This country has a history of political violence: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley were shot and killed in office.Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest in 1912 while campaigning for the presidency. Franklin Roosevelt was shot a month before his inauguration, the bullet killing the mayor of Chicago. Assassins carried out a plot to kill Harry Truman killing one of the president's bodyguards at Blair House. Jack Kennedy was killed by an assassin. Gerald Ford was shot at twice in separate assassination attempts. read more
Let me finish tonight with a bright sign from the White House. Every leader must have three elements: motive, passion, spontaneity. We need to know why he or she is there, why moves them, and, this other thing, this sign that they are alive, awake, thinking, looking for and responding to new ways to grow. President Obama's appointment today of William Daley as his chief of staff is solid evidence that the lights are on at the White House and somebody's home.He's needed a good rep with the business world. read more
Let me finish tonight with what the Republicans promised to do with health care this year.Their campaign promise was to repeal and replace. They were quite specific in this regard, promising to protect people who want to buy health insurance and have pre-existing medical conditions. read more
Let me finish tonight with some very good news for the country. Word has it that the president is about to name Bill Daley as his chief of staff. This is an excellent decision. It brings together what now has the look, feel and connection to be a solid executive team. Asking Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State was the first master-stroke. Keeping on Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense a second shrewd move, keeping in place a strong, consistent chain of command. Now to the domestic side. Making Jack Lew budget director was masterful in two regards. read more
Let me finish tonight with a story of American greatness.It's been my conclusion, watching this country's history, that we make progress on an uneven but increasingly uplifting basis. We get better at honoring the rights of people as the years go on, as voices are raised, as consciences are tweaked.I look at abolition in the early 19th century, the suffrage movement of the early 20th, the civil rights movement of the later 20th, each in its time expanded American liberties, our protection of human rights. Again, it took time, raised voices, awakened consciences.And there we were early today, read more
Let me finish tonight with our president.Some have been brutal toward him of late. They've used terrible words to describe the decision he made about the tax cuts. Here's my cut at it. People who say he's sold out - and they have a right to say anything they want to - have it wrong. There's a difference between what the French did in World War II and what the English did. The French sold out. They turned their country, proud France, into a collaborator with the Third Reich. That's what Petain did; that's what De Gaulle, the greatest man in French history refused to do. read more
Let me finish tonight with a gentleman of immense curiosity. That's I guess - you can only guess about these things - the secret to Mr. Larry King. How else to explain the success, the popularity, the durability - of this phenom? He's done interviews on radio and this medium for more than a half century - 50,000 of them. All in that rich, smokey, New Yooohk accent that somehow appeals to everyone. My late grandmother-in-law, a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution would go to bed at night - with her husband next to her - but Larry King in her earphones. read more
Let me finish tonight with politicians. They say they don't "pay attention to polls." They do, of course. They not only pay attention, they "pay" for polls! It's the first thing candidates do when they begin a campaign: they hire a first-rate pollster and find out what people are thinking.Personally I love polls. I love knowing what my fellow Americans think. I doubt it affects my thinking. In fact, if you've watched me over the years you may have noticed I am "counter-popular." The country was getting stirred against Saddam Hussein. read more
Let me finish tonight with that incredible American scene from late Friday: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, together in what I'm convinced is the most vital political alliance in the country.
Obama and the Clintonsm, Hillary and Bill both, have forged a political bond that is working for the country, for the Democratic party, and for them.
Let me finish tonight with the real-life impact of this tax deal the president got from the Republicans.For one, it's a heck of a lot of stimulus - almost a trillion dollars in money being fed into the economy: tax cuts, unemployment benefits, all going into the market place to buy goods and services - pumping the economy up far more than the "stimulus" bill passed last year.I was clued into this reality by today's column by Charles Krauthammer, a quite conservative gentleman with whom I rarely share common ground. Here he went this morning:“Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 read more
Let me finish tonight with the fight on the left.This is a good fight. It's a fight over values, over what a party believes in, what it cares about, "why" it exists.The Democratic Party is the party of the little guy. read more
Let me finish tonight with a hero of mine - John Lennon.There were times, especially in my twenties, when I would list up my heroes. I wanted to know who on this earth personified what I valued - in achievement, in guts, in talent. It was like balancing my checkbook. I just wanted to know.Lennon was on that list, along with writer Norman Mailer and a few other cultural heroes of the 1960s. When you think about it, how could the leader of the Beatles not be on such a list?They'd come to this country early in 1964, that gloomy, gray winter after John F. read more
Let me finish tonight with the Democrats' dilemma on taxes.It's that people in this country are conflicted about wealth. We're not the old British Labour party that hates the rich because they never expect to "be" rich. We're not like that. Americans, a lot of us, have it in our DNA, our birthright that we can make it, too, or our kids can. Unlike the Brits we don't think the obstacles to getting ahead, the old class divides, are walls we can't climb. So this "soak the rich!" line isn't hitting a homer with the great majority of the American people who aren't rich.Proof: a new USA TODAY - read more