The Jeb Bush Super PAC? Not Really

502px-Jeb_Bush_by_Gage_SkidmoreThe news that Jeb Bush’s official presidential campaign account is running out of money may have been taken as bad news by some in the Republican Party.

They have been concerned about the surprising rise of outsider Donald Trump, while at the same time the expected GOP pack leader, Bush, has been unable to gain even half as much support in the national polls as compared to top dog Trump. And the concern of so-called “establishment” Republicans was likely only compounded when it was just disclosed that three key, seasoned Bush fundraising operatives have departed the campaign.

“Troubling Signs” is how Politico headlined the news of the recent Bush campaign personnel changes. There was some uncertainty over whether the fundraisers had resigned or were let go, but it was clear that Bush’s official campaign is having serious problems raising enough of its own money in the wake of the Trump juggernaut.

The Bush campaign is clearly going through a round of belt-tightening as Trump continues to rise in the polls. According to the New York Times, just before the three fundraisers made their departure, the Bush campaign had gone through an additional round of staff and salary reductions.

Bush supporters have minimized the apparent growing financial problems of Jeb’s presidential campaign. They say there is plenty of pro-Bush campaign money in the bank.

Politico observes that “Bush’s Super PAC,” which must be legally independent of the official campaign, has had “massive success raising money.” According to Breitbart, “Bush’s Super PAC,” the Right to Rise PAC, raised $103 million in the first six months of 2015, while Bush’s official campaign raised $11 million. The “Bush Super PAC” success in fundraising has even inspired catcalls from billionaire Trump, who has charged that Jeb is hardly independent of the many wealthy donors who have given to it, calling Jeb a “puppet” of its donors during a speech at the Iowa State Fair.

Yet as Jeb’s official campaign fundraising and spending appears to be in some degree of turmoil, a key point missing from news reports about the well-funded independent “Bush Super PAC” that Bush supporters are relying on, is the word “independent.”

Super PACs are a fairly recent phenomena, and an outgrowth of a string of federal court decisions that establish that the Federal Election Commission’s former restrictions on the amount of money and sources of campaign finances to candidate committees cannot be extended to so-called “independent expenditures.”

In return for maintaining independence from an official campaign of a candidate, a Super PAC is allowed to collect contributions in excess of the limits on contribution amounts imposed by the FEC on official campaigns, and can raise funds from sources that are otherwise prohibited by the FEC, such as corporations and unions. But the Super PAC must operate independently from the candidates it chooses to support.

The truth is, the “Right to Rise” PAC is not Jeb Bush’s PAC. Rather, it is an independent political committee of organizers and donors who, for the time being, are Jeb Bush supporters. All it takes to create a Super PAC like “Right to Rise” is to file a simple Statement of Organization, FEC Form 1, under a cover letter that promises the following to the FEC:

“This committee intends to make unlimited independent expenditures, and consistent with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision in SpeechNow v. FEC, it therefore intends to raise funds in unlimited amounts. This committee will not use those funds to make contributions, whether direct, in-kind, or via coordinated communications, to federal candidates or committees.”

Thus, “Right to Rise” really isn’t Jeb Bush’s Super PAC. It is rather, an independent expenditure committee of operatives and donors that Trump sarcastically refers to as the “puppeteers,” who favor Bush right now. And since it is indeed legally independent of Jeb Bush, it is not legally committed to support him. An amount like $103 million is not a sum to be invested unwisely.

The “Right to Rise” PAC could decide to support or oppose any of the 17 candidates currently running for the GOP nomination, not just Bush. Should Bush continue to fail to gain traction in the polls, if his support further erodes, and as the primary process proceeds to what some political veterans are suggesting will be a “brokered convention,” this observer suggests that six months from now the “Right to Rise” PAC may not continue to be referred to as the “Bush Super PAC” in the press.

Originally published by The Blaze

James V. Lacy, a frequent guest of Fox Business News Channel’s “Varney & Company,” is author of “Taxifornia” which is available at Amazon.com

CA voters could be players in GOP race for the White House

VotedThe easiest way to tell whether you’re in California or New Hampshire is to walk into a coffee shop. If you don’t see a presidential candidate, you’re in California.

Our state’s presidential primary in June usually takes place in what the NBA calls “garbage time,” that final few minutes of play after the outcome is beyond any doubt.

But 2016 could be different.

On Wednesday, 15 Republican candidates for president were at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for two televised debates. An astounding 23 million people watched the CNN telecast, making it the No. 10 cable TV show of all time, behind eight college football games on ESPN and the GOP debate last month on Fox.

CNN’s previous ratings record for a presidential debate was set on Jan. 31, 2008, when an average of 8.3 million viewers tuned in. On Wednesday, even the early debate for four low-polling candidates drew an audience of over 6 million people.

The reason for the skyscraping ratings, of course, is Donald Trump. “Will they send me flowers?” he tweeted on Thursday.

“Trump deserves a lot of credit” for drawing tens of millions of viewers to the debates, said Shawn Steel, who represents California on the Republican National Committee. “Some candidates would give up organs for coverage like that.”

California’s primary could be actively contested, Steel believes, if four or five candidates are still in the race at the beginning of April.

“Eighty percent of the delegates will have made up their mind after March,” he said. But he predicted that as long as the debates continue to have “the JV table,” candidates are likely to stay in the race for the TV coverage. The RNC scheduled a total of nine debates, spaced about a month apart. The next one is Oct. 28 in Boulder, Colo.

A year ago, a prediction that the Republican presidential debates were going to break TV rating records would have won you the Brian Williams Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fantasy.

“Trump has brought a whole new dynamic to the Republican brand,” Steel said, by attracting alienated voters, independents and Democrats.

“His poll numbers in the African-American community are better than any Republican’s in the past 50, maybe 70 years,” Steel said. “And in the Latino community, where you might expect that he’d be polling at 5 percent, he’s at 25 percent. That’s Gallup. It’s quite a shocker.”

Steel said it’s evidence of illegal immigration’s “impact on working folks,” including Latinos who are legal immigrants. “You can’t dismiss it,” he said.

At a Kiwanis Club meeting in West Hills Thursday morning, the usual ban on political talk was lifted for a discussion of the debates. Republican Doris Panza said Trump would not be her choice for president, but she thinks he is saying what people have been itching to hear, and what everyone else is afraid to say. Panza, whose husband served in the military for 38 years, liked what Sen. Lindsey Graham said about fighting ISIS. “I think he’s right that if we don’t fight them there, they’ll be over here,” she said.

Janet Lucan, a Democrat, said she liked the way Carly Fiorina “put Trump in his place” and was impressed with her as a person. She said she likes Jeb Bush and, to her surprise, she liked what Rand Paul had to say.

Ron Guilbert described himself lightheartedly as a “far right-wing Republican” and said he would vote for Marco Rubio if the election were held today.

At a Constitution Day event Thursday at Pierce College, associate professor of political science Anthony Gabrielli also gave high marks to Rubio.

“I think he had the strongest performance of the ‘insiders,’” he said, “and Carly Fiorina was the strongest of the ‘outsiders.’”

California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte said during a break between the debates Wednesday that the GOP candidates are “head and shoulders above what the Democrats have to offer.” Steel called the field the “finest quality candidates in our lifetime.“

They’re getting a good long look from the voters, courtesy of Donald Trump. According to Nielsen data, millions of people who never watched a presidential debate before are watching now.

Could California’s political landscape be affected if new voters register in the Republican Party to cast a vote for Trump, Rubio, Fiorina or another candidate in the GOP primary?

A year ago, a prediction that a New York real estate developer would rebuild the California Republican Party would have won you another Brian Williams Award.

Takeaways From Second GOP Debate

As usual, there are so many polls, opinions and scorecards examining who did well during last night’s Republican debate at the Reagan Library. Here are my takeaways – not so much on what happened but where things might lead after the debate performances.

Carly Fiorina impressed those voters looking for outsiders to run the government and she will move up at the expense of Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

Trump, however, probably didn’t damage himself with his base of support and will remain relatively steady although the establishment GOP will still search for ways to make him disappear.

Meanwhile, the establishment will remain splintered for the time being. Jeb Bush showed some spunk (Code name: Eveready) and might reassure his backers to a degree but the establishment is still wary about him. Ohio Gov. John Kasich held steady and could be around to emerge if the Bush doesn’t catch fire. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered another good debate performance but still will find himself stalled behind Bush and perhaps Kasich.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did better than the first debate but will probably not move the needle much.

Marco Rubio showed good knowledge on foreign affairs and will remain in the multi-candidate fray to the end (whenever that may be.) He might also be setting himself up for a VP nod, depending how the primaries break.

Ted Cruz demonstrated his debating skills. He made sure he looked at the camera nearly all the time instead of looking at the questioners. Still, his strategy as the outsider working from the inside has the problem of Trump, Carson and now Fiorina blocking his path as true outsiders.

Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul showed that the GOP is certainly made up of different types but neither will break out to a wider audience with their performances.

The biggest move in the polls the next few days will belong to Carly Fiorina. Many of the debate watchers didn’t see her in the first round when she participated in the JV event.

I missed more questions from radio talk host and attorney, Hugh Hewitt, who along with CNN’s Dana Bash, had a subordinate role to CNN’s Jake Tapper on the moderator panel. Hewitt got into the politics of running for office and winning when he noted that Kasich didn’t seem to want to attack potential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton whereas Fiorina would bring up Clinton without being asked.

Kasich explained people were still getting to know him so he was spending time explaining his record. Fiorina picked up on that saying she wanted to talk about records — Clinton’s — and attack it for lack of accomplishments.

At any rate, not enough time for Hewitt who I found was an excellent interviewer when he was one of the hosts as I did his Los Angeles PBS TV show, Life and Times, on numerous occasions in the 1990s.

That’s my reaction. There are many others, of course, from pundits and spinners. Old friends Mike Murphy and Todd Harris were firing off tweets and re-tweeting comments that supported their candidates, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, respectively.

The three-hour debate was Lincoln-Douglas like in length if not in format. The Lincoln-Douglas debates also lasted three hours but had no back and forth arguments or a moderator attempting to gain control. Rather the first speaker talked for an hour, the second speaker for an hour-and-a-half and the first speaker came back for a 30-minute rejoinder.

Not exactly a made for television event.

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

CA Epicenter of National ‘Anchor Baby’ Debate

Anchor BabyRepublican presidential candidates were drawn deeper into the immigration controversies centered on California, as Donald Trump’s leading opponents sought a way to blunt his apparent advantage among voters with his tough talk on birthright citizenship and deportation.

The numbers game

Clarifying his stance, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski recently took to CNN to criticize the current population of so-called anchor babies.

“If you think of the term ‘anchor baby,’ which is those individuals coming to our country and having their children so their children can be U.S. citizens,” he said. “There’s 400,000 of those taking place on a yearly basis. To put this in perspective, that’s equivalent of the population of Tulsa, Okla.”

Those numbers were immediately disputed, but not entirely discounted. According to Politfact, the figure cited by Lewandowski was “slightly exaggerated,” taking into account dipping rates of illegal immigration in recent years, and the difficulty involved in proving intent among unlawful immigrant mothers giving birth on U.S. soil.

So-called birth tourists, who use travel visas with the secret intent to have a baby delivered in the U.S., contribute to a much smaller fraction of ‘anchor babies,’ Politifact added — “around 8,600, or 0.2 percent of all births, in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

A growing problem

Nevertheless, the anchor baby story has gained steam this summer, reaching a broader audience than GOP primary voters. In a significant new report at Rolling Stone, Benjamin Carlson investigated Rowland Heights, a Los Angeles-area community with a reputation as “the center of Chinese birth tourism in southern California, if not the whole United States.” 

Several years ago, Carlson noted, “the county of Los Angeles opened an investigation into maternity hotels after receiving a deluge of public complaints,” although in the end “no new ordinance targeting maternity hotels was passed in the area. The task force decided that ‘complaints beyond the scope of local zoning powers’ would be referred to state and federal agencies.” According to estimates cited by Carlson, California has become the epicenter for many of the 10,000-60,000 Chinese tourist births the U.S. hosts per year. 

Campaign controversy

With the anchor baby story gaining national traction, several of Trump’s leading competitors for the Republican nomination appeared to size up the issue as a way to toughen up on immigration without undermining their credibility with pro-immigration constituents. Asked by Bill O’Reilly whether “the anchor baby law” is “destructive to the country,” Marco Rubiocalled the issue a “legitimate” one, as RealClearPolitics recounted. “I of course have read about how that happens in California, wealthy Chinese people are hedging their bets, in case something goes wrong in China they can come here,” he explained. 

Jeb Bush, meanwhile, allowed the term — seen by many Democrats and others as at least implicitly derogatory — to escape his lips in an interview. “Given Bush’s close connections to the Latino community — his wife is from Mexico, he speaks fluent Spanish, he’s written a book on immigration and he lives in the Miami area — it was surprising to hear Bush use the phrase,” CNN suggested. “But he defended his word choice, telling reporters the following day that he didn’t regret it.”

“‘What I said is that it’s commonly referred to that. I didn’t use it as my own language,’ he said. ‘You want to get to the policy for a second? I think that people born in this country ought to be American citizens.’”

Later, Bush attempted to clarify that his concern was closer to Rubio’s than Trump’s. “Frankly it’s more Asian people,” he suggested, urging critics to “chill out” about his phrasing, according to NBC News.

Choosing agendas

Conservatives have grappled over whether to frame birthright citizenship primarily as a question of immigrants’ potential upward mobility or the potential downward mobility they often believe government dependency fosters. “Inflation-adjusted figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that a child born in 2013 would cost his parents $304,480 from birth to his eighteenth birthday,” as National Review’s Ian Tuttle noted. “Given that illegal-alien households are normally low-income households (three out of five illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children live at or near the poverty line), one would expect that a significant portion of that cost will fall on the government.”

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Beware of Union-Led Anti-Republican Politicking in Your Kids’ Classrooms

I watched the GOP presidential debate because my students are counting on me” is the title of a piece posted on the National Education Association website by “guest writer” Tom McLaughlin, a high school drama teacher from Council Bluffs, IA. He claims that “… in addition to this debate, I had an obligation to watch future debates, take notes, and share the truth. I have a responsibility to do that for my students.” (Hmm – just why is a drama teacher delving into politics with his students? Brought back memories of a Che Guevara poster prominently displayed in the music teacher’s class at my former middle school.)

So in any event, I’m thinking this will be a commentary about Common Core, since it garnered the only discussion of education at the first Republican debate in Cleveland last Thursday. In reality, that issue provoked a brief back-and-forth between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio which really didn’t shed much light on the subject. But the words “Common Core” never appear in the piece by McLaughlin. Instead, the drama teacher’s “truth sharing” includes comments like:

Many of the candidates on last night’s stage have clear records of draining critical funding away from public schools to give to private schools, supporting charter schools that are unaccountable to students, parents and taxpayers, and slashing education funding and those programs that serve students and help them in the classroom.

As educators and trusted messengers in our communities, we must make sure the public is informed and not fooled by presidential candidates who say they believe in a world-class education system but have a history of starving our public schools of critical funding and supporting flawed so-called reforms that don’t work.

Obviously McLaughlin never intended to report on the debate, but rather to deliver a diatribe infused with standard teacher union talking points against any and all who favor reform and dare have an “R” after their names. (Curiously, Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush all took shots at the teachers unions during the debate and there was no mention of them in McLaughlin’s critique.)

Over at the “NEA Votes” Facebook page, the union faithful were having a field day with McLaughlin’s post and the debate. With one or two exceptions, the comments were posted by pro-union mouthpieces using the same tired talking points that the union elite use. Perhaps the loopiest of all was a post that equated conservatism with Fascism:

The scary part of all this is that these teachers, who don’t seem to have an objective bone in their collective bodies – and are proud of it – have a captive audience of children, many of whom will be the recipients of their teachers’ anti-reform, anti-school choice and anti-Republican rhetoric leading up to the presidential election in 2016.

If you are a Republican parent (or just a fair-minded one of any political persuasion), please be ready for the political onslaught supporting the Big Government-Big Union complex (aka the Blob) your kids may be in for. When the indoctrination starts, don’t be shy about speaking up. Please mention to anyone who is spouting the union party line (and your kids) that in Jeb Bush’s Florida, there are more than 40,000 teachers who do not work for school districts and 14,000 of them have chosen to work in charter schools. They’ve made these choices for the same reason parents do – because charters offer a better fit for their individual needs.

Tell them that despite McLaughlin’s absurd comment, charter and private schools are indeed accountable … to parents. If parents aren’t happy with those schools, they close, unlike traditional public schools which are accountable to no one and typically get more money thrown their way if they are failing.

Tell them that we have tripled our public education funding nationally – in constant dollars – over the last 40 years and have nothing to show for it.

Tell them that Wisconsin’s test scores have risen since the teachers unions’ favorite Republican punching bag Scott Walker has been governor.

Tell them that homeschooling is advancing across the country – especially in big cities – because parents of all political stripes are tired of a one-size-fits-all Blob education.

Tell them that in California, the Blob is under attack and that the effort is bipartisan. The StullReed and Vergara lawsuits, all of which have successfully challenged Blob work rules like tenure and seniority and fought to get a realistic teacher evaluation system in place, have seen Republicans and Democrats working together to undo the mess that McLaughlin and his ilk have helped to create.

Perhaps most importantly explain that when it comes to education policy reform, the battle is not typically between Democrats and Republicans or liberals and conservatives, but rather between those who defend the status quo and those who are demanding reasonable reforms to an outsized, outdated, outmoded and out-of-touch educational system.

When I was growing up, I never had a clue what my teachers’ politics were. They understood they were not there to indoctrinate me. Accordingly, I followed suit when I taught public school for 28 years. But there are many now who have decided not to check their politics at the classroom door, instead bringing it to their students with a religious zeal that makes Elmer Gantry look like a wallflower. Many teachers now take their cue from the likes of National Education Association Executive Director John Stocks who, at the recent NEA convention, told his flock that teachers need to become “social justice warriors.”

Silly me, all along I thought teachers were there to teach.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

Will Jeb Bush’s Education Record Win Him The Nomination, Or Destroy Him?

502px-Jeb_Bush_by_Gage_SkidmoreFormer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s announcement Monday that he is running for president instantly makes him both a man to beat and a top target in a crowded GOP field. Bush’s big donor base, establishment backing, and more moderate reputation will almost certainly make him the top target of other GOP candidates. Whether he can survive their onslaught and emerge as the nominee will depend in large part on how well he can harness his record on a single, signature issue: Education.

Education is Bush’s biggest policy passion and gave him his biggest successes as a governor. It’s not a stretch to say that Bush has been the single biggest driver of conservative education reform in the past 20 years. Bush simply can’t afford to stay away from the issue. But all of his accomplishments are counter-balanced by the burden of Common Core, which has the potential to undo his candidacy if handled poorly.

Common Core complicates what is otherwise an extremely strong education record for Bush– one that should have ample appeal to conservatives. Back in the late 1990s, Florida’s schools were among the country’s worst. Bush made education a centerpiece of his 1998 gubernatorial bid, and fully delivered on that promise in 1999 with his A-Plus Plan.

A-plus made a series of sweeping changes to Florida schools, based on three core principles: higher standards, accountability for schools, and increased school choice. The plan was innovative at the time, but today its components have been copied by Republicans across the country.

Under A-plus, every single public school was given a letter grade reflecting its performance. It sought to limit social promotion (passing students on to the next grade regardless of academic performance) by requiring students to pass a reading test to graduate from the third to the fourth grade. Most notably, it created one of the country’s first private school voucher programs, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Under the program, students attending schools with failing letter grades could receive a voucher to attend a school of their choice, including a fully private one. Bush’s initial voucher program was struck down by a state court in 2006, but has since been revived in a new form and continues to be one of the country’s largest.

Bush’s education efforts weren’t limited to A-plus. Before becoming governor, he helped open Florida’s first charter school in 1996, and after being elected he worked to expand the number of charters.

When A-plus was passed in 1999, Bush predicted that Florida’s schools would experience a “renaissance”– and he was right. In the past 17 years, Florida scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a federal standardized test administered to select student populations in each state, have been among the fastest-rising in the country, and the situation for low-income students is particularly improved. On the 2013 NAEP, Florida’s low-income fourth graders finished first in the nation in reading, compared to 35th place (out of just 40 states) in 1999.

Charter schools have been a big hit as well, with over 220,000 Florida students enrolled at over 600 schools– more than 10 percent of the state’s entire K-12 student body.

Ironically, had Bush stopped caring about education once he left the governor’s mansion in 2007, the issue would probably be a much bigger asset for him today. Instead, Bush dedicated his post-gubernatorial days to making the A-plus Plan a national model. In 2007, he established the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), a think-tank dedicated to pushing his idea of school reform. ExcelinEd has drawn big donations from organizations like the Gates Foundation, and has played a significant role promoting school choice and accountability measures in more than 20 other states.

While ExcelinEd has helped keep Bush in the public eye as a policy activist, it’s also helped create his great weakness: Common Core. At the helm of ExcelinEd, Bush was an early and strong proponent of Common Core when it was still being created by state governors in 2010. To Bush, Common Core was simply a means to take his vision of higher school standards nationwide in an effort to replicate Florida’s improvement.

Many Republicans, however, have become convinced that Common Core’s national reach represents a federal takeover of education, and most GOP contenders (many of whom once happily backed the Core) have been happy to join the opposition. Bush, though, has continued to fight hard for the new standards. In 2014, for instance, he visited Tennessee to urge lawmakers there to hold the line against an “avalanche” of criticism. Last November, he spoke at a D.C. education conference where he called the backlash against the Core “troubling” and argued that it should be seen as the “new minimum” for states in education.

In 2015, perhaps belatedly seeing just how toxic Common Core is to some Republicans, Bush started to avoid talking about it. Last February, Bush spoke for 35 minutes at a Florida education conference without mentioning Common Core once, instead making a vague statement about his support for “higher standards.” When he can’t avoid Common Core, Bush is careful to emphasize that he is opposed to any federal control of education standards.

“Every school should have high standards,” Bush said during his Monday announcement, “and the federal government should have nothing to do with setting them.”

Still, his actions have tied him so irrevocably to Common Core that he simply can’t disown the standards at this point without making a blatant flip-flop.

Now that Bush is a candidate, that could be a problem. He can expect months of fierce criticism from his Republican opponents, all of whom oppose Common Core. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has pledged to “repeal every word” of it. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has argued the issue is so toxic that no Republican can win while supporting it. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is expected to announce a run next week, has defined himself in the past year by his fierce opposition to Common Core and can be expected to tear into Bush for it repeatedly.

The attacks will be fierce, but not necessarily lethal for Bush. Polls of the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina show that while Republican voters there don’t love Common Core, they’re also willing to vote for a candidate who supports it. If Bush can get primary voters to focus on his manifold other achievements in education, which are far more popular and appealing to red-meat conservatives, he may yet be the party’s nominee in 2016.

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Jeb Bush: Capitalism Can Solve Global Warming, Not Gov’t

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image12155315Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has a simple message on global warming: capitalism has done more to help the climate than the “progressive model.”

“The United States has actually been one of the places as it relates to carbon emissions where there have been the best gains because of the explosion of American innovation in creating huge increases in natural gas production and consumption that has lowered carbon emissions,” Bush said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

“The capitalist system has actually done more than the command and control progressive model,” Bush said.

Bush has come under fire by environmentalists and left-wing groups for “denying” the “science” behind global warming, but then again, so has every other Republican presidential candidate this election cycle.

In the interview, Bush criticized the “hard-core left” for politicizing the global warming debate to the point where anyone who disagrees with activists is labeled things like anti-science.

“The problem is climate change has been co-opted by the hard-core left and if you don’t march to their beat perfectly then you’re a denier,” Bush said.

As for what Bush thinks about mankind’s contribution to global warming, the former Florida governor acknowledged the climate is changing, but added that it’s not clear what percentage (if any) is being driven by human activity.

“The climate is changing. I don’t think anybody can argue that it’s not. I don’t think anybody truly knows what percentage of this is man-made and which percentage is just the natural evolution of what happens over time on this planet,” Bush said.

“I think we have a responsibility to adapt to what the possibilities are without destroying our economy, without hollowing out our industrial core,” he added. “There are things that we can do that are commonsensical about this.”

Follow Michael on Twitter

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Ready for Condi (as VP)

453px-Condoleezza_Rice_croppedI’m not ready for Hillary. I’m not ready for a coronation. I believe — as Barbara Bush is reported to have said at some point — there are more families in this country than the Bushes and Clintons.

Right.

But America has increasingly become a country of brand equity and, rather than winning an election with ideas, parties look to overwhelm with soundbite sloganeering and the power of the brand.

There can be no doubt: for all the pitfalls, the Clinton brand is strong. And it would be made even stronger by the historic notion of electing the first woman president. Indeed, the time has come for a female president.

Just not Hillary…

Some Democratic pols have suggested that efforts to “Romnify” Hillary Clinton would be bound to fail. Mitt Romney was born rich. Hillary wasn’t. But what cost Mitt Romney the 2012 election was the fact that he by nature seemed incapable of understanding the Little Guy/Gal. Comments like “I’ll bet you $10,000…” simply symbolized the distance between him and us, no matter how hard he tried to be relatable.

Hillary’s comments about leaving the White House “dead broke” fall distinctly into this same category. Most Americans simply can’t identify with such statements, which are so foreign to their own lives. The fact that Hillary wasn’t born into wealth hardly mitigates the effect of such an attitude — if anything, quite the opposite. Mitt Romney seemed to be a patrician by nature, even if his father wasn’t. He was “to the manor born.” A genuinely nice guy (or so it seems), but completely out of touch with the average American.

As such, “Romnifying” Hillary should mean trying to portray Hillary Clinton as a well-meaning elitist. Nice, authentic, but simply too distanced from the Little Guy/Gal to really connect. Yet while she is going to great lengths to create the opposite impression, the main difference between Romney and Hillary seems to be one of authenticity. Mitt Romney seems like a genuinely nice, albeit out-of-touch rich dude. You might be able to have a beer with him, but probably wouldn’t have a lot to talk about. Hillary Clinton’s persona seems anything but authentic. The projected veneer of caring about the Little Guy/Gal seems poll-tailored and purely calculated for political gain.

Beyond the obvious other considerations, most Americans would like a president who we could have a beer with, and with whom the conversation wouldn’t feel forced or phony. In many ways, Hillary Clinton no longer seems like a real person; she seems like she has become the prototype of a virtual politician created by focus groups, pollsters and strategic marketing gurus. Her well-polled positions may seem better to many Americans than those which Romney espoused, but they seem almost robotic, lacking heart and authenticity, motivated by what seems to be bottomless ambition.

Beyond the Clinton transparency problems; beyond the sense that Hillary Clinton seems to feel there are two sets of rules: one for the Clintons and one for everybody else; beyond the authenticity issues so brilliantly captured by Kate McKinnon’s SNL portrayal of Clinton, there are voters who simply believe that they are “ready for Hillary” because she’s a woman and it’s time.

It’s not an argument as much as a feeling, but it is a very powerful feeling and difficult to counteract with anything but another female candidate. However, the Republican side, unfortunately, seems to be fresh out of viable female presidential candidates. But the Republicans still could — and should — put a woman on the 2016 presidential ticket.

No, not Sarah Palin.

How about Condoleezza Rice?

In a way, Condi is not only the anti-Sarah Palin, she’s also the anti-Hillary. Personally, I think she would make a great presidential candidate, but she has never run for office, and she refused to allow herself to be drafted to run for the U.S. Senate seat which Senator Barbara Boxer is vacating in California, even though polls in blue California put Condi on top. (When urged to run for Senate, she supposedly quipped that she didn’t want to be one of a hundred of anything.)

But Condi Rice could be the perfect Republican VP candidate in 2016.

Condi would be hard-pressed to say no to Jeb Bush, with whom she is close, should he get the Republican nomination. But a Bush-Rice ticket might reinforce the notion that a Bush 3.0 presidency is a blast from the past with the dynastic downside which a lot of Americans (including myself) want to avoid.

Condi would be the perfect VP to a number of other viable Republican candidates. Scott Walker has the executive experience, but lacks active foreign policy chops. Condi Rice, with all of her foreign policy experience, would be a marvelous counterbalance and complement to a governor like Walker or John Kasich from Ohio, whose jobs just don’t naturally involve a lot of international relations.

Emotionally and demographically, Condi as the Republican VP candidate could neutralize the zeal of certain voters to “create history” by voting for a female president. Condi Rice on the ticket allows voters to make another kind of history by electing a minority woman. Strategically, the inclusion of Condi on the ticket would allow the Republicans to contrast her record and persona with that of Hillary. Just look at the email situation when each was Secretary of State. Condi plays by the rules. Hillary plays by her own set of rules. Condi is erudite and seems somewhat shy, but she passes the “beer test” with flying colors.

This isn’t exactly the case with Hillary Clinton. As Jonah Goldberg wrote in 2007: “She may have star power, but you get the sense that most Americans would like to have their picture taken with her and then drink alone.” If anything, this has only gotten more extreme over the past few years, especially against the background of the Clinton Foundation’s squirrelly quest for foreign cash; there is a running SNL skit series yet to be written with Kate McKinnon as Hillary, struggling to have a beer with average Americans.

In short, Condi, brilliant as she is, seems both humble and authentic. Hillary, brilliant as she is, can’t help herself from exuding a thinly-veiled, self-entitled, ambition-fueled phoniness.

Obviously the top name on the ballot is extremely important; but on, say, a Walker-Rice or Kasich-Rice ticket, Condi could not only make the difference in the 2016 election, she could also play a major role in the succeeding Republican administration. She could help redefine the Republican Party as inclusive, tolerant and not just for rich people: a party of freedom, fairness and a force for the Little Guy/Gal.

One of Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogans is “Hillary for America.” It feels like it really should be “Hillary for Hillary.” Sorry, I’m just not ready for that. I’m not ready for a new flood of foundation donations from foreign governments and others anxious to gain access and presumably influence; not ready for a whole new panoply of conflicts of interest and appearances of impropriety; not ready for reasonable criticism to be dismissed with curt, Nixonian waves of the hand; not ready for dynastic politicians being held to lower standards than everyone else. If anything, I’m ready for some more realness in our political system, wherever it may come from. Heck, despite differences on some of the issues, I’d even be readier for Bernie or Elizabeth than I am for Hillary.

But I most certainly am ready for Condi. And for any number of reasons so should the Republican Party, so should the nation be ready for her, too.

John Mirisch is Vice Mayor of Beverly Hills

VIDEO: 2016 Showdown: Gov. Scott Walker vs. Gov. Jeb Bush


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Prospective GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker speculates on the reasons behind his boost in popularity. Addresses strength of donor base.

Scott Walker Strongly Leads GOP Presidential Candidates in New California Poll

Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, has a strong lead by a statistically significant margin in a new statewide poll ofScottWalker 600 likely Republican voters in California’s June 7, 2016 presidential primary election conducted over this last weekend by Landslide Communications.

When matched with 15 other possible candidates for the Republican nomination for President, Walker wins 20% of likely GOP voter’s support in the Golden State. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush follow distantly but closely matched with 10.7% and 10.5% of the vote, respectively.  Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas receives 7.3%, followed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at 5.8%.  Florida Senator Marco Rubio has 5.2% and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has 4.7%.  Other candidates finish with lower percentages and there is 17% undecided.

When the field is narrowed to just 8 candidates, (dropping Carson and other candidates who have shown lower levels of support in national polls), Walker keeps and slightly improves his lead with 23%, Jeb Bush improves to 13.8%, Mike Huckabee rises to 11%, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz doubles his support to 8.3%.  Huckabee and Cruz appear to benefit most from Carson being excluded. Florida Senator Marco Rubio takes fifth place with 7.8% of the vote.

Carly Fiorina, who, along with Sarah Palin, are the only ones of the possible Presidential candidates who have actually appeared on the ballot in California, receives 1.7% of the vote in the full field of 16 candidates tested, (Palin receives 3.8%), and when the field is reduced to just 8 candidates, excluding Palin, Fiorina’s support improves to 3.2% of the vote, however, she finishes last among the group tested.  Undecided voters increase to 20.2% for the narrowed field of candidates.

“Walker’s lead in both the full candidate field and narrowed matchups is strong, and statistically significant even though it may surprise some observers,” said James V. Lacy of Landslide Communications, who wrote the questions and commissioned the poll.  According to NSON Opinion Strategies, who conducted the poll interviews, the margin of error in the poll is +/- 4% at a 95% confidence level statewide. Accordingly, Walker’s lead exceeds and is well above the margin of error in the poll. The voter file used in the poll, and the turnout model for the 2016 Republican Presidential primary, to be held on June 7, 2016, was provided by Political Data, Inc. More details on how the poll was constructed and its mechanics appear later in this release.

A total of 172 delegates to the Republican National Convention are up for grabs in the 2016 California primary election, more than 7% of all delegates who will decide the next Republican Presidential nominee.

Landslide Communication’s California Poll of Republican Presidential Preferences of likely Republican voters in the 2016 primary election is being conducted well over a year before the actual election.  Of course, caution should be taken in considering the poll results. Much can happen in a vigorous election campaign over the next year: new candidates can join the race, others can drop out, and voter attitudes can change. Nevertheless, it is clear from the poll that Scott Walker has acquired a statistically significant and leading level of support among GOP voters in California at this early stage, well before actual campaigning has gotten underway.

Poll Frequencies, NSON Opinion Research’s Summary, and Demographic Cross Tabs are available for download at the end of this article.

Further Details on Landslide’s California Poll appear below.

 California’s importance in 2016 Presidential election to Republicans:

California is a decidedly “blue” state in which Democratic Governor Jerry Brown recently won re-election by over one million votes, bucking a national trend that favored Republicans.  And a Republican candidate for President has not won the state of California since 1988.

However, because California is the largest state in the union by population, with 53 Congressional districts, California has a very large delegation up for grabs for GOP presidential contenders at the next Republican National Convention.

There will likely be a total of 2,461 delegates at the 2016 GOP Convention. See http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P16/R-Alloc.phtml. California should be allotted 172 of those delegates, about 7% of the total. Of California’s delegates, 10 are awarded to the candidate who wins the statewide vote. In addition, a candidate who finishes first in any one of California’s 53 Congressional districts is awarded 3 delegates. The state party chairman and two national committee members are also delegates.  The winning margin at the Republican National Convention will be 1,230 delegates. Theoretically, a candidate who could sweep California’s Republican Presidential primary election could count on the state to deliver just over 14% of the total delegates needed for victory.

List of Presidential contenders in poll:

Poll participants were read a randomized list of candidates to choose from. The initial poll question tests a list of 16 Republican presidential contenders. The candidate list was derived with reference to 15 potential candidates appearing on the Real Clear Politics website. Landslide then added John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, to the initial question list, to make 16 total candidate names read to participants.

A follow-up question narrows the field to 8 Republican contenders.  The follow-up list was derived by including the top seven contenders on the Real Clear Politics national presidential poll average after excluding Ben Carson (see http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_republican_presidential_nomination-3823.html), and then adding Carly Fiorina. The second question is intended to narrow the field to the most likely candidates to advance in the presidential primaries, and Fiorina is added because she is the only potential Republican Presidential candidate who has actually been on a ballot in California.

Poll questions:

The poll questions were prepared by James V. Lacy, Managing Partner of Landslide Communications, Inc.  Landslide is one of the largest producers of election slate mail in California. Lacy is the author of the book “Taxifornia” available at Amazon.com, and is a frequent guest commentator on California issues on Fox Business News Channel’s “Varney & Company.” Lacy is also an election law and nonprofit organization attorney through his law firm, Wewer & Lacy, LLP, and is a recipient of the American Association of Political Consultant’s “Pollie” Award. Lacy is not associated with any Presidential campaign. Landslide Communications, Inc., has a history of conducting occasional polls in California, most recently in the 52nd Congressional District race between incumbent Scott Peters and Republican challenger Carl DeMaio.

Interview list:

The list used to make the calls was based on a sophisticated, representative election turn-out model for likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election prepared by Political Data, Inc., located in Norwalk, a respected source of voter files.

To account for a slight bias in the delegate selection process that awards a small “bonus” pool of delegates based on the statewide result, the interview list was balanced for region by Board of Equalization District, with the two more Republican leaning BOE districts of four having marginally more interviews reflected in the statewide total than average, to most accurately reflect the opinion of California’s Republican population

Interviews and data compilation:

The poll questions were completed by 600 likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election based on Political Data’s model. The sample size is considered large enough by NSON Opinion Strategy, a respected strategic public opinion research company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, to offer statistical significance in outcome, with +/- 4% margin of error at a 95% confidence level statewide. Telephone survey interviews were conducted statewide from Thursday, February 5 through Monday, February 9, by NSON Opinion Strategy.

See NSON Opinion Strategy’s Poll Summary here: 16′ CA GOP Presidential Primary Poll

See Poll Frequencies here: CA Rep Pres Primary – Frequencies

See Poll Crosstab Tables here: CA Rep Pres Primary – Crosstab Tables