli’s Prince reads and employs “Rules for Radicals”? In 2009 President Obama’s friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett was asked on CNN about media bias, particularly at Fox News, and she responded: “What the administration has said very clearly is that we’re going to speak truth to power.” I remember thinking: “Wait a minute, you’re the White House. You are the power.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-alinsky-way-of-governing-1428619834

Russia Plans Spring Offensive in Ukraine, Warns Ex-NATO Chief Wesley Clark

Russian-backed separatists are planning a fresh offensive in eastern Ukraine that could come within a matter of months, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, warned March 30. “What is happening now is preparations for a renewed offensive from the east,” and this could take place following Orthodox Easter, on April 12, and “most probably” before VE Day on May 8, Clark said, citing multiple local sources he spoke with on a recent fact-finding mission to Ukraine. “That’s what all the talking is about right now, preparing the cover for the next attack,” he said. Given that an attack is “imminent,” Clark said the Obama administration should take two specific actions to bolster Ukrainian security forces:

It should share intelligence with Ukraine so the Ukrainians can have “firm warning of a renewed Russian offensive”;

And it could prepare an aid package, including lethal assistance that has already been authorized by Congress; deploy it at a staging base; have strategic lift available; and warn Russian President Vladimir Putin that “when we first get the indications that you are coming again we will send assistance, including lethal assistance, to Ukraine.”

These two actions would fall within the parameters of the administration’s current policy not to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine.

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/russia-plans-spring-offensive-in-ukraine-warns-ex-nato-chief-wesley-clark

Finland Sparta

Finland – Sparta of the North

Unlike the aforementioned nations, Russia doesn’t have any immediate imperial designs against Finland, Bulgaria and Romania. Although Russian nationalists see the first two as part of Russia’s restored empire, Russia won’t employ military means to subjugate them. Russian imperialism, in the guise of Soviet communism, has already tried to conquer Finland once before, but the Finns butchered enough Russians for Stalin to reconsider. A lesson every nation must learn: Russia will break whatever treaty you signed with them (i.e. the Soviet–Finnish Non-Aggression Pact) and attack you on false pretexts (i.e. Shelling of Mainila), create a puppet government to administer the occupied territories (i.e. Finnish Democratic Republic), and will only relent if enough Russian soldiers are killed. The Finns killed over 1,200 Russians a day and thus got Russia to drop its plan to occupy and annex all of Finland. Theirs is a magnificent example to study, emulate and revere by all other nations under Russian threat.

Since even the current megalomaniac Russian leadership remembers the Winter War, Finland is safe. No Russian general wants his troops to enter Finnish forests and get massacred by the nearly 300,000 troops and 600,000 reservists Finland can muster. Finland, if attacked, can field twice (!) as many ground troops as Italy, Germany, France, Spain and the UK combined (!). If Finland had followed the foolish path of most other EU nations and reduced its military forces by 75% over the last decade, Putin might be tempted to invade Finland, but as Finland stuck to its concept of total defense, it is safe. Once again “Si vis pacem, para bellum” [If you want peace, prepare for war–ed.] has been proven as the most sound national defense principle.

http://euromaidanpress.com/2015/04/11/finland-sparta-of-the-north/

Presidents create political inequality by allocating Federal dollars to electorally useful constituencies across the country

Three incentives encourage presidents to be particularistic.  First, presidents do indeed have a national constituency.  However, voters do not directly choose the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Rather, the Electoral College does.  Over the past thirty years, an increasingly small number of states have wielded disproportionate influence in selecting the next president.  Presidents have strong incentives to target federal resources to court voters in swing states.

But presidents are more than just reelection-seekers.  They are also partisan leaders.  As such, presidents pursue policies that systematically channel federal dollars disproportionately to parts of the country that form the backbone of their partisan base.

Finally, to succeed legislatively, presidents must build coalitions.  In contemporary politics, presidents have been forced to rely heavily, often almost exclusively, on co-partisans in Congress to advance their legislative agendas.  To court favor on Capitol Hill and to maintain their party’s strength in Congress, presidents also have incentives to reward constituencies that elect co-partisans to the legislature with bigger shares of federal largesse.

Analyzing the geographic allocation of all federal grant dollars from 1984 through 2008, we find evidence of all three forms of presidential particularism.  The result is massive presidentially induced inequalities in the allocation of federal dollars across the country.

Controlling for a host of factors that shape the amount of grant spending different parts of the country receive, we find that presidents systematically channel a disproportionate share of federal dollars to swing states.  Our analysis shows that communities in swing states consistently receive more federal grant dollars than comparable communities in uncompetitive states.  Moreover, presidents are particularly eager to court voters in swing states as the next election approaches.  In presidential election years, constituencies in swing states receive even larger infusions of federal grant dollars.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2015/04/06/presidents-create-political-inequality-by-allocating-federal-dollars-to-electorally-useful-constituencies-across-the-country/

NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

My goal is for this to be a weekly political update…sharing political news and analysis that should be of interest to most activists.

Please share.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook.

On Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/sanuzis

On Twitter at:

@sanuzis

My blog “That’s Saul Folks” with Weekly Musings & more:

http://thatssaulfolks.com/

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$31 Million Super PAC Stories

“GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz vaulted to the top tier of the 2016 money race Wednesday, as supporters announced that super PACs backing his bid had raised $31 million in a single week.

The haul — which ranks as one of the biggest fundraising surges in modern presidential history — served as a sudden wake-up call for the rest of the likely Republican field, particularly Jeb Bush, who until now had enjoyed his status as the premier fundraiser in the contest’s early stage.” Washington Post 4-8-15

Ted Cruz

Network of ‘Super PACs’ Says That It Has Raised $31 Million for Ted Cruz Bid

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/us/super-pacs-network-quickly-raises-31-million-for-ted-cruz.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Groups backing Ted Cruz raise $31 million in a single week

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/groups-backing-ted-cruz-raise-31-million-in-a-single-week/2015/04/08/36defc18-de0c-11e4-a1b8-2ed88bc190d2_story.html

Cruz answers Rand with $31 million bombshell

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/04/08/cruz-answers-rand-with-31-million-bombshell/

Exclusive: New Ted Cruz Super-PACs Take in Record Haul

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-08/exclusive-new-ted-cruz-super-pacs-take-in-record-haul

Exclusive: New Ted Cruz Super-PACs Take in Record Haul

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/08/mark-halperin-unprecedented-31-million-super-pac-effort-backing-ted-cruz-for-president/

Yes, Ted Cruz super PACs are expected to rake in $31 million….in a single week

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/04/08/yes-ted-cruz-super-pacs-are-expected-to-rake-in-31-million-in-a-single-week/

Cruz super-PACs make $31 million haul in first week of campaign

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/04/08/cruz-super-pacs-make-31-million-haul-in-first-week-of-campaign/

Ted Cruz super PACs are raising ‘eye-popping’ amounts of cash http://www.businessinsider.com/ted-cruz-super-pacs-raising-31-million-2015-4?op=1

Pro-Cruz Super PACs Expect $31 Million First-Week Haul

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/08/3-super-pacs-set-back-cruzs-2016-campaign/

Network of Cruz super PACs boasts big haul

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/08/politics/ted-cruz-super-pacs/index.html

Ted Cruz’s Fundraising Hauls Are Off The Charts

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/danieldoherty/2015/04/08/rand-paul-interview-with-hannity-n1982361

 

and then…

Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign Launch Destroyed Rand Paul’s On Facebook

http://www.nationaljournal.com/2016-elections/ted-cruz-s-presidential-campaign-launch-destroyed-rand-paul-s-on-facebook-20150408

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Cruz Super PACs Raise $31 Million

Wow!!!  Talk About a Game Changer…

Ted Cruz Big Flag

CRUZ SUPER PACS RAISE $31 MILLION

 Newly Formed Network of Affiliated PACs Launch Significant Effort to Boost Senator Cruz’s 2016 Presidential Bid

 Four PACs, One Team, One Goal: Cruz Elected President

Four affiliated Super PACs operating under the name “Keep the Promise” (Keep the Promise PAC; Keep the Promise I; Keep the Promise II; and Keep the Promise III) have registered as Independent Expenditure-Only Committees with the Federal Election Committee. FEC filing documents are attached.

Collectively, Keep the Promise Super PACs will collect and deposit contributions in excess of 31 million dollars this week from multiple donors. Keep the Promise’s network of Super PACs will file their disclosure reports with the FEC as required. Donors, vendors, and other relevant information will be disclosed at that time.

Leading the financial charge for Keep the Promise network of Super PACs will be a group of close, personal friends and strong supporters of Senator Cruz from around the country, who share his vision of restoring “the Miracle of America”. Serving as the Treasurer of Keep the Promise PAC, Keep the Promise II, and Keep the Promise III will be Dathan Voelter, an Austin-based CPA and attorney who has strong personal and family ties to Senator Cruz.

“We’re just getting started,” stated Keep the Promise PAC Treasurer Dathan Voelter. “We are committed to raising the resources necessary to promote Senator Cruz in his effort to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.”

“Our goal is to guarantee Senator Cruz can compete against any candidate,” Voelter added. “Supporters of the Senator now have a powerful vehicle with the resources necessary to aid in his effort to secure the Republican nomination and win back The White House.”

As Voelter further commented, “the Keep the Promise network of PACs is here to make the sure the common-sense, conservative message of Senator Cruz reaches as many ears as possible across America. Keep the Promise can provide the ‘appropriate air cover’ in the battle against Senator Cruz’s opponents in the Washington establishment and on the political left. We plan to support the effort of millions of courageous conservatives who believe 2016 is our last opportunity to ‘keep the promise’ of America for future generations.

 

Exclusive: New Ted Cruz Super-PACs Take in Record Haul

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-08/exclusive-new-ted-cruz-super-pacs-take-in-record-haul

Yes, Ted Cruz super PACs are expected to rake in $31 million….in a single week

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/04/08/yes-ted-cruz-super-pacs-are-expected-to-rake-in-31-million-in-a-single-week/

Cruz super-PACs make $31 million haul in first week of campaign

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/04/08/cruz-super-pacs-make-31-million-haul-in-first-week-of-campaign/

Ted Cruz super PACs are raising ‘eye-popping’ amounts of cash http://www.businessinsider.com/ted-cruz-super-pacs-raising-31-million-2015-4?op=1

Pro-Cruz Super PACs Expect $31 Million First-Week Haul

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/08/3-super-pacs-set-back-cruzs-2016-campaign/

Network of Cruz super PACs boasts big haul

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/08/politics/ted-cruz-super-pacs/index.html

and then…

Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign Launch Destroyed Rand Paul’s On Facebook

http://www.nationaljournal.com/2016-elections/ted-cruz-s-presidential-campaign-launch-destroyed-rand-paul-s-on-facebook-20150408

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Weekly Musing 4-5-15

Weekly Musing 4-5-15

Saul Anuzis

Easter Sunday

He has risen…

The Left wages total war and then plays victim

Religious liberty is the terms of surrender the Right is requesting in the culture war. It is conservative America saying to the cultural and political elites, you have your gay marriage, your no-fault divorce, your obscene music and television, your indoctrinating public schools and your abortion-on-demand. May we please be allowed to not participate in these?

But no. Tolerance isn’t the goal. Religious conservatives must atone for their heretical views with acts of contrition: Bake me a cake, photograph my wedding, pay for my abortion and my contraception.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/the-left-wages-total-war-and-then-plays-victim/article/2562342

Apparently Tolerance is out?!?  The Culture War We’re in.

This culture war we’re in is slow and subtle. It’s not always as loud and as obvious as the counterculture was. The purpose of the counterculture was to shatter the dominant culture. Once that was done, the culture could be slowly cannibalized at will until the counterculture became the culture. And then it was no longer about freedom or free anything, those were the disruptive tools used to drive youth recruitment with a facade of anarchy, and it became about conformity and control. This culture of conformity and control is still being sold as ‘rebellious’ when it’s just the establishment. We no longer have a culture. We have a counterculture that occasionally masquerades as the culture. But it’s not over yet. A culture war destroys the culture of the other side because that is the source of its values. To completely destroy the other side, its values must be destroyed as an abstract, its organization must be destroyed to prevent those values from being conveyed and the individual’s own values must be destroyed, in that order. Destroying the values of every single individual is the most difficult part of this project. Destroying values as an abstract idea is the easiest. That’s why the left has made its greatest gains there.

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2015/04/this-culture-war-were-in.html

Indiana’s Law Is Not the Return of Jim Crow The federal RFRA was passed in 1993, in response to a Supreme Court decision holding that Native Americans weren’t exempt from anti-drug laws barring the use of peyote, even for religious ceremonies.

In response, Congress passed a law barring the government from putting a burden on religious practice without a compelling state interest. If someone feels their religious rights have been violated, they can go to court and make their case. That’s it. Jim Crow laws forced people to discriminate. RFRA doesn’t force anybody to do anything. The original RFRA was a good and just law championed by then-representative Chuck Schumer and opposed by right-wing bogeyman Jesse Helms. It passed the Senate 97-3 and was signed by President Bill Clinton. In 1997, the Supreme Court held that RFRA was too broad and could not be applied to states. So, various state governments passed their own versions. Twenty states have close to the same version as the federal government’s, and a dozen more have similar rules in their constitutions.

These states include such anti-gay bastions as Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Illinois, where, as a state senator, Barack Obama voted in favor of the law. The law says nothing about gays and was most famously used to keep the Obama administration from forcing Hobby Lobby and nuns from paying for certain kinds of abortion-inducing birth control. “This big gay freak-out is purely notional,” according to legal writer Gabriel Malor (who is gay). “No RFRA has ever been used successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination, not in 20 years of RFRAs nationwide.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416248/indianas-law-not-return-jim-crow-jonah-goldberg

Liberals against Religious Liberty in Indiana Indiana has adopted a state-level version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), thereby imposing a “strict scrutiny” legal standard when the state government or local powers pass laws that interfere with the free exercise of religion. For this, Governor Mike Pence and Indiana’s legislators have been denounced as gay-hating monsters, a claim that was never made about President Bill Clinton, who signed the federal RFRA, or about the people and powers of such liberal states as Connecticut, which is one of the 20 states with a RFRA. Another dozen or so states have constitutional provisions similar to those in RFRA. Indiana’s law is controversial for two possible reasons.

The first is political: Democrats, unhappily laboring under the largest Republican congressional majority since before the New Deal, are looking to pick fights over issues such as gay rights, abortion, and environmental regulation, believing that this will help their fund-raising and invigorate their demoralized partisans. The second reason might be more substantive: Indiana’s law, like some other state RFRAs (but unlike the federal statute, which has been interpreted in different ways by different courts), expressly states that it allows religious practice to be raised as a defense not only when the government is a party to the controversy but also in litigation undertaken by private parties under state law — including laws that prohibit discrimination against homosexuals. Which is to say, this is another skirmish in the endless battle of the Big Gay Wedding Cake. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416152/liberals-against-religious-liberty-indiana-editors

Iran Obama

Just a Piece of Paper  – Obama got his deal, but can he trust Iran to keep its word?

Any deal that preserves Iran’s current nuclear infrastructure and allows it to continue its progress toward becoming a nuclear power should be dead on arrival in Congress, in the British Parliament, in the Duma and just about any other important place. Obama is doing America and the world no favors if he assumes he can trust the mullahs.

It would be nice to believe the committee and others who have panned the agreement are wrong, but it would be foolish to presume so. Whether it ultimately makes Obama and Kerry worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize (which would be the president’s second) or secures for them places in the hall of global goats, their pictures hanging next to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, is something we are all going to have to wait to find out – if we live that long. On the other hand, that may just be how we find out we were wrong to have placed our trust in the Iranian despots because of signatures on a piece of paper rather than on concrete, verifiable actions.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2015/04/03/obama-gets-his-iran-nuclear-deal-but-was-it-worth-it?int=a39d09&int=a55a09

Great White Hope: Why Some Dems Are Moving Right

Republicans are debating whether their path to the presidency in 2016 runs through the blue-collar Rust Belt states, or the demographically changing new South and Sunbelt states. For Democrats looking to retake the Senate, however, the formula is more clear-cut: Win back white working-class voters, or be consigned to a longer-term minority.

Most of the Senate battlegrounds run through the Midwest—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio—along with New Hampshire, which carries demographic similarities with those older, whiter Great Lakes states. To defeat the vulnerable Republican incumbents, Democrats have a challenging task ahead: Making inroads with blue-collar voters, who have been stubbornly resistant to the party’s agenda since Barack Obama’s time as president.

It’s no coincidence that Democrats are turning to candidates with biographies tailored to appeal to this constituency. Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth announced her candidacy Monday against Sen. Mark Kirk by touting her working-class upbringing and service in the military. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who represented a blue-collar district in the House, is the expected Democratic nominee against Sen. Rob Portman. Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, a populist who championed campaign-finance reform during his last Senate tenure, is eyeing a comeback against the businessman who defeated him in 2010. And former three-star Navy Admiral Joe Sestak, a former two-term congressman from the working-class Philadelphia suburbs, is an early front-runner to face a rematch against Sen. Pat Toomey.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/against-the-grain/great-white-hope-why-some-dems-are-moving-right-20150331

A Democrats Perspective: America’s Hinge Moment – Presidential politics in 2016 will reflect the shifting reality of America.

Despite the upheaval Americans are experiencing, voting patterns in presidential elections have remained virtually unchanged for the past 25 years—with the majority of states voting the same way in the last six elections. That’s not unexpected, even at a time of great change, because elections, in fact, historically have served as lagging indicators—not leading ones—of the direction of the country. Rather than forecasting the future, election results help us make better sense of the past.

The current era in presidential politics has been defined by deep partisan divisions over the same issues and static voting behavior tied to race, ethnicity, gender, age and geography. Even though Democrats have won the popular vote in five out of the past six presidential elections, they have only once been able to get more than 51 percent of the vote.

Now, though, there are signs that the transformation is starting to pick up steam in our elections. Even though we have yet to feel the full impact at the ballot box we’re nearing a shift that will signal an inevitable political earthquake.

Years from now we are going to look back at this period of time and see it as a “hinge” moment, a term Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson used to describe a connection point that ties two historical periods in time, one before and one afterwards.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/2016-predictions-americas-sosnik-clinton-116480.html#.VRgL1-90wqM

 

World Religions

The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050

The religious profile of the world is rapidly changing, driven primarily by differences in fertility rates and the size of youth populations among the world’s major religions, as well as by people switching faiths. Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion. If current trends continue, by 2050 …

The number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world.

Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion – though increasing in countries such as the United States and France – will make up a declining share of the world’s total population.

The global Buddhist population will be about the same size it was in 2010, while the Hindu and Jewish populations will be larger than they are today.

In Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population.

India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia.

In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050, and Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion. Muslims will be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.

Four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.

These are among the global religious trends highlighted in new demographic projections by the Pew Research Center. The projections take into account the current size and geographic distribution of the world’s major religions, age differences, fertility and mortality rates, international migration and patterns in conversion.

http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/

NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

Stay In Touch…Feel Free to Share

My goal is for this to be a weekly political update…sharing political news and analysis that should be of interest to most activists.

Please share.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook.

On Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/sanuzis

On Twitter at:

@sanuzis

My blog “That’s Saul Folks” with Weekly Musings & more:

http://thatssaulfolks.com/

Thanks again for all you do!

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Weekly Musing 3-29-15

Weekly Musing 3-29-15

Saul Anuzis

Ted Cruz Family Announcement 2

Courageous Conservative – reigniting the Miracle of America!

I made my contribution…will you make yours?  Join me!

https://donate.tedcruz.org/c/FBMI0001/

Cruz’s strategy: Destroy the ‘mushy middle’

Ted Cruz premises his presidential hopes on the proposition that anti-establishment voters of all stripes won’t settle again for a nominee like Mitt Romney or John McCain. And the Texas senator believes that he has as good a chance as anyone to emerge as the leading alternative to Jeb Bush or whoever else becomes the favorite of what he likes to call “the mushy middle.”Cruz is not closely identified with issues like abortion and has not been covered as one of the evangelical candidates in the 2016 field. So his decision to formally kick off his presidential campaign at Liberty University in rural Virginia on Monday surprised many Republicans, including social conservative stalwarts from the camps of Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

Advisers to the 44-year-old say he is not trying to repackage himself as primarily a social conservative. Instead, the senator’s team sees four brackets in the GOP primary field: the tea party, evangelicals, libertarians and establishment Republicans. The goal, they explain, is to establish Cruz as the first choice of tea partyers and become at least the second choice of evangelicals.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/cruzs-strategy-destroy-the-mushy-middle-116326.html?hp=c2_3

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz declares candidacy, vows to ‘reignite the promise of America’

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas announced Monday that he is running for president, making him the first official candidate in the 2016 race for the White House                         .

“I believe God isn’t done with America yet,” Mr. Cruz said during a speech at Liberty University , sending a strong signal that he plans to compete for the evangelical Christians that traditionally play a big role in the GOP nomination race.

“I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise in America,” he said. “And that is why today I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States.”

The big question for Mr. Cruz is whether he can build a big enough coalition to claim the mantle of the conservative alternative to the establishment candidate in a Republican race that will likely also feature former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“He potentially can rebuild the Reagan coalition by adding a populist, anti-Washington message that attracted disaffected Democrats and Independents,” said Craig Shirley, a biographer of President Reagan.

Liberty University was founded in 1971 by the late Jerry Falwell, the televangelist preacher who also led the formation of the moral majority that helped propel Ronald Reagan to the presidency in the 1980 election.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/23/ted-cruz-declares-candidacy-christian-college/

Meet Ted Cruz, “The Republican Barack Obama”

No member of the 113th Congress will arrive in Washington with as much hype as Cruz, who in late July survived one of the most expensive primaries in Texas history to knock off Gov. Rick Perry’s second-in-command, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. George Will calls Cruz, the Princeton- and Harvard Law School-educated son of a former Cuban revolutionary, “as good as it gets”; National Review dubbed him “the next great conservative hope,” gushing that “Cruz is to public speaking what Michael Phelps was to swimming.” Political strategist Mark McKinnon channeled the thinking of many in the party when he proclaimed Cruz “the Republican Barack Obama.” He is, with apologies to fellow Cuban American Marco Rubio, the up-and-comer du jour of the conservative movement.

Cruz, who turns 42 in December, represents an amalgam of far-right dogmas—a Paulian distaste for international law; a Huckabee-esque strain of Christian conservatism; and a Perry-like reverence for the 10th Amendment, which he believes grants the states all powers not explicitly outlined in the Constitution while severely curtailing the federal government’s authority to infringe on them. Toss in a dose of Alex P. Keaton and a dash of Cold War nostalgia, and you’ve got a tea party torch carrier the establishment can embrace.

…Cruz’s worldview has remained unflinchingly consistent. Challenged at a Federalist Society panel in 2010 to defend his proposal to convene a constitutional convention to draft new amendments aimed at scaling back federal power, he paraphrased his 21-year-old self: “If one embraces the views of Madison…which is that men are not angels and that elected politicians will almost always seek to expand their power, then the single most effective way to restrain government power is to provide a constraint they can’t change.”

One thing had changed, though, in the two decades since Cruz penned his thesis: His views had started to creep from the fringe to the fore.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/ted-cruz-texas-gop-senate

3 Reasons Ted Cruz Could Win

Welcome to Thunderdome, Ted Cruz!  And wow, that’s a video straight out of the consultant minds of Veep. Maybe throw in a puppy? Seriously, though, if announcing via Twitter is the new thing, I’m all for it. It could’ve saved us sending a reporter to Lynchburg this morning. Maybe somebody will announce via Meerkat and we can all stay at our desks and not drive somewhere to see candidates give the same speech they gave at CPAC but with a couple more paragraphs? It’d save us all a lot of time and it’d be environmentally friendly, too. Lower your carbon footprint: announce by Tweet.

The Acela corridor mindset about Ted Cruz is basically: “he has no path”, “why is he doing this”, or “he’s a disruptive pain in the butt and should shut up and go away”. Allow me to quote one of the emails I received last night on this topic: “he’s a disruptive pain in the butt and should shut up and go away”. Yes, I understand that Cruz’s approach to politics and speechmaking rubs some people the wrong way, but there is actually a counterintuitive case to be made that he has a clearer path to the nomination than his critics might like.

http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/23/3-reasons-ted-cruz-could-win/

Of Course Ted Cruz Could Win

“Reagan can’t win, Ford says.” That’s the 1976 version. The 1980 New York Times version, with the nearly identical headline: “Ford Declares Reagan Can’t Win.” Ford was really quite sure of himself: “Every place I go, and everything I hear, there is a growing, growing sentiment that Governor Reagan cannot win the election.” New York magazine: “The reason Reagan can’t win. . . . ” “Preposterous,” sociologist Robert Coles wrote about the idea of a Reagan victory.

The founder of this magazine worried that Reagan simply could not win in 1980, and several National Review luminaries quietly hoped that George H. W. Bush would be the nominee. There were serious, thoughtful conservatives who thought in 1980 that their best hope was to have Daniel Patrick Moynihan run as a Democrat that year, while many others were looking to ex-Democrat John Connally to carry the conservative banner on the GOP side. Things have a funny way of working out differently than expected. (And then much, much differently.)

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/415924/course-ted-cruz-could-win-kevin-d-williamson

Michigan for Ted Cruz

Here is where a bunch of Michigan supporters for Ted Cruz who are gathering to share information.

https://www.facebook.com/Michiganfortedcruz?pnref=story

Republican Bracketology

Maybe the biggest recent development has been in the Tea Party/Populist bracket. Rand Paul was the early leader here, but Ted Cruz’s impressive performance in his announcement speech at Liberty University elevates him to running even with Paul. Cruz’s stock was probably undervalued early on, as few seemed to appreciate his impressive intellect and communications skills. (He wasn’t a championship debater in college for nothing.) Instead, pundits focused on his often acerbic and polarizing manner on Capitol Hill. Cruz’s reception in Congress brings to mind the old joke about a guy asking, “Why do people immediately dislike me so much?” The response: “Because it saves time.”

But at a dinner I attended with a small number of journalists and Cruz last year, he didn’t come across as a jerk or a bully. Instead, he seemed like a very smart guy who may be less attentive than he ought to be to the feelings and reactions of others. More important, unlike the libertarian Paul, he doesn’t have unorthodox positions that could put him at odds with some conservative voters.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/the-cook-report/republican-candidates-2016-20150327

20 Republicans who are gearing up to run for president

As many as 20 Republicans are taking a serious look at running for the White House in 2016. A handful of candidates have moved aggressively into the field, and others are expected to ramp up in the coming weeks, with several announcements expected in April.

Recent races haven’t attracted such a large and unsettled field before, and time is sure to winnow the contenders before the first debate in August 2015.

In 2011, as many as nine Republicans participated in one early debate. The field of declared candidates in that cycle was never greater than 10 at any one time.

Here are the 20 Republicans likely to make a run for the GOP nomination.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/236476-20-republicans-wholl-run-for-president

Republicans Have Little to Fear From a Divisive Primary

In reality, winning a nomination fight elevates the stature of the victor, who quickly brings partisans into the fold (especially during conventions), offsetting any damage to party loyalty or unity that the primary might seem to have incurred. By the time of the general election, the state of the economy plays a dominant role in determining who wins and loses, not whether one party’s candidates were mean to one another at a time when relatively few people were paying attention.

Moreover, while the winning candidate may have to spend more money or campaign harder to win in a divisive primary, he or she can also benefit from the organizational efforts required to win a tough primary fight. President Obama, for instance, seemed to perform slightly better during the 2008 general election in states that were more competitive during his nomination fight against Mrs. Clinton.

Why, then, is belief in the theory of divisive primaries so pervasive? One factor is the seeming correlation between divisive presidential primaries and general election losses. But vulnerable incumbents tend to attract credible challengers, whereas strong incumbents do not. When researchers take the state of the economy and the approval ratings of the president into account, the relationship disappears.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/upshot/republicans-have-little-to-fear-from-a-divisive-primary.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

Bush and Rubio might swing Florida for the GOP. It probably wouldn’t matter, though.

Put together the chance of a home-state swing and the likelihood of it being decisive, and there’s a 5 percent chance a Florida home-state advantage for Bush/Rubio would swing the presidency in 2016. That dips to 4 percent for Ohio and 2 percent for Wisconsin. This estimate is rough and might be an underestimate, since two of the closest four elections have occurred recently. But even if we look at competitiveness of six elections since 1992, the chance of a Florida or Ohio home state bump swinging the presidency rises to 11 percent — a one in nine shot.

Another reason to be skeptical is looking at the candidates whose home-state advantage was decisive in winning the state. Only one – Benjamin Harrison – actually became president, while many others got trounced. Here’s a comprehensive rundown of how those “wins” played out.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/03/28/bush-and-rubio-might-swing-florida-for-the-gop-it-probably-wouldnt-matter-though/

Some Americans paying attention – favorability rating dropped from 38% to 26% since the email scandal.

Most Americans (65 percent) say their opinion of Clinton has not changed in the wake of the email controversy, but 29 percent say their opinion of her has grown worse. Forty-nine percent of Republicans say their opinion of her is worse, as do 28 percent of independents.

More generally, 26 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton, while 37 percent view her unfavorably; another third are undecided or don’t have an opinion of her. As Clinton weighs a presidential bid, her favorable views are 12 points lower than they were in the fall of 2013, just months after leaving her position as secretary of state. Her unfavorable views have ticked up slightly, but the percentage that is undecided about her has risen eight points.

Clinton’s highest favorable rating in CBS News polling occurred in March 2009, early in her tenure as Secretary of State, when 58 percent of Americans viewed her favorably. Clinton received her lowest favorable rating – 24 percent – in June 2003, soon after the publication of her memoir Living History.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/views-on-hillary-clinton-and-the-email-controversy/?utm_campaign=buffer&utm_content=buffer18ee8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com

China’s Fragile Evolution

Last week, China’s anti-corruption campaign took a significant turn, though a largely overlooked one. The Supreme People’s Court released a statement accusing former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, the highest-ranked official thus far implicated in China’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign, of having “trampled the law, damaged unity within the Communist Party, and conducted non-organizational political activities.” In Chinese bureaucratic speak, this was only a few steps shy of confirming earlier rumors that Zhou and his former political ally and one-time rising political star from Chongqing, Bo Xilai, had plotted a coup to pre-empt or repeal the political ascension of Chinese President and Party General Secretary Xi Jinping. Thus, the court’s statement marks a radical departure from the hitherto depoliticized official language of the anti-corruption campaign.

Of course, it has long been clear that the Xi administration’s anti-corruption campaign is far more than just a fight against graft — it is also a political purge designed to tighten the new leadership’s control over Party, government and military apparatuses. But up to now, official language on the anti-corruption campaign has been couched in terms of fighting graft and abuse of power “for personal gain.” So far as we are aware, very few if any official statements have alluded to “political activities” by suspects — and certainly none concerning high-profile figures like Zhou, whose position at the top of the country’s energy industry and domestic security apparatus made him one of the most powerful Chinese politicians of the 2000s. Whatever the court’s precise intent, that it chose language even hinting at a coup by Bo and Zhou is extraordinary.

If we accept that the use of a phrase like “non-organizational political activities” is significant, then we have to ask what the decision to use that phrase at this time may signify. To our minds, two possible interpretations stand out. First, it could mark a nascent shift in the way Chinese authorities frame the anti-corruption campaign and imply that going forward the campaign will become more overtly political. Second, it could signal that Xi and his allies, confident of having fully eliminated any threat posed by Zhou and his associates, are acknowledging an end to one phase of the anti-corruption campaign — the elimination of competing factions — and are now embarking on the further consolidation of authority and control over the far reaches of the bureaucracy.

If the former interpretation is correct, the anti-corruption campaign is about to get more brutal and potentially more destabilizing, as it moves from a relatively focused purge and general cleansing of the Party to a full-on assault against those who have the strength to challenge Xi’s nascent authoritarianism. According to the latter hypothesis, with the would-be challengers routed and acknowledged as anti-Party plotters, and with political power firmly centralized under Xi and his allies, China’s leaders can now put politics aside and move on to the more difficult and important task of building a government ready to manage the profound social and political disruptions that will almost certainly accompany China’s economic slowdown.

…The fundamental question, however, is whether China has time for an evolutionary change. Other Asian nations that underwent significant economic and political transformation, from Meiji-era Japan to Park Chung-hee’s South Korea, each made more radical and rapid changes — something that may be forced upon China’s leaders. But each did so with the attending major social disruption and a heavy hand in domestic security. Major economic overhauls are messy affairs, and China has decades of dead wood to trim from its economy due to the lingering effects of Mao’s intentional drive to ensure massive industrial redundancy, as well as to mismanagement and frequent unprofitability among state companies.

Although Singapore and even Prussia may be idealized models for China as countries that were able to transform and retain tight central authority, Lee Kuan Yew and the kaiser never had to manage a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, more than two-thirds of whom have effectively been left behind over three decades of promises that everyone would get rich in the end. As China tries to transition away from low-end manufacturing and economic stimulus driven by government-financed construction, it is the low end of the economic spectrum that will be disproportionally affected. A gradual shift in its economic model would allow China to slowly metabolize these displaced workers, but it is far from certain that China has the time to allow for this slow change, as the rest of the global economy is shifting with or without Chinese consensus.

https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/chinas-fragile-evolution?utm_source=freelist-f&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Gweekly&utm_campaign=20150324&mc_cid=00cc8cbed1&mc_eid=d9d5b956f2

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