The election is now less than a year away, but the chaos is only slightly beginning to subside. Where the Democratic primary has weeded out some of the weaker candidates --I forgot Larry Lessig was running until, well, he quit-- the Republican primary is still an insane dogfight. You have at least three candidates (Dr. Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum) that are all fighting for the same Christian-conservative demographic. You also have Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and George Pataki struggling to make any leeway against one another for the more moderate sector of the GOP. I don't know Rand Paul is aiming for, because he keeps flip-flopping. It is sort of amusing to see that the GOP prides itself in unity, but couldn't be more splintered on the national stage.
At the same time, the Democrats can be like herding cats, yet their strategy for 2016 is actually inching toward coelescing. For obvious reasons, Saturday's Democratic debate was dominated by domestic security and foreign policy. With limited extra effort, Sec. Clinton more or less proved why she was the most electable of the three candidates; Sen. Sanders seemed wishy-washy about gun control, and his comment about how the Middle East should defend itself against ISIS was a tad naive. Martin O'Malley made some valid points, but he's not a strong debater. In spite of her many flaws, Hillary Clinton is the Democrats' best shot in 2016; with the growing populist movement within the party --a Bizarro Tea Party, one might say-- she needs to shake off some of her establishment ticks and roll up her sleeves. Her extensive history with foreign affairs resulted in a crucial KO last night, but Clinton still has a long way to go.
+ I'm very reluctant to air out my dirty laundry, but I felt like this was sort of worth sharing. For the past two years, I've been manhandled by crippling credit card debt. In the summer and fall of 2013, in quick procession I had to deal with multiple car repairs, on top of producing a show that did not turn a profit. I put nearly everything on my Visa, then relied upon on my Mastercard for future purchases. Then I went through an extended period where I wasn't working a regular basis, so then I ended up maxing out both cards nearly every month. I'm proud to say, however that after some shrewed budgeting most of that debt has now cleared. I'm still living on modest means, but I don't quite feel as handcuffed as before.
+ I have no words for what has transpired in France this weekend. This was a massive act of cowardice, one that cannot be justified or quickly forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris.
Next Week: My annual thanks/no thanks list.