Wednesday September 03, 2014
July 13th, 2014
Every so often, we get a poignant reminder of what has been lost now that letter writing has been replaced by texting, emoticons or nothing at all, if you're a politician afraid to commit anything to paper for fear it will show up on page one or be read aloud by a committee chairman on a tear.
President Obama's comment that "I'm not interested in photo ops" about the border crisis during last week's visit to Texas was akin to your neighborhood pup not being interested in chasing squirrels.
Particularly in today's social-media madness of "selfies" and endless Internet traffic of other self-aggrandizing photo opportunities, cameras are catnip to politicians at all levels, and certainly the presidential.
After 80 years, the city of Cleveland, much maligned in lore as "the mistake on the lake," has been selected to host a national political convention in 2016. Famous Ohioans President William McKinley and Mark Hanna, the Karl Rove of his day, might well be turning in their graves.
Sarah Palin has joined a rising drumbeat of Republicans who call for President Barack Obama's impeachment. Democrats can barely conceal their glee.
It's hard to think of anything that would give a bigger boost to the Democrats' currently gloomy prospects in November's mid-term elections.
We all mourn the death of former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, a great senator and statesman. And, no doubt, before his passing, Howard Baker mourned the death of the Republican Party he once knew and led so well. It ain't the same party anymore.
One unhappy lesson we've learned in recent years is that economics is a far more political subject than we liked to imagine. Well, duh, you may say. But, before the financial crisis, many economists - even, to some extent, yours truly - believed that there was a fairly broad professional consensus on some important issues.
The 2014 election year is just kicking into gear, but we've learned so much already. Among the political pointers for candidates of the future:
Do not attempt to curry favor with the voters by changing your name.
In the same week that a hedge fund, Standard General, essentially took over American Apparel, Bloomberg Businessweek published an eye-opening story about the company and its founder and former chief executive, Dov Charney. Eye-opening not in the usual manner when it comes to Charney: The magazine didn't uncover any new allegations of sexual harassment, nor did the reporter watch him engaging in oral sex, as a writer from Jane magazine once famously witnessed.
It has been almost three months since Islamic militants in northern Nigeria attacked a school that was giving exams and kidnapped more than 250 girls - some of the brightest and most ambitious teenagers in the region.
Their captors have called them slaves and threatened to "sell them in the market." The girls were last seen, looking terrified, in a video two months ago.