Saturday February 28, 2015
February 26th, 2015
We have arrived at the point where the utter tedium and desperation of personal attacks against President Barack Obama about his life story and his loyalty are no longer news. The histrionics have shed their ability to shock. Most right-minded Americans - ethically speaking, not ideologically speaking - have moved on.
But occasionally the insults prove to be accidentally instructive.
Regular readers know that I sometimes mock "very serious people" - politicians and pundits who solemnly repeat conventional wisdom that sounds tough-minded and realistic. The trouble is that sounding serious and being serious are by no means the same thing, and some of those seemingly tough-minded positions are actually ways to dodge the truly hard issues.
While talking to black and white Republicans recently about the Grand Old Party's outreach efforts to voters of color, I wondered: What are Democrats doing to reach working-class whites?
The sure-footed start of Jeb Bush's bid for the Oval Office began with a money blitzkrieg that helped drive Mitt Romney out of the running for 2016. It may well claim other casualties among the large crowd of other Republican presidential hopefuls before the first party caucuses and primaries.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg isn't planning on going anywhere any time soon.
"Now I happen to be the oldest," the 81-year-old justice said in the tone of a person who has answered a whole lot of questions about her possible retirement plans. Sitting in her Supreme Court chambers on a dreary afternoon in late January, she added, "But John Paul Stevens didn't step down until he was 90."
Supermarket shoppers are more likely to buy French wine when French music is playing, and to buy German wine when they hear German music. That's true even though only 14 percent of shoppers say they noticed the music, a study finds.
I had been keeping an open mind on Jeb Bush.
Last week began with the comedy extravaganza of the "Saturday Night Live" reunion, but not one of its sketches or jokes was half as funny as four words three days later by Jeb Bush.
"I'm my own man," he said.
And he kept a straight face somehow.
In terms of his fitness for the presidency, the fact that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker fell short of graduating from college is interesting but ultimately immaterial. What is relevant -- and concerning -- is how Walker talks about the issue.
Immigration is supposed to be a bitterly divisive topic for Republicans. Yet a very narrow range of opinion separates the party's leading presidential candidates, which is unfortunate for the country.