Tag: Presidential politics

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Here’s an updated version of a piece I originally published on Election Day. Since Presidents set policy directions for agencies like NASA, and Congress is tasked with funding these institutions, citizens should be informed about these programs and some history behind previous space policy decisions. Read on below for a brief, non-partisan look at Presidential policies […]

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Somebody Kill Me


Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 9.51.33 PM

First of all, congratulations are in order. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have all but clinched the nominations of their respective parties and have done so abiding by the rules.

Having said that, somebody kill me.

2016: Do Looks Matter?


130916112847-29-missamerica-0916-horizontal-galleryOver the course of the next year, you’re going to hear plenty of theories as to what guarantees victory in a president election.

For example, there’s the matter of candidates’ height — the premise being that the taller contender always wins. A few years ago, researchers at Texas Tech took a look at this and decided there was something to it — something having to do with voters and their primordial instincts.

The problem is that “caveman politics” hasn’t held up in the Information Age. In 2012, Mitt Romney was a shade taller than Barack Obama. In 2000, Al Gore stood higher (and sighed louder) than George W. Bush. Bush also was lesser in physical stature in 2004 (4-1/2 inches lower than John Kerry), but again he debunked the theory.

An Age-Appropriate Republican in 2016?


shutterstock_180967037I had a column in the Sacramento Bee last week posing a simple question: is 2016 an opportunity for the GOP to break with its recent pattern of presidential nominees and go instead with a candidate in his or her 40s? My thinking:

— A party that started out by choosing relatively young nominees (California’s John C. Fremont was all of 43 when he became the first Republican presidential nominee in 1856; Abraham Lincoln, next up in 1860, was 51), has gone gray. Mitt Romney was 65 when he lost to President Obama in 2012. Before him: John McCain, age 72; George W. Bush, age 54; Bob Dole, age 73. That’s an average age of 66 — or, roughly the midway point between George H. W. Bush, age 64, and Ronald Reagan, age 69.

Now, the Democratic numbers: Barack Obama was 47 in 2008; John Kerry, age 60; Al Gore, age 52 in 2000; Bill Clinton, age 46 in 1992. That’s averages out to 51.25 years.

2016: The Poli-Sci View


The 2016 presidential election includes at least these three storylines:

1) Democratic Win. Based on four factors: (a) Republicans have carried the popular vote only once in the last six presidential contests (Bush 2004); (b) the GOP could be in for an unwieldy nominating process — and maybe a nominee who doesn’t excite the base; (c) Democrats start the contest with 332 electoral votes in hand — well, “only” 303 if you put razor-thin Florida back in the red column; (d) assuming that nominee is Hillary Clinton, it’s as simple as widening the same gap that saved Barack Obama’s hide in 2012 (a record 20-point divide — +12 for Obama among women; +8 for Romney among men).

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OK, I know that post title will excite almost no one, because no one (to first order) cares about space policy. It’s a prevailing theme of my (non-best-selling) book. But for those few who care, Eric Cantor didn’t give a damn about it. Neither did/does John Boehner Preview Open

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What’s the Conservative Sleeper Issue of 2016?—Troy Senik


I may have mentioned this before here on the site — I was recently reminded that I’ve been hanging around these parts for nearly three and a half years, matching herpes for both persistence and intrusiveness —but I’ve never forgotten a piece of trivia Ed Gillespie (then Counselor to President Bush) shared with a group of us speechwriters during the 2008 campaign: the single biggest fundraising issue for the RNC during that cycle — the one that could inevitably galvanize conservative checkbooks — was the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Despite the fact that it was virtually unknown to the press and the wider GOP establishment, the underlying issue of surrendering a chunk of national sovereignty lit a fire under the base. It’s forgotten now, but Mike Huckabee’s emphasis on the issue during the pre-primary period was one of the factors that shifted his campaign into high-gear. There was a limit, of course, to how far Huckabee could ride that one issue, but let us not forget that the feelings stirred up during that campaign would ultimately block the treaty’s adoption four years later.