Welcome to our annual frightfest! Each year we crank up the special effects soundtrack [Cue: rattling chains, unholy moaning, shrieking harpies in the night, and maniacal organ music in a very minor key....] and present our very own scary stories for both sides of the political aisle. This year's presidential campaign is frightening enough, no matter where you sit on the political spectrum, so we had to get rather outlandish for one of these stories. The other one is bone-chilling for a very different reason: because it's so uncomfortably close to actual fears some voters are now having, to some degree or another. Both should be equally spine-tingling, for their respective audiences, though.
Archive of Articles for October, 2015
I haven't done one of these types of column in a while, but figured it was a good time to do so, since I punted on writing yesterday to get interviewed on HuffPost Live and since tomorrow is our annual Hallowe'en column, with a scary nightmare story for both left and right. Because of all this, there's been a lot of political news made this week and I have nowhere else to talk about it all than here.
There will be no column today. However, there's a fun reason why I'll be too busy to write: later today I will be appearing in a HuffPost Live conversation, about tonight's upcoming Republican presidential debate. I'm not sure exactly when the panel will appear (some time around 5:00 PM East Coast time), but [...]
Christmas came early for Paul Ryan this year. John Boehner just handed him a big present, in the form of a budget and debt ceiling agreement which will last until the next president is in office. This, if it passes, means the days of Republicans threatening Barack Obama with shutdowns and defaults are finally over. Which is why it's such a large gift to Ryan, because it assures him that he won't be forced into letting the Tea Partiers play their hostage-taking games until at least after the next election. All the Tea Party loathing for the deal can be laid at the outgoing speaker's feet, leaving Ryan unscathed as he enters the job of leading the House of Representatives.
No matter what the eventual outcome, this year's Republican primary race is sure to go down in history as one of the most bizarre political contests ever. Well, considering what happened in 2012, perhaps I should amend that with "...until the next one happens." We currently have two frontrunners, with everyone else running so far back in the pack they're ecstatic if they ever post a double-digit number in the polls (which few of them can manage to do, even in state-level polling). The two GOP frontrunners have, between them, a total of zero days of political experience. One is a megalomaniac billionaire and one is a world-class surgeon who seems to be trying to prove the old canard that doctors all think they've been promoted to God.
Hillary Clinton just had the best week of her campaign yet. Not only did she shine at the Benghazi hearing yesterday, three of her Democratic opponents dropped out of the presidential nomination race. Joe Biden was never actually in the race, but his announcement that he wouldn't run was more significant than Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee ending their campaigns. This leaves Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, and Lawrence Lessig. Of those four, only Sanders and Clinton have any chance at winning the nomination, and Hillary's doing better in the polls than Sanders. So, all in all, a very good week for Hillary Clinton.
Paul Ryan is now being hailed as the savior of the House Republicans. Whether he lives up to that lofty title should quickly become apparent. Changing leaders doesn't change the dynamics of the problem, so for all the praise Ryan is now getting he's still got an almost-impossible task in front of him. No wonder he didn't want the job in the first place. As the new House Republican savior, his main objective is going to be to save House Republicans from themselves.
It has been a busy few weeks for the Democratic presidential race. First the debate, then Jim Webb's exit from the race, and today the news that Vice President Joe Biden has declined to jump into the contest. Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton will testify before the Benghazi committee. All of this will have an effect on the voting public, but it's still too early to make any definitive statements as to how everything is going to shake out. Still, some trendlines are already emerging, and they could be very good news indeed for Clinton.
It's been a few weeks, so it's time once again to take a peek at the Republican presidential primary race. There are new polls out today, and the most interesting thing about them is the reflection of the public's reaction to the first Democratic debate. I'll be writing about the Democratic side of things in the next few days (never fear), but for today I thought the Republicans were worth a quick look, seeing as how they'll be debating again next Wednesday.
This Thursday, Hillary Clinton will appear (once again) in front of the latest congressional committee to investigate Benghazi. The first seven investigations have turned up precisely nothing, but that didn't stop Republicans from trying one last time to do political damage to Clinton. This latest committee was necessary (obviously) to keep the issue alive right into the 2016 campaign season. But now the committee itself is under the public's microscope, which means that the focus will be more on the Republican questioners this Thursday, and not so much on Clinton.