RCP Morning Note, 05/19/2017: Judiciary Panel; Trump-Clinton Nexus; Commencement Podcast; Super Secretariat

05/19/2017
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Carl Cannon’s Morning Note

Judiciary Panel; Trump-Clinton Nexus; Commencement Podcast; Super Secretariat

By Carl M. Cannon on May 19, 2017 08:59 am
Good morning, it’s Friday, May 19, 2017. Tomorrow, the aging dowager known as Pimlico Race Course will gussie herself up for the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. This year’s odds-on favorite is Always Dreaming, the winner of the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Wiseguy horseplayers will be looking for value elsewhere. As the old saying goes: “Ain’t a man alive, “Who paid the mortgage at eight to five." I got hooked on horse racing myself 44 years ago today, the date of the 1973 Preakness. The U.S. was fighting a foreign war in late spring of that year, as it is now. Also, Capitol Hill was roiled by an investigation into presidential behavior, as it is today, and the word “impeachment" was in the air. Distractions were hard to come by, but on the third Saturday in May, Americans enjoyed a brief respite: a horse race in Baltimore that lasted less than two minutes. I’ll have more on the 1973 Preakness in a moment — in the words of those who were at Pimlico that day. First, I’ll point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. We also offer a complement of original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following: * * * On House Judiciary Panel, Little GOP Desire for Trump Probe. James Arkin reports that the committee, which would have oversight of impeachment proceedings, has been loath to investigate the latest allegations despite Democrats’ calls to do so. Trump Takes Page From Bill Clinton’s Crisis Playbook. Alexis Simendinger writes the commander-in-chief shares certain defensive moves with the 42nd president. Congress Must Govern — With or Without Trump. A.B. Stoddard urges Republicans to put their shoulders to the wheel with Democrats to pass critical legislation. Condoleezza Rice on Russia, Populism & Democracy’s Challenges. Tom Bevan sat down with the former secretary of state for this Q&A. Politics and Commencement Addresses. Caitlin Huey-Burns has this look at the messages and ulterior motives of speeches given by presidents and other political figures. ‘Politics Is Everything,’ Episode 3. Caitlin continues her weekly podcast with a look at how commencement addresses have been affected by Trump-era politics. Coal-State Democrats Quietly Push Agenda in Senate. Ford Carson has details in RealClearEnergy. How to Cure What Ails American Cybersecurity. In RealClearPolicy, Ryan Hagemann spotlights a new Senate bill. Infrastructure Triage: Fix the Bottlenecks. Also in RCPolicy, Chris Spear argues that a “modest" increase in the fuel tax is the best way to address highway investment. The AHCA Is a Threat to the Status Quo, Not Pre-Existing Conditions. In RealClearHealth, David Wilson asserts that the American Health Care Act is the cure to America’s health woes. The AHCA Targets Pre-Existing Conditions in Multiple Ways. Also in RCH, Sarah Lueck offers an opposing view. Why Are So Few Pell Students in Elite Schools? RealClearEducation editor Chris Beach explores the issue. * * * The 1973 Kentucky Derby winner was the pre-race Preakness favorite, just as Always Dreaming is this year. Secretariat, the handsome, Virginia-bred chestnut, went off at a prohibitive 1-5. In the Derby, “Big Red," as he was nicknamed, broke from the gate slowly. William Nack, the racing writer for Sports Illustrated who would later write Secretariat’s biography, was mortified as the Louisville race unfolded: “I was resigned to the worst," he recalled later. “Secretariat looked hopelessly beaten as the field of 13 dashed past the finish line the first time. He was dead last. Transfixed, I could not take my eyes off him." But Secretariat had rallied to win the Kentucky Derby in record time, so when he began the Preakness the same way, it wasn’t a surprise. Even the most nervous Nellies didn’t have long to fret, though: Before the first quarter-mile was over, Secretariat was making a bold move. Despite Pimlico’s famed tight turns, the horse and his rider, Ron Turcotte, started picking up horses on the first turn — accelerating on the curve at straight-away speed. Flying past the field, they caught front-running Ecole Etage at the beginning of the backstretch. Although I was only a teenager at the time, it was the most electrifying move I’d ever seen on a racetrack. (It still is, all these years later, and you can watch it here.) While Laffit Pincay Jr. furiously used the whip to encourage his horse, Sham, to catch up, Turcotte hand-rode Big Red to the wire, pulling away from Sham at the end. American thoroughbred racing hadn’t had a Triple Crown winner since Citation in 1948, but Secretariat became a national sensation — and Citation’s presumed heir apparent. Could he win the Belmont three weeks hence? Well, that is the subject of a future Morning Note, and you know the answer anyway, so instead, let me provide a synopsis of the recollections of several players in the 1973 Preakness Stakes: Ron Turcotte: “I wanted to slow him down a little bit, but he was determined to go on. So I figured, well, he’s won on the lead before, and if that’s the way he wants to do it, I guess I ain’t going to argue with him." Jay Hovdey, Daily Racing Form writer: “Witnesses were stunned. Even good horses who might try a move like that would inevitably fade from the effort, and as soon as they got back, the jockey would be fired on the spot. Secretariat was different, though, and Turcotte left no doubts. George Cusimano, Ecole Etage’s rider: “I got to hearing this noise beside me … and I knew what it was. When he came by, it felt like a freight train passing — blew the number right off my sleeve." Chick Lang, Pimlico general manager: “He looked like a Rolls-Royce in a field of Volkswagens." William Nack: “After Big Red’s back-to-back victories, national news magazines published his picture on their covers. Secretariat suddenly transcended being a racehorse and became a cultural phenomenon, a sort of undeclared national holiday from the tortures of Watergate and the Vietnam War." Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)
ccannon@realclearpolitics.com

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