Wednesday October 01, 2014
March 20th, 2014
President Barack Obama is surely the first president to be accused of acting in foreign policy like Pollyanna, John Wayne and Henry Kissinger in the same month.
Sadly, the American public does not have a thunderbolt to throw at Congress to get its members to quit acting like petulant children and focus on doing the work of the nation.
Scott Brown, the Republican who admitted he wore pink leather shorts on his first date with his wife-to-be, is back.
And Democrats are scared to death.
It's not that Democrats are particularly scared that the 54-year-old former Massachusetts senator is going to get elected as a New Hampshire senator - although it's conceivable that a charming, carpetbagging, middling politician could jump across the border and unseat Jeanne Shaheen.
In American domestic politics, messing with Social Security is known as "the third rail," referring to the power source for trains that is fatal to the touch. In foreign policy discussions, invoking the name of Adolf Hitler promises the same lethal result.
I was resting at home when Marshbaum called to ask if I wanted to go with him to look at the lettuce.
“The supermarket’s got lettuce for less than two bucks a head,” he said enthusiastically.
“What’s so unusual about that?”
“Because it’s going to be extinct in a few weeks.”
Watching Dianne Feinstein tear into the Central Intelligence Agency on the Senate floor the other day brought to mind a 1970s-era television commercial about a margarine supposedly indistinguishable from butter.
"Chiffon's so delicious, it fooled even you, Mother Nature," says the narrator.
"Oh, it's not nice to fool Mother Nature," she replies, her voice becoming steely as she raises her arms to summon thunder and lightning.
Listlessness is bad politics. Defensiveness is poor strategy. And resignation is never inspiring.
You can feel elements of all three descending around President Obama as he fends off attack after attack from his conservative foes who vary the subject depending on the day, the circumstance and the opportunity.
Recently the Federal Reserve released transcripts of its monetary policy meetings during the fateful year of 2008. And boy, are they discouraging reading.
Partly that's because Fed officials come across as essentially clueless about the gathering economic storm. But we knew that already. What's really striking is the extent to which they were obsessed with the wrong thing. The economy was plunging, yet all many people at the Fed wanted to talk about was inflation.
If Hillary Clinton doesn't run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 - and there's 1 chance in 5 of that - the party could have a nervous breakdown.
Crimea is probably lost to Ukraine. Within the space of a few days, it has become the latest in a string of "frozen conflict" zones that Russia has used to strong-arm ex-Soviet neighbors ever since the Union collapsed.
The history of these unrecognized statelets suggests that authorities in Kiev are unlikely to regain control of Crimea for decades, if ever. There are few better ways of understanding events on the peninsula right now than to look at how these other "frozen" zones emerged.