Wednesday November 26, 2014
June 18th, 2014
The stunning primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the first ever suffered by any congressional leader of either party, may well reflect his Virginia constituents' souring toward his personal hubris more than any cosmic policy issue.
There's a good chance if you receive - or give - a Father's Day card this weekend, Dad will be portrayed as a flatulent, beer-obsessed, tool-challenged buffoon who would rather hog the remote, go fishing or play golf than be with the kids.
That's what the greeting card industry thinks of dads. And apparently kids do, too, since so-called funny cards - obviously a subjective term - are the top sellers when it comes to honoring fathers.
The conventional wisdom about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political fortunes is that he still has a shot at the 2016 Republican presidential nomination - if he can just get past Bridgegate, the scandal over his aides' allegedly politically motivated partial closure of the George Washington Bridge last year.
The winner in Tuesday's mind-boggling defeat of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wasn't just David Who? (Actually, David Brat.) It also was gridlock - for the remainder of this congressional session, and the next one, and probably for a number of years beyond that.
Pity Diane Sawyer and the rest of us trying to mine a piece of news or an interesting tidbit from Hillary Clinton's "Hard Choices."
Hard, indeed. Finding something new is like looking for the vegan option at an Arkansas pig roast. Do you pick the revelation that Clinton thought the president was pulling her aside for advice when he just wanted her to know she had something caught in her teeth, or what about her becoming a grandmother?
Eric Shinseki is a stand-up individual: Willing to serve two combat tours in Vietnam. Later, as Army chief of staff, willing to publicly differ with his bosses when the Bush administration soft-pedaled the personnel needs of occupying Iraq.
Having stepped up at the apex of his career to lead the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs, last week, Shinseki was willing to step down.
This summer, hundreds of sick, desperate people will gather daily in the pre-dawn darkness of a Southwestern Virginia parking lot, part of a late July pilgrimage as predictable as the state's tobacco crop.
They come with festering cancers, rotting teeth, wheezing lungs and aching joints, lining up for hours to see the doctors who arrive with a mobile clinic to deliver health care to the most underserved of America's poor.
There are three things we know about man-made global warming. First, the consequences will be terrible if we don't take quick action to limit carbon emissions. Second, in pure economic terms the required action shouldn't be hard to take: emission controls, done right, would probably slow economic growth, but not by much. Third, the politics of action are nonetheless very difficult.
But why is it so hard to act? Is it the power of vested interests?
I am both shocked and fascinated by Americans' religious literalism.
One Gallup report issued last week found that 42 percent of Americans believe "God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago."
Even among people who said that they were "very familiar" with the theory of evolution, a third still believed that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago.
See Hillary run.
I don't mean for president, not officially. I mean around the country, from TV studio to town hall, New York to Chicago to Austin to Washington. It's been said that she needs to prove her fitness for a big campaign, and her tour for her book "Hard Choices" deliberately puts her in the thick of it, talking and listening and mingling and moving.
I'd just as soon see her - and other politicians - retreat.