Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The end of GOP12

Four years and 18,919 posts later — plus we're into 2013 — it's time to move on from GOP12.

The Hill and I have decided to part ways, and I want to thank them for graciously giving me the chance to write about the candidates — it's been a pleasure and an honor to work for such a fine organization.

Thanks, as well, to the editor of my weekly newspaper column, Emily Goodin, and to editor-in-chief Hugo Gurdon for bringing me on in 2011.

Finally, thanks to my fantastic, smart readers, who've sent lots of smartness and notes of kindness that have kept me going these past four years. It's pretty awesome to get emails from people who stumbled across this site in 2008 and have been reading it ever since. You rock, and I'm so grateful for your support.

So what's my next move?

I'm going to journey down a new, four-year path to the 2016 election. Sometime next week, I'll be launching an independent blog focused on the Republican and Democratic presidential nomination races.

It's going to differ from GOP12 and take into account the shifting nature of media consumption, and will also, I hope, be original, fun, and informative.

I'm incredibly excited, and that means you'll hopefully be at least mildly interested.

I'll have details very soon so follow me on Twitter for updates (Click here to follow) and check my personal page www.christianheinze.com for updates.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Evening eats

a. A deal is at-hand.

b. Forget Les Mis, Obama's presser got Bob Corker's heart pounding.

c. Tom Harkin's heart is also pounding for reasons other than Les Mis.

d. GOP governors still grappling with ObamaCare.

e. Cue the mini-cliffs.

Since every old year isn't to be replaced without a nod to nostalgia...Auld Lang Syne and Happy New Year's.

Santorum shows up on Capitol Hill

The Daily Caller spotted Rick Santorum leading a group of unidentified followers around the Capitol today on a sight-seeing tour.

“Man, you guys must be really desperate for someone to talk to,” he said, as reporters staking out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office swarmed around him.

“I wish I knew something,” he said of the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations.

Hillary tops most admired list


For a record 17th time, Hillary Clinton has topped Gallup's list of Americans' most admired women. As Chris Cillizza points out, that's the 17th time in the last 20 years she's done that.

MOST ADMIRED WOMEN:

1. Hillary Clinton 21%

2. Michelle Obama 5%

3. Oprah Winfrey 4%

4. Condi Rice 3%

5. Sarah Palin, Malala Yousafzai, Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher 2%

9. Aung San Suu Kyi 1%

10. Kate Middleton 1%

As for who's finished first most often, Hillary hits 17, Eleanor Roosevelt hits 13, Thatcher hits 6, Jacki Kennedy hits 5, Mother Teresa a surprisingly low 4, and Golda Meir, Rosalynn Carter, and Nancy Reagan 3 times.

MOST ADMIRED MEN:

1. Barack Obama 30%

2. Nelson Mandela 3%

3. Mitt Romney, Bill Graham, George W. Bush, the Pope 2%

7. Bill Clinton, The Dalai Lama, George H.W. Bush, Ron Paul, and John McCain 1%

As for who's finished first most often among men, it's Eisenhower at 12 times, Reagan and Clinton at 8 times, George W. Bush at 7, Obama 5 times, and LBJ (the president; not the Heat), Nixon, and George H.W. Bush at 4 times.

An articulate astronaut

Albert Martinez, political adviser to Marco Rubio, tells The Huffington Post:

"He's willing to go into spaces that other people aren't," said Rubio political adviser Albert Martinez, mentioning the senator's two appearances on "The Daily Show."

Another venue Rubio should consider? Reddit.

In breaking down this year's winners and losers (in sports, politics, and pop culture), Grantland's Rembert Browne wrote:

Obama hopping on Reddit was possibly the coolest nerd move that's ever happened in the history of the presidency.

.... Obama's final update was "By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience — NOT BAD!" Just incredible.

The fact that merely hopping onto Reddit could sway votes? To use the writer's words, "just incredible."

Schweitzer: Guns aren't the problem


 Montana's Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer, is one pro-gun governor who isn't rethinking gun control in the wake of the Newton massacre.

Schweitzer, earlier this month, on a local radio station:

“I don’t want to sound like a terrorist here, but you give me 20 gallons of propane, I can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time,” the governor told radio host Aaron Flint.

“If there are evil people they can use guns, or as we’ve seen in Russia, they can also use things like propane. You can use natural gas. Five gallons of gasoline and imagine what can happen.”

Hillary destroys Biden on key metric


It's fruitless to compare Hillary Clinton with her lesser known rivals for 2016 since their name ID is so low, but with Joe Biden's huge name ID, a Clinton vs. Biden comparison is meaningful.

And it doesn't look pretty for Biden.

In a new CNN poll, measuring Democrats' attitudes toward '16 candidates, 65% said they were "very likely" to support Hillary in 2016. Only 26% said the same about Biden.

Further, 21% of Democrats said they were "not very likely" to support Biden, while just 8% said the same about Hillary.

So -- to break those results down: There's a +57% gap for Hillary Clinton between her "very likely" and "not very likely" numbers, and only a +5% gap for Biden.

Meanwhile, moving to the GOP side, Paul Ryan sports the best spread between "very likely" and "not very likely" among GOP voters.

His "very likely" number is the highest of all GOP possibilities at 32%, while his "not very likely" is lowest at 12%. That's a +20% gap for Ryan.

Marco Rubio stands at +11%. Chris Christie, meanwhile, is at just +2%.

Interestingly, those are the only three Republican guys with a positive gap.

19%  of Republicans say they are "very likely" to support Rand Paul, while 25% say they're "not very likely."

Jeb Bush does even worse. 13% say they're "very likely" to support him, while 23% say they're not.

Finally, Rick Santorum fares poorest with 10% saying they're "very likely" to support him and 28% turning their faces from him.

Here, then, are the top GOP and Democratic candidates when comparing "very likely" support with "not very likely support."

DEMOCRATS:

1. Hillary Clinton +57%

2. Joe Biden +5%

3. Elizabeth Warren -10%

4. Andrew Cuomo -14%

5. Deval Patrick -21%

6. Brian Schweitzer -22%

REPUBLICANS:

1. Paul Ryan +20%

2. Marco Rubio +11%

3. Chris Christie +2%

4. Rand Paul -6%

5. Jeb Bush -10%

6. Rick Santorum -18%

Huntsman: States should decide gay marriage


Jon Huntsman, pushing a "strong dose" of libertarianism in an interview with The Telegraph, and refusing to rule out another run for president.

He said he "absolutely" supported individual states being allowed to implement gay marriage, saying that Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, believed that "equality under the law is an American value".

Mr Huntsman did not rule out a second presidential run in 2016 but said he was not spending his time "looking for some opening that we can fit in".

He said that the three most talked about names for the Republican nomination - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney's former running mate Congressman Paul Ryan - "all deserve high marks individually".

However, he declined to support any of them, saying he believed the party needed to go through "a very competitive process in terms of ideas".

Two things.

1. Huntsman has been progressive on gay rights for awhile -- even as governor of Utah. Back in the ancient times of 2009, he called on the GOP to accept civil unions -- something that got him in trouble with some Utah Republicans but didn't dim his statewide support.

In fact, even after coming out for gay civil unions, he sported an 80% approval rating in Utah with 67% saying his civil union support made no difference in their opinion of his job performance.

But something he might want to forget is that he supported the state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage when he first ran for governor in 2004. 

2. Huntsman didn't necessarily flub as a 2012 candidate because he was too moderate. After all, look at the guy who won.

He flubbed mainly because he was bad on the campaign trail, bad in debates, and simply didn't connect with voters on a visceral level.

That's the Occam's Razor-secret that many -- who love trashing "intolerant", conservative GOP voters -- fail to acknowledge. He wasn't a great national campaigner.

[Hat tip: Ruby Cramer]

Friday, December 28, 2012

Evening eats

a. Obama digs in.

b. Markey gets in.

c. What does Mitt Romney do now?

d. Ramesh Ponnuru defends Bobby on birth control.

e. The NRA is really popular.

Pretty cool... all the vids of U2's "New Years Day" in one place.

State of the Unions

One of the few demographic trends favoring Republicans right now is the shrinking share of union voters.

Using exit poll data from the Roper Center, a couple quick things emerge.

a. The union vote has shrunk in every presidential election since 2000.

In Gore vs. Bush, union households made up 26% of the vote. That dropped to 24% four years later; then 21%, and last month, union households only made up 18% of voters -- tied for the smallest number in the modern era of exit polls.

b. Union preference is incredibly consistent.

Here's the union vote for the Democratic nominee this century: 59%, 59%, 59% and 58%.

In the previous six elections, union support for the Democratic nominee averaged 56%, so Democrats are doing slightly better with unions this century than in the previous two decades. That being said, Ross Perot dangles his little asterisk over 1990's data, so it's hard to compare the '90s directly with other elections.

c. 1976 was a banner year for unions.

The Roper Center's exit poll data begins in 1976.

Since then, it's only been downhill for unions.

In 1976, union households made up 29% of the vote and 62% voted for the Democratic nominee.

Neither number has been reached since.


UNION HOUSEHOLD SUPPORT

2012: Obama 58% Romney 40% (made up 18% of voters).

2008: Obama 59% McCain 39% (made up 21% of voters).

2004: Kerry 59% Bush 40% (made up 24% of voters).

2000: Gore 59% Bush 37% (made up 26% of voters).

1996: Clinton 60% Dole/Perot 40% (made up 23% of voters).

1992: Clinton 55% Bush/Perot 45% (made up 18% of voters).

1988: Dukakis 57% Bush 43% (made up 25% of voters).

1984: Mondale 54% Reagan 46% (made up 26% of voters).

1980: Carter 48% Reagan 45% (made up 26% of voters).

1976: Carter 62% Ford 38% (made up 29% of voters).

Christie's remarkable month continues


Now it's reported that Hoboken, New Jersey Councilman, Ravi Bhalla, a Democrat and possible candidate for Jersey's Assembly, might back Chris Christie.

Bhalla said he has not ruled out endorsing Christie.

"I haven't," he told PolitickerNJ.com. "I'm not committed to any candidate. I think the governor is a formidable contender right now. The Democrats need a formidable contender. The governor has done great things for Hoboken. He's been an extraordinary partner with Mayor Zimmer. We want to make sure we have a strong relationship with the governor."

Things have gone very well for Christie, as of late.

The good stuff has been both trivial and substantial: Cory Booker decided not to run against him, Steven Spielberg called him a "hero", his approval ratings topped 70%, an e-book suggested that Romney bore no ill-will over his Obama hug, he scored the highest favorable ratings of any '16 GOPer (substantial), sort of laid the smack down on Jon Stewart and won his praise in the process, scored a meeting with Barack Obama while his colleague to the north, Andrew Cuomo, came up without a face-to-face, passed a conservative litmus test by refusing to set up a state-based health exchange, and now finds pockets of support from Jersey Democratic legislators.

All in all, not a bad, first month of the 2016 presidential season.

Julian Castro runs with a cape

That's the spoiler alert for San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro's PSA for the Herothon Marathon for leukemia. 

Castro keynoted the 2012 Democratic convention, and could be near the top of any Dem's Veep list in 2016. 

Rubio regularly calls Dolphins GM

I'm a bit late to this, but if you're interested in Marco Rubio and football, let it be known that they're very interested in each other, as Mark Leibovich writes:

After his pregame visit with Coach Shula, Rubio picks up a conversation he was having on the field with the Dolphins’ general manager, Jeff Ireland. Rubio will occasionally call Ireland to discuss vital matters of policy, like whether the team should draft a wide receiver.

“I can be scouting at Alabama, and he’ll be on the phone, like, ‘O.K., they’ve got this guy and that guy and whatever,’ ” Ireland tells me. “And I know he’s not Googling it up, because it’s immediate.”

I ask Rubio if he would switch jobs with Ireland if given the chance. Yes, he says instantly.

“Not me,” Ireland says, just as instantly.

And if Rubio tries to burnish his regular Joe credentials by chatting football in 2016, it's clear he won't have a "varmints" moment.

But Rubio, 41, is legitimate, a serious fan who not only can name the Dolphins’ long snapper (John Denny) but can also tell you that an N.F.L. long-snapper must get the ball to the holder in seven-tenths of a second.

Speaking of "varmints", time doesn't make this clip any less painful.

Warren wants help

The AP reports on Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's effort to retire campaign debt.

Warren's chief of staff, Mindy Myers, sent an email to the Democrat's supporters saying the campaign has set a goal of raising another $200,000 by midnight Dec. 31.

In the e-mail, Myers says Warren is ready to be sworn in next week, but needs help paying the campaign's final year-end bills.

Despite raising $42 million, Warren ended the campaign more than $400,000 in the hole.

Rubio presses Obama on Russian adoption ban

Marco Rubio releases a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, condemning Vladimir Putin's support for a ban on U.S. citizens adopting Russian children.

“I’m deeply concerned by President Putin’s announcement that he will sign the ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans, and urge the Obama Administration to forcefully condemn this action. Over the last decade, tens of thousands of loving American couples have adopted Russian orphans, providing unconditional love, support and a quality of life otherwise unimaginable in Russia’s crowded orphanages.

.... The Obama Administration should make clear that we will not tolerate orphaned children being treated as political pawns.”

Here's something I didn't know -- Steve Jobs was adopted! Of course, his birth parents weren't Russian, but if they were and if this ban were in place, we might have the iSickle. Of course, the other possibility is that he could have become a world class gymnast.

Krauthammer: If we go over cliff, GOP has "pretty strong hand"

On Fox News last night, Charles Krauthammer explained why Republicans shouldn't capitulate on any "humiliating" offer from Barack Obama.

"I think the Republicans will surely have a much stronger hand -- assuming we go over the cliff -- assuming Obama stays very hard-line and offers only humiliating conditions and the Republicans resist or do nothing and we go over the cliff.

Then, I think, you're right, the Republicans have a pretty strong hand, because Obama then has to worry about the debt ceiling.

With bravado, he says 'Oh, that's a game I won't play.' He has to play, he's the president."

Today Jonathan Allen has a fairly depressing read on why each side wants to go over the cliff -- it absolves them of any politically onerous compromise and gives them the opportunity to then do popular things once the cliff has wreaked its havoc.

For many Republicans, a cliff dive means blaming President Barack Obama for a big tax hike in the short term and then voting to cut taxes for most Americans next month. That’s an easier sell back home in Republican-heavy districts than a pre-cliff deal that raises taxes on folks making over $250,000 or $400,000, extends unemployment benefits and does little if anything to curb entitlement spending. If they back a bad deal now, they run the risk of facing primary challenges in two years.

For Democrats, the cliff is better than setting a rich man’s cutoff in the million-dollar range — or worse yet, extending the Bush tax cuts for all earners — and slashing Medicare and Social Security to appease Republicans. They, too, see an advantage in negotiating with Republicans who will feel freed from their promise not to vote to raise taxes once the rates have already gone up.

Vid via Mediaite.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Evening eats

a. Hillary returns (next week).

b. Cruz and Castro.

c. Grandmothers for Obama will be around for 2016.

d. Historic: Blacks might have voted at higher rates than whites.

e. Is Terry McAuliffe the next Mitt Romney?

f. A 5% swing wouldn't have been good enough for Mitt.

Gutierrez huddles with Rubio, Ryan on immigration reform

Lynn Sweet reports on an intriguing and potentially massive alliance.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is quietly building bridges with two key Republicans who may run for president in 2016 -- Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan -- to forge bipartisan immigration reform legislation.

I've learned that Gutierrez met Thursday with Rubio, the Florida Republican -- and son of Cuban immigrants -- in his Senate office here. On Dec. 12, Gutierrez huddled with Ryan -- the Wisconsin Republican who was Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate -- at his House office.

"What we did was just kind of catch up," Gutierrez told me. Ryan and Gutierrez decided they want to "explore opportunities to work together." Gutierrez, one of the House leaders on immigration issues -- who has kept constant pressure on President Barack Obama to do more -- is crossing the aisle as Republicans need very much to woo the fast growing number of Hispanic voters -- who in large part rejected the Romney/Ryan ticket.

After the election, Gutierrez saw Ryan at the House gym and suggested they get together. Gutierrez did not pump iron with Ryan, who has an intense workout regime. "I was going to the less physical, less ardous workout," Gutierrez told me.

Despite campaigning against Ryan, Gutierrez has a personal relationship with him and when it comes to immigration, Gutierrez says Ryan "wants to do the right thing."

That Romney talked about "self-deportation" -- and Ryan was part of that ticket -- is not an issue for Gutierrez.

[Hat tip: Felicia Sonmez]

Iowa Republican: Hillary isn't qualified to be president

At the conservative, grassroots level, opposition to Hillary Clinton is forming quickly over Benghazi (Susan Rice, who?).

Of course, Hillary Clinton doesn't need grassroots conservatives to win, but sometimes stuff on either ideological end can bleed into the middle -- even if it doesn't gush. And Hillary's four year glide with conservatives might be starting to skid a bit. 

Here's The Iowa Republican today with "Hillary Clinton leaving State Department in Disgrace."

Three and a half months after a terrorist attack in Benghazi killed four Americans, including our U.S. ambassador, the pile of deceit, lies and cover-ups from our government continues to build. Complicit in all of this is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She will soon leave the state department and likely begin laying the groundwork to succeed Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. Her handling of the Benghazi tragedy should disqualify her from consideration.

Clinton is the overwhelming favorite for Democrats in 2016. Knowing her unquenchable thirst for power, it is a near certainty Clinton will run if she is physically able and thinks she can win. To that end, Mrs. Clinton is doing her best to slip out of her current position as quietly as possible.

Earlier today, Maggie Haberman asked when and whether conservatives would start to hit Hillary again.

Benghazi is looking more and more like the catalyst for a possible anti-Hillary movement.

Christie and Obama: A co-branding success story

Fast Company Magazine calls NJ Gov. Chris Christie one of 2012's most successful branding stories.

Many conservatives lost their mind when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was shown giving some love to President Obama a week before the Presidential election, but actually, Christie was giving himself a co-branding advantage.

Co-branding is when two unlikely brands combine forces (think of James Bond and Heineken teaming up in Skyfall) to broaden their bases and gain more exposure. In Christie's case, his bipartisan effort with Obama after Hurricane Sandy sparked a 19-point rise in his approval rating, bringing it to record-breaking heights.