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Eye-Popping PPP Poll Result To Further Fuel 'Hillary Clinton 2016' Hype

Jason Linkins   |   January 31, 2013    5:09 PM ET

As if we needed to dump any more sriracha sauce all over the already spicy bowl of hot Hillary Clinton 2016 speculation, there's now word from the folks at Public Policy Polling that the former FLOTUS/New York senator/presidential aspirant/secretary of state could put Texas in play. And by "in play," I mean, based on a series of possible circumstances that may or may not come to pass in about 1,400 days' time.

PPP's newest Texas poll finds that, at least for now, Hillary Clinton could win the state in 2016. This follows on the heels of a survey last month where we found she would have a decent chance of winning Kentucky if she makes another White House bid.

In terms of what matters right this very minute, these results probably reveal more about how esteem for Perry has fallen in recent months than it does about an electoral match-up in which the protagonist, Clinton, hasn't agreed to participate. On Tuesday, PPP reported that its poll respondents were cool to the notion of Perry running for office again. According to its results, there is a dearth of support for a Perry reelection bid -- less than a third of respondents desired it, while 62 percent of the respondents were against it, including nearly 40 percent of Republicans surveyed.

As far as a future Perry presidential bid goes, that fever has broken. Nearly eight in 10 Texans were against another run at the White House, including two-thirds of Republicans, the poll found.

Democrats in general have been talking up their chances of turning Texas blue, though it has not been explicitly suggested that this could realistically happen in as short a time frame as the next four years. The going theory is that Texas' growing Hispanic population could be the seed bed for a new generation of majority-tipping Democratic voters, but complicating the effort to divine how Texas' Hispanic voters are shifting is the fact that there were no exit polls out of Texas this past November. Nevertheless, Democratic party strategists are organizing around this effort. As Politico reported last week:

National Democrats are taking steps to create a large-scale independent group aimed at turning traditionally conservative Texas into a prime electoral battleground, crafting a new initiative to identify and mobilize progressive voters in the rapidly-changing state, strategists familiar with the plans told POLITICO.

The state of Texas has significance in Hillary Clinton's political career: It was there that she and former President Bill Clinton served as staffers for George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign. Bill and Hillary would, of course, go on to get married. McGovern, on the other hand, lost the state 67-33 percent.

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Hillary Clinton Is Already Ruining 2016 For Everybody, Apparently

Jason Linkins   |   January 30, 2013    2:49 PM ET

In the real world of actual human life and interaction, there are a lot of things to look forward to in the next four years. There are birthdays and graduations and some Olympics and a World Cup and a new Justin Timberlake album and a third season of Sherlock where we'll finally find out how (SPOILER) the titular character pulled off that staged suicide -- gads, it is just maddening!

In the world of politics, however, there is only the 2016 election to look forward to and right now, Hillary Clinton is just ruining everything! She's all, "Guys, I think I'm just going to chillax for a while after being secretary of state," but this is so selfish because people are waiting for her to declare her intention to run for the White House and can brook no delay, according to Chris Cillizza:

It’s, of course, understandable that Clinton would like some rest and relaxation after living for more than two decades in the white-hot national spotlight. (Think about it: Clinton has been one of the most high-profile figures in America from 1992 until now. That’s a pretty amazing run.)

Political reality, however, means that Clinton likely won’t have as much time to luxuriate in not working — and not thinking about whether she wants to run in 2016 — as she might want.

But she can have a weekend, right? Maybe just go to brunch on Sunday and come home and curl up with Rebecca Dana's new memoir or something? No! Because Hillary Clinton is both the "first domino to fall on the 2016 board" and the "prime mover," which are two ways of saying that lots of people cannot get on with their lives until she reveals her plans.

See, she has "frozen the field" for 2016 -- which is a fancy way of saying that everyone else who is thinking about running for president can't say or do anything about it until she either puts up or shuts up. And, as Cillizza notes, the uncertainty is keeping the rest of the would-be Democratic candidates, like Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, from establishing a donor network: "Every — literally every – conversation that O’Malley or Cuomo has with a major giver would begin with this question: 'Do you know what Hillary is doing?'”

Why would O'Malley or Cuomo know the answer to that question? And what are they supposed to say? "Hey, I don't know, what Hillary's doing, but I have my fingers crossed that she'll decline to run leaving me among the many options for which you'd eventually settle."

So the question is, how long can Clinton afford to keep mum? Is there an absolute drop-dead date on which she has to announce her intentions?

So, when does Clinton need to make a declarative pronouncement about her plans? It’s hard to pinpoint a particular date but it’s hard to imagine her being able to wait much beyond the 2014 midterm elections.

"It's far less time than you might think," Cillizza insists. But no, I was pretty much thinking I had six hundred and forty-three days or so, and that's going to fit my schedule just fine.

Y'all gots to chill.

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GOP Looking For Sweet '16 Solutions: HuffPost List

Jason Linkins   |   November 20, 2012    7:10 PM ET

huffpost list

It’s been just two weeks since The Most Important Election In Our Lifetime, and the side that lost is gearing up to be a better competitor by the time the next Most Important Election In Our Lifetime happens, in 2016. But first, there comes a period of soul-searching. What went wrong? And who went the wrongest? How does the Republican Party move forward (but not like, you know ... Obama Forward). Over the past few weeks, various GOP thought-leaders have offered suggestions. Bill Kristol said he thinks the party should go ahead and raise taxes on upper-income earners. David Frum said he thinks that the Republican Party should embrace "cultural modernity." Karl Rove said he wants to return to the "50 State Solution." And lots of people seem to generically agree that the next Republican candidate for president should "do some Hispanic stuff."

But other ideas have drawn a lot more attention, suggesting an amusing step-by-step process that your HuffPost List shall now run down for you.

one For Starters, Reject Romney Thoroughly: As Ben Smith pointed out, Mitt Romney is getting disappeared from the GOP ranks faster than a dissident in Milton Friedman's Chile. It's easy to see why. Who wants to be associated with the guy who was just at the receiving end of a shellacking from President Barack Obama, especially after an election that was deemed to have been handed to Republicans on a silver platter. Not only did the party come together to unanimously condemn Romney’s “gift” comments (huh, weird how there were mostly crickets when the whole 47 percent debacle went down) -- but now Sen. Marco Rubio is also reiterating his opposition to Romney’s “self-deportation” remark made during the GOP primaries. It’s true that Rubio has taken issue with Romney’s choice of words before, but like most in his party, he spent the last months leading up to the election pivoting to jobs and the economy when asked about his nominee’s non-existent position on immigration. No more.

this is two Then, I Dunno ... Get Better Candidates, I Guess?: Republican party bigwigs will be retconning 2012 for years, wondering what might have been if only Mitch Daniels, or Jeb Bush, or Chris Christie had run for the nomination and won. (You don't think that candidate Christie and President Barack Obama would have bro'ed out in mutual love for one another, do you?)

But the need for better candidates is more painfully felt down-ticket, where -- as Mike McAuliff reports -- memories of the damage done by some of the GOP's leading lowlights remain fresh:

The most remarkable losses were in Indiana and Missouri, where the GOP had been looking at near-certain wins until their right-leaning standard-bearers both took controversial positions on abortion. Missouri Rep. Todd Akin declared women don't get pregnant from "legitimate rape." Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock proclaimed that pregnancy from rape is "something God intended to happen."

and here is three Or Maybe We Can Just Have The Same Sort Of Candidates, Only They Remember To Stop Saying The Stupid Stuff Everybody Hates Out Loud: After keeping a relatively low profile during the presidential race, Bobby Jindal suddenly has all the answers. The Louisiana governor took to various media outlets to decry the GOP for coming across as the “stupid party”, and then again to denounce Romney’s ‘Obama’s policies were gifts to minorities’ comments ... and then yet again to urge the Republican Party to go back to the basics. Of course, those "basics" didn't differ in many meaningful ways from Mitt Romney's basics -- Jindal's preferred tax policies aren't a whit different from Romney's. And for all of Jindal's talk about not being the "stupid party," he's the guy who supports creationism.

Besides, I think a lot of Republicans are just going to hear Jindal's admonitions about not being the "stupid party" and think, "Well, that's pretty rich coming from the guy who endorsed Rick Perry."

okay four That’s A Lot Of Work, Can’t We Just Run George P. Bush?: Yeah, we get it. He's a Bush, and he's handsome, and he's Hispanic, and he's ready to, like, TOTALLY run for something? Maybe land commissioner? Whatever you got, basically. But it's not actually going to be that easy, reckons Alex Pareene:

There was honestly never much of a reason to expect that Hispanic American voters -- a diffuse group of lots of very different types of voters -- would end up voting as a bloc. But then the Republican Party started encouraging and explicitly campaigning on nativism and ferocious white racial resentments, instead of merely profiting from them. In doing so, Republicans might have served to make the non-white portion of the country liberal for a generation at least, which would be a major problem.

[...]

If that’s the case, if the Tea Party and Sheriff Joe have liberalized a generation of Latino voters, the Republican Party’s demographics problem will not be fixed simply by embracing individuals like Marco Rubio, who share the same batshit beliefs as the party. (Nominating a white guy did not win the former Confederacy for Democrats in 2004.) But it also might not help that much to nominate a guy like George P. Bush, who merely subscribes to most of the beliefs of modern conservatism. It could take years, and a series of Democratic missteps, to erase the damage done in the last few elections.

five is this Screw It, Then, Why Don't We Just Bring Palin Back: While GOP operatives point to the likes of Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush as potential 2016 frontrunners, conservative columnist Charlotte Allen tossed another name into the mix: Sarah Palin. Cause, remember how well that worked out the last time? "Palin can more than keep up with the Democrats in appealing to voters' emotions," Allen wrote in a column that apparently was not satire. "Hardly anyone could be more blue collar than Palin, out on the fishing boat with her hunky blue-collar husband, Todd." Ha, ha: no.

six pix Wait I Got It!: Remember all those amazing engineers and technologists that Alexis Madrigal profiled in his great post-election article on the Obama campaign and the brilliant geek-savants who built the system that powered the president to victory? Well, can't you guys just pay those nerds triple what Obama was paying them? I mean, you are Republicans, after all.

Bobby Jindal Wants You To Know That He's Running For President In 2016, Guys

Jason Linkins   |   November 16, 2012    5:06 PM ET

Okay, Bobby Jindal, we get it. You are totally running for President in 2016. Take it down a notch.

You guys noticed this, right? Just in case you didn't, take it from me: Bobby Jindal will be one of the people running for president in 2016, guys. 'You can basically lock that in right now,' is what Bobby Jindal has been trying to tell you for the past few days. Mind you, Jindal's been really subtle about it.

Not as subtle as some, of course. On the Thursday after Election Day, Marco Rubio's people let it be known that the one-term Florida senator was going to "headline" a "birthday fundraiser" for Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

You know...that Iowa? As in: wink-wink, nudge-nudge?

Yeah, see, the whole "going to a big fundraiser [or dinner or barbecue] in Iowa" thing is actually a critical litmus test for anyone who wants to play politics at the presidential level. You think I'm joking? Michele Bachmann's slide from the dizzying heights of being the Ames Straw Poll winner to the tragic lows of also-ran status literally began after she was outperformed by Rick Perry in a super-competitive GOP dinner-attending contest. (Perry would later slide to also-ran status himself after he was similarly outperformed in the English language category of a super-competitive "stuff people should ordinarily be able to do with their mouths" contest.)

Rubio's got the kind of "brand" identity to pull off this sort of subtle, 'Look, Mom, I'm in Iowa!' maneuver. He's universally thought of as the fresh-faced, Hispanic-outreaching, bases-unifying future of the GOP -- the guy who's been chased after as a presidential candidate from the first day he arrived in the Senate.

Jindal, on the other hand, is known as the guy who shanked a GOP rebuttal to an Obama congressional address by channeling the "Kenneth the Page" character from "30 Rock." It's a harder climb.

But while Jindal can't claim the pole position in the 2016 primary season's slate of top-tier candidates just by hanging out with Terry Branstad, he can rebrand himself by emerging as the loudest and most nagging re-brander of the post-Romney GOP identity. And that's precisely what he's gone to great lengths to do, suddenly intruding into our newsholes and our lives as a hot critic of the way the GOP played 2012 and of how Mitt Romney ran his campaign.

So when Bobby Jindal heard that Mitt Romney was characterizing his election loss as one in which he simply lost a battle of "gifts" to President Obama, essentially reiterating his famous remarks about how 47 percent of the nation would never vote for him because they'd come to be dependent on said gifts, Jindal was quick to throw shade at his party's former standard-bearer:

"That is absolutely wrong," Jindal said at Wednesday's session of the annual Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas, according to the Washington Examiner's Byron York. "I absolutely reject that notion."

"I don't think that represents where we are as a party and where we're going as a party," Jindal continued. "That has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election: If we're going to continue to be a competitive party and win elections on the national stage and continue to fight for our conservative principles, we need two messages to get out loudly and clearly: One, we are fighting for 100 percent of the votes, and secondly, our policies benefit every American who wants to pursue the American dream. Period. No exceptions."

This struck a pretty interesting contrast to one of Jindal's previous Vegas gigs, from early October. Then, with the news of Romney's "47 percent" remarks still fresh in everyone's minds, Jindal insisted that it was "not too late for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to gain enough momentum to beat President Barack Obama," and that he was "confident voters understand they aren't better off than they were four years ago, and they realize Romney can boost job and economic growth by reinvigorating the private sector."

But hey, you live, you learn, like Alanis says, and so Jindal has probably just analyzed the campaign really thoroughly and come away with a handful of smart takes and suggestions. You know, the sort of things that will look good on the pages of Politico, where shininess reigns.

"We've got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything," Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. "We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys."

So what are the dramatic changes he suggests?

Declaring that Republicans "can't be beholden to special interests or banks," the successor to Huey P. Long indicated support for provisions in the Dodd-Frank law, which requires banks to increase their reserves to prevent future taxpayer-funded bailouts.

Even more notably, Jindal suggested he'd look favorably on something akin to the "Volcker rule."

"You've seen some conservatives come around to the idea that if banks are going to be using FDIC-insured deposits, they shouldn't be allowed to co-mingle those funds with some of their riskier investment banking activity," Jindal said. "There needs to be stronger walls between insured deposits, the taxpayer protected side of business and riskier side of business that generate these risks and profits.”

As Matt Yglesias points out, "That's not what the Volcker Rule is":

The idea of the Volcker Rule is that insured institutions should be actually prevented from engaging in speculative proprietary trading. Jindal's idea is simply that insured deposits should not be invested in a risky manner. That's a restatement of previous FDIC policy, not a new idea.

What about tax reform? That was, if you recall, a pretty big issue during the campaign.

Jindal said he didn't want to see tax rate increases but called for broad tax reform to rid the code of loopholes and make it fairer for more Americans.

"Depending on the other reforms that are made, certainly I'd be open to the idea of having more deductions, credits available to lower-income [filers]," he said.

Oh, haha. For a moment, I forgot that Jindal had criticized the Romney campaign at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Las Vegas. What was the moment, specifically? It was the moment where Jindal basically said that he favored Romney's precise tax plan, adding that he'd be "open to the idea" of making the "47 percent" pay more taxes, because makers and takers, et cetera.

But look, I don't mean to imply that Jindal was shy about taking shots at his fellow Republicans in the name of doing some harsh post-election keeping of realness. Here's another part of that Politico interview:

"It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments -- enough of that," Jindal said. "It's not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can't be tolerated within our party. We've also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters."

BAM! That's called bringing the hurt. In the space of a few sentences, Jindal fires a serious shot at "stupid" and "dumbed-down" conservatives, like that one creationist weirdo who currently runs Louisiana. Ol' what's-his-name? Performed an exorcism on a woman in college? Gave a rebuttal to one of Obama's congressional addresses? You know the guy.

But this is what I'm talking about -- Jindal's hard up into your post-election newshole, with melodramatic criticisms ... that all basically add up to no critique at all. Pledging to reform the way conservatives do business while simultaneously signaling that it will be business as usual? That's as clear as sign as any that he intends to throw his hat in the ring for 2016.

So, we'll see you in Iowa, Gov. Jindal. Remember not to be all sulky at the Black Hawk County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner. It's actually super important.

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The Tech Battle Between The Obama And Romney Campaigns And The Overconfidence Gap

Jason Linkins   |   November 16, 2012    1:23 PM ET

If you haven't yet gotten your fill of stories about the technologists who formed the backbone of President Barack Obama's reelection efforts, then definitely check out Alexis Madrigal's story of the people behind Narwhal, the "data platform that underpinned the [Obama] campaign and let it track voters and volunteers." Jay Rosen, who highlighted the story on Twitter, serves it up noting that the "contrast with Project Orca" -- referring to the game day get-out-the-vote app of Mitt Romney's campaign -- "is just so extreme."

I'd go even further and say that the biggest contrast revealed in Madrigal's piece isn't just that one technological initiative is several quantum steps beyond the other. Madrigal helps to tell the story (or really, he ties it up with an excellent bow) of how each campaign prepared for victory, and why the Romney campaign's preparations didn't measure up. Madrigal sets up the revelatory parts of the story by first providing a retelling of the Obama campaign's disastrous Election Day, when the Narwhal engineers had to deal with multiple unfolding accidents at the worst possible time. Of course, there's a fun little catch:

They'd been working 14-hour days, six or seven days a week, trying to reelect the president, and now everything had been broken at just the wrong time. It was like someone had written a Murphy's Law algorithm and deployed it at scale.

And that was the point. "Game day" was October 21. The election was still 17 days away, and this was a live action role playing (LARPing!) exercise that the campaign's chief technology officer, Harper Reed, was inflicting on his team. "We worked through every possible disaster situation," Reed said. "We did three actual all-day sessions of destroying everything we had built."

Everything we've been told about the Romney campaign in the wake of its loss dials back to a common story: they all thought they had the election in the bag, based upon certain anecdotal evidence (lots of people came to their rallies!), and they were quite shocked and blindsided when it turned out that they weren't going to win. Meanwhile, the Obama campaign went into Election Day quite certain that any number of things could go terribly wrong and cost them the election. There's your contrast right there: a serious overconfidence gap that infected the wiring in Romney's operation.

According to Madrigal, the Romney team named its project "Orca" because the killer whale is the "only known predator of the one-tusked narwhal." But as it turned out, it was Narwhal that whaled on Orca until it was killed. For the complete story of the sort of people who you'd want in your "victory lab," you got to go read the whole thing.

READ THE WHOLE THING:
When the Nerds Go Marching In [The Atlantic]

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