A Clinton alternative, more ABC legal woes and where’s A-Rod?

June 24, 2014

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participates in "A Conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton" in Manhattan, New York1. The Hillary alternatives:

Can it really be such a certainty that Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016 that the media is taking the right approach in essentially ignoring other possible Democratic candidates?

In any other situation we would be seeing profiles of a half dozen or more alternatives. But not now. Yet there has to be some possibility that the former secretary of state will opt not to run and some possibility that, for a variety of reasons, she will not win the primary contest.

One reason Clinton might not be inevitable is that inevitable often doesn’t sell well. Besides, someone could emerge who Democratic primary voters decide is a better, fresher face. Which is why we should start seeing stories about those alternatives.

So far only Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has gotten much attention. (True, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has gotten some press lately — but mostly for a series of clownish comments that should disqualify him, assuming he is ever taken seriously.)

What about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has high approval ratings but infuriates critics who decry his cautious, poll-driven approach to almost everything?

Or Amy Klobuchar, the highly regarded senator from Minnesota? I’d like to know more about her.

Ditto Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley? Does presiding over a state Obamacare website that made the launch of the federal one look professional say anything about how effective an executive O’Malley has been?

Who else should we be thinking about? I’m sure I am missing a bunch — which is my point.

Most of the political press was caught napping when it missed reporting any sign of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s upset in Virginia. It seems that they could be making the same mistake now on a much broader scale.

Maybe NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, television’s best political reporter, should start the course correction by spending one day a week on his MSNBC show, The Daily Rundown, examining Clinton alternatives. He could go over them one by one, even if some, like Cuomo, are certain not to agree to sit for an interview.

2. ABC’s continuing pink slime problem:

Nearly two years ago, I wrote here that a libel case brought by Beef Products, Inc., a South Dakota company, against ABC might spell real trouble for the network. In a series of 11 reports, including on its Diane Sawyer flagship evening newscast, the network charged that Beef Products and other meat producers were adulterating their goods with filler called “pink slime.”

I wrote then that, even with the First Amendment hurdles inherent in any suit like this, the specific facts alleged by Beef Products’ heavyweight Chicago legal team amounted to one of the most persuasive libel and defamation complaints I had ever read.

Since then, the case has gone through the preliminary motions to dismiss — typically the first rounds in any libel case. But last month the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the suit against ABC could proceed on Beef Products’ claims for damages suffered because of the network’s disparagement of its product. (The company laid off employees and shut factories following the ABC series.)

This could become a great courtroom battle. Someone ought to get out ahead of it with a story setting up the coming drama, covering everything from the workers who lost their jobs, to the ABC’s editorial process and planned defense, to what hotel Sawyer is going to stay in when she gets summoned to Union County, South Dakota, to testify.

Yankees' Rodriguez tosses his bat after flying out against the Blue Jays in the ninth inning of their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto3. Where’s A-Rod?

What’s Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez up to these days? Someone ought to try to find him. We know that A-Rod — who was suspended for the season for using steroids and covering it up — recently dropped the suit   he brought against the Yankees’ doctor, in which he made the far-fetched charge that the doctor and the Yankees had conspired not to fix his injured hips in order to keep him off the field.

But other than that, there’s not much we know about what the athlete who was once one of America’s greatest baseball talents has been doing in his prolonged off-season.

Is he involved in any businesses? More important, is he working out, and what kind of shape is he in?

A-Rod has said he intends to come back next year to fulfill the remaining three years of his 10-year, $275 million contract. Will his doing so be anything other than a drain on the team’s treasury?

After all, Rodriguez is 40 years old, has had several serious injuries and won’t have played professionally for more than a year and a half. If he’s not doing much more than keeping in good enough shape to show up and take the money, that would be a good story.

Then again, with Derek Jeter retiring, there’s a new opening next year in the Yankee infield. And Rodriguez always was a hard worker. If he’s quietly preparing for the comeback of the century — with Rocky-like, relentless work-outs — that would be a great story.


PHOTO (TOP): Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participates in “A Conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton” at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan, New York, June 12, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

PHOTO (INSERT): Alex Rodriguez tosses his bat after flying out against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning of their American League baseball game in Toronto, September 18, 2013


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“Hillary alternatives” -I wish John Kerry would run. As a president he would get Republician cooperation. He is also not a person to be intimidated by Hillary’s press clutter. Here in the Mideast we know that he is cleaning up past mistakes, and we like him.

Posted by Neslihan | Report as abusive

I’m also starting to wonder about Hillary’s inevitability. The comments from her during the book tour have been a disaster, and a presidency will be her last act, she will be 69 if she wins, 77 when she leaves office (assuming two terms). My read is this whole scene is intended to increase her outside influence while making a pile of money, and Hillary does love her some money. But the ambition thing in that clan is huge as well. It would be a controversial presidency, in a fractured government, with all eyes on both her and Bill, at all times, in all places.

Posted by ARJTurgot2 | Report as abusive

If Hillary was a man the left would be all over her for being rich, white, AND a career politician (having been in Washington since Nixon). However, if elected she’ll come with the built-in defense that anyone that opposes her or disagrees with her will be labelled a sexist misogynist (just as anyone that disagrees or opposes Obama is instantly a racist bigot). Of course the same progressives that voted Obama in will vote Hillary in, they are just that deep.

Posted by stambo2001 | Report as abusive

“the media ignoring other candidates”…guess that puts my vote in perspective! Maybe the media can ignore that too.
A-rod is enjoying his “hard earned” riches. He can only be a DH in the American league, and who will have him? By the way, I’m sure everyone is still eating pink slime these days only the sauce that disguises it is better.

Posted by rikfre | Report as abusive

the press helped anoint queen Clinton…the press is making her seem, what she is not…she has done almost nothing while serving in her offices…she has also left questionable dealings, wherever she has been…certainly, if the democrats need desperately to put a woman up there….there are far more capable and deserving members, that are available..just open your eyes, spend a few minutes thinking and im sure u can come up with a better choice, than this illusion of automatic queen…I would think Obama has taught us all, how star fawning, creates incompetent presidents..

Posted by sabrefencer | Report as abusive

Clinton certainly benefits from the absence of talk about other candidates. The question known only to the media elite is whether Clinton is lucky in this regard, or whether it is by design that nobody is talking about other candidates. (As for me, I wish I could support Pat Paulsen again.)

Posted by Bob9999 | Report as abusive