Thank you for having me back, it's great to be here.
"So...what...the hell...happened last week?"
Last week, you saw two political parties fighting themselves instead of each other.
"I thought it was a repudiation of President Obama. You know, Obama sucks so we are voting for the Republicans."
The R's won pretty big, but not as big as people think. Just look at the purple states. They lost the majority of those to the D's.
"Still having trouble with the swing vote, huh?"
Maybe. Maybe not. Once again, the two sides weren't running against each other, they were running against themselves.
That's what I'm here for. The R's have spent the past four years trying to marginalize the Tea Party out of existence. All these victories weren't about sticking it to the D's for once. It was about trying to keep the Tea Partiers from hijacking the party.
"You said at the time they were making a mistake."
Yeah, but I'm not some policy wonk from a think tank getting six figures or more a year, so what do I know? First, they needed to have the press reporting that the Tea Party is no longer a factor in elections. Only a couple won their Senate and gubernatorial challenges, the rest were swept out.
"They made things a three way race for a while."
Which is why they had to go. Thanks to the government shutdowns, this force of nature the GOP tried to co-opt became too big a liability, and their numbers were enough to get federal funding and take positions from insiders. This was about survival.
"You said, 'First.' What's the second part of the plan?"
Winning the Senate wasn't a goal. It was a necessity. The Tea Partiers that stayed in the House? They can still cause trouble. Remember, they aren't called "the Kamikazes" for nothing. And the D's were able to use their position in the Senate to poo-poo what was going on. The D's could introduce all kinds of bills knowing the Kamikazes would block or stymie them on their so-called "principles"....
"Oh, I don't know. The Tea Partiers do at least stand by their principles."
Ted Cruz sure doesn't. He's a Tea Partier and Libertarian who actively opposes Net Neutrality. He gets major campaign contributions from Comcast and is trying to use his position on the Subcommittee of Communications, Technology, And The Internet, which oversees the FCC, to do their dirty work. The Tea Partiers are no different than the Democrats and the Republicans -- they will all sell their own mothers to a Bolivian brothel if the price is right.
"So the R's were trying to take control of the party back."
Basically. This was the best chance they had to do it. The D's were in too much disarray. Any D worth his salt would have been able to run ads that split the conservative vote and let them win in a landslide. They didn't. President Obama is too much of a liability.
"Was Obamacare really that much of an issue?"
I didn't say Obamacare, I said President Obama. Obama has made a lot of missteps, but the rose no longer blooms. The mass surveillance, Obamacare, his Middle East war that is practically indistinguishable from Bush Jr's...the only difference is Obama is doing it on the cheap, Shrub spent like crazy. His endorsement of things like SOPA and continued attempts to make copyright laws more draconian. The deals that earned the nickname "The Chicago Way White House." Obama has gotten too far from his message of hope and change, and it's costing him and his party.
"But he's the President. He's got all the attention, right?"
D's running for office didn't want him stumping for them. When Obama said in an interview that he wasn't up for election but his policies were, D spin doctors were doing damage control. When you, the President and a history maker, find yourself not being invited to parties, something is really really wrong.
"Which is why Bill and Hillary were doing all the stumping."
Right, and that may have cost Hillary the Presidency in 2016.
"What do you mean? Her support is still there."
Her support has always been wobbly. She sees being President as her destiny. D's wanted anyone other than her, and that's how the Obama juggernaut got started. It's now eight years later. Hillary has seen most of the candidates she endorsed wiped out during the Republican purge. So she can't deliver the voting public, and she has a lot less people who owe their success to her. She's running out of chits to cash in. If another D with a solid base and connections decides to run against her, they could very well steal the nomination away from her.
"How about the R's? How are they looking for the Presidency?"
They still don't have anyone.
"Romney says he might run again."
Romney is talking out of his ass. Between things like his binders full of women comment and how he said after the election he was glad he lost (first time he said something I agreed with), attack ads will have a field day with him. The best he can do is leverage all his connections to support a candidate. And there isn't one yet.
"What about Christie?"
Christie is almost the only one who can get the nomination at this point. He's in charge of the R's fundraising and outreach, so the donors see him before anyone else. Bridgegate will have some fallout despite the number of people he threw under the bus. Remember -- everyone expects dirty politics, but when lives are lost, it's no longer a game. Christie should have known better, especially with his presidential dreams so close to his re-election as gov.
"Walker from Wisconsin?"
He's screwed. His Tea Party credentials are no good anymore. He and Ted Cruz have gone further right. Randroid Paul, for all his faults, finally recognizes that the absolutes of his beliefs will cost him support and has been softening the rhetoric. They are trying to play down the D's support base.
"Well, it's working, isn't it?"
What makes you say that?
"Well, take the youth vote. Pollsters found that the R's picked up 5% of the youth vote, the same amount the D's lost."
Bitch, please. 5% is barely a margin of error, it's not going to swing an election. The Hispanic bloc is 5% smaller for the D's, but the R's only picked up 1% of that. The R's strategy for the Presidential election is to make it so that people who support the D's will be fed up and won't vote while mobilizing their own bases.
"Can it work?"
We saw how the R's botch their strike lists with Project ORCA in 2012, and the D's failed to mobilize their supporters this time around. You bet it can work. It literally isn't who gets the most votes but who can get the most people to bother.
"How about others like Rubio and Jindal? They'd be ideal for PR, showing the R's aren't just a bunch of rich white guys."
No one's going to believe that for a second.
"So what do they do? They need a message to rally supporters around. What will they do?"
We'll know their campaign message by May 2015.
"What happens then?"
The Patriot Act expires.
The whole thing goes bye-bye without an extension, especially the abused-like-a-$10-hooker Section 215.
"That's the one that justifies the NSA logging every phone call US citizens make, right?"
Top of the class. During Obamacare, they were all about the Constitution and state's rights and the 10th Amendment. Well, Section 215 effectively nullifies the 4th Amendment. So, do the R's make a stand for Constitutional right to privacy and let the act expire, or do they continue to say it is necessary to protect America from terrorists and renew it?
"What do you think they'll do?"
I don't know. And I don't think they do, either. But whatever they choose, that will forge their identity for the 2016 run. Once they know what their platform will be, they'll select the corporately backed white guy that best encompasses it, and the race is on.
"It's going to be an interesting two years."
Tell me about it.