Nate on 2016 GOP

Nate Silver from FiveThirtyEight.com gives Jeb Bush and Scott Walker each a 25% chance of getting the nomination.  He gives Marco Rubio 12%, Rand Paul 9%, and Chris Christie 5%.

I give Paul and Christie 0%.

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About That Deep Field…

I’m no fan of Mitt Romney, but Mittens was right when he looked at the GOP field  and was not impressed.  The field is certainly wide.  But deep?  Not so much.

First of all, aside from entertainment value, you can safely ignore Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Ben Carson.  None of these guys is going to be the 2016 Republican nominee.  Okay, maybe if Hillary finds a magic lamp in some Upper East Side antique store…  But let’s assume Alladin isn’t Ready for Hillary.

Ted Cruz probably falls in that group too.  Just because you breathe fire, doesn’t mean you’re going to catch fire.  “Clueless” and “obnoxious” aren’t high on the list of what voters look for in a candidate.

As for his fellow Texan, Rick Perry, he’ll do better than 2012, being off the pain meds and all.  So he’ll be able to remember a list of three.  Hell, maybe he’ll do four or five.  But he still comes across as dumber and goofier than George W. Bush.  He’ll have a less bizarre and humiliating, but still unsuccessful, go this time around.

As for Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, the eyes have it.  Watch a clip of Scott Walker with the sound off and just look into his eyes.  Not a helluva lot going on there, he’s the poster boy for “dumb look.”  Rubio?  Watch the water grab in the SOTU response and look at the absolute terror in his eyes.  If he panics over a sip of water, how is he going to fare in a room with Putin?  Vlad, by the way, wouldn’t give a damn if he needed a sip of water — or vodka — during a speech.  Anyone going to snicker at Mr. KGB?  I think not.  I don’t entirely write either off the way I do the others — Walker could unite the Establishment and the Tea Party and Rubio has some foreign/defense policy chops (especially compared to Walker) in an election where the Mideast Morass will feature prominently.  But really, neither one has what it takes.

Chris Christie?  Mittens knows more about him than we do from his Veep vet in 2012, and Mittens didn’t like what he learned.  Skeletons aside, Christie won’t wear well, we’ll be sick to death of him long before the NH primary.  Mitt has been gone just a few days, and Christie is already spouting nonsense about vaccines.  When his mouth isn’t full of food, it’s full of bluster and BS.

We come to Jebbie.  Mitt looked at him and saw a much less successful version of himself as a businessman.  But as a politician, Jeb is far less awkward and off-putting than Mitt.  He doesn’t make you cringe.  He’ll be the grown-up on the debate stage.  He’ll have all the money he needs.

So there you have it, America.  A “wide and deep” field — of one.

Walking It Back

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo softened a bit on the quarantine for health care workers returning from West Africa.  He now says they can do their 21-day quarantine at home and that they will be compensated for lost wages.

Soon after Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that New Jersey residents can also be quarantined at home (he didn’t address lost income), and that efforts would be made to get non-Jersey residents back to their own states for their quarantine.  But once a person leaves New Jersey, I don’t know what jurisdiction Christie would have to impose a quarantine on them if their home state doesn’t have such a requirement.

There’s still a gap between Cuomo/Christie and the Obama Administration, but it’s been narrowed somewhat.

Fishman Seeks Big Fish (Whale?) Chris Christie

Esquire reports* that some of Chris Christie’s people will be indicted as soon as next month for Bridgegate — his Port Authority appointees, David Samson, Bill Baroni, and David Wildstein as well as his former chief counsel, Charlie McKenna.

Key quotes:

“Don’t underestimate what Wildstein has on Christie.  And Wildstein and Baroni have both turned on Samson.  If Samson doesn’t give Fishman Christie, Samson is toast.

“They’ve got him cold.  He got sloppy, arrogant, and greedy.  Samson will want a deal.  This way, he’d get one or two years.  He’d have a future on the other side.  He won’t want to die in jail. [Samson is 74.]

“But Fishman is really focused on Christie.  Ultimately, he believes he’ll get to the governor.”

* “Exclusive:  Prosecutor Is Closing In on Gov. Christie,” Scott Raab and Lisa Brennan

Jebbie is smiling.

Christie the Clueless

“The entire thing, from hiring politically connected Christie-allied lawyers to paying for the pricey investigation with public funds to crowing about the transparent snow job like it will actually convince anyone, looks like a stupid unforced error by Christie.  Even the ‘objective’ press is highlighting the attorneys’ links to Christie and the fact that New Jersey taxpayers are on the hook for $1 million spent solely to help their governor recover from a scandal. Starting with the New York Times’ initial story on the review, nearly every news organization has (appropriately) treated the report as an unconvincing attempt to venerate Christie and pin everything on a few obvious scapegoats who, conveniently, didn’t cooperate with the investigation.  No one is buying it, and in thinking he could get the political press to play along, Christie just insulted a class of people who were formerly among his most valuable allies.

“Perhaps the single dumbest aspect of the report and its unveiling is how it invites a backlash from the people the report blames for the scandal, especially the already pissed-off David Wildstein and former top Christie aide Bridget Kelly, who is subject to shockingly sexist treatment in the review.  Painting your once fiercely loyal aide as an unhinged emotional wreck is probably a good way to get her to start opening up to the press and the less friendly investigators at the U. S. attorney’s office.  Kelly’s lawyer has already all-but-declared that Kelly will cooperate with the U. S. attorney in exchange for immunity.  Chris Christie’s stunt probably helped her make that decision.

“If this is the best Christie can do, he doesn’t deserve to get anywhere near the presidency. And the sorts of Republican elders who were once his biggest fans probably feel the same way. Christie would’ve been better off shutting up and waiting it out instead of trying to exonerate himself on an accelerated schedule. Once he decided to hire some lawyers to issue a report, he should’ve made sure that the lawyers put forth a better show of independence and objectivity. Better stage management — a report that took longer to prepare and that assigned some sort of responsibility to Christie, for appearance’s sake — could’ve salvaged Christie’s future. Instead, he just showed the country how lousy a politician he actually is.”

Alex Pareene,  “Chris Christie flunks Scandal Response 101:  Why he’s handling it disastrously,”Salon