RCP Morning Note, 05/18/2017: Special Counsel; Kochs and Tax Reform; Beijing in the Catskills; Selling Hope

05/18/2017
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Carl Cannon’s Morning Note

Special Counsel; Kochs and Tax Reform; Beijing in the Catskills; Selling Hope

By Carl M. Cannon on May 18, 2017 08:36 am
Good morning, it’s Thursday, May 18, 2017. Twenty-four years ago today, President Clinton deliberately immersed himself in the complex ethnic cauldron of Los Angeles County. California had long showcased the future — both good and bad — regarding race relations in this country, so the themes the president waded into are familiar to Americans in all parts of the nation. Like our current incumbent, Bill Clinton was having something of a hangover from the long 1992 campaign. In office less than four months, he couldn’t quite shake the impulse to get out there and press the flesh and make his case. The case Clinton was attempting to make was that getting the economy humming again and bridging America’s tribal rivalries were not mutually exclusive national goals. And yet, the reception the new president received revealed how easy it is for people who think the economic elites are forsaking them to see the world through a racially tinged prism. I’ll have more on that trip, and that theme, in a moment. 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: * * * Democrats Laud Special Counsel But Say It’s Not Enough. The party also wants an outside panel with no White House ties to investigate possible Trump-Russia links, James Arkin and Caitlin Huey-Burns report. Koch Groups Will Spend Millions in Tax Reform Push. Rebecca Berg has the details. The Senate Needs to Fix, Not Abandon, the AHCA. At RealClearHealth, Joel Zinberg highlights what’s worth saving in the House-approved bill. The Ugly Truth About Obama’s ‘Net Neutrality.’ In RealClearPolicy, Lawrence J. Spiwak spotlights potential reforms at the FCC. Lessons From the Dakota Access Pipeline. Bette Grande explains in RealClearEnergy. Searching for Beijing in the Old Borscht Belt. In RealClearWorld, Kevin Sullivan examines efforts to revive a Catskills village by attracting Chinese investment. Rethinking Afghanistan. In RealClearDefense, Jeff Goodson urges military planners to confront some daunting realities about the long war against the Taliban. Jerry Brown Plays the ‘Frugal Adult’ While Quietly Spending. In RealClearMarkets, Carson Bruno takes issue with the California governor’s budgetary pose. Crossing the Congo Is a Journey Across Hell on Earth. Also in RCP, editor John Tamny reviews a new book about a trio’s perilous drive across a once prosperous country. A Portable IEP for Military Children. In RealClearEducation, Mark Claypool and John McLaughlin make the case for an individualized education program that travels with a military child with special needs. Top 10 Cursed Sports Cities. The RCS team compiled this list. * * * Bill Clinton’s mid-May 1993 Western swing began in New Mexico and ended up in Southern California, where the sunny weather didn’t entirely obscure underlying economic tensions. At a meeting in predominantly white and non-Hispanic San Fernando Valley, the presidential motorcade was greeted with a host of signs denouncing illegal immigrants and criticizing Michael Woo, the liberal mayoral candidate whom the president had endorsed a day earlier. “Send ground troops to the U.S. border," read one sign. “America is a sovereign nation," read another. But at Los Angeles Valley College, it was an African-American student who pointedly asked Clinton what his government was going to do to control the “unconscionable flood of illegal aliens." A Latino student in the back of the crowd yelled a retort, and the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry California since 1964 looked unsettled. The message Clinton wanted to stress on his trip was his belief that the two issues underlying that brief exchange — racial harmony and economic prosperity — could not be solved independently of each other. And so, to the young black community college student who complained of the cost of health care for illegal immigrants, the president said simply, “This is a state made by immigrants." Clinton also visited South Central Los Angeles, which was still reeling from the riots that had ravaged the sprawling area in the wake the Rodney King case. I was covering the White House then and remember the trip well. “This community needs federal money for job training, for education — for work that is permanent," George Dotson, the 51-year-old African-American owner of a local carpet and drapery store, told me that day. A year earlier, Dotson recalled, he watched in trepidation from inside his shop as rioters swept down both sides of Florence Avenue, looting and burning. On this day, May 18, 1993, he was among the hundreds of South Central residents who turned out on a typically lovely, sunny California afternoon to catch a glimpse of their president. At The Playground, a combined sporting goods store and community center founded by four former gang members and four former local business people, Clinton was given a pair of basketball shoes. “There are all kinds of opportunities like this — we can do it!" the president shouted enthusiastically. Although his love of basketball was well-known, the president demonstrated that enthusiasm for the game doesn’t always equate to skill on the court. To the delight of those in attendance, Clinton donned the shoes, shed his coat and tie, rolled up his sleeves, and shot some hoops. The crowd moaned when he missed, then whooped in delight when he finally sank one. Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)
ccannon@realclearpolitics.com

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