- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A little luster has worn off the Hillary Clinton White House parlor game. Anxious, fickle analysts have been interrupted in their quest to decipher if Mrs. Clinton will run for president in 2016. Why, there’s another prospect. Behold, it’s Sen. Elizabeth Warren brandishing her splashy new memoir titled “A Fighting Chance,” which bills the Massachusetts Democrat as “an unlikely political star who tells the inspiring story of the two-decade journey that taught her how Washington really works — and really doesn’t.”

Is that not a perfect presidential posture? Mrs. Warren is a former Harvard Law School professor who grew up poor and was a single mother. She is two years younger than Mrs. Clinton. And she swears she’s not interested in running for president, though her new book — her eighth — has been published exactly six weeks before Mrs. Clinton’s memoir “Hard Choices,” and it is loaded with much tasty populism and idealistic policy.

“The game is rigged — rigged to work for those who have money and power. Big corporations hire armies of lobbyists to get billion-dollar loopholes into the tax system and persuade their friends in Congress to support laws that keep the playing field tilted in their favor,” the lawmaker writes. “Meanwhile, hardworking families are told that they’ll just have to live with smaller dreams for their children.”

Mrs. Warren later concludes, “All we want is a country where everyone pays a fair share, a country where we build opportunities for all of us, a country where everyone plays by the same rules and everyone is held accountable. And we have begun to fight for it.”

Harvard background + grassroots fervor = strategist’s dream. She begins her national book tour Wednesday.

Many are convinced that Mrs. Warren is a natural for the potential White House hopeful list that already includes Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. So let us try these on for size: O’Malley/Emanuel 2016, O’Malley/Warren, Warren/O’Malley.

“Elizabeth Warren can continue toying with the Democrat base claiming she isn’t running. But we’ll see what happens when the calls get louder after liberal activists realize President Obama’s former Secretary of State is more of a blast from the past than the wave of the future,” says Jahan Wilcox, spokesman for the Republican National Committee.


Tea party organizers have not forgotten the power of the big campaign bus rolling across the countryside. And they’re rolling again. Not one, but two major groups — the Tea Party Express and the Tea Party Network — have joined forces and embarked on a two-week heartland tour that takes their bodacious vehicle through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. That’s lots of miles, one message, plus one common Democratic foe from Nevada.

“We are excited to get back out on the road in support of our conservative message of fiscal responsibility, economic growth and limited government. 2014 will be the year we rip the gavel out of Harry Reid’s hand and return it to the people,” declares an exuberant Taylor Budowich, executive director of the Express.

“If we want 2014 to be another 2010 wave election, energizing grassroots conservatives is key,” observes Todd Cefaratti, founder of the Network side of things. “The only way we stop Harry Reid from continually offering blank checks to Barack Obama is by mobilizing conservatives to fight the big-government policies that are destroying the fabric of our great nation.”


“A number of the younger members, first-termers like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and that extreme-right-wing guy — Ted Cruz. All running for president now. I don’t think they’ve got enough experience yet.”

— Bob Dole’s assessment of the 2016 Republican field, to the Wichita Eagle, a Kansas newspaper.


Secretary of State John Kerry lingered in his own past for a moment or two on Tuesday while talking serious shop with an in-house audience at the federal agency that included Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom and Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. All were assembled for the launch of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, a future road map, more or less.

He grew up during the Cold War, Mr. Kerry recalled, “when we would crouch under our desks at school and practice for possible nuclear war.” Back then, the global stage was occupied by a few spare superpowers rather than the vast, contemporary challenge of “sectarianism, religious extremism, radical ideologies, and frankly too many failed states and failing states,” he continued.

“During the Cold War, it may not have seemed so at the time, obviously, to great leaders, but it was easier than it is today. Simpler is maybe a way to put it,” Mr. Kerry told his audience. “The choices were less varied, less complicated, more stark, more clear: communism, democracy; West, East; the Iron Curtain, the great line of divide. And many things were subsumed and quashed by that force of that bipolar world.”


An intricate new analysis of 1,800 U.S. Senate elections since 1914 reveals that first-term senators account for more than half of all defeated incumbents over the last century says Eric Ostermeier, director of Smart Politics, a political news site at the University of Minnesota.

“For Republicans to net six seats and take back control of the U.S. Senate in 2014, the party will likely need to defeat at least one first-term Democrat,” he notes.

Well, that’s unless the GOP does not lose any seats, picks up open seats in South Dakota and West Virginia, defeats veterans Mark Pryor in Arkansas and Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and also picks up more competitive open seats in Iowa and Michigan. Fifteen of the 36 Senate races in November involve first-term senators; 13 are Democrats, with just two Republicans, Mr. Ostermeier points out.

Races involving five of these incumbents are expected to be “fairly competitive”: Democrats Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Udall of Colorado, John Walsh of Montana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Three others may face tight contests: Al Franken of Minnesota, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Mark Warner of Virginia. And incumbent Brian Schatz is at risk of losing his party’s nomination when he faces a primary battle in August against Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, the analyst says.

The remaining six U.S. senators in their first term who have “safer pathways,” as Mr. Ostermeier predicts are: Republicans Jim Risch of Idaho and Tim Scott of South Carolina and Democrats Chris Coons of Delaware, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Tom Udall of New Mexico.


61 percent of registered U.S. voters say the Obama administration is “trying to cover up” the Benghazi attacks; 87 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats agree.

26 percent of voters overall say the administration is “being open and transparent”; 6 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

60 percent overall say Congress should continue to investigate the way the administration handled the attack until “someone is held accountable”; 77 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

59 percent overall blame former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “some” or “a great deal” for the events in Benghazi; 77 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

39 percent overall blame her “not much” or “not at all”; 19 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 56 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,012 registered U.S. voters conducted April 13-15 and released Tuesday.

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