Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Globe Special: Clinton and Conservatives

"GOP paints 2016 Hillary Clinton as old news; Party focusing on building ties to young voters" by Jonathan Martin |  New York Times, June 30, 2013

WASHINGTON — The 2016 election may be far off, but....

It's never to late for nothing filler.

“Perhaps in the Democratic primary and certainly in the general election, there’s going to be an argument that the time for a change of leadership has come,” said Republican strategist Karl Rove. “The idea that we’re at the end of her generation and that it’s time for another to step forward is certainly going to be compelling.”

A yesterday-versus-tomorrow argument against a woman who could be the last major-party presidential nominee from the baby boom generation would be a historically rich turnabout.

It was Clinton’s husband, then a 46-year-old Arkansas governor, who in 1992 put a fellow young Southerner on the Democratic ticket and implicitly cast President George H.W. Bush as a Cold War relic, ill-equipped to address the challenges of a new day. Bill Clinton did much the same to Bob Dole, a former senator and World War II veteran, in 1996.

A Republican approach that calls attention to Clinton’s age is not without peril, and Democrats predict it could backfire.

“They would go to that place at their own risk,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic minority leader and first female speaker, noting that “Age is like art — it’s a matter of interpretation.”

Clinton, while silent about a 2016 run, has returned to the speaking circuit and plunged back into the public policy conversation. More to the point, she has sought to effect a with-it sensibility, not only creating a Twitter account but also using a picture of herself in dark sunglasses for an avatar and posting about “taking selfies.”

If Clinton seems to know what awaits her, that may be because Republicans have let on about how they will frame the 2016 contest.

Alarmed over President Obama’s success with younger voters in the last two White House campaigns, Republican officials are bickering over how to appeal to them, with some advocating moderation on social issues like same-sex marriage and others focusing on improving tactics and the use of technology. But there is an emerging consensus that the party stands a better chance by contrasting a younger nominee with Clinton.

Related: College Students Need Credit Default Swaps

Student loan rate set to double

Maybe you guys would do better if you were not f***ing the kids.

Senator Marco Rubio, a 42-year-old Florida Republican, drops the names of rappers like Pitbull and Jay-Z. Senator Rand Paul, a 50-year-old Kentucky Republican, has coined a term for millennials, “the Facebook generation,” and is courting young voters with denouncements of the surveillance state.

Besides Jeb Bush, 60, a former Florida governor who is seen in Republican circles as unlikely to run, the Republican field for 2016 largely consists of hopefuls in their 40s and early 50s. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey turned 50 last year.

And having witnessed Obama’s dismantling of John McCain and Romney, they are eager to demonstrate that they represent a new generation....

Of all the would-be candidates, Paul may be the most heavily engaged in trying to build younger support. He has seized on recent disclosures about surveillance by the National Security Agency and has argued that millennials would favor someone with his security views over the more hawkish former secretary of state.

“If anything, she’s even more aggressive on foreign policy and more aggressive on giving power to the security state than the president,” he said of Clinton. And, Paul said, his mix of libertarianism and federalism resonates with young voters.

“The youth are attracted to people who don’t want to lock them up and throw away the key for marijuana,” he said. “In some ways, the older Democrats have become more staid and status-quo-like than some of us Republicans.”

Any attempt to call attention to an older woman’s age could suggest a double standard: Ronald Reagan was 69 when he won the presidency in 1980....


"Conservative donors wary after loss in 2012; Right-leaning groups struggle to raise money" by Matea Gold |  Washington Post, June 30, 2013

WASHINGTON —Seven months after the 2012 election, a lingering hangover among conservative donors has stalled efforts by right-leaning independent groups to fill their coffers. Wealthy contributors who dashed off six- and seven-figure checks last year are eying super PACs and other politically active groups more skeptically, frustrated that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to elect Romney was for naught.

‘‘There’s donor fatigue,’’ said Fred Malek, a GOP operative wired into high-net-worth circles. ‘‘Everyone was in a frenzy of giving up until the November elections, and then everyone was sort of worn out on the whole process. It’s very hard to raise money after an election, especially after you lose.’’

Several Republican fund-raisers said they remain optimistic that the money spigot will reopen as the 2014 congressional elections approach. But this time around, donors are seeking to be more judicious about where they put their money....

Post-election donor apathy is not limited to the political right. Organizing for Action, a nonprofit group launched by former advisers to President Obama to back his agenda, has halved a $50 million fund-raising goal for its first year after slower-than-expected fund-raising, according to people familiar with the group’s plans.

The decision came after the group reversed course and said it would not accept corporate funds.

Related: Slow Saturday Special: Obama's Nonprofit PAC

Now I see why nonprofits are so prominent in my paper.

But the pressure to bring in big checks is greater for pro-Republican groups, which have not been able to match the extensive small-donor network that was built by Obama’s campaign and that OFA is now drawing on. There are signs that donor reticence stems in part from dissatisfaction with the uneven track record of super PACs and opaque nonprofit groups, which can raise unlimited funds.

Many top contributors are now questioning the value of financing such organizations [such as] Republicans for Immigration Reform, a super PAC that aims to be a dominant force in the fight over revamping the country’s immigration laws....

It's now headed to the House, and I will be addressing the issue soon next month.