Landing the Big One

Politics is big business. And in the political consulting and voter analysis data there is no bigger quarry than Hillary.  Ken Vogel in Politico describes efforts by political consultants to land the great whale -- Hillary Clinton -- in order to capture the copious amounts of money she is certain to spend in trying to capture the presidency.

President Barack Obama’s team of 20-something data gurus gave him a major edge in 2008 and 2012 — and now they’re among the leading players in a quiet struggle for control of the Democratic data market in 2016.

The biggest prize, both symbolically and financially, is a spot on the growing team surrounding Obama’s 2008 rival: Hillary Clinton. ...

The network of super PACs functioning as a sort of wink-and-nod Clinton campaign-in-waiting are at the center of the data tug of war. The hub, Ready for Hillary, is working on data initiatives that are unprecedented for a candidate-specific super PAC — let alone one planning for a presidential campaign that’s still two years off. Sources with knowledge of the initiatives describe them to POLITICO as:

1. A 50-state voter file that will merge granular historical data for every registered voter in the country with social media and email information being collected by Ready for Hillary. While the super PAC intends to deploy the new database as early as January to mobilize supporters, its real utility would come in building and executing a model of voter coalitions and messages to win a presidential campaign.

2. A direct mail program that would use Clinton’s likeness and testimonials from high-profile surrogates to raise cash and collect supporter data. It’s expected to launch sometime in the first quarter of 2014, say sources in Democratic direct mail circles.

Even today, whenever President Obama thinks of Big Data, he thinks "Big Votes". Maybe he can't help it. The Daily Mail reports that when the chief executive met with leaders of the tech industry yesterday to address their concerns about legal liabilities they might incur by cooperating with the NSA his thoughts turned to politics.

'That wasn't what we came for,' a vice-president of a company whose CEO attended told MailOnline. 'We really didn't care for a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare.'

One executive said that meeting participants were dead-set against straying from the principal focus of the meeting – the uncomfortable and legally untenable position they are in when the National Security Agency demands access to their digital records.

The White House said in advance that the meeting would include a discussion of, but the company executive said the only subject that mattered to the participants was the NSA.

'He basically hijacked the meeting,' the executive said. 'We all told the White House that we were only there to talk about what the NSA was up to and how it affects us.'

It's the Permanant Campaign, the By Any Means Necessary. It's ask not what Obama can do for you but what you can do for Obama. In other words, it Washington DC. Jonah Goldberg complains that the president has already hijacked the insurance industry and turned it into giant vote buying machine for himself.

When will the insurers revolt? It's a question that's popping up more and more. ...

Even an obedient dog will bite if you kick it enough. Since Obamacare's passage, the administration has constantly moved the goalposts on the industry. For instance, when the small-business mandate proved problematic in an election year, the administration delayed it, putting its partisan political needs ahead of its own policy and the needs of the industry. …

Then, just last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that she was "urging" insurers to ignore both their contracts and the law and simply cover people on the honor system -- as if they were enrolled and paid up.

She also wants doctors and hospitals to take patients, regardless of whether they are in a patients' insurance network or even if the patient is properly insured at all. Just go ahead and extend the deadline for paying, she urged insurers; we'll work out the paperwork later. …

When asked how he silenced opponents in the health industry during his successful effort to socialize medicine, Aneurin Bevan, creator of the British National Health Service, responded, "I stuffed their mouths with gold."

He's only just begun. There's only one problem: Obama's got gold? What Obama has plenty of is debt, the promise of gold, not quite the same thing. And there's lots of people around thinking 'when do I get the gold that's promised me, when do I get some of the stash?'

Detroit is waiting for a bailout. Illinois' Medicaid system is bankrupt and waiting for a bailout. California is hoping for a hand. "California and Illinois—which have already accumulated hundreds of billions of dollars in debt in their retiree pension and health care programs—will not be able to bailout these failed plans. These states will likely demand a federal bailout of their state pension plans, similar to the federal trust fund established to bailout failed private pension plans." You would think that if there was any gold then these two states would have had it already.

That's where Hillary comes in. She's going to redeem president Obama's promises with some of her own, provided he doesn't succeed in issuing new promises to rescue the old ones.

Still hope springs eternal.  The political consultants wrangling for Hillary's business are sharpening their harpoons to for the big IOU whale. The Wall Street Journal reports: "Clinton Backers Fan Out, Gird for Attacks: Groups Build Grass-Roots Network and Aim to Defend State Department Tenure". The narrative they are preparing is that Clinton must be persuaded to return to the ring to save the country.

Mrs. Clinton hasn't yet said whether she will seek office again. But the prospect of a Clinton campaign for the White House has spawned an advance guard of advocacy groups dedicated to protecting her image and beating back attacks from her political opponents.

The Ready for Hillary super PAC is trying to lure her into the race by gathering a list of supporters and assembling the sort of grass-roots network that her main primary opponent in 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama, built more effectively than she did.

A group called Correct the Record said it would rebut Republican criticism of Mrs. Clinton, so that attacks on her record don't go unanswered in the period before she might set up a formal campaign operation.

The Washington Times says "former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that she will soon tour the nation and deliver a series of speeches to promote more trust in government. She made her remarks at an annual American Bar Association meeting in San Francisco." Thar she blows boys, thar she blows.

If the frenzied efforts of political consultants to land her business is any indicator, there will be little difficulty "luring" her back into the race. She'll be in the water thrashing with the best of them.  Although the public is told that politicians are selfless individuals whose only dream is to raise the unfortunate from hardship a few cynics beg to differ.  Newt Gingrich on ABC opined that the whales in the ocean are really thinking about themselves.

On Sunday’s ABC This Week telecast, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich squared off with former Clinton Labor secretary Robert Reich, who tried to blame the increase in poverty over the last five years on the GOP. “Here’s the baloney,” Gingrich fired back. “Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats. Every major city. Their policies have failed, they’re not willing to admit and the fact is it’s the poor who suffer from bad government.”

Who said the poor had anything to do with it? About all they'll have to do with the Big Data is the robocall they'll get over their Obamaphones. Push 1 if yes, push 2 if yes. And have a nice day. As for the money, what of it? It was always about the players, about Ahab and his obsession, to survive, to be the last consultant to the last candidate for the final dollar.

The drama's done. Why then here does any one step forth?—Because one did survive the wreck.

Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day and night, I floated on a soft and dirgelike main. The unharming sharks, they glided by as if with padlocks on their mouths; the savage sea-hawks sailed with sheathed beaks. On the second day, a sail drew near, nearer, and picked me up at last. It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan.

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