Friday Reads: Walking Dead Edition

halloween with esther williams
Happy Friday! It’s still October!

I’m going to binge on all things Halloween for awhile because I refuse to acknowledge the onslaught of National Crass Consumerism Season which overtakes all Autumn Holidays. Tis the season for me refusing to buy anything but the basics because I don’t want to encourage the takeover of all things autumnal.

The campaign trail continues to heat up and there’s been a death watch put out for two republican candidates.  The first one is my disastrous Governor Bobby Jindal.  The second one is for the abysmally dull Jeb Bush. The Republican field is narrowing down to people that are really unfit to govern at all and all Republican establishment eyes appear to be turning to dim, inexperienced, and very flip floppy Marco Rubio.  But, let’s go wallow in the Bobby Jindal death knell awhile.

The Louisiana governor’s campaign reported having just $260,000 to spend at the end of September after raising a little over half a million dollars and spending significantly more than that in the third quarter. It’s a paltry sum compared to his rivals, and if Jindal can’t jumpstart his White House bid soon, he could be headed the way of Rick Perry and Scott Walker, who ended their campaigns when their coffers ran dry.

Jindal’s been such a disaster for Louisiana it appears that a few Democrats actually have a chance in statewide elections including the race against David Vitter for Governor.  Sean Illing refers to this as our “nasty Bobby Jindal hangover”.   Could this be the year that Blue Dog Democrats make a come back? sandra Dee Halloween

The GOP is in serious trouble as a national political party. Demographic shifts, a crisis-driven conservative media and an ungovernable congressional caucus have tarnished the Republican brand. Increasingly, the GOP’s base is confined to the south and to pockets of rural America. But even in a conservative state like Louisiana, Republicans are being challenged by Democratic candidates. While it’s unlikely that Louisiana becomes a blue state anytime soon, there are some compelling indicators that the political winds are shifting.

First, you have the emerging gubernatorial race, which is far more competitive than many thought possible. The Democratic candidate, John Bel Edwards, is now leadingthe former Republican frontrunner, David Vitter, by a substantial margin. “

It’s almost laboratory conditions in Louisiana for Democrats,” James Carville told Salon in an exclusive interview. “You have a horrifically unpopular incumbent governor [Bobby Jindal] and the likely Republican survivor [Vitter] is one of the most flawed candidates in American politics.”

Against the backdrop of Jindal’s tenure (which began with an $865 million surplus and ended with a $1.6 billion budget deficit) and the GOP’s broader image problem, things set up perfectly for Louisiana Democrats.

In addition to the gubernatorial race, there is also the campaign for Louisiana Secretary of State. The Democratic candidate is Chris Tyson, a young progressive who many, including Carville, believe has a bright future in national politics – although Tyson himself insists his “immediate concern is winning this election.” A Baton Rouge native, Tyson would be the first African-American elected statewide in Louisiana since Reconstruction. As yet there is very little polling data, but that which exists shows the race extremely tight.

That the race is close at all is remarkable. Tyson’s Republican opponent, incumbent Tom Schedler, was thought unbeatable by most observers of Louisiana’s politics, but that’s no longer the case.

Carville, who follows Louisiana politics as closely as anyone, expected a competitive race. The Republican Party is reeling nationally, he noted, and “Chris is a once in a generation candidate…He’s a progressive Democrat in Louisiana, but he’s also the son of a federal judge, a former small business owner, a law professor, a community activist and a graduate of Howard, Harvard and Georgetown University.” Tyson may not win this election, Carville added, but “it’ll be interesting to watch because it’s a good barometer of what’s possible in this political climate…The deck couldn’t be stacked more in the Democrats’ favor.”

I watched the debate between the four candidates running for govenor and basically wanted to sell the kathouse and head for the safety of a blue state.  However, none of them could ever be as worse for the state than Jindal. At least their open to addressing some of the problems we have in the state with something other than naked ambition in mind.  So, Jindal is building a huge house in Baton Rouge.  We won’t be completely rid of him but it seems he’s gone from public life shortly.

uploads-20131017T1612Z_d9c3d8a16e07853f46edd6951c40a14f-5x65Jeb Bush is tightening his campaign belt.  Yesterday, many in the media put him on the Death Watch list.

Jeb Bush’s campaign slashed hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries over the last three months as the struggling candidate’s fundraising machine slowed to a more middling pace, new campaign-finance reports indicate.

No longer able to raise unlimited sums with his super PAC, Bush hauled in $13.4 million in the third quarter of the year for his campaign. That’s more than all of his GOP rivals except Ben Carson. But Bush also spent more than many of them, leaving him with about as much money in the bank as Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz has more.

Bush’s campaign once saw its size and staff as its strength. But the newly released campaign-finance reports indicate it could be a liability if fundraising slacks further.

More than 60 Bush staffers might have had their salaries cut or their positions changed to reduce their income, compared with the second quarter of the year when Bush announced his candidacy, the campaign-finance reports show. The campaign did not want to discuss the numbers. But the pay cuts, depending on whether the salaries are divided on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, could have saved the campaign anywhere from $450,000 to nearly $900,000 per quarter, according to a POLITICO analysis of the campaign’s payroll. The cuts have ranged from the small for some staffers ($12 a week) to large reductions for four of the top campaign chiefs who each took a $75,000 pay cut.

vintage-halloween-pinup-gloria-saundersYouGov describes Bush’s campaign as “faltering”. 

He was once the clear frontrunner for the GOP 2016 presidential nomination.  Then, while candidates like Donald Trump emerged, he was still seen by many Republicans as the likely nominee.  But now former Florida Governor Jeb Bush runs behind Trump, neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.  Bush is just about tied with Texas Senator Ted Cruz and businesswomen Carly Fiorina in the latestEconomist/YouGov Poll.

Red State has officially put him on Death Watch.  (Not linking to it.  Won’t do it.  Wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture.)

There is also some talk about no one liking Chris Christie. This includes his home state. He should be on death watch too except no one cares about him any more.

Meanwhile, the Biden Will-he-or-Won’t-he? obsession of the national media continues.

Former Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman, one of Biden’s closest political advisers, said Biden would soon make a decision about whether to enter the race. In an email obtained by The Associated Press, Kaufman asked former staffers to stay in close contact and said Biden would need their help immediately if he enters the race.

“If he runs, he will run because of his burning conviction that we need to fundamentally change the balance in our economy and the political structure to restore the ability of the middle class to get ahead,” Kaufman said.

Calls within the Democratic Party for Biden to run have been growing for months, fueled largely by concerns that front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign was faltering under the weight of an email scandal and declining popularity. But Clinton’s commanding performance Tuesday in the first Democratic debate, coupled with Biden’s seemingly endless delays in making a decision, have put a damper on the speculation in recent days, with top Democratic leaders questioning whether it’s too late for Biden.

Kaufman’s letter to former Biden aides marked an attempt by the vice president to signal he’s still very much considering running and shouldn’t be written off. It also served to reinforce the notion that Clinton isn’t the only Democrat who could run in part on a promise to lock in policies that Obama has advanced during his two terms.

“He believes we must win this election,” Kaufman said. “Everything he and the president have worked for — and care about — is at stake.”

Clinton and her top rival in the race, Sen. Bernie Sanders, have been campaigning for months and have raised tens of millions of dollars, giving them a huge head start that would make it tough for Biden to mount a viable challenge. The first filing deadlines in some states are just weeks away and Biden currently has no operation in key states. Alluding to those concerns, Kaufman said Biden was “aware of the practical demands of making a final decision soon.”

Has any one ever seen a whackier campaign season or is it just me?  So, establishment Republican donors appear to be stumped or Trumped, depending how you wanna look at it.  I’m thinking that SuperPacs mayfcc65b1919f1a271e4dbf7073a021211 actually have a huge effect in the race because the traditional campaigns don’t seem to be flush with cash right now.

“You could have this big super PAC, but if you have limited momentum and limited money to keep the campaign going, it’s like the guy at the top of Mount Everest with two broken legs and an extra oxygen tank,” said Republican strategist Matthew Dowd. “You’re living longer, but you’re not going anywhere.”

One of the challenges for Bush and other GOP hopefuls has been the dominance of real-estate impresario Donald Trump, who has siphoned off much of the enthusiasm in the base. The businessman raised $3.8 million, even though he has pledged to self-fund his campaign and is not soliciting contributions.

“Donald Trump has basically stultified the fundraising for these candidates,” said Anthony Scaramucci, who had been Walker’s national finance co-chair and is now backing Bush. “He’s the Trump speed bump. His ratcheting up in the polls has made it very difficult for more establishment Republicans to get traction with donors.”

In all, six Democratic candidates reported raising $123.2 million for their campaign committees so far this year, while 15 GOP candidates pulled in $143.5 million overall.

Clinton and Sanders together had $60.1 million on hand at the end of September. Meanwhile, the 15 Republicans combined reported having $61.2 million in the bank.

Meanwhile, the first primary happens in February.  Who knows what will come and go between then and now?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


36 Comments on “Friday Reads: Walking Dead Edition”

  1. Riverbird says:

    CNN is saying Biden has made calls to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina this week about how to launch a campaign. Oh for crying out loud. I thought the debate had put an end to the Biden speculation.

    • dakinikat says:

      He must feel insecure and need attention, I guess. I thought the debate sealed his fate too.

    • RalphB says:

      I’m pretty sure that information comes from the same people who leaked that Kaufman letter and have no faith in it’s truthiness. I think Biden’s fate is sealed, whether he knows it or not.

      • dakinikat says:

        Yeah. I have no idea where he’d get a campaign structure at this point. That’s especially true at the state level.

        • janicen says:

          Exactly. Hillary’s people have been in Iowa and NH and SC for months. Hillary’s been doing house parties and town halls the same amount of time. That Biden could sweep in and magically put together a campaign infrastructure is ridiculous.

    • I thought the same thing Riverbird.

  2. Sweet Sue says:

    Two questions:
    Why is CNN obsessed with Joe Biden?
    Why does the brunette look like she’s offering anal to Mr. Scarecrow?

  3. D says:

    At his core Biden is a sexist jerk so he thinks he must save the country from the girl.

    F him.

    • I agree. See the pictures in tonights cartoon post. I thought to myself when I saw them. Yeah, Biden would get that close to a beautiful woman. You will see what I mean….

  4. RalphB says:

    This is good news for Hillary in New Hampshire. #FeelTheHill

    Boston Globe: Poll finds Clinton, Sanders in dead heat in N.H.

    The survey, conducted Wednesday and Thursday, showed Clinton pulling ahead of Sanders, 37 percent to 35 percent. The poll of 500 likely voters in the Democratic primary had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

    Among voters who watched the debate, Clinton opened up a 5-point lead over Sanders. And despite a pushback from Sanders’ fervid supporters who thought his strong debate performance was being overlooked by the media, poll respondents overwhelmingly agreed that Clinton won the debate.

    Fifty-four percent of respondents said they thought Clinton won the debate to 24 percent for Sanders.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m not surprised.

      Respondents to the poll — nearly 62 percent — said the email issue does not bother them, echoing Sanders’ frustration when the candidate atypically rushed to a rival’s defense during the debate.

      “I’m really just sick of hearing about it,” said Sarah Stowe, 39, a Conway, N.H., mother of six who said Clinton’s emails are her own business. “I probably know less about it because I ignore it.”

      Those surveyed responded almost exactly the same way to the email question, regardless of whether they had watched the debate. The percentage of voters who are troubled by the story dipped two points, to 36 percent, since June, when Suffolk asked the same question.

  5. RalphB says:

    Sentence of the day, from the AP:

    A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat with a llama-keeper/


  6. bostonboomer says:

    Jack Shafer is practically drooling over a Biden run.

    But if Biden enters the show ready to make an issue of the email and Clinton’s flip-floppery, his brand of centrism could quicken the political broth. Although the nation has been reluctant to elect standing vice presidents to the White House, voters overlooked this rule in 1988 to make George H.W. Bush president. Bush ran as the Reagan legacy candidate and won. Had Al Gore run as the Bill Clinton legacy candidate in 2000 instead of distancing himself, he might gave converted his vice presidency into a presidency (heck, he won the popular vote even by distancing himself). As the Obama legacy candidate, Biden could reap plenty of voter goodwill. No less an authority on Barack Obama than Barack Obama has repeatedly boasted that if the Constitution allowed it, he could win a third term on his record. Biden would give voters the choice to reelect Obama by explicitly telling them he would extend the White House policy’s from last four years into the next four. According to a CNN report in late August, Obama gave Biden his “blessing” should he decide to enter the race.

    So Biden should attack Hillary on the email issue that voters are sick of hearing about? Good plan.

    • bostonboomer says:

      What if Biden sticks us with President Donald Trump?

    • Sweet Sue says:

      BB, I know I can click on the link, but I have to ask who the hell is Jack Shafer?

      • bostonboomer says:

        He’s a reporter. He used to write for Reuters, now Politico. Wikipedia says he’s a libertarian.

        • Fannie says:

          Good to know, thanks for asking Sweet Sue. I have to tell you, talked with a brother, and when we finally got down to talking about the debate, I could hear his wife shouting Hillary, Hillary, and cracked up when he said Sanders didn’t know shit about Russia. I could have gone on for hours, but damn it’s nice to know my own family cares about the changes we need, and Hillary being the one to get it done.

    • NW Luna says:

      Oh, good advice, attack Hillary about her totally legal email server. Yeah, that’ll go over well with Democratic voters — playing Republican. Someone should stick a fork in Biden. And Shafer, whoever he is.

    • roofingbird says:

      Actually I agree with what a lot of Shafer says. I thought when Clinton “gave notice” to the WH that she had withheld comment but was coming out against the Keystone Pipeline that a lot of smoothed over cracks were going to open up around the 2008 democratic positions. If the Obots really try to do a “third term” with Biden, the result will be terrible. Clinton is making it very clear that she is not to be seen in that light. That in itself is a repudiation of much of the last two terms.

      I always thought the timing in turning over the her emails was in part to protect herself from the forces within the Obama administration.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I know these campaigns are grueling. How will Biden be able to flip the switch between grieving, devastated father, to energetic political candidate?

  7. bostonboomer says:

    We Are Already Months Into the Biden Campaign, by Gabriel Sherman

    In effect, Biden has been running since Maureen Dowd published a Times column reporting how Biden’s 46-year-old son Beau implored his father to challenge Clinton for the nomination shortly before Beau died of brain cancer. The campaign picked up steam the following day when Alcorn, who had been a top strategist for Beau’s gubernatorial run in Delaware, joined the super-PAC. His arrival transformed what had been the fledgling brainchild of a 27-year-old former Obama volunteer into a serious campaign-in-waiting. Alcorn says they are “well on their way” to raising $3 million and have grown to 20 paid staffers that include veteran field operatives in Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida and a digital-data team. In September, it hired Mark Putnam, a veteran of Obama’s 2012 media team, to produce television ads.

    Of course, what the Draft Biden PAC hasn’t had is Biden himself, and many Democrats believe that the vice-president has missed his window — that the debate went so well for Clinton she has effectively boxed him out. But this analysis assumes that Biden has been deciding whether he should enter. In reality, Biden is choosing what kind of campaign to run: an active one, in which he positions himself as a Clinton alternative, or a passive one that presents him as an alternative to Bernie Sanders or any of the other three non-­candidates who were onstage in Las Vegas.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Among Biden supporters, there is a range of opinions about how vulnerable Clinton is and how much it would be worth the effort (emotional, financial) to take her out. “The challenge for the vice-president is that there’s already an Establishment candidate in the mix,” Jared Bernstein, Biden’s former economic adviser, told me. “I think his calculus would be motivated by the extent to which she stumbles.” Competing against her is bound to be messy. There are whispers among some Clintonites that Obama’s loyalists — Valerie Jarrett’s name comes up — are encouraging Biden to run as payback for the ugly ’08 primary. “It goes back to that campaign,” a Clinton friend told me recently. Far easier would be to settle into the role as the Establishment’s insurance policy.

      But for all the talk of Biden running out of time, the truth is he doesn’t need to rule out either strategy. Officially declaring his candidacy over the next few days will put him on all the primary ballots. “The thinking now is that they need to attend the Jefferson Jackson Dinner on the 24th,” a Bidenworld source told me, speaking of the timing of the announcement. Ted Kaufman, a Biden adviser who on Thursday emailed the vice-president’s former staffers to be prepared for a run, predicted “a campaign from the heart” that “won’t be a scripted affair.” One could imagine this translating into a campaign that begins heavy on Biden charm and light on attacking other Democrats — giving him more room to observe Clinton’s viability.

      Biden charm????

      • NW Luna says:

        Ahahahaha! A “campaign from the heart” that’s non-scripted. Can’t you just imagine the Biden bloopers when he is let loose without a handler!

  8. Sweet Sue says:

    Joe, go gently into that good night-retirement.