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Jeb Bush and his super pac(s) spent enormous amounts of money on TV ads leading up to the South Carolina primary. Apparently, enormous amounts of money on TV ads is not enough to even come in second place any more, and Jeb Bush has "suspended" his campaign. The establishment Republican candidate -- the one that I firmly believed was going to start collecting wins in this primary -- is already out of the race.

I persist in believing that many of the alternatives on offer on the Republican side are wildly unelectable in the general election, at least in this cycle (I sort of was figuring on Rubio trying again in 4 years -- but I sort of was also figuring he would lose to Haley when it came down to it). And while HRC won in Nevada, and the demographics are a pretty good explanation for why it was more of a squeaker than maybe I would have hoped for, I feel like Bloomberg is sounding a lot more plausible now that Bush has exited than he was sounding before.

Bloomberg has thought about running before. He's old. He's divorced. He's short. None of these make for a good political candidate. On the plus side, he does have hair, and he has maintained a good appearance (dresses well and stays in good shape) for decades. He is kind of a sexist asshole, when it comes to making wildly inappropriate remarks about the appearance of women who work for him -- on the other hand, he _hires_ women, and he gives them a fairly free hand in fairly high powered roles, both when he was in government and in his media empire. I'll take a jackass who hires women and shares power over a better spoken man who doesn't hire women and/or doesn't pay them well/won't give them meaningful positions.

There's some discussion about when he needs to make a decision, in order to get on the ballot in all 50 states.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/25/when-bloomberg-really-needs-to-decide.html

"Luckily, the state deadlines for an independent presidential candidate to get on the ballot are further out in the calendar than the deadlines for a new presidential party. According to data put together by Richard Winger at Ballot Access News, a new party’s deadline for ballot access begins in March, but for an independent presidential candidate, the ballot access deadlines don’t start kicking in until May (Texas) and 36 states have deadlines in August or September. That’s why Bloomberg could wait until later than March to make a final decision."

Unlike some previous third party candidates who created a party and ran as part of that party, Bloomberg would be very unlikely to create a party. He's been a member of both, and seems smugly pleased with that fact, and part of his pitch is that he's prepared to work with everyone. The rationale, if he runs, is that it would be in the context of two candidates who are so far out on one end of the spectrum or the other than they've left the center wide open to be cleaned up by an independent.

According to the same Daily Beast article, some of the prep he did back for a possible 2008 run was published as a book by Doug Schoen, who had previously worked for the Clintons -- along with Dick Morris. Alas, he seems to have gone more or less the way of Dick Morris.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Schoen

"He believes that lower taxes would be a successful Democratic strategy, opposed President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, warned the Democratic Party to reject the Occupy Wall Street protest, and recommended that President Obama not run for reelection in 2012."

and

"He also did work for Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and following her defeat became associated with the People United Means Action movement of disaffected Clinton supporters who refused to support Barack Obama."

Oops.

I'm reading Schoen's book now, and it is really an exercise in incorrect predictions and advice.

Last night, I took my son over to Littleton for dinner at the Pub on the Common. We saw a young man (I would have sworn under 30, but a body builder so it can be hard to tell for sure) with a stack of yard signs for Trump, at the bar. It's hard to see that and continue to believe that Trump won't be the Republican candidate this cycle.

This is clearly gonna be a weird one.

ETA:

The balance of this will be quotes from Schoen that I find particularly hilarious. Remember: published in August 2008, and thus written well in advance of that.

"We're facing huge challenges -- for example, how do we satisfy our long-term energy needs, at reasonable prices, while decreasing our dependence on oil and the governments that export it? That's just one big question. Unfortunately, neither Republicans nor Democrats have offered comprehensive solutions, because they may require sacrifice today for gain tomorrow; the short-term fix is to try to please everyone whose hand you shake so you can earn his vote in the next election. We need some sage, creative, long-term solutions to intractable problems."

If you're sitting there thinking, wow, that sounds suspiciously like code for Nuclear Power Now, it probably was. But a few years later, there was this earthquake in Japan . . .

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/after-japans-disaster-will-nuclear-energy-have-a-future-in-america/2011/03/18/ABngjKs_story.html

"Before the tragedy in Japan, those of us in the center were advocating bipartisanship to promote a broader-based expansion of the use of nuclear power as part of our energy mix.

Now we need a different kind of bipartisanship to promote more offshore drilling and the development of domestic energy resources."

After Fukushima, Schoen doubled down on fossil fuel development in the US. Like I said: bad advice and failed predictions.

"The coming campaign will be fought over the critical items: a balanced budget, the war in Iraq and terrorism, entitlement reform, immigration, and health care. We need to fashion long-term solutions to these problems sooner rather than later."

That's how it _started_, but that's now how it turned out, of course -- the economy -- NOT EVEN ON THIS LIST -- became the dominant issue.

Health care reform appears on his list, and remember, this is a guy who is all in favor of pissing people off and not worrying about getting re-elected in the service of real solutions to real problems. Yet he signed onto this piece about health care reform, fearing the mid terms in 2010:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/11/AR2010031102904.html

Sure, the mid terms sucked for Democrats (but then, history said that was gonna happen no matter what). But for all Schoen thinks a third party candidate can make unpopular but effective compromise, when actually _staring at a Democrat doing that_, a Democrat he worked very hard to thwart every step of the way, he objected because he felt that the election consequences would be too severe.

This paragraph in particular suggests that Schoen is not the guy to go to, if you want a Good Policy is Good Politics approach, with enough backbone to gut it out through tough times:

"The notion that once enactment is forced, the public will suddenly embrace health-care reform could not be further from the truth -- and is likely to become a rallying cry for disaffected Republicans, independents and, yes, Democrats."

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