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Yes, we’ve got a long way to go yet in the 2016 Presidential race, but here’s where it all stands right now, according to AAH.

(Each image in this article is linked to its original publication. Click on the image to get another perspective)

Donald Trump arrives to his Comedy Central Roast in New York, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

Donald Trump arrives to his Comedy Central Roast in New York, Wednesday, March 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

What most of us wrestle with, and what most of us don’t realize, is that we live between intellectual judgment and emotion. We too frequently blur the lines separating them, and often the result is we make decisions based on how we feel rather than what we think. I believe this is largely what happened in electing Barak Obama twice. I suspect that this same phenomenon is propelling Donald Trump this early in the pre-primary season. And he is striking a chord that none of the other GOP candidates are striking. For the long-term, I don’t think the others really need to . . . yet. But it has long been a theme in American presidential politics that we have looked for the greater intangibles – those that appeal to our first impressions, our gut. We do look for that person who can speak to the highest ideals; down in the weeds policy specifics do not always reign supreme. Certainly not early on.

At this very early point in the presidential campaign, it’s all about passion.

It has been said of John F. Kennedy that for his lack of executive experience, he very rapidly and confidently grew in to his role as the most powerful, influential – and inspiring – leader in the world.

As for experience and so-called qualifications, there was little-to-no, really, in hard and long –fought, long and indisputably established accomplishment demonstrated by either Obama or Kennedy, and granted, Obama brought with and in himself additional unique aspects to-date not experienced in the American political scene. It was Robert Kennedy that said almost exactly 40 years to the day before, that a black man would be elected to the White House. Clearly, it was perfecting timing for Barak Obama. And to go up against the Old White-haired White Guy and then the Stiff Rich White Guy, all the more perfect.

But today there is another force at work – one which seems to be swinging from the far opposite side; one of plain, straight talk and of a directness not experienced in our present political and cultural climate, but one which appears to be welling from deep ground waters of discontent and disillusionment. It’s a backlash. It’s passion. It is raw, deliberate and unapologetic, uncensored passion coming from Donald Trump, and it seems it is what many Americans have been thinking and feeling for some time.

The tricky thing about emotions is that they subside. They are a transitory thing, often excited by particular and short-lived events. Not always, certainly, but commonly. With 14 months to go before the general election, and even only 5 months to go before the first primary, much will change. At a minimum, Trump is laying the groundwork for the eventual Republican nominee, regardless who it turns out to be.

So, in the meantime, here’s AAHs 14 months-out analysis of where it all stands. Call it prophecy, call it heresy, call it ill-informed. Call it prescient or call it foolishness. Call it biased. But just remember: I told you so.

Hillary Clinton

– – –

The Democrats

Hillary Clinton will not be the Democrat nominee, and the GOP will win the White House.

The one act that will become, over all else, Obama’s most memorable act and ultimately his legacy – his final and most significant act – will be the pardon of Hillary Clinton. She will go the way of other tragic politicians, and as it goes, it will get ugly and fascinating. Think of just two of too many examples: Dan Rostenkowski and James Traficant; think of too many Illinois governors – except she will not serve time in prison. She will be pardoned after indictment, and she will quietly, defiantly go home and back to her speaking tour where she will explain it all to the true believers, and she’ll make her gazillions on the speaking circuit and she’ll be fine. Nixon recovered to the extent he did, and at least in some circles, he became the Elder Statesman. She will refind and rebuild her way. But she will not be President and she will never hold public office again.

enhanced-buzz-21549-1374157836-4

Bernie Sanders. We’re not ready for socialism in the White House. Plain and simple. Not even his True Believers. Ultimately, he is fringe and his to-the-end supporters are fringe and there are not enough of them. He will syphon off some number, and that’s about it. He’ll get to make his statement, then he’ll go back to Capitol Hill, or maybe home. He gets 100 points for being up front and proud of what he believes, but he loses 100 points for being a socialist and another 100 points for being crazy-wrong. Bottom line? Not on this continent, Bub.

Joe Biden, paraphrased (but not much)

biden_double_guns_AP

“. . .Get a shotgun and shoot it off the balcony. . .” Sorta like Saddam Hussein used to do.

“You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. . . I’m not joking.”

“This is a Big F******* Deal. . .” – TO THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. Oops. Hot mike.

“Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president . . .”

“. . .They gonna putch’all back in chains. . .”

And those are just the ones that occur to me and that I could find this instant. There are, thankfully, many, many more. Bottom line on the possibility that Joe Biden takes Hillary’s place and seeks the nomination? OMG, I hope so.
Want more? Check them out right here.

The rest of the Dems

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Sadly, Jim Webb is not getting any traction. He should have all the traction. If I were to choose to vote for a Democrat and I did not have Evan Bayh or Sam Nunn or Harold Ford, Jr. in the mix, I would choose Jim Webb. Maybe Martin O’Malley. But somehow, the Dems apparently are happier with the old and tired, white-haired, troubled and controversial; the familiar Let’s-go-back-20 years-and-do-it all-again-program. Wow. Really?

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley addresses members of the Maryland House of Delegates on the first day of the 2013 legislative session in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Standing behind O'Malley is House Speaker Michael Busch. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley addresses members of the Maryland House of Delegates on the first day of the 2013 legislative session in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Standing behind O’Malley is House Speaker Michael Busch. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The truth is, far and away, Webb should be the Democrat’s number one choice. He would give any one of the GOP candidates a serious run for their money. I am truly mystified on this one. Except I really do know why: He’s too moderate.

Well, and we all know, and as the electorate taught the Repubs in 2008 and 2012, you get what you pay for. For 2016, I’ll give the Dems a hint: You’re not paying for very much at this point, and it appears you’re not willing to pay much next year. Could change, but I doubt it.

O’Malley ought to be in a close second to Webb. I don’t even want to talk about Chaffee and Warren. And there’s no need. As it stands, I cannot say that the Democrats are serious about winning.

Al Gore or anyone else? No.

The blaring, glaring question is obvious: Is this really the best you’ve got?

– – –

The Republicans – The New Team of Rivals

(Thank you, Doris Kearns-Goodwin)

In short, I am biased heavily. I am deeply impressed with the size and depth of the field to-date. Having said that:

UNITED STATES - MARCH 16:  Dr. Ben Carson during the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center at National Harbor, Md., on Saturday, March 16, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

UNITED STATES – MARCH 16: Dr. Ben Carson during the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center at National Harbor, Md., on Saturday, March 16, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Dr. Ben Carson. As wonderful and as capable as Dr. Carson is, he will not be president. Not for lack of all the most important things; this is strictly and only because of his lack of forceful, bold personality. For better or worse, and probably worse, we vote very much on gut and first impression. We live and decide by it. I hope he is selected for a cabinet position.

Donald Trump is generating passion far and above anyone else. He is striking an emotional and volatile chord in a huge number of Americans. He is redefining Presidential Politics… at least for this cycle. But 14 months is a long time in this business, and the pundits all say he will not go far. But seeing is believing, and there is no question he is developing, refining with each day that passes. It appears he intends to stay. I am not holding my breath, but I am not breathing easy, either.

150205_POL_JebBushDetroit.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlarge

Jeb Bush, qualified or not, big money support or not, is disappointing many straight down the middle Republicans. But he is likely to demonstrate staying power over the longer run. Still, warranted or not, he is, just by virtue of his name, of the Old Guard, and similar to Clinton, his name reaches too far back in history, a perspective widely held, justified or not. Some will say this is unfair, and perhaps it is. But if elected can he do it well? Of course. It just may not matter. (Reference again James Webb.)

For these and everyone else, suppose the true test were to be a combination of executive experience, the ultimate intangible measure, exhibited in strength of character and personality, the mysterious aura of one who is Presidential (we just know it when we see it); and hard qualifications such as a degree in law or economics or business, or significant experience as a legislator or a business person or both. Who can do it, and do it to the satisfaction of the majority of the country?

8569575573_9c2e54f82b_b

Walker: Possibly-Yes. There is more to life (and performance) than holding a degree. While he’s proven he can achieve respectable success in the midst of significant opposition, high taxes in Wisconsin will be a source of difficulty when the going gets rough.

Christie: Maybe-to-Doubtful, because 1) while he is presently eclipsed by Donald Trump in his ability to be overly blunt, he runs the risk of personality backfire, and 2) though not legitimate, the bridge so-called scandal and high New Jersey taxes may dog him as it will for Walker as low-hanging fruit for the Dems and his rivals.

chris

Pataki, Huckabee and Kasich: Yes, each highly capable and accomplished. But in the end, they will be the last three standing Old White Guys in the room. And according to the Obama election rules, this alone will usher them out.

Paul: No – too quirky, too Libertarian, too much like his Old Man. Too many button-down collars, too. Only a straight collar is presidential. He should know this but apparently doesn’t.

Gilmore, Santorum, Graham: No. And for the longer list of possibles. . . yes, the list is even longer than any of us could have imagined. . . Check it out here.

Fiorina: Yes. No worries about her, no other comments required; full confidence. Just can’t wait to hear her clean up in the CNN debates… if she is given the chance she clearly deserves. Dying to see her head-to-head with Hillary. Still, for some set of poor reasons, the GOP electorate will likely not choose her. Too bad.

Carly_Fiorina_16669797001

Perry: Yes. Yet one more highly experienced governor from Texas – hard to beat, and the only candidate with military experience (and a fighter pilot to boot), still a big plus in my book. But somehow, he does not stir the hearts of voters broadly, and already his funding is flagging. To continue to harken back to his moment of forgetfulness four years ago or to critique his glasses are illegitimate, but effective nevertheless. He will leave early.

Jindal: Yes, and another very well-experienced governor. But just as the appalling and wrong-headed discrimination and suspicion against Romney factored because he is a Mormon, too many will silently and irrationally be racist against him as an Indian. They won’t say it, but they’ll do it.

Cruz: Yes, maybe. He has a fair chance at the nomination. If he gets it, he will bloom as a firebrand for conservatism. But by some segment of his personality, he will exude an ever-so slight level of negativism, different than Trump, and it will become a point of criticism. Ultimately, he will have to convince us of and demonstrate his ability to bring the country together, something he has had difficulty with in the Senate. This problem in particular and by comparison, Marco Rubio does not have.

rubio-marco

Rubio: Yes. Ultimately, if the Primaries show that Trump will not continue as a Republican and he does not run on as an Independent or Trumpian (reference Bill O’Reilly), which is as of yet a real threat to the GOP, Marco Rubio has “all that”: The ability, the personality, the character, the vigor, energy, and vision of youth, and the positive manner, among other less tangible measures, but those which are real to voters. He has all that Obama (and Kennedy) brought into the Oval Office with respect to experience in the Senate, and he has an impressive sense of pace and timing. He will be seen more and more as the clear stand out with the poise and demeanor of a President, even-keeled and yet exuding the passion and producing the stirring rhetoric American voters are seeking.

And finally, all the more to his credit, whether or not one agrees with him, he had deeply developed policy positions that he comfortably and convincingly articulates. He is prepared. He will “come into his own” more and more and forcefully through the Primaries.

Bottom Line: We predict Marco Rubio to be the GOP nominee and to win the White House. The only remaining question will be – Will he form a New Team of Rivals in a similar way to Lincoln? We shall see.

Geo Will Predicts

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Fox News spent all week, virtually all day every day reporting on Benghazi. By contrast, CNN’s attention to it this week is virtually immeasurable.

pic_giant_050813_Benghazi-Eight-Months-Later

Why is that?

– – –

It’s Friday and so now it is safe to say that CNN has placed absolutely no import on Benghazi, whether the hearings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and Thursday, or any other discussion all week. As we have monitored the present Big Two: Fox News and CNN, we have observed nothing from CNN throughout the week. By incredibly stark contrast, Fox has kept it front and center daily; most notably their exclusive broadcast of the Capitol Hill hearings of Wednesday and Thursday.

Of course, we know the murder case in Arizona really is more… well…everything, and that is clearly why CNN has focused on it almost exclusively throughout 09 and 10 May. No question: supporters of either forum would say it is typical and predictable.

This week Rush Limbaugh had some pretty ugly commentary as to why most of the media doesn’t care. Ugly, but he made a solid point: sex is what sells. By comparison to so many other issues in the news today, Benghazi is not sexy. Fox promotes their news coverage as “Fair and Balanced”. If they have been unfair and out of balance covering Benghazi so intensively, then what of CNN?

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Oh, sorry. CNN did devote other non-Jodi Arias time to the Michael Jackson death case resurgence. Fox covered that too, but much less so. Negligence, in a word. And slackers, too.

But viewed in a serious perspective – and in all seriousness – CNN appears to believe Benghazi is not worthy of serious treatment, having neglected even a one-minute update – any minute – during any prime viewing hour any day this week. It did not happen, as best we can find. It is a stunning and alarming journalistic violation. This was Charles Krauthammer’s accusation last October. Scandalous is just the right word.

Turns out CNN did cover it – off-prime and only briefly, once, maybe twice this week. Off-prime, and other major media outlets such as CBS and ABC gave Benghazi plus-or-minus four minutes or so each occasionally over the course of the week.

Hillary Rodham Clinton - photo AP-Pablo Martinez Monsivais

So an interesting and revealing phenomenon has occurred: One cannot report on lack of journalistic integrity – as any and all of the national outlets ought to subscribe to doing as part of their charter to serve the public good – when one is, by the sin of omission, the very one who has violated the rule of integrity. Seems that this is telling, the declarations we can make by our silence.

We’ve got one word for you: It’s ugly and it’s going to get uglier.

So that’s the question: Why?

– – –

Internet and/or print references in support of these observations:

The Christian Science Monitor, Hicks testimony, 08 May, 2013

The Media Research Center, 09 May 2013

National Review Online, Ted Cruz, eight months later, 08 May 2013

WBUR-Boston, Clinton testimony, 23 Jan 2013

Mediaite, Limbaugh, media don’t care, 09 May 2013

FoxNews Insider, Megyn Kelly, 09 May 2013

FoxNews Insider, story ranks third, 10 May 2013

Business Insider.com, Jon Stewart criticism of FoxNews, 08 May 2013

New York Times, editorial, 09 May 2013

FoxNews Insider, O’Reilly responds to Stewart, 10 May 2013

Red Alert Politics.com, US Rep Stockman criticism, 09 May 2013

The Daily Caller, Krauthammer criticism, 25 Oct 2012

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