Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 20, 2014

Posts in "FightingWords"

April 15, 2014

Web Comic Riffs on Jim Moran’s Plea for Higher Pay

Internet celeb Remy Munasifi has worked up a new tax day ditty ridiculing wasteful government spending, tedious filing practices and a certain Virginia pol’s pitch to have Uncle Sam slip lawmakers a few extra bucks.

In his latest bid to again strike viral gold, the right-leaning comedian twists Pharell’s smash hit “Happy” into an anthem for those beset by paying their fair share.

One of the talking heads featured in the video is ID’ed as Rep. Jim Moranmor — a none-too-veiled-shot at Virginia Democratic Rep. James P. Moran, who recently told our colleague, Hannah Hess, that Congress-folk can no longer afford to live in This Town.

“We are so underpaid,” the Moranmor character mutters as the song begins to trail off. Full story

April 14, 2014

Frazier Glenn Cross Has Long Had His Sights Set on Capitol Hill

Frazier Glenn Cross, the man suspected of killing two people on Sunday at a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kan., has been trying to hitch a ride to Washington on the racial purity ticket for decades.

Cross’s purported hate crime rattled a nation still reeling from the April 2 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, a nightmarish scenario that once again featured a disturbed service man — the late Army Spc. Ivan Lopez orchestrated the most recent outbreak of violence, whereas Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan took over a dozen lives in November 2009 — ambushing unsuspecting colleagues.

A former Ku Klux Klan activist who later founded the exclusionary White Patriot Party, Cross has repeatedly — and rather unsuccessfully — tried to bring others around to his peculiar way of thinking.

Some online outlets suggest the perennial write-in candidate has been at it since 1984; he has, luckily, never gained significant traction in any contest.

He mounted an unsuccessful attempt to unseat then-Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in 2006, as well as a failed bid in 2010 (Cross received just seven votes) to replace retiring Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo. Full story

April 11, 2014

Tom Petri’s S.O.S (Save Our Sausages)

Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri took to the House floor Thursday to issue a dire warning to grill tenders the world over: Europe is coming for our pork products.

“Bratwursts are delicious,” he declared in a shout-out to Sheboygan’s claim to fame.

It seems the European Union wants to impose new restrictions on certain products, namely processed meats, cheeses and seasonal beers, as part of a swirling trade agreement — a power grab that’s left a bad taste in the Wisconsin delegation’s mouths.

“This is, frankly, getting ridiculous,” Petri argued, adding, “If anything, we should be trademarking the name ‘bratwurst,’ not them.”

Across the Capitol, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin has rallied nearly half the Senate to the cause, raising a bipartisan chorus of voices in favor of protecting homegrown snacks from the proposed geographic restrictions. Full story

April 10, 2014

Vance McAllister’s Dalliance With the English Language

Sure, he’s canoodler-in-chief NOW. But just a few short months ago, Rep. Vance McAllister was just another tongue-tied candidate spewing out muddled policy positions on social media.

Just days before the special election that would help bring the lip-locking Louisiana Republican to Washington, McAllister hit his Facebook flock with this doozy of a diatribe (mis)spelling out his positions on family, the Affordable Care Act, immigration and the federal budget.

Vance McAllisters Dalliance With the English Language

(CQ Roll Call photo illustration)

Somewhere in the middle of that 340-odd word, run-on sentence (Grammar police, ho!) McAllister demands that the undocumented get with the program already and learn to “read, write, and speak English.”

Eschewing punctuation, however, does not appear to be a deal breaker in McAllisterland.

Online detractors, meanwhile, have a few choice words of their own for Capitol Hill’s cheater du jour:

Vance McAllisters Dalliance With the English Language

(Screenshot)

Full story

April 9, 2014

Overheard: Eric Holder Goes Veggie on Louie Gohmert

“Good luck with your asparagus.”

— Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., directing his ire on Tuesday at Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas. Last year, in another testy exchange between the two, Gohmert said, “The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus.”

April 8, 2014

Web Mogul Has Designs on New Political Party

Entrepreneur Mike Mann has successfully grown various e-businesses and fostered thriving charity groups. He now plans to apply the lessons learned from each toward developing a viable alternative at the ballot box, tentatively dubbed the Better Government Party.

Mann’s vision for this prospective political uprising spans nearly four dozen bullet points, though he insists the main mission is fairly simple: upending our disingenuous two-party system.

“Anybody who pays attention can see that Democrats and Republicans … are exactly the same. They all have a history of lies, graft and corruption,” Mann said. “But there’s nobody else to vote for.”

Mann would like to fill that void with like-minded individuals amenable to abandoning the status quo and starting anew. He declined to identify those who he claims have already expressed interest in climbing — a roster Mann hinted will, when all is said and done, include socially conscious celebrities, Internet execs, disillusioned politicos and “rock stars” — but stressed that the recruiting process is well under way.

“The ones most likely to convert are those without strong party affinity, … mostly fresh minds applied to the problem over a long period, with specific goals,” he said of the “Founding Fathers” he’d like to have help shape the official party platform. In an ideal world, Mann would love to see a “constitutional convention” take place here in D.C. later this fall. Full story

April 7, 2014

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

Conservative artist/provocateur Sabo is no stranger to mixing members of Congress and California, as can be seen from his mock-up of a recent Ted Cruz, R-Texas, event in Beverly Hills.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

But now that the Breitbart News Network has expanded to the Golden State, Sabo is helping mark the bi-coastal migration with a fresh batch of eyebrow-raising art.

The politically charged images, including one of a provocatively dressed and posed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., served as the welcome mat for the fledgling site, an act of aggression fitting with the anonymous artist’s MO.

“My aim as an artist is to be as dirty, ground level, and mean as any Liberal artist out there, more so if I can,” Sabo, who describes himself as a Republican and ex-Marine, declares on his personal website. He has previously taken shots at President Barack Obama and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, but elected to widen his scope this time around to better suit the media rollout.

Sabo assured HOH, however, that he is not on the Breitbart payroll.

“Just consider me a fan of Andrew, a kindred spirit with a common mission,” he suggested via email. “My contribution to said ‘mission’ is to help Conservatives find their creative voice. I admit my approach is rather hard edge. … That’s just the way I like it.”

He declined to specify how many posters had been papered across Los Angeles and indicated that it’s still too early too tell which anti-Democrat depiction will cause the biggest commotion.

“The posters just hit the street so, I can not comment on which has pissed ‘Progressives’ off more. I hope they all equally tie their panties in knots,” Sabo said.

Democrats here in Washington, D.C., had no such problem picking their least favorite contribution to the arts — the rather unflattering image of Pelosi.

“To say the least, the Breitbart News ad is foul, offensive, and disrespectful to all women. It is a disgusting new low and would be reprehensible against any woman — regardless of party,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., stated in a release. “It’s no wonder the Republicans are having problems appealing to women. If GOP leaders are serious about their rebrand, then both their elected and Party leadership should condemn this outrageous behavior, call on Breitbart News to immediately remove the ad, and not continue to use this website as a forum for their views.”

Per Sabo, Pelosi was on his hit list because she is “a typical gun grabbing liberal who fights to insure only the ‘authorities’ can possess firearms that way they, the political class, can run over us anytime they want without fear of retribution from the peasants.”

The others drawing fire — “They all suck, some slightly more than the other but not by much,” Sabo groused — this time around include:

California Gov. Jerry Brown

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Jerry Brown is back-wash. Californians were dumb enough to have brought back [him] from the dead; talk about a zombie invasion,” Sabo said of the boomerang pol.

 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Zuckerberg is a tech-klepto who’s nose is waaaaay too far up everyone’s business,” Sabo said.

 

CNN personality Piers Morgan

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Piers Morgan needs to go back home,” Sabo counseled.

Breitbart readers were, by and large, rather pleased to see their common enemies held up to ridicule and scorn:

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

 

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

One rabble-rouser even urged Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to take notes, but doubted the higher ups would hear her plaintive cries.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

Meanwhile, a left-leaning observer vowed to counter the visual offensive by coining a new definition for “Breitbart” a la the homoerotic connotation sex columnist Dan Savage affixed to former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., years ago.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

And while he may be persona non grata over in the House, Sabo appears to be in good with at least one member in the other chamber, the aforementioned Mr. Cruz.

Sabo reimagined the tea party favorite as an inked-up outlaw a few weeks back, and said the Texas Republican responded in kind. “I’m happy to report Senator Ted Cruz has a pair [of posters] and has yet to throw me under the bus,” Sabo said of his congressional fan base.

Cruz made light of the gritty depiction on Twitter, offering one small correction to the rather outlandish homage:

 

 

April 4, 2014

Solons See No Slam Dunks in Alabama BBQ Bracket

Alabama’s tourism authorities have flipped March Madness into a food fight, pitting many of the Yellowhammer State’s revered barbecue purveyors against one another in an online popularity contest.

Based on the most recent balloting, one of the following contenders will walk away with the title once voting closes April 7: Jim ‘N Nick’s in Birmingham (chicken, pork), Smokin’ on the Boulevard in Florence (ribs) and Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q in Bessemer (sauce).

Trouble is, some of the folks here on Capitol Hill would beg to differ with the vox populi. Full story

Harry Reid’s Instagram Feed is Picture Perfect

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be new to Instagram, but the veteran lawmaker is clearly well rehearsed in the art of putting one’s best face forward.

 

 

Though just a few hours old, the Nevada Democrat’s online photo diary is already chock full of cookie-cutter campaign art, including:

The Power Huddle

Just, you know, shooting the breeze with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of March 31 (Video)

Rep. Robert A. Brady, D-Pa., tells zookeepers how to dress, Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., stages an “intervention”, Senator Dan Coats, R-Ind., shows up to the wrong hearing and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he is not afraid of the Koch brothers – again.

April 3, 2014

When Politics and Softball Collide …

There is one teensy problem with playing on a bipartisan congressional athletic team: Sometimes politics comes first.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat and star slugger for the Congressional Women’s Softball team, is set to campaign in West Virginia this weekend on behalf of Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant.

An innocuous political move, except that Tennant’s opponent is one of Team Congress’ captains, Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.

The pair play on a team of female members who battle the women of the Washington press corps in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

Heitkamp weighed in on the issue in an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad.

Full story

April 2, 2014

Mulvaney Gives Jordan the Finger

Walking into Wednesday’s Republican Study Committee meeting, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said he’d vote for the budget unveiled this week by Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan and was asked if he expects his conservative colleagues who voted against other budget deals to take the same approach.

“I actually do, but you’ll have to talk to [Mick] Mulvaney to get the full answer,” Jordan said of his South Carolina colleague.

Mulvaney, who had just said he was undecided on the budget, was sitting on a bench outside of the meeting on his phone. Upon hearing the Ohio Republican’s remark, he looked up and gave Jordan the finger.

Everyone laughed.

April 1, 2014

Team Boehner Recasts HIMYM Stars as Budget ‘Splainers

Look out, President Barack Obama: House Republicans are done ceding the hipster vote to your social media savvy ways.

Less than a month after social conservatives browbeat 44 for dragging his bully pulpit to “Between Two Ferns,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, took to the Web to drum up support for House Republicans’ latest spending blueprint via a series of GIFs culled from the just-wrapped sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”

Team Boehner Recasts HIMYM Stars as Budget ‘Splainers

(Screenshot)

Boehner’s debut BuzzFeed post breaks the ongoing budget fight into seven easy pieces — most of which focus on deriding Senate Democrats for effectively passing the buck on budget writing during the past few years.

Tortilla Coast’s Strasburger Could Use Some Rehab

The long-awaited return of baseball season (The Nationals’ home opener is Friday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves) means restaurants can once again slip their Nats-related promotions back into the rotation.

Tortilla Coast has wasted no time resurrecting its “Strasburger,” a double-decker meal deal erected in honor of D.C. hurler Stephen Strasburg.

Tortilla Coast’s Strasburger Could Use Some Rehab

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The price of the big-mouth burger remains pegged to Strasburg’s career highlights — first pick (1) in the first round (1) of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft + jersey number (37) = $11.37 — and includes a heaping mound of french fries.

According to Tortilla Coast General Manager Bill Anderson, the Strasburger continues to be made the same way it always has: Two, 6-ounce patties of roughly 80/20 ground beef are flame grilled, glazed in chipotle-honey sauce, covered in Jack cheese, topped with fried onion strings, smothered in shredded lettuce and sliced tomato and parked between buns slathered with chipotle-spiked Thousand Island dressing.

Yet, somehow, today it tastes even less like it was supposed to when it left burger buff Jody Fellows wanting two summers before.

Back in 2012, the Burger Days blog founder gave the Capitol Hill watering hole high marks for presentation, but was struck by the disconnect between what was listed on the menu and what registered on his taste buds. “For all the stuff that goes into the Strasburger, it loses a whole hell of a lot when the entire thing gets into your mouth,” he warned. “We expected to be hit with a lot more taste.”

We dare say the kitchen may have actually lost a few more steps since then.

Tortilla Coast’s Strasburger Could Use Some Rehab

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The patties placed before this hired mouth were adequately beefy and surprisingly juicy (with just a hint of smoke), but bore absolutely no sign of the promised honey sweetness or chili pepper-fueled heat. Ditto for the chipotle-Island dressing, which lacked the oomph of even fast food-grade special sauce. The melted cheese served as a decent binder and the tangle of breaded onions provided some crunch. But the mountain of damp lettuce caused the bottom half of our bun to collapse after just one bite.

We hoped the fries might save things, but, alas, the no-frills spuds were as dry and flavorless (the one time a bar decides to ease up on salt) as the burger was disjointed.

Still, people seem to love it.

Anderson said the restaurant sells up to a 20 of the specialty burgers a day during the season. And very few folks appear to be intimidated by its sheer bulk.

“The size and age of the guest has no bearing on their ability to finish the burger; we have been witness to ladies in their 70s and kids in grade school taking it down in one sitting,” Anderson shared.

As it’s done in the past, Anderson said the original Capitol Hill Tortilla Coast will crank out Strasburgers from open to close on days Strasburg takes the mound.

“TCCH will also do a bonus Strasburger day should Stephen Strasburg pitch during the All Star Game,” he said.

March 28, 2014

Steve Pearce Cans Provocative Spox Rebekah Stevens

Rep. Steve Pearce has parted ways with barely settled-in mouthpiece Rebekah Stevens following days of unfavorable press stemming from the 24-year-old GOP operative’s in-your-face blogging career.

“I am proud to hire passionate, hardworking, and dedicated congressional staff out of New Mexico. When I hired Miss Stevens, I hoped she could transition from activist to become an asset to the people of New Mexico,” the New Mexico Republican relayed in a statement. “It is now clear that major obstacles will prevent this. I asked for and accepted her resignation this morning. I hold myself and my staff to the highest level of accountability, and any distractions that hinder my service to New Mexicans must always be addressed.”

Stevens’ incredibly short-lived gig here on Capitol Hill — Pearce Communications Director Eric Layer announced her arrival not 72 hours ago — appears to have come unraveled because of impolitic statements made and professional fights picked under the pseudonym “Politix Fireball.”

Both the blog and Twitter accounts associated with that particular user suddenly went silent the week of March 17.

Steve Pearce Cans Provocative Spox Rebekah Stevens

(Screenshot)

Stevens joined Pearce’s Capitol Hill office March 25.

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