Weekly Musing 6-14-15
Days until the 2015 election: 141. Days until the 2016 election: 512.
Sorry for the delay today, had some “prep work” to do at our camp that took my weekend away:)
GOP adds two ‘forums’ to Aug. 6 debate amid pressure over criteria
The inaugural Republican primary debate on Aug. 6 is now slated to be joined by two separate “forums” sponsored by the New Hampshire Union Leader and Fox News, respectively, those organizations announced Wednesday night.
The sudden addition of these forums, where candidates speak directly to an audience one at a time, reflects the growing pressure on Fox News to expand its debate coverage beyond the party’s current criteria, which will limit the debate to the top 10 candidates according to national polls. Republicans in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire fear that such criteria will take the spotlight off their state and exclude candidates who may be popular among local voters despite low national recognition.
Joseph McQuaid, the publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader, announced Wednesday that his paper would host its own Republican primary forum on C-SPAN on Aug. 6, in order to combat what its publisher described as Fox’s “threat to the first-in-the-nation primary.” Fox’s decision to “‘winnow’ the field of candidates” ahead of the New Hampshire primary “isn’t just bad for New Hampshire,” McQuaid said, “it’s bad for the presidential selection process by limiting the field to only the best-known few with the biggest bankrolls.”
Two hours later, Fox News EVP Michael Clemente announced that his netowrk would also host a 90-minute forum Aug. 6 featuring the candidates who do not qualify for the primetime GOP primary debate. Clemente and the network stressed that this was part of a longstanding plan to add additional coverage for candidates who did not meet the critera for the first debate.
How Do Presidential Candidates Spend $1 Billion?
Four years ago, Barack Obama spent $750 million to secure a second term in the White House. For comparison, that’s enough money to send a man to the moon.
As the long march to 2016 begins—14 candidates declared, more coming soon—analysts already expect total fundraising to break records. But how can one campaign possibly spend that much money?
To answer that question, National Journal used data from the Federal Election Commission and The Center For Responsive Politics to break down President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign expenditures.
As it turns out, campaigns spend money on a lot of things: everything from event spaces to travel to consulting—not to mention advertising and video production. Thanks to the Center, we can translate often-fuzzy Federal Election Commission filings into consistent categories to see the bigger picture.
What we found: Elections are all about advertising. A few companies receive the lion’s share of campaign funds. This cycle independent expenditures by super PACs are poised to shoot higher than ever—possibly outspending campaigns.
Why Hillary Clinton Is Underwater
Hillary Clinton announced her presidential candidacy roughly eight weeks ago and since then, a few things have become apparent.
On the positive side for her, she has put together a first-class team of professionals, a blending of some of the younger people from her 2008 campaign who have gone on to impressive careers since then, a second group of very talented pros from the Obama 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and a third, smaller group of inner-circle folks from Hillaryland to create a comfort zone—familiar faces that know and understand her, and visa versa. Her campaign launch seemed quite successful and designed to draw a contrast with the royal trappings of her previous presidential effort.
On the negative side, a decision was made early on—by whom, it is not clear—to keep the media at a distance, to make her generally unavailable for questions. As predictable as the sun coming up in the east, this resulted in several weeks of sustained negative coverage emphasizing the arrogance and aloofness of her candidacy and campaign. This was precisely what the carefully planned and executed launch and rollout was designed to prevent. At one point, counts were publicized of how many days since she had last answered a media question and even counts of total questions answered since her announcement. And there was the factoid that her husband, whose political career is over, had answered more media questions than the current presidential contender. In reporters’ minds, a candidate can never be accessible enough; they would prefer that all candidates and elected officials be permanently hooked with a sodium pentothal drip. Given that Hillary Clinton has a pretty facile mind and is less accident-prone than most candidates, the strategy invited negative coverage and undercut the central message that they were trying to convey.
While stories about her State Department emails dominated the early news for awhile, there is little evidence that they had an appreciable impact on Democratic voters—or for that matter, general-election swing voters. Subsequent coverage that raised questions about Clinton Foundation fundraising and the correlation between her husband’s speeches, foundation contributions, and decisions during her tenure at the State Department does appear to have taken its toll on her numbers.
The Deadly Consequences of Draconian Gun Laws Alas, in order to discourage the citizenry from buying firearms, eleven states have added another — wholly redundant — layer to the sequence, demanding by law that would-be purchasers acquire a permit prior to entering the store. In those jurisdictions it is necessary for buyers to pay a fee and to submit a host of personal information before they receive the government’s seal of approval. Alarmingly, that seal can take up to eight months to be delivered. Thus do many at-risk Americans find themselves in a tricky position: They need a gun to defend themselves or their homes right now, and yet the only way they can legally purchase one is to submit to a long-term and wholly unpredictable bureaucratic process. If you’re in a hurry — as Carol Bowne was — this is a substantial problem. Arguably, abiding by the rules cost Bowne her life. … There can be few clearer illustrations of the folly of draconian firearms regulations than this. The killer was a convicted felon who had previously been found guilty of weapons offenses and aggravated assault, and who is now on the run from federal authorities. The victim was a “bubbly, well-liked,” law-abiding woman who did not want to run afoul of the government even when she sensed that her life was in danger. If “government” is just another word for the things we do together, then, frankly, we failed — and damnably. All Carol Bowne asked was that she be permitted to exercise her right to protect herself in her own home; instead, she ended up bleeding to death in her driveway, as the paper-pushers and know-it-alls decided whether they would deign to indulge her request, and her killer sped away, without fear of retaliation or injury.
The Federalist Papers – A FREE Course from Hillsdale College
There is no better aid to understanding the principles of constitutional government than The Federalist Papers. That’s why Hillsdale College is offering a new course, “The Federalist Papers,” for FREE.
Written between October 1787 and August 1788, The Federalist Papers is a collection of newspaper essays written in defense of the Constitution. Writing under the penname Publius, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay explain the merits of the proposed Constitution, while confronting objections raised by its opponents. Thomas Jefferson described the work as “the best commentary on the principles of government, which ever was written.”
The course is delivered via email, with one lesson per week over ten weeks. Each lesson features lively discussion boards, suggested readings, and weekly quizzes.
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