- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

News that Jeb Bush is “actively exploring” a 2016 presidential run titillated the press — some red meat for journalists already weary with the strategic indecisions of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mitt Romney. The phrase itself became an instant Twitter obsession in the aftermath: Hundreds of wags chimed in to reveal they were “actively exploring” a pizza, tater tots, a trip to the grocery store or Christmas shopping. But not everyone is thrilled about Mr. Bush’s intent. “Another Bush versus another Clinton? Vomit,” declared Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell in his own counter tweet.

“Isn’t this what he’s been doing all along? I don’t know what the difference is between ‘thinking about’ running and ‘actively exploring’ running, but I suspect it has a lot to do with keeping his name in the news. However you see it, there’s no parsing this simple fact: Jeb Bush has fully embraced the failed economic agenda that benefits only a select few at the expense of the middle class. That’s not going to change no matter how many different ways he says he may run,” declares Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

“His early jump effectively bars the candidacies of 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney as well as Florida Senator Marco Rubio. It also disheartens members of the conservative base, who see Bush as too moderate, unlikely to fight the Clintons tooth and nail, and as a representative of a family that helped destroy the Republican brand not once but twice,” points out Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large for Breitbart News.

Not to ever be outdone, the independent National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee announced Tuesday it was opening its second national office. The first was in Manchester, New Hampshire, this one is in Johnston, Iowa. “The Iowa Victory Center is the next step on the road to 2016,” says Vernon Robinson, campaign director for the committee, which has already raised $10.5 million for a potential campaign. “We are preparing not for if Dr. Carson runs — but when he runs for president.”


“In the course of decades of national political decline presided over largely by two ruling families, it becomes necessary to declare our independence and seek new leadership and new direction. I therefore join with others in adding my name to this document — pledging to reject future domination of government by the Bushes and Clintons and by Bush/Clinton-like policies,” read a new public petition launched Tuesday an activist group, found here: NoBushesOrClintons.org

SEE ALSO: Elizabeth Warren: ‘I am not running for president’

“We’re launching this petition because we sense frustration and anger among average Americans over the inordinate, persistent political influence of these two families — even if not felt so strongly in elite political circles,” notes organizer Jeff Cohen, also the co-founder of Roots Action, an independent advocacy group that has the endorsement of, among others, Daniel Ellsberg and Cornel West.


If Jeb Bush can create an uproar with news he’s considering a White House run, then so can Donald Trump.

“I am considering it very strongly,” Mr. Trump told a giddy audience at the Washington Economics Club on Monday night. “A lot of people think I’m having fun with it, that I’m playing games, that I enjoy the process. And I do enjoy the process to a certain extent. Frankly I just think we need something very good, very fast — or we’re going to be in very big trouble as a country.”

And as a parting shot, Mr. Trump tweeted Tuesday, “The last thing this country needs is another Bush!”


Pining for a less alarming era, perhaps? The five most popular Christmas songs in the nation are those “that have stood the test of time,” according to Accuradio, an industry source. They are: “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” (Bing Crosby), “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” (Brenda Lee) “Jingle Bell Rock” (Bobby Helm) “A Holly Jolly Christmas” (Burl Ives) and “The Christmas Song” (Nat King Cole).


“Conservative Realism”

— Sen. Rand Paul’s new directive for the nation, revealed in a recent foreign policy speech. “We need a foreign policy that recognizes our limits and preserves our might, a common-sense conservative realism of strength and action. We can’t retreat from the world, but we can’t remake it in our own image either. We can’t and shouldn’t engage in nation building, but we can facilitate trade and extend the blessings of freedom and free markets around the world,” the Kentucky Republican told his audience.

The idea of conservative realism has not gone away yet; Reason, in fact, saw fit to publish excerpts of the speech in its January issue.

“Our goal should not be to be involved in every civil war around the world, but to actually try to be able to defend our interests without being drawn into every war,” Mr. Paul told Reason editor-in-chief Matt Welch. “I think there are two audiences. The audience in Washington is basically in favor of involvement everywhere, all the time. At the top of both parties, often they’re for indiscriminate involvement, I think. But if you talk to the American people, in the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, I think you’ll find that, even within the rank and file of the military, there’s less enthusiasm for being involved in every civil war around the world, and that people out in the countryside recognize that we have problems here at home.”


While GOP wrangling over 2016 continues, there’s a little activity on the Democratic side too — pitting establishment icon against upstart progressive. It appears that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is trumping her potential presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in one precious little arena. Mrs. Warren’s memoir is selling better than Mrs. Clinton’s memoir. This is unscientific and fairly petty, but there are some numbers.

“Fighting Chance,” the Massachusetts lawmakers’ autobiography, now stands at 1,347th in all books, and in third place among political biographies on Amazon. Mrs. Clinton’s is at 1,802 and in fourth place, respectively. And in unaligned comparisons from the online retailer, Mrs. Warren us No. 1 in the legislative book category, and 18th in “women’s biographies.” Mrs. Clinton is fourth in gender studies, and ninth in women’s studies.

Does it mean anything? Well, yeah. Mrs. Clinton had formidable marketing apparatus in place when her book was published in June. Mrs. Warren, whose book came out in April? Not so much. And in the age of excruciating, hair-splitting politics, little indicators mean a lot.


70 percent of Americans report they’re hearing “mostly good news” about lower gas prices; 75 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents agree.

28 percent overall say they’re hearing mostly good news about retail sales; 28 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents agree.

26 percent overall report they’re hearing good news about the U.S. job situation; 24 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents agree.

20 percent say they’re hearing mostly good news about the stock market; 22 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents agree.

14 percent overall report they’re hearing good news about the economy; 12 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of Democrats and 11 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,001 adults ages 18 and older, conducted Dec. 11-14, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

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