Tag Archives: Howard Fineman

The Last Political Couple Left Standing Will Be Bill And Hillary, Just As The Mayans Predicted

Mike Allen at Politico:

Al and Tipper Gore, whose playful romance enlivened Washington and the campaign trail for a quarter century, have decided to separate after 40 years of marriage, the couple told friends Tuesday.

In an “Email from Al and Tipper Gore,” the couple said: “We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to separate.

“This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration. We ask for respect for our privacy and that of our family, and we do not intend to comment further.”

The e-mail was obtained by POLITICO and confirmed by Kalee Kreider of the office of Al and Tipper Gore. Kreider said there would be no further comment.

Glynnis MacNicol at Mediaite:

Wow. Even in the messy world of political marriages this one comes as a shock

Ruth Marcus at WaPo:

So who would have thought that Bill and Hillary would outlast Al and Tipper? The Clintons’ marriage was — is? — famously complicated. The Gores’ marriage — well, except for that overwrought convention kiss — seemed pretty normal. Almost, you might say, “Love Story.” “It was just like everyone else melted away,” Tipper wrote of their meeting at his high school prom.

They survived four kids, their son’s accident, her depression, his loss.

You would have thought they were past whatever hump it is after which marriages can be deemed solid. There is something deeply unsettling about their decision to separate, because the pairing seemed so stable and so sensible — not two peas in a pod as much as two pieces that fit together.

Howard Fineman at Newsweek:

I’ve known Al and (less well) Tipper Gore since the early 1980s, and always thought that their marriage was the quirky, unstable leftover of their youths in the capital. Gore was as “federal” as you could get, the princely son of a senator living at the Fairfax Hotel and commuting up Massaschusetts Avenue to prep school at St. Albans. Tipper was all local, the fun-loving daughter or a well-to-do Arlington, Va ., businessman (and who gave the young couple the suburban house they lived in). It had to have been thrilling—and an act of teenage rebellion for them both—when they literally crossed the river for each other.

But the driven Gore—whose father reared him with the expectation that he would be president—was, after a fitful start (reporter, theology student)—focused intently on a political life. His wife, by contrast, always seemed unsettled in the role of the Good Wife, the dutiful, careful, and absorbed political spouse.

She did her best. In the old days, the Gores used to have a Christmas party at their Arlington home when their kids were young; Gore staffers would dress as Santas and elves. Al tried to enjoy these events (even though he wasn’t much for easy social chatter), but I always thought that Tipper, genial as she was,  seemed a bit nonplussed by the use of her home for such a mix of public, political, and private life.

Tipper loved to take photographs at events—a way to express herself artistically but always a way to distance herself from them.

The two sometimes could seem yoked together like the figures on a wedding cake. When, as vice president, they hosted Halloween parties, they dressed in elaborate costumes (provided by the Walt Disney Co.) that some years completely hid their identity as individuals. It was a kind of goof on the whole enterprise: guests had their pictures taken with “hosts” no one could identify. I didn’t think the Gores were enjoying themselves in the heavy armor of costumes.

Rod Dreher:

Forty years together, and now this. I remember thinking around the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that the Gores were so very different from the Clintons, whose marriage seemd like a business deal more than anything else. If the Gore break-up really isn’t about adultery on either side, then it seems that the failure of their marriage could be the cost of being a famous public figure. If Al is on the road here, there and everywhere, he’s not at home being a husband. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming him, necessarily. I don’t have any reason to put the blame on him, and I do hope that people who don’t like Al Gore as a politician and as an environmental advocate won’t take advantage of his personal crisis to whack on him. Still, if Al and Tipper Gore did grow apart over the years, surely his prominence and associated globetrotting was a major contributing factor in this sad end to their marriage. At least that’s what friends of their are anonymously telling the press.

Forty years. Man.

Dan Amira at New York Magazine:

Perhaps the love faded away through the years, like a slowly melting glacier. We suppose these things just happen sometimes. But while the Gores may never be the same again, we prefer to remember them at the peak of their love: making out in front of everybody at the Democratic National Convention in 2000.

UPDATE: Jon Bershad at Mediaite

Maureen O’Connor at Gawker

UPDATE #2: On the scandal, The Smoking Gun

Ann Althouse

Ed Morrissey

John Hinderaker at Powerline

UPDATE #3: Stu Woo at WSJ

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Political Figures

You’re An Independent Candidate, Charlie Crist

Howard Fineman at Newsweek:

Is there a middle in American politics? Charlie Crist’s decision to run as an independent will test that proposition in the ultimate testing ground of American politics: the I-4 corridor in Central Florida. The Congress Crist is seeking to enter is more divided along partisan lines than at least a century. In the states, the parties (especially the Republicans) are being pulled in opposite directions by grassroots anger and ideology. Even President Obama—who ran on a theme of unity, colorblindness, and a new harmony in Washington—is talking in partisan, pointillist terms about rallying his base (and not much else) this fall.

The consensus among people I talked to in Florida is that Crist had NO hope of winning the GOP primary against conservative tyro Marco Rubio. “This is the only way Crist has any kind of shot,” said Mitch Ceasar, a lawyer and well-connected Democratic activist in Palm Beach County.

It’s clear that Crist, while nominally a Republican, has prospered in recent weeks by moves designed to appeal to Democrats and independents. The chief one, of course, was his veto of an education bill that teachers in Florida saw as anathema. “That veto was tantamount to announcing his third-way candidacy,” Ceaser said. It paid off. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Crist’s job-approval rating has jumped 11 points in the last month, and now stands at 56 percent—a positive number that is the envy of most other politicians in the time of virulent anti-incumbency.

David Frum at FrumForum:

Thank God for Kendrick Meek is all I can say. If the Dems had recruited a top-tier candidate in Florida, the Crist-Rubio revenge drama would have already thrown away a Senate seat that ought to be an easy Republican hold. As is, things will be difficult enough.

The Crist-Rubio contest is a tough one for modern-minded Republicans. As Eli Lehrer has noted here, Crist is no paragon of good government. On the other hand, what has got Crist in trouble is not his beach-house bailout, but his willingness to cut a deal with the feds to rescue his state finances – kind of a governor’s job. It’s unnerving too that it is so hard to predict how Crist would behave as a U.S. senator. With Rubio, you have a more certain idea of what you’ll get.

But here’s where I come down: The center right has got to hold together. We cannot afford more NY-23s. In all but the most extreme circumstances, the rule has to be that those who participate in a party contest abide by the results of that process. It’s one thing if the race is Lieberman v. Lamont, and what’s at issue is success or failure in war. I used that comparison in a tweet today, but it does not stand up to scrutiny: the differences between Crist and Rubio are much more differences in tone, temperament, and personality. Had Crist prevailed in the Florida Republican primary, he would have had every valid reason to expect Rubio to support the outcome. The reverse should have held true.

Marc Ambinder:

Charlie Crist, soon to be independent Senate candidate from Florida, tried to reach White House chief of staff Emanuel through intermediates. WH refuses to take the call. Dems plan big talent/money blitz for Kendrick Meek. BTW: Obama’s approval rating in FL is in high 40s, per internal Dem polling.

John McCormack at The Weekly Standard:

What’s Crist up to? Might he be interested in cutting a deal to caucus with the Democrats if they chase Meek from the field?

Who knows? But the most plausible path to victory for Crist is if Meek backs him. That’s a real possibility, I think, later in the game if Rubio and Crist are each getting about 40% in the polls and Meek is getting about 20%. But, as voters get to know the lesser-known Rubio and Meek, it’s probably more likely they emerge as the frontrunners and Crist fades as election day approaches.

And then does Crist throw his support to Meek in hopes of getting a nice ambassadorship? Again, who knows? In a three-way race things could get a little crazy (maybe starting with the speculation about how crazy things could get).

Ed Morrissey:

We should make clear that a Democratic White House really has no business supporting an independent against a credible Democratic candidate, so this isn’t a knock on Rahm.  Had he decided to pick up the phone and offer Crist help, that would have all but ended Meek’s bid, with little hope of success for Crist to overtake Marco Rubio in a general election anyway.  Rahm’s smart enough to know when to let the phone keep ringing.

However, this demonstrates the desperation and the naiveté of Crist and his team (assuming, of course, that Ambinder got this right).  Did they really expect to get a friendly ear from Obama’s team?  Obama used Crist to get what he wanted — but Crist was using Obama, too.  Obama had just won Florida for Democrats for the first time in a few presidential cycles, and Crist wanted to climb aboard Obama’s bandwagon.  That’s one of the reasons why Crist finds himself over twenty points behind Rubio now.

That also shows how desperate Crist has become.  It was Crist’s embrace of Obama that torpedoed his bid for the GOP nomination.  The hair of the dog is about the last remedy anyone with any sense would prescribe, but it may be all Crist has left when his donors abandon him and the center sticks with Rubio.

More Ambinder:

Put yourself in the mind of Marco Rubio. You want to paint Crist and Meek as two peas in an Obama pod. But Obama isn’t unpopular in Florida. So Meek takes the challenge: you bet I’m an Obama Democrat, he says. If Meek gets 80 to 85% of the Democratic vote, that’s about 40% of the electorate — a floor of about 30-32% of the overall vote.

The independent vote will be fairly small — half of it is worth about 10 points of the statewide vote. As Steve Schale, Obama’s campaign manager in Florida put it, “Even on its best day in November, NPA and minor party voters will probably only make up 18% of the electorate, so even if Crist gets 50% of the vote, he only nets 9 points of total statewide vote.”

At the same time, if Meek swings too far to the left, he collects very few independents, and can’t build on his base. If Rubio swings too far to the right, he gets stuck in the low thirties. Crist could win by pulling 15-20% of Democrats and Republicans from Meek and Rubio and 75% of independents.

So — the math has changed the political strategy. Meek and Rubio will be working to keep as many moderate independent leaners in their coalition as possible while keeping their bases enthusiastic. Crist will build on his geographic strength: St. Pete/Tampa, his popularity with African Americans and Jewish voters, the possibility that Puerto Rican-Americans don’t cotton to Rubio, and can begin to peel away voters.

John Hinderaker at Powerline:

Poll data suggest that Crist could be competitive in a three-way race as an independent. I’m skeptical, but let’s not take any chances. This kind of disloyalty to the Republican Party can’t be rewarded. And if he wins this Senate race, Rubio should be a leader of the conservative movement for many years to come. Go here or here to donate to Rubio’s campaign.

Leave a comment

Filed under Political Figures