Chris Christie’s Lack of Courage on Religious Liberty

Chris Christie appeared to get a boomlet from the Nevada debate this week. Why? For a hawkish foreign policy posture about Russians violating his proposed no-fly zone in Syria. Here’s some love from WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza, for example, on why Christie was a winner on Tuesday: Chris Christie: The New Jersey governor had one goal in this debate: distinguish himself from the likes of Cruz and Rubio as someone who has never spent any time in Washington. He did so — repeatedly and successfully. He effectively injected himself into an extended back and forth between Cruz and Rubio on the NSA to

Frank Underwood for President?

Last night, many of us were surprised to see this ad from an apparently new contender for president, who fits right into the Washington establishment: “America, I am only getting started,” Frank Underwood intones. A brilliant little piece of creative marketing? A dark, satiric commentary on American politics? Both? Clint Cline is the president of Design4, a national media and messaging firm based in Florida.

Rubio Takes a Lesson from Trump’s Playbook

Maggie, this is essentially the same pitch that Donald Trump is making: “Trust me, I’ll have a plan for (insert issue). It’s gonna be great. It’ll be better than ever.” He’s betting on his brand. I think Marco Rubio is betting his optimism will give Trump supporters another reason to look at him, using identity politics to effectively blunt Ted Cruz’s appeal to Trumpers. Sure, it’s poll-tested and honed, but it’s smart politics by opening a second front against Cruz (and possibly disaffected Carson supporters). Kim Holmes had a smart piece in Public Discourse yesterday on Trump and the identity

What Trump Must Do at Tuesday’s Debate

This will be the first debate without Donald Trump as “The Inevitable.” What the past few weeks have shown us is that Ted Cruz has built an impressively solid ground game in Iowa (and elsewhere), that Marco Rubio hasn’t, and that Ben Carson — still a nice guy — is largely out of his depth. It has also shown us that Donald Trump cannot continue as “The Donald” without consequence. He has to choose between his personality and being Presidential, or the voters will do it for him. Tuesday night for Trump will be about adapting. It will show us

Is Cruz Really the New Front Runner?

A piece today by Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post posits that, while Ted Cruz may not be the current Republican front runner, he’s the candidate most likely to win the nomination. He then lists four reasons why, and there’s not a weak point among them.  To wit: A Washington Post-ABC News November poll showed that Cruz’s numbers are in the stratosphere with voters who identify themselves as “very” conservative; 69 percent had a favorable opinion of him while just 21 percent regarded Cruz in an unfavorable light. In a Republican primary — particularly one in which the GOP electorate is

Has the “Rubio Moment” Given Way to the “Cruz Moment”?

Not much more than a month ago on the CNBC Republican Debate stage, millions watched Jeb Bush giftwrap for his former protégé the now-legendary “Rubio Moment,” that time when two campaigns heading in opposite directions passed like ships in the political night. Bush’s flaccid single-digit campaign had stagnated. Rubio, following impressive debate showings, had risen above the salt to a top four position, occupying a seat Jeb had reserved for himself near the head of the table.  Combined with polling that showed a significant amount of Bush supporters favored Rubio as a second choice, the Bush campaign needed to do

Rubio Pivots to Take Aim at Cruz

With 55 days remaining until the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus begins to help sort out front-runners from also-rans, Senator Marco Rubio has signaled a significant shift in his campaign approach and begun trading paint with the now-surging Senator Ted Cruz. A Sunday, December 6, New York Times piece unpacks the new Rubio strategy, designed to blunt surging Cruz momentum both in Iowa and in other early states. It is clear that Cruz’s well-developed campaign infrastructure and abundant face time in the state has the Rubio campaign concerned: …In interviews, speeches and in stealthier ways, Mr. Rubio has abruptly changed course, zeroing in on

Trump and Carson Draw Different GOP Crowds

A Nov. 1 edition of the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire points out an intriguing perspective to the en vogue Establishment vs. Conservative narrative of the GOP Primary. Citing a recent WSJ/NBC News Poll they highlight a strong disparity in the support of the two top GOP candidates. While some overlap exists, the two candidates might as well be from Venus and Mars, so different is their support from within the broader GOP tent: Two unconventional candidates, businessman Donald Trump and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, are leading the Republican presidential field. Both are often described together as political “outsiders.” But that