Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

Posts in "FightingWords"

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.

August 25, 2014

Conservatives Co-Opt Ice Bucket Challenge to Needle Nancy Pelosi

Can’t beat her? Mock her!

Such seems to be the mentality behind a new(ish) cyber swipe aimed at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Conservatives Co Opt Ice Bucket Challenge to Needle Nancy Pelosi

(Screenshot)

The would-be meme suggests that if the California Democrat participated in the insanely popular #IceBucketChallenge currently flooding your every social media feed, she would disintegrate — much like Elphaba Thropp famously did in the dramatic confrontation forever burned into our collective memory by “The Wizard of Oz.”

Perennial candidate John Dennis went to that same well in 2010, during his first attempt at wrestling the Bay-area seat away from Pelosi. Full story

August 22, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Harry Reid (Video)

As Heard on the Hill’s look back at 2014 rolls on, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid organizes his calendar, greases pigs and pays tribute to his favorite Americans — the Koch brothers.

Mayday PAC Boosts Jim Rubens Against Scott Brown

Fake pol Gil Fulbright wants to cause real problems for Senate hopeful Scott P. Brown.

The satirical candidate — previously scheduled to crash a showdown at Kentucky’s Fancy Farm, attended by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes — is the face of the Represent.Us campaign to shake up Congress.

Mayday PAC is bankrolling this latest attack against the former Massachusetts Republican currently vying to return to Washington by taking a run at Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

Full story

August 20, 2014

Fed-Up Hill Types Get LaRouche Revenge on Wikipedia

The August recess seems like the perfect time to hit the links, bask in the blessed absence of meaningless electronic blather — and perhaps settle a few political scores.

Lawmakers may be away for the next few weeks, but the automated watchdogs at congress-edits noticed that one busy beaver on Capitol Hill felt compelled to share a little something about the acolytes of socio-economic gadfly Lyndon LaRouche with the rest of the world.

The online tweak to the official Lyndon LaRouche wiki, as is often the case with these anonymous changes, was less than complimentary.

Fed Up Hill Types Get LaRouche Revenge on Wikipedia

(Screenshot)

HOH hasn’t bumped into any LaRouchies since last fall. Full story

August 19, 2014

Harry Reid Snips Beard Baiting in the Bud (VIDEO)

It took  a week. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has finally come clean about why he’s not partaking in the hairy contest Nevada Republican Dean Heller floated via the local press.

Per an interview given to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Reid has officially bowed out of the collegial beard-growing challenge after taking it on the chin during a previous family vacation.

Full story

August 18, 2014

John Lewis Gets Ballsier for ‘March: Book Two’

It’s good to know Rep. John Lewis can look back on all the awfulness he experienced as a youth and laugh about it now.

According to Nate Powell, the artist who has teamed up with the Georgia Democrat to help keep alive the revolutionary spirit that changed the state of race relations during the turbulent 1960s via a series of graphic novels, humor remains one of the greatest tools in the non-violent activist’s toolbox.

“Another day, another joke about nutsacks and revolution at Parchman Farm prison, 1961,” Powell shared with the Twitterverse while revealing a rough sketch of a panel from the second installment of Lewis’ incredible life story.

The septuagenarian lawmaker skipped Comic-Con this time around (Powell and co-author/congressional aide Andrew Aydin, made the trip), but is expected to return next summer with continuing saga in hand.

Related:

John Lewis Readies ‘March: Book Two’ for 2015

John Lewis Staffer’s Winding Road to Comic-Con

Who You Gonna Call? John Lewis!

Rep. John Lewis’ ‘March’ Nominated for Will Eisner Award

‘March’ Got John Lewis All Choked Up

Comics Vets Rally Around John Lewis

August 15, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Nancy Pelosi (Video)

Heard on the Hill continues its look back at the best Hits and Misses from 2014, this week focusing on Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s love for children, baseball and fist pumps.

August 13, 2014

Dean Heller Challenges Harry Reid to Grow a Beard

Dean Heller Challenges Harry Reid to Grow a Beard

 Reid will not be growing a beard. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Dean Heller has issued a challenge to his Democratic counterpart from Nevada.

The Republican has challenged Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to grow a beard in honor of the sesquicentennial of the Silver State. It’s a challenge that Heller said Reid did not accept, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 11:58 a.m.
FightingWords

August 11, 2014

‘Drunk History’ Extols Daniel Inouye’s War Record

He may be gone, but the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, is not forgotten. Not even by the routinely punchy raconteurs who spin their webs on Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.”

The alcohol-fueled civics lessons captured by the show, which has already been renewed for a third season, typically feature tipsy storytellers recounting the exploits of prominent socio-political figures.

For Tuesday’s episode — airing at 10 p.m. — “Drunk History” turns its non-bloodshot eye on the Aloha State.

The saga of Inouye’s nearly life-threatening charge into enemy fire during World War II is sandwiched between segments chronicling British Captain James Cook’s “discovery” of the Hawaiian Islands and the tale of surfing legend Eddie Aikau.

“My favorite part of the story … is that he is the inspiration for [President Barack] Obama,” show co-creator Jeremy Konner said of Inouye’s legacy.

Per Konner, actor Steven Yeun, who after four seasons on “The Walking Dead” must be used to squaring off against bitey antagonists, had to wrestle with an entirely different kind of predator by stepping into the Inouye role.

“She said she’s never seen more rattlesnakes on a set,” Konner said of the professional snake wrangler’s assessment of their mountain side-shoot. (Guess it wasn’t filmed in Hawaii, which does not have rattlesnakes.)

Luckily, Yeun took it all in stride.

‘Drunk History’ Extols Daniel Inouye’s War Record

(Courtesy Drunk History/Comedy Central)

“Turns out, he’s a super funny dude,” Konner said.

No word on what other pols might pop up in future episodes. But Konner strongly suggested we stay tuned.

“I promise you there will be a president involved,” he said. “And there will be stories that invoke D.C. and the government.”

August 5, 2014

Tea Party Rhetoric Strikes Some as Muy Shady

No one is surprised the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund is holding Sen. Lamar Alexander’s feet to the fire on the raging border security battle. But the group’s use of foreign punctuation has left some in Washington wondering ¿que paso?

Tea Party Rhetoric Strikes Some as Muy Shady

(Screenshot)

In the email attack, the group repeatedly frames the Tennessee Republican’s name in inverted exclamation points — punctuation typically associated with the Spanish language.

Some fellow hacks considered this rhetorical jab to be nothing short of racist. Tea party leaders attempted to brush aside any such aspersions.

“It’s a play on Alexander’s use of campaign signs with exclamation marks,” the group told HOH via email. “The Spanish exclamation mark signifies Sen. Alexander’s vote for amnesty and support for an open-borders or no-borders immigration policy.” Full story

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