Posted tagged ‘Fred Thompson’

Republicans surface in Reno

October 23, 2007

Originally Published on, 10/23/2007 1:09:27 PM

At last, we spot the rare creature that’s evaded us since John McCain made a swing through Reno in the spring.

Here’s how long it’s been since Reno voters caught sight in public of a Republican presidential candidate. At the McCain town hall, the candidate was optimistically pitching the brand of immigration reform that shortly thereafter moved voters to flood the Capitol switchboard with angry calls. That was the last Reno saw of the GOP, unless you count Rudy Giuliani’s strange shopping trek through Costco. Or the virtually apolitical Olympic pep rally at Mount Rose Ski Resort, where Mitt Romney urged the Reno-Tahoe Winter Games coalition to work with all its might to become the host city in 2018.

Romney and Duncan Hunter both appeared last weekend in Sparks at the Conservative Leadership Conference. (Romney’s smooth town hall performance was still top-of-mind a week later when the equally smooth Barack Obama appeared at the Grand Sierra. Obama’s presentation led the Reasonable Reporter to yearn for a debate between just the two, for no other purpose than to savor the aesthetic and verbal symmetry of such an event. Romney and Obama are suitably matched: stylish, civil, and artful in their language.)

Romney got a polite reception at the Conservative Leadership Conference, but it was Duncan Hunter who brought the crowd to its feet. Hunter promoted a border fence, protectionist trade policies and touted his son’s multiple tours of duty in Iraq. Both men, it should be noted, lost the CLC straw poll to Ron Paul, who didn’t even show up.

For philosophical symmetry, one might stage a debate between Duncan Hunter and John Edwards. Each man rails in his own way against free trade, and in favor of reinvigorating U.S. manufacturing. The candidates’ narratives taken together offer a wider lens through which to ponder the relevant economic questions than does either one alone.

Fred Thompson, who caught fire at last in Sunday’s Florida debate, is scheduled for his first Nevada visits in November. The Reasonable Reporter awaits a closer look.


Identity Politics: Dead or Alive?

Barack Obama declines to make more than a passing reference to his status as an African-American candidate for the White House. At the recent Reno town hall, he was asked whether said status causes him to feel additional pressure. In a masterful dodge of the race issue, the candidate:

1- Made a joke: if you don’t feel pressure running for the presidency, maybe you shouldn’t be the president.

2 – Shifted into more serious matters with a segue acknowledging the race question, sort of: the next president, black, white, brown, yellow, red, male, female – the next president will have a huge mess to clean up.

3 – Jumped right back into the meat and potatoes of his message: You know what pressure is? Somewhere in Iraq today, there’s a kid getting into a humvee… it’s hot, it’s dusty, he’s loaded down with heavy equipment. He lost a buddy yesterday and he might lose a buddy tomorrow. That’s pressure. Pressure is raising a family without enough money to pay for health care expenses. That’s pressure

4 – Wrapped it up with a bow: My job every day will be to think of ways to take the pressure off of you.

Uh. OK. What was the question again? In Obama’s world, Identity Politics is dead.

In Hillary Clinton’s world, identity politics is alive. Women have been the center of the Clinton bull’s eye from the beginning, but the effort intensified this week, with a focus on “Women Changing America.” The exclamation point on the full-court press for the female vote came from senior Clinton strategist Mark Penn, who predicted a quarter of Republican women will abandon the GOP for Hillary in 2008.

The unanswered question: Is identity politics dead or alive among Republican women, who would tend, one might think, to reject identity politics?

Penn also foresees young women voting in droves for Hillary, in a show of support for the symbolic progress represented by a woman in the White House. A view shared by the Reasonable Reporter, who, in a parallel line of reasoning has predicted same for months.


Donde estan los amigos de Hillary?

September 11, 2007

Originally Published on, 9/11/2007 10:40:44 AM

Courting Latino voters isn’t as easy as uttering a few badly pronounced Spanish sentences in a stump speech. Community activists can help overcome the language barrier, and can be useful in shedding light on cultural preferences. But figuring out what makes the segment tick? And what will get them out of their living rooms? The Reasonable Reporter can only say that in Reno, it’s not a viewing party for a presidential discussion forum broadcast in Spanish.

The Clinton campaign deserves credit, however, for seizing the opportunity. It was a creative move, inviting Latino voters to Cantina Los Tres Hombres on Virginia Street to see the candidate showcased in a Spanish-language forum. The expectation was a crowd of 30 or so, according to restaurant personnel who had cleared a wing of the bar with four large TV screens for the event.

But as Univision began its groundbreaking televised Spanish-language event, which featured almost a full complement of Democratic hopefuls, campaign workers outnumbered guests by 10-1. That one? She was a woman in her middle thirties, clad in pink cotton slacks and a knit shirt, with two little girls in tow. The older daughter translated for her. Yes, mom already intends to vote for Hillary. And she arrived believing that Hillary would actually be present at the Reno venue.

Campaign spokesperson Hilarie Grey says the Univision viewing party worked out well in Las Vegas, with about 80 attendees. The idea was to encourage Latino voters to volunteer for the campaign, or to speak informally with friends and neighbors about Mrs. Clinton. Grey says the “watch parties” are just a little piece of the Latino outreach puzzle. The Clinton campaign intends to be thorough, scouring the state’s rural areas for Latino support, as well as working Washoe and Clark counties.


We, We, We, All the Way Home

In a nation founded with a break from rule by kings and queens, politicians might be expected to shy away from the royal “we.” But time after time, they use this odd construction.

“We think we’re on the right track,” and other, similar, phrases beginning with “we” proceed sooner or later from their mouths. Latest example — Fred Thompson, explaining his late and casually-launched entry into the Republican field.

We this, we that, we, we, we. Who is this we? Does he have multiple personality disorder? Has the camera moved in too close, failing to reveal the candidate’s shrink sitting beside him? Is there a mouse in his pocket? Does he wear a crown and clutch a scepter in the privacy of his living room?

The reference, of course, is to “myself and my campaign.” It’s an apparent device to notify political reporters, lest they’re tempted to believe otherwise, that there is concerted expertise underlying the words and actions of the candidate. There can be no other earthly reason to answer in second person plural a question directed at an individual who is seeking a single slot in the government of the United States of America. Is it purposeful, or is it an early indication that public office severs the link to regular people?

We are not amused, and we can’t help but wonder whether less politically-engaged audience members find it as off-putting as we do. Perhaps more so?