Muriel Humphrey was furious. As Robert F. Kennedy, the campaign manager for his brother Senator John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, leaned in to kiss her on the cheek her eyes flashed. She was cold as ice to Bobby.
It was the spring of 1960, in Charleston, West Virginia. Muriel’s husband, Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey, had just lost his second — and last — primary to JFK. Hubert Humphrey wasn’t a happy man either. Humphrey hadn’t just lost to the Kennedys, they had flattened him. How?
Paul Ryan has demands. Meet them — or else.
Congressman Ryan is one of the world’s good guys. But that isn’t a qualification to be Speaker of the House. The point of being Speaker, a Republican Speaker, is — to borrow from the late Jack Kemp — to “be a leader.” And not just a leader in the sense of pulling people together but a leader who can lead in the direction of a conservative agenda. Not to mention being a leader as a Member’s Speaker — not an Imperial Speaker.
But Ryan has a huge hurdle here.
It is abundantly obvious that the GOP’s Washington Establishment is perilously close to suicide. A complete and utter meltdown.
Over in the Washington Examiner is this headline on a story by Byron York:
Panicked establishment gets ready for war against Trump
Byron writes this:
You can put away your REO Speedwagon records, folks. Mothball that leather jacket. Put the Corvette back in the garage and untap that keg of Natty Lite.
Vice President Joe Biden said he will not run for president in 2016.
The decision ends months of speculation about whether Biden would step up to challenge Hillary Clinton, the current front runner for the Democratic nomination and his former Obama administration colleague.
The nomination is now Hillary's to lose.
Last night, Paul Ryan reversed his earlier decision to stay out of the House Speaker's race, and declared that, if chosen as a "unity candidate" among the factions currently warring over Speaker choices, he would gladly serve as Speaker.
There is, of course, a catch.
According to a statement released by Ryan's office last night after the meeting where he proposed his plan, Ryan has requested some difficult concessions from his colleagues in return for joining their leadership. He wants to serve with the consent of the full Republican contingent, who must promise that legislative success will be their top priority. He wants weekends off. And he wants the Republicans to agree to change some "rules and procedures" in order to better facilitate leadership, including a change that would require Republicans to "stand down" on challenges to the leadership post.
“Tonight, I shared with my colleagues what I think it will take to have a unified conference and for the next speaker to be successful.
“Basically I made a few requests for what I think is necessary, and I asked to hear back by the end of the week.
It's only Tuesday, but it's all happening.
In Our Sights
Democratic third-from-the-frontrunner Jim Webb is reportedly planning to drop out of the Democratic nomination process in order to pursue a third party run. Webb, who bears no resemblance to the rest of the Democratic field in that he might actually make a good President, will attempt to sway independents with, hopefully, a marginally better campaign than he's been running.
Vice President Joe Biden is running for President! Except that he's not running for President! Until he is! Probably! LOUD NOISES.
Amazing. In reacting to Donald Trump making the obvious observation that George W. Bush was president on 9/11 and America was not safe, an indignant Jeb Bush said this to CNN’s Jake Tapper: “Next week Trump will probably say that FDR was around when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.”
And the usually perceptive Ari Fleisher. George W.’s White House press secretary, chimed in saying: “And after all, does Donald Trump also think since Pearl Harbor happened on FDR’s watch that FDR is responsible?”
Not to put too fine a point on this? But in the day Franklin Roosevelt was blamed for Pearl Harbor. By, among others, no less than his GOP opponent in 1944, New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey. In Thomas E. Dewey and His Times, biographer Richard Norton Smith records an angry Dewey saying that FDR “knew what was happening before Pearl Harbor, and instead of being re-elected he ought to be impeached.”
Saturday night, SNL roasted the Democratic candidates in their cold open, with comedian and writer Larry David playing the part of Bernie Sanders. Somewhere along the line, David-as-Sanders made the claim that, while his colleagues were able to afford gold-plated underpants, it made more sense to elect the man with a single pair of underpants that he dried on a radiator: Bernie Sanders.
Now, far be it from me to speculate on whether Bernie does, in fact, own one pair of underpants that he dries on a radiator. I've heard stories about him hoarding plastic cafeteria silverware in his Congressional office, but nothing about any questionable laundry habits. Thankfully, CNN, which is clearly trying to earn itself the Pulitzer it should have received for its intense "missing plane" coverage several years ago, has fact-checked SNL's claim and labeled it...errrr...."underpants on fire."
I'm so glad we've cleared that up.
Last week, it was all the rage to call out Ted Cruz and his allies as "profiteers" and "charlatans" who sold their ineffectiveness and "failure theater" to the country as "true conservatism," thus making it much more difficult for the other 95% of Congress to do their jobs, which they have yet to really describe in detail. Apparently, Ted Cruz and company have given Americans unrealistic expectations of what is truly possible to accomplish in government, and while that's generally true - much of what Ted Cruz does is doomed from the start - that doesn't explain, exactly, why Americans might consider a guy who does something, anything as being a more desirable act to follow than any number of elected officials who seem to spend most of their time adjusting their office decor.
Hey! We're back for good this time! Thanks for all of your special requests for our return. And also for your hate mail.
In Our Sights
Hillary Clinton has finally come up with a way to differentiate herself from the rest of the Democratic candidates that has nothing to do with her gender. She's going after guns in a big way, proposing a mandatory, national gun buy-back program like the one that didn't work in Australia.
Voters may still be utterly confused as to who should earn their vote, but the Secret Service made their own decision on which candidates are America's frontrunners. Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Hillary Clinton all earned a private Secret Service security detail for themselves starting this weekend. Jeb Bush reportedly consoled himself by dressing up his dog in a suit.