27 January 2016
Ted Cruz and Rick Perry: the anti-ethanol ticket in Iowa
In the aftermath of Perry's 2012 campaign, I talked to a few staffers about what went down. There were some common complaints: Joe Allbaugh, new consultants who didn't care about Perry, etc
But the thing I heard the most was that the ethanol lobby's campaign killed Perry. He was just starting to recover from "oops" and get a little traction going into the final week when they went after him.
While Ted Cruz has done some recent equivocating on ethanol intended to blur his stance to voters, the ethanol lobby has picked Cruz out has the candidate they want to go after this time.
That's why I was surprised that the Ted Cruz campaign announced Rick Perry's support right before Iowa and then put Perry out to campaign for Cruz.
The Cruz campaign is all-in on the anti-ethanol ticket in Iowa. If that works, it might change the way people play the Iowa game.
09 January 2016
Donald Trump's birther attacks might be leaving their mark
Terrific Donald Trump is going birther on Ted Cruz
Google's auto-complete seems to suggest that the birther attacks are leaving their mark.
03 January 2016
Perry says he thought it'd be Rick v Jeb in fall 2015
Perry, who had run a disastrous race for president in 2012 and had spent two years preparing for a second campaign, already could see the landscape ahead — a nomination contest that ultimately would come down to a competition between two men who had led two of the biggest states in the country.
“I full well thought that by the fall of 2015, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry were going to be on the stage having a thoughtful conversation about each of our competing visions for America and us comparing our records of success,” Perry said in a December interview.
Perry judged himself and Bush to be “two of the most successful Republican governors maybe in the history of the country.” Surely, he believed, “the American people would distill down which of these individuals had the best vision for America. . . . It was going to be me and Jeb."
Does. not. compute.
Either Perry's consultants served him fantastically poorly or he picked consultants who were telling him what he wanted to hear.
You almost think Perry must be trying to spin his candidacy post-mortem, because at no point would this have ever been a possibility for how the campaign would have gone.
As governor, many folks have told me that Perry was often on his laptop at night surfing blogs -- including this one. Not sure how he could have lost touch with the mood of the median Republican primary voter so drastically if he had continued that habit in his life after 1010 Colorado.
02 January 2016
Jeb Bush's plan
Jeb Bush and his allies have been trying to spin the media for awhile now -- remember when he was begging reporters to be the first to write his "comeback narrative"? -- that he was going to pull off a McCain-style comeback. Here's the current plan from the New York Times:
1. Attack Trump
2. 5th place in Iowa
3. 3rd place in NH
4. Get Lindsey Graham's endorsement
5. Bring in George W Bush for South Carolina
6. Super PAC money raised a year ago
Reading that list, it's impossible to ignore the feeling that some of Jeb's consultants want to keep the paycheck alive. It might be their best shot, but even doing all the things on that list probably won't win the nomination.
At its core, they are betting they can somehow get third in NH which will make them relevant enough to do well enough in South Carolina so they can get to Super Tuesday and hope no one else has raised enough Super PAC money to compete.
Any advantage from Jeb's Super PAC money doesn't become terribly useful until we get to Super Tuesday. Since Super PACs are paying inflated rates for early state ad buys compared (9x more than what a campaign pays!), they've already spent tens of millions and gotten nothing out of it.
So for Jeb to have a chance they have to hope they can get to some states where a financial advantage would make a difference. Of course, by the time they get to Super Tuesday, it's quite possible that other candidates will have been able to raise enough Super PAC money to wipe out that difference.
Plus the other obvious problem with any Super PAC money advantage: Mike Murphy's ads so far haven't moved the needle for Jeb at all. Some of that is Murphy's ads, but some is just due to the fact that Republican primary voters think they know Jeb Bush.
Jeb's larger problem is one of message.
At the core of McCain's 2008 comeback was a risky bet that none of his competitors were willing to make. McCain went all-in for the Iraq surge at a time when everyone else -- even the Republicans -- equivocated. When the surge worked, McCain got a second look in a rather weak field.
Attacking Trump isn't a message. It's a tactic - one that hasn't worked at all so far.
I don't know why Jeb is still in the race.
01 January 2016
Ted Cruz says his campaign is "dead in the water"
I just got an email from Ted Cruz telling me that his campaign is "dead in the water." I was quite surprised, as I've been telling people for months that Ted Cruz would win the Iowa caucuses, possibly by double digits.
Apparently they've been mismanaging the millions rolling in, because the financial reports are devastating:
Ted Cruz's message has been that it's "a time for truth" and that he's different from other politicians. So surely these wouldn't just be ordinary fundraising appeals of a politician?
Yet just a few hours later, Ted told me that he is "out of options."
Apparently the campaign is doing so poorly that Heidi Cruz is "worried sick."
Literally this seems to indicate that Ted Cruz's iPhone is named Hillary. Will Republican primary voters vote for someone who named their iPhone Hillary?
Then, after getting 15 emails in three days, the final email before the midnight deadline on December 31st was to appeal to my sense of loyalty to my... zip code?