- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2015

So he hasn’t retired from public life quite yet. Michael Bloomberg — the former New York City mayor known for his dedicated belief in intrusive consumer regulations and gun control — has surfaced as a possible Democratic presidential hopeful in multiple press reports. Sure. Why not? Aw, go ahead. And of course there’s already a poll about it. A new Rasmussen Reports survey of likely Democratic voters finds that in a hypothetical match-up between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. Bloomberg, she earns 69 percent of the vote to the ex-mayor’s 20 percent. Should he choose to make a go of it, billionaire Mr. Bloomberg could fund his own campaign. But he’d need to stay tenacious; Mrs. Clinton has already announced she’s prepared to raise $1 billion in her pursuit of the White House.

High-ranking Democrats have approached the former mayor about a run because Mrs. Clinton is looking vulnerable with general election voters, says New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin. “They also believed Bloomberg could be interested because, as one of them told me, ‘Mike can’t stand Hillary,’” he adds.

And one last aside: The aforementioned Rasmussen poll also finds that if — for some reason — Michelle Obama decides to run for the White House in 2016, 56 percent of the respondents would still favor Mrs. Clinton to 22 percent Mrs. Obama. But hope springs eternal among those who would vote for a succession of female Democratic candidates. There is already a new bumper sticker out there from Cafe Press that reads: “Hillary 2016, Michelle 2024, Chelsea 2032, Malia 2040, Sasha 2048.”

FOR THE LEXICON

“Semi-Retired President”

— New designation for President Obama, from HotAir.com.


SEE ALSO: Only 2 states accept federal offer to protect subsidies if court rules against Obamacare


MR. HUCKABEE’S ADVICE

“Time to hack China back,” declares Mike Huckabee. “What will it take for President Obama to open his eyes? The way you deal with a bully on the playground is to punch them in the face and put them on the ground, because the only thing they respect is power. The Chinese attacked our government and hacked into the lives of 4 million Americans. The response and retaliation to this behavior is simple — America should hack the Chinese government. We should hack the cellphones of some prominent Communist party leaders, hack the bank accounts of intelligence officials, publicly humiliate Chinese families for political corruption, or wipe out a few critical Chinese computer systems.”

The Republican presidential hopeful adds, “When you tolerate bad behavior and bullying, you get more of it.” China’s attack against four million Americans “is the largest theft of government data in our nation’s history. As president, I will stand up to China, retaliate with strength, and never apologize for protecting Americans.”

TRUMP’S 138-YEAR-OLD LAUNCHING PAD

When Donald Trump makes his self-described “major announcement” in Des Moines in one week’s time, he’ll do so from Hoyt Sherman Place. It is far from the glass-and-steel skyscrapers that is his preferred milieu. This historic brick site was built in 1877 with a lush, 1,400-seat theater complete with the fabulous gilded ceilings and crimson stage curtain of the era.

Let’s just say it’s very presidential-looking.

MCCHRYSTAL, THE MOVIE

Just surfacing: Netflix will begin production on a new film in August titled “War Machine,” described as a “provocative satirical comedy,” starring Brad Pitt, and based on “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan” by the late author Michael Hastings. The book chronicles the life and times of retired four-star U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, the real point man in Afghanistan and a soldier described as “perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat I’ve ever met” by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The general’s career was considerably shortened following some remarks he made about Vice President Joseph R. Biden to Rolling Stone. But in Hollywood, this all spells a script.

“War Machine is a rip-roaring, behind-the-facade tale of modern war decision-makers, from the corridors of power to the distant regions of America’s ambitions,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who calls the project “timely, compelling and entertaining.”

They’ve got it all figured out, apparently.

“Determined to win the impossible war once and for all with a radical new approach, the general and his motley staff of commanders and press advisers race across the globe navigating delicate international alliances and troop requests, the charged battlefield of Washington politics, the voracious appetite of the media, and the day-to-day management of the war itself — all the while struggling to stay connected to the lives of men and women out in the field,” Netflix says in its production notes.

And Gen. McChrystal? He has taken his skill set and gone elsewhere. He is author of the new book, “Team of Team,” is a frequent broadcast commentator and now heads the McChrystal Group, a consulting firm.

A LOUSY DIAGNOSIS

There’s a large audience out there whenever President Obama makes a pronouncements about the Affordable Care Act. On Monday, the president noted at a G-7 press conference that the health care law has had “no adverse effect on people who already had health insurance,” adding that “the costs have come in substantially lower than even our estimates.”

Well, gee, that sounds nice. But Brent Gardner, vice president of government affairs at Americans for Prosperity, thinks otherwise. Mr. Obama is tone-deaf to reality, he says.

“The president appears to remain in denial that his law has caused millions of Americans to see their health care plans canceled, premiums increased, and access to doctors restricted,” Mr. Gardner argues, noting that public opinion surveys reveal a nation dissatisfied with Obamacare and big government policies. The most current number: 54 percent of Americans now oppose the law, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday.

“The president’s health care law is a disaster that has left a trail of broken promises throughout its history, which explains why 37 states have chosen not to participate in his planned health care exchanges. We urge the president to take off his rose-colored glasses and have a realistic look at the havoc Obamacare is causing,” Mr. Gardner suggests.

POLL DU JOUR

73 percent of Americans are worried about the future of the U.S. economy: 89 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 64 percent of Democrats agree.

62 percent overall say the federal government should pursue policies that reduce the gap between the wealthy and the less well-off: 38 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 83 percent of Democrats agree.

55 percent disapprove of the way President Obama is dealing with the Islamic State: 77 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

48 percent disapprove of how President Obama is handling the economy: 80 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent blame “Obama’s military policy” for Islamic State advances in Iraq: 56 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent blame “the weakness of Iraq’s army”: 22 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Washington Post/ABC News poll of 1,001 U.S. adults conducted May 28-31.

Reasonable speculation, prattle and chatter to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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