The Democratic field grows larger by the day. As has been widely predicted for several years, New York's junior Senator and the first First lady ever to serve in Congress, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has launched an exploratory committee to run for the presidency. As she states it, she "in it to win it," but then anything less would be out of character. Democratic hack Terry McAuliffe--who as head of the DNC presided over years of electoral losses before ceding the post to Howard Dean, who helped to engineer this past fall's electoral comeback--has already begun suggesting that her campaign will be Thatcherian in nature--Lord help us! Nevertheless, I'm excited by the possibility of her history-making run and possible win, because by every conceivable measure Hillary Clinton and the constellation of politicians, policy makers and administrators around her would leave a positive legacy, even with the (remnants?) of the Iraq War overshadowing at least her first few years. Yet I'm also concerned that were she to win, we'd experience a return domestically of the previous Clinton administration's DLC-tinged rhetoric, small-bore policies and triage politics that effectively constituted one of the more successful moderate conservative administrations in the last 50 years. After 8 years of Bushism, a more radical course of action is necessary. Overall, I find the prospect of a forthcoming Clinton campaign very exciting, and am eager to hear her goals for getting out of Iraq and for her governance, and witness how she deals with the expected attacks and outrageousness coming from the media, the right, and even some in her party. Whitewater, for which she and her husband were fully exonerated was, I'll never forget, a creature nurtured and propelled primarily--at least in its early stages--by the "mainstream media."
In addition, today New Mexico's governor and former Congressperson, Clinton administration Energy Secretary and US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson announced he'll run for president as well. I view Richardson, who'd become the first Latino president of the US, as one of the less likely primary winners, but given the crowded field and his moderate-to-progressive stances, his victory in the primaries isn't inconceivable. Two landslide gubernatorial wins in 2002 and 2006 point to a strong, effective and popular campaigner, his successful infrastructure initiatives show that he can push through efficacious policies, and his brokering of the cease-fire in Darfur indicate that even as a governor, he not only has an interest in international affairs, but hasn't lost his diplomatic skills. I'm particularly interested to hear his views on how to extricate ourselves from the debacle in Iraq (and the unfolding, preventable one in Afghanistan) and rebuild our ties to allies, as well as improve our international standing, especially in the Muslim world. As with Clinton and Obama, I'm excited that he's in the race, and can't wait to see how it all unfolds over the next two years.
Speaking of Democratic candidates and the expected media attacks (that keep coming), Fox News has launched its own, ignorance-laden smear against Barack Obama. As I said a few posts ago, it'll only get worse.
The other day, Raw Story provided a link to one of the strangest and most disturbing stories in recent memory; yet I could also see this as a Todd Solondz movie. (Just so long as Bruce LaBruce or Gaspar Noe doesn't get ahold of it first.)
On a different continent, extremists in Nigeria, who seem to be endlessly focused on everything but the real problems facing that country, are agitating to ban anything and everything gay....
Two coaches made NFL and US sports history today: Lovie Smith led the Chicago Bears to the NFC Championship over the New Orleans Saints, while Tony Dungy coached the Indianapolis Colts to the AFC Championship over the New England Patriots, thus each becoming the first African-American coaches ever to take teams to the Super Bowl, and just as historically, at the same time!
The Bears defeated the league's Cinderella team on a superb ground game by running back Thomas Jones and their game-transforming defensive unit, to finish 39-14, while the Colts roared back from a 21-6 deficit under the steady arm of star quarterback Peyton Manning, and sent the Patriots packing 38-34.
The wins are a great vindication for both Smith and Dungy; the soft-spoken Smith is the lowest-paid head coach in the NFL and is in the final year of a 4-year contract, while Dungy, who weathered the suicide of his son last year, was fired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite leading them to the conference championship in 1999, and nearly won the conference championship in 2003 with Indianapolis.
Congratulations to both teams, and, pace St. Louis Rams, GO CHICAGO BEARS!