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  • #61
    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=650> <TBODY> <TR> <TD colSpan=2></TD></TR> <TR> <TD colSpan=2> Republicans brace for 2016 free-for-all
    By: Maggie Haberman and Jake Sherman
    October 7, 2014 05:01 AM EDT

    </TD></TR> <TR> <TD class=story vAlign=top colSpan=2> The message from Republican officials has been crystal clear for two years: The 2016 Republican primary cannot be another prolonged pummeling of the eventual nominee. Only one person ultimately benefited from that last time — Barack Obama — and Republicans know they can’t afford to send a hobbled nominee up against Hillary Clinton.

    Yet interviews with more than a dozen party strategists, elected officials and potential candidates a month out from the unofficial start of the 2016 election lay bare a stark reality: Despite the national party’s best efforts, the likelihood of a bloody primary process remains as strong as ever.

    The sprawling, kaleidoscope-like field that’s taking shape is already prompting Republican presidential hopefuls to knock their likely rivals in private and, at times, publicly. The fact that several candidates’ prospects hinge in part on whether others run only exacerbates that dynamic. Ultimately, the large pack won’t be whittled for many months: Republicans have no idea who will end up running, and insiders don’t expect the field will gel in any way until at least the spring of next year.

    (Also on POLITICO: Bobby Jindal ‘thinking and praying’ on 2016)

    “It feels like a big traffic jam after a sporting event,” said Craig Robinson, a former executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa. “There’s a lot of competition for every segment of the party.”

    At least 15 Republicans are weighing campaigns, with no clear front-runner. Contrast that with Clinton, who has solidified her Democratic support to a deeper extent than any candidate in recent memory.

    There’s no indication that the reforms suggested by the national Republican party to protect the eventual nominee — fewer debates, friendlier moderators and a truncated primary calendar — have necessarily altered how potential candidates are thinking about campaigning against other Republicans. In fact, they already are jockeying to define themselves — and their opponents — in sharp terms.

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is a prime example. Seeking to expand his base of support beyond tea party conservatives, Cruz, who has been working donors and elites aggressively, has routinely dismissed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in private conversations as the “Rudy Giuliani of this cycle,” multiple sources told POLITICO. (A Cruz adviser noted that the senator has often praised Christie.) Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) denounced Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), an establishment avatar, in a Senate floor speech last month over what turned out to be an Internet hoax, a photo that falsely identified the senator meeting with Islamic State militants. When outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry attacked Paul’s foreign policy views, Perry responded in kind.

    (Also on POLITICO: Ted Cruz: No decision yet on 2016)

    The desire in some quarters for a new tenor in the Republican primary is a visceral reaction to the party’s bitter 2012 loss, and Clinton’s commanding position on the Democratic side.

    “I think because we’ve been frozen out of the White House for two terms here, I think Republicans by and large are going to be really focused on winning the general election and not wanting to do things to handicap your eventual nominee,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told POLITICO. He said that there will be “pressure this time around to ask candidates to play nice with one another so that we can make sure we can focus on the general election.”
    In an interview, Christie said, “It’s always important for us not to destroy each other — it’d be nice.”

    “I think that after eight years in the wilderness, we should all be focused on winning,” he said. “That would help. And I think if we did that, people will conduct themselves” in a positive way.

    (Also on POLITICO: Lindsey Graham 'nowhere near' presidential run)
    Yet Christie and Paul spent a good chunk of 2013 savaging each other. And several Republicans point to a simple reality: After the GOP’s tea party wing notched big wins in the 2010 and 2012 congressional elections, and establishment forces battled back successfully this year, both sides are primed for a fight.
    Newt Gingrich, one of the short-lived insurgent front-runners in the 2012 primary, dismisses the party’s desire to avoid bloodletting as “nonsense.”
    “There’s a wing of the Republican party which would like life to be orderly and dominated by the rich,” said Gingrich, whose own candidacy was enabled by a super PAC funded by $21 million from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam. “And so they would like to take all of the things that make politics exciting and responding to the popular will and they would like to hide from it. The fact is, if you can’t nominate somebody who can win debates and come out of the contest stronger, they wouldn’t have a chance to beat Hillary in the general.”

    For his part, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus pushed through major changes for 2016, including a condensed primary calendar and fewer debates.
    “What I can do is follow through on what I can control,” Priebus said in an interview. “Limiting the process from a six-month slice-and-dice festival to 60-plus” days. Priebus added that he senses a “greater spirit of cooperation” among candidates who understand that the party is “not going to get ahead by killing each other.”

    “I think people are starting to get that,” he said. “I think they understand that donors are not going to go out of their way to support candidates to kill each other.”

    Some big-dollar donors who in the past have been harshly critical of bomb-throwing Republicans are trying to keep the spirit of being team players. Al Hoffman, a Florida-based bundler who lambasted people like Cruz for instigating the government shutdown, now says that he “can’t talk negatively against any Republican candidates right now.”

    “The more, the merrier,” he said.

    Hoffman might get exactly that. Each of the more than dozen potential candidates appeals to a different slice of the GOP primary electorate. And their future plans depend, in part, on one another — a drastic shift from past cycles that had a clear front-runner from the outset.

    In the establishment lane are Christie, Ryan and Bush, while Paul and Cruz occupy the insurgent lane. Paul has grabbed headlines with his ventures into inner cities and the liberal Bay Area. Cruz has impressed donors in money centers like New York. Cruz has a strong connection to the grass roots and social conservatives, but his hawkish views on foreign policy have helped draw support from the donor base as well.

    Paul, who’s drawn the most media coverage of anyone in the field, is trying not to be typecast as a libertarian.

    “Rand is positioned to be the conservative who can build a bigger, more inclusive Republican party so we can win in 2016,” said a Paul adviser. “He knows you don’t get there overnight or in a straight line, but it will take new ideas and new tactics to break the GOP losing streak. Our party’s worst-case scenario is that we box ourselves in again and put forward the same old, same old.”

    David Kochel, who ran Romney’s campaign in Iowa in 2012, said, “There’s no question” Paul is the early front-runner in The Hawkeye State, but he has room to slip.

    “He’s got the firmest and biggest base of support right now,” he said. “But we saw what happened to Ron Paul, which is what Rand Paul is trying to avoid, which is having a high floor, but a low ceiling.”

    Not to be forgotten is Mitt Romney, who limped out of 2012 but is now seeing a wave of adulation. His backers think many of his 2012 campaign positions have been validated, especially on foreign policy. Most Romney insiders believe he won’t run, but enough donors are taking it seriously to spark constant chatter in money circles. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is publicly toying with a bid but is unlikely to jump in if the establishment lane is too crowded. His state’s governor, John Kasich, will also likely watch what Portman does.

    “It’s much more complicated this time than it was last time,” said strategist John Brabender, Santorum’s longtime adviser. “Last time Romney had his own box. This time it’s much more complicated.”

    That means a field that is so crowded and overrepresented in each segment that the top few vote-getters will win by substantially smaller percentages, he said.

    “No one’s going to win Iowa with 38 percent, they’re going to win with 28 percent,” Brabender said.

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has positioned himself as a thought leader, though it’s not clear he will run. And Perry is poised to run a redemption race by trying to win Iowa. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who was an early adopter of tea party flavored policies by voting against Bush-era spending, is also considering a White House campaign.

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — who, like Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, can straddle different lanes of the GOP electorate — is showing moderate interest in a race, but is unlikely to run if Bush jumps in. Rubio would be especially dissuaded if the Senate turns Republican. Walker is considering running, and Ryan is seen as less likely to run if the governor does.
    The social conservative sphere is also complicated. Cruz fits in the mold, as does former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen Rick Santorum and Dr. Ben Carson.

    The true fear that’s gripping some operatives: There will be no way to narrow the field anytime soon. The push to eliminate the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa has exacerbated those worries. Establishment Republicans say the event, held the August before the caucuses, is too easy to rig and turns candidates away from Iowa.

    “My fear is we have a giant field and nothing to winnow it until the contests,” said Robinson, the former head of the Iowa Republican party. “No Ames Straw Poll and fewer debates.”

    Despite the huge number of candidates, players in the establishment and grass roots are sounding hopeful tones. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said the “field promises to be a much higher-quality field [than 2008] — a lot of governors with records of accomplishment, both sitting governors and former governors.”

    Conservative strategist Greg Mueller said there is “a lot of energy and excitement in the conservative grass roots for the field that appears to be emerging.

    “It is an A-list of conservative and reform-minded thinkers who are strong advocates for limited constitutional government,” he said. “I do not think big-government Republicanism is going to sell very well in the 2016 cycle, so candidates such as Gov. Bush and some others who advocate for these types of Washington-driven policies, even though they may have a higher name ID, are going to be somewhat out of step with not only the conservative voter, but I would say the mainstream Republican voter in the wake of the Obama, Reid, Pelosi era of radical liberalism.”
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>


    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.c...A-897B46560AC9

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    • #62
      Washington will win. The corporations will win. Vote for whoever you want.

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by Rohirrim View Post
        Cruz is not eligible. The Constitution says you must be a "natural born citizen." Surely, the Tea Party would never allow a guy born in Canada to become president. Right? As we learned from the Obama birther controversy, even if born to an American mother on Indonesian/Kenyan soil, Obama is some kind of commie plant. So how can Cruz, who was born in leftist Canada to Cuban parents, be eligible? Talk about a commie plant!
        Not that it matters, but Cruz' mom was born in Delaware.

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by BroncoBeavis View Post
          Not that it matters, but Cruz' mom was born in Delaware.
          Obama's mother was born in Kansas. So?

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Rohirrim View Post
            Obama's mother was born in Kansas. So?
            You said his parents were Cuban. And you would object if I said "Obama's Parents are Kenyan"

            Not that it matters. Cruz isn't winning any nominations.

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by BroncoBeavis View Post
              You said his parents were Cuban. And you would object if I said "Obama's Parents are Kenyan"

              Not that it matters. Cruz isn't winning any nominations.
              I'm asking why the Tea Party isn't applying the same "logic" they applied to Obama, to Cruz?

              Comment


              • #67
                Why the Right Loves Ben Carson

                Should Carson run for president, his candidacy promises to be a (traditional) marriage of Michele Bachmann's personal loopiness and Herman Cain's professional ignorance of public policy. In his book, Carson called the Affordable Care Act "the biggest governmental program in the history of the United States." (So much for Social Security, Medicare, the Pentagon.) And if he can't be bothered to learn much about government, he has an all-purpose rationale: "I would choose common sense over knowledge in almost every circumstance," he wrote. It's just too much to ask for both.
                http://www.bloombergview.com/article...ves-ben-carson

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