Sunday, April 26, 2015

Last Call For Memento Mori

People seem to thing Hillary Clinton is doomed by the "revelations" in the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer.  And some Republicans remember that the Clintons are if anything, survivors who are hard to put down.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson cautioned members of his party Sunday against overconfidence when it comes to Schweizer's blockbuster claims.

“Republicans need to be careful not to overstate the case,” Hutchinson said on Meet the Press. “There’s no evidence of quid pro quo."

Schweizer made the political talk show rounds arguing just the opposite on Sunday, likening the donations made Clinton Foundation during the time that Mrs. Clinton served as secretary of state to insider trading.

Hutchinson countered that all the Schweizer's book really shows is "evidence of mistakes" made by Clinton Foundation. Furthermore, Hutchinson said that, ultimately, those mistakes would not end up swaying a majority of votes. “It doesn’t impact her base or the Republican base,” Hutchinson said of the allegations. “It impacts the voters in the middle.”

There are few voters "in the middle" when it comes to Hillary Clinton.  She's been in the national political spotlight for nearly 25 years now, and the notion that there are still enough people in 2016 who are mulling over Hillary Clinton versus the GOP is laughable. People have already formed their opinions about her, and those opinions have been held for years.

That this hit job of a book is going to change an election 18 months from now is silly.  But it shows how terrified Republicans are of losing to yet another Clinton for the White House. The Clintons have a lot of old friends in the business.

Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer appeared on This Week and faced a very skeptical George Stephanopoulos, who argued that his accusations that Hillary Clinton exchanged favorable treatment from the U.S. State Department for multimillion dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation were unsubstantiated.

The most significant of the allegations center on a Russian company that was approved by the State Department to purchase a Canadian uranium company, giving Russia a sizable stake in the world’s uranium market, after a $2.3 million donation to the Clinton Foundation. But Stephanopoulos pointed out that the State Department was one of nine agencies that signed off on the deal, and that “there’s no evidence at all that Hillary Clinton got directly involved at all in this decision.” (A smiliar argument was made by Clinton surrogate Lanny Davis over on Fox News Sunday.)

“There were nine different agencies who approved it,” Stephanopoulos said. “Doesn’t that suggest that that was because there was no national security concern, not because of some nefarious influence by Hillary Clinton?”

“We don’t have direct evidence,” Schweizer said. “But it warrants further investigation because, again, this is part of the broader pattern. You either have to come to the conclusion that these are all coincidences, or something else is afoot.”

And by dragging out this nothingburger early in the fight, the Clintons now have the ability to defuse this long before it becomes a problem.

The White House Correspondents (Were) Dinner

President Obama ate everyone's lunch at the WHCD last night, saving the best dishes of revenge for last with comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key (of Comedy Central's Key and Peele) joining him at the podium as Luther the Anger Translator, and boy did he ever serve those dishes cold.

I honestly don't think I've ever seen President Obama this lethally funny. He decimated the Village, the GOP, Senate Democrats, Hillary Clinton, and just about everyone else who took a swipe at him over the last 12 months, and it was glorious

Unfettered, doesn't need to run again President Obama just keeps getting better and better, folks.

Sunday Long Read: Does Anyone Here Speak Jive?

It's time for a bit of lighter fare this week for your Sunday Long Read.  It's the 35th anniversary of one of my favorite movie comedies of all time, the classic Abrahams/Zucker Brothers riot, Airplane! The AV Club has an oral history of the movie from its creators and stars, and it's just hysterical to see how this film was put together.  The guy that saved the film? Disney head Michael Eisner, wh was at Paramount Pictures at the time with Jeffrey Katzenberg.

J. Zucker: It was a major struggle to get Airplane! greenlit. There was a little bit of interest here and there, but nobody was biting. And then we made Kentucky Fried Movie. As soon as the check cleared for that, we stopped doing the live show and we got a little bungalow up in Santa Monica and wrote Airplane! And then we took it out and shopped it, at which point we got turned down by all the studios until we finally got to Paramount.

Abrahams: We were sort of credible after Kentucky Fried Movie, but we attached ourselves as directors, so that was a dealbreaker in most places. But we shopped iteverywhere. Somebody told me that they’d read a copy of the screenplay. I said, “Oh, yeah? Where’d you find it?” And they said, “I found it on a bus.” [Laughs.] I think that’s probably actually a true story, because there were copies all over the place.

D. Zucker: It was really only one person who saved us and got Airplane! made, and that was Michael Eisner at Paramount.

J. Zucker: Well, Eisner and [Jeffrey] Katzenberg.

D. Zucker: Eisner and Katzenberg, yeah. Eisner heard about the script, called Katzenberg, and asked him to call these guys who did this Airplane! script, whatever it is, and have them in the office on Monday. And that’s how we ended up at Paramount.

J. Zucker: Eisner was having dinner with a woman named Susan Baerwald, who at the time was a reader for United Artists, and they were friends. And he asked her, “So what have you read that you liked?” And she said, “Well, there’s this one script that United Artists passed on, but I thought it was really, really funny.” And she told them a little bit about it, and I think Eisner just thought, “A comedy on an airplane? That’s a good idea!” So they immediately had it tracked down, and then we got a call from Katzenberg, saying, “Come on in, we want to hear about this.”

Abrahams: Even when Paramount were expressing interest and were willing to take a shot on us as directors, at the same time there was a company called Avco Embassy—I think Bob Rehme ran it back then—and they were equally interested and actually offered us a little more money for it. So one weekend, David and Jerry and I kind of decided we’d take off in order to make the decision whether we were going to go with Avco and Paramount, and we just anguished over it.

We spent a lot of time weighing pros and cons of both the companies. In fact, at one point, we said, “We’re definitely going with Avco.” It just seemed like the better decision. So we called up Jeffrey Katzenberg to tell him, and I don’t think the conversation was five minutes. But at the end of the conversation, we were at Paramount. He was really good. [Laughs.] And, of course, we’re forever grateful that he changed our minds.

The whole thing is nearly as amusing as the movie itself.  It's a good read should you be on a flight this weekend.

Or...maybe not, come to think of it.

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