Wednesday January 28, 2015
Archive - 2014
The tea partyers made a serious blunder in Mississippi, costing them a runoff win: They carelessly slipped their magic passion potion to the opposition.
The hard right's strength comes from the nearly religious fervor that propels its small numbers to the polls at times when the larger numbers are snoozing. In Mississippi, the right woke up the larger numbers.
Hold that thought, will you?
How's this for a punch line? You stage a rebellion to get rid of Eric Cantor, who is on his worst day (to critics on the right) a very conservative guy who relishes hardball tactics, and he gets replaced by a pragmatic moderate from California. You call this victory?
For years, U.S. officials have debated in meetings and in classified cables whether Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a uniter or a divider.
Now, events may have provided the answer.
Hillary Clinton had a rough rollout for her new book and likely presidential quest; there were gaffes, awkward answers and a relatively slow response to criticism.
No other would-be presidential contender approaches her stature or public appeal. None, for now, will face the same scrutiny.
The tea party, joined by right-wing populists who just don't want to take it anymore, took out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last week, and they didn't even get a lousy T-shirt for their trouble.
Before you could say "Beltway," the third-ranking House Republican, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who supports giving legal status to undocumented immigrants and is a generally bluer version of the pro-business Cantor, was lined up to take over the No. 2 House leadership post.
As Iraq unravels, a painful truth about U.S. politics and foreign policy is becoming more evident: The United States is very good in all-or-nothing situations, but all-or-nothing situations don't often arise.
The "war on terror" is the paradigm example of this syndrome. In Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, nothing is simple. The goals are complex, the trade-offs excruciating.
Last April, Melissa Ortiz, a low-income mother of four, gave testimony to a committee of the California Assembly detailing her life on the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids program, or CALWorks, the state's welfare program.
Americans are too worried and at the same time not worried enough about political polarization. Ideological rivalry is a good thing, not a bad thing: It's the reason for democracy, not a drawback of democracy. However, when rivalry hardens into a sullen standoff - not a contest of ideas but a bloody-minded refusal to engage - you have a problem. And to put it mildly, the U.S. has a problem.
Roger Ver, a computer-parts and explosives impresario known as Bitcoin Jesus, has come up with a pretty Bitcoiny idea: Give him some Bitcoins and he'll set you up with a passport and citizenship in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, ostensibly free of income taxes, bad weather and meddlesome governments.
The release of Hillary Clinton's "Hard Choices," and Marion Barry's "Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr." within days of each other was no doubt unintentional. But the timing is nonetheless fortuitous. The books draw attention to two of Washington's most enduring political war horses.