In my last year of college, we heard a rumor that our school was going to land ex-president Richard Nixon as our commencement speaker. This would have been quite a coup as it would come just a year after the Nixon-Frost interviews and would have been Nixon’s first public speaking engagement since his resignation. But activist students on campus protested the architect of Watergate speaking at their alma matter, and the university was forced to withdraw the invitation. My graduating class ended up with TV actor Harold Gould as our commencement speaker. Gould, an alumnus of our school who was best known as the dad on “Rhoda,” gave a nice commencement address. But he wasn’t Richard Nixon.
by Kevin Kelton
One of the reasons I think I have pretty good political sensibilities is that I actually listen and pay attention to details. So when Jeb Bush comes out with a new campaign slogan, “Jeb can fix it,” I take some time to consider why his campaign team would hinge it’s entire reboot — indeed, his entire campaign — on the words “fix it.”
It’s obvious they must have focus tested it to heaven and back. So what does that tell us? It tells us that their research indicates that voters are yearning for someone to “fix” what they perceive as a broken system…with lots of broken components. Whereas in 2000 voters were looking for decency and respectability (after the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal) and in 2008 they were looking for hope and change (after being disappointed with decency and respectability), now they are looking for an easy fix… one that can be embodied in one man. Just vote for him and your problems will begin to get fixed.
I think that explains the psychology of both parties’ races this year. Fifty-five percent of GOP voters are leaning toward an “outsider” whom they hope can make the magic fix (Trump, Carson or Fiorina), and 25-30% of the Democratic voters are looking for the same thing in Bernie Sanders. On the flip side, people who support Clinton, Rubio, O’Malley, Kasich, Bush, and a few of the other GOPers are looking for competency. They don’t expect a president to “fix” the system; they just want someone who can effectively manage an imperfect system and maybe get it back on course.
I think the general election will come down to this clash: voters that are wishing for a magic fix, and those that are content with a steady hand to manage the unwieldy ship of state. I fall into the latter category. I think we will prevail.
But I feel bad for the fix-it group. They will forever be longing for something that probably doesn’t exist, and hence forever bitter about their inability to make it real.
by Kevin Kelton
Next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Democrats will hold their first debate of the 2016 presidential primary season. But it’s already clear that the winner will be Bernie Sanders. Before a word is even spoken.
Though all five candidates on stage (or six if Joe Biden jumps in the race) will acquit themselves well and present fairly similar liberal positions, it is inevitable that the post-debate media spin will crown Sanders the victor.
Yup, Bernie won. Take it to the bank. If you’re in Las Vegas, put all your chips on the socialist. How can I state that with such certainty a week before the debate happens? Here’s how: Continue reading The Debate Bernie Sanders Already Won
by Kevin Kelton
As the date of first Democratic primary debate approaches, a lot of the party faithful are up in arms because DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is holding firm to the previously approved plan to hold only six debates during the 2016 primary season. Minor candidates and their minions are screaming that six is not enough when the Republicans will have 11, starting sooner and ending later in the primary season. But while the Martin O’Malleys of the world cry foul, most rational people realize that six face-offs is in fact the Goldilocks sweet spot: not too few, not too many… and probably just right.
The DNC chose six because of what they learned the hard way in 2004 and 2008, when 15 and 25 debates respectively almost bored voters to tears. This time around, with the primaries starting later (again not to bore voters) and fewer candidates, the DNC wisely concluded that saturating the airwaves with Clinton and Company for nine months would’ve been overkill. Here’s four reasons why the current debate schedule was a smart choice. Continue reading How Many Debates Do Primary Voters Need?
By Kevin Kelton
Democrats all like Joe Biden. We know he is a smart and loyal vice president, a solid progressive, and we mourn for the painful loss of his son. But he’s not going to be the next President of the United States. So why consider nominating him?
Do you know how many vice presidents have gone from the vice presidency to be elected directly to the presidency? Four. It last happened for George H. W. Bush in 1988. You know the last time it happened before that? Martin Van Buren in 1836. That’s right, it’s only happened twice in the last 180 years.
That doesn’t mean it can never happen again. It surely will. But not in 2016 for Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. (a guy with a middle name almost as bad as Hussein). Continue reading While Joe Mulls, Dems Should Move On
by Kevin Kelton
You’ve heard of college basketball’s March Madness? This year’s presidential primary campaign should be called Polling Madness.
In the course of just three weeks, the media has reported that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is 11 points ahead of Bernie Sanders in Iowa, one point behind Sanders, 10 points behind Sanders, and 21 points ahead of the Vermont Senator.
by Kevin Kelton
I’m beginning to think there is a mass hysteria spreading across America – a real, delusional mass hysteria – about wanting a rebel candidate who will “fix” things in Washington. The appeal of outsider, “tear-it-all-down” candidates like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Elizabeth Warren is on a par with the hysteria over witches in early Puritan America. But instead of exorcising the devil out of a woman’s body, voters in both parties now want to exorcise corporate money and phoniness out of the body politic. And they’re turning to political witch doctors for a cure.