WHY ARE WE SUDDENLY HEARING SO MUCH ABOUT ELIZABETH WARREN? SHE’S THE BACKUP HILLARY. WaPo: Poll: Hillary Clinton’s numbers worst since 2008, as GOP brand surges.
BATTLESPACE PREP: Don’t Worry About Hillary’s Health — She’s Got A Great Doctor!
There’s even a bit of subtle Obama-distancing: “As close as he is to Mrs. Clinton, Dr. Hyman has not collaborated with the current first lady. He said Michelle Obama has been overly influenced by the food industry on her ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative to combat childhood obesity.”
BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS: The Hillary-Boeing-Russia triangle.
JOURNALISM: Media: Hillary Shoe-Thrower ‘Frightening’; Bush Shoe-Thrower A ‘Folk Hero.’ Though to be fair, some of this is in the response: Hillary seemed like a frightened old woman, Bush like an amused jock.
BEYOND REPROACH: “Manuel Roig-Franzia at the Washington Post described the perils facing Samantha Power: dictators, third world warlords, terrorist. None of them inspired in her the slightest fear. There was only one thing on earth that gave her pause. Hillary.”
JUST AS ALL CRITICISM OF BARACK OBAMA HAS TO BE RACIST, ALL CRITICISM OF HILLARY WILL BE DEEMED SEXIST: Media Matters writer cries sexism over column critical of Hillary Clinton. That’s how you have to play it, when your candidate can’t withstand normal criticism.
WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND: Hillary Ducks A Shoe. But in Las Vegas, not Iraq. “For the record, I am opposed to disrupting, shouting down, or throwing things at speakers. This woman, likely just a nut, should be criminally prosecuted. But the Democrats seem unwilling to understand that, having been in power for the last five-plus years, they must expect that if someone throws shoes, it will be at them. They don’t want to acknowledge that they have been in power for a long time, and they must take responsibility for the baleful effects of their policies. Weird as it may seem, they appear to believe that they can run against themselves, indefinitely.”
KERRY’S ROLE IS TO MAKE HILLARY LOOK GOOD IN RETROSPECT. DESPITE ALL HER DEBACLES, HE’S TRYING HARD: McCain blasts Kerry’s ‘trifecta’ of disasters on foreign policy.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday accused Secretary of State John Kerry of presiding over a “trifecta” of foreign policy disasters.
McCain lambasted his former Senate colleague at a hearing in which Kerry faced wide-ranging criticism about the administration’s handling of crises in the Middle East and Ukraine.
“I think you’re about to hit the trifecta,” McCain declared.
“Geneva II [a Syrian peace meeting] was a total collapse, as I predicted to you that it would be. … The Israeli-Palestinian talks, even though you may drag them out for a while, are finished,” McCain said. “And I predict to you that, even though we gave the Iranians the right to enrich, which is unbelievable, that those talks will collapse too.” . . .
The tough talk from McCain, a fellow Vietnam War veteran whom Kerry considered asking to be his vice presidential running mate, underscored the difficulties the former senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate is now enduring.
Since taking office last year, he has dived into a series of challenges with the attitude of someone who knows he is in his last job, racking up frequent flier miles shuttling between the Middle East and Europe to convince the Israelis and Palestinians to start talking; stop Russia from a further invasion of Ukraine; resume nuclear talks with Iran; and try to get Syria to give up its chemical weapons as agreed.
Republicans are skeptical that Kerry is making progress on any of those issues, and there have been whispers that in his pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, he has his eye on a Nobel Prize.
Kerry is also taking friendly fire from Democrats. With the Middle East talks teetering on collapse last week, administration officials anonymously sniped at him to the press.
Well, it’s never too early to start the battlespace prep for a scapegoating operation. But to be fair to Kerry, while his talents are modest, the real problem is that no one abroad respects, or fears, his boss.
THE WAGES OF BIGOTRY: Why Hillary Clinton can’t be president of Mozilla or the United States.
RAMPANT SEXISM IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Guys are just jerks, and women know it.” Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure that the tech culture’s problem isn’t that it’s overrun by alpha males. Here’s another bit from the same story: “Pax Dickinson, left, and Elissa Shevinsky ended their working partnership after he tweeted in defense of an app called Titstare. The two reconciled after Mr. Dickinson wrote a public apology.” Alpha male all the way, bro.
But then I see this piece and I wonder (1) if Political Correctness has the tech industry devouring itself; and (2) Is all this stuff somehow more Hillary 2016 battlespace prep? Protect us from the bad alpha males so we can be empowered women!
ANDREW SULLIVAN: Brendan Eich & Hillary Clinton.
Some of the very same people who have jumped up and down with delight as Brandon Eich lost his job will doubtless be backing Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 if she runs. The “Ready for Hillary” ranks are crowded with gay men – and good for them. But it’s worth US President Bill Clinton (l) in picture taken 16considering some consistency here. If it is unconscionable to support a company whose CEO once donated to the cause against marriage equality, why is it not unconscionable to support a candidate who opposed marriage equality as recently as 2008, and who was an integral part of an administration that embraced the Defense Of Marriage Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton? How do you weigh the relative impact of a president strongly backing DOMA – even running ads touting his support for it in the South – and an executive who spent $1000 for an anti-marriage equality Proposition?
Hillary Clinton only declared her support for marriage equality in 2013. Before that, she opposed it. In 2000, she said that marriage “has a historic, religious and moral context that goes back to the beginning of time. And I think a marriage has always been between a man and a woman.” Was she then a bigot? On what conceivable grounds can the Democratic party support a candidate who until only a year ago was, according to the latest orthodoxy, the equivalent of a segregationist, and whose administration enacted more anti-gay laws and measures than any in American history?
They’ll find a way. In fact, I suspect that, in a sense, Hillary’s sins have been loaded onto Eich.
CHECK HILLARY’S CAMPAIGN ACCOUNTS: $6 Billion Goes Missing at State Department. “In a special ‘management alert’ made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned ‘significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.’”
PETER BEINART: Hillary Doesn’t Deserve A Free Pass From The Media.
The media loves conversion stories. So when David Brock, who once rummaged through Little Rock in pursuit of Bill Clinton’s dirty laundry, returned to the city yesterday to speak at the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, both The New York Times and Politico took notice. Brock, Politico reported, came to Little Rock to “explain his transformation” from Clinton-hater to Clinton-defender. But his speech inadvertently did something else. It showed that in his approach to politics, David Brock hasn’t changed much at all.
Brock’s core argument was that as we approach 2016, mainstream journalists must stay far away from the anti-Clinton attack journalism peddled by the partisan right. In explaining why, Brock cited his own work in the early 1990s for the Richard Mellon Scaife-funded “Arkansas Project,” in which he dug up “a kitchen-sink-full of preposterous allegations,” many of which entered mainstream publications, but “almost none” of which “turned out to be true.”
Really? Many of the Arkansas Project allegations—that the Clintons oversaw a cocaine-smuggling ring, that they ordered the murder of Vince Foster—were of course preposterous. But Brock also uncovered a woman named “Paula,” who later alleged that while working as an Arkansas state employee, she was escorted by Governor Clinton’s bodyguard to his hotel room. There, she claims, Clinton exposed himself and demanded sex. When Paula Jones leveled her allegations, mainstream reporters like The Washington Post’s Michael Isikoff and The American Lawyer’s Stuart Taylor did exactly what Brock now says the media should not: They looked into it. And they concluded that—although Jones was clearly being used by Clinton’s political enemies—her story had merit. (If you doubt that, read Taylor’s summary in Slate of his much-longer American Lawyer investigation into what likely transpired between Clinton and Jones on May 8, 1991. It’s horrifying).
Clinton ultimately settled Jones’ sexual-harassment case for the entire amount she requested. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright found him in civil contempt of court for “intentionally false” testimony, which led to the suspension of his Arkansas law license. Despite this, Media Matters, the journalism watchdog organization that Brock founded in 2004, after his ideological conversion, still occasionally savages Isikoff and Taylor for the reporting they did.
The lesson for journalists covering 2016, Brock told the Little Rock crowd, is that “Clinton-hating had nothing to do with what the Clintons did or did not do.” If only it were that simple. . . . Clinton’s behavior wasn’t irrelevant. He used the powers of his office—both as governor and president—to solicit sex and cover it up. He lied under oath and he urged others to lie. That’s far worse than sexting, which destroyed Anthony Weiner’s career.
Of course, Bill Clinton won’t be on the ballot in 2016. But not everything Clinton-haters said about Hillary was wrong either.
Read the whole thing. As Beinart notes, Hillary’s biggest problem isn’t her checkered past, but her us-against-them approach to politics.
And whenever I see David Brock’s name mentioned, I wonder if he was accompanied by an aide with an illegal gun.
I have no objections to Jeb Bush running for President. He obviously has a wide appeal as a potential candidate. With a Mexican wife, and as a man who speaks fluent Spanish, he would be able to increase the Hispanic vote in the GOP column. On the other hand, many in the Republican base find his position on immigration untenable, and would fight him tooth and nail during primary season. He is also a serious advocate of education reform. His support of the Common Core, however, will also find many who are in the conservative ranks objecting, since they fear that the Core represents educational centralism and having the government ram federal standards down their throats.
What I do object to is that Bush is already being heralded as the obvious candidate, the man to whom the big money must and will flow. As The Washington Post reports, “Many of the Republican Party’s most powerful insiders and financiers have begun a behind-the-scenes campaign to draft former Florida governor Jeb Bush into the 2016 presidential race, courting him and his intimates and starting talks on fundraising strategy.” . . .
What ever happened to letting members of the Republican Party choose their own candidate freely, and holding a convention in which delegates actually could make their own choice for the nominee? Evidently, that moment has already passed, and the folks who gave us McCain and Romney have already made up their minds.
Again, I do not necessarily agree with the arguments against a Bush run, but those arguments will be made, and the threat always is lurking in the wings that some conservatives, finding that their favored candidate is not likely to get the nod, will begin to talk about running a “real conservative” on an independent line in 2016. And such an act would siphon off just the right amount of votes to put Hillary Clinton in office.
Yep. A couple of thoughts. First, Christie was damaged goods before Bridgegate; he was never going to get the nomination. Second, do the people who think there’s a lot of demand out there for Jeb Bush talk to any, you know, actual voters? Because I’m not seeing it. . . .
Related: Paul Mirengoff: Jeb Bush in 2016? No thank you. “For me, Bush’s position on immigration, or at least some incarnations of it, is a deal breaker. If the Republican message in 2016 is going to be pro-illegal immigrant, maybe the attractive young Rubio should be the messenger. I hope the Republicans find a better standard bearer than both.” Only if they want their voters to show up at the polls.
Also: Steven Hayward: Jeb Bush? Not Sure This Is A Good Idea. “I believe Bush was a good governor of Florida and in the abstract would make a good president (though Obama has set the bar so low right now that anyone looks good), but can it really be a good thing for the nation to contemplate the specter of a Bush-Clinton race in 2012?”
WOULD YOU EVER RECOMMEND AN AFFAIR? “No more than I would recommend cancer and yet a lot of people finally understand the value of life when they get sick.”
UPDATE: From the comments: “I am such a cynic that when I read stuff like this I can’t help thinking it’s just the left getting assets in place for Hillary’s campaign.”
REIHAN SALAM: What About Ageism Against The Young And Talented? Since all the ageism talk is just Hillary2016 battlespace preparation, it’s not a useful narrative, so don’t expect to hear much about it.
I PREDICT A DIFFERENT SPIN FOR HILLARY: CNN in 2008: At 71, Is John McCain Too Old To Be President?
TALK OF AGEISM AS HILLARY2016 BATTLESPACE PREPARATION? So in the comments to yesterday’s post on Silicon Valley ageism, a reader noted that this seems to be a theme, suddenly. And then I noticed this piece in the New York Times on how fabulous Gloria Steinem is at 80. So now I’m thinking: Ageism as a theme? Who are they worried we’ll think is too old? But of course! And look — Gloria Steinem is 80 and fabulous! Hillary’s much, much younger!
It’s just #banbossy all over again, this time with saggy jowls.
SO I’VE BLURBED Bill Quick’s new novel, Lightning Fall. It’s a great read, though it doesn’t inspire confidence in a Hillary presidency.
MEDIA INCEST: Today Show anchor Savannah Guthrie marries Clinton/Gore operative Mike Feldman. He’s the one who advised Al Gore to pursue a recount after conceding (though this story says in 2004, not 2000 — oops!), a strategy that did enormous damage to the nation. But he’s “a super-successful businessman!” And he’s married to a woman who’ll play an important role in telling women to vote for Hillary!
Four months after Bill Clinton took office in 1992, the White House announced that it was firing all seven employees of the in-house travel office, which arranged trips for the media. Officials blamed the employees for gross financial mismanagement — but the move took on another cast when the administration sought to replace them with a travel agency from Arkansas.
Hillary Clinton insisted in a 1995 deposition that she had no role in the firings. But an investigation by independent counsel Robert W. Ray found that there was “overwhelming evidence” that she had played a role. Still, he said in a report released in the fall of 2000, only months before the Clintons left the White House, there was not sufficient evidence to prove that she had lied under oath about what she had done.
“Mrs. Clinton’s input into the process was a significant — if not the significant — factor influencing the pace of events in the travel office firings and the ultimate decision to fire the employees,” Ray concluded.
As one of the first moves made by the Clinton administration, the travel office brouhaha helped craft an impression of the new White House couple as, at best, willing to run roughshod over employees in order to install loyalists. Ultimately, the administration admitted the firings were a mistake, and five of the employees were rehired. The former travel office director, a well-known and popular figure at the White House, was acquitted of criminal embezzlement charges.
All seven travel office veterans appeared before Congress the day after the president praised his wife in the State of the Union address. Angry and tearful, they testified that the accusations by the Clinton White House had ruined them financially by forcing them to incur massive legal bills to clear their names.
But she’ll run as a friend of the little guy.
JAMES TARANTO: The Big Shes: The paradox of the “Ban Bossy” campaign.
Perhaps an aversion to “bossy” people–and a sensitivity to being perceived as “bossy”–is simply a corollary of that attraction to those who are “helpful.” As Benenson observes: “Girls’ and women’s friendships are intense and exclusive and strictly egalitarian, so no one gets ahead.”
But if boys have a natural affinity for hierarchy, that doesn’t mean they’re born leaders. Functioning in a hierarchical group requires the ability to follow as well as to lead–and such a group typically includes a lot more followers than leaders. Perhaps girls’ distaste for “bossiness” arises in part because they, more than boys, dislike being told what to do.
In which case, paradoxically enough, they may be put off by the imperative mood of the “Ban Bossy” campaign.
BATTLESPACE PREPARATION: Ashe Schow: ‘Ban Bossy’ campaign started by Hillary Clinton donor — ahead of 2016 run. “Make no mistake, there is always a deeper agenda whenever a seemingly innocent campaign pops up overnight.” I suspect that their focus groups show that as one of her biggest negatives, so they’re trying to preemptively take it off the table. But there might be blowback: I can imagine a bumpersticker with a lined-through Hillary pic and the caption “BAN BOSSY.” Just sayin’ . . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long.
BAD NEWS FOR HILLARY: Not All Good Leaders Are Bossy.
BATTLESPACE PREPARATION: Clintonworld Goes After The Washington Post: A Hillary Clinton adviser is implicated in the D.C. corruption scandal but an aide fires back, calling the allegations “bizarre and brazenly false.”
Before 2016, the press must be conditioned not to report anything damaging for fear of the consequences. On the other hand, saying “I think The Washington Post is acting like some kind of an Internet blog or something” suggests that the Clinton operation is stuck in the 1990s. You meddling kids!
SMART DIPLOMACY: Hillary Clinton’s remarks on Hitler seen as strategy.
SMART DIPLOMACYTM UPDATE: Hillary walks back Putin-Hitler comparison.
SMART DIPLOMACYTM STRIKES AGAIN: Hillary Clinton: I’m Not Comparing Putin To Hitler, I’m Just Saying He’s Acting Like Hitler.
Mitch Daniels, the former Indiana governor and current Purdue University president, got himself in hot water back in October for giving a speech to a Minnesota think tank. Not that anyone objects to Daniels making speeches in general; indeed, it comes with being a university president. In this case, however, the venue for the speech was the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative organization. And in the eyes of Indiana’s cultural elites, that made all the difference. . . .
What would mainstream academics say if a former governor used the “platform” of a public university to promote politically divisive “green-energy” policies? Actually, there’s no need to speculate: it’s already happened. In 2011, Bill Ritter, the former Democratic governor of Colorado, became head of Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy, an organization bankrolled by Democratic Party donors. The express purpose of the center is to lobby state politicians in Colorado and elsewhere to adopt green-energy mandates. On top of that, Ritter has publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. Yet neither Colorado State faculty nor local media seem to have uttered a word in protest about the former governor’s overtly political activities. Imagine that.
Likewise, when former senator Bob Kerrey took the helm of the New School in New York, he made no pretense of steering clear of politics. In 2009, he gave a public speech urging Congress to pass the ill-fated “cap-and-trade” legislation promoted by President Obama. Kerrey argued that the climate-change bill was a “moral” imperative, and even compared it with 1960s civil rights legislation. How much criticism did that speech generate on the left? None.
One wonders what Daniels’s critics expected. When a university recruits a former governor to serve as its president, it is presumably because the university values the governor’s public-policy experience. And since universities are in the teaching business, why should anyone object to a university president sharing the hard-won insights that he gained in office?
Alternatively, they’re in the indoctrination business, and don’t want to send mixed messages.
If you listen to the chattering class in Washington, D.C., Hillary Clinton is a virtual certainty for the 2016 Democratic nomination, and the front-runner in the next presidential race.
But in private, rumors persist that the former Secretary of State may not even be capable of making it to Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton, these skeptics often say, will not run for president again because of health concerns.
Even if Hillary can’t run, it’s in the interest of the Clintons to preserve the appearance of inevitability as long as possible as that keeps the money and respect flowing. The interests of the Democratic Party, however, are otherwise.
THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO SEE THEM, BECAUSE THEY MAKE HILLARY LOOK BAD: Politico’s Mike Allen: Thousands of Docs Being Withheld At Clinton Library. What other reason could there be? If they made Hillary look good, you’d know about them.
USA TODAY: Does A Hillary/Univision Deal Cross A Line? “One wonders whether a TV network should partner with a possible presidential candidate.”
WISCONSIN SCANDALS THE PRESS NEVER CARED ABOUT:
By the way, 3 years ago today, in the Wisconsin protests, which included teachers who were calling in sick to absent themselves from the classroom, doctors stood on a street corner under a sign that read “I’m a doctor/Need a note?” They were real doctors, putting their names on notes that the protesters could use to excuse their absence from work.
When lefty politicians or groups break the law, the press’s attitude is “politics ain’t beanbag.” But that forbearance doesn’t extend to Republicans. The reason for this is that the press is largely made up of Democratic operatives with bylines. Plus, from the comments:
Ho-hum another anti-GOP hack job from the WAPO. How ordinary.
Meanwhile, no curiosity about the IRS and Obamas ongoing violations of the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendments of the Constitution, as well as usurping the legislature.
It’s interesting to watch the press try to do oppo-research and battlespace-prep on every GOP figure who gets mentioned. These are the same people who told us that looking into Obama’s background — or lack of actual accomplishments — was racist, and that looking into Hillary’s background — or lack of actual accomplishments — is sexist.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ON HILLARY: Throughout her adult life she has been a product of Washington.
WES PRUDEN: Hillary Clinton’s War On Women.
Kathleen Willey, who was a prominent Democratic volunteer in the first Clinton campaign in 1992, has resurrected her accusation — never refuted — that when she accepted an invitation to call on Bubba at the White House she got no help in getting a job, but “nothing short of serious sexual harassment.”
Mrs. Willey told interviewer Aaron Klein on WABC radio in New York that she’s bringing up the story now because Hillary was Bubba’s enabler, and manipulated the response to the sexual scandals that defined the Clinton years. Hillary, she says, has never been the friend of women she pretends to be.
Nope. She smeared and intimidated ‘em whenever they got in the way.
Hmm. Nobody minded talking about Mitt Romney’s much more distant past.
Of course Clinton’s recent experiences are relevant to a presidential run. But so are her actions in the 90s, the 80s and even the 70s. It’s not ancient history; it reveals something about who Clinton was and still is. And re-examining her past is entirely consistent with practices in recent campaigns.
In the 2012 presidential race, for example, many in the press were very interested in business deals Mitt Romney made in the 1980s. In the 2004 race, many journalists were even more interested in what George W. Bush did with the Texas Air National Guard in 1968, as well as what John Kerry did in Vietnam that same year. And in 2000, a lot of journalists invested a lot of time trying to find proof that Bush had used cocaine three decades earlier.
So by the standards set in coverage of other candidates, Clinton’s past is not too far past.
That’s especially true because there will be millions of young voters in 2016 who know little about the Clinton White House. Americans who had not even been born when Bill Clinton first took the oath of office in 1993 will be eligible to vote two years from now. They need to know that Hillary Clinton has been more than Secretary of State.
Those voters need to know, for starters, that Mrs. Clinton once displayed incredible investment skills. In 1978 and 1979, when her husband was attorney general and then governor of Arkansas, she enlisted the help of a well-connected crony to invest $1,000 in the highly volatile and risky cattle futures market. Several months later, she walked away with $100,000 — a 10,000-percent profit. Cynics thought the well-connected crony who executed the trades might have paid her the profits from good trades and absorbed the losses from bad ones, but Mrs. Clinton insisted that she developed her investing acumen by reading the Wall Street Journal.
New voters also need to learn about Mrs. Clinton’s checkered history as a lawyer and the game of hide-and-seek she played with federal prosecutors who subpoenaed her old billing records as part of the Whitewater investigation. After two years of defying subpoenas and not producing the records, she suddenly claimed that they had been in a closet in the White House residence all along.
New voters also need to learn about Mrs. Clinton’s purge of the White House travel office, which was done to steer business to another Clinton crony. There’s no doubt she directed the 1993 firings of long-time White House employees although she testified under oath that she did not. Years later, prosecutors concluded that “Mrs. Clinton’s sworn testimony … is factually inaccurate.”
And the Lewinsky scandal, in which Hillary helped attack Lewinsky, and numerous other women like Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, in order to protect Bill. War on women? On the inconvenient women, certainly.
Also: Why Monica Lewinsky is relevant: Liberals have redefined sexual harassment. “Rand Paul has cagily been reminding us of the fact that Bill Clinton is a sexual predator. That DOES matter now, because it demonstrates just how painfully hypocritical democrats are with regard to the treatment of women. Clinton is a sexual predator and Hillary was his enabler.”
Plus: The Vetting of Hillary Already Labeled ‘Sexist’ in the Media. Makes sense. After all, vetting Obama was supposed to be racist, or something.
RESTRICTED ACCESS: Clinton Foundation keeps tight leash on papers from Bill Clinton’s tenure as governor. “An extensive collection of papers related to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s years in the Arkansas governor’s mansion remains under tight control at a public library in Little Rock, with access restricted by the Clinton Foundation. . . . The documents could provide new insight into the early chapter of the Clintons’ political careers, as reporters take a second look at Hillary Clinton’s past in light of the information contained in the public materials of the Diane Blair collection.” That’s why they’re keeping them locked up.
MATTHEW CONTINETTI: The Golden Egg: The Hillary Papers And The Death Of Mainstream Media. “That a conservative online newspaper could have understood the significance of the archive, and actually examined its public contents, seemed too much an embarrassment for the staffs of the major newspapers and networks and magazines to bear. By being the first to report on the papers, the Free Beacon exposed the inanity and irrelevance of the mainstream media. We beat them. And they are sore losers.”
KIRSTEN POWERS THINKS THAT RAND PAUL IS ENGAGING IN A “misguided war on Hillary.” This characterization is dumb for two reasons. First, if you’re thinking of running in 2016, waging a “war” on the favored Democratic nominee is hardly misguided. Second, what Paul is doing is making it painful for Democrats to bring up their “war on women” crap (which Powers’ column echoes) instead of giving them a free pass. If it becomes painful enough for them to do that, they’ll abandon the tactic. Even a flatworm is smart enough to turn away from pain.
I PLAN TO SUE BIG SPOON: Trial Lawyers Plot To Sue Food Industry Over Obesity.
Lawyers are pitching state attorneys general in 16 states with a radical idea: make the food industry pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs.
It’s a move straight from the playbook of the Big Tobacco takedown of the 1990s, which ended in a $246 billion settlement with 46 states, a ban on cigarette marketing to young people and the Food and Drug Administration stepping in to regulate.
MARC CAPUTO: Hillary Clinton’s Univision ties met with near-silence in media. “The Spanish-language network, which broadcasts from Doral, has remarkably close ties with Clinton — from the way the media giant covers immigration to the financial backing of its top leader to a new initiative between the network and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Barely a peep from the press, though. . . . Clinton’s face is featured in five of seven slides on the Univision website promoting the partnership with the foundation’s ‘Too Small to Fail’ initiative. Taking no press questions at the event, Clinton was featured in the type of feel-good classroom setting that politicians on the campaign trail crave.”
“SMART DIPLOMACY” UPDATE: Is Syria Now a Direct Threat to the United States? The militancy nurtured by the civil war appears to be spreading—just as diplomacy falters. “Over the last two weeks, Obama administration officials have signaled—sometimes intentionally, sometimes not—that a worst-case scenario is emerging in Syria. Peace talks are at a virtual standstill. An emboldened President Bashar al-Assad has missed two deadlines to turn over his deadliest chemical weapons. And radical extremists who have fought in Syria are carrying out attacks in Egypt and allegedly aspire to strike the United States as well.” As I’ve noted before, John Kerry’s role is to make Hillary Clinton’s unimpressive tenure at State look better by comparison. So far, he’s fulfilling it perfectly.
THEY HAVE LEARNED NOTHING AND FORGOTTEN NOTHING: Clintons Still Hate Obama-Supporting Democrats.
Forgive and forget? Not Bill and Hillary.
A system of political rewards and punishments devised by the political power couple set aside “a special circle of Clinton hell . . . for people who had endorsed [President] Obama,” according to “HRC,” a new book by Politico former White House bureau chief Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes of The Hill.
The most helpful Clintonistas were rated “1” under the Clintons’ rating system, while turncoat former allies, such as John Kerry, received “7’s.”
The Clinton camp would later “joke about the fates of the folks they felt had betrayed them,” the book said.
“Bill Richardson: investigated; John Edwards: disgraced by scandal; Chris Dodd: stepped down; . . . Ted Kennedy: dead,” an aide quipped, according to the book.
Ready for Hillary?
THE HILLARY PAPERS: Archive of ‘closest friend’ paints portrait of ruthless First Lady.
ANNALS OF THE .001 PERCENT: The Billionaires Start Lining Up Behind Hillary Clinton.
IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: Obama denies any wrongdoing on IRS, Benghazi. “President Obama said Sunday there was “not even a smidgen” of corruption in the IRS targeting of conservative groups, and that his team did not try to deceive the nation about the terrorist attack in Benghazi to aid his reelection bid in 2012. In a contentious interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News before the Super Bowl, the president said he doesn’t remember meeting with former IRS chief Douglas Shulman during any of Mr. Shulman’s 157 visits to the White House during his first term.”
This reminds me of something: “Number of times that Hillary Clinton, providing testimony to Congress, said that she didn’t remember, didn’t know, or something similar: 250.”
APPARATCHIK DAVID GREGORY tries to drag Rand Paul into the “War on Women,” but it doesn’t work.
Gregory tries to drag Paul back to the question — whether the GOP should be talking about “women’s health, women’s bodies.” And Paul goes through the same tactics: cooling things off with a joke (“I try never to have discussions of anatomy unless I’m at a medical conference”), saying that the whole subject is “dumbed down” and political, and observing that way women are doing well. He adds another compliment, that the women he knows are “conquering the world,” not complaining about how “terrible” and “misogynist” it is. He never says one thing about birth control, women’s bodies, or the unfortunate locutions of other members of his party.
So that’s how Paul is going to deal with the media efforts to lure Republicans into playing the Democrats’ war on women game.
There are a number of other topics in the interview, but Gregory puts another woman topic at the end. He’s got an interview from Vogue in which Rand Paul joked about the polls that show Hillary Clinton beating every GOP opponent, and Paul’s wife Kelley burst in with: “Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky should complicate his return to the White House, even as first spouse. I would say his behavior was predatory, offensive to women.”
Gregory asks if Paul thinks that “will be fair game and an appropriate part of a campaign” against Hillary. Paul says:
Well, you know, I mean, the Democrats, one of their big issues is they have concocted and said Republicans are committing a war on women.
If our opponents are going to do gender politics, he implies, it’s fair for us to do it too.
One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn’t prey on young interns in their office.
Good. Sexual harassment law is serious, and it matters.
Well, only when it’s convenient to the narrative. But every time this happens, it’s fair to bring up Clinton, Filner, Weiner, John Edwards, et al. Make it unpleasant for them, spoil their narrative, and they’ll stop. But read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Reader Michael Schrage writes: “Good God, man! Why are you leaving out Spitzer?” There are so many, it’s hard to keep track. Say, speaking of Spitzer, did you know that Ashley Dupre got married?
TODAY IS THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of Hillary’s “What difference at this point does it make?”
JAKE TAPPER: Christie Got More Scrutiny for BridgeGate Than Hillary Clinton Did for Benghazi. Well, yeah.
OF COURSE SHE DOES: Hillary Has An Enemies List.
IT’S A WALK-IN CLOSET, AND IT’S FULL: Hillary’s skeleton stampede.
Even when her friends try to raise their voices in Hillary’s defense, what comes out is mostly static. The attempted whitewash by The New York Times of the hash she made of Benghazi only reminds everyone that she was asleep when the telephone rang at 3 o’clock in the morning.
NONSENSE. SHE’S INEVITABLE AND UNBEATABLE, JUST LIKE IN 2008. Why Dems Will Go Down With The S.S. Hillary.
CHRIS CHRISTIE LOOKING AS THUGGISH AS OBAMA. I suspect Hillary’s hand in this scandal’s appearance, but if true it indicates that Christie is actually a pretty small man. Of course, I suppose some GOP voters might like a guy who’d take petty revenge on Dems, Obama-fashion. Payback, you know.
TOM MAGUIRE: Obama Quit In Afghanistan. “So Obama was sending our young men and women off to a meat grinder with no real confidence in the likelihood of success. How like Lyndon Johnson.”
Plus: “Wow, Hillary’s opposition to the surge was political? Just like her support of the AUMF in 2002 was political. Which makes this genius wrong twice.”
ROGER SIMON: The Principal Enemy. “The principal enemy for the right and the center-right is now Hillary Clinton, the vastly favored frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She is so far in front, in fact, that her competitors are not even in hailing distance. Hillary is the one who can consolidate and solidify the ‘gains’ of the Obama era in a way Obama himself never could because she is much more politically savvy — Obama was only savvy about getting elected, not governing — and has the backing of her even more politically savvy husband. Hillary is the one who can fully remake the United States into some version of Western Europe or, yet more frighteningly, China, a permanently stratified state capitalism governed by quasi-totalitarian bureaucrats. (We can call this system Soros Marxism, meaning a ruling clique of increasingly rich corporate czars employing a propagandistic veneer of socialist equality to keep the power and wealth for themselves.)”
NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY: You can mark 2013 as the year feminism officially lost all meaning. “Which is why, by the way, it’s so puzzling to see women of a certain age still rallying around Hillary Clinton. If you’re Hillary or Huma Abedin or Lis Smith and you think that getting in with a slime-bucket is a good idea for your own life trajectory, well be our guest. But you could have accomplished that without feminism.”
Fifteen months after the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, the narrative of the attack continues to be shaped, and reshaped, by politicians and the press.
But a New York Times report published over the weekend has angered sources who were on the ground that night. Those sources, who continue to face threats of losing their jobs, sharply challenged the Times’ findings that there was no involvement from Al Qaeda or any other international terror group and that an anti-Islam film played a role in inciting the initial wave of attacks.
“It was a coordinated attack. It is completely false to say anything else. … It is completely a lie,” one witness to the attack told Fox News.
The controversial Times report has stirred a community that normally remains out of sight and wrestles with how to reveal the truth, without revealing classified information.
Fox News has learned that the attack on the consulate started with fighters assembling to conduct an assault.
“Guys were coming into the compound, moving left, moving right…and using IMT (individual movement techniques). … That’s not a spontaneous attack,” one special operator said.
“One guy was shooting, one guy was running. There are guys watching the gates. … The bosses on the ground were pointing, commanding and coordinating — that is a direct action planned attack.”
The community of operators in Libya that night and since includes the CIA, FBI, U.S. military, U.S. State Department and contractors working for the United States in a number of capacities. According to multiple sources on the ground that night, all the intelligence personnel in Benghazi before the attack and there now understand Al Qaeda is a significant threat in Libya.
They’ve been sitting on these guys hard to keep them quiet. Not sure it’ll work forever.
PAUL MIRENGOFF: The New York Times’ revisionist account of Benghazi. “I suspect that the Times story tells us more about Hillary Clinton’s assessment of the threat Benghazi poses to her likely 2016 run for president than it does about what happened in Benghazi. But to the extent that the Times story is viewed as shedding a new, different light on the Benghazi, perhaps the House should hold new hearings on the attack. . . . It also matters that the Obama administration’s account of the attack, per Susan Rice, was inaccurate even if one accepts the Times’ dubious reporting. The Times acknowledges this, though it chooses to characterize Rice’s account as just a ‘misstatement.’”
It’s all about trying to take the heat off Hillary. But we still don’t know why she refused repeated requests for more security in Benghazi. We also don’t know where Obama was that night. The Times doesn’t seem that interested in telling us, either.
WHO WILL LEAD THE LEFT beyond ObamaCare? Hillary, of course.
HEY, IF I HAD HILLARY — OR JOHN KERRY — AS A BOSS, I’D BE DRINKING MORE, TOO: “The Washington Times reports that the department spent about $180,000 on alcohol in September and $400,000 in all of 2012 — that’s three times the $118,000 spent in 2008.”
Obama administration officials insisted Monday that the tech team overseeing fixes to the troubled federal healthcare.gov website had resolved most of the errors plaguing the enrollment information being sent to insurers.
But insurers haven’t yet noticed a difference, according to a spokesman for industry lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans.
The files, known as “834″ forms, contain all of the relevant personal information for individuals who have signed up for health insurance, along with details on their plan choices. But these forms have been riddled with errors such as duplicated enrollments and spouses getting mixed up with children.
If these forms are not fixed, then insurers cannot smoothly process payments or ensure that individuals are enrolled in the right plans. This could be a nightmare come Jan. 1, when individuals start attempting to use their insurance. Some may show up at doctors’ offices thinking they are covered, but find out that they never were actually enrolled.
That’s almost a month away. They’re just trying to get through this news cycle.
UPDATE: Reader Sandi Drake writes: “How many Potemkin villages does it take to elect Hillary?” The big problem is that they’re different Potemkin villages than the ones Obama is erecting.
LARA LOGAN AND PRODUCER PUNISHED FOR ERRORS IN BENGHAZI STORY: “I’m not saying ’60 Minutes’ did a good job, but I’m skeptical of CBS’s motives here. What will it take to get the full story on Benghazi? Less suppression. More information. Why aren’t other reporters delving into this?” Because the message has been sent, and received.
This is about making sure people think twice — heck, ten times — before running an expose that makes Hillary look bad. Examples must be made, and if Lara Logan was in the wrong place at the wrong time, well, too bad. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and the pro-woman omelet that is a Hillary presidency demands a few sacrifices. Most of whom, as has been the pattern all along, will be women . . . .
Plus, from the comments: “Do we know yet where Obama was on the night of 9/11/12?” Nope.
SO, HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” STUFF WORKIN’ OUT? John McCain Thinks John Kerry Is a ‘Human Wrecking Ball.’ “Our whole policy in the Middle East—and it reverberates around the world, by the way—is in such disarray that I have never seen anything like it in my lifetime.” This is just more support for my theory that Kerry was appointed to make Hillary’s unimpressive tenure as Secretary of State look good by comparison.
SOMEBODY SHOULD ASK HILLARY ABOUT THIS: New Details Emerge About Injured Americans In Benghazi Attack.
Little is known about those who survived the Benghazi attack. The State Department confirmed in March, after multiple inquiries by Fox News, that a total of three diplomatic security agents, as well as a State Department contractor, were among the Americans injured during the terrorist assault which killed the two former SEALs, Ambassador Chris Stevens, and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.
The latest details are emerging as the House Intelligence Committee hears this week from contractors who were on the ground in Benghazi. Fox News has learned that they will give their accounts in closed, classified sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.
Two contractors were expected to appear Wednesday, and three former government contractors from the CIA annex are expected Thursday, according to sources familiar with the meetings.
THE HILL: Obama is boxed in by Bill Clinton.
President Obama scrambled to find a coherent response Tuesday after former President Clinton jammed the administration by saying it should keep its promise that people could keep their health insurance plans if they liked them.
The White House said Obama agreed with Clinton, but it offered no concrete idea on how that could be done.
Anxiety is growing among congressional Democrats, with the House poised to vote this week on Republican legislation to let insurers offer their old plans even if they don’t meet the new standards required by ObamaCare.
Whatever Bill Clinton’s motives — Republicans say he is distancing his wife, Hillary Clinton, from the ObamaCare debacle in advance of a White House run — his comments sharply intensified pressure on the president to change his signature law.
The White House opposes the pending House Republican bill but has no alternative yet. The quicker Obama comes up with an answer the better, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday.
The GOP should add a package including interstate insurance sales and Health Savings Accounts and assorted other improvements, and dare Dems to vote against it — or Obama to veto. He drove the car into the ditch; they’ll just be pulling it out.
PROF. JACOBSON: Thank you Elizabeth Warren boosters for reminding us how unappealing Hillary is. “No, the horse that just left the barn was the open acknowledgement of the progressive base that they don’t really want Hillary Clinton, they don’t really like her, and they feel the need for a breath of fresh air. Just like in 2008.”
A trio of intelligence reports sounded the warning — but were ignored by senior administration officials during the 2012 presidential campaign.
One report, compiled for the Irregular Warfare Support Program of the Pentagon’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, predicted al-Qaida would take aggressive actions, including “selective terrorism, threats, intimidation and assassination.”
Well, that turned out to be true. Someone should ask Hillary about it.
NOAM SCHEIBER: Hillary’s Nightmare? A Democratic Party That Realizes Its Soul Lies With Elizabeth Warren. Also the GOP’s dream, I suspect. But I further suspect that Warren is being held in reserve in case Hillary somehow tanks early. They need someone to keep their “War On Women” schtick going for 2016. But, seriously: Who thinks that a first-term Senator from a blue state is going to beat Hillary in the Democratic Primary? I mean, like that’s going to happen.
BENGHAZI WHISTLEBLOWER’S BOOK MEMORYHOLED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER. Dollars to donuts, Hillary’s behind this.
REPUBLICANS SHOULD LAUNCH SPOILING ATTACKS: Bill Whalen: Get Ready For More “War On Women” Schtick As Hillary Ramps Up.
BOB MCMANUS: The Coming Cuomo-deBlasio War. “Cuomo’s in no danger of losing, of course, but there is the matter of dominance in the frog pond. (And what that might mean for the governor’s national ambitions, now overshadowed by Hillary Clinton.)”
NOPE. NOT AT ALL. NEXT QUESTION? Does Hillary Clinton’s Enthusiasm for Profit Extend Beyond Her Own Earnings? “The news that Hillary Clinton has earned what the Washington Post characterized as ‘close to $500,000′ for two recent speeches to Goldman Sachs is generating a certain amount of excitement.” So if Hillary’s elected, President Goldman Sachs The First will be replaced by President Goldman Sachs The Second. Guess I’ll need to redo this logo a bit if that happens.
CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Hillary Clinton’s Lucrative Goldman Sachs Speaking Gigs. I think, at some point, you’ve made enough money. For the Clintons that point came a long time ago.
BYRON YORK: In health care mess, Obama reaps what he sowed.
Given the Affordable Care Act’s multiple crises in its first month of implementation, there’s no way President Obama and his fellow Democrats could be having a good time right now. But imagine if, instead of passing national health care legislation with only Democratic votes in 2009 and 2010, the president had won even a little Republican support for his health scheme. What if Obamacare had passed with ten GOP votes in the Senate and 30 or 40 in the House? If that had happened, the program would still be a mess, but Obama’s political problems would be far less serious.
If Obama had 10 Republican senators and 30 or 40 GOP representatives on his side, those lawmakers would be invested in the program’s success. And the GOP would be effectively divided on Obamacare, instead of solidly united. Some Republican lawmakers would likely favor approving additional money for implementing the troubled program, or perhaps favor holding off on vigorous oversight for a while, or at least not attacking 24-hours-a-day. Instead, Obama is facing a solid wall of Republican opposition.
There’s a story about First Lady Hillary Clinton’s attempt to pass a national health care plan back in 1993 and 1994. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the old Democratic senator, told her that such far-reaching legislation had to pass with a really big majority to make sweeping changes in American life. “They pass 70-to-30, or they fail,” Moynihan told Clinton, according to a recent account by Todd Purdum in Politico.
Back in 1993, the Senate had 57 Democrats, meaning a major bill would have needed 13 Republican votes to pass Moynihan’s test. As it turned out, Clinton ignored Moynihan’s advice and her health care scheme went down in flames.
In 2009 and 2010, Barack Obama had an edge Clinton didn’t have: three more Democrats in the Senate. That 60-vote total gave Obama a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and the opportunity to pass national health care with only Democratic votes. (With 256 Democrats in the House, passage there was a done deal.) But Obama’s Senate supermajority was fragile and fleeting. As it turned out, Democrats had the briefest of moments in which they could pass such a far-reaching law by themselves. And even then, the troubled supermajority was unable to deliver the kind of broad support Moynihan felt necessary for such consequential legislation.
The in-your-face behavior of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid team isn’t inspiring any charity from the opposition, either. Nor should it.
ON THE TRAIL: Meet The New Hillary.
WELL, THAT’S HILLARY’S MAJOR AREA OF EXPERTISE: State Department swept sex scandals under the rug. “Months after whistleblowers accused the State Department of covering up employee sex scandals, most of the cases have been ignored or swept under the rug, critics charge. Records show that staffers were given cushy jobs or allowed to retire, and watchdogs say the feds have hardly bothered to investigate since the shenanigans came to light this past summer.” Rules are for the little people.
TOM BEVAN: Why Does Kathleen Sebelius Still Have A Job?
Unlike the real world, where managers and employees are judged on results and held accountable for their performance, in Washington, D.C., loyalty and partisanship almost always come first. Accountability comes later, if it comes at all.
This happens in every administration, and President Obama’s is no different, as we’ve seen with the fatal mistakes made regarding the Fast & Furious gun program and in the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Democrats, claiming to see these as partisan witch hunts designed to hurt the administration politically, circled the wagons. Obama stood loyally by Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton.
Loyalty is generally a good thing, in politics, as in life. But Kathleen Sebelius and her agency’s rollout of Obamacare is different.
Sebelius’ department had 3½ years to prepare to implement the Affordable Care Act. No one ever suggested that commandeering one-sixth of the American economy would be an easy task. (Many Republicans suggested the opposite and were dismissed as killjoys for their efforts.) But after the debacle of the last two weeks, liberals and Democrats—not conservatives or Republicans—should be calling for Sebelius’s head.
But they won’t.
MICKEY KAUS: Why Bill Clinton Doesn’t Sleep With Hillary, But In A Separate Hotel: “I buy that explanation, don’t you? Logistics over love! Good to see New York’s journalists strip away the veneer of BS and get to the truth of the matter.”
HILLARY TO HUMA: You Can Have Me, Or You Can Have Weiner, But Not Both.
MORE THAN I HATE THE ROMANS: How Much Does Hillary Losing in ’08 to Obama Still Sting for Bill? A Lot. “It must have really stung a year and a half later when those old media organizations he and his wife viewed as ‘de facto allies’ turned around and accused the Clintons of racism* in order to advance the Democrat candidate they much preferred over Hillary.”
HILLARY CLINTON’S PHOTO POLICY: If she doesn’t want you taking pictures, security will take your phone away and delete them. Touch my phone and you’ll be sorry, “security” or not. But how perfectly in tune with the spirit of Hillaryland. When you take someone’s phone away by force, that’s robbery. At the very least, this guy should sue — and try to press criminal charges against the security guy. Of course, if all they did is say delete the photo or you have to leave the event, then it’s just ordinary Clinton/Obama thuggishness.
WHEN REAL LIFE OUTPERFORMS CONSPIRACY THEORIES: The Clinton Foundation’s man in Cairo was also the Muslim Brotherhood’s. “How did the Clinton Foundation come to select El-Haddad to be its man in Cairo? We can only speculate. But we know that Huma Abedin (wife of Anthony Weiner) is one of Hillary Clinton’s most trusted advisers. We also know that both of Abedin’s parents have been major figures in the Muslim Brotherhood. The same is true of El-Hassad’s father — a top foreign policy adviser for ousted president Morsi, according to the Free Beacon. It’s a small world, about which Andy McCarthy has more to say.”
NO OFFICIAL MEMORIAL, BECAUSE THAT WOULD MAKE HILLARY LOOK BAD: State Department Staffers Forced To Mark Benghazi Anniversary On Their Own.
Staffers at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. held their own private ceremony Wednesday to commemorate the first anniversary of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya after finding out the agency would not be organizing a formal, official memorial service.
The Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack left four people dead, including the American Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and Sean Smith, an information management officer in the department’s foreign service.
A State Department staffer who worked with Stevens in Libya and asked not to be named told TPM there were about 20 to 25 staffers at the memorial. The informal gathering was put together after staffers inquired and learned the department would not be holding an official event to mark the anniversary.
It’s just sad.
WELL, HILLARY’S GONE NOW. OH, WAIT: Thomas Pickering: State Dept. Should Have Fired Employees Over Benghazi Debacle.
THIS IS HARDLY A SURPRISE, AT CUNY: Communist Groups Helped Organize Petraeus Protest. “Protests against General David Petraeus Monday by CUNY students were organized by an ad hoc committee that includes several Communist groups. A leaflet for the protests, which refers to Petraeus as a ‘war criminal’ and ‘mass murderer,’ says that the events were organized by the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY and were endorsed by the Internationalist Group, Workers Power-US, and IGNITE. These groups are explicitly Communist in nature.” Where were the Sparts?
I think right-leaning groups should similarly hound Hillary and other Obama Administration apparatchiks — including Obama himself, when he ventures onto campuses, both now and post-Presidency. The standard of behavior has been established. Let them live with it.