Ross Perot — R.I.P.

Goodbye, Weird Plutocrat Guy, one-third responsible for the first exciting presidential race of my lifetime. Empty the pockets of H. Ross Perot, called “H.” Ross Perot by Dave Barry, and the following aphorisms jingle like fresh dimes: If someone is blessed as I am is not willing to clean out the barn, who will? and:Continue reading “Ross Perot — R.I.P.”

Reflections of a Political Man, Part II

He had worse hair than any president since Nixon. “Worse” as in natural – a man with other things on his mind (John Updike, in his classist way, would go further: “closely modeled on the opossum fur of his beloved Arkansas”). He had a low rumbling laugh that suggested an acquaintance with mirth. Most impressively,Continue reading “Reflections of a Political Man, Part II”

‘But above all, try something’

At the height of the budget impasse of 2011 I wondered why the hell Barack Obama sought the imprimatur of bipartisanship for policy decisions for which the Democrats would become unloved if not loathed during midterm and presidential elections. In boardrooms, classrooms, playgrounds, department stores, we appreciate conviction, however rudderless and bat shit. Dahlia LithwickContinue reading “‘But above all, try something’”

DNC, Day 2: I got Jeff Nichols out of the way

10:59. “You people have made history,” Meryl Streep said, like Joan Baez at Live Aid, making praise sound like admonishment. 10:54. Rachel Maddow: “For those who expected a feminist convention,” listen to the first half of the speech. 10:48. “One is real; the other is made up.” Well, he got one of those right. 10:37.Continue reading “DNC, Day 2: I got Jeff Nichols out of the way”

Welfare reform and its discontents

Twenty years after Bill Clinton signed a bill that promised to “end welfare as we know it,” he has kept his word: Nationally, the number of people receiving cash assistance has fallen to 4.1 million, from 12.3 million in 1996. In Arizona, the number of cash assistance recipients has plummeted to 20,495, from a monthlyContinue reading “Welfare reform and its discontents”

Thirteen ways of looking at a Bill bird

This Vanity Fair profile of Bill Clinton proposes several ways in which the forty-second president can help or hinder his wife’s presidential campaign. His rhetorical powers, once considerable, look uneven: He recalled his college roommate, a Marine who had been stationed nearby; but what seemed like a quick geographical touch point soon spun into aContinue reading “Thirteen ways of looking at a Bill bird”

A romp through convention platforms past

An excerpt from the Democratic Party platform of 1972: We hold that the federal tax structure should reflect the following principles: The cost of government must be distributed more fairly among income classes. We reaffirm the long-established principle of progressive taxation —allocating the burden according to ability to pay —which is all but a deadContinue reading “A romp through convention platforms past”

The madness of King Clinton

“I wonder if there’s a part of Bill Clinton that doesn’t really want Hillary Clinton to become president, particularly if she has to distance herself from his legacy to do so,” Michelle Goldberg writes in Slate. She refers, of course, to the scolding he gave to Black Lives Matter protestors. A good politician would haveContinue reading “The madness of King Clinton”

The ruthlessness of Bill Clinton

Remember history, Nancy LeTorneau reminds her readers. Before he proposed midnight basketball, V-chips, and keeping homosexuals in straight marriages in response to what Gore Vidal once called Newt Gingrich’s Contract On America, Bill Clinton had been a liberal of a sort, the same way one can mistake gruel for chowder. But as I wrote twoContinue reading “The ruthlessness of Bill Clinton”

My Bill Clinton problem

Bill Clinton was the first president I voted for because I could vote for a president at last. A nascent liberal in an impregnable Republican home, I thought George Bush (as we called him before the Supreme Court appointed his spawn) was pathetic, lacking even the passion to care about losing. Ross Perot was aContinue reading “My Bill Clinton problem”