When Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama in 2008, the idea of scoring a first for women was trumped by the appeal of electing the first black president. She was a senator then and didn't want to emphasize the differences in men and women in their approach to making policy
The theatrics of politics can work best in summer stock. The candidates know they're not yet playing on Broadway, but they're practicing as if on the road to see what audiences laugh at, applaud or even hiss and boo.
The Republican candidates who demonstrated in the first debate that they "get it" were the candidates who kept their focus on the pursuit of happiness, a pursuit that runs past carnivals and sideshows and through to economic growth.
Some of the guys who are tempted to mock Hillary Clinton's bad hair days are about to feel some of the lady's pain, beginning Thursday night in the first debate of the presidential nominating season.
The young, particularly the young voters of 2016, have no memory of Bill Clinton, and we're all about to be treated to "a little deja vu all over again."
The Republicans are desperately trying to get hip. Pursuing the latest new thing is not in the Republican DNA, but it's necessary to win elections. They have to tap into the popular culture of social media to woo the younger generation of voters, and that requires a digital strategy.
The controversy over Harper Lee's new "old" novel, "Go Set a Watchman," might be the most bizarre controversy yet in a summer of bizarre and unlikely explosions of national piety.
Any man will tell you that women can't whistle, throw passes or cuss very well. Female cussin' has punch but no authority. But the triumph of modern feminism is that a woman has the right to be as vulgar as any man. No, scratch that. It's not a right, but acceptance (in certain circles) for using verbal vulgarity as crudely as a barroom brawler. We used to call it "giving lip." It was not "ladylike."
That was a strange week, with intersecting conversations between and among Americans trying to absorb mind-crashing events that fed high and lowbrow attitudes, populist and patrician criticisms, sophisticated and naive pronouncements. There were absurdities and abominations, a massacre and amazing grace. Politics was writ large, accompanied by the rumble of rhetoric shaped to fit the emotional tyranny of the moment rather than great truths of the past.
The GOP-majority Supreme Court saved President Barack Obama's bacon Thursday with a political ruling that papered over his signature Affordable Care Act. Writing for the majority in the 6-3 King v. Burwell decision, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that the 900-page law was written behind closed doors with little debate or amendment and thus was "inartfully" drafted. It was the court's obligation, he wrote, to translate bill language limiting the government subsidies to enrollees in "an exchange established by the State" as meaning enrollees in federal exchanges also can get subsidies.
Nothing so moved so many in the aftermath of the Charleston, South Carolina, massacre than the heartfelt expressions of grace and forgiveness for Dylann Roof by the families of the slain.
We've launched another generation of graduates out to seek a fortune that seems more elusive than usual, in a world more upside down. The graduates will discover, if they have not discovered already, that we're a divided nation. Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, rich and poor have always sounded their differences in the arena. But there's another division that's difficult for even the most skilled politicians to talk about. It's the economic divide between young and old.
When Hillary Clinton first ran for president eight years ago, she learned what Mike Tyson meant when he said, "Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth." Her campaign collapsed under Barack Obama's relentless pounding.
Public grief is suspect in Washington. It comes too easily to those who use it to manipulate attitudes and make political points.
The Grand Old Party suffers an embarrassment of riches, with a surplus of experienced candidates with formidable resumes. Hillary Clinton is an embarrassment with riches. She has lots of experiences, not all of them good.
Do blondes really have more fun?
Do blondes really have more fun? That's a question often thrown at a serious woman with brainy gray matter under her golden tresses.
Michelle Obama can give as good as she gets, and she's getting a hard time from conservatives over two speeches she gave last week. The first was a commencement speech at Tuskegee University in Alabama, and the other was at the opening of the new Whitney Museum of American Art in downtown New York City.
We laughed at Jimmy Carter for carrying his suitcase into the White House. The government supplies aides to do that for presidents. Such humility is pretentious.
In the age of the selfie, Bruce Jenner may be the icon of our time. He sustains two images of himself to mediate the feuding feminist and chauvinist attitudes at the center of today's battle of the sexes (should that be the "grind of the genders"?).