There is buzz this week for Deval Patrick and Brian Schweitzer. Patrick is the governor of Massachusetts and his handling of the Boston Bombing and subsequent shootout and chase raised his profile. And should Brian Schweitzer succeed Max Baucus in the US Senate, it would raise his profile should he choose to run in 2016.
Hillary Clinton 25%
Elizabeth Warren 25%
Russ Feingold 11%
Howard Dean 10%
Brian Schweitzer 9%
Keith Ellison 3%
Al Gore 2%
Gavin Newsom 1%
Not a Freaking Clue 9%
We replaced the candidates with no votes with Joe Biden, Wes Clark, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Bernie Sanders, all of whom were suggested in the comments. We also added Deval Patrick, who was also mentioned as possible Presidential material. The poll, of course, is not scientific as the respondents are self-selected. However, it is good to vet the candidates early so that we do not get any surprises once 2016 rolls around.
With that in mind, here we go.
Joe Biden addressed the University of Baltimore Law Center following the Boston Marathon attacks. He talked about the law and the bombings. Two quotes from the event:
“Our laws evolve. They have to evolve to reflect the will of the American people,” Biden said. That, he said, is among the most important lessons law students today need to learn.A lesson, we might add, the NRA needs to learn as well. More on that below.
He also spoke briefly about the bombing at Monday’s Boston Marathon and said that he was inspired by the “countless quiet acts of heroism” in response to the tragedy that showed the “extraordinary character of the American people.”Wesley Clark
Wesley Clark is now co-chair of Growth Energy, an organization promoting ethanol. Renewable fuel standards are up for debate and here is what he has to say:
“It’s the same old charges,” he said. “I think when you look at where we are right now, we’re exactly where those who approved the renewable fuels act in 2005 and later 2007 wanted us to be. Our domestic production of biofuels is improving. Cellulosic ethanol is under development right now and we’ll have our first plants producing in commercial quantities in probably less than a year from now, and we’ll be leading the world in this source of fuel.”Hillary Clinton
PoliTex is reporting on a trip that Hillary has made to Texas. They are reporting that there is a draft Hillary movement springing up. A quote from one of her supporters:
Supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plan to hold a rally for the former First Lady and Democrat in North Texas this week, hoping to urge her to consider a second presidential bid in 2016.Howard Dean
As she speaks to the National Multi Housing Council at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas Wednesday night, rally organizers say supporters will start "showing up in force" outside the resort around 6 p.m.
"We are grassroots supporters across the country urging her to run -- and working to build an army of supporters in case she does decide to run," said Seth Bringman, communications director of the Ready for Hillary grassroots movement.
"The idea is to show Hillary the support she has across the country, particularly in Texas," Bringman said. "She's the candidate everybody says could turn Texas blue."
As promised, more on the gun control debate. Howard Dean's organization posted a chart showing that there is even less support for the NRA's position on universal background checks than there is for Chavez, communism, polygamy, or human cloning. Dean is focusing on getting candidates elected at the local level that could turn into strong candidates down the road for state and national office. Specifically, they are focusing on turning state legislatures blue.
Keith Ellison, joined by a coalition of investors, nurses, and environmental groups, has introduced the Inclusive Prosperity Act, which would add a tax of a fraction of a percent on transactions by Wall Street and traders.
“A lot of people in Washington like to talk about reducing the debt and deficits. Well if you really care about reducing the deficit, how about asking Wall Street speculators to pay their fair share?” Ellison said. “This bill will add a tax of a fraction of a percent on transactions made by the same Wall Street firms and stock traders who crashed our economy in 2008. This tax alone will generate up to $300 billion a year in revenue, stabilizing the deficit and allowing us to invest in the things that matter—education, roads and bridges, and health care for our seniors and veterans.”Russ Feingold
Russ is still taking on the cause of campaign finance reform through his organization Progressives United. He is calling for replacing the FEC with a group that he says will do a better job of enforcing our election laws.
The FEC is an entirely dysfunctional body, but that's not entirely its fault: It was set up to be that way, with three Democratic commissioners and three Republican commissioners predictably producing tie votes that shield their political patrons from inconvenient enforcement actions, and leave election laws overly vague. The only thing they seem to agree on is creating loopholes to the laws Congress passed:Kirsten Gillibrand
--They decimated rules that forbade candidates from coordinating with big-money super PACs, essentially paving the way for politicians to solicit massive checks from mega-donors like Sheldon Adelson.
--They helped give CEOs protection in intimidating their employees to vote a certain way. And in the 1990s, they created a huge loophole that allowed unlimited corporate contributions to political parties, known as "soft money," that let enormous corporate influence dominate major policy decisions for years in Washington.
Gillibrand is pushing for passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise it from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 per hour over the next three years.
Raising the minimum wage to $10.10/hour would raise millions of New Yorkers out of poverty and would account for a $3.2 billion wage increase for New York workers. This would mean increased consumer spending, which would drive local economic growth and create jobs. Raising the minimum wage is a commonsense way to grow our economy, support job creation, and rebuild the American middle class.Al Gore
The vast majority of the lowest wage earners in New York who would benefit from this increase--approximately 90 percent--are adult workers 20 years old or over, not teenagers in after-school and seasonal jobs.
54 percent of low-wage New Yorkers who would see increased wages under this proposal are women, many with children, and about half are minorities.
And 23% of NY’s low wage workers who would see increased wages as a result of this law, have some college education.
Al Gore was on NPR recently to talk about his latest book, "The Future." It was a lighthearted interview on Not My Job; however, he had a couple of things to say. Talking about his defeat in the 2000 Presidential election, here is what he had to say:
I did a lot of research, and I did confirm that there's no intermediate step between a final Supreme Court decision and violent revolution.Gore, in his book, presents an optimistic view of the future, even with its challenges.
Yeah, there are a lot of good things in it, and some reviewers have said I'm overly optimistic. All of these drivers of global change are right about bring both opportunity and some perils. And the underlying theme is that we, as human beings, have to be conscious and participate in making choices. And we, as Americans, particularly, have to rise to the occasion because there is no other country that can provide leadership in the world at a time when leadership is greatly needed.Gavin Newsom
Newsom says that it's now time to legalize and regulate pot.
Bolstered by growing public support and building on our initial leadership, Californians must renew our push for common-sense marijuana policy by developing a state level regulatory system and lead the national effort to end draconian laws that favor incarceration over education.He goes on to say that this country has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world and unnecessarily stigmatizes millions of Americans.
In California, San Francisco has taken the lead in reforming ineffective drug laws and changing the conversation around substance use. Medical marijuana laws, marijuana decriminalization, and the efforts to reduce the state's prison population make us a strong voice for change. But it is not enough. We stand at a time where science and common sense must trump age-old fear and propaganda.
San Francisco pioneered and advanced innovative programs to reduce the harms of substance misuse by using alternative adjudicative action, using drug and community courts as an alternative to the traditional criminal court system and sentencing. It involved connecting people to treatment and mental health services, housing and resources for education and training. San Francisco has invested significant local tax dollars in providing substance treatment to those who need it, but San Francisco is just one city -- and it is not enough.
From The Hill, following his handling of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings, he is being mentioned as a possible Presidential candidate in 2016. Bernie Quigley writes:
Boston FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers brings a resolute commitment to task, but the governor brings a steady presence, a ballast, the feeling that we are here, we will not be turned away. We are coming for you and we will get you.He contrasts Patrick with Dean and suggests Wesley Clark as a VP candidate. On Dean, Quigley writes:
After 9/11, Americans, and liberals in particular, were not ready to defend themselves. They chose former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a nice man and a good man, but not the man to lead in a crisis like that. It was not a time to laugh; it was a time to kill.Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders says that the problem of Global Warming is not going away just because the media is not paying as much attention to it.
“Unless we take bold action to reverse climate change, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: ‘Where were they? Why didn’t the United States of America lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?’Brian Schweitzer
“The leading scientists in the world who study climate change now tell us that their earlier projections were wrong. The crisis facing our planet is much worse than they had thought only a few years ago. Twelve out of the last 15 years ranked as the warmest on record in the United States. Now, scientists say that our planet could be 8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer or more by the end of this century if we take no decisive action to transform our energy system and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
With Max Baucus out, Markos is pushing Brian Schweitzer to run for Montana Senate. From a Presidential candidate standpoint, serving in the Senate would give him a platform that he would not have had otherwise. On the other hand, since 2016 is only two years away, the Republicans will likely raise questions about his willingness to serve six years. That would be an issue in the 2014 election.
Elizabeth Warren today came out against Barack Obama's Chained Price Increase on Social Security:
Elizabeth Warren isn’t having any of it when it comes to President Obama’s renewed willingness to work with republicans in the senate on a budget compromise which includes cuts to existing social security benefits. “Two thirds of seniors rely on social security for most of their income,” Warren said on the matter. “One third rely on it for at least ninety percent of their income. These people aren’t stashing their social security checks in the Cayman Islands and buying vacation homes in Aruba. They are hanging on by their fingernails to their place in the middle class.”