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After reading this article, it’s clear that Jeb Bush’s campaign will insist that he’s picking up momentum:

A brand-new national NBC/WSJ poll finds Jeb Bush leading the crowded Republican presidential field, with 22% of GOP primary voters saying he’s their first choice. He’s followed by Scott Walker at 17%, Marco Rubio at 14%, and Ben Carson at 11%. While Jeb had a similar five-point lead in our April NBC/WSJ poll, you see his current position has strengthened when you look inside the numbers of this new poll. (It was conducted during the buildup and coverage of Bush’s official presidential announcement on June 16.) The latest survey shows him ahead among self-identified conservative GOP primary voters, when he was in third place in April behind Rubio and Walker. And as we unveiled on Sunday, 75% of Republican primary voters in our new poll say they could see themselves supporting Bush, up from 70% in April and 49% in March. Bottom line: While Jeb has plenty of potential problems to overcome (his last name, his positions on immigration and Common Core, his desire to run a general-election campaign instead of one aimed at GOP primary voters), this poll is very good news for him.

First, the poll’s sample is a tiny 236 likely primary voters. That’s less than half of a single night’s sample for Rasmussen’s polling. That makes this poll virtually junk in terms of its predictive value on that part alone.

Next, Jeb’s support has dropped a point since the April NBC/WSJ poll. In April’s poll, Gov. Bush had a 9-point lead over Gov. Walker and a 5-point lead over Sen. Rubio. Gov. Bush garnered 23% to Gov. Walker’s 14%. Now, it’s 22% for Gov. Bush, 17% for Gov. Walker. That isn’t great news a week after Gov. Bush’s official announcement. That means that Gov. Bush essentially didn’t get a bounce from his official entry into the race.

There’s another thing that’s worth noting. The NBC/WSJ poll is the only poll where Gov. Bush has topped 20%. If we exclude the NBC/WSJ poll and we take the last 5 polls, Gov. Bush has gotten 9%, 12%, 13%, 10% and 10% from Monmouth, Fox News, CNN/ORC, ABC/WashPost and Quinnipiac respectively. Given the predictive value of this NBC/WSJ poll, it’s more than justifiable to question this poll. Frankly, I don’t know how you take it seriously. Apparently, Allahpundit has taken it a bit too seriously:

Bush leads with 22 percent, then Scott Walker at 17, then Rubio at 14 — and remember, Walker hasn’t formally announced yet. Part of Jeb’s big bounce in this poll may be due to the positive buzz he got after finally declaring his candidacy; Walker may be the next to bounce as those now-tuning-in Republicans are formally introduced to him.

It’s difficult to take this NBC/WSJ poll seriously, especially in light of the fact that Gov. Bush has had difficulty getting into the last 5 national polls. Why should I believe that a poll with a microscopic sample that shows a candidate with twice his RCP average support?

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(H/T: Gateway Pundit) This weekend, Wisconsin Democrats sent a distinct message to Hillary:

The breakdown of the straw poll vote, which was conducted by the well-regarded politics website www.wispolitics.com, was:

Hillary Clinton 252
Bernie Sanders 208
Joe Biden 16
Martin O’Malley 16
Jim Webb 8
Lincoln Chafee 5
No vote 1
(Write-ins:)
Elizabeth Warren 4
Tom Vilsack 1

This isn’t to suggest that Hillary won’t win the nomination. The odds of that happening are miniscule. It’s to suggest that Hillary isn’t the beloved candidate that Barack Obama was in 2008. Getting 49% of the vote against this field should frighten Hillary. They’re sending her the message that she isn’t far enough left for their liking. The further that she gets pushed left, the more difficult it’ll be to win independents.

That’s terrible news for Hillary in light of this information:

But Clinton has lost support among independents. In March, 45 percent had a favorable view and 44 percent had an unfavorable view, for a net approval rating of +1 point. That has now fallen to -14 points (37 percent-51 percent). Craighill notes that the sample size of pure independents is small (86 in the March survey and 97 in the May survey). So take this trend with a grain of salt.

The margin of error on a sample that small is undoubtedly high. Still, 37% is terrible. If it’s even 43%, that means Hillary will need a massive turnout of the Democrats’ base. Because Hillary is a known quantity, the likelihood of Hillary gaining large numbers of voters isn’t high. In fact, it’s a good rule of thumb to think that Hillary’s numbers have a definite chance of dropping but little chance of improving.

That’s because a) she’s had 100 name ID and b) everyone has an opinion of her. Republican candidates like Scott Walker and Marco Rubio have room to grow as they become more well known. Considering the fact that they’re both within the margin of error in a head-to-head matchup against Hillary, she’s got every reason to panic.

During Scott Walker’s appearance on ABC’s This Week, Jonathan Karl played a clip of President Obama’s cheap shot about Scott Walker’s foreign policy. Here’s the partial transcript of that exchange:

SOT OBAMA: Perhaps Mr. Walker, after he’s taken some time to bone up on foreign policy, will feel the same way.

KARL: President Obama said you needed to bone up on foreign policy. And I guess you’ve been doing it? I mean you’ve been traveling, you’ve been talking to foreign policy experts.

WALKER: Yeah. I thought it was interesting for the president to say that, the guy who called ISIS the JV squad and Yemen a success story somehow suggesting that someone else should bone up on foreign policy. But we have. We’ve been to Israel, I’ve talked to David Cameron in the UK, we’ve been elsewhere. My belief is if I’m gonna even think about running for president of the United States, it’s not about preparing for debates, it’s about being prepared to be the president of the United States.

Now that’s a zinger. It’s great to see that Gov. Walker isn’t putting up with President Obama’s flippant statements. It’s wonderful to see Republicans throwing this stuff back in President Obama’s face. President Obama is the worst foreign policy president in the last 100+ years and it isn’t even close.

Before ISIS, President Obama decided that it was more important to pull troops from Iraq than it was to stabilize the region. That wasn’t unwise. That was stupid. It led to the vacuum that ISIS and Iran are fighting over. That’s a heads, they win, tails, we lose scenario.

President Obama’s decision to abandon its allies in the Middle East is causing regionwide instability, which is being fomented by Iran. Our allies don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us. If I got paid $10 each time that sentence was repeated on TV, I’d be as overpaid as the Clintons.

KARL: Okay, you’ve been very critical about how the president handled ISIS. Some are out there like Lindsey Graham saying we should send 10,000 U.S. ground troops right now to Iraq to help with this fight. Do you favor that?

WALKER: I think we shouldn’t rule anything out. It’s a big mistake this president has made here and elsewhere about saying how long we would go or how much we would invest.

KARL: I’m not talking about ruling it out, I’m saying would you do that, would you send…

WALKER: No, I’m not arguing that’s the first approach. But I’ll tell you three specific things I think we should do in Iraq. First we should re-engage the strength of the American forces that are there. Once you do that, you empower our allied forces that are there on behalf of Iraq to reclaim the territory that ISIS has taken. And third, you just need to do it in a way that doesn’t provide safe haven in the places like Syria as you push them out.

The Obama administration sends weapons to the Kurds through Baghdad. That’s a mistake because the Iranians don’t want the Peshmerga to get the weapons. They want to eventually overtake Kurdistan. They don’t want a strengthened Kurdish nation.

The Peshmerga are skilled, willing fighters that’ve gotten starved by the Obama administration.

If Gov. Walker gets elected president, he would be a dramatic upgrade in terms of foreign policy over President Obama.

When Hillary Clinton went on her dishonest rant about Republicans suppressing the vote in a speech at Texas Southern University, she verified that she was just another Democrat demagogue on the issue of race. Scott Walker is the latest GOP presidential candidate to expose her dishonesty:

Potential Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker knocked Hillary Clinton for being “firmly out of touch” on the issue of voting rights just days after the former secretary of state announced her proposals championing minority access to voting.

“In our state we have a photo ID requirement that would make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Walker told reporters Saturday at Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride event. “And I think that’s a good example where her statements of late show that she’s firmly out of touch with I think where mainstream America is.”

When asked by a reporter about universal voter registration for the state of Wisconsin, Walker shrugged and shook his head, pointing instead to Wisconsin’s turnout records. “From our standpoint, we think we’ve got one of the most effective systems right now where we have one of the highest levels of voter participation,” Walker said. “We’ve got a pretty good system.”

Here’s what Hillary said at Texas Southern:

“Today, Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting,” Clinton said Thursday at Texas Southern University in Houston, a historically black college. “What part of democracy are they afraid of?”

Folks, that’s demagoguery that only a Clinton or an Obama would have the chutzpah to say in public. If you wanted to be totally blunt about it, Hillary’s statement was an outright lie. Hillary knows that Republicans aren’t “systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting.” Here’s why she knows:

In the 2012 general election, Wisconsin had the second-highest voter-turnout rate in the nation with 73 percent of the population participating. The state trailed just behind Minnesota, which had a 76 percent turnout rate. Wisconsin also ranked second in the nation during the 2008 general election.

It’s amazing that Wisconsin’s voter participation rate was significantly higher than New York’s participation rate. According to this interactive website, Wisconsin’s participation rate in 2014 was 56.2%. New York’s was 28.2%. In 2012, New York’s participation rate was 53%. Wisconsin’s participation rate was 73%. In 2008, New York’s participation rate was 59% while Wisconsin’s participation rate was 72.4%.

In other words, Hillary is taking cheapshots at Wisconsin while New York’s participation rate was 20 points worse. It isn’t fair to say, though, that New York is “systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting” though it’s fair to say that Hillary isn’t really interested in increasing voter participation. She’s only interested in making sure minority voters turn out in 2016. Without them, she’s toast.

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Last fall, I wrote lots of posts and articles about Joni Ernst because a) she caught everyone’s attention and b) it was clear that she was a rising star in the GOP. Her Roast and Ride event will be bigger than the Iowa Straw Poll. It’s clear that Joni Ernst isn’t taking her foot off the pedal in terms of gaining notoriety. People are noticing:

BOONE, Iowa—It’s a newly created political event, hosted by a first-year senator who’s barely known outside her state. Yet seven presidential candidates and the national media horde has descended on this rural town 45 minutes from Des Moines because the significance of the first annual “Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride” is already clear: amid great uncertainty about which White House hopefuls will choose to compete in the state GOP’s embattled straw poll in August, this could end up being one of Iowa’s most important retail politicking events of the year.

The only modification I’d make to that paragraph is I’d eliminate the words “one of.” I wouldn’t be surprised if it was easily Iowa’s most important retail politicking event of the year.

According to this map, Sen. Ernst defeated her Democratic opponent 52.2% – 43.7%. She defeated Bruce Braley by 95,000+ votes in a state that cast 1,100,000 votes, which indicates that Iowa’s buying what she’s selling.

Iowa is a state that should flip into the Republicans’ column this time. The Republican Party of Iowa is strong. They’ve got a strong, diverse group of leaders, ranging from Chuck Grassley and Terry Branstad to Joni Ernst and Steve King. While lots of national pundits roll their eyes when they hear about Steve King, the truth is that he’s got a strong, ultra-loyal following. The presidential candidate that gets his voters will stand a good chance of winning Iowa’s electoral votes.

“I doubt the candidates will win any converts during their eight allotted minutes onstage — all of the activity is going to take place off stage, off the bikes, actually interacting with and talking to Iowans,” said Matt Strawn, a former Iowa GOP chairman who worked closely with Ernst during her 2014 Senate campaign. “What I’m watching for are, which candidates understand this is meant to be a fun, relaxing event designed for them to interact with Iowans? Most of the large events in the state have been forums in ballroom theater settings, not an opportunity to spend a lot of time personally interacting.”

Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry are all confirmed to speak, but Walker is the only one confirmed to ride a motorcycle with Ernst (though Perry has his own motorcycle event that day, and most of the other candidates are working other events before and after).

This is another opportunity for Scott Walker to win Iowans over. He’s already leading in Iowa but it doesn’t hurt to build on what’s successful. At this point, he’s the favorite to win the Iowa Caucuses. He’s got an advantage in that he appears to be cut from the same cloth as Sen. Ernst. It isn’t a negative when you’re seen as a kindred spirit to that state’s rising star.

UPDATE: Here’s the best tweet from the hashtag #RoastandRide:


Now that’s seriously a great shot at Hillary.

After reading this article, sane people are left wondering what Sen. Paul’s supporters are thinking:

The newest Iowa poll conducted by The Des Moines Register reflects a trend which has been ongoing since polling for this cycle began. Rand Paul, in second place at 10%, is well within the margin of error of the lead, currently held by Scott Walker at 17%. Ben Carson finished with 10% and both Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush earned 9%.

While it is debatable how important it may be to actually win the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus, history shows that it is imperative to finish in the top 4, as each nominee from both major parties has done so since the quadrennial tradition began in 1972. With a possible field of nearly 20 Republican candidates, a poor showing in Iowa could prove lethal to several campaigns.

With that information in mind, the fact that Senator Paul has consistently remained in double-digits since Iowa polling commenced in mid-2012 becomes all the more important and impressive. Paul enters the contest with a bit of an advantage, as his father came within 4 percentage points (or 4,000 votes) of winning the caucus in 2012. In fact, the legacy that the elder Paul left is best represented by the fact that 22 of the state’s 28 delegates pledged themselves to his campaign.

Now that Sen. Paul has announced that he’ll force the expiration of the Patriot Act, his days are numbered. From this day forward, his support will drop until he’s left with his father’s core of loyal supporters. By the time the Caucuses happen, he’ll trail Walker, Rubio, Carson and, quite possibly, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz.

The 2016 Iowa field will be unique in that it will be first in history to feature 2 different past winners (Huckabee and Rick Santorum), but Paul has shown himself to be one of the favorites to win the caucus. Other candidates’ numbers have fluctuated, yet Paul has steadily maintained a solid core of voters.

First, Sen. Paul’s support hasn’t grown. Second, Sen. Paul’s support isn’t reaching into other demographics that are needed to win in Iowa. For instance, Sen. Paul doesn’t have a chance of winning over evangelical Christians because of his strict libertarian views on things like legalizing marijuana and his indifference towards gay marriage. Whether you agree or disagree policy-wise, evangelical Christians won’t support candidates that are indifferent on those issues.

Putting it simply, Sen. Paul’s potential for winning Iowa is virtually nil.

The newest person in line in the Iowa “stock market” of candidates has been Scott Walker, who now averages nearly 20%, but has seen his numbers begin to decline. As recently as January, Walker was polling at below 5%, showing that his reign is likely unsustainable, and could be very well a limited one.

Now that’s fanciful. Wow! Scott Walker has led the RCP average of polls for nearly 4 months, usually with solid leads outside the margin of error. If that’s what a “likely unsustainable” lead looks like, especially one that “could be very well a limited one”, then I’m betting most candidates would settle for such an unsustainable lead.

Josh Guckert is the name of the person who wrote this article but it could’ve just as easily have been Baghdad Bob.

While others stumble, Gov. Scott Walker, (R-WI), keeps getting stronger in Iowa:

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) —Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker holds a 7-point advantage among Iowan voters over the rest of the crowded Republican field in the scramble for the party’s 2016 nomination for president, a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll finds.

The poll, released late Saturday afternoon, shows Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee rounding out the top five in the state, which, as the first-in-the-nation caucus, is a critical battleground for presidential hopefuls.

This isn’t good news for Mike Huckabee or Jeb Bush. It’s terrible news. Jeb isn’t gaining traction in Iowa, perhaps because he isn’t taking it seriously. This is terrible news for Gov. Huckabee, too. Last week, he officially jumped into the race. Predictably, he got a bump when he jumped in. In all likelihood, this is Huckabee’s high water mark, or at least fairly close to it.

This isn’t good news for Sen. Paul, either:

Paul and Carson were tied for second place with 10% of the vote. The Kentucky senator with a strong libertarian streak was most successful among the candidates in attracting moderate Republicans, independents who plan on attending the GOP caucuses and likely party caucus-goers under the age of 45.

The poll found, however, that Paul has seen his favorability rating drop by 9 percentage points in the state since January.

I predict that that drop is just the beginning. Coupled with Sen. Paul’s statements that GOP hawks caused the rise of ISIS and his plan to force the expiration of the Patriot Act, Sen. Paul’s approval rating will continue dropping. On his best days, Sen. Paul was within striking distance of being a top tier candidate. These aren’t his best days. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sen. Paul announced that he was getting out of the presidential race the day after the New Hampshire Primary to focus on running for re-election to the Senate.

This is terrible news for Jeb Bush:

Another telling tally: More than a third of likely Republican caucus participants indicated they’d never vote for Bush; 43 percent view him favorably while 45 percent view him unfavorably.

The Republican candidate will need to either win Iowa or be competitive in the general election. At this point, Jeb isn’t even competitive. Gov. Walker isn’t just competitive in Iowa, he puts Wisconsin in play, too. The thought of flipping Iowa and Wisconsin from blue to red has to be appealing to the RNC. According to this map, flipping Iowa and Wisconsin from blue to red would flip 16 electoral votes:

Republicans have some work to do to flip enough states from blue to red. Still, the Democrats are doing them a major favor by running Hillary. If they weren’t running a candidate that’s scandal-ridden and mistake-prone, they’d have a good chance of winning a third straight term.

Anyone that thinks Hillary will excite the base is kidding themselves. Check out this article:

A focus group of 10 Iowa Democrats this week voiced distaste over some of Hillary Clinton’s tactics and ethics, but agreed she represents the Democrats’ only hope of retaining the White House. Some of the five women and five men assembled at Drake University in Des Moines acknowledged concerns about issues such as Clinton’s paid speeches, her Wall Street ties and the controversy over her use of private email while secretary of state. But they repeatedly praised her experience, especially on foreign policy. Despite acknowledging flaws, most said they like her on balance or don’t see a viable alternative.

This video isn’t good news for Hillary:

That’s the equivalent of saying that they’ll vote for her but they’d rather be watching paint dry or grass grow. If Republicans pick a great young candidate, their enthusiasm gap will be significant.

When it comes to literary unprofessionalism, it’s difficult to top Gail Collins. Back in February, Ms. Collins’ sloppiness led her to accuse Scott Walker’s education budget cuts led to teacher layoffs in 2010. It was proof that Ms. Collins’ research skills aren’t highly developed. Thankfully, I can rely on Ed Morrissey’s research skills, which were evidenced in this post:

There are newspaper corrections that sincerely intend to repair the record … and then there are New York Times “corrections” to columns that should never have run in the first place. On Friday, the Paper of Record published a Gail Collins essay blaming Scott Walker’s cuts to education funding in Wisconsin for teacher layoffs that took place in 2010. There were only two problems with the column: Scott Walker didn’t take office until 2011, and his public-employee union reforms actually prevented cuts that would have resulted in even more K-12 layoffs. Either of those could have been easily checked, but would have been obvious to anyone who paid the least bit of attention to the controversy in Wisconsin over the last four years.

Needless to say, I don’t take Gail Collins word on anything. That’s why I did a little reading when she issued this edict:

We’ve been wondering when a presidential candidate would say something incredibly insensitive about women and reproduction. The moment has arrived. The 2016 Todd (“Legitimate Rape”) Akin Award for Sexual Sensitivity goes to Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Maybe it was inevitable. Of all the practicing politicians in the scramble, Walker is possibly the sloppiest public speaker. Compared with him, Chris Christie can be a pinnacle of verbal discipline.

Last week, Walker was on a radio talk show, praising a law he signed requiring women who want an abortion to undergo an ultrasound. Which they’re supposed to watch, while the physician points out the features of the fetus.

An ultrasound, he said, was “just a cool thing.”

That Gail Collins describes the baby in the ultrasound as a fetus shows that she isn’t coming at this from an unbiased perspective. How many women, when they see their first ultrasound, say “Look at my fetus”? Aren’t they most likely to say “Look at my baby”?

The whole reason why Wisconsin legislators passed that bill and Gov. Walker signed it into law is because a significant number of women that see their baby when they get an ultrasound decide not to get an abortion.

There are 2 points that are essential to this article. First, it isn’t coincidental that Gail Collins’ fury is directed at Scott Walker. When she wrote about Gov. Walker in February, she couldn’t be bothered with getting the facts straight. This wasn’t a difficult project. Anyone with a memory knew that Gov. Walker wasn’t elected until November, 2010. Anyone with an ounce of professional pride would’ve gotten that right. She didn’t.

Second, it’s clear that Ms. Collins isn’t in touch with people in the heartland. Apparently, in Ms. Collins’ world, the widely held belief is that anyone who does anything that makes it more difficult to have an abortion is a Neanderthal. Anyone that can compare the stupid thing that Todd Akin said with what Scott Walker said is frightening.

Then again, I am talking about Gail Collins.

T. Becket Adams’ article shows how little hesitation there is with progressives to lie about conservatives’ statements. Check out what Gov. Scott Walker said and what Right Wing Watch published. First, here’s what Gov. Walker said:

In an interview Friday with conservative radio host Dana Loesch, Walker defended a bill that he signed into law in 2013 mandating that women seeking abortions must also be provided with ultrasounds.

The measure, Senate Bill 206, or Sonya’s Law, reads, “This bill requires … that before a person may perform or induce an abortion the physician … [must] perform, or arrange for a qualified person to perform, an ultrasound on the pregnant woman using whichever transducer the woman chooses.”

Walker bragged in his interview with Loesch that he and his team, “defunded Planned Parenthood.”

“We also signed a law that requires an ultrasound. Which, the thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea,” he said.

The Wisconsin governor, who is also the father to two sons, then marveled at the technology behind ultrasounds.

“Most people I talk to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It’s just a cool thing out there,” he said. “We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would, would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child,” he added.

Right Wing Watch turned that into this headline:

Right Wing Watch, a left-wing watchdog group, was one of the first to take on Walker’s comments, publishing a story Tuesday titled “Scott Walker: Ultrasounds Should Be Mandatory Since They’re ‘A Cool Thing.'”

Here’s a collage of headlines on the subject:

Progressive hardliners don’t care about the truth. They care most about sensationalizing headlines that they can use against Republican candidates. Truth isn’t optional with these thugs. It’s forbidden.

Tim Carney’s article about how the presidential candidates did at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference reaffirms my beliefs. First, it reaffirms that Jeb Bush is a frontrunner only because of his fundraising operation and his name recognition. Second, it reaffirms my belief that this race isn’t about who wins ‘the establishment primary’ vs. who wins ‘the movement primary’. Third, it reaffirms my belief that candidates like Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Donald Trump are sideshows and don’t have a chance at winning the nomination. Finally, it reaffirms my belief that I’ve had from the start that Scott Walker is still the frontrunner.

OKLAHOMA CITY — The annual Southern Republican Leadership Conference provided a glimpse into the state of the Republican base and the presidential field. The conference revealed a Republican base that is (1) broadly happy with the crowded and conservative field, (2) still smitten with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and (3) unimpressed and uninterested in Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Senate chaos over the Patriot Act kept the four senators who are running from making it, dampening the mood a bit. The candidates running a second time — Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Mike Huckabee — do not excite the conservative base.

What’s interesting is Carney’s statement that the activists are “still smitten with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.” Marco Rubio has climbed to frontrunner status on Special Report’s Candidate Casino segment because he’s excellent on foreign policy and he’s got a terrific life story to tell. Jeb Bush is accorded top tier status for the reasons I’ve stated above. Scott Walker still gets strong support but there’s little buzz about him.

Perhaps that’s because he’s just the guy everyone quietly likes? This part is interesting:

Straw Poll: The straw poll results mostly reflected Scott Walker’s popularity, and the apprehension the Republican base has for Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, the perceived establishment moderates in the field.

1) Dr. Ben Carson won the straw poll handily, thanks to his having the biggest organized effort. His campaign bought a booth and bought 100 tickets, to allow supporters to attend for free. Many of these supporters came in from out of state. All told, Carson won about 240 votes.

2) The biggest winner may have been Wisconsin Gov. Walker, who finished a close second, with about 200 votes. He had no organized effort to win the straw poll, but he still won the most votes among Oklahomans in the crowd. His Friday afternoon speech was spot-on and well delivered. His strong showing reflects that the good will Walker garnered through his fights in Madison, Wis., sill buoy him, even after other conservative stars have entered the race.

Dr. Carson showed that he’s put together an organization. Still, what’s impressive is that Gov. Walker didn’t bring his organizers to the event and still was competitive. This might be more impressive, though:

3) What recommends Walker most to Republican voters is his successful battles with powerful labor unions, the media, and the Wisconsin Democratic Party. Walker made these battles — including his recall election victory — the focus of his talk.

4) Walker was able to tick off a long list of legislative accomplishments, touching on all the major conservative policy priorities: cutting spending, cutting taxes, bringing the bureaucracy to heel, defunding Planned Parenthood, expanding gun rights, passing right to work, requiring photo ID for voters and so on.

5) Walker cast his political and policy wins as populist victories over powerful insiders. He described his fight against the government unions as “taking power out of the hands the big-government special interests” and putting it in the hands of ordinary people.

6) Walker closed with a pointed critique of his rivals. He said many Washington politicians are good at picking fights, but they don’t win — a clear reference to Cruz’s failed Obamacare shutdown, and Marco Rubio and Paul’s lack of a record. Alternatively, many Republicans, Walker said, are good at winning races, but they never fight for important, tough things — presumably referring to Christie and Bush.

In other words, he’s a confident leader with a lengthy list of conservative accomplishments who isn’t afraid to pick a fight. Simply put, he’s everything McCain, Romney, Huckabee and Santorum weren’t and Jeb Bush isn’t.

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