It’s Mario vs. Bubba, again
It’s Mario vs. Bubba, again.
Though it was obvious to almost no one at the time, Thursday, April 5, may have certified a momentous change in contemporary politics. It was that day when Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus was quoted saying that the Republican “war on women,” a favorite liberal talking point, was a creation of Democrats and the media—no more reality-based than a Republican “war on caterpillars.” It probably wasn’t the most outlandish comment a GOP operative uttered that hour.
While neither political party has a monopoly on “community,” in recent years Democrats have been more inclined than Republicans to invoke it—none more conspicuously than Barack Obama. In the peroration of the 2012 State of the Union address, he declared that “No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a team.” A month earlier, in the city where Theodore Roosevelt delivered his landmark “New Nationalism” speech, Obama argued that “Our success has never just been about the survival of the fittest.
This weekend in Little Rock, Bill Clinton and an all-star cast of political alumni will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his formal entry into the 1992 presidential race. But the candidate decision that did the most to bequeath Clinton the Democratic nomination did not occur until December 20, 1991.
For a political party that seems to derive its ideology from Ayn Rand’s embrace of heedless ambition, the Republicans are going through an unexpected Ferdinand the Bull phase. Many of the GOP’s top presidential prospects prefer smelling the flowers—or taking a New Jersey state helicopter to a son’s baseball game—to becoming Teddy Roosevelt’s man in the arena, scrapping for every vote in the Iowa caucuses. And while Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty long for the roar of the crowd, Republican voters are caught up in the allure of the non-combatant.
WASHINGTON—The central question in our politics is whether we can break out of formulaic discussions that always end up in the same place. Here's one major test: Can progressives change their way of thinking about business? We are already seeing a dreary replay of the old argument. Self-styled centrists say that President Obama has really ticked off business leaders and urgently needs to make nice with them. Because the president has spoken occasionally about the irresponsibility of Wall Street and the very wealthy, these poor suffering multimillionaires and billionaires have hurt feelings.
Washington—A fall from grace of the sort experienced recently by Indiana's Mark Souder typically brings smiles to the faces of liberals weary of moralistic religious types who preach one thing and do another. But I took no pleasure in Souder's resignation from Congress last week after it was revealed that the conservative evangelical Republican had an affair with a part-time staff member. I always thought he was the real deal, both serious and thoughtful in his approach to religious and political questions.
Mario Cuomo, famous former New York governor and still more famous perennial will-he-or-won't-he almost-candidate for president, has found a new way to rehearse his Hamlet act: I'm unhappy with the current presidential race, so much so that I haven't endorsed Obama or Hillary [Clinton], though I'm well-known to be a Democrat.... I am not endorsing because I don't think they've been specific enough. We have these big, big issues, and the political theory is: "I don't want to get into the specifics, because if I do I'm going to get into trouble." C'mon, Mario.
It's not often that a U.S. political campaign is launched on foreign soil. Then again, it's not often that a U.S. political campaign revolves around a major motion picture.