"The Sunday Political Brunch" - June 15, 2014 ABC6 Political Rep - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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"The Sunday Political Brunch" - June 15, 2014 ABC6 Political Reporter Mark Curtis

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“The Sunday Political Brunch” -- June 15, 2014

(Providence, Rhode Island) – Wow, what a wild, wacky week! While nothing stands out as the top story, a whole hodgepodge of things happened in the world of politics this week. It was more like a smorgasbord than a mere “brunch,’ so let’s chew on all of it this Sunday as we salute all our dads by saying, “Happy Father’s Day!”

“Bush 41@90!” – We’ve had a lot of ex-Presidents, but no one quite like our 41st President George H.W. Bush. He turned 90 this week – and is wheelchair-bound – but that didn’t stop him from skydiving once again. Bush was 80 when he first checked parachuting off his bucket list, but he keeps doing it, and celebrated the 10th anniversary of his initial plunge by doing it again. At his peak if office, Bush had even higher approval ratings than his predecessor Ronald Reagan. He and wife Barbara remain an enduring part of our political landscape. Happy Father’s Day Mr. President!

“Clipping Coupons?” – Maybe the oddest of the odd events in politics this past week came when Hillary Clinton said, “We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt,” during an ABC News interview. The interview gave the impression of, “We known how average, struggling working folks have it.” It rang hollow and Mrs. Clinton had to backtrack later in the week. Yes, the Clinton’s had huge legal bills from the Whitewater and Lewinsky scandals, but they were hardly at the soup kitchen. On the day they left office she had a $160,000 U.S. Senate salary and he had a $150,000 Presidential pension and a free home. This issue will resurface in 2016 campaign ads against her.

“What Just Hit Me, a Freight Train?” – Perhaps the only politician more tone deaf this week than Hillary Clinton, was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. He was defeated by 11 points in a Virginia GOP Congressional primary by the unknown Dave Brat. Cantor had a $5 million dollar campaign war chest, while the Tea Party’s Brat had about $100,000. How could a campaign be so clueless? Surely some internal polling must have said Brat would at least be competitive. But that’s the problem of self-serving internal campaign polls. Pollsters often deliver the news you want to hear, rather than the news you need to know. The Cantor campaign was probably awash in “group think” and denial. That’s not a formula for victory

“Tea Party, Party? – A lot of national pundits and political operatives (who all missed the Cantor race on their radars, too), were out beating their chests this week, talking about the impending demise of the Republican Party, and the Tea Party overthrow. One headline even read, “Republican Party Apocalypse!” Really? Then how come Tea Party candidates were soundly defeated in Tennessee, South Carolina and Texas, by mainstream GOP incumbents? Yes, there are pockets of Tea Party strength in this country, and they hold an influential block in Congress. But what happened to Eric Cantor will be the exception, not the rule, in campaign 2014. It’s an anomaly. But at the same time, Republicans may still be looking at a winning a slim, one-vote majority in the Senate. Caution: overconfidence going into an election is not wise.

“Back the Future” – Iraq surged from nowhere on the political radar, to front-page, banner headlines this week. Al-Qaeda backed militants overran the second largest city of Mosul, and are threatening Baghdad. The U.S. backed government may fall. There is little, if any, support for sending U.S. ground troops back into battle. But watch for drone attacks or limited air strikes. The Obama administration is in a tough spot. It can’t ignore the crisis, but it can’t take it over either, especially in the wake of the Bow Bergdahl v. Taliban trade that drove so much of public opinion against the White House. President Obama rallied public support by ordering the successful strike against Osama bin Laden. He probably needs to make an equally powerful statement now, but can he? And it’s not just about military policy, there is also an election November. As I always say, every public policy decision has a political equation to it as well.

“The Dog Ate My Homework!” – The revelation that embattled IRS chief Lois Lerner claims that two-and-a-half years of her emails “disappeared” because of a computer crash just stretches the limit of believability. That fact that the FBI can deep-scan almost any computer hard drive and resurrect “lost” emails in a forensic investigation is proof that no one should stop looking. The harassment of millions of Americans in unwarranted audits is government acting beyond the limits of its authority. Lerner wins this year’s “Rosemary Woods Award!” hands down. You recall Woods was the infamous White House secretary who said she accidentally erased that famed 18 minute gap on President Nixon’s secret Oval Office tape recordings. You just can’t make this stuff up!

What are your thoughts on any and all of these subjects? Just click the comment button at 222.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

© 2014, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: ABC News

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