Sunday, June 14, 2015

Weekend Non-Hillary Edition

All of the weekend Hillary stuff - the announcement speech, the house party I attended, and the Des Moines rally which I'll be attending - will be summed up in a late Sunday post. Before I do that I'm going to clear the deck of some other items.

The first sort of IS a Hillary item. In the announcement speech, the former Secretary of State included about 45 seconds of foreign policy discussion, and in that made sure to include a reference to "our ally Israel" with no mention of the state's human rights abuses or acknowledgement of anything called "Palestine."

Between that, and Bernie Sanders' relatively tepid answer to an Israel question the other week in Iowa City, it seems like we STILL aren't going to get a serious discussion of the Palestine-Israel conflict in this primary. Democratic leaders are lagging behind the Democratic base on this. I'd like to steer the discussion more in the direction of THIS article titled "Accelerating the Decolonization of Palestine." #SorryNotSorry

And while I'm saying stuff I used to be afraid to say: I'm more shook up by Friday's Coral Ridge Mall murder of Andrea Farrington than I thought I'd be. The murderer - I'm not saying "the accused" because he's confessed - clearly had a gun and militaria fetish.

It is simply too easy to get a gun in this country, there are simply too many of them, and their use is too easily rationalized as a "right." It's time for America to get rid of the primitive notion that weapons are an absolute right, as sacred as speech and religion and democracy.

I've long thought if there were one thing I could change in the Constitution, it would be the Second Amendment. Now I'm saying it. It should be repealed, and strict and sensible gun laws like other civilized countries have should be enacted. #SorryNotSorry
The Ames Straw Poll - since Boone 2015 never happened I'm reverting to the traditional usage - died in 2011. It died with Michele Bachmann's ultimately meaningless win. It died when Rick Perry's announcement stepped on the day.

But most of all, it died when Tim Pawlenty bet everything he had on Ames, fell short, and immediately washed out of the race. Nobody wanted to be the Tim Pawlenty of 2015. Friday's announcement was just burying the corpse.

I regret never getting to see the show. In 2007 Ames conflicted with my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, and they called dibs. In 2011 I was turned down for press credentials, though I did ask a little late.

The funeral for the straw poll brought out the Iowa haters on social media.

That attitude might explain why Greenfield was so rude to me when I tried to talk to him at the 2007 Harkin Steak Fry.

I was a pro at that time, the glory months of the late great all-star team at Iowa Independent, and was working on a piece that, ironically, Greenfield would have had a strong opinion about. Eventually it was headlined "Iowa's Neighbors Envious of Caucuses, But Not Hostile," but during its looooong gestation we referred to it on editorial conference calls as "Spoiled Iowa."

I was juggled a half dozen stories at a time and saved a lot of string that day. And I recognized Greenfield from various cable shows, and thought he could add a good quote for Spoiled Iowa.

But he brushed me off very brusquely, too important, or self-important, to talk to a mere blogger from Iowa. In contrast, Obama campaign chief David Axelrod was more than happy to share a few minutes.

As for Greenfield's question Why Iowa? I'll note that it's just not possible to transplant a political culture that has taken decades to develop into just any semi-random small state. Look at the troubles Nevada had in 2008 as a case in point.
Some folks are looking at this week's trade vote as a sign that Barack Obama's lame duck period had begun. I'm not convinced of that, but it does illustrate an interesting dynamic.

Free trade is an elite issue. Non-elites, Democrats AND Republicans, are instinctively protectionist, less worried about exporting goods than they are about exporting jobs. And it seems that House Democrats are closely in tune with that dynamic.

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