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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Schneider’

No One Likes a Frontrunner

August 21st, 2014


“No one likes a frontrunner, especially Democrats” a grassroots activist at Netroots Nation told Politico. That’s certainly true. Remember John Glenn in 1984? Howard Dean in 2004? Hillary Clinton in 2008?

It’s Republicans who have a tradition of nominating whoever is next in line. Every Republican presidential nominee since Barry Goldwater had run for President or vice president before. With one exception–George W. Bush. But his name was Bush, so he got a pass. Democrats have a tradition of plucking candidates out of obscurity: George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama.

If Hillary Clinton runs in 2016, she may defy the Democratic tradition. She is the prohibitive frontrunner, at least in the polls. No one else comes close. But will she really coast to the nomination? It looks more and more likely that Clinton will be seriously challenged from the left, by a candidate TBD.

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Bill Schneider’s Political Oscars 2012

February 24th, 2013


Best picture

It was a terrible tragedy that ended in a touching love story. Chris Christie and Barack Obama in A Sandy Love Story. It helped Obama get re-elected, and it may do the same for Governor Christie in New Jersey this year.


Best performance by an actor

Karl Rove’s meltdown on Fox News election night, trying to argue that Ohio went for Romney. A bravura performance.

Best performance by an actress

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill performs in the Republican Senate primary. She runs ads calling Todd Akin—who invented something called “legitimate rape”—“the most conservative congressman in Missouri.” It works. She gets the opponent she wants. And wins.

Best supporting actor

Bill Clinton speech at the Democratic convention: “Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic.”

Best supporting actress               

Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student Rush Limbaugh insulted. Fluke endorsed Obama. And the Republican “war or women” became an issue.

Best director

Chief Justice John Roberts directed the Supreme Court to uphold the Obama health care law. That may have turned the tide in the election.

Best song

Mitt Romney singing “America the Beautiful.” And he wasn’t lip synching.

Best live action short

Mitt Romney talking about the 47 percent of Americans he didn’t care about. Credit to Jimmy Carter IV, who made the tape public.

Best foreign language film

Clint Eastwood at the Republican convention speaking in “chair” to a piece of furniture.

Best cinematography

The Etch-a-sketch image, created by Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom .

Resulting in

Best costume design

The Tea Party movement. No one could beat their get-ups.

Best adapted screenplay

Newt Gingrich attacking the news media in the South Carolina debate. This story was adapted from a long history of conservative attacks on the media, going back to Spiro Agnew. The attack delivers victory to Gingrich in the S.C. primary.

Best original screenplay

New York Times blogger Nate Silver, who provided the authoritative narrative of the election. If there was any big winner in this election besides President Obama, it was Mr. Silver. And Big Data.

Blasphemy! The Un-Churched in America are Democrats

February 11th, 2013


Democrats don’t talk about it, but they have become the party of the unchurched in America. It’s right there in the 2012 exit poll. Asked, “Are you Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, other or none?” 12% of the voters last year called themselves “None.” They voted 70% for Barack Obama.

The unchurched were about equal in number to African-American voters (13%), larger than Latinos (10%) and much larger than either Mormons or Jews (each 2%).

The reason why Democrats don’t talk about the unchurched is obvious. They don’t want to advertise themselves as “the godless party.” The United States is still a country where religion is a major force in both public and private life. That makes the U.S. unique among advanced industrial countries.

In October, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that 58% of Americans claim that religion is very important in their lives—far higher than in Britain (17%), France (13%), Germany (21%) or even Spain, once the land of the Holy Inquisition (22%). More Americans believe in God, heaven, hell, angels, Satan and the inerrant authority of the Bible than citizens of any other modern country.

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Seeking consensus on immigration, guns

February 4th, 2013


Two tough issues — immigration reform and gun control. “It won’t be easy,” President Barack Obama said about gun control in December, “but that’s no excuse not to try.”   Tuesday, he said about immigration reform: “The closer we get, the more emotional this debate is going to become.”

Which does he stand a better chance of winning?  Answer: immigration. On immigration, Obama has Democrats strongly behind him. Republicans are divided — and freaked out by the issue. On guns, he’s got Republicans strongly against him. Democrats are divided — and freaked out by the issue.

On both issues, the president has the public solidly behind him. That’s his biggest asset. “There’s already a growing consensus for us to build from,” he said on Dec. 19, five days after the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre. “A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons.’’ On Jan. 29, when he went to Las Vegas to speak about immigration reform, he said, “A broad consensus is emerging and … a call for action can be heard coming from all across America.”

Even more important, the president’s popularity is soaring. He has a 60 percent favorable rating in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll, the highest since his first year in office.

The president intends to use the bully pulpit to rally public opinion behind both causes. He also intends to use his 2012 campaign organization, which has morphed from Obama for America to Organizing for Action, to browbeat Congress into action. Welcome to real the permanent campaign.

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Is Government No Longer a Four Letter Word?

January 25th, 2013


“Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
With that bloodless, analytical sentence from his second inaugural address, President Obama set off a firestorm of protest among conservatives. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called the speech “unabashedly far-left-of-center.” House Speaker John Boehner said the President’s mission was to “annihilate the Republican Party.”

“Good grief,” Charlie Brown would say.

What Obama was doing was responding to the Reagan Revolution. The rallying cry of that revolution, delivered in President Reagan’s 1981 inaugural address, was this: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” That has been the reigning principle of American politics for 32 years. Even President Clinton reaffirmed it when he said in 1996, “The era of big government is over.”

President Obama wasn’t saying the era of big government is back. He was saying that Republicans have gone too far. They have been taken over by the Tea Party, which challenges the most consensual functions of government: providing security and ensuring opportunity. That requires–the President dared to say–”collective action.” The term “collective action” gives Republicans a nosebleed. It sounds like collectivism. That’s socialism!

Actually, it’s the most basic function of government. This country has been debating strong government versus weak government for more than 200 years. The bias has always been in favor of weak government. Most people came here seeking economic freedom or religious freedom. They associated government with excessive power (King George III). The country’s first governing document, the Articles of Confederation (1781), set up a central government that was so weak it was unworkable. It had to be thrown out and replaced by the Constitution in 1789.

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It’s the (lack of) unity, stupid!

November 5th, 2012


This piece was originally featured on Reuters.

What we expect to hear in the closing days of a campaign is a call to arms.  Instead, what we’re hearing from both sides is a call to disarm.

“I’m going to have to reach across the aisle and meet with good Democrats who love America just like you love America,” Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told a recent campaign rally in Virginia.  “And there are good Democrats like that.”

“In the end, we’re all in this together,” President Barack Obama said at a rally in Wisconsin.  “We rise and fall as one nation, one people.”

Why the sudden craving for unity?  Because that’s the issue that got Obama elected.  He became a star when he told the 2004 Democratic National Convention, “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America.  There’s the United States of America.” Read the rest of this entry »