Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Normally January of the year before an election is too early for The Omnivore to take anything seriously but this year is different. Why? Because the players are taking it seriously—and, it appears, they’re right to. On the Democrat’s side, sure, things are “pretty stable” (right now, at least)—but on the Republican side the positioning is well warranted. A candidate who thinks they might decide to run needs to:

  1. Position themselves early. They need to get on polling lists of possible candidates, build name recognition, and determine which niche they are going to play in.
  2. Line up donor support. This is a big one since massive political objects like Jeb Bush (you were expecting a Chris Christie joke, weren’t you) will black-hole-like suck up available funding. This means that if you haven’t laid a foundation today you may be shut out when the primaries technically begin.

That said, it’s interesting to see what some of these people are thinking. Let’s take a look!

Who Is It? What Did They Do?? What ARE THEY THINKING?? The Truth

Hillary Clinton

Very, very little for now. Warren’s not gonna run. Nobody else rates. The narrative about Clinton is that she learned a lot from 2008 and is making all the same mistakes. An oversized, unwieldy, infighting crew. A questionable sense of inevitability. Lack of discipline. Safe speeches punctuated with minor gaffes. The truth is that right now she can afford this.

Jeb Bush

Resigned from all his board of directors positions to clear the field so he can run for president. Files papers for new PAC / Death Star. Mrs. Romney ain’t a-gunna let him do it again. Mrs. Romney probably won’t let Mitt do it again.

Mike Huckabee

Quit his FOX TV show so that he can “explore” running for president.This is “exploring” in the same sense that launching a rocket is “trying” to go into space. It might fail—but that’s a crash-and-burn scenario. SOMEONE’S Special Interest group is gonna get their ass kissed this next cycle … why not mine??

Also: How did Christie get so thin??
It won’t be his. It’ll be the Establishment’s.

  Dr. Ben Carson

Set a deadline of May 1 for his “decision to run for president.” Does God want me to do this? Maybe God wants me to do this? Are you there, God? It’s me—Ben??? God does not want Dr. Ben Carson to run for president. Also: It would take a miracle.

Louie Gohmert

Announced his opposition to John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Also, in 2010, announced America was being infiltrated by “Terror Babies” Go! Go! Gohmert! Also: Guns will save us from Gay Marriage and Eric Holder’s Islam!! Go! Go! Gohmert!! Crazy.


It seems likely that the Republican 2016 primary will be a clash between a favorite and an underdog establishment candidate (say: Jeb v. Christie) and a slew of special-interest candidates (Huckabee, appealing to Iowa so-cons, Rand Paul appealing to young pot smokers and angry techies, etc.). The questions will be around Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and potentials like Bobby Jindal. The issue, though, for them is going to be when they actually get involved and not whether they are better candidates: if Jeb has all the major fundraising locked up and a year’s worth of head-start on his real opposition, the quality of the candidates may not matter. It’s worth remembering that even generally professionally run top-tier candidates failed to get on the ballot in some states for the 2012 elections and even a top-drawer campaign like Hillary’s 2008 group (NOTE: Top-Drawer in the sense that she had every possible advantage coming into the race—not that she executed it well) failed to get some basics right like the caucus states.

In other words, don’t buy that a well funded upstart can just join the game and have a decent shot if their message is good: it’s not that simple. The earlier serious players start making moves, the greater chance of a shut-out for an otherwise serious candidate. This is why we kinda need to be paying attention now—even if things like polling numbers are pretty meaningless.

The Omnivore has popcorn ready!


  1. I ran into David Gergen at the airport about six weeks ago and we talked about Hillary. He said he doesn't know if she wants to go through the grinder of an election, and that indecision is what is causing delay and much of the seeming lack of coherent messaging/strategy. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    1. I wrote a longer post that failed for some reason. I am pretty sure she will run.

      A - She is expending a lot of time and effort (and money) setting up groups, traveling, releasing a book, etc.

      B - She has weathered three campaigns already (2 with Bill, one her own). This may be the easiest one yet. Why not try to be the first woman US President?

      C - She gains little by announcing early. Yes, some people (as above) may have doubts--but announcing will increase the volume of incoming fire and might make the far left feel cornered into HAVING to run someone against her. In this case, waiting is all to her advantage.

      I see little upside in her announcing early.

      I'll be very surprised if she does not run.

      -The Omnivore

  2. "Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.
    Going to the candidates' debate.
    Laugh about it, shout about it
    When you've got to choose
    Every way you look at this you lose."

    Seriously, consuming politics as horse race is precisely what The Man wants. You know there's only an illusion of a choice; what Jeff Connaughton calls "The Blob" is all but guaranteed to win, no matter what happens.

    I suggest watching out for the aftermath of the upcoming Greek elections on January 25: if Alexis Tsipras' SYRIZA party wins (as seems likely), they'll likely push for what amounts to forgiveness of their hopelessly unpayable €322B debt, which will put the ECB in an impossible position. Call their bluff and kick them out of the EU and suffer a near-certain banking meltdown, or let them stay and prompt Europe's other debtor nations to demand the same deal.

    Either way, the ensuing chaos will reach here before long. When it does, the ensuing panic,finger-pointing, and other infantile behavior will only exacerbate the situation.

    I think the 2016 political gamesmanship will end up being even more plainly irrelevant than most prior years'.

    -- Ω

    1. The Grexit is -fascinating- -- and while "The Man" may want me to consume it as a horse race, I have to respect the effort they've put into it to make it an exciting one.

      I am of the Geo-Politics school of thought that for major policy decisions, the people involved (and this is especially true for international policy) don't matter much. In many ways, Obama or Romney would be interchangeable on the world stage (although: Cuba).

      HOWEVER, that's the rule. The exceptions are things like the Grexit or the minority-opposition party we've seen for the last six years. Should they manage to successfully unhorse Boehner, we'd get a look at policy in the margins at the far end of the bell-curve.

      That's our own brand of chaos. But for 2016? I'm predicting cheap European vacations for EVERYONE!!

      -The Omnivore