January 6, 2016
The value of free advice is measured by what you pay for it, and Republicans don't usually ask me for mine. Nonetheless, the GOP's presidential race is one of the most fascinating political brawls in years. It's about to hit full stride, and I can't resist kibitzing. I know the leading candidates will take my guidance for what it's worth. Marco Rubio: You have three related problems. You're trying to appeal to every wing of the party, which means that none regards you as one of its own. There is no state in the early going that you can consider an obvious bet. And, to put it charitably, you do not look like a person of conviction.
December 31, 2015
HEY, KIDS, gather around. Time to make fun of the thinks-he-knows-it-all newspaper columnist. Yep, it's my annual mea culpa, in which I confess to errors of judgment and/or fact in stuff I wrote in the year now ending. This is done on the theory that those with the privilege of a public voice have a responsibility to acknowledge mistakes made in using that voice. So here goes. Let's count the ways. 1. Back in January, in a column on the coming presidential race, I wrote that Republicans would turn to Jeb Bush as their nominee to face Hillary Clinton.
December 21, 2015 |
'Maybe this is the year we run the experiment?" I knew immediately what David Axelrod meant. And it wasn't the first time I'd heard the sentiment expressed while in Las Vegas to cover last week's Republican debate. We were sharing notes after the debate, awaiting an appearance on CNN. Axelrod spoke of the philosophical divide within the GOP as to whether the party is best served by nominating a pure conservative or a more pragmatic centrist. For many purists, history begins in 1980 with the nomination of Ronald Reagan.
December 18, 2015 |
The most ferocious slugging match at Tuesday's GOP debate didn't feature The bombastic Donald vs. the newly energized Jeb Bush. That, by now, is old stuff. Instead, it pitted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz vs. his fellow Cuban American, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, as they sparred over opposing foreign policy visions - and in the process revealed the growing rift within the GOP over the role America should play in the Middle East. This is big stuff, even though the candidates' errors of fact and Mideast misconceptions were distracting (when in doubt, "bomb, bomb, bomb" seemed to be the common theme.)
December 17, 2015 |
The nine leading Republican candidates for president spoke in dire terms Tuesday of the threat of terrorism, as they jockeyed during a televised debate to project the strength and smarts needed to defeat the Islamic State and keep the nation safe. Front-runner Donald Trump defended his proposal to ban Muslims from traveling to the United States, and repeated his call to kill the family members of Islamic terrorists. "That will make people think," Trump said. "They may not care about their own lives, but, believe it or not, they care about their families' lives.
December 1, 2015 |
Gov. Christie begins another two-day campaign swing through New Hampshire on Monday, this time with a fresh endorsement from the only statewide newspaper in the first-in-the-nation primary state. In an editorial running across the top of Sunday's newspaper - with the headline "For our safety, our future: Chris Christie for President" - publisher Joe McQuaid wrote that Christie is "the one candidate who has the range and type of experience the nation desperately needs," citing his background as governor and U.S. attorney.
November 20, 2015 |
CHARLESTON, S.C. - As the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks continued to dominate politics Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush called for a U.S.-led coalition to destroy the Islamic State with "overwhelming force," including a deployment of ground troops. "America has had enough of empty words, of declarations detached from reality of an administration with no strategy or no intention of victory," Bush said in an afternoon speech to several hundred cadets and guests at the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina.
November 12, 2015
WELL, JEB BUSH has a new "Jeb Can Fix It" (with no exclamation point) bus. He has a new Madison Avenue media/communications/debate guru, Jon Kraushar, who coached his father, his brother and Dick Cheney. He's added "damn" and "damn it" to stump speeches, presumably as bridges to higher energy. He's said, "hell, yeah," he'd kill a baby Hitler. And before last night's GOP debate in Milwaukee, he was saying his new political course is to "be myself by saying what's on my mind.
November 7, 2015 |
Philadelphia may be a blue city in a blue state, but Republican Jeb Bush was scooping up some green for his presidential candidacy here Thursday evening. He spent some private time with leading GOP donors at the Comcast Center, because fund-raising never stops, even if, like Bush, you are working hard on the trail to reset your campaign. Bush, once the front-runner for the nomination, has tumbled in the polls, having difficulty gaining traction with a querulous Republican electorate flocking to outsider candidates.
November 2, 2015 |
When the punch landed, Jeb Bush seemed to reel. Hands folded in front of him, he opened his mouth, but no words came out. Then the moment passed. Will history reflect that instant in last week's Republican debate as the beginning of the end of the former Florida governor's presidential campaign? Some strategists say it's possible. That sounds dramatic, but Bush, once the presumed favorite for the GOP nomination, had fallen to fifth or sixth place in national polls even before the debate.