Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Posts in "FightingWords"

September 25, 2014

David Catania Strings Up Muriel Bowser With Puppet Power (Video)

Updated: 1:16 EDT

It’s not easy being green … and a political machine.

No, Kermit the Frog has not become a modern-day Boss Tweed. But a new political ad makes a nod to the Muppets by featuring plenty of puppets and a narrator that is a bright green and yellow puppet contraption dubbed “your political machine.” For good measure, the ad-makers throw in an homage to Alfred Hitchock Presents by making the background music Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette.”

The campaign for David Catania, independent candidate for D.C. mayor and a D.C. Council member, released the ad Wednesday. The minute-long ad has more than 7,000 YouTube hits and takes plenty of swings at Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser, also a member of the council. The machine’s green and yellow colors just happen to mirror Bowser’s campaign colors, and, for that matter, the colors of her predecessor on the council, ex-Mayor Adrian Fenty.

“Why do you support Muriel Bowser?” the political machine asks puppets on the streets of D.C., to which one responded, “Muriel isn’t afraid to speak out, even when she doesn’t quite understand the issue, like neighborhood schools.”

“Don’t be a puppet,” the ad concludes. “Vote Independent November 4th.”

Ben Young of the Catania campaign said the puppet ad was pitched by their digital consultants. Young did not know the exact cost of the ad but he said the ad will not be airing on T.V. He said that the pupeteer’s creations were very intentional, down to making the “political machine” resemble a reel tape recorder, which Young said, “like our political machine is no longer relevant or useful.”

Bowser Communications Director Joaquin McPeek responded to the ad in an email to CQ Roll Call, writing, “The only thing more comical than his puppets is his internal polling.”

 

 

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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By Bridget Bowman Posted at 10:28 a.m.
DC, FightingWords

September 22, 2014

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

Democrats vs. Republicans. Red vs. Blue. Us vs. Them.

It seems that everywhere one looks these days, bright lines are being thrown up to swiftly categorize and completely compartmentalize those who would dare disagree with any closely-held world view.

Well, Enigma of New York has had enough of it.

 

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The art collective has launched a new campaign, chronicled under the #wethepurple umbrella on social media, designed to get the general public to quit feeding into political polarization.

The opening gambit in the group’s bid to eradicate ideological grandstanding was to amend 100-odd stop signs in Washington, D.C., and New York City to read “Stop Fighting, Congress. #Wethepurple.” According to an EoN member, the stick-on addendums were put in place late Sept. 7. The plan was to get District residents’ attention just as Congress returned to work on Sept. 8. Full story

September 19, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of September 15 (Video)

With Congress set to leave for seven weeks, members spent their final work week forgetting names, talking baseball and discussing the bad food at their uncle’s house.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 18, 2014

Rank and File Blast Opposing Leaders for Dropping the Legislative Ball

Having effectively set the country on cruise control until just beyond Election Day, House and Senate leaders did their damnedest Thursday to look really, really busy without actually doing anything that could get them into political trouble.

Foot soldiers from both sides of the aisle, undoubtedly tired of the inactivity that’s plagued Congress in recent years, used social media to fire back at partisan big-wigs for making the whole legislative body look bad.

 

 

 

Full story

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of ‘Slam the Solons’

As if engineering new ways to kinda-sorta green light foreign wars without getting booted out of office in a few weeks weren’t stressful enough, elected officials must once again — thanks to wildly inappropriate behavior by marquee athletes — contend with age-old accusations about everything that’s wrong with Capitol Hill.

The rapid succession of domestic scandals that have upended the careers of professional running backs Ray Rice (aggravated assault) of the Baltimore Ravens, and Adrian Peterson (indicted for child abuse) of the Minnesota Vikings appears to have stirred up anti-congressional sentiments, leading to the reappearance of a meme designed to highlight pols’ absolutely worst qualities.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(Screenshot)

 

Per the urban myth slayers at Snopes, the original laundry list of political loserdom was most likely distilled from a five-part series called “Congress: America’s Criminal Class” which Capital Hill Blue unveiled in 1999.  Six years later, the muckraking website revisited the myriad personal and professional shortcomings documented in the original expose and found a governing body still rife with human imperfection.

Team Snopes had a lot of issues with the original barrage, citing content ranging from distressingly vague (“the original publisher has steadfastly declined to provide any documentation for these claims”) to borderline absurd (“they would have no way of knowing how many members of Congress had been stopped for traffic violations without being cited”).

None of that, however, Team Snopes suggests, has halted armchair critics from subbing in the target du jour (British Parliament, the NFL, etc.) to get their preferred point across.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Making up horror stories about Congress seems like such an incredible waste of time.

Their real-life misdeeds are so much more engrossing:

The war at home

  • Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.: Love’s labor’s lost.
  • Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.: Perfect strangers
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.: Do as I say, not as I do.

Sexcapades

  • Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.: Your cheating heart
  • Ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.: Does not compute.
  • Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.: Danger is his middle name.

Self-destructive tendencies

  • Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.: Give me somethin’ to break.
  • Ex-Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.: You holding?
  • Ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.: Shopaholic

Questionable judgment

  • Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas: Rules are for suckers.
  • Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.: What, me worry?
  • Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont.: Don’t quote me on that.

Meanwhile, at least one incensed lawmaker is refusing to let the badly bruised NFL off the hook.

 

 

Guess that means the ball’s in your court, Web trolls.

Related:

Female Senators Write Letter to Goodell, Want NFL to Adopt ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy

Blumenthal Floats Changes to NFL Antitrust Exemption (Video)

Critics of Washington Team Name Target NFL Nonprofit Status (Video)

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September 15, 2014

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

Montana State Society President Jayne Leffingwell wants hospitality heavy Spike Mendelsohn to man up and get his own thing going.

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

(Screenshot)

“Mendelsohn aka the Ballburglar, is attempting to hijack The Montana State Society’s signature event ‘The DC Testy Fest’ by hosting his own DC Festicle. While a testivus for the rest of us sounds fun, stealing our original sack lunch is not ‘Good Stuff,’” Leffingwell said in a tongue-in-cheek statement.

The Montana State Society has done its part to exalt the nether regions-related nosh for more than  a decade now. Mendelsohn is jumping into the fray on Sept. 21 with the unveiling of Spiked Events’ debut soiree, a come-as-you-are affair featuring live music, micro wrestling, circus performers and culinary cook-offs.

Per Festicle promotional materials, Mendelsohn is expected to face off against fellow toques Erik Bruner-Yang, of Toki Underground fame, and Tim Ma, the driving force behind Maple Ave and the newish Water & Wall, in a “Top Chef-style” competition where the contestants will have to conjure up some tasty from the featured testes.

And that just rubs Leffingwell raw.

“With more than 750+ attendees going nuts and consuming nearly 200 lbs of testicles this year, we like to consider ourselves the reigning rocky mountain oyster aficionados,” she maintained.

“The ball is in your court Mr. Mendelsohn. We’ll see how you measure up,” Leffingwell said.

 

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Tim Ryan Dresses Down Urban Outfitters Over Sweatshirt-gate

Bizarrely stained outer wear that Urban Outfitters rather unbelievably tied to Kent State University has made Rep. Tim Ryan’s blood boil.

Tim Ryan Dresses Down Urban Outfitters Over Sweatshirt gate

(Screenshot)

 

“On May 4, 1970, four students lost their lives at Kent State University and changed our country forever. It is deplorable for Urban Outfitters to exploit the pain and suffering of this national tragedy for their gain,” the Ohio Democrat said in a tersely worded official statement. “May 4th was a seminal and transformational moment in American history and we should never lose sight of its immense impact. Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

Ryan is referring, of course, to the horror scene that unfolded in Kent, Ohio, some 44 years ago, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on Vietnam War protestors, killing four students and wounding nine others.

Full story

September 12, 2014

Bill Maher Names Flip a District Pick

Bill Maher Names Flip a District Pick

Kline is the target of Bill Maher’s Flip a District effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 3:44 p.m. | From now until Election Day, comedian Bill Maher has made it his mission to ensure Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., does not come back to Congress.

On Friday evening, Maher announced Kline as the target of his Flip a District campaign after the six-term Republican garnered the most votes from viewers during a live taping of his HBO program, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C.

“I know what you’re thinking: You never heard of John Kline,”  said Maher, who added Kline is “one of those silent threats you never see coming … He’s not funny. He’s just wrong about everything.” Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 10:46 p.m.
FightingWords, Reps

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of September 8 (Video)

After a five-week recess, members returned to discuss the “crisis with ISIS” and Dick Cheney while reminding C-SPAN viewers to “tweet, tweet, tweet.”

 

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 10, 2014

Arlingtonians Come Off the Sidelines to Pile On Kirsten Gillbrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appears to have made enemies out of former neighbors after bemoaning the time she spent in Arlington, Va., in her road map to female empowerment, “Off the Sidelines.”

The New York Democrat got red in the face after a slew of purple staters caught wind that she’d badmouthed their neck of the woods.

 

 

ARLnow.com touched off the original firestorm by pointing out that the rising lawmaker described the Northern Virginia enclave as a “soulless suburb” — from which she apparently fled to the welcoming arms of Capitol Hill — in her book.

Some critics fought fire with fire (the “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I” camp).

 

Arlingtonians Come Off the Sidelines to Pile On Kirsten Gillbrand

(Screenshot)

 

Full story

September 8, 2014

Mickey Edwards Says Laws, Not Lawmakers to Blame for Congressional Morass

Mickey Edwards Says Laws, Not Lawmakers to Blame for Congressional Morass

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ex-Rep. Mickey Edwards, R-Okla., hates to break it to everyone, but our horribly paralyzed, results-challenged Congress is, sadly, performing just about right, given current law.

“The Congress is working exactly the way it was designed … and it shouldn’t be,” the now-Aspen Institute scholar said of the tragically flawed electoral system that has thrust lawmakers into a battle royal-like existence.

On Tuesday night, Edwards is expected to share his sobering analysis of how individual states have set up Capitol Hill to fail with attendees of Morven Park’s “Distinguished Voices in Civics” series. He told HOH the dysfunction plaguing modern politics flows from exclusionary primaries and widespread gerrymandering.

“People are trying to figure out, ‘How we do we get out of this mess?’ My argument is: It’s not the people. It’s systemic,” he said of election laws that, rather than rewarding candidates with mass appeal, benefit those “reflective of what the partisans in their states want.” Full story

September 5, 2014

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

Looking to light a fire under conservatives? Just try and tell ’em how to ingest flaming confections.

So learned a U.S. Forest Service aide after incensed Web readers — and later House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — got all fired up about an administration-penned blog post suggesting Americans keep fire safety in mind whilst observing National Toasted Marshmallow Day.

“For the things that government is supposed to do — like confront terrorist groups — we don’t have a strategy, but for things Americans are supposed to be able to do for themselves — like figuring out the best ingredients for s’mores — government bureaucrats have that figured out,” the California Republican fumed in his latest floor agenda update.

Online critics got even hotter under the collar, torching the regulatory guidelines involved, the tone of the public service announcement and the writer’s language skills.

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

A couple of fans rallied to the Forest Service’s cause, chastising rhetorical bomb throwers for needlessly politicizing a friendly reminder. Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Drop the Mic (Video)

Heard on the Hill concludes its August recess flashback with a look at the relationship between lawmakers and their microphones — from the fumbling to the malfunctions, to members who just can’t resist the urge to say one more thing.

 

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September 4, 2014

Nick Troiano’s Been Scoping Out Washington for Years

Aspiring lawmaker Nick Troiano is looking to broaden his fan base with a quirky new video and a crowd funded ad-buying campaign. Being on screen, however, remains a fairly new thing for the 20-something Pennsylvanian — unlike his extensive work behind the camera.

The independent candidate hoping to oust Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., this November recently unveiled a new spot pooh-poohing the contentious climate on Capitol Hill.

A Troiano aide said the plan is to plunk down whatever is necessary to get the “Washington’s a Zoo” message on TV between now and Election Day. The campaign expects to begin airing the ad during the week of Sept. 15, but is hoping to amplify the duration and scope of the media outreach by collecting supplementary capital via an online fundraising pitch.

Attracting prospective donors is always easier with personal touches.

Team Troiano will be rolling out a pair of companion endorsement videos — featuring kind words from ex-Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., (Troiano became acquainted with him through his work with The Can Kicks Back, an advocacy group focused on budgetary issues) and grunge rocker turned electoral reformer Krist Novoselic (brought together by FairVote) — before the Tilt bid expires.

The campaign is also offering up curated images from an extensive collection of time-lapse photos of D.C. Troiano and his mentor, the late Doug Bailey, captured over five years. Full story

August 26, 2014

Steve Stockman Not Going Gently Into That Good Night

Short-timer Steve Stockman doesn’t see the roughly 12 legislative days standing between him and unemployment as a time to mourn. He’d rather bring in new blood to help shake up the establishment for a few more weeks.

Steve Stockman Not Going Gently Into That Good Night

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Texas Republican, who took himself out of commission earlier this spring by unsuccessfully challenging Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn for his seat, is on the hunt for a new intern to keep him company until the end.

Sounds like a sweet gig for anyone looking to learn the congressional ropes, but perhaps not planning to put down roots in D.C.:

Texas Representative- 08/25/2014

The House’s most unique and courageous conservative seeks smart, happy interns (of all ages and backgrounds) for the reminder of the year. Alas, we cannot pay you. Schedules and start/end dates are negotiable if you’re worth it. We do not insist on specific, arbitrary submissions: send us whatever personal materials you think will give us reason to hire you, even if that’s just a standard boring resume and canned cover letter. Writing samples are encouraged, but not required, because even a short cover letter belies and betrays a lousy writer. Brevity is the soul of wit. This Member is not a jerk, and neither loathes nor avoids interns, but loves them, and actually speaks to them. If you are selected for this internship you will have extraordinary access to the Member and to meaningful projects that go well beyond the standard intern grunt work (or your money back). Personality and ideology are important. Please bring a confident, vigorous intellect and no drama. Ideal candidates will be true patriots who can count up to 17 in trillions, and care more about future generations than they do about sucking up to current leadership. Mushy pleasers/appeasers keep walkin’. HINT: vapid granolas who fear guns, hate babies, are ashamed of America, and think Islamic terrorists and illegal aliens are just misunderstood will not be comfortable here. Reply to: kim.tape@mail.house.gov.

Assuming that’s not a typo in the first sentence (if so, Team Stockman may want to see about locking down a temporary copy editor, too), the incoming party will need to serve as a living testament to the travails of the past year.

Which sounds to us like “Guilty Remnant” members will have a leg up in the personality and ideology departments.

Won’t be long now.

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