Posts tagged: Marc Johnson
Perhaps the football-as-life metaphor never fit more snugly than yesterday when a University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam, a likely high National Football League draft pick, let the world know what his teammates had known all season long. Michael Sam, a strapping 6 foot 2 inch, 260 pounder, the best defensive player in the best football conference in the country, is gay. His knowing Missouri Tiger teammates selected him as their most valuable player after a season in which they had come to know the real Michael Sam. I can’t help but juxtapose that kind of courage and sensitivity against the head-in-the-sand bias and insensitivity of too many politicians from Boise to Sochi/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post. More here.
The Labor Day news has been dominated by strikes at fast food restaurants, essays on growing income inequality in the United States and even reports about how increasingly unaffordable higher education is going to make the current generation less likely than their parents to climb into a comfortable middle class life. All these challenges, and more, are worth the attention of policy makers and lawmakers was we mark another Labor Day, a holiday created in 1896, by the way, as an olive branch to workers by the anti-labor union President Grover Cleveland. We should also add to our list of policy and societal concerns the continuing challenges and inequality that confront women in the work place. Those fast food strikes aimed at a higher minimum wage are, as Slate points out, mostly about women/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question (for the Ladies of HBO): Do you get treated & paid equally at your workplace?
Idaho Sen. Frank Church went to his grave nearly 30 years ago still being criticized by some, including Idaho politicians like the late Sen. Jim McClure, who should have known better (and probably did), for all the alleged damage Church’s various investigations in the 1970′s had done to the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. As the media fixates on security leaker Edward Snowden and his every movement, it may be worth remembering the role Church played in uncovering the spying excesses of the super secret agencies that have done nothing but grow since the Idaho Democrat pulled back the curtain on their highly questionable – and illegal – action more than a generation ago/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: I don't trust either party when it gains a strong upper hand in governance, whether it be county, state or federal government. How about you?
Like more than 200,000 American men annually I was diagnosed recently with prostate cancer. Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer in the most commonly occurring cancer among American men. The disease claimed more than 28,000 lives in 2009, the last year for which we have the most complete figures. There is almost truth to the line I’ve heard and now use myself – “if you live long enough, I’ll get prostate cancer.” Prostate cancer is indeed widespread and it takes a particular gruesome toll among African-American men. My case – special to me, for sure – nonetheless seems fairly typical in many ways/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: A neighbor is recuperating at home for prostate surgery. Do you know anyone who is being treated for prostate cancer?
Marc Johnson of The Johnson report sez Republican Mitt Romney would have been wise to heed the advice of Arthur Vandenberg, a Republican U.S. senator from Michigan who helped Harry Truman pass the Marshall Plan and believed “Politics stop at the water's edge.” More from Marc: “Romney has spent most of today cleaning up after a statement he issued too quickly and without all the facts as the awful events in Libya were spinning out of control late yesterday. His midnight statement condemning the Obama Administration is being widely regarded as an amazing piece of amateur hour time for someone who hopes to be Commander-in-Chief. Ronald Reagan’s gifted speechwriter Peggy Noonan said Romney wasn’t doing himself any favors with his hair trigger attack.” More here.
Question: Is a bipartisan approach to foreign policy in this day when the extremes of both parties push away from consensus and compromise?
I have never met Mitt Romney – or Barack Obama for that matter – but you sure wouldn’t know that by looking in my mail box. Yesterday I received, I’ve lost count honestly, what must be my 13th or 14th piece of mail from Mitt. On the same day I got a letter with Barack’s smiling face peeking through the envelope window assuring me that I could be a member in good standing of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). So far, by my count, Romney is winning the battle of my mail box based on the sheer volume of friendly, but still ominous mail he sends me. And I’m pleased to report we are becoming better and better friends as the bar fight currently passing for a presidential campaign soldiers on to November/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: How much direct mail are you getting from the presidential candidates? Do you read the mailings?
Early in his political career Lyndon Johnson is famously said to have wanted to make an outrageous charge – allegedly involving sex and an animal – against a political opponent. His staff pushed back arguing that the allegation was untrue, but Johnson was unmoved. Of course the charge was untrue, Johnson said, he just wanted his opponent to have to deny it. I thought of the old LBJ story while watching the charge made last week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Over the weekend Reid was pummeled – properly so if you believe politics is always a gentlemen’s game played according to Marquis of Queensberry rules – for saying he’d been told that there were many years when Romney paid no income taxes. The Romney camp and the candidate himself immediately and vehemently denied the allegation with the GOP chairman going so far as to call Reid “a dirty liar”/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here. (AP file photo of Lyndon Baines Johnson)
Question: Why do we act so surprised when politicians sling mud? Isn't it as much in their nature as it's in a rattlesnake's nature to strike?
Today Mitt Romney got a nasty taste of what political life is like under a foreign media microscope. He must be wondering why he didn’t stay home. By the measure of world-wide Twitter trending (#Romneyshambles), not to mention the Brit papers, Romney’s visit to London has gone over there about as well as the Norman conquest. By one account Romney insulted all of England by wondering if the Brits are ready for prime time when it comes to hosting the Olympics; couldn’t seem to remember the name of the Ed Miliband the leader of Labour Party; disclosed (simply not done apparently) that he had met with the head of MI6, the super secret British intelligence service that prides itself on having almost no public profile, and misused some common English words that have considerably different meaning in the mother country/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here. (AP photo)
Question: How does Mitt recover from this pratfall?
While the nation holds its collective breath over the fate of Obamacare (hint, it’s going down) the conservative judicial activists on the U.S. Supreme Court have affirmed their original controversial decision that its just fine to have unlimited and often undisclosed corporate money flow into our political system. At issue in the case summarily disposed of Monday was a Montana Supreme Court decision that attempted to uphold the Treasure State’s 100-year plus ban on corporate money in state elections. The Court’s five man majority reversed the Montana court decision and reminded all of us of the essence of its earlier ruling in the now infamous Citizens United case. “Political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation,” the majority said in an unsigned, one-page ruling/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Do you think corporations are people (or just Soylent Green)?
Skillful politicians, it is often said, make their own luck. They have – or develop – the instincts to act, speak or hold their tongue at the right moment. The best of the best use language and symbols to connect over and over again with their constituents, or at least with most of them. Politics is many things: policy, determination, intelligence and timing, including being able to read the other side and know how and when to push back from the clinch and land an effective counter punch. Politics is handling adversity, taking a punch and bouncing back. Politics is also performance and performance is the ability to convey a story, a story that connects both intellectually and emotionally. Last week was the week when, I suspect, Barack Obama went from a presumptive favorite to be re-elected in November to, at best, an even bet. To say that the Obama campaign has a bad week is to say the Queen had a nice little party recently. It remains to be seen whether it was the defining week of this campaign that seems to last forever/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here. (AP photo)
Question: Do you think the economy is doing fine, as President Barack Obama said recently?
Harry Truman famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” I’ll offer the Johnson Corollary to Truman’s great one liner: “in politics, it is almost always your friends who cause you trouble.” Most every politician I have known has a very good idea from which direction the partisan opposition will attack. It’s the onslaught from friends that is harder to anticipate and even more difficult to combat. From Idaho to Indiana today, the Republican Party is in full revolt against itself and the soldiers in this war of the friends – faintly moderate Republicans battling really, really conservative Republicans – are in full battle gear. The most recent purge of the “moderates” claimed its latest victim yesterday when 36-year Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar lost by 20 points in a GOP primary. Lugar, 80-years old, and portrayed as a squishy bipartisan moderate, was retired by the same type of voter who will next week take the Idaho GOP in an ever more rightward direction/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Can the Tea Party survive without moderate Republican votes?
Bad luck like stupid comments seems to come in threes. Ozzie Guillen, the mouth-running, currently suspended manager of the Miami Marlins baseball team is at once the most politically incorrect man in America and the luckiest. He desperately needed to get off the front pages after taking Miami’s re-branded team, cozy in its new stadium, and running his mouth straight into south Florida’s visceral hatred of Fidel Castro. Ozzie says his comments in Spanish praising Fidel lost something in translation, but what Guillen really mangled with his ill-considered comments about the country’s least favorite commie was an old and simple rule. Loud mouth baseball managers really should never comment on anything other than what happens between the lines. Danger lurks out there beyond the friendly confines – remember Marge Schott – where men play the boys game. But thanks to cable television, just as it looked like Ozzie might still pay for his Fidel praising with his job, two other stupid comments make Ozzie seem so last season/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Have you ever said something stupid in word, letter or cyberspace you wished you could take back?
There is an old and respected approach to judicial review of controversial and essentially political issues that holds that judges should do almost everything possible to avoid wading into the dense thicket of politics. If Chief Justice John Roberts and his fellow conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court were really conservative they would rule on the controversial Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) on the narrowest possible grounds. They might even seriously considered not ruling on the merits of the law under the old and accepted principle that the case is simply “not ripe” for adjudication since no one – at least not yet – has been “harmed” in the legal sense by the health insurance mandate and other aspects of the still new law. Hardly anyone thinks either of those approaches is likely from the Roberts Court, particularly after last week’s marathon hearings. You will get even money today that Roberts will lead his thin 5-4 conservative majority in the direction of at least ruling the mandate unconstitutional. The odds are a bit longer that the Court will throw out the entire law/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Are you optimistic/pessimistic that U.S. Supreme Court will throw out at least part of the ObamaCare law?
The steady re-examination and reinterpretation of our 36th president is one of the most interesting developments in the shifting world of political history and biography. There are new and often very good books all the time about the Roosevelts, Kennedy and, more often now, Reagan, but the story of the big, drawling Texan is simply a political historian’s dream. The fact that LBJ biographer Robert Caro is about to release the fourth volume of his massive and nearly life-long work on Johnson was, in and of itself, a significant news story. The book, Passage to Power, is out May 1/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Last play favorite president of last 50 years. Mine? Ronald Reagan. Yours?
More than 20 years ago I was on the way home from a trip to Washington, D.C. with Clancy Standridge, who was for many years the legislative liaison and a top political confidante of my old boss Idaho Gov. Cecil D. Andrus. It was late, the flight had been a long one, we were a little grumpy and tired from a series of those non-stop and not very productive meetings you often have in the nation’s capitol. As we stumbled up the long concourse in the Salt Lake City airport headed for the connecting flight to Idaho, handsome, debonair Clancy offered up an observation I have found myself repeating ever since. “This time of day,” he said, “your shoes feel like they are on the wrong feet.” Everyone laughed and the ordeal of getting home suddenly didn’t seem so onerous. That was Clancy Standridge. Anyone who was around the Idaho Statehouse during the late 1980′s and early 1990′s will remember white haired, well-tailored Clancy Standridge who died recently in Portland, Oregon at age 84/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Typically in politics the most painful wounds are self-inflicted. Candidates shoot themselves in the foot and hobble around for days trying to change the subject, while the political media, the opposition and YouTube repeat the gaffe over and over again. Rick Santorum had his shoot the foot moment with ill-considered remarks on college and contraception. Newt Gingrich went into the high weeds with his colony on the moon moment. Barack Obama had his “cling to God and guns” diversion in 2008. GOP front runner – and I say again, almost certain nominee – Mitt Romney’s gaffes have been so numerous it can be difficult to keep them straight. He likes to fire people, the wife has two (2) Cadillacs, he isn’t a NASCAR fan, but knows rich guys who own racing teams, etc. Romney has a strange – and I’m sure to him mind boggling – ability to step on his own good news/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here. (Photo: A Nov. 5, 2008, AP file photo shows an Etch A Sketch portrait of President Elect Barack Obama, that was unveiled as the results of the presidential election were announced. Etch A Sketch is suddenly drawing lots of attention, thanks to a gaffe that has shaken up Mitt Romney's campaign)
Question: Do you have a favorite presidential candidate gaffe?
The Associated Press reported yesterday that some guy from Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania? – called the bookstore at South Dakota State University asking where he could get some Jackrabbit gear. You heard it here first – this logo is going to be popular! My alma mater made the Big Dance! For the first time! It may be the biggest college athletic moment in the history of South Dakota. The Jacks beat Western Illinois 52-50 in overtime night before last to claim the Summit League title and an automatic bid to the NCAA basketball tournament. The Jacks – admit it, you love that nickname – will know Sunday who they face in the first round of March Madness. Even with a 27-7 season record, the Jacks are likely to be a 14 seed, so nothing will be easy for the boys from Brookings/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Which college mascot is your favorite?
Kootenai County sheriff hopeful Adam Johnson is speaking out now after Prosecutor Barry McHugh said he was ineligible to run for office. Johnson, 27, plans on filing as a candidate for sheriff. In the last few years he's had several run-ins with the law. In 2009 he shot and wounded two people in Coeur d'Alene. Those charges were later dropped. Then in this last January he pled guilty to possessing heroin and is currently on probation.
As for what McHugh said about him not being able to run? Johnson says it's his opinion and he intends to try and file as a candidate for Kootenai County sheriff/Anusha Roy, KXLY. More here. (KXLY photo of Adam Johnson)
Question: Should Adam Johnson be allowed to run for Kootenai County sheriff?
The conventional wisdom holds that Paul must win somewhere – and fast – or risk running out of steam as the primary campaign grinds on. He would seem to have a far shot in three states with a GOP caucus today – North Dakota, Alaska and Idaho. The Idaho GOP establishment is aligned with Mitt Romney and the state’s sizeable Mormon population is almost certain to give him an advantage, but – a big but – the insurgent wing of the Idaho GOP, the group that has come to dominate a good deal of the party’s business, is entirely capable of sending Romney and his Idaho supporters a big message. We’ll see if they do. It may be worth noting that while Paul was drawing 1,300 up the road in Sandpoint, Gov. Butch Otter, a Romney surrogate, was speaking to a crowd of 100 in Coeur d’Alene/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Is there anything to be made of Paul attracting 1,200 in Sandpoint (and probably 2,000 in Moscow) while Butch Otter subbing for Mitt Romney attracted only 100 in Coeur d'Alene?
Rush Limbaugh apologized over the weekend for a choice of words that he admitted “was not the best,” a reference to his radio show delivered “slut” and “prostitute” characterization of a Georgetown University law student. Conservative commentator David Frum summed up El Rushbo’s latest tirade when he wrote, “Limbaugh’s verbal abuse of Sandra Fluke set a new kind of low. I can’t recall anything as brutal, ugly and deliberate ever being said by such a prominent person and so emphatically repeated. This was not a case of a bad “word choice.” It was a brutally sexualized accusation, against a specific person, prolonged over three days.” “Brutal, ugly and deliberate” for sure, unprecedented not so much. Mostly forgotten now, and that may be the ultimate justice, is the man who was Rush before Rush. Limbaugh with a fedora – Walter Winchell/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: Am I the only one who remembers Walter Winchell?