Ed Gillespie made his official entrance into Virginia’s Senate race Thursday with a well-produced video that mainly served up standard Republican campaign fare: introducing a good-looking family, telling an up-by-the-bootstraps personal story, and slamming an opponent for casting “the deciding vote” on Obamacare and voting for new taxes. But one aspect of the video is unusual for GOP candidates in recent years: The spot features prominent photos of the candidate with George W. Bush. Republicans have shied away from touting a relationship with the former president in campaigns since Bush left office in 2008.
The former Republican National Committee chairman, launching a challenge to popular Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, notes early in the video that he helped pay for college with a job as a U.S. Senate parking lot attendant. “Over the years, with lots of people’s help and advice, I rose from that parking lot to the West Wing, serving as counsel for the president of the United States,” says Gillespie, as two photos of him with Bush flash across the screen.
Gillespie isn’t the first candidate to invoke the president in a positive way in a campaign ad: Virginia’s other senator, Tim Kaine — who previously chaired the Democratic National Committee did so last cycle. In an ad that aired in September 2012, he mentioned working with the Bush administration as a picture of the two together appeared onscreen, and declared to the camera that “as your senator, I’ll partner with whoever’s president of the United States to do what’s right for Virginia.”
But this circumstance is different than a Democrat invoking the former president to show he’ll reach across the aisle in the Senate. So why would this GOP candidate be playing up his relationship with Bush in his introduction to voters?
First, when it comes to former presidents, distance makes the heart grow fonder — and Bush is no exception. The 43rd president is not nearly as unpopular now as he was when he left office: By last year, his numbers had rebounded to near the 50 percent mark.
Second, it would be extremely difficult for Gillespie to tell his life story without mentioning his work for the president. Serving as a senior adviser in the West Wing is a highlight of his career, not something he could potentially downplay if he wanted to.
And third, the Bush association is likely less damaging to his prospects than another aspect to his career (which he did not mention in the video): lobbying. Democrats have already made it clear they intend to pound Gillespie for his work as a lobbyist. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee routinely refers to Gillespie as “lobbyist” or “D.C. lobbyist” — and their statement on Gillespie’s entrance into the race Thursday mentions his work for the Bush administration once, but repeatedly slams his lobbying background and characterizes him as a “career lobbyist with a partisan history of slash-and-burn politics.”
Still, despite those factors, don’t count on seeing Bush on the campaign trail anytime soon in purple Virginia.
What We're Following See More »
Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”