Bloggers are doing the math over Sen. Hillary Clinton's record fund-raising, debating the likelihood of an Arab RSVP to Israel's invitation to a multinational peace conference, and wringing their hands over what it takes to be an amazing teenage girl these days.
Add it up: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton announced this weekend that she raised a record-breaking $26 million for her presidential campaign in the first quarter. With $10 million left over from her Senate re-election campaign, she's at $36 million, while rival John Edwards trails with a respectable $14 million. (Sen. Barack Obama has not announced fund-raising totals.)
Daily Kos' mikem is already suspicious: "Hillary Clinton's announcement of her Q1 fundraising totals looks a preemptive strike to control the story, jumping ahead of other announcements and trying to put the focus on the top line." And the political junkie at Skeptical Brotha sees a more sinister purpose: "This number is calculated to send the unmistakable signal that resistance is futile. Apparently intimidated by Barack Obama's record setting jaunts across America in which he was received like a messiah, she released the cybernetic DLC fund-raising drone that masquerades as her husband in an attempt to keep pace."
At Wizbang Politics, Jim Addison gets nostalgic. "I remember in 2000, when total spending for the cycle for all offices from President to Alderman first exceeded $1 billion, the whiners like McCain were complaining in full voice, but that same year, Proctor & Gamble spent more than $3 billion advertising their personal hygiene and cleaning products. How can it be 'excessive' to spend a third of what's spent on toothpaste and soap on our political future?"
Ed Morrissey, the conservative blogger at Captain's Quarters, is mystified that the New York senator has any funding at all. "How does Hillary do it? She has the highest negatives of anyone in the Democratic primaries, and yet people keep giving her their money." Llama Butchers compares the senator's quarterly take with the $33 million weekend box office for Blades of Glory: "Does this mean America loves Hillary! just slightly more than a spandex clad Will Ferrell farting on the ice while having to sniff Napoleon Dynamite's package to the music of Def Leppard?"
Read more about Clinton's fund-raising.
Is that plus guest? Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert countered renewed calls to discuss a 2002 Saudi peace initiative by inviting his neighbors over for a chat, Mideast-style.
Canadian artist Kevin Robertson, in a cartoon at Beyond the Punchline, depicts the Arab states needing to recognize Israel, just so they can get to the peace conference. "Through this proposal, it would appear that Olmert is in a sense trying to re-interpret the state of Israel within the minds of the Arab people, by replacing their long-held image of an illegitimate occupier and replacing it with that of a Jewish 'Neverland', which can only exist if they believe in it," he writes.
Unofficial UN blog United Nations Truth believes the Israelis have an ulterior motive: "[I]ndeed, if the Madrid Conference was good enough in 1991, why is it not good enough for 2007? Because the Madrid Conference was a miserable failure, and even the U.S. Administration … came to accuse the Israeli Prime Minister of deliberately stalling. The Oslo negotiations began because Madrid wasn't moving. And now the Oslo Accords are nearly assigned to the trash bin of history. The Israelis are still stalling."
Expecting any movement is hopeless, according to California's Fresno Zionism: "It's certain that the Arab leaders will not accept this. First, they see their proposal as too magnanimous already, since it gives lip service (albeit no more) to the continued existence of a state of Israel. So they feel that they have gone as far as they can, and now it's up to Israel to accept the proposal or else (and I think the implication of the 'or else' is ultimately war)."
The invitation is less about the Middle East and more about U.S. politics, writes sababa at Pendleton Pundits. "Having failed in nearly every foreign policy endeavor, President Bush sees this as one last chance to salvage a foreign policy legacy. Much as President Clinton made a final effort at Middle East Peace during his final months in office, President Bush hopes he can do the same before he expends any remaining political capital."
Read more about Olmert's invitation.
Girl talk: Apparently it's not easy being amazing, according to a New York Times story about high-achieving girls for whom enough is never enough. Athlete, scholar, hottie—it's all very hard to juggle on the way to an Ivy League-ish school.
Tabsmom, a New Jersey English teacher at I Dare You to Top This Life, sees different issues at her workplace: "My students don't have regular access to a computer, have no books to take home, often come without notebooks or writing implements, and frequently compete with the resident rodents for their free lunches. We need to reassess our priorities if the spoils of the wealthy trump the trials of the poor."
The real focus should be on taking it easy, says Kristen Havens, a Los Angeles writer and editor who blogs at My Back Pages and didn't take her own advice. "I got into and went to one of these fancy schools you're clawing after, and I'm still a slacker and not at all rich. A great school is not a miracle cure, and it really doesn't open that many doors."
Subversive Librarian's fasterthanlight has the solution for all those girls who aren't at top-tier high schools: "It is one huge reason why we still need libraries: so that girls who are not to the manor born can learn about options they might otherwise never know they have. You can't make anyone drink from the well, but you'd better not let the well dry up."
Read more about amazing girls.