Political Musings July 15, 2013: Rick Perry announces Israel trip, will a 2016 presidential bid be next?

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Rick Perry announces Israel trip, will a 2016 presidential bid be next?

By Bonnie K. Goodman

On Thursday, July 11, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced to the Washington Times that he intends to take a trip to Israel this upcoming October. Three days earlier on Monday June 8, Perry announced he will not seek a full…READ MORE
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History Buzz August 11, 2012: Julian Zelizer: How Ryan Could Help Romney

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Julian Zelizer: How Ryan could help Romney

Source: CNN, 8-11-12

Mitt Romney has taken many people by surprise by announcing that his vice presidential running mate will be Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan. The decision excites many conservatives who have been calling on Romney to go big. They believe Ryan will inject some juice into a campaign they feel has been lackluster and put the focus on the policy differences between Romney and President Obama.

The primary risk with Ryan, from what we currently know about him, is that his controversial budget plan and tough line on Medicare could energize liberals and alienate elderly voters in key states like Florida. He also lacks foreign policy expertise and has spent most of his career in the city that conservatives hate, Washington. In recent decades, the record of vice presidential running mates who have come right out of the House is not very good….READ MORE

Featured Historians Julian E. Zelizer: It’s too early to name Bachmann, Perry front-runners

FEATURED HISTORIANS

Julian E. Zelizer: It’s too early to name Bachmann, Perry front-runners

Source: Julian E. Zelizer, CNN, 8-22-11

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • No votes have been cast, but some Republicans have been declared front-runners
  • Julian Zelizer: Activists, media and donors usurping presidential selection process
  • He says Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have been elevated to front-runner status
  • Candidates with less appeal to partisan voters are losing out, Zelizer says

Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of “Jimmy Carter” (Times Books) and editor of a book assessing former President George W. Bush’s administration, published by Princeton University Press.

The meteoric rise of Rep. Michele Bachman and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the competition for the GOP presidential nomination — combined with the rapid demise of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s presidential bid — all before any caucus or primary has taken place, reveals how the presidential selection process is broken.

Pawlenty was a candidate who might have appealed to a broader selection of voters outside the Republican base. Bachman and Perry are less likely to do so.

Bachman’s victory in the Iowa straw poll, which is merely a measure of a small number of people who attended a fundraising dinner in Ames, was enough to propel her into the position of a front-runner. The straw poll, which Jimmy Carter famously used in 1976 to gain momentum as the dark horse candidate in a primary contest against well- known Democrats, has now turned into a decisive event that can make or break candidates. But in Carter’s case the straw poll only made him a name people recognized; he still had to win some caucuses and primaries to prove himself.

The increasingly rapid selection process, with more and more vetting taking place before the voting begins, is an acceleration of problems that have been affecting the primary and caucus system for decades…..

While early vetting can be useful, too much decision-making now takes place before the voting begins. Decisions are being made on the thinnest of measures that do not necessarily reflect what voters in the party would prefer, or who might be the strongest campaigner or president, as much as on who reporters find interesting or which candidate fundraisers perceive as stronger bets.

The fate of Pawlenty reveals the potential costs of this system. Even though he came across poorly in two debates, he may represent a more moderate, and politically mainstream view, than Bachmann — and he has much more governing experience.

In the early 1970s, political reformers realized that the candidate selection system was broken and that this hurt the democratic process. In 2011, the time has come to re-examine the process again and to figure out how the views of mainstream voters can be brought back into presidential politics.

Featured Historians Julian E. Zelizer: Americans want security for 2012

FEATURED HISTORIANS

Julian E. Zelizer: Americans want security for 2012

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Julian Zelizer: Economic security is going to be defining theme of 2012 race
  • Americans want to know jobs are safe and available, he says
  • Zelizer: Neither party has done a good job developing policies for economic security
  • He says FDR provided security to U.S., while Ford and Carter didn’t

Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of “Jimmy Carter” (Times Books) and editor of a book assessing former President George W. Bush’s administration, published by Princeton University Press.

Just as the 2004 presidential election was all about the concept of security, the same term will shape the campaigns of 2012.

But this time around, the issue is not national security and the threat of terrorists but the search for security amid the ongoing struggles that Americans have faced with the economy.

High unemployment, laggard economic growth and a turbulent stock market have left many middle class Americans terrified about what comes next. Almost three-quarters of Americans, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, said that the country is moving in the wrong direction.

During the 2012 election, voters will be looking for a candidate who can restore some sense of economic security: a candidate who can provide them with confidence that their jobs won’t disappear (and that new jobs will emerge for those without them) and that their income will remain steady….

Republicans have not provided much of a vision of how they would restore economic security for the middle class. They have focused on the traditional conservative magic bullet solutions of deficit reduction and government spending cuts — without tax increases — neither of which would have any major impact on the current unemployment rates or address the underlying challenges that the economy has been facing for over a decade.

Today’s candidates from both parties are closer to their predecessors in the 1970s than the 1930s. Political leaders are having trouble providing guidance and hope as a devastating economy has turned life into a constant struggle for many Americans. In 2012, the nation will have a chance to hear what each party plans to do to turn things around. The candidate who can offer a more compelling case is likely to end up in the White House.

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