At the mention of Too Small to Fail, a titter ran through the crowd as they recalled the similar expression "too big to fail". Hillary gave a wry smile, said simply "yeah, I know," and continued on.
She announced that the American Academy of Pediatrics will recruit all 60,000 pediatricians in the country to promote early reading to children, and Scholastics will donate 500,000 books.
At least three times, she used the expression "read and sing" to children. I consider this a reflection of Ms. Clinton's Methodist background. It was John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who encouraged Methodists to "sing lustily and with good courage."
Plus, as a pastor, I've noticed a general decline in public singing, or even the ability to sin. I was cheered that Mrs. Clinton included the importance of singing as well as reading.
Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner spent last weekend with Tywin Lannister the Koch brothers at a palatial resort in Orange County, California. He was there with fellow politicians Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, and others, doing something-or-other, which they won't disclose, but you can bet it has to do with spending a lot of money to try to win some Senate seats.
The Koch's spent $870,000 on security for the meeting. All other business at the resort was cancelled, including the golf course. The weekend was topped off with dinner at La Casa Pacifica, the one-time home and now the Shrine of Richard Nixon. Theme of the meeting? “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society”.
Someone reported to the Nation magazine that 300 other billioinaires also attended the meeting with the goal of raising $500 million to take the Senate for the GOP and another %500 million "to make sure Hillary Clinton is never president." (The source might exaggerate. As the Nation itself notes, there are 492 billionaires in the United States. Did 60% of them show up at the Koch soiree?)
Whatever the number, there's little doubt they will raise the billion dollars. Koch's alone gave $400,000,000 in 2012, which is chump change for them. (You'll miss the $100 you gave to Mark Udall much more than they will miss $400 mil.)
Cory Gardner's senate race against Mark Udall in Colorado is on everyone's radar screen. Control of the Senate is likely to go down to the wire, and the prospect of flipping Colorado must be making Tywin Lannister's the Koch's mouth water. It's a close race and Udall, truth be said, can be a rather wooden candidate.
Udall, however, will win. Colorado is a purple state, not a red one, and Gardner needs to break out beyond the Republican base. He knows this would be difficult, especially with his name all over the Personhood Amendment, i.e. a fertilized cell is a person. Even many right-to-lifers don't support it.
So Gardner did the worst possible thing. He flip-flopped with the lame excuse that he didn't know some of the implications of the Personhood Amendment, and he's oh-so-much-smarter now. The truth is that Personhood was an albatross he tried to throw overboard because the state of Colorado is oh-so-much-bigger than the (very conservative) 4th congressional district he currently represents. Gardner is going to be eating "Personhood Amendment" straight through to November.
“...an interlocking set of institutions and alliances that won elections by stoking cultural and racial anxiety but used these victories mainly to push an elitist economic agenda, meanwhile providing a support network for political and ideological loyalists..."
“(President Obama) gave the order to do whatever was necessary to support our people in Libya. It was imperative that all possible resources be mobilized immediately. … When Americans are under fire, that is not an order the Commander in Chief has to give twice. Our military does everything humanly possible to save American lives — and would do more if they could. That anyone has ever suggested otherwise is something I will never understand.”
Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country,” Clinton writes in the gripping chapter, “Benghazi: Under Attack.”
Casting doubt on the motivations of congressional Republicans who have continued to investigate the attacks, including with an upcoming House select committee, Clinton continues: “I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.”
The GOP is licking its lips at the prospect of taking over the Senate this fall. 21 Democrats seats are up for grabs, versus only 15 Republicans seats. Seven pink-to-red states currently have Democratic Senators, and the GOP, not surprisingly, is zeroing in on those seven: Alaska, South Dakota, Arkansas, North Carolina, Montana, West Virginia, and Louisiana. Win six out of these seven red state contests, and the GOP would gain Senate control.
Second glance, not so fast. Yes, the GOP will pick up South Dakota, West Virginia, and, probably, Montana. Democratic incumbent Mark Begich, on the other hand, seems to be holding his own in Alaska. David Pryor was once thought to be toast in Arkansas, but the latest NBC/Marist poll gave him a robust 10 point lead. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and Kay Hagen in North Carolina are in dead heats and the election could go either way.
Meanwhile, the Democrats may pick up a Republican seat in Kentucky. Mitch McConnell looks like a loser to me, and his opponent, Alison Grimes, seems like she knows what she's doing. The polls indicate it could go either way. I think McConnell loses in Kentucky.
We go into the fall, then, with the GOP likely to flip three seats from blue to red, while the Democrats flip one from red to blue. The GOP would have to win three of four toss-up races in order to take control. This is certainly possible, but it's a long way from a slam dunk.
Other states that might come into play are Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, and Minnesota. Cory Gardner made a big splash in Colorado initially, but seems already on the defensive over issues of womens' reproductive health. Georgia has a strong Democratic candidate in Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Senate Sam Nunn, but, though the GOP will have to sweat to win it, they probably will. Bruce Braley will likely hold Iowa for the Democrats. Al Franken, narrowly elected in 2008, should have no trouble in Minnesota this year.
In Alabama, GOP Senator Jefferson Davis Sessions should win re-election easily.
This is about as close as I get to bipartisan: When you vote, you are basically voting for your elite group to govern as opposed their elite group. The big wheels run the show either way, or, as Senator Durban once said of the Congress, "The banks own this place."
Perhaps it's small consolation to know that the late Roman Republic operated in a similar fashion. We have Republicans and Democrats. They had the optimates and the populares.
They weren't organized as political parties the way we understand them today, but the optimates represented the oldest, most patrician, Roman families--the real snobs, you might say. The populares--"favoring the people"--tended to represent the broader Roman base.
Both the optimates and the populares, however, were comprised of patrician and noble families. Whoever became Consul that year, that person represented either one elite or the other elite.
John Lee Hooker has a song called "Welfare Blues" in which he opines that he gets a new pair of shoes if the Democrats get back in. After a fashion, the Democrats are the modern day populares--the elites who nevertheless give a sop to the people or the poor every great now and then. (That, as much as any single thing, is why I'm a Democrat.)
Our modern day optimates don't want to do even that, even though the ones in Roman times at least gave support to the bread dole.
Julius Caesar was a populares. Was he assassinated because he was a tyrant who wanted to rule as king, as the optimates said, or was he about to broaden the benefits of the Republic and assassinated because he threated the status quo?
Typepad has been under something called a DDoS attack for the past week which is why this blog, and many others, have been temporarily down. Finally, it's back up.
I haven't had much to say about politics recently because I find the political condition of the country to be inordinately depressing. We're in a dirty and ugly place, a cesspool of ignorance and fear, made worse by denial and willful stupidity.
While significant numbers of people have their knickers in a knot over who can marry whom, and who can smoke what, the 1%-ers are locking up their control of power in this country, and the condition of the world is on a trajectory of environmental catastrophe.
Sometimes the absurd is so absurd, there's no way to comment.
Colorado's best political commentator, Mike Littwin, eviscerates Senate candidate Cory Gardner over Gardner's sudden 180 degree shift on the "personhood" amendment. He was for it, then, as soon as he found himself in a state-wide race--a state which rejected "personhood" by 3-1--he got political religion and flip-flopped. Snippet:
Even though Gardner was running for Congress and the issue was on the ballot and it was being widely discussed and he was passing out petitions in support of the personhood amendment and everyone else in Colorado knew what the amendment would do, Gardner says he somehow didn’t understand the bit about contraception.
Now this makes him either not too bright or not too curious or not too honest — and since he is both bright and curious, you can see the difficulty.