News from the Votemaster
Scott Walker enrolled in Marquette University in 1986, but dropped out in 1990 without receiving a degree. He was the only candidate without a college degree. Yesterday he dropped out again, this time from the race for the Republican nomination. His performance in both debates so far was lackluster and this caused his poll numbers to drop. In the most recent CNN/ORC poll, he came in under 1%, a huge drop from the Spring. At his high point, he was the leading candidate in the Iowa caucuses. In the most recent poll, he was 10th in Iowa. He dropped out for the same reason all candidates drop out—he ran out of money. A scramble is now on for his donors and consultants. Walker is the second of the 17 Republican candidates to drop out. Former Texas governor Rick Perry said adios on Sept. 11, a fitting day since his campaign was a huge disaster.
Walker's demise points out three things. First, it's still very early and a lot can happen. No one saw this coming even 2 months ago. For a while, it looked like he could unite all the wings of the Republican Party and be a strong general election candidate. All the pundits were wrong.
Second, the candidate matters. When someone announces a run, he or she is an actual human being with a whole set of characteristics. It's not just a resume. On paper, Walker was perfect, but on stage he was less than impressive and that ultimately did him in. The same thing happened in 2012. On paper, Rick Perry, the longest serving governor in the history of Texas, looked unbeatable. But the actual candidate wasn't that strong and hung himself when he couldn't name the three federal departments he wanted to abolish.
Third, one can legitimately ask whether the current debate format is any good. Walker is not a great debater but the U.S. is not the U.K. The President doesn't have to show up in Congress regularly and debate his opponents. In fact, debates play no role whatsoever in governing. So why do we have a system where a lackluster debater like Walker is forced to drop out, whereas a someone like Ted Cruz, who was a champion debater in college, does just fine? When the President meets Vladimir Putin, shooting out clever one-liners won't be of much use since Putin barely speaks any English and the translators are never going to be able to turn bon mots in English into equally clever remarks in Russian in real time.
An alternative format might be to have each candidate, in random order, sit down at a table with the moderators for 20 minutes to be grilled on policy questions a President has control over. For example "Would you send ground troops to fight ISIS?" or "If Congress passed a bill providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, would you sign it?") During the interviews the other candidates would be kept backstage under surveillance. They could study their printed notes or read a newspaper but would be forbidden from using their smartphones so they couldn't watch the other candidates.
With Walker, who was once a serious candidate, gone, surely George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum, none of whom ever had a chance, won't last long.
It is possible that when Carly Fiorina was CEO of Hewlett-Packard, she violated U.S. law by selling printers to Iran. Selling technology products to Iran is forbidden by the sanctions regime. The sale was not directly to Iran, but to a three-man company in Dubai, which then resold them in Iran, thus indirectly violating the sanctions. Fiorina claims she was unaware of the sales, although this came up during her 2010 Senate run. If she genuinely didn't know, it raises questions about her competence. After all, the CEO is responsible for putting into place procedures and people to ensure that no U.S. laws are broken.
As Fiorina gains more attention, she is going to come under more scrutiny. She likes to say that she rose from secretary to CEO, but summer jobs in college don't count. She is the daughter of Joseph Tyree Sneed, III, who was dean of the highly respected Duke Law School until President Nixon hired him as Deputy Attorney General and later appointed him as a federal judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he served for 35 years. Fiorina attended college at Stanford, and unlike Walker, graduated. Then she got M.B.A. degrees from the University of Maryland and the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. People who have graduate degrees from M.I.T. often do well in life. There is no poverty-stricken little girl to CEO story here. Or as Richard Cohen so deliciously put it "she always knew the fork goes on the left."
Cohen also points out that the only President with extensive business experience was Herbert Hoover. He started out as a mining engineer and ended up running several hugely successful mining and metals companies, with offices in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, and elsewhere. His companies were among the largest producers of zinc and other important metals in the world. He was an extremely successful CEO but historians consistently rate him as one of the worst Presidents ever. The skills you need in business, such as setting a direction for the company, hiring people to carry out your orders, and firing them if they disobey you, don't work with Congress or the courts.
Never in 2000 years has a pope addressed Congress. This week one will. Democrats are hoping he will talk about the need for addressing climate change. Republicans are praying he will spend his time condemning abortion. Clearly he will be up to his beanie in politics.
The political importance of his visit is underscored by President Obama's decision to meet Pope Francis' plane at Andrews Field in Maryland. Obama almost never meets visiting dignitaries at the airport but he is keenly aware that about half of Republicans think he is a Muslim, so graciously meeting the pontiff, with lots of news coverage is probably worth something. Also, Obama well knows that when a President is polling above 50%, his party has a much better chance of keeping the White House, so some good publicity is valuable to the Democrats. Finally, he might want to encourage the pope to emphasize the need for addressing poverty when talking with Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic.
While Vice President Joe Biden is still polishing up his Shakespeare ("To run or not to run, that is the question") the polling continues. A CNN/ORC national poll released yesterday puts Clinton in the lead again. Here are the results with Biden in the mix:
As Biden well knows, these numbers don't mean much. So far he has stayed above the fray and remained popular. If he becomes a candidate, he will suddenly be subject to criticism. Also, Clinton will also emphasize her historic role as the first potential woman President running against two old white men, which is not so historic. Sanders will emphasize policy differences, showing he is further to the left than either of the others.
While a Biden candidacy will make Clinton work harder, it may improve her campaigning and debating skills if she makes it to the general election. Also, it will probably end the continuous torrent of news stories about her email server because political reporters will have something else to write about.
The federal government will run out of money on Oct. 1. This deadline could force the Republicans in Congress to make a choice many would rather not make: what does the party stand for? Conservatives see this deadline as an opportunity to send President Obama a bill to fund the government—but without any funding for Planned Parenthood. Obama has said he would veto such a bill, shutting down the government. Republican leaders remember that when this happened in 2013, they were blamed. Fiscally minded Republicans see the focus on social issues misplaced and want to pass a budget that reigns in the federal deficit. Planned Parenthood is small potatoes to them.
One possible strategy is to use the budget reconciliation process to get a bill through Congress without a Democratic filibuster. Reconciliation bills need to get only 51 votes to pass. On the other hand, using the reconciliation process as a cover to fight abortion disturbs some tradtional Republicans, since the process was never meant for that. The consequence of all this is by Oct. 1, we may have a better idea of who runs the congressional Republican Party. This could have major implications for the presidential and especially the Senate races next year.
The two committees that raise money for Senate candidates have announced their results for August. The DSCC raised $3.3 million to the NRSC's $2.6 million. However, the NRSC has $8 million in the bank and is debt free while the DSCC has $8.8 million in the bank but has a debt of $8 million left over from last year.
Over at the House, the results are similar. The DCCC raised $4.2 million, more than the NRCC's $2.9 million. But the NRCC has more in the bank than the DCCC: $18.7 million to $17.7 million. Neither have any debt.Email a link to a friend or share:
Sep21 Ten Candidates Are One Percenters
Sep21 Report: Jill Biden Won't Stop Joe from Running
Sep21 Republicans Wrestling with Islam
Sep21 The Voting Machines To Be Used in 2016 Are Hopelessly Outdated
Sep20 Republicans Beginning to Worry about Trump
Sep20 National Parties Go after Big Donors
Sep20 Bush Profited from Governorship after His Term Was Over
Sep19 Trump Says He Will Spend $100 Million of his Own Money to Get the Nomination
Sep19 Brazil's Supreme Court Bans Corporate Contributions to Campaigns
Sep19 Fiorina Faces Big Crowds
Sep19 Obama Jumps into the Presidential Campaign
Sep19 Bush Says Obama is an American and A Christian
Sep19 Republicans Are from Mars, Democrats Are from Venus
Sep18 Fiorina Offers a Way to Reach Women
Sep18 Betting Market: Rubio or Bush Will Be the Republican Nominee
Sep18 Walker Reassures Nervous Donors
Sep18 Clinton to Give Keystone Pipeline View Soon
Sep18 Can Anything Be Done about Unlimited Dark Money in Politics?
Sep18 Will Apple Upend Politics?
Sep17 Republicans Yell at Each Other Instead of Debating
Sep16 What to Look for in the Debate Tonight
Sep16 Be Wary of Polls This Early
Sep16 Iowa Electronic Markets Predict Democrats Will Win the White House
Sep16 The Empire Strikes Back
Sep16 Could McCarthy Replace Boehner as Speaker?
Sep16 Is the Country Coming Apart at the Seams?
Sep15 Bush Debating How to Debate Tomorrow
Sep15 Fiorina Not Debating How to Debate
Sep15 Sanders Tries Reaching Out in Virginia
Sep15 Panic on Wall Street: Trump Could Win
Sep15 Could Hillary Pick Bill as Veep?
Sep14 Trump Is Ahead in the First Three States
Sep14 Sanders Leads in Two of the Early States
Sep14 Bernie Sanders' Southern Problem
Sep14 Poll Shows Clinton Beating Trump by Just 3 Points
Sep14 Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Are Not Mirror Images of Each Other
Sep14 Congressional Democrats Divided over a Biden Run
Sep12 Perry Drops Out
Sep12 Walker Drops to 10th Place in Iowa
Sep12 Number of Democratic Debates Will Not Change
Sep12 Sanders' Challenge in South Carolina
Sep12 Romney's Team Wants to Stop Trump
Sep12 Hillary Clinton's Email Problem Explained
Sep11 Has Donald Trump Exposed a Fault Line Between the Elites and the People?
Sep11 New CNN/ORC Poll Puts Trump above 30%
Sep11 CNN Announces Debate Participants
Sep11 Biden Drops a Hint that He May Not Run
Sep11 Sanders Addresses the Congressional Black Caucus
Sep10 The Sheldon Adelson Primary Is in Full Swing