Over at the Columbia Journalism Review, Steven Brill has a "story he'd like to see." Specifically: What's the deal with "the Hillary alternatives?" You know, those other people who might compete in a Democratic primary in 2016. This is worth some discussion. Among the reasons I can think of that speak to why there isn't block-to-block coverage of other potential Democratic contenders (besides maybe Elizabeth Warren, more on that later) are: 1) it's 2014 at the moment, and maybe people are showing a modicum of restraint, and 2) Hillary Clinton is currently "freezing the field." Which is a way of saying that she looms so large over the landscape as a potential frontrunner for the nomination, despite not actually campaigning, that it's inhibiting other candidates from doing the sorts of things they need to do to carve out a place in the firmament.
Is the United States a strong nation? There's a notion that it is, of course -- based mainly on the disruptive philosophical underpinnings upon which this country was established. But these are all really the fumes of nostalgia. What else is there? Well, we have the best fleet of aerial drone death-dealers in the world (for now). Certainly our fast-food accomplishments are second to none. And our Reality Teevee Industry remains one of the more successful and innovative welfare programs in the world, lifting individuals with no evident utility to the human race -- and who would quite likely be pushed into ditches to die in lesser nations -- into the warm embrace of the Fame Economy.
I have been trying to avoid writing this piece for fear that I will sound like a grumpy old lady which, by the way, I am not. Even as I hear myself discuss this issue I remind myself of my high school English teacher, who was a miserable little thing in case you were wondering, yet I still feel compelled to introduce the topic.
For years and years, anyone who tuned in to America's Sunday morning political chat shows was invited into a world of cloistered elites whose understanding of the impacts of public policy ended at the bank of the Potomac River. It was a realm in which a massive unemployment crisis that swept across post-crash America was only perceived to affect a group of affluent political celebrities and their electoral hopes. 'Will the terrible Senator What's-His-Nuts lose his ability to go on naming post offices after his cronies' children, or will he be forced to accept six-figure salaries on K Street or through meaningless board positions at useless foundations?'