Fri12192014

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The continuing appeal of Sarah Palin

 The United States for all of its size is a place where given the right circumstances a person can go from being an unknown to becoming a national name in minutes.  There are very few places where that can happen, but as they say, “only in America.”  That was certainly the case with the former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin.  She was even, long before the rest of the nation ever heard of her, something of political phenomena in her own state.  She went from being mayor of the small town of Wasilla to governor in just two years.  But as we know now, that was nothing compared to what happened after that.  She so impressed candidate John McCain that she become his running mate in the 2008 Presidential election.

Read more: The continuing appeal of Sarah Palin

Virginia should keep ABC stores

When Governor Bob McDonnell was elected he faced two challenges. First, he had to live up to his promise not to raise taxes and second he had to find more money for roads. Given the state of the economy, this is a tough challenge. One of his ideas was to privatize the state liquor stores. This would bring an instant infusion of cash into the state coffers. The approach that’s gaining steam is to have the state close its Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) stores, and instead, sell licenses to private vendors.

Read more: Virginia should keep ABC stores

Could Hillary Clinton still run for president?

She has the most unusual resume in the history of American politics.  She also has had one of the most successful careers in American politics and the betting is that it might not be over yet.
Her background is pretty well known.  In 1975 Hillary Rodham married Bill Clinton, an up and coming politician from Arkansas.  She followed him into the governor’s mansion and in 1992 into the White House.  As First Lady she was easily the most controversial person to ever hold the position.  She dabbled in health care, had to explain some dubious investments, and hearkened to a vast right wing conspiracy that was out to get her husband.  She was, for many on the right, the person they loved to hate.  But she had supporters, lots of them, and they were hoping that once Bill Clinton’s administration was over, she would run for office.
In this regard she got a little ahead of schedule and ran for the Senate when she was still First Lady.  A definite “first” (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) in American politics, but in 2000 New York seemed delighted to have her and she routed her Republican opponent Rick Lazio.  She even managed to carry several upstate counties that hadn’t voted for a Democrat in years.  Her first term in the Senate was successful.  She wasn’t a lightweight, as her detractors predicted, and in something that proved a surprise, she was particularly adept at reaching across the aisle and working with Republicans.   She swept to reelection in 2006.

Read more: Could Hillary Clinton still run for president?

Remember when there were no initials?

Summertime is often a quiet time for the press. This means reporters have to go farther down the pile of wire service clippings and press releases to find something to write about. Perhaps that’s why the media gave so much attention to National Public Radio’s decision to officially change their name to NPR. I have to admit, since I have referred to them almost exclusively by their initials for years, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. But to some, probably starved for something to fill copy space, this was a

Read more: Remember when there were no initials?

Will there be another ‘Republican revolution’?

Six months ago, while it was considered a given that Democrats would lose seats in the mid-term House and Senate elections, very few pundits were predicting that their majority was at stake.  However, that’s changed and while it’s still early in the campaign, more and more, the question that keeps coming up is will the midterm elections in 2010 be a repeat of the 1994 Republican Revolution that swept the GOP to power in both Houses of Congress?  The Republicans are hoping it will be and take every opportunity to look for similarities between their 1994 win and this year’s election.  The Democrats on the other hand try to downplay such comparisons.  They argue, with some justification, that the circumstances are different, and that they still have a good chance of holding power in both Houses.  But, both parties are coming to the conclusion that the House, and quite possibly the Senate, are up for grabs.

Read more: Will there be another ‘Republican revolution’?

Afghanistan and the lessons of history

Sometimes, when it comes to war and global politics, it seems as if the present and the past have a way of overlapping.  Recently, on a trip to Scotland’s Capitol, Edinburgh, I was walking across the North Bridge which links the older part of the city with its new town. In the middle of the bridge there is a memorial to the sacrifices of a Scottish Regiment and all its campaigns. One of the most prominent was the Regiment’s deployment to Afghanistan. However, this wasn’t in the 21st century, but rather, covered their service between 1881 and 1883. For a moment, at least for me, past and present were indeed overlapping.

Read more: Afghanistan and the lessons of history

 

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