Greek Voters Shift Hard Left

“Greek voters were set to hand power to a radical leftist party in national elections on Sunday, a popular rebellion against the bitter economic medicine Greece has swallowed for five years and a rebuke of the fellow European countries that prescribed it,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“With nearly all votes counted, opposition party Syriza was on track to win about half the seats in Parliament. In the wee hours of the morning, it clinched a coalition deal with a small right-wing party also opposed to Europe’s economic policy to give the two a clear majority.”

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Nothing Is Inevitable In Politics

Jeff Greenfield: “They are the three American political giants; the only three 20th Century candidates who won two consecutive landslide Presidential elections; three whose triumphs are seen now as the inevitable victories of larger-than-life figures riding powerful historical trends.”

“And each of them came very close to never being President at all—a piece of history to remember as we read of the ‘inevitable’ forces driving the 2016 campaign.”

“There’s a lesson to be drawn from this history. If three of the most dominant political figures of the last century all came perilously close to political defeat, it should remind us to take a ‘determinist’ approach to politics—’this is what will happen, this is what can’t happen’—with several pounds of salt.”

Republican Governors Move to Hike Taxes

“Republican governors across the nation are proposing tax increases — and backing off pledges to cut taxes — as they strike a decidedly un-Republican pose in the face of budget shortfalls and pent-up demands from constituents after years of budget cuts,” the New York Times reports.

“At least eight Republican governors have ventured into this once forbidden territory: There are proposals for raising the sales tax in Michigan, a tax on e-cigarettes in Utah, and gas taxes in South Carolina and South Dakota, to name a few. In Arizona, the new Republican governor has put off, in the face of a $1 billion budget shortfall, a campaign promise to eliminate the unpopular income tax there.”

Walker Shines in Iowa

Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) “stock is soaring after a triumphant return to Iowa,” The Hill reports.

“The Wisconsin Republican governor delivered a pitch-perfect speech to a room packed with influential Hawkeye State conservatives on Saturday, walking them through his robust resume and ideology with a passion that surprised many. Activists say Walker came out on top after 10 hours of candidate speeches.”

The Des Moines Register says Walker “was the center of buzz after his speech.”

Biden Has No Organization

Wall Street Journal: “Potential presidential candidates — top-tier contenders and long-shots alike — have already spent years quietly laying groundwork, building email lists, recruiting staff, and generally doing the scut work of building an organization on which to call if they flip the switch and launch a 2016 campaign Mr. Biden, who said this week that he is still weighing a presidential run, is one of the few potential candidates with no political organization, nonprofit, foundation, or campaign staff-in-waiting.”

GOP Gathering in Iowa Highlights Divided Party

Rick Klein says Saturday’s Iowa Freedom Summit “quickly and frequently got sidetracked. There were familiar diversions, even more familiar intra-party battles, brief heckling episodes, and a few famous faces who are only tangentially involved with national politics these days.”

“The result was that at a showcase moment for an energized Republican Party, with a deep bench of talented presidential aspirants, the fault lines of policy and personality that have defined the GOP during the Obama era made themselves known yet again. The clear signal was that they’re unlikely recede amid the most wide-open field in modern history.”

Bush Says He and Romney Avoided Talking Politics

Jeb Bush told the Washington Post that when he met with Mitt Romney earlier this week they mostly avoided talk about the 2016 presidential campaign.

Said Bush: “We talked about the Patriots. We talked a little bit about politics, not as much as you might imagine. We talked about the future of the country. We talked about the need for a more engaged foreign policy.. . .The awkward side of this, about running and such, we put aside.”

Why Christie Has a Better Shot Than Many Think

Byron York: “Chris Christie is in better shape than you think. There was a widely-held assumption that Christie’s Jersey Guy persona wouldn’t play well in Iowa — that he is just too hot and too confrontational to get along with a bunch of nice Midwesterners. But it turns out a lot of Iowa Republicans actually like Christie, even if they’re not quite ready to support him. Christie connects with audiences in Iowa just like elsewhere in the country, and more importantly, Iowa Republicans really want someone to fight for them in the next campaign. Most felt Romney just wouldn’t take it to President Obama in 2012, so now Christie is OK with them as long as they believe he will give Democrats hell.”

Bush Says Republicans Must Be Upbeat to Win in 2016

“Sketching the broad outlines of a presidential campaign that is undeclared but well underway, Jeb Bush on Friday mixed familiar calls for lower taxes and less regulation with an admonishment to fellow Republicans to stay upbeat and offer hope as their central message in 2016,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Said Bush: “We’re not going to win votes as Republicans unless we can lay out a hopeful, optimistic message that’s based in reality, that’s grounded in a set of policies that are real, that people believe can actually happen. Hope and a positive agenda wins out over anger and reaction every day of the week.”

GOP May Kill Filibuster for Supreme Court Nominees

“Top Senate Republicans are considering gutting the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees — a move that could yield big rewards for whichever party controls the White House and Senate after 2016,” Politico reports.

“The move, still in its early stages, reflects growing GOP confidence in its electoral prospects next year. But it could also have a major immediate impact if a justice such as 81-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg steps down, making it far easier for President Barack Obama to get a replacement confirmed.”