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    2016 Election Tag

    When it comes to the Obama administration, George W. Bush doesn't want to talk about it. Correction: he doesn't normally want to talk about it. Since Bush left office, he has kept remarkably (and some say refreshingly) quiet about politics, policy, and the wrecking ball that is Team Obama. It's a testament to his class, and throws into sharp relief the grasping desperation of the "But BUSH" crowd. At a recent meeting with donors at the Republican Jewish Coalition, however, Bush let fly some long-held criticisms of Obama's policy toward Iran, the war against ISIS, and Vladimir Putin.
    The former first remarked that the idea of re-entering the political arena was something he didn’t want to do. He then proceeded to explain why Obama, in his view, was placing the U.S. in "retreat" around the world. He also said Obama was misreading Iran’s intentions while relaxing sanctions on Tehran too easily. According to the attendee's transcription, Bush noted that Iran has a new president, Hassan Rouhani. “He's smooth," Bush said. "And you’ve got to ask yourself, is there a new policy or did they just change the spokesman?”

    Is the 2016 GOP field to RINO-y for you? Hillary too full of hogwash and O'Malley too boring? Are you looking for a candidate who graduated from the School of Hard Knocks? Then Waka Flocka Flame might just be the candidate you're looking for... or not. Juaquin James Malphurs or Waka Flocka, is a rapper from Atlanta. He also announced his presidential candidacy Monday (which was not so coincidentally 4/20). According to Rolling Stone:
    Two years ago, Waka Flocka Flame made a promise. "I'm dead ass running for president in 2016," the Atlanta rapper tweeted. The date was November 6th, 2012. Today, he's keeping his word. In a high-level meeting with Rolling Stone today, on April 20th, 2015, Waka declared his candidacy for the next President of the United States, with DJ Whoo Kid as his running mate.

    Hillary is supposed to announce her presidential run at 3 p.m. Eastern today. In the run up, the notorious Clinton smear machine already is lashing out at critics. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, a progressive, made a reasonable statement that he wanted to hear more about her vision before he formally endorsed her: The response for Democratic operative Hillary Rosen (who famously disparaged Ann Romney), was a not too thinly veiled threat. Meanwhile, Hillary critics are being smeared as sexist by Democratic operatives at Think Progress and Media Matters:

    When discussing Hillary Clinton's email and server scandal, I dismissed arguments that the scandal in and of itself would sink Hillary's impending campaign. There are far too many powerful people invested in Hillary for President to let mere paranoid and obsessive control coupled with destruction of evidence stop Hillary. In fact, to Hillary's core supporters, paranoid and obsessive control coupled with destruction of evidence is a feature, not a bug. Rather, I argued that the damage from Emailgate (or is it Servergate or Deletegate?) was in shaping Hillary's image for voters who never knew the Hillary older voters know:
    While it’s way too early to assess the overall damage to Hillary Incorporated from the email, now document destruction, scandal, is does appear to be hurting Team Billary in ways that are hard to change: Public perception of a politician. While Billary is dreadfully tiresome and transparently faux in its lack of transparency, to much of the electorate Billary is simply a nice old lady with a grandchild. Well, she does have a grandchild, but that’s about where the nice ends. And that unhappy end product of a secretive, controlling, fear-mongering, basically incompetent presidential candidate is coming into public view and that view may be hard to change.
    And there seems to be dramatic movement in that direction, as Hillary's favorability numbers have been dropping steadily.

    The 2016 election is a little over 18 months away which can be a lifetime in the world of politics. It is assumed by most people Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. Martin O'Malley may have something to say about that but as it stands at this point, Hillary is the runaway choice to secure the nomination. As for her potential opponents, the GOP field is still being fleshed out with only Ted Cruz making it official. Two other GOP Senators,  Marco Rubio and Rand Paul are expected to announce their candidacies within the next two weeks. Even though it is early, Hillary cannot be too pleased about some recent polling data that shows her numbers falling:
    Hillary Clinton's lead over her would-be GOP foes has slipped in three critical swing states as the growing controversy over her email use has dominated coverage of the likely Democratic presidential candidate. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush scrapes past Clinton with a three-point lead, still within the margin of error, in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup in Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday. Clinton had a one-point edge in the Florida dead heat Quinnipiac reported in early February. The last two months have also erased Clinton's previously double-digit lead over every other potential GOP contender for the presidency in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    Hillary's midnight tweet may have earned some headlines that spared her from awkward questions about her e-mail habits, but judging by the way this story has simply refused to die, I think we can be sure that it won't be going away any time soon. Under fire, the State Department has agreed to release Clinton's e-mails, but officials are now saying that the process could take months:
    Clinton tried to cool the brewing firestorm late on Wednesday, saying she wanted the State Department to release the emails quickly. But a senior State Department official told Reuters on Thursday the task would take time. "The review is likely to take several months given the sheer volume of the document set," the official said. At the same time, the department is investigating whether Clinton violated policies intended to protect sensitive information when she conducted all of her official business through a personal account while serving as secretary from 2009 to 2013, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing a senior department official.
    It's a convenient (but in all likelihood realistic) timeline, which will give Team Hillary plenty of time to whip out some mirrors and a smoke machine; but if we play our cards right, we have more than enough ammunition to keep the story rolling. We know that she used servers in her own home---and that it's unclear whether or not those servers were approved, or if anyone even checked to see that their use was legal. We also know that both independent groups like Judicial Watch, and the United States Congress, are ready to take this crap sandwich through official channels to see what's inside. We also know that it's gotten to the point where top Dems are pushing the "who gives a shit" line (literally) to the liberal faithful in an attempt to do damage control:

    A new Quinnipiac national poll shows that Republican and Republican-leaning voters may not be as committed to Bush partie trois as many conservative talking heads fear. The poll, conducted from February 26 to March 2, shows that registered voters nationwide who also tend to vote Republican are taking a long look at what a Scott Walker presidency would look like. Walker's 18% get in the poll beats fellow probable candidate Jeb Bush by 2%. Christie and Huckabee come in next at 8% each, with the rest of the field skidding in in the single digits. Here's the breakdown: Q presidential poll mar 2015 These results contrast sharply with the results of the recent CPAC straw poll, which saw Rand Paul winning handily over the rest of his colleagues; however, the straw poll---which was taken by around 3000 activists---also showed a surge in Walker's numbers, so the two sets of data may not be that far apart in terms of an overall trend amongst voters.

    The last time we checked in with the "Duke University Porn Star" Belle Knox, she was complaining about how the disclosure of her new-found adult film career was hurting her sex life. Knox seems to be making a second career out of complaining. She is a featured speaker for Liberty Fest NYC this October, on the high cost of education that she says drove her to her current job.
    Belle Knox (Miriam Weeks) made headlines when it was revealed that she is a Duke University student paying for tuition by doing porn. Belle has used her new found fame to have an honest discussion with Americans about the state of college tuition & the federal government’s wasteful spending.
    I would have more respect for Knox if she put her expensive education on hold and perhaps learned a trade that would provide her the income necessary to get the degree she wants. I would feel exactly the same way if Knox were male, though it seems the porn industry is one in which women earn substantially more than men. Perhaps the current administration could focus on this particular wage gap?

    Ever since the Benghazi attack that killed an American ambassador and three other Americans, Hillary supporting liberals have been calling the incident a non-issue but facts are stubborn things. They'll undoubtedly give the same white wash to the fact that the Clinton Foundation has accepted donations from foreign governments. Yet even MSNBC's Chris Matthews has acknowledged that these issues are serious. Video via the Washington Free Beacon:

    When it comes to talk of banks and money in America, Elizabeth Warren says the game is rigged. In the case of the Clinton Family Foundation, she may have a point. A new ad from American Crossroads uses Elizabeth Warren's own words to skewer the Clintons and the funds they freely take from foreign governments. The Washington Free Beacon reports:
    Ad Featuring Elizabeth Warren Hits Clinton Foundation on Money from Foreign Governments American Crossroads has found the unlikeliest of partners: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.). In an ad released Monday, the Super PAC headed by Karl Rove attacked Clinton for reports that the Clinton Foundation has accepted millions of dollars from countries barred from making political contributions.
    Watch the video. It's short but it makes a powerful point.

    Who is Hillary Clinton? As it turns out, not even her consultants know. At least, not right now, which is why she's added some of the best corporate branding wizards in the business to reimagine her persona in the image of someone fit for the Oval Office. All of this is happening before any sort of formal announcement of her candidacy, which is probably smart considering the image many Americans have of her involves a Senate panel and an ensuing scandal painting her as a heartless government pawn. So what will this revamped image look like? A "winning picture," according to her consultants. Fox News has the story: But even with a rebrand, will Clinton be able to convince people who have watched her for years that she's the change that we need right now? I don't think so, and neither do some Democratic strategists. The problem with Hillary won't necessarily lie in her image; it lies in finding something new for her to offer the American people:

    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has made a name for himself in the fight to roll back union influence. He easily overcame a 2012 recall effort organized by big labor and other progressive interests, and since then has been held up by many conservatives as an example of what Republican leadership should look like. Now considered an emerging contender in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Walker is taking new steps to court both employers, and workers who support right-to-work policies over forced union membership. Legislators in Wisconsin are planning on fast-tracking a new, controversial bill that would make Wisconsin a right-to-work state. Walker had previously urged the legislature to put the issue on the back burner, saying that the revived controversy would conflict with his larger agenda, but after a series of meetings with lawmakers, has agreed to sign on to the effort. That promise has not come without controversy. More from the AP:
    "I think we can do this next week without it getting really ugly," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald on WTMJ radio in Milwaukee. "We'll see next week whether the Capitol blows up. I don't know." Right to work is a "false promise for Wisconsin," said Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, in a prepared statement. "Right to Work will not create jobs and will lower wages for all workers," Dan Bukiewicz, president of the Milwaukee Building-Construction Trades Council, which represents union construction workers in the Milwaukee area, called right-to-work "an unneeded distraction." "It's very disappointing they're going to fast-track it. Usually when things are done fast they're done incorrectly," he said. "I haven't heard anybody come out from a business standpoint saying this is what they want. The residual results of this will hurt the citizens of Wisconsin." Proponents of right-to-work argue it will make Wisconsin more competitive and that workers should have the freedom to decide whether to pay and join a union, rather than having dues automatically withdrawn.

    According to recent reports, the Clinton Foundation is accepting large donations from foreign governments. Accusations of influence peddling are already being made. James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus of the Wall Street Journal:
    Foreign Government Gifts to Clinton Foundation on the Rise The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency. Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline. In 2009, the Clinton Foundation stopped raising money from foreign governments after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state. Former President Bill Clinton, who ran the foundation while his wife was at the State Department, agreed to the gift ban at the behest of the Obama administration, which worried about a secretary of state’s husband raising millions while she represented U.S. interests abroad. The ban wasn’t absolute; some foreign government donations were permitted for ongoing programs approved by State Department ethics officials.
    The panel on Special Report with Bret Baier addressed the issue last night: Considering their prior position on this issue, the Democratic Party's silence is surprising.

    Very few Californians will be happier to see Senator Barbra Boxer retire than me, but many are already clamoring to figure out who will replace her in 2016. Amy Miller analyzed one shock poll that had President Obama's approval ratings cracking the 50% mark. Now, I offer another intriguing poll that has a Republican candidate in the lead for Boxer's spot.
    She’s been out of public life for years, she’s never run for office and she’s a Republican, but Condoleezza Rice is now the first choice of California voters to replace Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2016. A Field Poll released Wednesday showed that the former Bush administration official leads a list of 18 potential Senate candidates, with 49 percent of likely voters saying that they would be inclined to vote for her and 39 percent not inclined.
    At this point, it's probably the fact that she has never been an elected official---and has been out of the spotlight for many years---that has endeared her to the California electorate.

    Rick Perry may be polling in the single digits, but that hasn't stopped the former Texas governor from pushing ahead with a messaging strategy that emphasizes experience over rhetoric, and results over flash. Via the AP:
    Perry, who is considering a second run for president, wrapped up a two-day trip to New Hampshire with a speech at the Strafford County Republican Committee's Lincoln Day Dinner. While he repeated his warning that GOP voters shouldn't nominate a "critic in chief," he had plenty of criticism for President Barack Obama, saying his lack of executive experience before becoming president has hurt him and that he hasn't picked up many management skills on the job. The nation is ready, he said, to move beyond "eight years of this years of this young, very attractive, amazing orator, junior U.S. senator." "I don't think they're going to go there," Perry said. "They're going to go to a tested, results-oriented executive who has a record of accomplishment."
    This isn't the first time Perry has thrown shade at his younger potential opponents. During his interview last week with the Texas Tribune, Perry emphasized his own experience over that of other, untested candidates:
    Asked about what separates him from Cruz, Perry never mentioned his potential rival by name. Instead, he downplayed Senate experience and alluded to the fact that Cruz’s tenure in office is the same as then-Sen. Barack Obama's when he ran for president in 2008. “It’s one of the selling points, if you will, to the American people as they decide who’s going to follow Barack Obama,” he said. “I think they’re going to make a rather radical shift, away from a young, untested United States senator whose policies have really failed.”
    Ba-zing---because it's true.

    The same mainstream media that refused to demand Obama's (still undisclosed) Columbia University records in 2008 (while reassuring us that he was brilliant) has taken a keen interest in the academic pedigree of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Professor Jacobson repeatedly reminds us that the MSM always tries to kill Republican candidacies in the cradle. The Washington Post did it with Rick Perry's hunting property rock. Jeb Bush's high school antics are fair game, as were Mitt Romney's. Now they're trying to play the same game with Scott Walker's unfinished college degree. David A. Fahrenthold of the Washington Post wrote this yesterday:
    As Scott Walker mulls White House bid, questions linger over college exit Scott Walker was gone. Dropped out. And in the spring of his senior year. In 1990, that news stunned his friends at Marquette University. Walker, the campus’s suit-wearing, Reagan-loving politico — who enjoyed the place so much that he had run for student body president — had left without graduating. To most of the Class of 1990 — and, later, to Wisconsin’s political establishment — Walker’s decision to quit college has been a lingering mystery. Not even his friends at Marquette were entirely sure why he never finished. Some had heard that a parent had fallen ill, or maybe there was some financial strain. Others thought he had simply had enough of school. Walker clearly liked college politics more than college itself. He had managed to line up 47 campaign endorsements, including ones from the ski team and the varsity chorus, but he had trouble showing up on time for French. And, after four years, he had faltered on both fronts. He’d lost an ugly race for president. And he apparently had far too few credits to graduate.
    Allahpundit of Hot Air notes that journalists are already playing the requisite "gotcha" games with Scott Walker from which Democrats are always exempt.

    The 2016 race is already barreling forward on the right, with candidates from every point on the conservative-libertarian political spectrum throwing elbows and pressing forward to gain the attention of both the media, and primary voters in key states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Space in the spotlight is at a premium---the media is still trying to figure out how they're going to differentiate and play these characters against each other. For Democrats, though, the eventual race for the White House is on hold as top strategists attempt to answer a question that many activists on the left refuse to stop asking: where's Hillary? It's odd to ask this question about a woman who hasn't left the spotlight since her husband entered the Oval Office. For many on the left, she's The Idea Whose Time Has Come©. For Conservatives, she's the Long National Nightmare© that refuses to go away. For strategists and campaign hacks, she's a precious commodity---that they have no idea how to handle. Via CNN, a few days ago:
    Some Clinton loyalists worry that as the increasingly crowded Republican race heats up, the attacks on her could begin to stick without an apparatus in place to answer them. The liberal superPAC American Bridge has been countering Republican attacks on Clinton's behalf but many Democrats think it's no substitute for a campaign messaging operation. "They're doing terrific research," said one, "but they don't know what her specific policy agenda is going to be. She should get in and start putting together a substantive policy agenda so the attacks that are going to begin to come from every single Republican who is jumping in to the race can be answered." The Democratic National Committee is beginning to take on a larger role in an effort to protect Clinton and the party brand but many Democrats are concerned even that won't be enough. Other supporters want Clinton to lay low as the Republican field heats up, convinced Clinton will avoid some fire if she's undeclared and GOP candidates will take aim at each other instead.

    Yesterday was Andrew Breitbart's birthday. It's amazing to me to see how that man's legacy has lived on, even as the conservative movement has changed so much over the past few years. I listen to the stories and wild career paths of activists and bloggers who were inspired by him, and I can't help but wonder where we would all be had Andrew not made the conscious decision to be brave in the face of what sometimes seems like insurmountable bias and recriminations from the media and the institutional left. I wrote yesterday about Scott Walker's ridiculous interview with Martha Raddatz, and while I was writing, I slid down the 2008/2012 rabbit hole remembering the disparate treatment of the conservative candidates who dared to challenge Barack Obama and paid for it with chunks of their reputations. Obviously, we're in for more of the same as the race to 2016 heats up, and it's important to remember that the same sort of bias we saw in previous cycles has already begun. Walker's Radditz-ing was just the start. Progressives are freaking out over his breakout performance---wasn't he supposed to be the boring midwestern governor that would never break out of the middle of the pack? But strong candidates like Walker, and creative firebrands like Rand Paul, are already causing trouble for an increasingly desperate Democrat narrative.
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