Quick Takes

* If you’ve had enough of pundits criticizing Hillary Clinton for shouting too much or not smiling enough, you’re going to want to read the latest from Connie Schultz titled: Hey, Hillary: Smile, Girl. For a taste, here’s the finale.

Some men hear what they want to hear, and too many men don’t want to hear from women at all. This is an unhappy century for them, and it’s only going to get worse. One grandmother barreling her way toward the presidency is bound to work up all kinds of other women who’ve had it up to here with the catcall mentality of men who measure our worth by our ability to make them feel better about their limited view of us.

“Where will it all end?” they wonder.

At the White House, I’d guess.

I’m smiling as I say that. Does that help?

* Jeffrey Goldberg came back with an encore to his interview with President Obama. Apparently he didn’t have room in that piece for a riff from Secretary of State John Kerry. But he thinks someone else might put it to good use.

Here is a free idea for Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius (certified) behind Hamilton, the status-anxiety-inducing musical that is sold out until the beginning of Donald Trump’s third term as Dear Leader. This free idea is only relevant if a certain assumption of mine is correct, that Miranda will soon be writing Obama: The Musical, which would focus on the 44th president’s most consequential foreign policy decisions. (Nerds can dream, no?)

This is actually not an idea for an entire musical so much as it is the basis for a very complicated song. The background is as follows: Earlier this year, I was interviewing John Kerry, the secretary of state, for my current Atlantic cover article. We were having a semi-non-linear discussion about his diplomatic record, and about Obama’s foreign-policy tendencies, when, all of a sudden, Kerry launched into an astonishingly complex and lengthy riff about the administration’s achievements in the international arena. Kerry delivered this spoken-word triumph without taking more than two breaths.

You’ll have to click on the link to read Kerry’s riff. While you do so, keep in mind that this Secretary of State is 72 years old.

* One of the people Ted Cruz has named as a top foreign policy advisor – Frank Gaffney – is attempting to be to Muslims what Sen. Joe McCarthy was to communists.

He has said that members of the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the Obama administration, specifically attacking Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. He’s also argued that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wanted to introduce Sharia law into the U.S. government.

Gaffney was banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2010 after he accused CPAC officials like Grover Norquist of infiltrating the organization on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

That story reminds me of this tweet from a friend of mine:

* A couple of months ago, I wrote about the role of Black women in the Democratic Party. It comes as no surprise then, that – as Jonathan Allen writes – Clinton Owes Her Commanding Lead to African American Women.

There’s been a lot of talk about an enthusiasm gap between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in this election cycle: Every Democrat wants to vote for him and some reluctantly vote for her.

At least, that’s how the narrative goes. And it’s easy to believe if you’re a millennial—because it’s pretty true among your cohort—or, like many journalists, you spend a lot of time with elite white dudes.

But there’s another subset of the electorate that has been the story of the Democratic primary campaign: African-American women. More than any other demographic group, black women are the reason Hillary Clinton has racked up a 2 million-vote lead on Bernie Sanders and, more important, a 300-point advantage among pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

The bedrock of her winning campaign is African-American women, and, as a group, these women seem pretty damn determined to vote for her.

* Miriam Sapiro, who was a deputy U.S. trade representative from 2009 to 2014, writes about What Trump and Sanders Get Wrong About Free Trade. Beyond her remarks about trade agreements, she makes her strongest case in basically saying, “It’s more complicated than that.”

Rather than blaming international trade for economic woes, we need to have an honest conversation about what the United States must do to strengthen its economy. More than 20 percent of American children today live in poverty. Our educational system, once the envy of the world, now ranks in the bottom half of much of the developed world. The tax system rewards companies that exploit loopholes, infrastructure is crumbling and training programs lack the kind of apprenticeship and credentialing opportunities that Germany and other major economies offer…

Of course it is easier to score points by denouncing trade than to tackle the tough issues, but such demagogy ignores the roots of economic insecurity and inequality.

* Finally, it’s St. Patrick’s Day – the time of year when we celebrate everything Irish. One of the things that has always fascinated me about the Irish sensibility is captured by this quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

To be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart.

A couple of years ago, Jon Favreau gave a speech in Dublin about the role of storytelling in politics. He ended by pointing out that the knowledge Moynihan referred to in that quote has produced some of the world’s best storytellers. That is exactly what is captured in this traditional Irish tune and sung so evocatively by Eva Cassidy.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.