By Mark Green
Rubio's meme is "I'm the future", but models JFK and Obama didn't want to go back to '20s and '50s. Clinton's is "I'm your neighbor's mom", but will GOP Evita-ize her? Lowry and Vanden Heuvel discuss both as well as whether the bi-partisan agreement on Congress's role on Iran Deal is win-win for both parties.
On Rubio's Announcement. Does Rubio look young but think old -- is he the "new generation" or a dynamic Coolidge? Rich thinks he's the best political thoroughbred in the GOP field and "how you come across can matter -- look at how Gore and Kerry were hurt because they were political clunkers. And 'The Future' is part of our political idiom -- whoever owns that has an advantage. In fact, when has the more experienced candidate ever beaten the candidate of tomorrow?"
Katrina disagrees. "Never have the alleged personal traits mattered less than now given the huge gulf between the two parties on policy...Rubio's inhumane views on Cuba, not even allowing Cubans to visit their families, runs counter to what young Cubans believe" and his complete reversal on his own immigration plan shows he's more partisan than principled. So why does he take these positions? "His party can't accept anything Obama says and does."
Rich acknowledges that Rubio "can be dinged on some of his positions. But he is one of those Republicans who is thinking through how to apply his principles to the present day."
On Clinton's Announcement. So what does our panel think of Hillary's 'Where's Waldo Listening Tour" kickoff? If Cruz emphasized his speaking skills and Rubio his youthful appeal, is Clinton smart to lead with her welcoming, unqueenly private personality?
"It was a bizarre, unstatesman-like start," concludes Rich. But was it also fun and funny and appealing? "Look, it's not easy to come across as authentic at these very staged events sitting across from three regular people. Yet you have to try to project that publicly. And she's never lit up an arena like a Marco."
That's true, answers Katrina, "and why it was smart of her to start small. She's learned lessons." Ok, what about her stated focus on four approaches: helping unstack the deck against the middle class, strengthening families, fixing the dysfunctional system of unaccountable money and protecting the country from current and future threats? Vanden Heuvel applauds this programmatic combination, especially how Clinton lauds the protests last week in 200 cities for higher living wages. "But we have to keep up the pressure because politicians respond to movements. There is a struggle for the soul o the Democratic party between the Warren and Wall Street Wings" and Clinton's opening remarks are a good sign.
Rich dismisses her comments as ho-hum, standard Democratic populism. And her ideas are largely "popular but anodyne. Also it's unusual to start a presidential campaign by suggesting that we amend the Constitution because of too much First Amendment speech," implying that a Constitutional Amendment overturning Citizens United isn't going anywhere anyway. (Though should she win and get to appoint a successor to one of the five conservative justices, the 5-4 majority of Citizens would become 5-4 majority saying that money is, of course, literally property, not figuratively "speech.")
Then, cheesy spot quizzes:
*Who's most likely to emerge on the Right to challenge either Bush or Walker? Lowry says Cruz; Van den Heuvel says Rubio.
* Chance today that Clinton will be POTUS45? Van den Heuvel demurs, Lowry says 50-50 (correct answer is 2-1 favorite, though of course no way of knowing or proving that, now or later).
* Is the Florida-Ohio ticket of Rubio-Kasich the GOP's strongest? Properly noting that The National Review hasn't endorsed any one much less a ticket, Rich allows that Rubio-Jindal would be an emphatic and eclectic statement - TWO young, smart guys, one a senator and one a governor. How about Clinton-O'Malley or Webb? Katrina doubts Webb would fit in and sounds partial to O'Malley or Sanders. In fairness, Katrina's the one who's been saying that what counts for more than who is what.
Host: four comments:
First, the theme that "everyday Americans" are being shafted by economic elites -- and the implicit framework that the 1stWoman/2dClinton beats the 3d Bush - are pretty strong openers.
Second, GOP efforts to villainize her -- like Issa calling her a "Nixonian criminal," Hume lamenting her "weird marriage", Navarro questioning how she's bathing in "estrogen" - are more likely to backfire than bite.
Third, arguments that she's too rich and famous to understand "everyday people" are profoundly unfair. Wealth alone is not automatically disqualifying -- some can empathize (FDR) and some can't (Romney). Nor was she born on third base. Her and their financial success has been earned, not inherited. Let's recall that she brained and worked her way up from Wellesley speech against Sen. Brooke , to Nixon impeachment panel, to Children Defense Fund, Senate, SecofSt. Bill helped but zero people think she's Fredo.
Fourth, IMHO, the election will likely turn on whether the economy is still growing by 2016. Efforts to argue that Obama will defeat Clinton is whistling by the graveyard given 60 straight months of economic growth after the Bush Recession. (Bush? Sounds familiar.) A strong economy helped elect GHWB in '88 and narrowly defeat Nixon in '60.
On Bi-partisan Senate Agreement on Iran-Process. There appears to be a consensus that the Corker-Cardin deal is a political win-win - Republicans can argue that they forced the President to recognize Congress's proper role in at least advising on such a major international agreement while the President retains the last word on the content of the deal given his veto pen.
There is disagreement, however, on the substance of the initial framework. But time doesn't permit a conversation about Senator Cotton's assertion that it would take only a few days of bombing to end Iran's nuclear threat... or as blogger and BSN-er David Corn tweeted, "the third time's the charm" when it comes to Middle East wars.
On Two Quick Takes: Erasing Marijuana Convictions and reinstituting Firing Squads for Capital Offenses.
There a consensus that a State like Connecticut -- one of the nearly half which has either decriminalized or legalized marijuana -- is right to expunge a marijuana conviction from a personal's criminal record. Why ruin a young person's life if his/her conduct is no longer unlawful?
What about Utah restoring firing squads because of the problems of obtaining lethal injections... in the context of DNA exonerations showing that probably 1 in 25 of those on death row are innocent.? Rich is not enamored of the death penalty but, in such clear case, the firing squad is no more brutal or immoral than lethal injection. Katrina is adamant. "It's barbaric, an outlier in the world and of course intolerable to execute an innocent person", which will be inevitable however clear any one egregious case might be.
On the Radar: Here come a) Earth Day this week -- thank you Rachel Carson and Senator Gaylord Nelson and b) the British elections next month when former Nation magazine intern Edward Miliband is the Labor candidate in a close contest against Tory Prime Minister David Cameron. (If the boyish 45 year old wins, great news for Rubio, 43, and The Nation, 150).
Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now.
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