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The Sunday Political Brunch – January 27

My weekly political observations!


(Providence, Rhode Island) – I have a small role in a political movie that debuts this week (more on that later), but the real drama was in Washington, D.C., as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before Congress about Libya. Here are my weekly political observations.

Hell Hath No Fury! – Democrats loved Hillary Clinton's combative appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, particularly her feisty exchange with Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.). Supporters think a "tough as nails" persona by Clinton bodes well for her presidential chances in 2016.

What Difference Does it Make? – Republicans, on the other hand, have pounded Clinton. They believe her rhetorical question – "What difference does it make?" – about the often-changing explanation of what really led to the death of four American at the Libyan Consulate, was insensitive and inflammatory. You can expect to see the, "What difference does it make?" clip in campaign ads against her in 2016.

The Middle Ground – Neither of the above observations is a surprise. Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure – people either love her, or despise her. There is little middle ground. But with 40 percent of American voters registered as independent, and beholden to neither party, how they react will be critical. And to those who think this quote will be a distant memory in 2016, that's highly unlikely in our Internet and You Tube age. It may fade for a time, but it will come back.

Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Enemies Closer – Hillary Clinton's biggest initial problem with her quote may actually be with Democrats, and not Republicans. While she is the odds-on-favorite to win the 2016 nomination (as she was in 2008), there are no guarantees. It's likely to be a contested primary season again with key Democrats such as Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), former Governor Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) and former Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) as possible challengers. Any one of them would be more than willing to use the, "What difference does it make?" quote against Hillary Clinton. The only potential challenger that could not is Vice President Joe Biden. The problem for Secretary Clinton is she has created a wedge issue – whether she intended to or not – that can, and likely will, be used against her.

Why Does it Matter? – I am sure some readers are discounting what I am saying. After all, the next presidential campaign cycle is three years away, and memories can fade. But Hillary Clinton remains one of the most fascinating dynamics in American politics. Much of what she does and says will be highly scrutinized. She is likely to travel a lot, write a lot and speak a lot, right up until the day she decides whether or not she'll run in 2016. Potential challengers – especially within her own Democratic Party – will be looking for any opportunity to pounce and gain some traction. Politics is a full-contact sport!

But Can She Win? – The short answer is yes. She came so close in 2008, that we all know she has the tools. But the road won’t be easy. As a practical matter, Americas most often switch parties in the White House after a two-term presidency. Only two vice presidents have ever succeeded their bosses electorally after two terms – Martin Van Buren and George H.W. Bush. So that does not bode well for Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. It can be done, but it will be tough.

The Looming 'X Factor' – It made a few headlines this week, but the chorus may get louder before long. Republicans in states such as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin, are talking about changing the way their states award Electoral College votes. Currently those states are winner-take-all, meaning whoever wins the statewide popular vote gets all the Electoral College votes. Only two states – Maine and Nebraska – divide their Electoral College votes differently. They do it by whoever wins each Congressional District. If all of the above mentioned states allocated their votes by Congressional District, Mitt Romney would be President today. There are lot of doubters that this change will actually take place, but consider this: Republicans now control 24 states governments, meaning they have the governor and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. Democrats only have 12 states where they control the whole government. Politics is often about leverage. Keep an eye on this issue!

I Ought To Be in Pictures! – Well actually this week I am! Sunday night on ABC, I play a background actor in "The Makeover" – a movie where political operatives find a gruff beer deliveryman and do a makeover, turning him into a candidate for Congress. It stars Julia Stiles and David Walton. Watch the bowling alley scene, and look for a guy in a lime green pullover shirt (photo above), applauding in the background. It will be akin to finding a needle in a haystack, but yes, that's me! And soon, you can see me in "Labor Day" with Kate Winslet, which is set for release a bit later this year!

As always, you can respond by clicking the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

NK_Voter January 30, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Mike-can you please fill us in on who "the real Americans" are? Are they, perhaps, people that agree with you?
Jack Baillargeron January 30, 2013 at 05:59 PM
So mike, what did she answer that told us or the families of the dead what really happened, Why did she not explain the attack instead of someone who Obama even said knew nothing of the attack. Why did she say there was no real time video on it, when we now know there was a US drone in the air on part of the attack and they were able to identify one indidvidual from video of the attack? Why was security so small at the compound with no backup in place? Why were the Ambassadors calls for more security, ignored? Why was security not increased for 9/11, when we know the terrorist allways use aniversary dates to do another attck on american interest? Why were the FBI denied questioning the man Identfied on video after he was caught in Tunisia and has no been released? Why weeks after there were still people including Obama still saying the so called video was the catylast for the attack? Why was no-one held responsible for negligence if that was part of the problem? She was the boss at the time after all? I could go on with a ton more questions that matter. Why did she not just give a timeline to answer all of these things? They are common questions, that the people should know. Your post makes no sense and is disrespectfull to those that died. This is not some video game, and deflection by you of the politicians and who won at a hearing is strange to say the least. It is about the Government answering questions by our representatives of the people.
Jack Baillargeron January 30, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Managing conflicts is our people killed? Wow. Managing conflicts is thousands dead across the Middle East and North Africa? Wow. Managing conflicts is attacking Libya without Congressional approvel required by Law. (see War Powers Act). Managing conflict is disappears thousands of rockets in Libya suddenly turning up all over the Middle East. Managing conflicts is, nothing accomplished on Iran? Managing Conficts is The treaty between Egypt and Isreal being threated with cancellation by Egypt? Managing conflicts is supporting the so called Arab Spring that failed but not the one that was crushed in Iran? Come on she and this Administration have accomplished nothing but fan the flame of war in the Middle East to a point we have not seen since the 70's. Any average person can see that I would think, why can't you? Wow again.
mike westman January 30, 2013 at 10:38 PM
you betcha
mike westman January 30, 2013 at 10:41 PM
your idea of management is akin to unilateral conflict instigated by good ole' USA.....I regret that you see our involvement in the Arab spring as our idea and our theater.....Is it not the idea to minimalize our exposure and have our allies shoulder the weight in our best interests? Smart swagger beats bully swagger anyday.
Leave RI January 30, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Secretary of State Bush had 200 thousand state department employees killed.. in Iraq?? holy crap..I was so off base. Thanks for being on the same sheet of music, Mike..now, off to make my bologna and whipped cream sandwich.
pam January 30, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Let's stick with the topic at hand...Hillary lied, Hillary is still lying and she does a superb job of it.
mike westman January 30, 2013 at 11:31 PM
as if you had a pipeline to the state department and the cia. You just do not like her
mike westman January 30, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Hey leave.....sounds yummy.....people are people wherever you are. Since a number of the poor victims at Bengazi were contractor....that certainly falls into Iraq and its' numbers....no not 200k but many hundreds of 'civilian' contractors were 'lost' during the Bagdad ballet. Ms. Clinton did take responsibility for the debacle in Bengazi...when did I hear the same from herr Bush or Cheney?
mike westman January 30, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Just remember....the new 45 is 65 years......Obama is just a kid
mike westman January 30, 2013 at 11:39 PM
oh yes....most people fear and distrust the people that are smarter than they are.
Leave RI January 31, 2013 at 12:07 AM
"..Sec. of State Clinton did an outstanding job as our Ambassador in Chief throughout the world. She was accepted by all countries and represented us professionally. " MIke..thanks for getting the bologna and whipped cream analogy for "it doesn't go together" My post was in response to the above subject matter and statement. C'mon man I thought you might be beyond trying to serve me a red herring sandwich. I've now punched your "give him credit" card. There is no OIF,OEF, Desert Storm/Shield/Just Cause or CINC mention at all...and if I tell my mother you were bad in the playground..well then mister...she will put a hand on her hip and tell me not to hang with you.
Leave RI January 31, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Mike maybe you were going here. If so I'll take it all under consideration http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzGnX-MbYE4
Jack Baillargeron January 31, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Wow mike, did you write Hillary's answers? No where did I say I supported involvement in the wacked out Arab Spring. I merely State that Our SOS had involvement in them all except for the Iran one. She along with the rest of the Administration touted all this as a March to freedom and Democracy in all those Country's. At least you admit they instigated it, which turned into a total failure they as usual will never admit. You probably support giving Egypt the F-16's from a deal in 2010 that never has to be done with a different government that is already talking about starting wars and naturally like the rest put Sharia law in place. Yep real democracy you support there Mike. If you think any of the Islamic Country's are allies to the US you are dreaming. They change allegience at the drop of a hat, cartoon, Video, terrorist attacks on Americans any where in the world and you call them allies? lol You had to be involved in writing Hillary's answers. Just saying
Jack Baillargeron January 31, 2013 at 01:13 AM
We still wait in anticipation Mike on just who the "Real Americans" are as NK suggested.
pam January 31, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Mike don't be silly. If that were true you would live in fear. Think what you want but that doesn't change the fact that Hillary lied and is still lying but as I said before...to people who live in that alternate reality truth doesn't matter. I am sure Hillary is smarter than me but what good is a lying smart person.
mike westman January 31, 2013 at 01:48 AM
clarify what you mean....where did she lie relative to the bengazi debacle? At least you guys read and respond.
mike westman January 31, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Real Americans? Those who are not afraid to look at the world's reality without hiding behind a corporate American flag.
pam January 31, 2013 at 02:23 AM
Mike I am not smart enough to explain so why don't you read this... http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/338763/hillary-clinton-s-dodgy-testimony-jonah-goldberg
Jack Baillargeron January 31, 2013 at 04:08 AM
Corporate American Flag? Just what is that Mike?
Govstench January 31, 2013 at 12:54 PM
As she accepts responsibility for the four dead, she will always have that blood on her hands. Because she didn't come clean on this issue but instead hid behind the govt apparatus in place, I will never vote for her. Her health condition may prove to preclude her chances of running. She is tired and worn out after four years in the State Department - how will she fair as President? Don't really want to go there.
Naome Lixes January 31, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Okay, so I read it... From the recommended hatchet piece, "Meanwhile, the Democrats, almost uniformly, seemed interested in celebrating Mrs. Clinton as a global diva who somehow manages to carry the burden of her awesomeness with humility and grace. If smoking were still allowed in the Capitol, one could easily imagine her removing a cigarette from a gold case and tapping it nonchalantly on the witness table, and the entire Democratic caucus leaping over their desks for the chance to light it for her." - Jonah Goldberg Way to cite something "Fair and Balanced" Pam.
NK_Voter January 31, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Ah--the evil corporations consisting of people that actually make and build the things that you use and wear? Study history before you buy in to the socialist utopia model Mike. It's a great deal for the elites at the top--but you won't be one of those few...
Naome Lixes January 31, 2013 at 01:05 PM
She's not a viable candidate, if Barack Obama could push past her. Look to the rising Latino population to produce the first viable Female candidate. Americans don't vote for female WASPs or Asians. For the most part, we're still choosing the tallest candidate. It's recasting of the Neanderthal leadership method - Who's the biggest ape standing at the mouth of the cave to defend the Tribe? (He's not wearing heels.)
mike westman January 31, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Oh...I just love those opined articles that start with the premise of Ms. Clinton being the devil incarnate. I also love watching the righties on this blog struggling with their identity....to libertarian or to be corporate. Confusion seems to be your group's main idea. The only focus you have is a collective irrational hatred for Ms. Clinton.
mike westman January 31, 2013 at 01:16 PM
The red white and blue of Exxon and Walmart
raven ciccone January 31, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Oh good. Michelle O is taller than Hills.
pam January 31, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Only Kardashian approved links are acceptable here ;)
Leave RI January 31, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Pretty good scam the whitehouse has..my guess is it's really Rue Paul in that red dress.
Jack Baillargeron January 31, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Gee Mike, I hope you do not have a Pension Plan at work, 401K, Drive any thing with a combustion engine, or tools ie, Weed wackers, Lawn mowers etc. Or are friends with any of the 2.5 million workers employed by walmart. Guess you are a unique individual who does not own any products at all or a house or eat food, all of which has items that are made by Corporation and conglomorates. That would make you under, the "Corporate American Flag" would it not? lol

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