• Can Clinton coalition be rebuilt amid racial unrest?
• Baier Tracks: ‘Clinton Cash’ questions not going away
• Rand tackles Bush legacy: toppling Saddam a ‘mistake’
• Jeb edges Hillary in swing state poll
• Ah, youth
CAN CLINTON COALITION BE REBUILT AMID RACIAL UNREST?
Under President Obama, who once offered America the chance for racial healing, the nation is instead experiencing an era of conspicuous racial unrest worse than any in the past 40 years. Like another candidate who ran on ending “nation building” but who launched the most ambitious nation-building project in American history, Obama’s legacy on the subject of race relations will be the opposite of his promise. And as the unrest has grown and now, one hopes, culminated in the burning and looting in Baltimore, the president has mostly been a cipher.
He condemns violence but sympathizes with its perpetrators. He extolls the service of police officers, but suggests widespread systemic racism in their ranks. It’s complicated, for sure, but the fact that all Obama has produced is a couple of blue-ribbon commissions – Washington’s version of policy euthanasia – shows us a man tested on a core belief and promise and apparently at a loss. Despite the frustration among his supporters, Obama will continue to enjoy enormous support and understanding from black America. But what about his party’s presumptive nominee?
Hillary Clinton’s political rise was in part a product of the prior, more severe era of widespread racial unrest. Back when she spoke with an Ozark twang, she and her husband came to the national stage as “New Democrats” – white Southerners, who were moderate and socially conservative. This had particular appeal because of the way the radicalism of the late 1960s and early 1970s had put much of the country off the Democratic brand. And the race riots of the era were a big part of that. If Richard Nixon’s two victories were partly a backlash against urban unrest and Ronald Reagan’s new coalition consolidated such gains, the Clinton Democrats were about trying rebuild the old Democratic coalition.
Bill Clinton could connect with black voters but put blue-collar white voters at ease. He could be America’s “first black president” but champion welfare limits staunchly opposed by black leaders. He and his wife’s return to the White House, however, was derailed by a politician who no less skillfully bridged the racial divide in the Democratic Party, but did so from the other side of the chasm. Along the way, African American voters grew distrustful of the Clintons and the Clintons, at least Bill, grew resentful of the way black supporters had thrown them over for a “fairy tale” about Obama. It got very ugly. Now, as the Clintons mount another White House quest, the issue of race relations burns far hotter than it did in 2008. So how will they play the issue? So far, Hillary is attempting to channel Obama’s cipher stance – lamenting injustice and calling for healing. But black voters, and white liberals who share their cause, are unlikely to accept opacity on the issue from Clinton. Her top primary rival certainly isn’t going to let her get away with some Twitter sadness as an answer.
No matter what she does, Clinton will not be able to drive the kind of black turnout and support that Obama enjoyed. But she needs a strong African American showing in her new New Democrat coalition. At the same time, if she overcorrects to the left, she will destroy the fundamental part of her coalition: middle class white voters who are not likely to blame police when they see arson and looting in major American cities. This will be a test for even the most scalene triangulator. Obama was an empty vessel for voters, but there is too much in the Clinton carafe to start afresh.
BAIER TRACKS: ‘CLINTON CASH’ QUESTIONS NOT GOING AWAY…
“As much of the world is focused on Baltimore, reaction to the Clinton Foundation funding stories continues. Two pieces caught our attention today. One is from Jonathan Allen at Vox who writes about all of the Clinton Foundation donors who directly lobbied Hillary Clinton's State Department. Hard stats putting facts to the growing perception that many of those who donated to the Clinton Foundation were clearly also trying to get something done. And the other piece is a column in National Journal by Ron Fournier putting the controversy and the coverage of it in perspective. While the focus is elsewhere at the beginning of this week, this story and these facts are clearly not going away. Clinton herself will have to answer questions about them very soon. The national press should be calling for that to happen. And if it doesn't, that same national press should be pointing out that failure to address specifics every single day.” – Bret Baier
[‘We have a plan for my plan’ - National Journal provides the comprehensive list of every media question posed to Hillary Clinton since she declared as a candidate 16 days ago and all of and her answers. All seven of ‘em.]
Webb ducks - Former Virginia Senator, and possible presidential candidate, Jim Webb, made a second trip to Iowa early this week. Webb, who was the first democrat to form a presidential exploratory committee, wouldn’t comment directly in an interview with Clinton’s recent controversies, saying it’s not his place to comment. “I’m just not putting it into the formula. I mean, those are things that they have the capability of responding to, and I’m sure they’ll have their answers. What we’re really trying to do is connect on the issues that we care about and we’ve been working on.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
It’s a story worthy of a movie. But is it “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” or “Entrapment”? Bloomberg has the amazing tale of the dispute between a Russian oligarch who has become a pillar of the community in Monaco and the Swiss art dealer who found himself under arrest after selling his client a Mark Rothko painting for $186 million. “The showdown in Monaco has blown the lid off an opaque area of the art market: private sales, in which the most sought-after pieces often change hands through well-connected dealers, avoiding a public bidding war. Of the record [$55.8 billion] in art sold last year, 52 percent of the transactions were private deals, says Clare McAndrew, founder of research and consulting firm Art Economics.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45 percent//Disapprove – 49.4 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.1 percent//Wrong Track – 61.6 percent
RAND TACKLES BUSH LEGACY: TOPPLING SADDAM A ‘MISTAKE’
NYT: “‘Each time we topple a secular dictator, I think we wind up with chaos, and radical Islam seems to rise,’ Mr. Paul said. Still, Mr. Paul insisted that he did not oppose all foreign military interventions...Speaking at the headquarters of the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, Mr. Paul was unambiguous in arguing that Tehran had only become more powerful since the fall of Mr. Hussein, who he said had been a ‘bulwark’ against Iran’s influence in the region. ‘It was a mistake to topple Hussein,’ the senator said. And he called the 2011 overthrow of Colonel Qaddafi - which he labeled ‘Hillary’s war,’ referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state at the time - an ‘utter disaster.’ ‘Qaddafi wasn’t a good guy, but he suppressed radical Islam,’ Mr. Paul said, ‘Now that Qaddafi is gone, the country is in civil war, the ambassador was killed, our embassy fled.””
[David Drucker writes: “The cloud of George W. Bush that loomed over Republicans for nearly a decade has lifted from the 2016 horizon - at least if your name isn’t Jeb Bush.”]
Jeb edges Hillary in swing state poll - USA Today: “Former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s case that he would be the strongest Republican candidate against Hillary Clinton received a boost Monday, as a new poll shows him with a narrow lead over the Democratic front-runner in the key swing state of Virginia. Bush, who has not yet formally declared his candidacy, leads Clinton 48%-46% in a hypothetical matchup, a survey from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University finds. All other GOP contenders trail the former secretary of State narrowly...The poll shows that, much like the rest of the country, Virginia Republicans have not yet coalesced around a candidate. Bush (17%) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (16%) lead among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents.”
[Jeb heads to Puerto Rico today for a speaking event at the Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan, followed by a town hall later in the day.]
Rubio signs tax pledge again - Tampa Bay Times: “Now Marco Rubio, presidential candidate, has signed Grover Norquist’s ‘Pledge’ again… During the 2012 presidential election every Republican candidate signed the pledge, except Jon Huntsman. Norquist can count on at least one candidate refusing to sign it this time, Jeb Bush. ‘If Governor Bush decides to move forward, he will not sign any pledges circulated by lobbying groups,’ spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said earlier this year. ‘His record on tax cuts is clear. He didn’t raise taxes.’”
[Rubio participates in Town Hall Los Angeles today, an event organized by the non-profit group to help educate community members on current issues both local and national.]
Walker focused on avoiding Perry’s fate - NYT: “Advisers said Mr. Walker, conceding that he has no hope of raising more than Mr. Bush this spring and summer, is devoting considerable time instead to addressing a weakness that could derail him with a single gaffe no matter how much some donors love him: his lack of depth on issues facing a president, especially national security. He is attending near daily policy briefings and working on Wisconsin’s next state budget, while his team is quietly recruiting volunteer fund-raisers, known as bundlers. They now number about 50 in 30 states - a shadow corps ready to compete with Mr. Bush as soon as Mr. Walker officially announces his candidacy, which is likely to be in June.”
Carly Fiorina kicks off a multi-day sweep through New Hampshire with a luncheon with local business leaders followed by a meet and greet later in the day.
Gov. Chris Christie is in Washington, D.C. today for a fundraising event for Leadership Matters for America PAC.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee plans to head to Iowa next week for a series of meet and greet events.
[Sorry! - Due to technical difficulties, we are unable to provide reader responses to this week’s 2016 Power Index. Please check back on Wednesday.]
REPORT: BOEHNER PANS SENATE PLAN TO HEM OBAMA ON IRAN
Eli Lake writes:“The top ranking Republican in Congress privately acknowledged this weekend that his party doesn't have enough votes to overcome a veto of any resolution disapproving the nuclear-weapons deal President Barack Obama hopes to reach with Iran. Speaking at an off-the-record event Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition's meeting in Las Vegas, House Speaker John Boehner told the audience that he didn't expect that more than two-thirds of Congress would vote to overturn a veto from Obama if Congress voted against a nuclear deal, according to four people who were inside the room for the private talk….Boehner's comments this weekend confirm their suspicions that [Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker's] bill is too weak to stop Obama from implementing a bad Iran deal.”
DEMS HAMPER OBAMA ON TRADE TALKS WITH JAPANESE P.M.
WSJ: “Mr. Obama and his negotiators are working to finish the Trans-Pacific Partnership… while also fighting to win “fast track” negotiating authority from Congress to expedite approval of the deal later this year. The trade agreement will be a topic of conversation between Mr. Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe…Mr. Obama has expressed annoyance and, on occasion, flashes of anger over the sometimes harsh criticism of the Asian trade agreement from his usual allies on his party’s left wing.”
Obama tries to put words in Hillary’s mouth on trade - “I think she said what she should be saying, which is that she is going to want to see a trade agreement that is strong on labor, strong on the environment, helps U.S. workers, helps the U.S. economy. That’s my standard as well, and I’m confident that standard can be met.” – President Obama to The Wall Street Journal on Hillary Clinton’s failure to take a stance on the TPP
HIGH COURT HEARS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASE TODAY
If you aren’t Shannon Bream, you might need a little guidance on about today’s arguments before the court. USA Today helpfully breaks down what you need to know about the case that tests whether or not states can forbid marriages between people of the same gender. A decision on the case is expected this summer.
Supremes show support for birth control exemptions to ObamaCare - The Hill: “The Supreme Court on Monday gave new life to a lawsuit challenging ObamaCare’s contraception mandate, striking down a previous ruling in favor of the federal government.”
UPI: “CCTV footage from an Indian city shows a teenager receive a lesson in manners from a monkey that reacted violently to being given the middle finger. The footage, from the city of Shimla, shows the monkey make eye contact with the boy while perched on a fence and the teenager flips the bird to the primate. The monkey, apparently incensed by the rude gesture, lunges at the teenager's face and knocks him on his rear before running away. The shocked teenager does not appear to be injured and it able to get up and walk away.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“You don't need a Yeltsin on a tank. You don't need a Giuliani on the streets of New York on 9/11. But you need somebody who gives a sense of control. There was a blackout of news. They have announced nothing. Everything is speculative. All these stories are tweeted. You have to put people out.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.