Thursday October 08, 2015
October 8th, 2015
The leading contenders for the Republican nomination for president tell us three interesting things about America.
After a gunman killed nine people at an Oregon community college last week, Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed a new attitude on gun control. She sounds a lot like President Barack Obama's new attitude on immigration: If Congress doesn't act, she says, she will.
"This epidemic of gun violence knows no boundaries," the Democratic presidential candidate said, "knows no limits of any kind."
Hillary Clinton is facing one of the most fateful decisions of the presidential primary season: what to say about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and when to say it.
Politically, Clinton's choice is a true Sophie's Choice. Whatever she does is guaranteed to generate criticism and anger key constituencies. The best case scenario for Clinton would have been to have negotiations blow up and therefore avoid having to take a position.
When presidential nominees are asked about selecting a running mate, the answer almost always is: The choice should be the person most qualified to become president if fate or circumstance were to so dictate.
The first two vice presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, fit that description. But each got the job by the vote of the electoral college, with the higher vote-getter becoming president and the runner-up his standby.
Happiness is being on the Jeb Bush campaign mailing list. Recent highlights:
Sept. 27 — Columba Bush emailed to say she wants me to get to know the Jeb she knows, who is a person of principle. Also very tall. “But Friend, no one is going to see that side of him if he misses his critical End of Quarter fundraising goal of $200,000.”
To hardly anybody's surprise, it turns out that the "vast right-wing conspiracy" has been right in front of our eyes. Always was, actually. Or maybe you thought a seventh Benghazi investigation lasting as long as the Pearl Harbor and JFK assassination probes combined was exactly what America needed.
And no, Rep. Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) politically disastrous admission wasn't wrung out of him by a trick question.
It's not just Congress that fails to respond after another massacre briefly focuses attention on the irrationality and permissiveness of our country's firearms statutes. Those of us seeking change also regularly fall down on the job. We express outrage and move on, leaving the debate exactly where we found it.
There is a time for war and a time for peace, according to the book of Ecclesiastes and The Byrds. In the contest to replace John Boehner as speaker of the House, the Republican candidates chose to sell themselves as full-time political warriors. Forget about the national interest. Their job, as they have framed it, is to smite Democrats.
To medicine's long list of racial disparities, add this: Minorities wait much longer to see the doctor.