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VAL 2016 | Som under alla valkampanjer har årets sin beskärda del av färgstarka politiska konsulter. En av dessa är Mike Murphy.

The Weekly Standard 29 mars- 4 april 2016

Right to Rise, som Murphy ansvarade för, var en välfinansierad Super-PAC som stödde Jeb Bush. Som mest samlade man in hela 118 miljoner dollar.

Matt Labash tecknar ett både roligt och intressant porträtt av Murphy i den konservativa tidskriften The Weekly Standard.

När Bush hoppade av var det också dags för Right to Rise att stänga butiken. Men Murphy är fortfarande stolt över att Bush inte nedlät sig till Donald Trumps nivå.

Han har en hel del att säga om valkampanjen och varför Right to Rise och Bush misslyckades. Och han är inte nådig när han talar om Trump och Ted Cruz.

Like all hired guns in his trade, he’s taken his share of mercenary money just for the check. But Murphy says when it comes to presidentials, he thinks it matters more and is a sucker for long shots. ”I have friends I believe in who want to run. I’m a romantic, so I keep falling for that pitch.” Jeb wasn’t exactly a long shot, I remind him. Like hell he wasn’t, says Murphy. It’s a hard slog, not being a Grievance Candidate this year. ”He was the guy who was handing out policy papers when Trump was handing out broken bottles.”

[…]

Even pre-campaign, however, when they were allowed to coordinate as Right to Rise was amassing its unprecedented war chest, well before Trump’s ascendancy, both knew that despite the media billing Bush the prohibitive favorite — a position they both detested — they were facing long odds. (The assumption was Ted Cruz would be occupying the anger-candidate slot that Trump has instead so ably filled.)

Murphy says Bush regarded this election as a necessary tussle between the politics of optimism and grievance. At a preseason dinner, Murphy gave Bush his best guess of their chances of winning — under 50 percent. ”He grinned,” Murphy says, ”and named an even lower number. I remember leaving the dinner with a mix of great pride in Jeb’s principled courage and with a sense of apprehension about the big headwinds we would face.” And though he’d also have told his friend, if he’d been allowed to speak to him, that he was proud of Jeb ”for fighting his corner,” ultimately, Murphy admits, ”there is no campaign trick or spending level or candidate whisperer that can prevent a party from committing political suicide if it wants to.”

[…]

Bush was incapable, Murphy says, of coming up with lines about ”electrifying the border” or ”cutting the index finger off of every Muslim-American so they can never reach a trigger. He would never do that. If Trump turns out to be the answer, I’m incredibly proud that Jeb Bush did not want to be any part of the vile question.”

The campaign, he admits, was rocked by Trump’s ”low-energy” label, which stuck and hurt Bush. It’s kind of rich, suggests Murphy, since Jeb was a famous workaholic as governor. ”If Trump kept up Jeb’s schedule for one day, he’d be in the hospital.” Trump’s low-energy charge, Murphy says, was ”code for ‘Jeb’s not furious at anybody.’ He doesn’t open a rally with ‘I want everybody to write down the name of any Mexican they know and put it in a bin because they are going to pay.’ It was all a code word for ‘civilized.’ Jeb was the anti-Trump in a Trump year. But being the anti-Trump is a huge badge of f — ing honor. I think you get that tattooed on your forehead: ‘I’m the anti-Trump.’ People will be congratulating him on that the rest of his life.”

[…]

But what especially irks him are critics (”the bumper sticker glue” crowd he calls them, as in outsiders who second-guess your campaign right down to the kind of glue used on the bumper stickers) acting as though it were Right to Rise’s duty to take out Trump.

Not only was Jeb taking swings at Trump last fall, back when the likes of Cruz and Rubio were gingerly padding around him, seemingly auditioning to be coat-check boys at one of Trump’s tremendous, amazing properties. But according to Right to Rise’s numbers, the super-PAC spent nearly 15 percent of their TV advertising on anti-Trump ads.

Yes, they went after others, including and especially Rubio, just as hard if not harder, spending 33.4 percent of their TV advertising on ”other candidate contrast ads.” But, Murphy reasons, even if they had successfully taken down Trump, Jeb wasn’t about to get Trump’s voters anyway. In essence, Murphy would have been using hard-won donor money to clear the field for competitors who stood a much better chance of picking off Jeb’s voters (Rubio), as well as Trump’s (Cruz).

Not to mention, nobody has figured out the secret sauce for taking down Trump. Several deep-pocketed PACs have thus far not managed to. Even Trump seems unable to stop Trump, though it sometimes feels as though he’s trying harder than anyone.

[…]

As for Cruz, Murphy does not TrusTed and has no plans to fall in line with the man shaping up to be the Establishment’s hold-your-nose-and-kiss-your-sister Trump alternative: ”I think he’s cynical, totally cynical. .  .  . I don’t think he could win a general election, so he’ll be wiped out. It’s a choice between Trump, who is terrible for the country, and Cruz, who is terrible for the party. He’s too smart for his act .  .  . and he’s probably pissed that a bigger con man showed up.”

Murphy does speak well of John Kasich, his choice of the leftovers. ”I like Kasich a lot. He’s the only grown-up running.” He wishes Kasich well, as he labors to stay above the Friars Club roast, to be substantive and constructively positive, to offer people hope. But Kasich, Murphy adds, has an impossibly tall order this year: ”He’s trying to start an opera club at a tractor pull.”

Läs mer: Rebecca Bergs ”Mike Murphy: The Man Selling Jeb! to America” på Real Clear Politics.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Weekly Standard, 28 mars-4 april 2016.

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USA | Här är tre favoriter bland omslagen. De sammanfattar ganska väl årets valkampanj.

I ”Defaying Gravety” i National Journal förklarade Beth Reinhard, Major Garrett och Jim Tankersley varför Barack Obamas opinionssiffror såg så bra ut trots en knackig ekonomi.

If voters have so lowered their expectations, how can they also still be hopeful? It’s easiest to explain it this way: Living in the U.S. and working in the sluggish economy over the last two years was like sitting in a lukewarm bath: The water wasn’t hot enough to be relaxing, but it wasn’t getting colder, either. Bathers got used to it. And every once in a while, the faucet dripped out a few scalding splashes that promised more comfort on the way.

[…]

The recovery, however uninspiring, is a recovery. The economy isn’t contracting. Companies aren’t shedding more workers than they hire, and the unemployment rate isn’t rising.

Enda gången det såg ut som om Mitt Romney skulle kunna ta hem segern var efter första presidentvalsdebatten. Mitt Romney vann övertygande.

Redan tidigare hade republikanska anhängare gjort sig lustiga över hur beroende presidenten var av teleprompters när han höll tal.

Philip Rucker på Washington Post skrev så här redan i oktober:

Picking up on a theme that has been rippling through GOP circles for two years, Republican presidential candidates are trying to use President Obama’s reliance on teleprompters to deflate one of his biggest strengths — his oratorical skill.

[N]ow, Obama’s speechmaking is constant fodder for conservative radio, cable news and Internet outlets. On Tuesday, after someone took a truck in Virginia containing some of the most symbolic objects of the presidency, including the lectern and seal, it was the teleprompter that the conservative Web site Drudge Report zeroed in on: “SPEECHLESS: OBAMA’S TELEPROMPTER STOLEN!”

Obamas föga imponerande insats under i debatten spädde på bilden av att kejsaren var naken.

Eller som man lite ironiskt skrev i konservativa National Review: “We don’t know why everyone is being so hard on Obama’s debate performance. He did fine. Carry on, Mr. President!”

Men ingenting hjälpte. Obama vann och omslaget på konservativa The Weekly Standard säger allt om hur republikanerna kände sig på valnatten.

Bild: National Journal den 29 september 2012, National Review den 29 oktober 2012 och The Weekly Standard den 19 november 2012.

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KAMPANJ | Barack Obama är i full gång med att definiera Mitt Romney och hans vicepresidentkandidat Paul Ryan som ”The Go Back Team”.

Medan Romney gärna talar om sig själv och Ryan som ”America’s Comeback Team” väljer Obamakampanjen att lyfta fram en rad av vicepresidentkandidatens tidigare politiska ställningstaganden och blanda detta med lite humor.

Bilden ovan är från barackobamatumblr.com. Där skriver man: ”In case you missed all the excitement this weekend: Meet Paul Ryan, who is actually the worst”.

En länk tar en sedan till följande punkter:

1. Paul Ryan’s Top-Down Budget Plan Is A Sham […]

2. Paul Ryan’s Plan Would Raise Taxes On The Middle Class And Cut Taxes For The Wealthy […]

3. Paul Ryan’s Plan Would Gut Middle-Class Investments […]

4. Paul Ryan’s Plan Would End Medicare As We Know It […]

5. Paul Ryan Is Severely Conservative […]

Men Obama har inte alltid varit lika kritisk till vad Ryan har stått för. Daniel Halper på The Weekley Standard skriver:

[A]s the Washington Free Beacon points out, in 2010, President Obama praised for Ryan for offering a substantive budget proposal. ”This is an entirely legitimate proposal,” Obama said then, two years ago.

Men det var då det. Nu är Ryan vicepresidentkandidat. Nya spelregler gäller.

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HUMOR | Nu finns lösningen för stressade amerikaner som känner sig pressade av Barack Obamas politik. För bara $9.99!

Beställ via tidskriften The Weekly Standard:

Getting squeezed by Obama policies? Squeeze back!

Go ahead. Give the Commander in Chief a big squeeze. With our soft, mushy Obama Stress Head, you can crush those half-baked liberal ideas before they do any more damage. Plus… you can build up an iron grip at the same time. Pin his ears back, turn that smile upside down. Come on… you know you want to.

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POLITIK | Ronald Reagan har ofta framställts som en både lat och okunnig president. Även av personer som borde veta bättre.

Fred Barnes, executive editorThe Weekly Standard, har skrivit en intressant artikel som slår hål på myterna kring Reagan.

The Reagan collection consists of seven books.

[…]

Taken together, these books torpedo the four elements of the conventional profile of Reagan. One, he had scant knowledge of many of the issues that came before him. Two, he was a “detached” president—that was Newsweek’s description—aloof from the day-to-day business in the White House. Three, he was overly reliant on the advice of his advisers and was often their puppet. Four, he was lazy. When I covered the Reagan presidency, I agreed to some degree with three of these. I was wrong. All four are false.

Three of the Reagan books are conclusive. The radio broadcasts knock down the idea that Reagan was clueless on complex issues. The book on nuclear weapons provides a picture of Reagan in command of his advisers and willing to override their views and those of his foreign allies. And the diaries, which are fun to read, reveal how hard he worked, especially on weeknights in the living quarters of the White House and on weekends at Camp David.

[…]

That Reagan was like a child fortunate enough to have hired adults as his chief handlers—that myth has dogged him since he ran for governor of California in 1966. And it remains embedded in the conventional wisdom of the political community. Not only have his managers and strategists been credited with running efficient campaigns on his behalf—while he was limited to speechmaking—they’ve also been credited with guiding him through a successful governorship and presidency. Reagan’s contribution in this scenario was simply to have been an excellent speaker willing to echo the words of his handlers.

This is nonsensical: No politician has ever had advisers with skills so unfailing. Besides, the big ideas of the Reagan era came from Reagan himself. The biggest was his obsession with eliminating nuclear weapons entirely, a goal he pursued despite the opposition of many of his advisers and his closest foreign ally, British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. It was Reagan, not his aides, who came to the conclusion that mutual assured destruction, the theory that fear of massive nuclear retaliation would deter a first strike by the United States or the Soviet Union, was immoral. “What’s so good about a peace kept by the threat of destroying each other?” Reagan asked “many times,” according to Secretary of State George P. Shultz. “The public was hesitant to embrace” Reagan’s idea, Shultz writes in the foreword to Reagan’s Secret War, and “advisers Reagan trusted and who were experts in this area didn’t support it. But none of that diminished Reagan’s conviction.”

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The Weekly Standard den 25 juni 2012.

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SÅ SENT SOM i maj meddelade republikanen Newt Gingrich att han kandiderar till presidentposten (se videon). Nu har hela kampanjstaben avgått p.g.a. meningsskiljaktigheter om strategin. 

Gingrich har meddelat att han startar om kampanjen idag. ”I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring. The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.”

Men sannolikheten att han skall lyckas omgruppera är minimal.

Jonathan Martin, Politico, skriver:

[C]ampaign manager Rob Johnson, strategists Sam Dawson and Dave Carney, spokesman Rick Tyler, and consultants Katon Dawson in South Carolina and Craig Schoenfeld in Iowa have all quit to protest what one called a ”different vision” for the campaign.

[…]

Gingrich was intent on using technology and standing out at debates to get traction while his advisers believed he needed to run a campaign that incorporated both traditional, grassroots techniques as well as new ideas.

Med andra ord ville staben se en kampanj som hade rimliga chanser att lyckas.

Droppen som fick bägaren att rinna över var att Gingrich med fru åkte iväg på semester istället för att ta itu med problemen.

Att sticka iväg på semester är knappast det mest professionella man kan göra i ett känsligt läge för kampanjen.

Fred Barnes The Weekly Standard:

Aides to Newt Gingrich have resigned from his presidential campaign in protest of what they felt was a takeover by Callista Gingrich, the candidate’s wife since 2000.

The euphemism offered by departing staffers was they disagreed with Gingrich’s “strategy” for the campaign. Indeed, they did disagree. But it was a strategy – a part-time campaign, in effect – that Gingrich’s wife favored.

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