Monday, March 31, 2008
NBC's First Read:
The problem for Clinton is that she's busier trying to prove her relevance in the process rather than debating Obama about the economy, health care, or Iraq. Indeed, Clinton told the Washington Post that she's in until the end. But it's simply not good for any campaign to have call up major national reporters to tell them that.
Really? Maybe she's just triggering her mutnemom! Hillary arguably needs to have her back to the wall, remember. If the election is about proving her "relevance in the process" she maybe does better than if the election is about the "issues." ... 9:53 A.M.
Much is being made of Hillary Clinton's seemingly friendly interaction with conservative Pennsylvania newspaper owner--and Vast Right Wing Conspiracy funder--Richard Mellon Scaife. (See, e.g., "Hell Has Officially Frozen Over.") But Lewinsky trivia experts will remember that in April, 1998, [** see correction below] at the height of the Clinton sex scandal, Scaife actually appeared at a formal White House dinner where he also interacted pleasantly with the Clintons. The event was designed to reward big contributors to a fund for the preservation of the White House building--and Scaife was one of those contributors. Still, at the time I remember being stunned by the Clintons' graciousness. Only now does it look like the more familiar Clinton cunning. ...
** Correction: The dinner was on January 21, 1998, the day the Lewinsky scandal broke. ... Frank Rich mockingly speculated at the time that Scaife was a "double agent for the left ." ... 1:40 P.M.
Crop Rot Watch: Tom Bevan on a Pennsylvania tomato grower who's giving up because (he says) Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform! "No one will harvest tomatoes in 90 degree weather except immigrant labor," says the farmer, Keith Eckel, who says he paid an average of $16.59 an hour. He also seems to agree that many of the documents immigrant workers showed farmers like him were fraudulent. ...But note that no tomatoes are rotting in the fields in this story. Eckel has just decided to plant another, less labor-intensive crop: "45 acres of sweet corn, and 1,200 acres of corn for grain." Is this a tragedy, or a surprisingly painless transition away from a business that used illegal labor to a business that uses legal labor? We will buy fewer Pennsylvania tomatoes and more Pennsylvania corn. So? ... P.S.: Bevan questions whether Eckel really couldn't get non-immigrant Pennsylvanians to pick his crops for such a relatively high wage. I suspect the answer is he could, but that the (largely illegal) immigrant workers would be much better at it than the non-immgrant workers. ... That could be one dirty little secret of the immigration debate: It's not that employers can't get legal workers. It's that at any given wage they'd prefer the non-legal workers, and not only for the familiar disreputable reasons (e.g., that illegals live in fear and are therefore more docile). ...
Update: Reader G.S. emails: "Don't forget the fact that the field corn is now selling at prices much higher than a few years ago, due partially to the ethanol subsidies." 1:04 A.M. link