- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 19, 2015

Iowa seems so long ago, like ancient history in the instant annals of manufactured politics now annoying voters. But it’s forever onward for Hillary Rodham Clinton: It’s time for the Democrat’s greatest presidential hope to journey to New Hampshire, and a whole new dramatic tableau punctuated by pine forests and clear lakes rather than heartland plains and big skies.

Mrs. Clinton arrives Monday in picturesque Keene, founded in 1732 and home to Whitney Bros., a family-owned business, and her first stop. The family has been making infant and toddler furniture there for 111 years. Oh, but it’s a perfect scenario for the candidate — perhaps to be followed by a humble cup of coffee out of a plain china mug, in a swell old eatery.

Then it’s on to the state capital of Concord, to the New Hampshire Technical Institute, for a community roundtable with students and instructors. To appease the gawking press, there will be impromptu meetings with local officials and activists, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign says — to discuss how to “make the economy work for everyday Americans so their families can get ahead and stay ahead.” And maybe another humble cup of coffee out of a plain china mug. Perfect? Maybe not. Despite lovingly crafted campaign scenarios, the Democratic Party might have an uphill battle no matter how kindly the photo op.

“The base is trying desperately to foist the Blue State model onto recalcitrant Red State America; the party establishment is coughing up deeply unlovable dynastic schemers like Hillary Clinton and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and meanwhile the Clinton machine is neutralizing potential challengers by God knows what means,” says Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of Reason magazine.

“I know it’s fashionable among some to bemoan the ‘clown show’ of the 2016 Republican presidential field, but at least there’s an actual contest there, and a detectable pulse,” he says.

TWO-THIRDS OF THE NATION IS HILLARY-SAVVY

Do the news media favor Hillary Rodham Clinton? Analysts bicker about it. A poll, however, suggests that the press is at least very eager to cover Mrs. Clinton: 66 percent of Americans now say they’ve heard “a lot” about Mrs. Clinton’s presidential intentions. But only 46 percent say they’ve heard a lot about the 2016 election itself — and far fewer have been up close and personal with the GOP presidential hopefuls.

See all the numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

JIM WEBB’S MOMENT

One of Mrs. Clinton’s possible rivals is gazing steadfastly at her reported multibillion-dollar presidential campaign. That would be Jim Webb, a potential Democratic rival for the White House. The populist, centrist, former U.S. senator from Virginia brings quite a bit to the table — he was also a U.S. Marine company commander in Vietnam who was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. Then he went to law school and became a counsel to Congress, a Harvard University scholar, an assistant secretary of defense and secretary of the Navy. Among other things, he authored 10 books — most recently on titled “I Hear My Country Calling.” And at the moment, he’s examining the campaign battlefield.

“We are looking at it and looking at it hard. I have been independent all my political career. It’s how I could work comfortably in the Reagan administration and then comfortably serve as a Democrat. But we’re never going to have this financial leviathan machine that is going to pull in $2.5 billion, as some people do. I’m never going to have a political consultant at my side whispering what I should say, or how I should dress or whether I ought to go to Wal-Mart or not,” Mr. Webb told CNN on Sunday.

“But what we do have is long experience on the issues in and out of government, strong beliefs about where the country needs to go, and I think the kind of leadership that — where we can govern and we can pull in people who love our country and try to develop some strong positions on fairness at home and common sense and foreign policy,” he added.

CONGRESS FINDS ITS ‘INNER BIPARTISANSHIP’

Pollster John Zogby continues to offer a weekly report card on the White House, which rises and falls with assorted dramas and traumas. He identifies something new and possibly promising among the lawmakers, but not the greatest trajectory for President Obama.

“Not a good week for the president. A bipartisan Congress dissed Mr. Obama by voting overwhelmingly for a stronger role in the Iran nuclear deal. The president is not severely weakened but he certainly didn’t want what he considers to be interference. However, at least he could count votes and decided to sign the inevitable,” Mr. Zogby points out.

“Congress also found its inner bipartisanship on a fast track trade deal with Pacific nations. While the president has been empowered to negotiate a big trade deal, it will have to be reviewed and finalized — or killed — by Congress,” the pollster continues. “A period of strong executive action has produced some congressional unity, but not what the president hoped for. In perspective, the president was weakened this week.”

And Mr. Obama’s grade: D-plus, down from a C-plus last week.

JOHN KASICH’S MOMENT

“I’m trying to figure out what the Lord wants me to do with my life. He has a purpose for everyone in this room. I want to fulfill that purpose.”

— Ohio governor and potential presidential hopeful John Kasich to the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit, which ended Saturday night in Nashua, New Hampshire.

ON THE RADAR

Scheduled for month’s end by the National Review Institute: the 2015 Ideas Summit, with the theme “Why the future is conservative” which organizers specify is “a statement, not a question.” There are GOP he-men and big thinkers aplenty at the three-day event. A partial look at who’s on the confirmed list or guests, in no particular order:

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sens. Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse; Rep. Paul Ryan, Govs. John Kasich and Bobby Jindal; and writers Charles Krauthammer, Larry Kudlow, Rich Lowry, Jonah Goldberg and John Podhoretz.

Among their many topics: Ethnicity, class, religion, gender: How will freedom handle diversity; will technology be a friend to freedom or an enemy; the moral foundations of a free society; and details about a conservative foreign policy.

The august group will dine together at Mount Vernon, walk the grounds by candlelight and explore rare books on one of those nights, later regaled by historic talk from National Review’s resident George Washington expert, historian Richard Brookhiser. See their big doings at Nrinstitute.org.

POLL DU JOUR

66 percent of Americans say they have heard “a lot” about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s recent presidential announcement; 73 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats agree.

46 percent overall say they’ve heard a lot about the 2016 presidential election; 52 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall have heard a lot about Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential intentions; 47 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents and 36 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall have heard a lot about Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential intentions; 49 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

36 percent overall have heard a lot about Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential intentions; 45 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 998 U.S. adults conducted April 15-16.

Big pronouncements, afterthoughts to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide