Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!

$_1Well, I really didn’t think I’d end up writing my next morning reads about Scott Walker although we’ve covered his reign of terror in Wisconsin quite a bit.  It appears the Koch sponsored Governors are not doing very well this year.  Walker’s coffers were full of funds but his campaign was as empty as bucket with a hole much like his rhetoric and ideology.

After a dramatic fall from the top tier of Republican presidential candidates over the last several weeks, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ended his bid for the White House Monday.

“Today, I believe that I’m being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” Walker announced at a press conference in Madison, Wisconsin on Monday. “With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.”

“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same, so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front runner,” Walker went on to say, referring to current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

Walker’s run started on July 13 and lasted 71 days.

The move comes just two months after polls showed Walker leadingTrump in the crucial, first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa. Many pundits considered Walker to be a favorite for GOP nomination after his successful recall election in Wisconsin in 2012 and his establishment support.

But over the last several weeks, Walker has fallen dramatically in national polls, registering at less than 0.5 percent in the latest national CNN/ORC poll this weekend. In Iowa, where for much of the year Walker was considered the favorite to win the first in the nation caucuses, Walker slid from 19 percent to 5 percent in just six weeks of NBC News/Marist polling.

Walker first gained attention in Iowa for a speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January. But after riding high in the polls in that state for over half the year, Walker was outpaced in the polls following a lackluster performance in the first televised Republican debate.

Walker, never having graduated college, pitched himself as an outsider to Washington and argued that the next president needed to be a governor.

Walker’s governorship was ideological from the get go. Anyone with a critical eye toward results can see the damage he’s done to Wisconsin.   Kansasil_214x170.606870553_gs4t and Louisiana also stand out as failed states in the ALEC/Koch style.  It’s not like any of these guys can run on a successful economy or stewardship of their state’s funds. Walker’s jihad against teachers and police officers and their unions took on a nasty tone.  His actions spoke far louder than his words on the campaign trail.  I found his debate manner insipid. Even one of his slighted former campaign aids said he tried to please every one and came off as having no real core ideals.  

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whose early glow as a Republican presidential contender was snuffed out with the rise of anti-establishment rivals, announced Monday that he was quitting the race and urged some of his 15 rivals to do the same so the party could unite against the leading candidate, Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Walker’s pointed rebuke of Mr. Trump gave powerful voice to the private fears of many Republicans that the party risked alienating large parts of the electorate — Hispanics, women, immigrants, veterans, and most recently, Muslims — if Mr. Trump continued vilifying or mocking them as part of his overtures to angry and disaffected voters.

Still, Mr. Walker’s exit was not a selfless sacrifice: He was running low on campaign cash, sliding sharply in opinion polls, losing potential donors to rivals and unnerving supporters with a stream of gaffes, like saying he would consider building a wall along the Canadian border.

Appearing ashen and drained at a brief news conference late Monday in Madison, Mr. Walker said the Republican presidential field was too focused on “how bad things are” rather than on “how we can make them better for everyone.” Without naming Mr. Trump, Mr. Walker issued a plea to fellow candidates to coalesce around a different Republican who could offer a more “optimistic” vision and guide the party to a victory next year that, he admitted with sadness in his voice, he could not achieve himself.

The Great Wall of Canada may have been the first whiff of how absolutely clueless the man was on the world outside.  What was he planning on doing?  Stopping Americans from getting cheap Canadian drugs?

GutsNutsHis last speech was a rail against big labor. That’s hardly a zinger in a country where labor membership can’t get much lower.

Walker’s decision to quit followed two lackluster debate appearances, tepid fundraising and several statements that attracted a flurry of negative headlines, including those that followed the candidate’s assertion that building a wall along the Canadian border was a possibility that deserved further examination. It may have also been hurt by the fact that Walker is essentially a life-long politician in an election season in which Americans are so far embracing outsiders.

While Walker’s union-bashing record provided his ticket into the race, the narrative that brought him headlines and donors didn’t prove to be a white-hot issue. At a time when organized labor is already losing membership, reducing its clout hasn’t been a top national priority for most Republicans. In the first debate on Aug. 6, the word “union” was used just three times, and only once by Walker, in his closing statement.

“I took on the big-government union bosses, and we won,” said Walker, who saw his state and national poll numbers fall almost as soon as Trump entered the race. “They tried to recall me, and we won. They targeted us again, and we won.”

The references were to Walker’s 2011 fight with public-sector unions, as well as his 2012 recall and 2014 general election victories, both contests that included heavy union spending against him. His ability to remain “unintimidated” in those battles has become a central theme of Walker’s campaign.

On the campaign trail, however, Walker wasn’t that intimidating. In an often monotone Midwestern voice, his speeches virtually never changed and he wasn’t as quick on his feet in interviews or during debates as some of his opponents. While he worked extremely hard to stress his common-man credentials, seemingly making almost continuous references to his love of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, it also kept him from looking presidential.

6532890991_0befd2f40cHe just couldn’t hold a candle to The Donald.  Or, so he says and they say …

But Walker began the 2016 campaign season in a promising spot. He had a record of fighting for conservative priorities in Wisconsin in a way that impressed both the GOP’s base and its elites. Since he wasn’t so identified with pro-immigration policies as Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, it seemed to some that he was well-positioned to unite the party’s disparate factions. And despite some early rockiness on policy issues, Walker took the lead in Iowa caucus polls in mid-February, and held it for the next five and a half months.

Then Hurricane Trump rolled in. The billionaire’s showmanship and disdain for what he called “political correctness” on the topic of unauthorized immigration excited the Republican right, and powered him to the front of polls nationally and in Iowa.

In comparison, Walker looked like a typical politician, had an unimpressive speaking style, and failed to stand out from the crowd in the two debates so far. In last week’s second debate, the Wisconsin governor spoke the least of any candidate, and twopost-debate surveys asking Republican voters who won this week’s debate found Walker in last place of the 11 primetime debaters. After the first debate, he plummeted in the polls both in Iowa and nationally. Currently, he’s in 11th place nationally and in 7th place in Iowa, according to RealClearPolitics’s poll averages.

There are some other candidates that are on the ropes but seem oblivious to their problems.   Hillary was in Baton Rouge yesterday. Jindal challenged her to debate health care with him. Instead,  she took the stage and left him to his less than 1% standing in the polls among Republican voters.  She’s not backing down on the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Hillary Clinton defended President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, during a campaign stop in Baton Rouge on Monday and took aim at her Republican rivals who say they want to repeal “Obamacare.”

“It’s not just a political issue, it’s a moral issue,” the Democratic presidential front-runner told a crowd of 1,200 cheering supporters and schoolchildren at the Louisiana Leadership Institute.

Attendees circulated volunteer sign-up sheets and texted their information to the campaign during the rally, which was the first of several stops on Clinton’s latest effort to campaign on the importance of the federal health care law and her plans to protect and build on it.

“I’m not going to let them tear up that law, kick 16 million people off their coverage and force the country to start the health care debate all over again,” she said as supporters waved bright blue “Hillary” signs.

Clinton won several bouts of applause from the friendly crowd, particularly as she took jabs at Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, both Republicans.

Jindal, who is seeking the GOP nomination for president, has been a vocal opponent of Obamacare and has repeatedly called for its repeal. He also blocked the state from expanding its Medicaid program for the poor and uninsured through an optional piece of the federal health care law — a point that Clinton was quick to point out.

“He put ideology ahead of the well-being of the people and the families in this state,” Clinton said, noting that some 190,000 people in Louisiana would have been eligible for Medicaid if Jindal had supported expansion.

The ACA has faced near constant backlash from many Republicans since it was signed into law in 2010. Jindal, through his America Next policy group, released hisown proposal to repeal the law and replace it last year.

But Clinton said such a move would be too disruptive and vowed to fight any effort to repeal the law, if elected.

“I want to build on the progress we’ve made. I’ll do more,” she said.

Clinton said she would announce a plan this week to further address health care costs, including rising drug prices.

The equity markets are evidently betting on Hillary.  The viral story of the day was of a dudebro hedge fund manager who bought aimages (4) drug on the cheap and hiked its price to the stratosphere.  Hillary demanded investigation in to price gouging and the entire industry felt the discipline of the market and the expectation she’d do it too.  One company who’d gotten a patent from a non profit associate with Perdue for a Tuberculous drug wound up with the patent deal rescinded.  The dudebro’s move still stands for the time being.

Mania-prone biotech stocks were in the market’s doghouse Monday, after a 21-word tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ripping a drug company’s pricing policy sparked a sharp selloff for the group.

Referencing a New York Times report on a steep price hike for a drug recently acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals, Clinton lambasted the often-astronomical price tags for specialty drugs being developed by biotech and pharmaceutical companies and pledged to provide a plan to keep such therapeutic costs in check.

You can read more about both situations here.

A huge overnight price increase for an important tuberculosis drug has been rescinded after the company that acquired the drug gave it back to its previous owner under pressure, it was announced on Monday.

However, outrage over a gigantic price increase for another drug spread into the political sphere on Monday, causing biotechnology stocks to fall broadly as investors worried about possible government action to control pharmaceutical prices. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index fell more than 4 percent.

“Price-gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous,” Hillary Rodham Clinton, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a tweet on Monday. She said she would announce a plan on Tuesday to deal with rising drug prices.

Ms. Clinton was referring to the actions of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which last month acquired Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug used to treat a serious parasitic infection, and raised its price to $750 per tablet, from $13.50.

It’s really interesting to watch the difference between a campaign on fire and one going doing in flames.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


26 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. Beata says:

    Lots of good information and links in this post, Dak. Thanks.

    From CNN: “Scott Walker’s exit sets off Republican feeding frenzy”

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/21/politics/scott-walker-drops-out-republican-donors

    “The candidate’s super PAC raised $20 million in the first half of 2015, some of which will be returned to the Republican donors who supported it. At the heart of Walker’s financial shop was the Ricketts family – one of the GOP’s heavyweight contributors over the past two election cycles. Joe and Marlene Ricketts gave $5 million to the super PAC to run television ads, and their son, Todd Ricketts, was Walker’s national finance co-chair.

    And Walker has long been seen as a hero in the deep-pocketed political network organized by Charles and David Koch, who personally have pledged not to get involved in the Republican primary but have repeatedly gushed about Walker, who made his name by beating back organized labor. Walker’s allies in the Koch network are now up for grabs as well.”

    The CNN article goes on to speculate that Marco Rubio will likely benefit the most from Walker’s departure.

  2. Beata says:

    I have this bad feeling Mitt Romney is going to enter the race. Somebody please tell me it’s just an attack of indigestion.

    Thank you and have a nice day.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    I am damn sick and tired of the NYT calling Hillary “Mrs. Clinton” !!

  4. NW Luna says:

    Great post, dak. From that NYT link:

    Doxycycline, an antibiotic, went from $20 a bottle in October 2013 to $1,849 by April 2014, according to the two lawmakers.

    Bloodsucking profiteers. Doxycycline is a older generic antibiotic and there is absolutely no good reason for jacking up its price. There are many more cases like this. Pharma spends far more in marketing than it does on research and development. We need Hillary’s action on all this price-gouging.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Researchers have uncovered a new species of plant-eating dinosaur in Alaska, according to a report published Tuesday.

    The animal was a variety of hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur that roamed in herds, said Pat Druckenmiller, earth-sciences curator at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks.

    Northern Alaska likely was once covered by forest in a warmer climate. The dinosaur lived in darkness for months and probably experienced snow, researchers said. The fossils were found in rock deposited 69 million years ago. ….

    Researchers have dubbed the creature Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (oo-GROO’-nah-luk KOOK’-pik-en-sis). The name means “ancient grazer” and was chosen by scientists with assistance from speakers of Inupiaq, the language of Alaska Inupiat Eskimos.

  6. William says:

    I’m very glad to see Walker get humiliated, even though of course there is still a whole field of awful Republican candidates out there. Trying to figure out who might get the Republican nomination, I had thought that Walker was positioned to do well in Iowa, which would set him up in the top tier. But he must have done really poorly in the debates, which was hard to do, since the Republican field is so terrible in all respects.

    Dakinikat, excellent review of the Walker flame-out and of Hillary’s speech. In a reasonable world with an informed electorate, she would be elected with 80% of the vote, since she is the only candidate who has plans to imiprove most people’s lives, not just those of the ultra-rich; and who can actually get elected to do so. It is actually perversely fascinating to see how the media manages to avoid covering any of the real issues, in favor of soap opera and talent show type inanities. Just musing about that, I recalled the exciting two weeks the media had during the last month of the 2004 election, talking about how Teresa Heinz Kerry had mistakenly thought that Laura Bush had not had a job, when she had actually been a teacher. This is the kind of thing the media thrives on, and too much of the voting public is drawn to. Unfortunately, I’m sure they have more of this in store.

  7. Fannie says:

    Thanks Dak, I was happy as hell to see Walker go. And luv watching the Pope and President and his family at the airport. My word, his girls are growing up, just a beautiful family, and was happy to see his Mother in law there too.

    Glad the polls are showing Hillary ahead in Iowa……………….HILLARY has come out publicly against the Keystone Pipeline. I’ll have double shot to that.

    A neighbor has passed on, and so I have a ton of food to take for their Irish wake.

    Back later.

  8. Fannie says:

    Frigging right on: Martin Shkreli, the hedge funds manager is under investigation for insider trading and fraud. Here’s a guy thinking he can make a lot of money for nothing. The ashol thought he could get away with charging more 5,000% increase for meds.

  9. Fannie says:

    One more bit of good news……Judge said the liars who edited planned parenthood tapes, cannot plead the fifth in court………………YAY

  10. Fannie says:

    Mercy, since the Pope has arrived here, he hasn’t said anything yet. Did you notice the republicans all have come out against him.