Until the 2016 presidential field crystallizes, we're going to get a few bizarre candidate recommendations from bored pundits who are patting themselves on the back for "thinking out of the box." That's no surprise, and yet ... really, Laura Ingraham? Jeff Sessions?
This was up at Breitbart yesterday:
Nationally syndicated conservative radio host Laura Ingraham said on Monday morning Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) should run for president.This comes a couple of days after a Daily Caller puff piece by Neil Munro that also said Sessions might be a swell presidential candidate, though Munro acknoledges, with regret, that a Sessions candidacy would be a longshot:
Ingraham's comments came after she played segments of Sessions' keynote address, given at the Tea Party Patriots' five-year anniversary event last Thursday evening.
"Jeff Sessions, we need Sessions for President," Ingraham said. Elaborating, she continued:
Really, is there anyone out there who is better than Jeff Sessions on any of these issues? He's great. I think someone like Sessions could probably attract Democrats, Hispanics who are here legally who are tired of these stupid trade agreements and who have had their own wages undercut by illegal immigration, African Americans, certainly I think a lot of Tea Party people. Sessions is one of the few people to actually say it like it is.
... it's not clear how far Sessions can take his reform message.Yeah, Sessions is an unswerving opponent of immigration reform -- just the kind of guy to appeal to Hispanic voters, right, Laura? (Oh, sorry, I guess Ingraham said he'd appeal to that massive group of "Hispanics who are here legally who are tired of these stupid trade agreements and who have had their own wages undercut by illegal immigration.") And may I remind you that we're talking about this Jeff Sessions?
He's made few steps so far to build a national following or recruit a team to help him participate in the 2016 Republican primaries....
His base is in Alabama, and his soft-spoken style won't help him win fans in the Midwest, home to millions of election-winning potential GOP supporters.
But he's playing a central role in rallying public opposition to the business-backed push to sharply increase immigration. He's given plenty of speeches, published op-eds and even jumped into the House immigration debate on whether House Speaker John Boehner should work with Democrats and Obama to craft an immigration-increase bill.
He’s worked with tea party and outside groups, which extends his reputation and support....
Sessions' office dismissed the suggestion that his advocacy for GOP reform could evolve into a 2016 candidacy....
In 1986, Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama....Yeah, Laura, that guy really has a shot at making inroads for the GOP among black voters.
At Sessions' confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he had made several racist statements. One of those lawyers, J. Gerald Hebert, testified that Sessions had referred to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as "un-American" and "Communist-inspired" because they "forced civil rights down the throats of people." ...
Thomas Figures, a black Assistant U.S. Attorney, testified that Sessions said he thought the Klan was "OK until I found out they smoked pot." ... Figures also testified that on one occasion, when the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division sent the office instructions to investigate a case that Sessions had tried to close, Figures and Sessions "had a very spirited discussion regarding how the Hodge case should then be handled; in the course of that argument, Mr. Sessions threw the file on a table, and remarked, 'I wish I could decline on all of them,'" by which Figures said Sessions meant civil rights cases generally....
Figures also said that Sessions had called him "boy." ... He also testified that "Mr. Sessions admonished me to 'be careful what you say to white folks.'" ...
In response to a question from Joe Biden on whether he had called the NAACP and other civil rights organizations "un-American", Sessions replied "I'm often loose with my tongue. I may have said something about the NAACP being un-American or Communist, but I meant no harm by it."
So why the small flurry of Sessions-mania? Apparently because of this:
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions says the GOP should wave goodbye to Wall Street, and bet on support from middle-class voters, including tens of millions of people earning $30,000 to $50,000.So w're told by a guy whose most recent interest-group score from Financial Executives International is 100%, the same as his most recent score from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while his lifetime score from the AFL-CIO is 11%.
"The elites are failing America, they're failing the people of America. ... My party, the Republican Party, needs to sever itself from the elite consensus, we need to break from it," he told a celebration for fifth anniversary of the Tea Party Patriots group, held Thursday evening in Washington, D.C.
"We can tell Wall Street, 'We love you' ... but we're going to be representing Americans by the millions," he told the audience....
But even if Sessions's beef with Wall Street is phony, why are Ingraham and the Caller touting it? Why are they talking about a presidential run?
I guess the empty talk about Wall Street from a Republican officeholder affiliated with the tea party is an attempt to revive the tranparently phony "teabaggers are skeptical of big government and big business!" meme. Maybe the right is worried that populist talk from the Democrats really could connect with voters this years.
And maybe the folks in the anti-immigration-reform crowd think they can actually draw support from liberals and nonwhites. Who knows what these people think.
As for the presidential talk? Maybe someone's hoping that a run from a Deep Southerner like Sessions would draw votes away from he likes of Ted Cruz and help hand the nomination to a more establishment-friendly candidate -- a Scott Walker or a Marco Rubio (or, God help us, a Chris Christie). Otherwise, I don't get it.
... Or maybe it's just the "raise your profile in the hopes of scarfing up speaking fees/book deal/Fox and talk radio gigs" gambit. He's running for reelection to the Senate unopposed this year, so it seems unlikely that he'll quit and do that instead, but who knows?