Sunday, February 01, 2015

STOP ASSUMING JEB BUSH IS THE GOP FRONT-RUNNER

It looks as if Karen Tumulty and Matea Gold were just putting the finishing touches on a story for The Washington Post about Jeb Bush's front-runner status...
Mitt Romney’s decision to forgo a third try at the White House has settled the question of whether the 2016 GOP presidential field has a front-runner — bestowing a coveted status on former Florida governor Jeb Bush that also raises new challenges and perils.
... and then this happened:
Walker Surging in Iowa Poll as Bush Struggles

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is surging, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is an also-ran...

The Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, taken Monday through Thursday, shows Walker leading a wide-open Republican race with 15 percent, up from just 4 percent in the same poll in October. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was at 14 percent and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, stood at 10 percent.

Bush trailed with 8 percent and increasingly is viewed negatively by likely Republican caucus-goers.... At 9 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson pulls more support than ... Bush...
Mitt Romney was included in this poll (he was at 13%, far ahead of Jeb) -- but Jeb doesn't get the bulk of Romney's votes. Far from it:
When [Romney's] supporters are re-allocated to their second choice, Walker's backing grows to 16 percent, followed by 15 percent for Paul, 13 percent for Huckabee, and 10 percent for Carson. Removing Romney from his third-place spot had no effect on the ranking order of the other top potential candidates and offered the biggest boost to Huckabee. Bush's overall number inched up just one point, to 9 percent.
Tumulty and Gold shoehorned these poll results into paragraph 16 of their story. Maybe that seems reasonable if you assume that Iowa is anomalous, that Walker is just getting a momentary boost from an unusually well-received Iowa speech, and that Bush has the fat cats sewn up. But I think what Byron York wrote about Walker a week ago in his much-read piece "12 Keys to the Presidential Race Right Now" is essentially correct:
As a lot of Republicans see it, the Wisconsin governor is the most accomplished candidate in the race. Who can match his achievement staring down the mighty public-sector unions and then winning a recall and re-election in a blue state? For Republicans, those are simply huge victories.
No, the word "accomplishment," when applied to an elected official does not mean to Republicans what it means to you or me. "Accomplishment," to the right, doesn't mean improving the lot of citizens -- it means smiting liberals and crushing unions. But, of course, this is precisely what Republican voters want from government.

I also like this quote about Walker from the Bloomberg poll story:
“I like what he did to Wisconsin, and I think he'd be great at getting rid of a bunch of stuff that the government is doing to us,” said Kerri Vaughn, a carpenter from western Iowa who has followed Walker's career mostly on Fox News.
Right -- Vaughn doesn't like what Walker did in Wisconsin, or for Wisconsin -- Vaughn likes what Walker did to Wisconsin. Politicians are, or ought to be, like the worst kinds of cops or CEOs -- they should go into a situation and do stuff to people, smacking them around for their own good. Note what in particular Vaughn would like our next president to "accomplish": "getting rid of a bunch of stuff that the government is doing to us."

And please read what Peter Beinart wrote about Walker last week. Beinart makes the point that Walker isn't trying to make centrist moves that will appeal to mainstream journalists and pundits, and that's very appealing to RINO-averse Republican voters:
... the most striking thing about Scott Walker’s speech at the Freedom Summit, and his emerging campaign message more generally, is how retro it is. Walker concedes nothing to the conventional wisdom about what the GOP must do to compete in a more culturally tolerant, ethnically diverse and economically insecure America. And the GOP faithful love it....

His speech in Iowa not only slammed President Obama’s executive action legalizing some undocumented immigrants. It didn’t even include the love-letter to legal immigrants that Republicans typically use to shield themselves from charges of being anti-Hispanic. In addition, Walker said nothing about reaching out to African Americans and boasted about Wisconsin’s voter-ID law....

In recent months, many of Walker’s likely GOP opponents have moved beyond a purely anti-government message to suggest conservative-sounding ways government can give Americans an economic boost. Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio have proposed new anti-poverty tax credits. Mitt Romney has backed a higher minimum wage.

Walker’s having none of it. His message is simple and old-fashioned: “Take control from the federal government and big-government special interests and give it back to hard-working taxpayers.”
And yet he's won three elections in an Obama state. He apparently doesn't scare Democrats, apart from the small subset of politically engaged, Maddow-watching progressives.

If you're a Republican voter or fat-cat donor, what's not to like?

I'm not saying Walker will be the nominee. But he's what Republicans want, so he should be the nominee. After the Iowa Freedom Summit, Slate's John Dikerson wrote, "as Walker spoke you could almost hear the political boxes being checked off." He bargain-shops at Kohl's like a good, thrifty heartlander! He thanked Iowa voters for their prayers like a good Christian conservative!

Walker's not the front-runner -- but I think he will be.

17 comments:

mlbxxxxxx said...

Iowa doesn't chose the GOP nominee. It will winnow some but not pick the nominee. There will probably be lots of front runners, just like 2012, some will seem like the perfect candidate for the tbaggers, just like 2012. But Bush will be the nominee, just like Romney was in 2012, despite what the baggers want. Therefore, the truth is that Jeb is the true front runner -- regardless what the polls say now or in the interim.

Victor said...

Dear WI,
WFT!
No, I mean, seriously, WTF!!!

How can you as a state, with your proud liberal heritage, poop out scoundrels like Joe McCarthy and Scott Wanker (sic) every few decades?

I look at him, and I see what Hanna Arendt meant when she wrote her most famous line:
"The banality of evil."

Let's hope he's too busy fighting off corruption charges, to run.

Of course, if the Fed's charge him, that will further endear him to the base.
Wanker can then give his version of Nixon's "Checker's" speech and talk about how he and his wife wear good cloth coats which were bought at Kohls.
Oy...

Danp said...

Follow the money. The Koch money.

Steve M. said...

There will probably be lots of front runners, just like 2012, some will seem like the perfect candidate for the tbaggers, just like 2012. But Bush will be the nominee, just like Romney was in 2012, despite what the baggers want.

The difference between this year and 2012 is that the alternatives to Romney in 2012 who won favor from the voters were all laughable: Trump, Bachmann, Cain, and then Gingrich and Santorum. If Perry had avoided beclowning himself, if Huntsman had found some favor with voters, if Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour had run and done well, 2012 would not have been a relative cakewalk for Romney. My point isn't just that Walker is the front-runner in Iowa; it's that this time the Iowa front-runner isn't a wacko bird, at least as far as the establishmentarians are concerned. That means he'll be taken seriously if he wins Iowa, much more so than Santorum in 2012 or Huckabee in 2008.

duffandnonsense said...

I keep telling you, or if not you then one of the other Leftie blogs, that Walker will be the GOP candidate, 'HillBilly' will fold as more and more of her history reaches daylight and 'Fauxcahontas' will run for the Dems - and lose!

(My legal representatives have asked me to make clear that I am not responsible for any betting losses incurred by following my forecasts!)

Dark Avenger said...

Hey, Duff, your name-calling is childish and condescending, but thanks for your worthless prediction. buried inside of your screed.

rickstersherpa@msn.com said...

Walker I think captures the "Orthogonian" spirit of resentment, particularly white working class resentment, then any politician since Nixon. I think Steve M. and Peter Beinart capture his appeal these voters as their champion, "the one who will take back control from the Federal government and "big-government special interests" (elite white hippies, college professors, public employee and industrial unions, blacks, and browns) and give it back to "hard-working" (white) taxpayers. He also has access to a lot of money with the Koch network and certainly has shown his ability to go to edge of the law or beyond to award his plutocrat backers. The problem for Walker, as for Nixon, is disciplining and hiding his mean, sociopathic streak. His taunts about Hilary's age and sex are likely to turn off older women white voters who did not particularly like Obama since the 2008 campaign, but have a soft spot for Hilary. Also, if the economy keeps getting better, the economic pressures that feed it decline. Hopefully, we will luck out and not get Scott Walker as President.

aimai said...

I agree with stevem and rickstersherpa--Walker is really very Nixonian and the key to the people who like him is this notion that government workers and other people should be punished--that the presiident's job is do to things *to* people not with or for them. If he has the koch money behind him I think he'll get the nomination, in the end, because the rest of the field is weak. Whether that means he can or will beat the democrat in the race, whoever that is, is not clear to me.

aimai said...

I'd like to point out that this continued reference to Walker "winning an Obama state" is a bit deceptive. IIRC the Governor's race is run concurrently with the midterms--not the presidential race--and so Walker was always able to squeak in with right wing/older/whiter voters when the Obama coalition, as we know, was asleep at the midterm switch.

Ten Bears said...

As early as 2010 the mainstream corporate media was referring to Willard, much as it now refers to Jeb and Jeb in a dress, as the "presumptive candidate." The choice has been made, we have no say in it. At best we get to eat the bread, the rest is just a circus.

Ten Bears said...

AND, speaking of "accomplishment", it would behoove to recall that while George W Bush may well go down to history as The Worst President Ever, the Cheney Adminstration accomplished everything it set out to.

Phil Freeman said...

Jeb's gonna be the nominee. And he's gonna lose.

Walker will not be the nominee. He might very well be Jeb's VP candidate, though. Why? Because he's got all the right positions and the right nasty attitude to be the VP/enforcer, but he's got beady little eyes, a weird wet-looking mouth, and I don't know how tall he is, but he looks like a short guy. He looks like a loser, in other words. And in this country, guys who look like him don't get elected President. Period.

Ken_L said...

I move that February be declared a national "likely Republican presidential candidate story-free" month.

OdinofAzgard said...

Walker doesn't have the money, the looks or the charisma to be the nominee, let alone President. If Christie avoids indictment, it's his to lose. Otherwise it's Jeb.

Aunt Snow said...

'HillBilly' will fold as more and more of her history reaches daylight and 'Fauxcahontas' will run for the Dems - and lose!

The namecalling certainly lends your argument as much intellectual authority as it deserves.

Aunt Snow said...

I keep telling you,

Yes. Pointlessly.

Ten Bears said...

It's a basement blogging Brit, auntie, just... snort derisively.

Recall it was the the Brits that started the scalping, the taking of a pelt for bounty.

Barbarians.