Again, let’s just imagine what would’ve happened if we hold all else equal in 2008, except that McCain wins instead of Obama. Not only do Democrats probably retain their state legislative power (they held total control of 27 states after 2008), but they also would probably have retained influence over redistricting in at least some of these aforementioned states. Again, Obama’s 2008 victory — and his subsequent rebuke in the 2010 midterm — has had long-term repercussions for Democrats. For example, it is possible that the 2010 election essentially ceded control of the U.S. House to the Republicans up through the year 2022, when the next redistricting takes effect — determined in good part by the outcome of the 2020 contests.
Meanwhile, no postwar president left office with more governorships than when he entered office.
This is not to suggest that the presidential trophy is some sort of cursed, booby prize, like wearing Sauron’s “One Ring” in Lord of the Rings or being named the drummer of Spinal Tap. The American presidency is immensely powerful, and the person who holds it has wide latitude to craft national policy; ladle out immense portions of patronage and powerful lifetime appointments; and, effectively, start and end wars abroad. But winning the presidency has its downsides, too — if not directly for the person who holds the office, then certainly for his or her party.
If Walker were to become a leading contender, the man he would presumably be trying to beat is Chris Christie. By 2016, Republicans might be as desperate to win the White House as Republicans were in 2000 or Democrats in 1992, and thus be willing to put up with ideological deviations. Christie’s deviations have been numerous enough to win him a reputation as a moderate. Yet neither individually nor in aggregate do they seem likely to be as troublesome in the primaries as those of the last two nominees were. McCain had tangled with conservatives on taxes, global warming, immigration, and many other issues. Romney was out of step with the party on health care, the top domestic-policy issue of the Obama years, and also had a moderate history on abortion, guns, and other issues. Nothing Christie has done seems comparable, and he has a draw those two men lacked, namely his rhetorical combativeness toward liberals. (This is also something that sets him apart from other would-be establishment candidates, such as Ohio governor John Kasich.)
He may also look like a winner. Unlike Romney, he did not just get elected in a deep-blue state; he is running for reelection, and appears very likely to win. If he racks up a convincing margin in one of the two big races of 2013 — and even more if Republicans lose the other race, that for governor of Virginia — he will seem like the answer to many Republicans’ prayers. And he will end the year in a stronger position than McCain ended 2005 or Romney ended 2009.
Given today’s numbers and Mitt Romney’s difficulty securing the nomination, it’s highly unclear whether Republicans could nominate a candidate who wants to moderate the party. And if the primary process is unlikely to yield a candidate who can moderate the party, then the Republican House would be wise to preemptively bail out the next Republican candidate, and relieve them of the obligation to oppose a pathway to citizenship, background checks on gun purchases, or whatever else. That doesn’t look like it will happen. Instead, it looks like Republicans will need to count on the appeal of their 2016 presidential candidate and economic fundamentals to overcome the party’s limited appeal.
Reiham Salam defends Tony Bennett, who resigned as Florida education commissioner, after accusation he changed the standards to benefit a politically useful school. Bennett claims the standard was flawed.
Rick Hess: So, Tony. You know that the story here is disconcerting at first look. Can you offer any more context or backstory that we should know?
Tony Bennett: The backstory is simple here, Rick. In our first run of the new school calculations in Indiana, we turned up an anomaly in the results. As we were looking at the grades we were giving our schools, we realized that state law created an unfair penalty for schools that didn’t have 11th and 12th grades. Statewide, there were 13 schools in question had unusual grade configurations. The data for grades 11 and 12 came in as zero. When we caught it, we fixed it. That’s what this is all about.
RH: And Christel House is one of those 13?
TB: Because Christel House was a K-10 school, the systems essentially counted the other two grades as zeroes. That brought the school’s score down from an “A” to a “C”.
And I wrote Elizabeth Warren’s chances of being the next President. That was inspired by David Catanese’s decision to rate her as the third most likely Democratic nominee for 2016. Rand Paul was declared the likeliest Republican nominee.