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Hillary’s reading, reading Hillary

Why do we care what political figures are reading? Do the books on their nightstands say something about them that the ones on ours can’t, or won’t? Maybe it’s reasonable to believe that one can draw general inferences about a politician who cites the Bible as his or favorite, different from those drawn when someone mentions Aurelius’s Meditations, Kagan’s The World America Made or Morrison’s The Song of Solomon (Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Jeb Bush, respectively). But that could just as easily suggest we’ve internalized all the cultural signifiers and can pick up on the dog whistles: the titles are meant less to tell us about those figures as real people than to present them as packagable, electable brands to a core constituency or group of donors. Or perhaps I’m being cynical.

A little over a week ago the New York Times Book Review asked Hillary Clinton about the books she’s reading, likes to read, remembers reading, and wants to read. How you view her responses, both individually and in sum total, may depend on your feelings about Hillary Clinton in the first place. Some might see intellectual voracity, others a general and generous capaciousness; some might sense a lack of discrimination, and still others (and they’re out there) a carefully considered, maybe even market-tested, cataloging of titles meant to tickle the vanities and excite the particular interests of a range of existing and emerging constituencies—even if as far as I can tell no one’s actually called it triangulation.

Rarely content to provide one answer or a single example when several (or more) will do, she also exhibits the Clinton penchant for surfeiting the audience. The one book she wishes all students would read? Pride and Prejudice, Out of Africa, and Schindler’s List. The last truly great book she’s read? The Hare With Amber Eyes, The Signature of All Things, Citizens of London, and A Suitable Boy. Favorite genre? Cooking, decorating, diet/self-help and gardening books. Her roster of favorite contemporary authors runs to twenty, from the literary to the less-so, from Mantel and Morrison to Grafton and Grisham. She mentions poets and pundits and politicians, from Neruda to Dionne to Sen. John McCain. Kids’ books? You got ‘em: Winnie-the-Pooh and Nancy Drew and Little Women, and, from her time reading to daughter Chelsea, Goodnight Moon and Curious George.

And then comes… the Bible.

That's her uncharacteristically contained answer to the question, “What is the one book that made you who you are today?” “At the risk of appearing predictable,” she says, “the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking. I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it. I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement.”

I’ll have to give her the benefit of the doubt. And I may have to reconsider my criteria for the inferences I tend to draw when certain public figures mention certain authors and works. On the other hand, maybe it really does prove the pointlessness of seeking anything meaningful from a public figure’s list of reading materials; as a method for gaining actual insights, can it really be trusted?

Maybe it’s more worthwhile to listen to what Hillary Clinton says than to follow what she reads. In an interview with The Guardian she tried to explain why her considerable wealth may not be the political downside for her that, say, Mitt Romney’s was for on the issue of economic inequality: "[T]hey don't see me as part of the problem because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we've done it through dint of hard work." Not the most elegant of constructions, and maybe even a gaffe—at least according to Republicans. But according to Brian Beutler in The New Republic, that mention of “ordinary income tax” means something

The next GOP nominee might not be quite as cartoonish a plutocrat as Romney, but he will almost certainly be wealthy, and, crucially, will almost certainly promote an agenda that would exacerbate economic inequality. When Clinton said "we pay ordinary income tax" she wasn't just taking a gratuitous jab backwards at Romney for paying taxes at a sub-15 percent rate. She was presaging an agenda that will almost certainly call for eliminating or reducing tax preferences that allow an entire class of people of great wealth to reduce their effective tax rates. I don't know if she'll propose jacking up the capital gains tax, or closing the carried-interest loophole. I don't know if she'll target individual tax loopholes, or advocate for capping tax expenditure benefits or anything about what her economic agenda will look like. But I am 100 percent confident it will include some measures along these lines…

Better to be gleaning signals in this way rather than by seeking hints in a book list. Reading Hillary, in other words, is probably more worthwhile than following what Hillary reads, and the same should be said in regard to politicians generally.

About the Author

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s digital editor.

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At least she didn't say she'd just read "three Shakespeares."

I don't see Amos and Boris on the list. How well read could she be?

It seems America has awakened as to what not to read. Magaziness which have traditionally led the way in prevailing thinking are now failed or slipping rapidly as the country gets its news online and not filtered by those who would be policy makers. Reviewing Michael Hasting's "The Last Magazine.", David Carr provides a pithy analysis of how magazines and newspapers have been in bed with governments so that they do not report but manage the news in cooperation with spin doctors. Thus the deception on the Iraq wars, where we were not allowed to see bodies returned. Carr writes: "The public is less prone to the allure of Great Men pontificating from inside a magazine, the television or behind a lectern at a news conference. The jig is up."

Hillary really hurt herself when she caved in and supported the war in Iraq. She rightly paid the price for that.  So reading Hillary will be a constant theme in the next two years.  Hastings warns us that we really have to read well those who report on her. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/23/business/media/a-novel-lays-bare-media...

Why is it surprising that she mentioned the bible?  She;s a church-going Merhodist ... http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/26/clinton-talks-faith-fami...

What's crazy is that I still recall what books John McCain talked about when he was asked this 6 years ago. I even remember that Bob Dole saw Babe instead of Braveheart in the theatre. Meanwhile, I have no clue what Stephen Harper reads. I do not even know the name of Stephen Harper's wife. An interest being taken in the life of the politician in charge of the government is a pretty American thing, I think. 

Not to state the obvious, but this sort of conversation is never about what a politcian's favorite books are, but rather what they say they are. There's a difference.

Eisenhower read westerns, Louis L'Amour and the like. So, allegedly, did Reagan, but I am not sure I believe that. JFK read Ian Fleming. Jules Feiffer made quite a bit out of all of that, but I can't find the article at the moment.

JFK also read Michael Harrington, or at least Dwight McDonald;s review of Harrington in New Yorker. Or maybe Bobby read it and told Jack about it. That seems more likely to me. Jimmy Carter read Christopher Lasch and then fired half of his Cabinet. What politicians read can have consequences.

Crystal is right about Hillary and the Bible. It is "predictable" if you grew up with midwestern Methodists. One thing is definitely for certain: All the really good presidential ghost writers have been familiar with the Bible.

Maybe 30 years ago, before Hillary was herself being thought of as a presidential candidate, I saw an extensive interview of her in which she discussed her religious beliefs.  When those questions started I was struck by her change in demeanor.  Suddenly she seemed totally serious.  She even had a weird, fluttery look in her eyes as if she were concentrating on what truly is most important about a human life, i.e., its relationship to God.  I must say I was impressed by her apparent sincerity.  I don't think you can fake such seriousness.   My conclusion was that, Yes, this really is a good little Protestant girl who wants to do the will of God.

But that didn't stop me from concluding that she was extremely ambitious in her Christian ambitions.  Sort of like Jimmy Carter, actually, with all his great religious intentions.  I still think of both of them that way.  She is ambitious in the extreme.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but .  .  .

Despite Mr. Blackburn's snideness towards JFK - he actually had his advisers read Barbara Tuchman's *The Guns of August* and even passed out copies of relevant chapters to his advisers during the Cuban Missle Crisis.

Obama read Doris Kearns Goodwin's *Team of Rivals - Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln* during and after his election.

I think that writers column in the New York Times Book Review is dumb, and if Hillary is building her image with book titles, she's not the only one. Most of those columns strike me as being carefully manicured. The questions are always pretty much the same and in the same order. So if the NYT calls you up and says they want to feature you in its author spotlight, you can can say sure, but you'll have to call me back tomorrow. Then look at the questions from past issues,and carefully tailor your answers for the return call. Or tell your staff to compile a list that positions you so that you'll appear cool to whatever demographic.

Yes, it matters what people read or say they do. I spent hours pretending to read "Lord of the Rings" in the student union to attract guys when I was in college. It worked. It's just that the guys I attracted made me listen to their encyclopedic knowledge of Elven genealogies and how they wished Arwen was real.

I'm not as impressed with that Guardian quote as Brian Beutler seems to be. I don't think it signals a progressive policy agenda; I think it signals complacency, of a kind we have learned to expect from the Clintons. The upper marginal tax rate is under 40 percent; during the Eisenhower administration it was 70 percent. The Clintons may be paying a higher percentage of their income in taxes than, say, Mitt Romney does, but they and other top earners aren't paying enough. As for Hillary Clinton's confidence that American voters understand that she and her husband got rich "through dint of hard work," it should be pointed out that the Clintons have made a lot of their money from speaking fees. In 2011 alone, Bill Clinton received $13.4 million in such fees, "earning" $750,000 for a single speech to a Swedish telecom company in November of that year. I doubt the speech was worth three quarters of a million dollars, but, to be fair, I didn't hear it, so I'll withhold judgment (is any speech worth that much money?). In any case, I wouldn't call that "hard work," and I doubt most American voters would. 

It seems de rigeur to knock the Clintons. As if one is automatically right by  bashing them. Hillary is an extraordinary person by any standard. She was an exemplary Senator who paid attention to small people . She was an excellent Secretary of State. She did her homework and took other people seriously. She was not a coctail hour Secretary. I though she was a bit glib in her answers to the book questions. But it was a masterful performance

As far as Willie C is concerned there is hardly anyone on the planet who works harder. He could have easily earned hundreds of millions. But he chose service and his post presidency is quite impressive. Maybe some people here can't read. So suggestions are in order.

Well, Matthew, Bill Clinton does jack his jaws, so people would probably get their money's worth if you measure worth by word count. Raber and I were watching the 1988 Democratic convention on TV when Bill gave something like a 90-minute nomination speech. (No, wait, I just looked it up and it was only 33 minutes, it just seemed like 90.) When he finally got to "in conclusion," people cheered. Because he'd hogged the stage twice as long as he was supposed to.

But I think your comment about taxation is on target. Romney paid his fair share of taxes as well as the Clintons. It's just that what's a fair share was fairer during the Eisenhower administration. I'm not sure that rich people understand how much they disassociate themselves from "real" people when they try to make themselves look virtuous re taxes.

It does seem pathetic, as well as clasically Clintonesque, that she couldn't pick just one title even when the question specifically asked her to. Pride & Prejudice is a solid choice! Why throw in two more? I'm sure it was because she (or whoever put this list together on her behalf) was trying to signal as diverse a range of interests and priorities as possible, so as to maximize appeal and limit any potential missteps. And what's really sad is that I think she's probably right: if she had said just one book, someone, and maybe many someones on a slow day, would have found a reason to object or mock her choice. (E.g., So Hillary Clinton thinks every student should read Pride & Prejudice -- so safe, so "domestic" in its concerns, so not-even-American, so white-people-problems-focused...)

I can't explain the decision to keep her literary dinner party guest list down to one, though. That's a missed opportunity right there. Maybe she's just weary of formal dinners?

Her list of authors she loves is very heavy on women. But is that because her favorite authors are mostly women, or because she knows she'll be criticized if she doesn't name enough of them (especially in the pages of the NYTBR, where counting women authors mentioned has become a Thing)? These purported glimpses of the private lives of our political leaders lose most of their appeal, for me at least, when it becomes impossible not to see the crowd of image advisors and focus-group pollers between the subject and the final results. I understand why she felt she should say Pride & Prejudice AND Out of Africa AND Schindler's List. But a sentence explaining any one of those choices would have been far more interesting, and would have made me feel like I'd gained some small insight into her priorities. I can't blame her, though, for wanting to keep interesting insights to a minimum.

Meanwhile, pace Hillary, it's not at all surprising to learn that she has Bush and McCain's memoirs on her shelves. She probably has a whole shelf of inscribed Beltway memoirs. Occupational hazard.

Molly, Could you fill a blank as stupid as the ONE book you want EVERY student to read? Every student of what? Everything from civil engineering to art history? I can't do one, single book for everybody in the family at Christmas. What kind of question is one for everyone? It's a question that encourages -- nay, it calls for -- a fey response.

Or as Jean boiled it down to essentials:

I think that writers column in the New York Times Book Review is dumb,

Bill Clinton *is* a good speaker.  The speech he gave at the 2012 DNC was an example ...  http://youtu.be/i5knEXDsrL4  ...  "The Clinton Speech" by Joe Klein in TIME  ... http://swampland.time.com/2012/09/06/the-clinton-speech/

 

A politically brilliant, religiously failsafe repsonse.

Crystal, I agree that Bill's a good speaker. But good enough to be paid $75 a word (which is roughly what he gets if he talks for an hour at $750,000)? 

Jean,

I don't know much about paid public speaking.  To put what he's paid into perspective we should probably see what toher people get paid too.  This article mentions how much different politicians get paid for speaking ...  http://www.neontommy.com/news/2013/11/price-political-speakers ... George W. Bush: $110,000 ... Colin Powell: $100,000-$150,000

Oh, I didn't realize it but people get paid a lot for college commencement speeches too ... http://www.nbcnews.com/id/31192270/ns/business-us_business/t/lucrative-b...

I repeat: not hard work.

Is there some metaphysical connection between suffering for your paycheck and moral worthiness that I have missed?

Crystal, Hillary seems to be making the distinction between those who actually provide goods and services for which they are paid a negotiated wage (i.e., books and speeches) and those who have a bunch of money and put it out at interest to make more while they sit around on their golden fannies. Not sure that she meant that they actually suffered for their money, just that they actually produced something from their own effort.

But the more I think about it, the less sense her statement makes. Somebody who lets his money out at interest also contributes to the production of something, whether it's a product or service. Moreover, My guess is that the Clintons probably have a staff who grind out the books and speeches for them (not to say they're dumb and incapable of writing their own). So are they actually producing something? Or are they merely vetting and tweaking something someone else wrote? And if it's more the latter, than are they really "working hard"?

FWIW, here's a recent NPR piece about ghostwriters and how hard they work. 

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/12/292382481/so-you-need-a-celebrity-book-who...

 

Jean,  I guess what I'm asking is why having a difficult job is thought to mean someone is a morally better person. It's like a kind of ascricism worship.  Howard Gray SJ used to say "Harder isn't better, it's just harder."  

Crystal, your question would be more to the point if someone had faulted Hillary Clinton for not getting rich off hard work. I'm faulting her for saying she (and Bill) got rich from hard work when in fact they got rich from cashing in on their political celebrity. People are not paying them for extraordinarily good speeches. If they were, then, as Jean Raber suggests, their speechwriters should get the money. People are paying them to show up and be Bill and Hillary Clinton.

But even if your question isn't to the point, it's an interesting one. It seems to me that if we guaranteed everyone a mininum income, we would have to pay people quite a bit more to do "hard work." Otherwise no one would be willing to do it. People don't scrub airport toilets for the love of the job; they do it because they need the money and have no better options. On the other hand, people do write books and give speeches for the love of it, and sometimes for free. I can think of no justification for the speaking fees the Clintons (and the Bushes and many other retired politicians) receive apart from the fact that, obviously, someone is willing to pay them that much. 

In any case, I don't think it's so bizarre to insist on some kind of correlation between effort and desert. If tomorrow I woke up to discover that there was someone willing to pay me a million dollars for every hair that fell from my head, I hope I'd have the decency not to suggest that my wealth was as well deserved as that of Thomas Edison or Mark Twain.

Matthew ... Yes, I can see that one could take exception to Hillary saying their money was the consequence of hard work.  I always wondered how this hard work thing would work in Utopia, where everyone had enough and no one wanted to do the icky jobs ;)  I wonder though about the connection between suffering, luck, hard work, and moral goodness.  One interesting commencement speech I heard was by a writer who was pretty wealthy - his speech was all about how much luck, rather than hard work or moral worth, has to do with success ... http://youtu.be/CiQ_T5C3hIM .... Are the Clintons "bad" because they've basically been lucky enough to make  a lot of maoney from being who they are?  If we hold that against people who run for president, we won't have many candidates to choose from.

 

PS - I would probably feel differently if Hillary was a Republican or a Libertarian whose policies would doom the poor, but the opposite is true.

" I can think of no justification for the speaking fees the Clintons (and the Bushes and many other retired politicians) receive apart from the fact that, obviously, someone is willing to pay them that much. "

Why pick on the Clintons? Notoriety always sells. We are in a celebrity culture. Julia Roberts doesn't deserve 20 million a movie. But the movie makes plenty of money because she sells. Same with celebrities and other famous people.

Bill Clinton is bigger than most celebrities.W is not in his class. In intelligence nor concern for people. My point is the Clinton bashers are more sickening than the Clintons ever were. 

When I give a homily, I don't talk for 33 minutes, but on a long-winded day I might talk for a third of that time, much to the consternation of my wife, children and everyone else in church.  So far, nobody has paid me a red cent, but it seems socially just that we apply the Clinton Time-To-Money Ratio to my effort, which I'm willing to wager is probably greater than Bill Clinton's: I imagine he is standing up there extemporizing for the better part of an hour.  A quarter of a mill per long homily?  I can work with that.  BRB, I need to send an email to the cardinal ...

Jim, let us know how that works out for you. :-)

Why don't Catholics (and Episcopalians, and perhaps others), who feel that the liturgy is long enough, so the priest should "keep it short" on Sundays especially if there's a ball game on in the afternoon and dinner's in the oven, devote one weeknight to a longer homily separate from the Mass. Perhaps the priest or deacon could talk about the readings coming up on Sunday and offer historical or theological perspectives on them. There could even be (gasp!) a question and answer time. 

I know no one in my parish would attend such a thing, even if it was timed on Wednesday nights to coincide with CCD, when people already have to tote their kids up to the church. (You'd be surprised at how many parents sit in their cars playing on their phones while the kids are inside--or maybe you wouldn't.)

But I'd attend a parish that did. I'd even throw a few bucks in the plate if they wanted to pass the hat.

Jean, My Baptist friends do that on Wednesday nights and call it Bible study, and don't even think of trying to book them for something else that night.

I have been promoting (futilely) the practice of painting our Mass faces, donning our parish paraphernalia and going into church for a 2 1/2 hour Mass, followed by tailgating in the parking lot. Then we'd get home just about in time to catch the last half-hour of a football game, which would put our priorities in order.

For the year of faith, our parish had biweekly sessions consisting of an hour of presentation (mostly videos) followed by an hour of decaf, cookies and discussion. That started out with about one-fifth of our usual Sunday Mass attendance, but it slowly petered down to a handful. My personal impression was that we should have done it weekly, instead of every other week, and we should have held it down to an hour. We made it too easy on the calendar and too hard on a weekday night. In practice, though, the program was slowly undercut by other parish activities and the fact that an awful lot of us were already in the building two or three other nights of the week. I still think there is a lot in the idea, once the lessons from our experience are digested, especially for parishes which are trying to find ways to start the kind of involvement we have.

So I returned to the original By the Book Q & A with Mrs. Clinton and had a revelation: on second reading it sounded like honest answers to simple questions and not as strung out and longwinded as Mr. Preziosi would have us believe:

Rarely content to provide one answer or a single example when several (or more) will do, she also exhibits the Clinton penchant for surfeiting the audience.

Sorry to deflate the columnist's attempted zinger, but it is normal for the weekly respondees to give a laundry list of authors or titles squeezed within the confines of the Q & A structure. This past Sunday's guest, Colum McCann, mentioned 12 novelists when asked to name his one favorite novelist. Or perhaps we would overlook his penchant for surfeiting the audience, as the (more positive) cliched Irish gift of gab? Mrs. Clinton's other responses were pithy and to the point.

This piece by Mr. Preziosi reminds me of the story of the two psychiatrists walking down the hallway and being greeted by one of their fellow doctors with a hearty, "Good morning". The two nod in acknowledgement of the greeting. Once out of earshot of their colleague, one turns to the other and asks, "What do you think she meant by that?"

 

 

 

 

Agree.  

But it's a safe bet that the editors who find something "Clintonesque" in Hillary's answer and who compare balding to writing memoirs will continue their assaults on her until (and long after) her election.

Bill et al, I'm not exactly a Clinton basher; I voted for Bill twice. And I don't think you have to be a Clinton basher to have reservations about Hillary's possible bid for the presidency. She's undoubtedly a hard worker (and the fact that she can read all those books and do everything else she does is impressive). But she's a hawk and she screwed up health insurance reform when Bill was president. She's also a lightning rod for the GOP because (rightly or wrongly) of lingering questions about Benghazi. 

I feel much more in tune with Elizabeth Warren. Sadly, she recently denied higher political aspirations in a recent issue of The Nation. Bernie Sanders is a possibility. I still think Jerry Brown is a think-outside-the-box type of guy, but he's got prostate cancer and is 78.

Jean, Prostate cancer isn't necessarily debilitating. I believe both Bob Dole and Colin Powell during the peaks of their careers. I read that in a copy of Esquire in the waiting room of my urologist on my first visit to him, 20 years at least before I got prostate cancer of my own. It is treatable. The article said -- and my urologist confirms -- that more men die with it than of it. In other words, something else will get you while you are waiting for it to do its worst. I have recently discovered, after all these years, that I have sinuses. Florida is harsh on sinuses. I'd say having sinuses in Florida is worse than prostate cancer.

Bottom line: Jerry Brown is not excluded. (But unlikely.)

Warren is too new. I am tired of electing people who have never been to Washington (Reagan, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and W. claimed it although he was stretching) or have been there just long enough to make a speech (Obama). I want the next president to be someone who knows where every blooming body is buried and who really runs things. That could be Hillary Clinton, but if I vote for her it will be because her win would drive the Benghazi crowd even crazier.

This is a serious question: why is Joe Biden never even mentioned?  Tom, I think he'd fulfill your criterion.  What's wrong with a Catholic moderate Democrat with many relationships across the executive and legislative branches?

I do think Hillary has the best chance to win and I think she will do the best job. And come on, when are we ever going to finally have a woman president? 

This is a serious question: why is Joe Biden never even mentioned?  Tom, I think he'd fulfill your criterion.  What's wrong with a Catholic moderate Democrat with many relationships across the executive and legislative branches?

Plus the presidential limo would get traded out for a Trans AM, which would be totally sick.

Tom, you and I know the facts about prostate cancer (and I'm guessing so do most people and Republicans), but it's a potential negative. Sounds like who you really want is LBJ. People like that are all gone now.

Jim, Biden tried to run once and plagiarized a bunch of speeches from some Welsh MP and got caught embellishing things to make a good story. On that criteria, you'd have to disqualify every member of Congress, but he's had the reputation of being unreliable since then. (I personally love Joe Biden; he used to be on NPR with Chuck Grassley sometimes. Biden would hog the mike while Grassley sputtered, "Now, now, my friend Joe Biden's been sayin' a lot of things, and I wanna get in here." Then Biden would say, "Sure, Chuck, but let me get this last point in ..." Then they'd have to cut to a break. The interview couldn't seem to control it, and I'm sure Biden did it on purpose.)

I liked Howard Dean, but since he screamed he's out.

I also like Robert Reich, he's smart but not too egg-heady, but he doesn't have the visibility that other people have. He's also short, and if you think that's not a liability, you don't live in the upper Midwest where every time people see Reich on TV they say, "Is that guy a midget or what?"

And come on, when are we ever going to finally have a woman president?

Crystal, to me that smacks of tokenism. Women have been much better represented in Congress in the last couple of decades. Ditto on the Supreme Court. There have also been more women governors. It's only a matter of time that a woman will be elected president. I want that woman to represent me and my interests, and I won't vote for her because of her plumbing.

No I wouldn't vote for a candidate just necause of their gender. If I could have anyone run, I'd choose Al Gore, but that's pretty hopeless.    Why overlook Hillary when she has the best chance to win and is going to be so much better than any Republican candidate on the issues?   And having a woman be president for the first time does matter somehow, just as having women be priests does matter, just as Obama being the first non-white president matters.

He's also short, and if you think that's not a liability, you don't live in the upper Midwest 

I do live in the Upper Midwest, and I can't get past Rand Paul's hair.  Too much Dippity Do.  Whatever I think about whatever he happens to be talking about, he can't overcome the Hair Problem.

 

And come on, when are we ever going to finally have a woman president?

Be careful what you wish for. When Britain finally got a woman prime minister, who did they get? The oldest old boy of them all, a/k/a TINA (for "There is no alternative.") Hillary Clinton does meet my major qualification -- having been there and found out how it works. And yeah, Jean, I do kinda miss ole LBJ, since he was the last candidate I voted for before going into a long, apparently unending era of voting against the totally unacceptable. I think you and I could caucus and come up with a candidate we both could support. But if I were betting right now, I'd say we are going to have to vote for Hillary because can you believe what the other guy said about (fill in the blank)?

Tom, I will be surprised if I'm not voting for Hillary Clinton as the lesser of two evils. The New York Times Mag had a piece about Rick Perry thinking about running again. Oops. That's going to dog him no matter what books he says he's read.

Jim, as a former Dippity Do user, I can tell you that Rand Paul's problem is that he globs it on and lets it dry without brushing it. Clearly, the Rand Paul look was not intended by the product's manufacturers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtKzTv9Opzo 

Speaking of hair, I was really bothered by Joh Edward's hair and his zillion dollr hair cuts back in 2008  ;)

Here is the problem. If Hilary Clifton wins the presidency in 2016, and the Republicans control Congress, nothing of significance will be done. If Republicans control the House, nothing will be done. If Democrats take the House, the Senate and the Presidency in 2016, we will have more of the same, something that Americans will not tolerate.

If the Republicans win the Senate this year, Obama will be inundated with bill after bill that he will likely veto. Nothing of significance will be done. During the 2016 Presidental election process, what will Hilary do to convince Americans that she can compromise and get things done? Hilary is not Bill.

 

 

If Democrats take the House, the Senate and the Presidency in 2016, we will have more of the same, something that Americans will not tolerate.

I don't get this statement. If the Democrats sweep the executive and legislative branches, won't it be because Americans put them there? Why would they do something they will not tolerate?

I think hair tells a lot about a person, even if only that the person doesn' care much about his/her appearance.  Hillary's hair bothers me.  She's an old woman, but her hair-style is that of a 25-year-old, it's not becoming, and sometimes it's quite disheveled.  What that says to me is that she's someone who can't look honestly at herself.  Not good. It's improved since she retired from the State Dept.,and maybe she was just too overworked to care about it. But if the State Dept. extended her energy past her limit, then she shouldn't be running for President at her  age.

Ann, I am not sure being Secretary of State isn't physically harder than being president. Even Henry Kissinger, who started all this running around, spent a few days at home once in awhile. But Clinton and Kerry (speaking of hair) and their recent predecessors seem to be landing in a new country every day, talking through translators to people who seem to have a lot of ch-es at the end and kh-es at the beginning of their words, sitting too long at dinner tables and getting back on the airplane for briefing on a completely different country with a completely different set of problems. That has to take a toll.

Tom B. ==

No doubt Sec'ty of State is a gruelling job, especially these days.  And I think Hillary did it well.  We didn't go to war again, and though people say she's a hawk, I'm no so sure how true that is.

And what's wrong with Kerry's hair? I wish he'd run for President, but Americans just can't stand people who lose.

By the way, do you or does anybody else know of a good article online about Elizabeth Warren?  I really like what I know of her, but I don't really know much about her views except on financial reform.  (I'm not so sure Hillary is going to run.  I'm sure she desperately *wants* to run, but there is the underlying question about her health.  She hasn't been entirely above-board about her health problems, and sometimes I think she looks awful.)

Ann, re: Elizabeth Warren and 2016, you might check out this piece by Noam Scheiber in the New Republic from a few months ago.

 

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115509/elizabeth-warren-hillary-clint...

 

Ann, this appeared in The Nation re Elizabeth Warren: http://www.thenation.com/article/179714/elizabeth-warren-explains-why-sh...

She also appeared on Stephen Colbert. She actually got him to shut up in the nicest possible way: http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/79q9bs/elizabeth-warren

Jim P. and Jean --  Thanks for the aricles.  She's starting to look too good to be true. 

I still want to know more about what does she think about other matters.   I did find this in a New Yorker article -- about two incom families.  Very surprising.

"Warren’s counterintuitive argument is that, for all the public and private good that has come from gains made by women in education and employment, earning money has made women who are mothers more economically vulnerable, not less.

"Warren believes that the two-income family has contributed to the bankruptcy rate. “For middle-class families, the most important part of the safety net for generations has been the stay-at-home mother,”"

She argues that in hard times the stay-at-home Mom can get a job to make up the difference.  A working mother is already atwork, so there's nothing more she can do.

Jill Lepore: Reading Elizabeth Warren : The New Yorker

I'm sure some feminists will object to that.  But maybe the bishops will love it. I particularly like the fact that she takes a wider view of the problem, that she's willing to take an unpopular stance, and she'swilling to say so publicly.  She doesn't sound much like Hillary at all.  To me Hillary is an exceptionally cnventional thinker, and times call for broader outlooks, creative solutions and political courage.

My sense is that the choice of "Schindler's List" was quite intentinally calculated to enhance Hillary Clinton's status with the American Jewish block, whose support of her predicted presidential candidacy in 2016 is absolutely critical.

Although Clinton ("Hard Choices") admitted what we all know - that the Palestinians have been living under occupation since 1967, she earlier and vocally rebuked the UN General Assembly for their historic vote awarding observer status to Palestine.  

A dear priest friend of mine once observed that "Christianity is all about the one."  This echoes the Talmudi precept courageously lived out by Schindler, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." 

Clinton is too much the politician to internalize such deep spiritual insights.  I wish Chris Hedges could recommend a few books to her.

Thank you.

 

A book all students should read: What age are the students?

For high school+ ,  my husband thinks all American students should read Grapes of Wrath.

 

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