1. Channeling Bill Clinton’s advice to Barack Obama re the mid-term elections: “Don’t sweat it. …Losing Congress in 1994 was the best thing that ever happened to me.” And it was. In 1994 the Clinton presidency was so unpopular that Republicans ran their national campaign morphing Bill’s face into that of local Democratic candidates. Then came the Contract-With-America Congress, Newt Gingrich’s shutdown of the government, and two years of shared power with the GOP – enough to take sharp focus off Bill and to galvanize his Democratic base.
Fast forward, 2012: Unemployment rates still high, the Afghan war drags on. But instead of being the only face on cable news, Obama shares public focus (and blame) with Speaker Boehner. No guarantee that the incumbent wins re-election, but it does narrow the odds.
2. About that Mission Re-accomplished speech from the (refurbished) Oval Office last week: Are we to understand that the 50,000 troops still in Iraq are, as the Pentagon would have us believe, non-combatants? If so, please advise: What does a non-combatant U.S. soldier do when attacked? Call 911 for the Baghdad police?
3. Commemoration of the Week: It was 75 years ago this Friday, Sept. 10, that the Kingfish of my Louisiana youth, Huey P. Long, died after being shot in the state Capitol. Of Huey’s career his U.S. Senate colleague, Tom Connally of Texas, said (after a vote fraud investigation), “If you want a political education, come to Texas. But if you’re looking for a graduate degree, go to Louisiana.”