by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis
"The Sunday Political Brunch" - December 23, 2012
(Providence, Rhode Island) – It is Christmas week and a time to give thanks! I am sure Santa is making his list and checking it twice, finding out which politicians have been naughty or nice! Normally this is a quiet week, but a lot has been happening in the political world, so here are this week's observations:
"Giving Thanks; Saying Goodbye" - U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) died this week, after serving Hawaii in Congress since the day it became a state almost 54 years ago. What many people don't know is that Inouye, (pictured on the left), was a World War II hero and Medal of Honor recipient, despite the fact that some did not want the Japanese-American Inouye in the U.S. Military. He lost his right arm at the elbow in a fierce firefight. By the way, do you know who that is to the right of Inouye in the photo? Why it's former U.S. Senator Bob Dole (R-KS), who also lost the use of his right arm. They rehabbed together at an Army hospital in Michigan with another wounded soldier, former U.S. Senator Phil Hart (D-MI). What are the chances that three wounded heroes – recovering in the same hospital ward – would become three of the most influential lawmakers in Congress, in the last half-century? They were, indeed, from the greatest generation!
"Timing is Everything"- I will leave it to my readers evaluate the merits and demerits of the remarks made by Wayne LaPierre, President of the National Rifle Association (NRA), at his Friday news conference. Gun control issues are among the most controversial in America, and the rhetoric has boiled over as I have never seen before. I will offer just one opinion, though. I think the timing of the news conference was horrendous. The NRA should have waited until all the victims of Sandy Hook had been laid to rest. The juxtaposition of images on the evening news of children being buried and LaPierre's contentious meeting with reporters was in sharp discord. The NRA could have waited one more week, say the Friday between Christmas and New Years.
"Where's Hillary?" – Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was a no-show before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week after her staff said she was ill, then fainted, and suffered a concussion. She had been scheduled Thursday to testify about what went wrong in the fatal attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, on September 11th. Also, on Thursday, four mid-level staffers at the State Department were dismissed for mishandling security in Libya. Then on Friday, the Secretary was noticeably absent when President Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to succeed her. Social media and talk radio have been on fire with rumors and innuendos about Mrs. Clinton's whereabouts and her intentions. If she runs for President in 2016, the questions will still be there. Don't be surprised if you hear Donald Trump demand access to her medical records!
"Kerry Scramble" – I spent Friday interviewing prominent Republicans and Democrats in Massachusetts, about who may run to succeed John Kerry in the U.S. Senate. http://www.abc6.com/story/20406954/battle-begins-for-john-kerrys-us-senate-seat-in-massachusetts. On the Republican side, the clear favorite is current U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), who was defeated for reelection by Elizabeth Warren in November. On the Democratic side, rumors abound that a Kennedy may jump in. Sen. Ted Kennedy's widow Vicki gets prominent mention, as does the late Senator's son, Teddy, Jr. Longtime U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, (D-MA) is another possibility, and other House Members are considering a run. At $68 million dollars, the Brown v. Warren Massachusetts Senate race was the most expensive in the U.S. last fall. The special election could mean a multi-million dollar boon to local media for campaign ads. Here we go again!
"Taking the Plunge" - It's one thing to be defeated by the other party, but when you get beaten by your own party, it's doubly painful. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) learned that lesson the hard way this week when 40 to 50 Republicans signaled they would vote "no" on the so-called "Plan B" to end the fiscal cliff stand-off in Washington, DC. Speaker Boehner went so far as to cancel Thursday night's scheduled vote on the bill. These things happen. President Bill Clinton was stung by fellow Democrats who helped torpedo his health care reform bill back in 1994, and President George W. Bush had fellow Republicans undermine his immigration reform efforts. Boehner might want to consult with both ex-presidents on how to recover when your own troops abandon ship.
Have Merry Christmas this week! As always, if you would like to comment or express an opinion, please click the comment's button on www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.
(c) 2012 Mark Curtis Media, LLC