The Republican Party may be busily packing candidates into a clown car — yesterday it neared, finally, the “dirty dozen” required to hold either an in-depth debate on the merits of marijuana legalization or our own First Annual Republican Hunger Games (the clearly better idea, given how quickly it’d narrow the field) — but the Democrats seem to be struggling with their own field’s drawbacks. Namely, that no one currently running for the Democratic Presidential nomination is able to remember where they put their keys without one of those Brookstone echolocaters and a staff of twelve.
Republicans in 1994 had their best election cycle in decades. The GOP swept to joint majorities in Congress for the first time in 40 years. And the party picked up a net 10 governorships, giving them 30 of 50 overall.
But Jeb Bush wasn’t among them.
The Bush family scion came up short that year in his run against Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles. Even as Jeb’s older brother George W. Bush toppled a Democratic governor in Texas, setting him on the road to the White House six years later.
Jeb Bush, a South Florida businessman, did go on to claim the Sunshine State governorship in 1998, and was re-elected easily in 2002. But those were against middling-at-best opponents, with the latter win in a strong Republican year.
The Republican Party plans to pare down its presidential primary-season debates from 20 in 2012 to less than half that this go-around. No matter. The candidates, two of them at least, appear ready to drive the debate before any formal such event takes place.
“I think there’s a consistent theme here that every candidate should be asked,” Rand Paul told CNN’s audience this week, “and that is: Is it a go-ahead idea to go into the Middle East, topple governments, and hope something better rises out of the chaos? Because recent history seems to show that—you know what?—we’re not getting something better, we’re getting something worse.”
There’s something fundamentally conservative in the libertarian’s answer. When I interviewed the Students for a Democratic Society’s first president Al Haber for A Conservative History of the American Left, I asked him in his book-filled living room to define the motivating idea behind the Left: “What is the better world possible?” Rand Paul asks conservatives to consider the worse world possible.
The Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., would announce Thursday she would be running for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat. At last, it seemed as if California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the only name Democrat in the race, might face some competition. Then Sanchez claimed that the announcement email had been sent out by mistake. Oops, as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry would say.
Then Team Sanchez sent out a press release that promised “a significant political announcement” Thursday. If Sanchez does throw her hat in the ring, she flubbed her entrance. Harris may be the luckiest politician in California.
Early last week, as Hillary Clinton’s monster Mystery Machine van rumbled its lonely way down I-80, stopping only occasionally to interact with carefully selected peasants and purchase overpriced Mexican food, someone on Twitter pointed out that the only way Hillary’s Quixotic quest to endear herself to her countrymen made sense was if you thought about it like this: sometime, in the not-so-distant future, someone with a lot of love to give and a healthy sense of masochism creates an approximation of a bordering-on-geriatric female. He dresses her in a pantsuit, fluffs her bleached hair into a bowl cut, gives her some programming guidelines, and sets her out into the world on a quest to understand and appreciate humanity until she can finally feel their emotions, just as if she was born a real boy (or girl — I’d hate to be considered sexist).
Even if you were naïve enough to believe that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was actually listening to anything through her mercifully brief “listening tour” to Iowa — during which she met with a handful of hand-selected and bused-in Democratic activists — the whole adventure demonstrates what Nobel prize-winning economist F. A. Hayek called “the Fatal Conceit.”
This has been quite a week for equaling major historical achievements. Jordan Spieth tied Tiger Woods’ mark for the best score at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. And a day later Mrs. Marco Rubio announced she will try to tie George W. Bush’s record at the White House in Washington, D.C. Mister Bush, you will recall, is the only cheerleader to ever take up residence in the White House. Jeannette Rubio is hoping to match him in that distinction.
Of course, old George cheered for the Yale baseball team, which is designed for playing but never actually winning. Jeannette plied her craft, or art, for the Miami Dolphins football team, which wins now and then. In fact, the Dolphins are the only team ever to have a perfect season, back in 1972, which might bode well for Jeannette’s quest, although the Nixon campaign also was undefeated that year and that did not work out very well over time.
It has been a long time since the nation has had an articulate leader. Contrary to the fawning of the mainstream media, and the loyalty of the usual progressive suspects, our current president is not articulate. Not even close.
The word articulate implies at least a modicum of substance. To be articulate, one has to be right at least some of the time. Barack Obama hasn’t been right about anything since he told us that he would fundamentally change the nation. He’s bad for, as the lawyers phrase it in their objections, assuming facts not in evidence. What he is is glib. When the teleprompter is working, we can sometimes go so far as slick. But he’s not articulate.
One wouldn’t think that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would still have a shot of winning a second term — especially after the hits he has taken since being forced into a runoff against little-known Cook County Commissioner Jesus (Chuy) Garcia.
Last month, on Election Day, Emanuel ran afoul of the Second City’s black residents and criminal justice reform advocates across the nation after the Guardian revealed that police officers were allegedly beating and torturing suspects they arrested at a warehouse on the city’s West Side. The news, coming on the heels of outrage over police misconduct in Ferguson, Mo., New York City, and Cleveland, Ohio (where a 12-year-old boy playing with a toy gun was shot by a police officer within seconds of pulling up), likely contributed to Emanuel winning a mere 45 percent of the vote.