Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 17, 2014

Posts in "Grassroots Lobbying"

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

March 27, 2014

Public Can Propel Capitol Hill Restos to RAMMY Glory

A panel of secret judges may control the fates of the 60-plus contenders vying for the area’s top hospitality prizes, but everyday diners have one month to help crown their favorite brunch spot, fast-food haven and all-around hang out.

The RAMMY Awards traditionally honor the superstars of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s core membership, heralding those who go above and beyond in the pursuit of providing exceptional food, beverage and service. The 2014 winners are scheduled to be revealed June 22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place NW) during the group’s 32nd annual gala.

As in the past, RAMW is opening up a handful of categories for public debate.

This year, armchair critics have until April 27 to weigh in on:

Upscale Casual Brunch of the Year

  • Art and Soul
  • Blue Duck Tavern
  • Mintwood Place
  • The Source by Wolfgang Puck
  • Vermilion

 

Everyday Casual Brunch of the Year

  • DGS Delicatessen
  • Et Voila!
  • Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
  • Pizzeria Orso
  • Ted’s Bulletin (Barracks Row)

 

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year

  • Bar Pilar
  • Bistrot Du Coin
  • Cashion’s Eat Place
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar (Dupont)
  • Tune Inn

 

Favorite Fast Bites

 

RAMW is sweetening the pot for brunch lovers.

As part of the inaugural “Best Brunch Passport” contest, anyone who tweets a picture of a meal from any of the nominees between March 29-April 13 to @RAMMYAwards or tags it with #RAMMYSBrunch will be entered to win two tickets to the June 22 gala. Per the promoters, the winner will be announced on April 28.

Public votes can be cast via media partner the Washington City Paper or RAMW.

March 6, 2014

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

Here’s what the rest of the world is faced with when conservatives reach the “braking” point:

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Bumper (Sticker) Crop: #CPAC2014 Edition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Buckle up, folks. We’re all in for one helluva ride.

March 3, 2014

#FlipaDistrict Lights a Fire Under Peeved Constituents

Comedian Bill Maher isn’t the only one cracking wise about cleaning house on Capitol Hill.

Now that his “Flip a District” campaign is officially under way, “Real Time” viewers have begun firing off videos denouncing the lawmakers they’d most like to see shown the door.

#FlipaDistrict Lights a Fire Under Peeved Constituents

The candidates for early retirement profiled on the latest episode of Maher’s HBO show include:

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas

#FlipaDistrict Lights a Fire Under Peeved Constituents

(Screenshot)

“Bill Maher, as one pot smoking atheist to another, I hope you’re not full of s— with this flip a district plan,” the plaintiff pleaded. Full story

February 13, 2014

Paul Strauss Stumps for DC in LA

Not having an official vote undoubtedly makes it tougher for D.C. shadow Sen. Paul Strauss to stand out as much as he’d like around Capitol Hill.

Paul Strauss Stumps for DC in LA

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

He appears to have no such trouble on the West Coast, a powerbase the local pol has been cultivating for over a decade in the hopes of getting Hollywood to back D.C. statehood.

Strauss is planning another charm offensive Thursday night — that’s when he’ll lobby La-La Land at The Creative Coalition’s “Voices of Impact Dinner.” Full story

February 11, 2014

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets-First Footing for Congressional Bid

Aspiring lawmaker Tareq Salahi didn’t seem to get much traction out of the pro-business, anti-regulatory positions he built his failed gubernatorial bid around. For this next act, he’s going to the dogs.

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets First Footing for Congressional Bid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Salahi, who has tossed his hat into the ring to replace retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., now wants to be the animal lover’s candidate of choice.

“When I am elected to Congress, I plan on introducing a bill to create a national animal abuser registry,” the former reality TV personality announced Tuesday.

The corresponding news release suggests the sudden policy shift was at least partially predicated on the impending arrival of Love Your Pet Day (Feb. 20) — though Salahi certainly appears to have strong feelings about the issue.

“Study after study shows that violent criminals often begin their downward spiral by abusing animals and eventually escalating to abusing humans,” the House hopeful charged.

How best to institute the pet project remains a work in progress.

“Once Mr. Salahi becomes Congressman, he would like to work with a nationally recognized animal welfare nonprofit, like HSUS or the ASPCA, to ask their input,” a campaign aide told HOH, referring to the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Team Salahi might be better off hooking up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Full story

February 3, 2014

Funny Ladies Get Serious About Women’s Rights

Her irreverent “State of the Uterus” address may be in the rearview, but satirist Lizz Winstead is already looking forward to stirring the electoral pot this fall. And she’s got a posse of high profile pals coming along for the ride.

The co-creator of the “Daily Show” most recently yukked it up by having a felt replica of the female reproductive system give conservative lawmakers a thorough tongue lashing for attempting to impose their religious views on women. Her twist on the president’s annual State of the Union speech was the opening salvo in a battle that’s meant to rage on through the upcoming midterm elections.

Having laid the initial groundwork for the “V to Shining V” campaign, Winstead said she intends to turn the Lady Parts Justice portal into an interactive map of places where women’s rights are being threatened by spotlighting eyebrow-raising rulemaking happening in statehouses across the country. Full story

January 21, 2014

Santorum, Duggars to Double Team 2014 March for Life

Updated 1:55 p.m. | 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum will be back in Washington on Wednesday to rally the faithful — including assorted members of the ever-expanding Duggar clan — during the 41st annual March for Life.

Jim Bob Duggar, the most procreatingest patriarch on TLC, is expected to join Team Santorum for a meet-and-greet with Patriot Voices, the political action group founded by the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania. The pre-march confab, now in its second year, is scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Ave. NW).

Josh Duggar, the Arkansas ex-pat who relocated to the D.C. area last year to become executive director of the Family Research Council’s Action arm, is also expected to participate in the event at the Hyatt. Full story

January 20, 2014

Howard Dean Pokes Fun at ‘Dean Scream’

It’s rare that a public figure can poke fun at himself. Rarer still to do so as a means of political fundraising. But former Vermont Gov. and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean did just that, using the 10th anniversary of his full bull-goose looney “Yeeaarrgghh” speech after falling short in the Iowa caucuses to plug Democracy for America, the successor of his Dean for America organization.

Howard Dean Pokes Fun at Dean Scream

(Courtesy Democracy for America)

The ask, in emailed form, even provides the text of the Dean Scream:

“It’s hard to believe it was ten years ago tonight. On this day a decade ago — January 19, 2004 — I gave one of the most famous speeches in the history of American politics. Or perhaps “infamous” would be more accurate.

I’m guessing you might remember the climactic moment of that night, as I enthusiastically rallied my presidential campaign supporters in the aftermath of a disappointing finish in the Iowa Caucus:

‘Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico! And we’re going to California and Texas and New York! And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House!

YEEEAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!!!’

While the ‘Dean Scream’ became fodder for late night comedians, including a hilarious version by Dave Chappelle I still laugh about, I also feel very proud of the state-by-state preamble to my unforgettable rallying cry. Because, when I said we were heading to New Hampshire and South Carolina and Oklahoma… and to Washington, DC to take back the White House… it turns out I wasn’t kidding.”

Dean goes on to say this was kinda sorta the start of the 50-state strategy he hung his hat on as DNC chairman, a position he was elected to in 2005. The next year, Democrats retook the House and Senate, and in 2008, the White House.

But let’s give it to Dean. Most solicitations for political money are either painfully earnest or a bit of a snoozer. He had the moxie to take one of the most cringe-worthy moments in American politics and OWN it.

And, for what it’s worth, here’s the Chappelle skit:

 

October 22, 2013

Obamacare Is All Anyone Wants to Talk About

Guess that shutdown backlash didn’t really take.

Not only are House and Senate Republicans still busily loading up the congressional hopper with all kinds of delaying tactics against the polarizing Affordable Care Act, now President Barack Obama’s signature health care law has become the centerpiece of campy political spots on both sides of the aisle.

The Colorado Consumer Health Insurance Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado Tuesday rolled out a series of “Got Insurance?” plugs modeled after the dairy industry’s iconic ads.

Obamacare Is All Anyone Wants to Talk About

(Screenshot)

Obamacare Is All Anyone Wants to Talk About

(Screenshot)

Obamacare Is All Anyone Wants to Talk About

(Screenshot)

Several images feature the same set of dudes doing potentially life-threatening things (guzzling beer while doing a keg stand, recovering from a purportedly jarring bike wreck). Full story

October 21, 2013

Reform Advocates Spoof Unsavory Lobbying Practices

Reform Advocates Spoof Unsavory Lobbying Practices

(Screenshot)

If the video of the stripping senator didn’t make you lose your lunch, the new “feeding frenzy” spot from Represent.Us most certainly will.

In its latest assault against conventional politics, the nearly year-old public advocacy project depicts an encounter between an unscrupulous lobbyist and morally suspect lawmakers, all of whom take turns shoving food and drink in each other’s increasingly messy faces at a fictional dinner meeting.

The gross-out negotiations, which include discussion of sneaking a publicly opposed provision into a must-pass bill, come to an abrupt halt when an activist attempts to inject herself into the conversation — an invasion of privacy that scatters the political insiders to the four winds, leaving the petition-waving interloper stuck with the tab for the garish feast.

The nightmare scenario is just the latest wake-up call Represent.Us has shared with the voting class. The grass-roots organization is continuing to build support for its Anti-Corruption Act (386,000-plus signatories and counting), a comprehensive plan designed to purge politics of dirty money. Full story

Mustache Lobby Digs Into Discrimination

The furry-lipped folks behind the American Mustache Institute are so certain that those with facial hair lead fuller and more productive lives that they’re hitting the road to chronicle the state of the ‘stache in the modern workplace.

As part of their fact-finding mission, the group — which first popped up on our radar after an aide to cookie-duster sporting former Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., got drawn into a procedural firestorm — has launched an online poll seeking to discern whether the general public assumes that the mustachioed amongst us are otherwise gifted (exhibiting, for example, exceptional professionalism, athleticism or a really impressive grip):

Mustache Lobby Digs Into Discrimination

(Screenshot)

Full story

October 18, 2013

Activist Plans to Show Congress the Bunny

Thank god the ridiculousness of the ill-fated government shutdown is finally behind us, so that Congress can get back to business as usual.

Activist Plans to Show Congress the Bunny

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Like the “sunny bunny” dance party scheduled to take place Monday morning.

PurgeDay.org promoter Patricia Taylor can’t take the negativity constantly being spewed by lawmakers. So she’s dispatching her mascot, the “Positive Bunny” — whom we last encountered over by the White House — to strut his stuff outside the Capitol from 10 a.m to  noon on Oct. 21.

“He’ll be doing the ‘sunny bunny’ dance. America needs to get its sunny disposition back!” she told HOH of her plan to lighten things up.

Taylor’s proposed annual venting holiday is pretty much straight from Frank Costanza’s Festivus playbook:

The difference being, she’d like to bring lawmakers into the fold.

“The whole concept of being open and positive … it would change Congress to ‘bring the bunny to the table,’” Taylor said of her vision.

October 16, 2013

Overheard: FreedomWorks Bemoans Shutdown Bargain

“The line separating the Democrats and the Republican establishment is fading — it might have disappeared today. This is about Washington insiders versus the rest of America now.”

— incensed about the looming budget deal, FreedomWorks stokes the tea party faithful by redrawing the battle lines

October 15, 2013

Tareq Salahi Elects to Keep Dragging Things Out

Tareq Salahi Elects to Keep Dragging Things Out

(Courtesy Salahi campaign)

“My political goals are not about me, not about publicity, but about serving the hard-working people of Virginia who deserve a representative who actually represents them, their values, their concerns and their needs,” reality TV personality Tareq Salahi assured voters in a campaign blast urging them to write him in — the “not so bad after all” alternative — for the upcoming governor’s race in Virginia.

Failing that, the infamous White House party crasher appears inclined to run for Congress next fall.

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