You thought the storm had passed, and that your ship was sailing into safe harbor, well before the bitter winds of winter would make the seas unnavigable. But you were only in the eye of the hurricane, you misguided power seeker. And now you must reap the whirlwind, and its bitter, bracing gusts of unpleasantness. The factions rage around you: those you promised impossible things to, and those you ignored. Your power is at risk. Your future is suddenly dark.

But hey, maybe Jim Comey will somehow escape with his political skin only bruised and scratched. And not flayed to the very bone.

Pity the towering FBI Director. He has had to choose between two unenviable outcomes: you methodically go through the emails on Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s devices and let the election unfold. And then earn the wrath of much of Congress, and the public, and certainly GOP legislators and critics, by announcing that the Hillary email investigation has been re-opened. With a (likely) elected president possibly under criminal investigation. Or you announce 11 days before the election and earn the wrath of much of Congress, the public, and Democrat legislators and critics. And oh, yes. The media.

When Geraldo Rivera rips into Comey and calls his announcement a disgrace on prime time television, then it is clear that Comey has inserted himself firmly into the electoral process. Something he was loath to do in the hazy days of summer. And something which carries far more political weight in these final 10 or so days before November 8th.

We will see if this event has a significant effect on the polls. It may very well. But even if Hillary somehow does manage to get elected – a still very real possibility – she will enter the White House shackled to the skeletons in her private server and in the Clinton Foundation and in her lengthy political career. There won’t just not be a honeymoon. There will be an impending divorce – from her office through possible GOP impeachment efforts; depending on what exactly the emails on Huma and Weiner’s devices reveal.

Who will be sacrificed to keep the Clinton pay-to-play Ship of State afloat? Hillary herself, in the terse press conference Friday night adopted the tone of how-dare-he? As in Comey. And Abedin and Weiner? Will Huma have to resign or withdraw or move to another job outside the Clinton orbit? Or will she be dragged into the inquiry as a defendant and not just a witness?

And Anthony Weiner … Jonah Goldberg’s deadly accurate joke to Brit Hume on Fox says it all. If this had been on the Republican side the headlines would have been about a criminal coverup featuring a pedophile. Instead of the awkward but measured tone of most of mainstream media. At least so far. What hellish exile is Hillary wishing upon her close aide and friend’s soon-to-be ex?

The server scandal has now reached critical mass. There is no stopping it. If the new emails are ambiguous and don’t reveal enough to prosecute, Comey goes down in flames. If they do, Hillary Clinton may face criminal charges. And Huma Abedin life – already uncomfortable – becomes even more hellish. Weiner, hopefully, will get what he deserves. What a mess.

One of the many skill sets you need as president is how to fire people. In many ways. Sometimes with effusive praise, especially if they’ve taken a bullet for you. Sometimes with concerned humanitarianism, if the fired subordinate has been a crazy fool. Sometimes with crisp formality if it was really a mess that necessitated the firing.

So the fact that Trump accepted Manafort’s resignation in a rather gracious and classic way – fairly standard presidential boilerplate stuff – means he is accumulating a skill set which may perhaps be useful come late January. Manafort’s resignation/firing come as news about possible undisclosed payments by Ukranian clients with links to Putin had been weighing uncomfortably on the Trump campaign. In the middle of a bumpy few weeks thanks to a string of other controversies.

Manafort was apparently brought in to manage a possibly contested convention with Ted Cruz. But Manafort’s ambitions went far beyond that, and Lewandowski’s exit had something to do with those ambitions. Even if Lewandowski’s credibility in the eyes of Ivanka and Eric and Don Jr. was already eroded.

So far we’ve seen a fair bit of campaign manager Kellyanne Conway in the media, explaining Trump’s newly changed approach to the campaign. We’ve seen less of campaign CEO Steve Bannon, and it’s too early to tell how much he’s helped Trump focus his message in his latest speeches.

Will Trump fire Bannon in a few weeks? Likely not, if the focus and energy of the latest appearances continues. And critics of the turbulence in the Trump campaign should remember that a rebellion often feeds on itself. This is not a year for smooth-sailing campaigns.

A thought experiment: imagine that Jeb Bush won the nomination, and that much of his team of advisors were familiar faces from his brother’s campaign. Imagine that no-one was fired, or hired from say sometime last fall. A well-oiled, low-key machine quietly humming along to victory in the nomination process, and presiding over a seamless GOP convention where every speaker was experienced, not too cautious, and fit just right with Jeb’s message of an immigration-tolerant, trade-friendly, common core-boosting GOP.

Should I stop now? Did we pass absurd before finishing even the first sentence of said thought-experiment? To expect no turbulence in the Trump campaign’s structure is like sailing into a perfect storm while relaxing in sun-chairs on the deck. Trump’s campaign is different. It does not have an easy, knowable set of precedents to refer to. Despite many critics helpfully offering some from mid-20th century Germany and Italy, for example.

That means adjusting tactics in the middle of the firestorms that the media whips up because Trump does indeed provoke them. Because he questions established norms and truths, sometimes in dangerous and divisive ways. But he usually stirs trouble where there already is trouble, or frustration.

So in the middle of this turbulence, style does matter. A sense of strength and steadiness in how one responds to the controversies one faces, or creates, is something people look for in a president. That does not mean blind voter faith in institutions. That’s long gone, and Hillary is living proof that you can sell yourself as madam steady as hard as you want, but any politician with a lengthy political record is invariably guilty until proven innocent in much of the public’s eye, in 2016.

Trump has indeed discovered that firing someone when you’re the GOP nominee has to be handled far differently than on reality TV. Whether he fires Bannon or not at some point, it’s a lesson he needs to keep handy for as long as he’s in politics.

Donald Trump announced on Twitter today, that he has officially selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence has his Vice President. Rumors have swirled for days around his selection and were finally put to rest.

In light of the attack in Nice, France last night, Trump said he’d be postposing his announcement. The news conference to discuss the selection has been postponed to tomorrow, Saturday at 11 am.

Only one thing remains to solidify Donald Trump’s official nomination is at the Republican National Convention next week in Ohio.

How did he do it? GOP aides to every other candidate are asking that question right now. Donald Trump just came 2nd in a recent Fox news poll. In a couple of weeks he surged from around 4% to 11% which places him behind Jeb Bush at 15%. One can imagine that economics has a lot do with it. But it’s also his condition as an outsider, and a well-known one at that. Try these statements Trump made during his announcement:

  • I’ll be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created”
  • They (China) “kill us. I beat China all the time.”
  • “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists, I’m not using donors, I don’t care. I’m really rich.”

Will Trump suck in airtime and force other GOP contenders off of the Fox news Top 10 candidates debating ticket? He already is. In the same Fox news poll, disapproval of Obama’s administration on issues like IS and foreign policy were higher than on economic issues. But at the same time, in terms of specific issues that were a concern to voters, the results listed the price of health care and the nation’s economy around 5 points ahead of Iran and islamic terrorist attacks on home soil. Where foreign policy issues and where domestic economic and health care issues sit in voters’ minds seems hard to nail down. Does Trump’s tough-negotiator persona translate on some level into credibility on foreign issues in voters’ opinions? That seems a stretch, but Trump is compelling, and that means other candidates will have to devise ways to try and make him less so, or lose out on a debating spot later this summer.

Will a majority of GOP voters – never mind voters in general – ever vote for Trump as president? The polls say exactly the opposite, at least a poll back in March where almost 75% of GOP voters said they’ll never vote for Trump. Could it be that they suspect it’s all about ratings for The Apprentice? It certainly could be all about Trump’s cash flow from the series, but his senior political advisor, Corey Lewandowski – who ran voter registration at Americans for Prosperity – says voters want someone from the business world who actually knows how to create jobs. A tough-minded outsider who will deal with China and the Middle East in a no-nonsense manner. Let’s see if this latest Trump creation – Donald Trump as a presidential candidate – is a long-term plot or just a wonderfully obnoxious supporting actor in search of ratings. The rest of the GOP field will be praying for the latter.

While he looks like a Madrid banker with his slicked-back hair, Danny Diaz is All-American. As in Washington D.C. born and educated at George Mason University with a degree in communications. Before he entered politics – and yes, with a bang – he was a public relations account executive. So he comes from the ad business but has been a GOP operative for over a decade, and not just any operative. If you believe his biography, subject to revision one suspects, he’s the guy who helped put Roberts and Alito into the US Supreme Court in 2005-6 and assured George W. Bush a handful of key states in 2004. Through the National Hispanic Working Group he helped spearhead the outreach to latinos on the part of Republicans. He was with McCain in 2008 and proudly puts it in his bio at his firm FP1 Strategies. Not featured is his role as a senior adviser to Romney’s 2012 losing effort. His ties with the RNC are close as well.

So Jeb has turned to one of his brother’s advisers to shake things up and shift his campaign out of neutral. Does Diaz get to be Jeb’s Carl Rove? And is this enough, or even the right thing? While Diaz’s ability to absorb terabytes of news and information and print out a continual stream of angles and stories for a waiting press is impressive they say, can he shift conservatives towards Bush? Or does he even care? Is his mission to aggressively broaden Jeb’s appeal and bring in new Republican supporters – among hispanics for example? With his bilingual boss it should be easier to do that than it was for his boss’s older brother.

Perhaps it would be unfair to say Jeb has brought in Los Mad Men: quick-thinking hard-nosed communications experts who are not above playing dirty and have a hispanic heritage to top it all off. But the fact that the substance of Jeb’s positions remain contentious with more than a few GOP voters will be a problem that Danny Diaz will need to use all his skills and then some to solve. Will the Jeb Bush Metrorail become a Manhattan Yellow Cab careening down the primary pathways with a hot young account executive at the wheel? Stay tuned for the first episode.

Ruth Marcus – the long time commentator at the Washington Post – graduated from Harvard Law in 1984 and her husband Jon Leibowitz – a policy wonk if there ever was one – graduated from New York University School of Law the same year. Carly Fiorina dropped out of UCLA Law School in the 70’s. So there. Ruth Marcus has been a journalist all her professional life. Carly Fiorina has had an enormously successful and enormously controversial career in business with her tenure-ship at HP already a case study; as much for the wrong as for the right reasons. So there. Ruth is offended by Carly’s candidacy as the former tech executive lacks political experience and skills. Ruth’s husband has worked deep in the bowels of the beltway – especially in the areas of digital regulation and consumer protection. Carly has offended many of her former employees by shaking up HP’s nurturing culture and firing lots of workers and managers. So there. Whether Fiorina was a tough minded visionary or a blundering hatchet woman, or some combination of the two, is still not quite clear. So there.

Unfortunately, one has to pause and remember there is another actor involved, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Whose life could be characterized as having lots of frustrated political ambition. Frustrated because, like Fiorina, the execution never lived up to the ambition. But there is a difference between the two beyond those of the business world and the political world that Hillary entered on the arm of her husband. Fiorina is dying to get out there and defend what she did in the public eye and have people hear her and judge her – over and over again. Hillary wants people to applaud and then leave her alone. And Fiorina is determined to enter the political world, so determined she’s going for the top job. She has true grit you could say. Hillary at times seems like someone who wants to retire into the top job, because she’s put in the years and is due the office.

At times one wonders if the GOP’s understandable attacks on Hillary’s record at State, for example, keep a tired and grumpy candidate alive and still walking. Like a zombie. Or a golem, in the sense of an unfinished human being before God’s eyes. Because we still don’t really know who Hillary is. Carly, on the other hand, is desperate for voters to get to know her and seems more than willing to argue and scrap her way through a singularly competitive filed of GOP candidates. Hillary has trouble putting in public time in a field of one. At some point, it is more than likely that Carly will have to throw in the towel, at least as far as this campaign is concerned. What will Hillary do when she can barely face the press, or anyone else for that matter, anymore?

In his hometown of Detroit, Dr. Ben Carson, officially announced his run for President saying, “I’m Ben Carson and I’m a candidate for president of the United States.” As a doctor, who was the first surgeon to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head, Dr. Carson hasn’t exactly had the most traditionally background entering politics. But that doesn’t mean to count him out just yet.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what could made a successful GOP candidate because the belief and preservation in the Constitution is essential to the GOP, however that can make it difficult to appeal to voters who are looking for a social conservative. Is that Ben Carson?

Carson’s run can be a game changer. As a doctor, his perspective and influence on health care in our broken system could be critical. With 2 terms having an African American president, Carson is looking to extend that time. He previously said, “There are a lot of African Americans who do think for themselves and recognize that the policies that have been in place for decades now that really started with Lyndon Johnson … have not really accomplished very much.”

Carson certainly has the appeal but there are so many variables that are turned into negative representation from lefties and liberal media that it truly is hard to say what will make a successful GOP candidate.

 

 

Rand Paul has been rightly criticized for flip-flops over drones. From his famous filibuster on the Senate floor that forced AG Holder to state that limits will be respected on using drones on American soil against American citizens, he has then shown support for drones a few months after the filibuster. The context was the Boston Marathon bombings and under what circumstances drones would be justified in a domestic situation. He had to offer a non-retraction retraction and now he has stated he supports drones in military situations like the Afghanistan incident that ended with two dead hostages. Rand has taken a lot of flak from his libertarian supporters over this issue and perhaps he should have kept his mouth shut about the issue.

The thing is, it’s very very good that he did not zip it. Because the issue of drones – a very powerful and increasingly cheap and available technology – is one that needs to be discussed, with political zig zags and pratfalls thrown in. It needs to be discussed because with Baltimore burning over a possible case of police abuse of a detained young man who died from injuries apparently suffered while in custody, the issue of armed drones being used by police forces is not some crazed scenario or just a scene from a Jason Bourne film. It is a powerful, invasive technology that must be carefully weighed in terms of costs and benefits before being adopted by law enforcement agencies around the country. And a terrorist attack using home-rigged drones inside America is not a laughable theoretical either. Drones are a weapon above all; that’s how they were designed. How they are used by private citizens can’t just be left up to those private citizens themselves. And how police forces use them does and should make us uncomfortable.

Will drones end up being restricted and then face legal challenges? Ones that even invoke the 2nd amendment? That might be a little far fetched, but an open debate about drones in America is far from a waste of time. Whether in the media, or on the Senate floor. Let Rand Paul drone on. It’s a necessary thing.

No one could really question Bill Clinton’s seductive powers, even while casting a critical eye at his personal demons and the mess they led his presidency and his marriage into. No one can doubt that Hillary stood by her man, although the reasons seemed to be, and still seem to be, more about power than anything else. And what seems to be becoming more apparent with each passing week, is that Hillary Clinton has all the seductive powers of Richard Nixon. But Richard Nixon, sweaty forehead and all, gladly engaged with the press, duking it out to try and convince and to contain the damage that his electoral defeats produced in the early and mid 60’s. It was only later during his presidency that his tactics, fueled by the power of the office, became more cloaked and paranoid. Hillary has shared power with the then world’s most powerful politician. But now, despite the 2-for-1 First Lady, the Senate seat, and the Cabinet level experience, she has to seduce.

And when you barely meet the press, never mind engaging, the press goes looking for you. As in the New York Times, which has run several devastating lead stories in the past couple of months: the personal email address on a home server used for State Department business, and the troubling link between the Clinton’s foundation and donations from foreign “entities” in support of the foundation. Add a fistful of hard-hitting columns by the venerable Maureen Dowd, and you have Hillary practically under seige from a liberal paper in her adopted home town. The paper even has archived stories on Hillary Rodham Clinton – with a photograph of her trying to smile to be fair – for anyone who might want to dig up anything at all on her. So if Hillary is unwilling to engage with the media, the media will come looking for her regardless. One wonders whether it’s also her advisors who gently steer her away from any direct contact, perhaps thinking that a short-tempered crusty veteran who does not suffer anyone she thinks is a fool gladly, is not the best public persona to win the presidential race. Will Hillary be able to pluck the slings and arrows of perceived outrages from her public self, and present to the country her vision for the future? Or will her appearances be full of coded – and not so coded – counter attacks over past battles? The culture wars are still very much with us, but anyone hoping to walk into the oval office in early 2017 will have to offer a vision that transcends those cultural wars, even as they wage them effectively and convincingly. Is Hillary capable of that?

Well, it’s official. Hillary Clinton has officially announces she’s running for President. In a two minute video concluded by “I am running for president.”

While the Democratic race is still unknown with who will run against Hillary, they better hope it’s someone…but not Joe Biden. Hillary’s beating a dead horse with her campaign, and it could definitely hurt the chances of Democrat remaining in the White House. She’s old news. Democrats didn’t want her in 2008, and after all of the shady business she’s been up to in the past 8 years, it’s doubtful she’ll succeed in an election. But that all depends on who she’s running against.

The idea of the first female President is an exciting one because there are smart women who could potentially be a great President of the United States. Using Hillary to fill that role is a horrible idea.

Chuck Norris has said it best, “Not only would her presidency be “Obama, the Sequel,” but she would be an unbridled, more powerful, mega-wealthy, powder-keg Obama personality.”

Progressives don’t even want to see Hillary in the White House. It will be interesting to see how the race for the Democratic Primary turn out, but now is the time for the GOP to get in gear because a fresh face is great leverage in this election.

Here’s the video of Hillary’s announcement:

It’s all about Hillary. Everything nowadays leads back to Hillary. Jeb Bush is now just behind Scott Walker in the latest Quinnipiac University Poll at 16% to Walkeer’s 18%. Why? The numbers also show that Hillary beats Bush 45 – 42 while she beats Walker 48 – 39. And Hillary leads Democrat presidential rivals Joe Biden 5 to 1 and Liz Warren 4 to 1, among Democrats. So we all know Hillary will be the Democrat nominee and we all know the GOP has to find someone to beat Hillary. And we all know donors want a winner, rather than a specific platform, as much as they might have certain issues they feel strongly about.

The problem is that the woman behind all this fuss is building a campaign shrouded in secrecy. The current email scandal is more an indication of how Hillary does business than a shocking revelation of some corrupt or venal act. And it’s how Hillary has always done business. From the failed attempt at Health Care reform in 93 – criticized by the NY Times for being secretive as well as self-righteous – to her refusal to release information to investigators during Whitewater, Travelgate, or the Lewinsky scandals, Hillary likes to keep any and all facts away from any prying eyes, whether prosecutors or journalists. It’s an obsession that may be founded in legal tactics, but has far greater implications if she comes to occupy the Oval Office. While Rep. Roskam, R-Ill, compared her habit of secrecy to Nixon’s habit of erasing compromising tapes, the comparison is a lively way of reminding us of how she does business, and nothing more. Richard Nixon was an accomplished statesman who had to manage the Vietnam War while balancing America’s relations with the Soviets and the Chinese. He accomplished far more than he is given credit for and had years of experience that he put to good use.

Maybe Roskam should have compared Hillary to LBJ. Also a great statesman whatever one’s opinion on his Great Society. Apparently he stripped Air Force One of it’s interior furnishings after landing in Texas for the final time. That compares nicely with stories about Hillary stripping the White House of valuable furniture and artifacts after the Clinton’s time in D.C. was up. That was despite concern expressed by White House usher Gary Walters that the items belonged to the White House. They were part of a 1993 re-decoration but the fact that Hillary ordered them with taxpayer money hardly means were her personal property. The first lady’s aide at the time, Eric Hothem, may have managed the removal and storage of these items back in 2000. Hothem is, interestingly, the person who was the registered owner of clintonemail.com, the private server Hillary used for government business as Secretary of State. As long as the email scandal does not get too nasty, you can bet Holthem will be a key aide to a President Hillary. And that it will likely be a bad-tempered, secretive administration with a policy core that no one is really clear on. Like Hillary herself. The Iowa caucuses are almost a year away, but the political and media establishments seem to have decided that Hillary will be the Democrat nominee. And the GOP and their donors seem to have one goal in mind: beat Hillary. Let’s hope they have a clear and strong platform from which to launch their Hillary mission.

The first Political Derby Power Rankings are in the books, and now we want to hear from you. Who should be considered for the Democrat and Republican Rankings of the future?

There are a few names that were bandied about for these first rankings, such as Mark Warner and Mike Pence. Tell us who we should rank and why. Keep in mind the Rankings are a snapshot of the race as it would stand today, so even if you have a crush on the policy stands of Candidate X, if that candidate is a first term House member from Topeka, it is unlikely they would be ranked ahead of the more well known names on the Rankings. This isn’t about who you love.

So fire some names at us, and we’ll put them in the hopper for the next round of Power Rankings and see if your horse cracks our top five.