By John Parisella - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 0 Comments
She says she won’t and history is against her. But that Clinton name is magic.
In a few weeks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will leave her post for a well-deserved rest, and certainly a new challenge. She has truly earned the accolades coming from within her country and beyond. She is the ultimate public servant—selfless, loyal, determined, persistent, and effective. Now the early speculation is that she will run for the presidency in 2016.
Clearly, today’s Democratic party remains very much sympathetic to the Clintons. President Bill Clinton’s enthusiastic support of Barack Obama in the last campaign did much to consolidate the Clintons’ standing with the rank and file of the party. Hillary’s stewardship of the State Department and her loyal service to her 2008 rival reinforces the Clinton brand. It is fair to say that the 2016 nomination is hers for the taking.
The question is: Will she run? She will be 69 years come 2016. The reelection of Barack Obama does indicate that America is changing rapidly which favours the Democratic voter coalition, but will the American voter be inclined to return to a baby boomer generation leader? On the basis of competence, the answer is yes. However, four years out of politics is more than an eternity, and one should not underestimate the Republican bench for 2016.
Senator Mario Rubio, Governor Chris Christie, Congressman (and former governor) Jeb Bush, and former vice-president candidate Paul Ryan seem to be already testing the waters. Should all these candidates make a run, and begin to bring the party more to the center, it is plausible that the American voter would consider the Republican alternative—especially after two consecutive terms of White House Democratic rule. Since 1945, only Republican George W.H. Bush was able to add a third consecutive White House term for the governing party.
Democrats have some other notable candidates as well. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Vice President Joe Biden are potential contenders. At this stage, it is doubtful any of those Democrats could defeat Hillary, but if Hillary is true to her word, and stays out of the race, the Democratic bench looks respectable at this point—and strong enough to compete with the GOP crop.
My Democratic friends, who supported Hillary Clinton in 2008, remain hopeful that she will run one more time. Many, while supportive of Obama, believe Hillary still has a rendez-vous with history. It was Obama who said that Hillary made him a better candidate. And in an ironic twist, by choosing Hillary as his secretary of state, Obama makes her a potentially better president than had she won in 2008. She is now more-than-qualified for the big job.
It is too early to predict her future. She will certainly not fade from the scene, and she should not. Whether she runs or not, her voice will be needed in the public forum, both in America and in the rest of the world.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 7:00 AM - 0 Comments
The stakes were never so high, the battle never so bitter. With America’s future in the balance, Barack Obama overcame a surprising surge from Mitt Romney to re-capture the presidency. The inside story, by Luiza Ch. Savage
As he stood in Chicago, claiming his second victory, Barack Obama had made history yet again.
He was the first president to be re-elected since Franklin Delano Roosevelt with an unemployment rate higher than 7.4 per cent. The jobless rate on Election Day, 7.9 per cent, was actually a notch higher than when he took office amidst the financial crisis and unfolding recession.
But as achievements go, it lacked the magic of 2008. And the man was different too: not the inspiring and redemptive figure—America’s first black president—he then was, but a toughened, hard-knuckled politician who had to scramble to preserve victory. In 2008, ecstatic throngs of Americans had swept him into the White House believing he was the one who would take them to a better place. In 2012, a slimmer majority kept him in office because he had convinced them his Republican rival would take them somewhere worse.
In 2008, Obama offered a broad vision of national unity and a promise of post-partisan healing that appealed to a cross-section of Americans. In 2012, his strategists cobbled together a narrow victory out of pockets of scientifically micro-targeted subgroups of voters across the swing states—women in Virginia, Latinos in Nevada and working-class whites in Ohio who liked the auto bailout. Continue…
By John Parisella - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 12:32 PM - 0 Comments
What can and will this second-term president accomplish?
Barack Obama becomes the fifth President (and only the second Democrat) to be reelected to a second term since the end of World War II. The post mortems have begun, but winning a second term usually ensures a place in history based on consolidating achievements. While, failure to obtain a second term often makes a one-term President appear as an accident of history.
While the popular vote numbers were close, Obama can claim to be the only Democrat since the war to win consecutive terms with over 50 per cent of the vote. His victories in the electoral college were also decisive, giving him a clear mandate to deal with the major issues facing his administration. On the other hand, the disappointed Republicans, and Mitt Romney, seemed to be taken by surprise with the result.
After that stellar first debate performance by Romney on October 3—against a lackluster President Obama—the polls did tighten dramatically. But the Republicans continued raising issues such as contraception, abortion, and rape—only to reduce their potential advantage on economic issues. In the end, those internal overly optimistic GOP polls lead conservative pundits like Karl Rove, Michael Barone, and Dick Morris to embarrassingly predict a decisive electoral college victory for Romney.
What the results did show was the superior quality of the Democratic organization under the leadership of Obama’s close circle of operatives, such as David Plouffe, David Axelrod, and Jim Messina. They fought a strong ground game, an effective and innovative Internet operation, and raised the art of micro-politics to a near science. The new winning coalition, which Obama’s team had been driving at for over two years, includes single women voters, minorities (Latino, Asian, and African Americans), and the youth.
Despite the initial Republican lack of introspection about the electoral loss, their continued justification of the no-tax mantra—and even lingering talk of the “fictional” Obama (the European socialist with the fake birth certificate!)—there is the possibility of bipartisan accommodation on the U.S.’s priority issues. The President must use the obvious momentum associated with winning a second term and begin using the bully pulpit as the instrument to build support and put pressure on the Republicans. Meanwhile, good sense Republicans like David Frum and Chris Christie, as well as NYT conservative columnist David Brooks, will hopefully be able to pull their party back from the more extreme elements.
We know that second-term Presidents soon become lame-duck occupants of the White House. Yet, Obama’s victory has ensured the safety of his first-term signature achievements—Obamacare, pay equity for women, student loan reform, financial reform, repealing DADT for gays in the military, and winding down the combat role of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, there are plenty of crucial issues to tackle over the next four years—these include dealing with the deficit and debt issue (the famous fiscal cliff is beyond the horizon), immigration reform, energy independence, climate change, and stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Once the Republicans digest this defeat, see its enormity and its ominous signs for the future of their party, its own leadership may soon conclude that it is in their interests to put country first and work with the reelected President.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Friday, September 7, 2012 at 4:27 AM - 0 Comments
President Barack Obama’s speech to the Democratic convention in Charlotte was not as emotionally captivating as Bill Clinton’s, nor as stirring as the speech Obama himself delivered at the 2008 convention in Denver, but it could prove to be an important manifesto for Democrats.
Yes, large tracts of his speech were bread-and-butter appeals to the middle class on such pocketbook issues as income-tax deductions for mortgage interest payments or student loans. And there was a laundry list of transactional appeals to every demographic sub-group of the Democratic coalition: Hispanics, women, young people, gays and lesbians, and unions.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 6:20 PM - 0 Comments
Barack Obama has been invoking Bill Clinton’s economic record on the campaign trail, in particular, to defend his plan to extinguish the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
“All we’re asking is that folks like me go back to the rates we paid under Bill Clinton – which, by the way, worked out pretty good. We created 23 million new jobs, we had a surplus instead of a deficit, and we created a whole bunch of new millionaires to boot,” Obama said this month in New Hampshire.
By Jaime Weinman - Friday, July 20, 2012 at 10:37 AM - 0 Comments
A raft of new shows appeals to the broadest audience possible by getting rid of the parties
“What’s going on in the real world of politics is really nutty,” says Greg Berlanti, co-creator of the new show Political Animals. “That allows us in the fictional world to be even nuttier. So we thank the real world for that.” The show, a miniseries that will lead to a full series if it does well enough, stars Sigourney Weaver as a female secretary of state and former first lady who is absolutely nothing like Hillary Clinton. It’s the culmination of a year when TV has been dealing non-stop with politics, a subject that most TV characters never discuss under any circumstances. The dean of cable networks, HBO, has introduced Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a gaffe-prone female vice-president, and The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s talky tale of a cable news commentator (Jeff Daniels) who decides to fix America by taking on the Tea Party and other political ills. Boss, returning for a second season in August, has Kelsey Grammer as a corrupt mayor, and ABC gave a second-season pickup to Scandal, about a former White House official who devotes her life to helping politicians with dark secrets. If, as people used to say, politics is show business for ugly people, then today’s TV is politics for pretty people.
Even shows with a small political component can find themselves taken over by that story. The Good Wife, starring Julianna Margulies as the wife of a disgraced politician, originally focused on her life as a lawyer and intended to make her husband (Chris Noth) only a minor character; three seasons later, much of the show is about politics, and one of the most popular characters is a political operative (Alan Rickman). The Emmy-nominated Parks and Recreation started out as a story of small-town bureaucracy, and got a lukewarm reception. It soon began incorporating more political stories—including parodies of real-life scandals—and when the show’s fifth season begins in September, the lead character will become an elected official.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 9:33 PM - 22 Comments
Conservatives are split over how to carry out their mission—and how to deal with a resurgent President
Eleven thousand conservatives gathered in a Washington hotel last week to rally, strategize and audition wannabe presidential candidates. The halls at the Conservative Political Action Conference were packed with activists, radio hosts, Tea Partiers in colonial regalia—and thick with giddy disbelief. Speaker after speaker reminded the crowd that only two years ago, in the wake of Obama-mania, pundits predicted Democratic majorities as far as the eye could see. Or, as Grover Norquist, head of the Americans for Tax Reform told the audience, “It’s tough to remember two years ago, how dark it looked for liberty!”
Now the House of Representatives is theirs, control of the U.S. Senate is within reach in 2012, and the White House looks vulnerable too. They’ve made spending cuts the topic of the day. “Conservatives are excited,” conference organizer and outgoing head of the American Conservative Union, David Keene, said in an interview, adding that November’s mid-term election “represented not only a partisan victory but one of the strongest ideological victories in American history.”
But beneath the triumphalism ran an undercurrent of anxiety. “Are we going to let Washington co-opt the Tea Party?” Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell asked, summing up the fear in the room. The crowd roared “No!” and the newly elected lawmakers concurred. “A lot of us freshmen don’t really have a lot of knowledge about the ways of Washington—and frankly, we don’t really care,” declared Rep. Kristi Noem, a newbie from South Dakota.
By Michael Petrou - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 196 Comments
How she’s changing the face of American politics
John McCain thought he needed to spring one more surprise on America.
In August 2008, his presidential campaign against Barack Obama was listing badly. Some of this was his fault. But after eight years of George W. Bush, anyone representing the Republican party came with a lot of baggage. McCain needed to choose a candidate for vice-president who underlined his reputation as a maverick within the party and who was untainted by close ties to the previous administration. The stakes were high. As John Heilemann and Mark Halperin write in Game Change, their book about the campaign, “If McCain’s running mate selection didn’t fundamentally alter the dynamics of the race, it was lights out.”
McCain’s original plan was to partner with Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice-president. McCain hoped such a choice would prove his bipartisan credentials, steal thunder from his opponents, and back-foot the press—allowing his campaign to regain some momentum. But when word of the Lieberman plan leaked, much of the Republican party rebelled, and McCain was forced to scramble. “We need to have a transformative, electrifying moment in this campaign,” McCain strategist Steve Schmidt said. No one on the short list of alternative candidates could deliver this. Schmidt suggested a new option: Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
There wasn’t time to vet Palin properly, or to probe her thoughts on foreign and domestic policy. Picking Palin was a Hail Mary pass in the dying seconds of a championship game. But McCain met and liked her. She was confident and calm. She wasn’t afraid to burn bridges and upset people, even in the Republican party. She was an outsider, like him. Steve Schmidt told McCain choosing Palin could hurt him. But a safer candidate, he said, wouldn’t help. It would be better to go for the win and lose big than to tiptoe to a narrow defeat. “High risk, high reward,” another one of McCain’s advisers cautioned. “You shouldn’t have told me that,” McCain replied. “I’ve been a risk taker all my life.”
By Katie Engelhart - Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 5:20 PM - 2 Comments
He told Bindi, ‘You are more beautiful than intelligent’
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has never been terribly discreet about his penchant for extra-marital amore. But here’s some sound advice from one of his colleagues, Italian senator Patrizia Bugnano, after the PM’s latest misstep: “Someone tell Berlusconi he is no George Clooney.”
The row began when Rosy Bindi, a member of the opposition Democratic party, appeared with Berlusconi on the late-night television show Porta a Porta to discuss an Italian court’s decision to revoke his executive immunity from prosecution—a move that could reopen a number of criminal cases against the PM, including alleged tax fraud. During the show, Berlusconi told the matronly Bindi, “You are more beautiful than intelligent,” apparently taking a swipe at both her looks and smarts. (On the show, Bindi fired back: “I’m not one of the women at your disposal.”) Continue…