TIME Internet

Monica Lewinsky Just Joined Twitter

Masterpiece Marie Curie Summer Party In Partnership With Jaeger Le-Coultre And Heather Kerzner
Monica Lewinsky in London, June 30, 2014. Mike Marsland—WireImage/Getty Images

Here she goes

Updated Oct. 20, 10:30 a.m. EST.

Monica Lewinsky joined the flock on Monday morning, and here’s what she had to say:

Vanity Fair, which featured her tell-all story earlier this year, was the first to confirm her new account. It quickly received a Verified checkmark.

Is it just that she’s excited to join Twitter? Or is Monica getting ready to tweet her way through the 2016 election?

TIME 2014 Election

No One Should Be Excited About Winning the Senate

Views Of The U.S. Capitol As Congress Plans To Return Nov. 12
The U.S. Capitol Building on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Both parties quietly acknowledge gridlock will reign no matter who wins

When all is said and done next month, hundreds of millions of dollars will have been spent to influence a few million voters who will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

That power might not be worth the effort.

Behind closed doors, Democrats readily admit their Senate agenda is dead in the water, whether they win or lose. Republicans agree their pitch to radically alter the course of Washington by picking up a few seats after November is essentially a fairy tale. In conversations with more than two-dozen operatives and party strategists, none was willing to make the case against winning the Senate with their name attached, wary of upsetting those who have invested do much in the cycle. But several on both sides of the aisle argued that winning could actually be a bad thing in the long run.

“The irony of this cycle is that hundreds of millions are going to be spent fighting over an outcome that won’t impact the policy American’s see out of Washington one bit,” said one senior Capitol Hill Democrat. “If Democrats lose the Senate, the 2016 Democratic nominee can run against Congress and Senate Democrats would be poised to recapture it in two years. Unless or until the House changes, Washington won’t change.”

Republican operatives are quick to say the same about control White House, but express outright worry about the impact of taking the Senate their chances of doing so in 2016. “We’re promising people that things will dramatically change if we win the majority, but we all know that’s not going to happen,” said a Republican operative working on Senate races. “Where will that leave our candidates in 2016?”

In many circles, the talk is more than just a defeatist attitude. It’s strategic question that has rarely been voiced publicly. Operatives on both sides see upside in being in the minority next year. In Democrats’ telling, likely-candidate Hillary Clinton could run on a narrative of Republican obstruction to passing legislation on issues like income inequality, raising the minimum wage, and equal pay for women. Republicans, looking to boost a bench of governors eyeing the White House, see a potent message in allowing them to rail against Washington dysfunction.

“It really is a kind of prank prize, but more for Democrats than Republicans,” said Republican consultant Rick Wilson. “For the GOP, the chance of a Senate majority to block Obama’s Supreme Court nominees is worth all the agony, trouble, hard choices, and put-up-or-shut-up problems.”

Republicans know they may have substantially less latitude, not more, to oppose President Barack Obama outright if they gain the majority. They may be able to oppose specific nominees, but would be wary of earning an obstructionist title in practice, lest their 2016 candidates go down in flames. Others point to the fleeting nature of the potential Republican pick-up, with the GOP facing an unfavorable map in 2016 that is likely to result in losing seats.

Ultimately the biggest winners and losers are the Senators themselves, with the potential to see their power dramatically increased or diminished as committee chairmanships and the Senate agenda hang in the balance.

The primary fear among Democrats is nominations, particularly the potential or a vacancy on the Supreme Court, which Obama alluded to in conversations with donors this summer. After that, former Harry Reid aide Rodell Mollineau said, it’s about controlling the conversation in Washington. “Do you really want to spend the next two years on defense talking about national right to work laws and whatever harsh immigration policies Republicans come up with, or would you rather have a conversation about jobs and minimum wage,” he said.

On the Republican side, operatives now see the building up of expectations as necessitating a win, following the party’s 2012 defeat and inability to take the Senate during the 2010 wave. “Another loss would only further send the party’s political infrastructure down a spiral that will be hard to dig out of in time to fight against Hillary in 2016,” said one Republican operative focused on 2016 races. “We need momentum excitement coming out of November to get supporters engaged so we can start building the political behemoth that will be required to take on Hillary.”

TIME 2016 Election

Jeb Bush Says Wife ‘Supportive’ of 2016 Bid

"This is ultimately my decision with as much consideration as I can to take into account the people that I really love"

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has won a big endorsement for a potential 2016 presidential run: his wife.

Bush told the Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that his wife Columba, who is widely known to be wary of the political spotlight, is “supportive” of him if he decides to mount a campaign.

“My wife is supportive, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the challenges that this brings,” Bush said. “This is ultimately my decision with as much consideration as I can to take into account the people that I really love.”

Bush added that his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, has come around to having a third Bush in the White House. Last year she said that “we’ve had enough Bushes” as president, even though she thinks Jeb Bush is “by far the best qualified man” for the job.

“As it relates to my mom, my mom’s been around the track,” Jeb Bush said. “She just believes that it’s something that she doesn’t want my family to go through, although she’s changed her mind on that. So I’m marking her down to ‘neutral, trending in a different direction’ than she was.”

[AP]

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton’s Burden of History

Hillary Clinton
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a forum sponsored by the Center for American Progress in Washington, Sept. 18, 2014. Molly Riley—AP

Everything old is new again for the Clintons, as documents reveal White House secrets.

Buried in the 10,000 pages of documents released by the Clinton Presidential Library Friday is one bearing the customized stamp “Document Produced To Independent Counsel.”

Created to help track the untold number of documents produced for independent counsel Ken Starr’s investigations of the Clintons, the stamp is a totem of the problem that has dogged Hillary Clinton since she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2000: her history.

The Library made the documents available Friday, completing the release of 30,000 pages of previously restricted White House records on everything from the failed HillaryCare push to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Those controversies generated internal debates and gotcha-moments now bearing out 14 years after the former First Lady and her husband vacated the White House, complicating her bid to be a repeat occupant.

Deliberations over Supreme Court appointments, controversial pardons, and meetings with foreign leaders are bared for the world to see. Even personal feuds, like that between the former president and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, are on display in the margins of official documents and notes to staff. To read the document trove is to reenter a White House at the center of political and personal maelstroms.

The stamped memo captures the mid-1990s Clinton White House at a peak of high drama. Written by Deputy White House Counsel Bruce Lindsay to prepare President Bill Clinton for an interview on the Whitewater scandals, it strikes a familiar chord for those who view the former president as deceptive and those who view him as unfairly besieged by enemies. “NOTE: Of course, it is strongly recommended that you not answer specific factual questions about Whitewater, using the appointment of a special counsel as a legitimate way to deflect questions.”

Other documents reveal Hillary Clinton’s distaste for the press, her staff’s attempts to crack down on internal leaks, and the influence of donors in the White House. Ultimately, the documents, with an audience of Washington politicos, appear neither good nor bad for Clinton as she moves towards a run for the White House in 2016. Many simply reveal another perspective of issues well-covered twenty years ago. As much as anything else does, they simply define who she is and where she’s come from, even as she contemplates a new chapter in her life.

Conventional wisdom holds that longtime Senators with equally long voting records have a harder time running for the White House than governors do, a problem that Clinton has on steroids. Unending media interest in her and her husband, a sped-up news cycle, and the country’s increasingly short attention span have made even old news of interest as Clinton looks to 2016. Republicans will try to use these documents to revive the “Clinton Fatigue” that plagued the couple’s last years in office and cast a tall shadow over her failed 2008 presidential bid.

But Clinton will benefit some, too. The documents are proof of her intimate involvement in nearly every aspect of professional Washington for more than two decades. They show the Clintons and their aides tangling with complicated policy challenges, and reveal them slowly developing skills to manage the national media amid scandal.

Ultimately, the greatest challenge Clinton faces in the documents may not be answering for past political maneuvers or the snide remarks of aides, but finding a way to simply leave the past behind.

TIME 2016 Election

Rand Paul Visits Ferguson Ahead of Fresh Protests

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) while speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Sept. 26, 2014. Doug Mills—The New York Times/Redux

Paul is the first potential 2016 contender to visit the city

Sen. Rand Paul met with civil rights leaders Friday in Ferguson, Missouri, the city torn apart by racial unrest following the August shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. During his visit, the Republican Senator, who is seen as a likely presidential candidate, stated his concerns about long prison sentences for nonviolent crimes, the loss of voting rights for felons and military programs to give unused equipment to local police departments.

“I wanted to find out what we could do to make the situation better,” Paul said of his visit Friday.

“Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them,” Paul wrote in an opinion piece for TIME this summer.

The meeting came just days after another young black man was shot by police in nearby St. Louis, after allegedly firing a stolen handgun at an officer. And it came on the eve of a weekend series of protests organized to keep national attention on the state’s issues.

Paul joined the leaders in the conference room of a real estate office across the street from an art installation Friday, where residents had tied ribbons to a metal fence with messages commemorating the protests that began in August after the shooting of 18-year-old African-American student Michael Brown. Paul arrived in town Thursday for a round table discussion at the Show Me Institute, a conservative think tank in St. Louis. That event, like the discussion with local and civil rights leaders in Ferguson, was not open to the press.

Friday’s discussion was free-ranging, less a speech than a question and answer session. People at the event said that they remained concerned about the GOP’s opposition to federal funding for job training and education and other social programs. Paul said that he would support increases in federal spending for job training in urban communities that could be paid for with cuts to the costs of incarceration. “I think there would be money for job training if you greatly lessened criminal sentencing,” he said.

“They are also frustrated that things aren’t happening fast enough,” Paul said after the meeting, which was organized by the NAACP.

Paul’s trip to Ferguson—the first by a 2016 candidate—is a reminder of how his position on criminal justice reform can make a Republican more palatable to the African-American community. As riots turned violent in Ferguson, Paul distinguished himself among Republicans by striking a more forceful tone in addressing the root of the protesters’ anger and putting forth potential solutions.

“He is stumping like he should be trying to stump if he wants to run for President,” said John Gaskin II, who participated in Friday’s event.

The fatal police shooting of Brown on August 9 revealed a deeper crisis of trust between the authorities and Ferguson community and sparked a discussion about race relations in America. While the armored trucks are gone and the air free from tear gas, this weekend demonstrators are expected to continue calling for the arrest of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who has remained free but silent since killing Brown.

TIME Campaign Finance

FEC Clears Doubling of Donations With Convention Ruling

US Campaign 2012
The Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Charles Ommanney—Getty Images

Separate convention funding will allow parties to tap as much as $250,000 per donor every four years

Four weeks before the midterm elections, the Democratic and Republican Parties set aside their political differences to celebrate a development they could both agree on: raising more money.

The rare bout of bipartisanship follows a Federal Election Commission decision to allow the parties to raise extra cash to put on their increasingly irrelevant quadrennial prime time love-fests: the presidential nominating conventions.

Congress decided earlier this year to strip each party’s convention of public financing—$18,248,300 a piece in 2012—in hopes of diverting the funds to fund pediatric medical research.

As a result, the committees faced the prospect of funding the conventions from their existing “hard money” accounts, taking dollars out of field campaigns or television advertisements to pay the expensive three- or four-day long events.

To get around that problem, the parties jointly asked the FEC to let them set up separate committees to raise funds and pay for the conventions.

Last week the FEC’s attorneys prepared dueling opinions for the commission to vote on. One argued that the separate convention committees would be arms of the party and should be subject to the same limit. That opinion lost. The other argued the parties should be allowed to have a separate limit. Democratic Vice Chair Ann Ravel joined commission Republicans to pass that option by a 4-2 decision.

The result was a big win for both parties. Instead of tapping core budgets, which are built on maximum donations of $32,400 per donor annually and fund nearly everything the party does, the parties can double dip, raising another $32,400 from the same donors, just for the convention.

Campaign finance reform advocates blasted the outcome Thursday, noting that individuals can now cumulatively donate over $250,000 to the RNC or DNC each presidential cycle. “This is a disgraceful and activist decision that ignores the laws passed by Congress to combat corruption,” said Larry Noble of the Campaign Legal Center in a statement. “One has come to expect such efforts to dismantle the current contribution limits brick by brick from the current Republican Commissioners, but Vice Chair Ravel’s vote to give the national party committees a new way to tap wealthy donors is incredibly disappointing and irresponsible.”

The Campaign Legal Center warned in comments submitted before the meeting that it could lead to a slippery slope where different party functions are broken off into separate accounts with their own contribution limits, subverting longstanding laws designed to limit the amount of money in the nation’s political system. (The Republican National Committee has filed suit to lift those individual contribution limit to national parties.)

The RNC and DNC celebrated the ruling as “an important, if modest, first step for the parties in continuing to meet their historic responsibility to conduct conventions, which play such a vital role in our democratic process.” But in recent decades the carefully-scripted conventions have become increasingly irrelevant to the political process, as nominees lock up the required delegates well before the gatherings and the party platforms are frequently ignored by candidates for president on down. And while they are opportunities for each party to promote its message on television for a week in prime time, viewership is down and they rarely move the polling dial to lasting effect. Indeed, nominating conventions have become little more than expensive opportunities to reward party insiders with swanky parties and access to political figures.

In fact, the new convention funds are separate from the tens of millions raised by both parties’ “host committees” which are exempt from FEC contribution limits and accept millions in corporate and individual donations. The FEC justifies this separate fund arguing that the host committees are primarily engaged in promoting the cities in which the convention is held, not nominating the party’s presidential candidate. But that distinction is tenuous, at best, particularly when the party’s candidate is asked to step in to help close a shortfall, as Mitt Romney was asked to do in Tampa in 2012. Not to mention longstanding research showing that conventions don’t actually boost the economic development of the host cities.

President Barack Obama’s 2012 host committee secured a loan from Duke Energy that was later forgiven by the Charlotte, NC-based energy company, skirting the candidate’s pledge not to accept corporate funds.

“We appreciate the FEC’s recognition that, as the party convention committees adjust to the loss of public funding, they have authority to raise funds that will help pay the costs of their national conventions,” both parties said in their unusual joint statement.

TIME Republican Party

GOP Candidates May Benefit From Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Decision

Supreme Court Gay Marriage
Demonstrators in support of same sex marriage stand during the second annual "March for Marriage" in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington on June 19, 2014. Karen Bleier—AFP/Getty Images

Some strategists hope the legal decision helps push the issue of gay marriage off the political agenda

The Supreme Court’s decision Monday clearing the way for same-sex marriages in five states may benefit an unlikely group: Republican lawmakers who can’t wait to stop talking about gay marriage, an issue that is increasingly becoming a drag for the party.

Advisors to multiple likely 2016 candidates told TIME after the news broke that they are hopeful that swift action by the Supreme Court will provide them cover. “We don’t have to agree with the decision, but as long as we’re not against it we should be okay,” said one aide to a 2016 contender who declined to be named to speak candidly on the sensitive topic. “The base, meanwhile, will focus its anger on the Court, and not on us.”

The initial comments of politicians also hinted at a desire to turn the page. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, a potential 2016 contender locked in a tough re-election fight this fall, told the Associated Press that the fight to prevent same-sex marriage would end. “It’s over in Wisconsin,” he said.

“The federal courts have ruled that this decision by this court of appeals decision is the law of the land and we will be upholding it,” Walker added, echoing the statement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who called the issue “settled” in his state over the summer, despite his personal opposition to such unions. Christie declined to address the decision when asked about it Monday.

At a forum in Washington, D.C., Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is also considering a run for the White House, said the issue was moving out of the political sphere. “The law is certainly in the Court’s court,” Jindal said. Neither man said the court ruling had dented their own opposition to same sex marriage, but their statements indicated they hope to set the issue aside as they eye bids for the White House.

Wary of this possibility, evangelical leaders vowed election year fights. “For candidates running in 2014 and those who run for president in 2016, there will be no avoiding this issue,” said the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Ralph Reed in a statement after the Supreme Court ruling. Yet many in the party are preparing to do just that.

“The GOP is a culturally conservative party and should remain so,” said Alex Castellanos, one of the dozens of GOP political operatives to sign on to an amicus curiae brief against the Defense of Marriage Act last year. “Increasingly, there is less room in the GOP for ‘big-government’ social conservatives, i.e., social conservatives who believe in using the power of the state to tell people whom they can love or marry. Instead, there is growing agreement, in an ever younger and increasingly libertarian Republican party, that the role of the state in prohibiting relationships should be minimized.”

In the decision Monday, the high court declined to hear challenges to appellate court rulings that five state same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, effectively approving the rulings and erecting a legal barrier to states seeking to prevent the practice from taking hold. The decision is the latest step in a whirlwind legal push in support of same-sex marriages that has the backing of the majority of the national electorate, but has polarized the GOP.

Fifty-five percent of all Americans believe that same-sex marriage should be legal, including 30% of self-identified Republicans and 31% of self-identified conservatives. But the issue is far more pronounced among younger voters, for whom it is more likely to be a threshold issue: 78% support same-sex marriage according to a Gallup poll conducted earlier this year.

Over the summer the Republican National Committee took control of the primary debate process with the expressed goal of reducing their focus on social issues, in hopes of keeping the eventual nominee from emerging from the primary process as unelectable to the national public.

Evangelical conservative leaders are likely to call upon Republican candidates to support a federal “marriage amendment” to prohibit same-sex coupling. Such an effort has the backing of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who is preparing to mount another campaign for the White House, and has been backed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. An aide to Jindal said Monday he remains supportive of efforts to pass a federal marriage amendment. But few, if any, of its proponents, believe it can be passed in practice, given Constitutional requirement that two-thirds of the House and Senate and three-fourths of the states’ legislatures.

Sen. Ted Cruz announced Monday he would introduce a Constitutional amendment preventing the Supreme Court from striking down marriage laws. “The Supreme Court’s decision to let rulings by lower court judges stand that redefine marriage is both tragic and indefensible,” he said in a statement, declaring the Court’s decision not to hear arguments on the gay marriage cases “judicial activism at its worst.”

Keith Appell, a Republican political consultant working with many social conservative groups, predicted that Republicans will turn the debate to focus on the judicial appointments likely to open up under the next president. “Filling those vacancies will shape the court for the next generation and it’ll be a huge issue in both the primaries and the general election,” he said. “Do we want activist judges who literally make the law up from the bench and impose it on the people, as is happening with these appellate rulings? Or do we want judges that fairly apply the law and leave the lawmaking to Congress, state and local legislatures?”

TIME 2016 Election

Bobby Jindal Urges Higher Spending on Defense

Bobby Jindal
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington on Sept. 26, 2014. Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP

"Without a strong defense, our allies will not trust our promises, and our adversaries will not believe our threats"

Seeking to burnish his foreign policy credentials before a likely presidential run, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal lambasted President Barack Obama’s leadership Monday in a speech in Washington as he emphasized higher spending on defense and outlined his competing vision for the nation’s place in the world.

“Today, we see a world in which the Obama Administration has neglected or abandoned America’s longstanding allies,” Jindal said in remarks at the American Enterprise Institute. “Our ‘special relationship’ with Britain is gone, NATO is drifting, Eastern Europe is disaffected, and Israel has been purposefully alienated from the United States.”

“[Foreign policy challenges] are growing because the Obama Administration has repudiated all the operating principles of an effective global strategy, by ‘leading from behind,’ by abandoning our long-time allies, by failing to effectively use the tools of ‘soft power,’ and by cutting the size and capabilities of our armed forces,” Jindal added.

Outlining a defense plan produced by his political group America Next and developed with former Sen. Jim Talent, Jindal accused Obama of abandoning the principle of American exceptionalism. “I wish President Obama had watched The Incredibles, because then he’d know that when everybody’s special, actually nobody is,” he said, referencing the 2004 Disney animated film.

“Military strength should not be the primary means by which the United States executes its foreign policy,” Jindal said, calling for a renewed emphasis on defense spending in the federal budget. “But it is the indispensable element that underpins the other tools. Of all the mistakes President Obama has made, this strikes me as the most dangerous.”

He specifically criticized the Obama administration’s approach to tackling the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria with air strikes, and explicitly ruling out troops on the ground. “I thought it was very foolish to announce unilaterally to ISIS that we would not deploy ground troops,” he said.

Jindal’s plan calls for targeting federal budget outlays on defense at about 4% of gross domestic product, higher than both the current baseline of 2.9% and the 3.5% requested by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in 2011. His proposal also calls on the Pentagon to open its books for an audit, as well as other steps to control wasteful spending and programs that fall behind schedule.

“Without a strong defense, our allies will not trust our promises, and our adversaries will not believe our threats,” he said.

The two-term incumbent is laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign, traveling the country in support of Republican candidates and attempting to carve out a spot as the GOP’s ideas candidate, with policy proposals on healthcare, energy, and now defense. But Jindal, with his low name recognition, has yet to find a following among the Republican electorate, consistently polling near the bottom of potential 2016 candidates.

TIME politics

Latinos Are Stuck In an Abusive Relationship With Democrats

LA May Day Marches Celebrate Workers, Push For Immigration Reform
Marchers rally under the Chinatown Gateway before marching to the Metropolitan Detention Center during one a several May Day immigration-themed events on May 1, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Demonstrators are calling for immigration reform and an end to deportations of undocumented residents. David McNew—Getty Images

Arturo Carmona is Executive Director of Presente Action and Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latino organizing group.

If we don't take a stand and break up with the Party, we may never see Obama take action on immigration

It is clear that President Obama, and perhaps the Democrats more broadly–are starting to see Latinos as a political football to be tossed around when it suits their political needs.

For months, President Obama promised that he—and the rest of the nation—were done with Republican obstructionism on immigration reform. In June–President Obama told us—told the world—that by the end of the summer he would announce how he would use the power of his office to end the threat of deportation for more immigrant families.

In calling out Republican efforts to block reform, the President attempted to paint Democrats as Latinos’ only option for relief. He painted himself, and the Democrats, as our beacon of hope–all while four Senate Democrats plotted behind the scenes to undercut us for political gain.

Senators Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor and Jeanne Shaheen joined the charge led by Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz to derail the only pathway that can provide relief for immigrant families–and President Obama caved to their political demands.

President Obama put the politics of their re-election before the lives of countless immigrant families currently under siege.

Frederick Douglass once said, “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted.”

The President, and the Democrats, have been testing Latinos–they have been slowly increasing the injustices committed against our communities to see what our breaking point is. And they have finally found the point of resistance.

If we do not resist–we may never see the President take action to stop deportations, despite the fact that he has the power to do so. We also may never see relief for our communities, for it is clear that relief is not coming from Democrats of their own volition.

The President’s sheepish move put politics over the safety and well-being of immigrant families and communities—all but guaranteeing that many more families will be torn apart, and that thousands more of our undocumented friends, relatives, colleagues, classmates and neighbors will face the horrors of midnight ICE raids and mass deportations.

The Democratic Party is telling us that they no longer have the well-being of Latinos and other immigrant communities at heart–but will we listen?

The national Democratic political apparatus acts to appease us when they fear political cost because they understand that as Latinos become a larger portion of the American electorate, we are crucial to their political power.

But so long as Latinos identify with the Democratic Party when they treat us as political pawns instead of a key constituency they should be wooing, we should not expect better treatment.

To borrow an old, sexist, trope: Why should they buy the cow when they get the milk for free?

Power concedes nothing without a demand. This historical moment demands a new approach: a strategy for changing the nation’s terroristic immigration policy that recognizes that the Democratic Party is not our friend simply because so many members of the Republican Party have shown themselves, in no uncertain terms, to be our enemy.

Latino political power must begin and end with the independence of the Latino vote. It’s time to drop Democratic Party affiliations, and ask the Democrats to work for our votes.

We can’t afford to continue buying into the false choice presented to us by the two dominant parties. That’s why Presente Action has chosen to encourage Latino voters and our allies to turn out in force for the November elections but not vote for the Dirty Four Senators who betrayed our community so publicly and so shamefully: Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor and Jeanne Shaheen.

Confronted with broken promises, if Democrats want our votes, they should damn well have to work for them.

Arturo Carmona is Executive Director of Presente Action and Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latino organizing group.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME White House

Biden Takes Veiled Shot at Clinton, Panetta Over ‘Inappropriate’ Books

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to students faculty and staff at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass. on Oct. 2, 2014.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks to students faculty and staff at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass. on Oct. 2, 2014. Winslow Townson—AP

High-level White House debates over Iraq and Syria are coming to light as top officials air their differences.

Vice President Joe Biden blasted former members of President Barack Obama’s administration who have gone on to write “inappropriate” books about the White House.

Speaking to Harvard students in a question-and-answer session Thursday, Biden was asked whether he believes the U.S. should have acted earlier in Syria, a critique leveled by former Secretary of State and likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as well as former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in recent memoirs.

“The answer is no for two reasons,” Biden said. “One, the idea of identifying a moderate middle has been a chase America has been engaged in for a long time. We Americans think in every country in transition there’s a Thomas Jefferson hiding behind some rock, or a James Madison beyond one sand dune. The fact of the matter is, the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria was—there was no moderate middle, because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers; they’re made up of people who, in fact, have—ordinary elements of the middle class of that country.”

The vice president continued that it was “inappropriate” for former administration officials to write books while Obama is still in office.

“And what happened was—and their history will record this, because I’m finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave write books, which I think is inappropriate. But any rate,” Biden said as the audience chuckled. “No, I’m serious. I do think it’s inappropriate. At least give the guy a chance to get out of office.”

Clinton’s book Hard Choices includes details of internal deliberations where she unsuccessfully pressed President Barack Obama to arm Syrian rebels in 2012, one of the only clear denunciations she makes of the president in the book. “The risks of both action and inaction were high,” Clinton wrote. “Both choices would bring unintended consequences. The President’s inclination was to stay the present course and not take the significant further step of arming rebels.”

In Panetta’s forthcoming memoir, Worthy Fights, excerpted in this week’s TIME, the former Pentagon chief takes issue with Obama’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and the subsequent rise of ISIS in Syria. “To this day, I believe that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq could have effectively advised the Iraqi military on how to deal with al-Qaeda’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that has engulfed the country,” Panetta writes.

Left unsaid by the vice president, is that he often argued for caution against intervention in the debates highlighted by Panetta and Clinton, according to current and former officials’ accounts.

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