Washington Merry-Go-Round

Watch them run

IMMEDIATE RELEASE 31 December 2014

WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND

Today’s Events in Historical Perspective

America’s Longest-Running Column, Founded 1932

Watch them run

By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift

WASHINGTON – Former First Lady, former senator, former secretary of State Hillary will announce her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination – no surprise here, but then what? Real Clear Politics (RCP) shows an average of major polls give her a 61.7 percent likelihood of nomination victory. However, her negative ratings remain an impediment. The fact remains that many Americans, especially segments of the all-important Independents, simply do not like her. Further, she is fully tied to her husband’s presidential initiatives, including her bungled ramrodding of his failed universal healthcare program, his welfare reform package that appeased conservatives by taking large numbers of needy families off of assistance, and his business-conservative error of gutting the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that had kept banks and brokerages separated (a move often cited as a major cause of the Great Recession).

Enter Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., whose national standing continues to rise as she takes on the mantle of Progressive, more reminiscent of Teddy Roosevelt than George McGovern, the liberal Democratic candidate of 1972. She has made her name by going after the big banks and big corporations, those entities deemed too big to fail. Like Roosevelt, the trust buster, she is exposing the damage done by monopolies and concentrated wealth. Most Americans now know that the wealthiest five percent actually saw their wealth increase during the Great Recession, an event that virtually wiped out the savings of the middle class by destroying their home equities. This all ties into the infamous income disparity now prevalent, another situation harking back to the Roosevelt era and the Robber Barons. But the question is whether or not Warren will run, and, if she does, will her campaign gain critical mass before Clinton sews up the nomination?

Meanwhile, Republicans lack a frontrunner. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., is in the process of throwing his hat in the ring, but the earth has moved since his father and brother ran and won their presidencies. The Tea Party, after badly stumbling with far-out candidates, became more sophisticated. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., a man with impeccable conservative credentials and a member of the House leadership, was recently defeated by a Tea Party favorite, a fact that bolds well for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Rand Paul, R –Ky. Still, it is difficult to imagine that such non-mainstream senators could win the nomination, when polling shows they would be swamped in the general election. On the other hand, Jeb Bush clearly lacks pure conservative credentials, especially in the realms of immigration and education. He is more in the mold of 2008 nominee former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., who is considering a second try.

The fading man of the Republican Party is Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., whose strength is his weakness. Widely admired for his outspoken, abrasive manner, he has found himself in hot water for being too outspoken and abrasive, which gives him little leeway when things go wrong as with the George Washington Bridge Closing scandal.

Given all this, and not forgetting there are other potential candidates, it is likely that we will see a Clinton-Warren battle and a Bush-Romney battle, the last of these because even Tea Partiers want to win.

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© 2014 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND

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