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Memo to Howard Kurtz: Scott and Jeb Say It's Time to Play

02/19/2015 04:08 pm ET | Updated Apr 21, 2015

Okay, so media critic Howard Kurtz doesn't want us to talk about 2016. But the problem is that a couple dozen Republican hopefuls do... and they're running plays that merit our attention. Here's Howie's jovial rant to SiriuxXM's Julie Mason, a call out.

In the meantime, fresh from his fiery speech in Iowa, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ran a crowd on fellow governor Chris Christie's UK trade mission and, like Christie, developed a case of Marshawn Lynch when asked not about NATO, but about evolution.

Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, et al are likely canceling their ring-kissings at 10 Downing Street.

Back at home, and undeterred, Walker tried another play, a trial balloon to cut funding on his state's academic crown jewel, the University of Wisconsin. The strategy was surely to curry favor with his less-government base and reprise his stare-down with unions (in case anyone thinks he's a one-hit wonder).

Aided by the state's intellectual elite, the balloon was popped with a recast, positioning Walker's cuts as a cynical attempt to buff up the governor's presidential bonafides and, oh yeah, a reminder that Walker has no college degree, a ping to curb his 2016 appeal.

RELATIVE INFLUENCE

In other news, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush ran a crazy Ivan on the pregnant question of what might be called relative influence. "I am my own man," he insisted to a pro-growth Chicago business crowd.

Having gotten that out of the way, the son and brother of two former presidents then proceeded to run call outs on President Obama's failed foreign policy. And Hillary's too. His aids whispered that the likes of James Baker and George Shultz would return to run the foreign policy show in a Jeb Bush White House -- another ping, but this one to suggest he's a badass on turror (sic).

It was left to DNC communications director, Mo Elleithee, to offer this written counter, a recast (and forecast) of what another Bush POTUS would look like: "The fact is many of the enemies that we face today were emboldened and rose because of George W. Bush's inept foreign policy... and Jeb Bush supported those policies at every turn."

This might bore Howard Kurtz, but in the theatre of influence and strategy, it is high entertainment and these are only the opening acts to the 2016 drama.