As Hillary Clinton mulls over the prospect of running for president in 2016, a couple of television networks have apparently decided that there's ratings gold in the former First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State. So, NBC is planning a miniseries on Clinton's life, and CNN is going to produce a documentary about her. One way to interpret their decisions is that Clinton is one of the key political figures of our time and a subject of enormous and ongoing fascination. Particularly if she does run, the networks will garner attention for almost any Clinton-related project. Another way to interpret it is that the liberal media is engaged in a conspiracy to get Clinton elected to the White House.
Since the 1960s, political scientists and pollsters have used a measure called the "feeling thermometer" to gauge how respondents feel about politicians, organizations, and groups of their fellow citizens. It's a way to get a general sentiment—do you feel warm or cool toward this person?—that fits on a convenient 100-point scale, which makes analysis tidy, even if it has little relationship to the way we actually think about political figures. If your feeling toward President Obama is a 72, and your feeling toward Vice President Biden is a 71, does that mean anything? Not really.
If you're a regular reader of conservative blogs, you may have gotten an appeal in the last few days to make a donation to help Caleb Howe, a contributor to the popular blog RedState.com. Howe, who is married with two children, is suffering from liver failure but has no health insurance to pay for his treatment. His page on GoFundMe has logged over $27,000 in donations (the original goal was $25,000), many of which came from those alerted to his situation in a post on DailyKos.com.
It's hard enough fighting a war against the president of the United States, with his bully pulpit and the resources of the executive branch at his disposal. But how can you prevail over him when all your time is spent battling your own comrades? This is the dilemma the Republican party confronts.
When a reporter sits down with Mitt Romney four years from now to see how the former presidential candidate remembers the biggest loss of his political career, which Mitt will he be? It's something that comes to mind after reading The New Republic's interview with Senator John McCain, a wide-ranging conversation that proves the much-loved maverick of campaigns past wasn't a figment of our imagination, but merely on sabbatical.