It would be grossly unfair to charge that Hillary Clinton is endeavoring to stir up the same kind of fear that George Bush did four years ago. But there is little question that she is trying to make voters feel unsettled.
It seemed like this day would never come: Americans are about to actually start voting in the presidential primaries. And as the clock wound down, the policy differences, small as they were to begin with, receded into the background. While the Republican race is a factional contest pitting different arms of the GOP coalition against each other, the Democratic race has become, as Mark Schmitt so astutely argued, the "theory of change" primary. Hillary Clinton's talking point -- "Some people think you hope for change. Some people think you demand it.
A few weeks ago, we mused on whom each of the leading presidential candidates would most like to face in a general election. Since nothing pleases a political junkie more than wild speculation, it's time -- before the actual voting begins and candidates quickly begin to be knocked out of contention -- to make some guesses about what will a few months from now briefly consume the political press: the vice-presidential choices.
I feel obligated to chime in on this, since as far as I know, I'm the only TAPPED contributor who attended the sinister kiln in which Swarthmorofascism is fired. Although it's been a few years now since I graduated, back in my day (the late 1980s), the place was a hotbed of compulsive studying and Quaker-bred politeness. Like all good fascists, we championed the campaign of Swarthmore grad and noted radical Michael Dukakis, who was legendary for having written the lengthiest seminar paper in school history. His loss was greeted with much wailing and rending of garments. But in truth, most of the students were too neurotic about their studies to join up with the brownshirts.
As we go around and around on waterboarding yet again, I couldn't help noticing that I cannot recall a single instance in which I've seen a journalist simply refer to waterboarding and similar methods of interrogation as "torture." Yet they use terms like "enhanced interrogation techniques" over and over. The Republicans certainly won the language battle on this one.
As the primaries (finally) approach, it is increasingly apparent that the real GOP battle is between the business wing and the social conservative wing of the party. Is the real showdown going to be over the future of the GOP?
After months of tedium and mindless chest-thumping, the race for the Republican presidential nomination finally got interesting over the last couple of weeks. And the way it did so highlights the fundamental rift threatening the future of the GOP: the divide between the party's corporate/anti-tax wing, which includes the people who write the checks, and its social conservative wing, which includes the people who get bodies to the polls. It's the plutocrats versus the theocrats, and at the moment it's hard to tell who's going to win.