Saturday, April 18, 2015

Last Call For Working The Refs

Peeking over the fence at what conservatives are up to is something of a necessary occupational hazard in this gig, but every now and then you catch something informative, disturbing, and flagrant.  This time around it's our old friend Cap'n Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, reviewing of all things, NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd appearing as a guest on the internet-based talk show of conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt.

The transcript falls into that informative, disturbing, and flagrant pile.

HH: The former Secretary of State installed a homebrew server. What was your reaction upon learning of that, as a technology executive aware of the security challenges of maintaining privacy and security?

CF: Well, I had two reactions. One was that clearly, she had a plan to shield her communications.

HH: Chuck Todd, Trey Gowdy came on the show as well and said he’s going to subpoena her if she doesn’t show up. And then he’s going to subpoena Huma Abedin and Sidney Blumenthal and Cheryl Mills. How big of an issue, we’ve got 45 seconds, is this server going to be?

CT: Look, I think it’s a huge issue. I’m sorry. I think it’s why those trust, those honest and trustworthy numbers were the way they were. We talked about this last week. I used those numbers on the show on Sunday.

HH: Yeah.

CT: I think this is, it brought back all of the Clinton demons that swing voters are uncomfortable with.

HH: And she doesn’t, she didn’t take any questions this week to dispel those, did she?

CT: No, and all, and can I just say this week, she had a golden opportunity to come across unscripted and truly out of her bubble. She created opportunities for herself, and then didn’t take them. I just say this was a perplexing week.

HH: Very.

CT: …watching her. They did very well on day one, and then sort of swung and missed every other day.

Now, this is the supposedly neutral (if not FLAMING EVIL LIBERAL if you ask most conservatives) Chuck Todd just trashing Hillary Clinton here.  Todd clearly seems to believe that if he's a guest on someone else's political roundup show, he's a pundit and not the host of Meet The Press.  That's one thing.

The other is Chuck Todd clearly does not like Hillary Clinton, and believes she's in a lot of trouble, sounding very much like, well, Hugh Hewitt.

Keep that in mind next time you hear Chuck Todd proclaim that he can't ask tough questions on his show because otherwise newsmakers won't come on.

Selling Evitability

When's the last time you can remember a party chair going out of their way to promise that a clear front runner would face not only multiple primary challengers but debates as well?

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) says she's still planning for primary debates, in expectation of a challenge to presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

“I expect the voters who believe we should have a Democratic primary will get their wish,” Wasserman Schultz told C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” during a video interview from Manchester, N.H.

Party officials were thus mapping out a “series of sanctioned debates that we expect our presidential candidates to participate in,” she added.Wasserman Schultz said she had already spoken with Clinton, the clear Democratic frontrunner, and other likely candidates about a possible primary down the road.

Clinton, who announced her run last Sunday, remains the only official Democratic candidate. A number of others though have said they are weighing a run.

The DNC chairwoman mentioned Vice President Biden, former Gov. Martin O’Malley (Md.), former Sen. Jim Webb (Va.) and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee as other likely contenders.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), she added, would be a welcome entrant provided he switched party affiliations for the primary.

Wasserman Schultz was in New Hampshire scouting the GOP’s field of 2016 candidates. Most of the likely Republican contenders are visiting the Granite State this weekend.

If I didn't know better, I'd say Wasserman Schultz was selling a fight card.

And maybe that's not such a terrible idea.

It's Still The Economy, Stupid

Ed Kilgore notes that Americans are feeling a lot better about President Obama's performance when it comes to the economy, and if that keeps up it could help Dems across the board in November 2016.

This new finding from Bloomberg Politics’ polling (as reported by Margaret Talev) is a pretty big deal, assuming it holds up as a trend: 
Americans are becoming more optimistic about the country’s economic prospects by several different measures. President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy is being seen more positively than negatively for the first time in more than five years, 49 percent to 46 percent—his best number in this poll since September 2009.

Here’s the under-side of that optimism, though: 
[T]he national survey of 1,008 adults, conducted April 6-8, also reveals that about three-fourths of Democrats and independents, along with a majority of Republicans, say the gap is growing between the rich and everyone else—and a majority of women want the government to intervene to shrink it. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

So it may well be that Hillary Clinton’s talk about inequality isn’t just a response to progressives unhappy with Obama’s “centrism,” but a theme we’ll be hearing more of both from her and from Obama himself as the obvious thing for a left-of-center pol to talk about when the overall direction of the economy is looking better. It also probably means that we’ll hear Republicans continue their awkward efforts to suggest shrinking government will unleash upward mobility. All in all, optimism about what a Democratic president is doing plus concerns traditionally associated with Democrats is a pretty good public opinion backdrop for a Democratic non-incumbent.

Meanwhile, Republicans like Chris Christie and Rand Paul are still talking about massive cuts to programs like SNAP, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and of course eliminating the Affordable Care Act and putting millions back into the category of uninsured.

That's a fight that Democrats will win.
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