Assessing the 2016 Democratic Possibilities- Part 2

Continuing with this two-part series, I will now look at some names that pop up with greater regularity in the popular media.

#10. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigaso: Or Antonio Villa as he was originally known. His proponents try to portray him as a rags-to-riches feel-good story, but his history is one of radicalism that it is downright scary. A whole book can be written on his past, but I will highlight only a few of his low lights. By 1974, he had become very active in Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), a radical separatist Chicano organization with strong Marxist/Leninist underpinnings. As a student, he visited Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade and became a close associate of Communist Party USA leader and fellow Chicano, Bert Corona. He later became both a community organizer and a union organizer which is sort of like Barack Obama in Chicago on steroids. Quite frankly, if Communists and socialists are not endorsing Villaraigosa, then he is endorsing them.

He is proud of his tenure as Mayor of Los Angeles and its image. Personally, its image is that as a distant state of the United States of Mexico. He was cited for ethics violations in his run for City Council, and there are those constant nepotism charges against him. Additionally, one local newspaper showed that he spent only 11% of his time in Los Angeles working on city business and that the bulk of that time was spent meeting with special interest groups which helped get him elected. Antonio Villaraigosa is nothing but a shrill puppet for the Democratic Party and special interests like unions and radical Latino groups like MEChA and La Raza. For someone who graduated from UCLA Law School, he failed the state bar exam FOUR times. If Obama was/is the Manchurian candidate for the socialist Left, then Villagairosa is a more thinly-disguised candidate for the Hispanic socialist Left. To put it succinctly: “What is elected in Los Angeles should stay in Los Angeles.”

#9. Colorado Governor John Hicklenhooper: Just the name alone should disqualify him. In all honesty, I liked his performance in the wake of the Aurora movie theater shooting and his refusal to be drawn into the gun control debate. Thus far, he has walked a tight rope and avoided many a controversy. That luck may run out as the state faces a huge budget crisis that will require some serious soul-searching which will force him to make some tough choices. When that happens, his political mettle will be truly tested and then we can see if he truly is the centrist/moderate Democrat most make him out to be. If we can glean anything from his tenure as Governor of a negative aspect it is his appointment of Ellen Golombek to the state department of labor. She was the former head of the Colorado AFL-CIO. He was also a little wimpy when it came to Colorado’s legalization of marijuana by popular referendum appearing as if he would or will bend to the whims of Eric Holder and defy the wishes of the voters. Speaking about that gun control issue, he once was a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition sitting alongside the likes of such 2nd Amendment “advocates” as New York Mayor Michael (“ban super-size”) Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas (“no Chick-Fil-A here”) Menino. On second thought, there is more than just the name to disqualify him.

#8. California Attorney General Kamala Harris: The first description one gets of Kamala Harris is that she is the “first” this or that in a lot of categories. According to her biography, she is African-American and Asian. Talk about your ethnic potpourri… In 2005, while San Francisco district attorney, Harris hired Lateefah Simon who was an associate member of STORM- Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement. Their symbol is a red star with a black lightning bolt. You get the image. Although the group dissolved in 2002, group literature noted that all its members dispersed to serve revolutionary needs in the black community, developing a “revolutionary cadre,” or in public office. Simon was in charge of the offender reentry program in San Gayfrisco, a pet project of Harris.

As state attorney general, she has opposed the death penalty and seeks to end the revolving prison door with “innovative” programs (that is, offender rehabilitation instead of incarceration). While they have some of the most onerous gun laws in America, their violent crime rate is still high. However, Harris managed to make violations of state environmental laws a priority. Incidentally, these same laws have businesses fleeing the state for more friendly environs. She pulled an Elizabeth Warren and is also making a name for herself for going after banks under the banner of ending “predatory lending” and “fraud.” One has to wonder if Maxine Waters will ever be investigated by Harris’ crack team of fiscal sleuths. Like Villaraigosa, Harris is a closet socialist. Worse yet, she hails from San Francisco. However, jumping from the position of state attorney general to presidential hopeful is about as much a recipe of success as it is for a mayor of a major city- slim to none.

#7. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley: I have heard his name a lot recently and it brings up an interesting scenario. Assuming Biden runs and O’Malley mounts a primary challenge, a great Biden line would be “O’Malley = O’Malarkey.” This would pit two northeastern Irish Catholics against one another in a movie called “The Gangs of Delmarva.” There is no secret that O’Malley has national political aspirations and some of his recent actions as Governor may be attempts to shore up his liberal base and resume. For example, he was and is an advocate of in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants, he is for gay marriage, and in response to a budget crisis, used the Obama playbook by using minimal spending cuts, but raising taxes on Maryland residents an average 14%.

#6. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick: If Democrats want to go up on the GOP 2-0 in black presidents, then this is their man. He first won election on a platform of “hope and change.” In fact, Patrick is not a native of Massachusetts but grew up in Chicago. By now, the choruses of “here we go again” should be getting louder. In that 2006 race, Patrick received heavy endorsements from ACORN, SEIU and the Democratic Socialists of America. Most disturbing is that his transition team included former Colorado DSA member Harris Gruman and Alan Khazei who were members of the Council for a Livable World, an organization founded by Leo Sziland who also happened to be a member of the Communist Party in 1962. His accomplishments as Governor sounds like a what’s what of liberal causes- tax increases, gay marriage, an expanded bureaucracy, expansion of public health care, ad infinitum. If after Obama the Democratic Party wants to trot out a clone, the Deval Patrick is the man.

#5. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: The ink was barely dry on her recent election victory over Scott Brown when liberal websites were touting Elizabeth Warren as a viable 2016 candidate. Warren is considered the godmother of the Occupy Wall Street movement for her populist, anti-big business beliefs and rhetoric. Facing GOP opposition in the Senate to her appointment to oversee the Consumer Protection Board set up within the Federal Reserve under Frank-Dodd, she returned to the liberal environs of Massachusetts academia and ran for Senate. Of course, we have to first answer the major question: Is she or isn’t she a Cherokee Indian? There are more important skeletons in Warren’s past than her alleged Cherokee heritage. She is on record for echoing the “you didn’t build this” rhetoric of Obama. She embellished her resume by stating she was the first nursing mother to take the bar exam. Besides the personal embellishments about her heritage and her grandmother’s trip west in 1889 (she was 2 at the time), much of her alleged academic achievements have been called into question. She seems to believe that most bankruptcies are due to predatory lending practices where the individual is seldom at fault. This is typical liberal orthodoxy: blame everyone, but the individual takes no responsibility for their own actions. Therefore, the ever present benevolent hand of government must step in and cure America of these evil capitalists preying on the huddled masses. Elizabeth Warren represents the worst of the worst liberal in that she hides behind this veil of academic aura when, in fact, she is no better than your average Saul Alinsky.

#4. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer: He is popular in his state and he leaves office with plenty of political wind at his back, some legislative accomplishments, a certain flair, a lack of real controversy, and a few years to decide his political future. During the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012, he was schmoozing with high profile Democrats from the early primary/caucus states like Florida, New Hampshire and Iowa. Some have suggested that he may run against Max Baucus in 2014 for his Senate seat in the Democratic primary, but Schweitzer has countered with a great line: “I’m not goofy enough to serve in the House and I’m not senile enough to be in the Senate.” Hence, a run for the Senate would seem out of the question according to many pundits. Therefore, he has three options: private industry, the presidency, or fishing. Montana is not exactly a media hotbed, nor is it a hotbed for high-rolling campaign contributors. And although he may be the most popular Democratic governor (a dying breed), he is little known outside Montana. In fact, Deval Patrick and Martin O’Malley have higher name recognition nationally. So why is he #4 and not lower than the other two? Because of potential and the fact he would likely make a great vice presidential pick. And of all the names mentioned, I believe he would make possibly the most formidably perplexing opposition.

#3. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: I currently rank Cuomo above Schweitzer because (1) he has name recognition and (2) he is from a state with a wealth of wealthy donors. However, there are two things standing in his way: fellow New Yorker Hillary Clinton’s intentions and the Democratic Party itself, specifically the more liberal base of that party. Simply put, many liberal outlets do not consider Cuomo liberal enough for their liking. Sure, he fought for gay marriage and is pro-choice and he hails from a big city in a blue state, but there are a couple of things that grate on the nerves of liberals. The first is that he signed off on gerrymandered redistricting that may have cost Democrats majority status in the state legislature. That would have insured a more progressive agenda. Secondly, Cuomo is quite proud of his “independent” streak, although he dare not mention it in metropolitan areas. But, get him upstate or outside the Big Apple and he touts his independence and bipartisanship. If push comes to shove and Hillary decides against a run, then Cuomo would become the default big blue state candidate worthy of greater scrutiny. If Hillary runs, however, it is lights out on Andrew Cuomo’s aspirations.

#2. Vice President Joe Biden: The conventional wisdom is that Biden will run for President in 2016 even if Hillary does also. He is not likely to win that primary battle. If I were a Republican national operative, I would be doing everything possible to boost Biden’s profile and resume. “Sure, Joe Biden was the impetus behind avoiding the fiscal cliff.” “Joe Biden is a guy we can work with.” “He sure did a great job on that gun control project Obama handed him.” Just build the guy up to feed his ego and his standing among Democrats because two things are certain. First, this guy will implode in a display of gaffes and ridiculousness the likes of which politics has never seen. Second, there is no way in hell this guy will ever win the presidency. There is so much more to say about Biden, but chances are you have heard it before so there is no need rehashing it.

#1. Retiring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Most pundits on the left and the right believe that it is lights out for the GOP if Clinton enters the race, a sentiment expressed by Newt Gingrich among others. Right now, liberals are dancing in the streets anticipating another four or eight years in the White House. In short, they are counting their chickens before they are hatched. Clinton’s star may be peaking early- real early. I decided to consult my wife on what she thinks of Clinton and she is of the opinion that Hillary will decide NOT to run, that she will “retire” to a life behind the scenes where there are no pressures and that she will opt to enjoy her family, and possibly Chelsea’s kids whenever they they come along. If she is correct, then the Democrats will have to go to Plan B (as in Biden).

Personally, I think the GOP needs to prepare as if the candidate will be Hillary Clinton. Although she comes out of this Administration largely unscathed, she still needs to answer for the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya. The general consensus is that she was a good Secretary of State and could have rated even higher if not for Benghazi. Still, there are skeletons in her past that should be brought to light again. Although the State Department plays less a role in the formulation in foreign policy than they once did, Clinton has been more active in being a spokeswoman for that policy. She did manage some gains in Burma which resulted in limited successes, although the jury is still out. The management of the so-called Arab Spring has been sullied somewhat by events in Egypt and Libya, and Syria remains a mess. Although she managed some concessions from Russia and China on Iran and North Korea, both are NOT less dangerous today than they were four years ago. Some have portrayed her as one of the best Secretary’s of State ever, but that is overblown praise predicated on the belief that Bush’s foreign policy was just “that bad.” In other words, her “success” is framed in the language of “resetting” foreign policy and relations. History will be the ultimate judge on whether the groundwork she laid is a success or not.

Many believe she will run, that this was and is her ultimate goal- to be the first woman President of the United States. It would behoove the GOP to start now to walk that fine line of nicely tearing down the aura of Hillary Clinton and her “successes.” In reality, many of the alleged Obama foreign policy “success” stories are built on shaky foundations and can fall at any time. Hillary Clinton’s legacy at the State Department, although admirable, is not all that great as the media portrays it to be. You hate to say this, but you kind of hope Obama appeasement furthered by Clinton’s diplomacy comes back to bite them on their butts somewhere along the line. You just pray that no Americans get killed along the way. A hard line fundamentalist Islamic regime in Egypt would seem the most likely “success” gone south. There are still many nefarious characters out there hell bent on damaging America besides Egypt.