Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s ® appeal to Republicans is that he’s been able to win without caving to Democrats.
I think that’s really unfortunate. Walker, through a mix of luck and bad moves from the Democrats, did manage to pass his agenda without the help of the Democrats. But that’s everything that’s wrong with American politics right now. Walker is going to need broad appeal, because that kind of maneuvering won’t work at the national level.
Chris Christie, of course, is the anti-Scott Walker in this respect. Tom Moran’s recent piece on Christie is particularly illuminating. While Christie also is proud of never compromising ideals, he’s quite willing to work across the aisle. This is particularly important if you believe that the Republicans should stop branding themselves as the Party of No.
Peggy Noonan on two key reasons why Romney shouldn’t run:
He’s a poor campaigner
He doesn’t have an overarching philosophy
I think both of these are spot on, and the first flows from the second. Romney would be the perfect COO of the government – he’d be ridiculously good at cutting waste and streamlining, well, everything. That being said, he’s always let his opponents define him (e.g. he was caricatured as the guy who hated the rich, even though he gave millions away to charity), and that’s because he never had any philosophy to define himself.
I always got the impression he was a really bright guy who looked at the government and said, “I can do what they do better.” That’s great, but it’s not enough to be elected president. He’s an operations guy, not a strategy guy.
Ezra Klein with a great take on why Paul Ryan isn’t running:
Ryan has been better at understanding how much power ideas can have in American politics than pretty much any member of Congress in recent years. This shows that he’s got a clear-eyed view of how much power congressional process holds, too. If he was running for president in such a crowded field, odds are that he probably wouldn’t win — and, thus, neither would his ideas. But now that he’s forsworn any interest in the presidency while making clear he’s going to really use the power of the House Ways and Means Committee, no Republican will be able to win and govern without adopting Ryan’s ideas.
Two additional points:
First, while I generally agree with the piece, I think Klein misses the somewhat obvious point that if you run, you get your ideas out in the public arena. This could be important especially if you’re about to pass sweeping reforms, since that usually requires some level of broad public support. Yes, Ryan wants to draft the legislation, but someone’s going to need to sell it. Maybe Ryan thinks the salesman is already out there (e.g. this guy?).
Second, on the flip side, I think this really highlights what really matters to Ryan. It’s very hard to separate out a desire for power for policy’s sake and a desire for power for power’s sake. Having the humility to take the more effective but less prestigious path is admirable, regardless of what you think about Ryan’s policies.
Regardless of what you think of George W. Bush while in office, it’s hard to argue with his conduct after leaving office (in addition to what Sunstein lays out in the article, it’s also worth looking up Bush’s non-profit work).
Public figures are ordinarily rewarded for what they say, not for what they don’t. Grace is an underrated virtue; gracelessness is an insufficiently acknowledged vice. For his understated remarks about the CIA and his continued silence about his successor, a salute to George W. Bush – along with hope that, when he leaves office, Obama will follow the example.
Interesting. I thought only one party used race as a political sledgehammer.
The group started by Mr. Reid, Senate Majority PAC, ran the ad on black radio that Republicans said all but accused Mr. Tillis, the Republican speaker of the State House, of killing Mr. Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot in Florida in 2012. In the ad, the announcer reads through a list of policies Mr. Tillis supported that blacks are likely to find offensive, like curtailing early voting in the state. And then it turns more ominous.
“Tillis even led the effort to pass the type of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws that caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin,” the announcer says. The music playing in the background abruptly stops.
This is particularly ironic, given that:
Though Mr. Tillis was the speaker of the State Assembly at the time the law passed, he was not an ardent supporter of it. One local gun-rights group criticized him for not being supportive enough at the time.
For decades, political scientists have argued that elections are largely about a few fundamental factors, and that other factors come out in the proverbial wash. Both parties tend to elect competent candidates who raise a lot of money, commit gaffes and play within the 40-yard lines of American politics. Attempts to add one group to a party’s coalition inevitably pushes some other group out, resulting in a regression-to-mean. We might have to abandon this model in the future, but so far the “old” model hasn’t had sufficient failures to justify looking elsewhere for explanations of elections.