(Washington, DC) – Well, here I am in the “belly of the beast” again this week, looking for new, full-time job opportunities and being with my daughter, Alexandra Curtis, as she represents the State of Rhode Island in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The big news here is that just about every politician in the U.S wants to relocate to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as President, so I hung out at the White House to hear the latest chatter. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:
“Where’s Hillary? There She Is!” – Hillary Clinton will announce her run today. Some supporters worry she’s waited too long. (She hasn’t, but she has to hustle it up). Clinton is so powerful that she has effectively “frozen” all of the Democratic donors and volunteers. No one wants to commit a lot of time and money to other candidates, so they are waiting for her to jump in. She still controls the ball on the political playing field - at least on the Democratic side.
“Running Out the Clock” – Aside from “freezing out” the money and the volunteers for other potential campaigns, part of Hillary’s strategy is to create further distance from the Benghazi disaster and the more contemporary private email scandal. Reporters and voters are going to press her on both issues; and she wants to be able to frame them by suggesting that “All that’s old news!” Maybe it will work; maybe it won’t. My guess is that she’ll be repeatedly hammered over these issues, but unless new and damaging information is revealed, they could fade by the time primary season arrives.
“Linc, I Am Your Father!” – One has to wonder if the late, legendary U.S. Senator John Chafee is shouting my edited movie line from “Star Wars” from his grave. Senator John Chafee (R-RI) also served as Governor of Rhode Island and as U.S. Secretary of the Navy. But the collective jaws of the political world dropped Thursday when his son, former Governor Lincoln Chafee (D-RI,) announced he was exploring a run for the White House. The younger Chafee proved so unpopular as Governor that he didn’t even run for reelection. He also bolted the GOP to become an independent, then became a Democrat. In short: A man with no political base left will find a difficult road to the White House.
“Oh, Christmas Tree; Oh, Christmas Tree!” – One of Linc Chafee’s big political controversies was insisting on calling the state’s annual Christmas Tree a “Holiday Tree!” Yes, his predecessor once held a “holiday tree lighting,” but Chafee made it a national cause celebre. It was a disaster. Rhode Island and Massachusetts are two of the most Catholic-populated states in the nation, not to mention all the Protestant denominations here, too. It’s a Christmas Tree! Period! No one calls a Menorah a “Holiday Candelabra!” Can you imagine Chafee trying to win in the Bible Belt with this baggage? It’s simply a “poison pill.”
“So Why Is He Running?” – As I wrote last week, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not going to get a free ride to the nomination; and that is probably a good thing for her, as she needs to stay in the headlines. Vice President Joe Biden is sure to run, and so, too, is former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) - just in case former Senator Clinton fumbles the political football. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is being heavily recruited by those with “Clinton fatigue.” So, if it becomes a crowded field, Linc Chafee could theoretically win the nomination, though statistically it’s a long shot. But remember this: He became Rhode Island Governor in 2010 with just 36 percent of the vote in a crowded field. Sound familiar?
“I Gotta Famous Daddy, Too!” – Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) also announced his Presidential bid this week. He is the son of three-time Presidential candidate and former Representative Ron Paul (R-TX). The Pauls – though different in their own ways and views – represent the Libertarian wing of the Republican Party. People either love them or hate them. The Pauls don’t mind sticking their thumbs in the eyes of establishment Republicans. Just ask former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ). When push came to shove, many Paul backers stayed home, instead of voting for the 2008 and 2012 Republican nominees.
“Rubio Ruminations” – Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is the next Republican in, planning to jump into the fray on Monday. Rubio has three huge assets: a) He’s Hispanic and bilingual, and can help the Republicans in those camps; b) He can carry the “big prize” state of Florida which the GOP must have to recapture the White House; and, c) He’s young and energetic, with an immigration bill that might just get through Congress. He’s a real player in this race and one to keep an eye on for either spot on the GOP ticket. One potential pothole: He and former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) are longtime allies. Will a GOP rift hurt both men?
“Why All of This Matters?” – As we have seen in the last six election cycles, the Presidential election is basically decided by approximately ten swing states that bounce back and forth between the two major parties. The keys to the White House reside in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia and Colorado. Early polls indicate that Florida and Virginia may be headed back to the GOP camp. Just add New Hampshire and Ohio to that, and Republicans are back in power. It’s that close!
What do you think are the “keys” to the front door at the White House? Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.
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