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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Christie and Paul -- both of whom have moved up our list -- were engaged in a very public spat recently over the size of government and the national security state. Christie adopted a more traditional Republican view, warning against the dangers of libertarian positions on national defense. In so doing, he squarely placed himself within what has been, at least recently, the Republican mainstream: The defense policies of President George W. Bush and recent GOP presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney were certainly more hawkish than dovish. Paul, meanwhile, has made a national name for himself by questioning national security policies, and his biggest moment this year was his filibuster against the use of drones. Needless to say, a Republican presidential nomination battle headlined by Paul and Christie would present Republicans with a real 'time for choosing,' to borrow the title of the famous speech Ronald Reagan gave in support of Barry Goldwater near the close of the 1964 presidential campaign, with Christie offering a traditional Republican platform and Paul pulling the party in a more libertarian direction, both in foreign and domestic policy. Meanwhile, Scott Walker continues to hold the top spot on our list because we believe that if he decided to run, he could potentially appeal to both the party’s defense hawks and its fiscal conservatives. In the event of a Paul-Christie duel (or a battle among others) for the soul of the Republican Party, Walker could present himself as a consensus choice whose nomination would avert a GOP identity crisis. Yes, we realize that Walker might end up being a disappointing national candidate -- he very well might not have the swagger, fundraising chops, rhetorical ability and national base of support to make much of a bid -- but in our view he continues to lead a wide-open field. We’ve moved Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) down the list. His prominent role in the Senate’s immigration debate has done him some damage in early polling: There’s evidence that he has recently slipped in Iowa and New Hampshire, and that his national star has faded at least slightly amongst Republicans. This all could be some early, meaningless noise, but if one has to rank the GOP presidential contenders, he just doesn’t belong above Walker, Christie or Paul at this point. Bob Vander Plaats, an evangelical leader in Iowa, said that some Iowans he’s talked to believe 2020 might be a better opportunity for Rubio than 2016. Easy now -- there’s many months to go before even 2016 comes into focus. Nipping on Rubio’s heels is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who is steadily moving up our chart after we added his name in May. Cruz is championing a government shutdown over defunding Obamacare. Republican leaders -- smartly, we believe -- think that such a maneuver would end up doing them political damage. Assuming a shutdown is averted, Cruz can essentially have his cake and eat it too -- he can maintain his hardline position on a shutdown without having to deal with any potential blowback if the shutdown had actually happened. Cruz and Paul are thought of as ideological kindred spirits, and they are on some issues (like defunding Obamacare). But Cruz isn’t the defense libertarian that Paul is, it seems (on defense, Cruz says he’s between John McCain and Paul)." (Sabato)



"NBC News is scrambling to defend 'Meet the Press' anchor David Gregory amid dismal ratings and swirling rumors that he could be axed as host. The Sunday morning flagship and the longest-running show on network television has recently fallen to a 21-year ratings low, according to Mediaite. Nielsen data show it is averaging its smallest total viewer audience, 2.9 million, in 21 years and smallest 25-to-54 demo performance (854,000) in more than 21 years. CBS’s 'Face the Nation' is now the top show in the slot with ABC’s “This Week” second. A network source told Page Six, 'There is a rumor that Gregory could be replaced as a host. The fact that his executive producer Betsy Fischer Martin was recently moved out puts him next in the firing line. The new president of NBC News, Deborah Turness, will have to tackle the ‘Meet the Press’ ratings problem head on.' An NBC News spokesperson insisted, 'There is absolutely zero truth to this. David Gregory and ‘Meet the Press’ have the full faith and support of NBC News.' A source added that Gregory 'has a long-term commitment with the network' and renewed his contract earlier this year with NBC News (which doesn’t prevent the network from moving him into a different role, say other sources). And Gregory’s new executive producer Rob Yarin is just two weeks into the job after Fischer Martin was 'promoted to a larger role within NBC News.' We are told that things were so tense between Gregory and Fischer Martin before she left that they 'had to hold separate staff meetings because they couldn’t bear to be in the same room together.'" (P6)


"Maybe it’s the rash of newspaper sales recently — including the acquisition of the Washington Post by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the sale of the Boston Globe to local businessman John Henry — but there seems to be a renewed interest in assigning blame for the rapid decline of the newspaper business, and one name tends to get the majority of the criticism: namely, Craigslist, the free classified-advertising service that some say killed newspapers. In a recent piece for The New Republic, for example, Alec MacGillis accuses Craigslist founder Craig Newmark of hypocrisy for helping to put together an ethics guide for journalists, a project that Newmark has been working on — and also helping to fund personally — for some time now, along with the Poynter Institute. The New Republic writer argues that this kind of commitment is pretty rich coming from the guy whose service allegedly killed newspapers by sucking the lifeblood out of the print advertising market. MacGillis seems even more incensed by the fact that Craigslist used to make money by charging for the posting of adult services, although what that has to do with anything isn’t really clear (the company shut down its adult listings section in 2010). Perhaps the point is that the site took money away from entities who produce valuable journalism and other beneficial pursuits — which would make sense if it wasn’t for the fact that most newspapers produce plenty of their own disposable and low-brow content, and have since before the internet came along." (PaidContent)

"I was initially skeptical of whether Democrats could compete in Georgia in 2014. So skeptical that I was initially unsure about whether I even agreed with Harry Enten’s assertion that Georgia was a better pick-up opportunity for Democrats than Kentucky, where I’m unabashedly pessimistic about Grimes. The main source of my pessimism? 2014 is a midterm election, when black turnout would be expected to drop. Consider the difference between the general and run-off Senate elections in 2008, when Chambliss went from a 3 point edge to 15 point rout. Since Georgia’s white vote is pretty 'inelastic,' it’s hard to see how a Democratic candidate was going to overcome a 15 point deficit statewide ... Demographic change helps counter some of the drop-off. The state’s non-white population is booming and, as a result, the white share of the electorate dropped from 64.1 percent in 2008 to 61.4 percent in 2012. A similar decline was observed among registered voters. As a result of these demographic changes, we would expect the 2014 midterm electorate to be about as diverse as the 2008 general electorate. If 2014 turnout drops off at the same rate that it did in 2010, we might guesstimate that the electorate would be 63.7 percent white, compared to 64.1 percent in 2008 and 66.3 percent in 2010. Even with an electorate as diverse as 2008, it would still be tough for a Georgia Democrat to win federal office. They might need about 28 percent of the white vote to a squeak out a win, and federal Democratic candidates haven't hit that level in a long time. But it is conceivable." (TNR)

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