When Prince William married Kate Middleton two years ago, news organizations told us that just about every human being on Earth was breathless with anticipation for the glorious event. Two billion people watched, saidBloomberg News. No, said the New York Times, it was three billion! Unless you were a Mongolian horseman out patrolling the steppes or a prisoner who had his TV privileges taken away, you watched, because everybody did.
Today, Barack Obama did something he has only done a few times in the years he has been on the national stage: He talked about race. In an extemporaneous statement to White House reporters, Obama discussed the reaction to the trial of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin. He spent the first third of his remarks talking about where African Americans were coming from, in an implicit plea for empathy from white Americans. He didn't accuse anyone of ill will, but he did in effect say, "Here's how black people are feeling and why," in an attempt to explain the sources of people's disappointment and pain.
Only two states, New Jersey and Virginia, hold their gubernatorial elections in odd-numbered years. That, combined with the latter's proximity to D.C. and the national media, mean that anyone elected governor of Virginia almost automatically gets mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, or at least a potential running mate. So it was when Bob McDonnell took office in Richmond, as it had been for Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, George Allen, and others before them. But as his term winds down, McDonnell is enmeshed in a scandal so venal, so base, so old-timey that it's a wonder to behold.
In most of the country, the Cheney name is deeply unpopular. People poke fun at Joe Biden and mock Al Gore, but Dick Cheney stands as one of the most hated and vilified Vice Presidents since Spiro Agnew. And if Republicans have abandoned George W. Bush, then in the case of Cheney, they’ve worked to erase him from their memory of the last administration.
All of this is why it’s odd that his daughter, Liz Cheney, has emerged as a viable candidate for the Wyoming Senate seat currently held by Mike Enzi. Now, it is true that the Cheneys are a long-time fixture in a state known for its conservative politics. But that only explains the viability of Cheney as a candidate. It says nothing about her reason for running. In fact, it’s hard to think of one.
In the wake of innumerable warnings of disaster and accusations of bad faith, Democrats and Republicans did something unusual today: they came to agreement on how to do business, at least for a while. The topic was the filibuster, which used to be something the minority party used in extraordinary circumstances, but in the hands of Republicans has become a hurdle every single substantial piece of legislation and nominee has to jump.