Does Washington's Silence Send Georgia a Loud Message?

Statements from various American politicians and organizations with whom Gharibashvili met contained the usual platitudes about Georgia’s strides towards democracy and the strength of the bilateral relationship. The most significant thing about those statements, however, may well have been what was not said. Only a few days before the trip, former Georgian Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, a very close ally of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and for most of the previous decade the second most powerful man in Georgia, was sentencedhttp://www.eurasianet.org/node/68094 to five years in prison for various abuses of power.

 

Is a Non-Competitive Primary Really What the Democrats Need?

As the 2016 election approaches and the question of whether or not Hillary Clinton runs becomes an even bigger topic of discussion among the punditry, it is likely that we will also be told that having a clear nominee early in the process, rather than a hard fought, and potentially nasty, campaign for the nomination will be good for the party. This idea is intuitively appealing as contested primaries can make it hard to unite behind one candidate in the general election and can damage the eventual nominee. It is additionally something that we frequently hear from front-runners hoping to avoid a tough primary. This idea is intuitive and attractive, but it should be noted that it also completely false.

Hillary Clinton's Outsider Insider Candidacy

In a year when, even more than most, the Democratic Party, and indeed the country, may be looking for an outsider, Clinton is about as far from being an outside as possible, except for one thing. Clinton would have a real chance at being the first woman president. That alone makes her different from every other previous president as well as every other nominee from a major political party. Thus, Clinton is a consummate insider with one very substantial outsider credential. That alone may not be enough, but it is something on which Clinton can build a successful campaign.

Is Hillary Clinton in a Weaker Position Now?

Hillary Clinton has not yet announced whether or not she will be a candidate for president in 2016, and already there is a PAC aimed at thwarting her candidacy. The creatively named Stop Hillary PAC is committed to trying to destroy Clinton's aspirations by running negative ads and otherwise seeking to portray her in the worst possible light. Clinton remains the front-runner for her party's nomination, should she run, but it is possible that the right is making a mistake by attacking Clinton.

 

A Win on Marriage for Obama

President Barack Obama's statement that he believes in marriage equality could have been sooner and could have been stronger, but it is still significant. While Obama may have been slightly behind the curve on this statement, it is also a reminder of how quickly public opinion has changed for the better on marriage equality. It was only 16 years ago when the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, announced his support for the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Clinton was also in the midst of a reelection campaign, but was in a better position regarding the election in 1996 when he made that decision than Obama is now. Nonetheless, outside of the LGBT community and a few other liberals, nobody was too upset about Clinton's decision.