President Barack Obama signed the long-awaited farm bill into law Friday, prompting the traditional outpouring of congressional press releases. But among the digital back-pattings was one carefully worded missive that lauded Obama for signing provisions of Rep. Paul Gosar’s wildfire prevention legislation into law — even though Gosar voted against the final bill.
“When it comes to wildfires, 2013 wasn’t a good year, which is why I’m especially proud that the majority of my wildfire prevention legislation was signed into law today,” Gosar stated. Full story
TV scriptwriter and social media maven Nina Bargiel is completely mystified by what our elected leaders are up to these days.
(Courtesy Nina Bargiel)
Still, she’s hoping to crack the code by utilizing what appears to be a near universal translator for modern politics: “Mean Girls.”
Yep, the cult comedy about vindictive high schoolers that’s sparked thousands — nay, millions! — of BuzzFeed contributions continues to find new life in the battle to better comprehend the day-to-day lunacy that transpires on Capitol Hill.
(Courtesy Nina Bargiel)
Bargiel — who said said she originally envisioned applying her love of language to speech-writing, only to be lured by the bright lights of Hollywood (she’s helped pen several hit kids’ shows including the Disney Channel’ s “Lizzie McGuire,” Nickelodeon’s “Romeo!” and Cartoon Network’s “Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy”), launched her Mean GOP platform shortly after the new year.
Her fascination with our fractured government, however, has been a long time coming.
“I’ve become incredibly interested in politics since the George W. Bush presidency on,” she said of the psychosocial shock and awe she experienced during the previous decade. Full story
In Heard on the Hill’s ongoing quest to bait as many celebrities as possible into running for the newly opened west Lost Angeles seat in Congress, we got a joking “maybe” from “Falcon Crest”/”Grease” star Lorenzo Lamas:
For context, Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman announced last week he is retiring from his west Los Angeles-based district. California’s 33rd is unique in that it covers Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Malibu, parts of West Hollywood and a whole handful of other movie star enclaves.
This is the first time since 1974 that the region will see an open-seat race, and so we spent part of Monday afternoon trolling various movies stars on Twitter to see if they are mulling a run.
This race has the potential to be the greatest House race in the history of the United States, and we don’t want to leave any stone unturned. (For serious coverage of the race, check out our At the Races blog.)
The tea party candidate hoping to knock off longstanding Kansas Republican Pat Roberts this fall is not only not at odds with the parties currently controlling Congress, he’s also at war with his own bloodline.
As Wolf explained to At the Races, the trained physician just happens to be a distant cousin of President Barack Obama.
The two are, admittedly, not all that close:
That’s a tough spot to be in.
And it’s not one that many others appear to be able to relate to.
Progressive problem solver Walter White is clearly stumped by Wolf’s antagonistic attitude: Full story
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
Leave it to Speaker John A. Boehner to bring fellow Ohio Republican Steve Chabot face to face with his past.
Boehner tapped College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz to motivate House Republicans during the group’s retreat in Cambridge, Md. — a pep talk which included a throwback pic of a mutton-chopped Chabot being courted by the then-third-year coach to play ball at the College of William & Mary.
House lawmakers with ties to the championship-seeking teams — the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks — scheduled to duke it out for world dominance Sunday during Super Bowl XLVIII, have raised the stakes by wagering some curious comestibles.
Along with all the obligatory sweets and regional produce, several pols have put genuinely adventurous dining experiences on the table.
Should the Broncos falter, Rep. Cory Gardner, D-Colo., is prepared to treat his counterparts from the Evergreen State to a hearty helping of Rocky Mountain oysters.
Deep-fried bull testicles are the “surprise” specialty locals love to foist upon unsuspecting visitors.
(Ballsy move, sir.)
Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., appears determined to light a fire in the competition’s belly, offering up a sample of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey (a decade-old distillery dedicated to producing small batch spirits) along with “tamales” of unspecified origin.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., would be willing to part with boxes of select Celestial Seasonings Tea.
Mind you, a sore loser might be tempted to slip the victors a box of senna-laced “LaxaTea”… Full story
On Capitol Hill, name recognition is the ultimate cachet.
Just ask the anonymous members who diligently toil away only to be written off by reporters as “backbenchers,” members of the “rank and file” or the quietly maneuvering “Obscure Caucus.”
That’s likely never been a problem for the handful of standout lawmakers who joined the ranks of the Fortney “Pete” Starks and Arlen Specters of the world by adding their distinctive monikers to the congressional rolls last year.
Not that sporting a unique forename guarantees every visitor will absolutely nail it when they come a-calling.
It’s a Family Affair
Rep. Markwayne Mullin is accustomed to sticking out in a crowd. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Oklahoma Republican said his name pays tribute to two dear family members — a duo who has, over time, repaid the favor in kind.
“My father was the youngest boy of eight children and he had two brothers who did not have any sons. And since I was the youngest of seven in my family, I was named after both of them: Mark and Wayne,” Mullin said of the compound ID.
The honorary mashup earned him some extra attention every year.
“In my large family, Christmas was the occasion we gave most of our gifts. I grew up on a working farm, so birthdays were just another work day,” he said. “But my uncles … would always make me feel special and give me gifts on my birthday.”
Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., said his name isn’t rooted in history so much as planted in his parents’ hearts. According to his staff, the McAllisters initially anticipated having a girl, so they settled on the name “Vanessa” for their little one. Once they learned a man-child was on its way, they clipped Vanessa down to Vance.
According to Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, his name is quite common — at least across the pond. Full story
Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show” is no longer willing to take the legislating of women’s bodies lying down. That’s why she’s storming the Web late on Tuesday — and all 50 state capitals later this fall — to rail against any infringement against reproductive rights.
Winstead is venting some of that anger via the “State of the Uterus 2014” address she will deliver via Lady Parts Justice after President Barack Obama and all his Republican opponents are done jaw-boning for the night. Full story
Ex-Sen. Scott P. Brown may not have officially announced his candidacy for New Hampshire’s Senate seat, but former Sen. Bob Smith has — sort of.
(CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Republican lawmaker has filed papers for the New Hampshire Senate seat he held for 12 years — though he hasn’t exactly announced his candidacy formally.
He is, however, hitting the D.C. circuit in search of money and support. And HOH had the unplanned pleasure of sitting next to him on his return flight from Baltimore to Manchester, N.H., on Thursday.
If you ask Smith, he has every intention of beating sitting New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and fellow Senate alumnus Brown.
“I’m not running for my health. I’m serious,” Smith told HOH over the course of a roughly 45-minute discussion that ranged from the current race to the sheer magnitude of the universe. (He couldn’t seem to shake a recent Discovery Channel special on the solar system.) Full story
President Barack Obama will deliver his latest State of the Union address (now with online Easter eggs!) to the nation on Jan. 28, an annual temperature-taking that has spawned a cottage industry of alternative evaluations.
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Academics from the free-market-loving Cato Institute aren’t even waiting to hear what “44” has to say this year, offering up their pre-buttal of POTUS’ read on the yearly status report on Friday. The “Libertarian State of the Union” luncheon (food courtesy of Cato) is scheduled to take place beginning at noon in Rayburn B-369, and will feature in-depth discussions about politically charged issues (Affordable Care Act, NSA information tracking, the congressional budget process) by Cato contributors Chris Edwards (tax policy), Julian Sanchez (technology/national security) and Ilya Shapiro (constitutional studies).
Interested parties can RSVP to attend in person (firstname.lastname@example.org) or catch the fireworks on cato.org/live.
Utah Republican Mike Lee will follow in the footsteps of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. — last year’s mouthpiece — by delivering the “official” tea party response for 2014.
“For the Tea Party movement, 2014 is not just about taking back the Senate, but it is also about putting forward conservative ideas that will allow for America to prosper,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer announced in a release.
Lee is scheduled to share his undoubtedly blistering assessment of Obama’s performance at the First Amendment Lounge at the National Press Club (529 14th St. NW) immediately following the president’s speech. Casual observers can watch from home via teapartyexpress.org.
The Green Party is hosting a virtual shindig. The group is planning to broadcast the entire SOTU online and will then toss its 2012 presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, into the mix for a real-time Q&A about everything the country will have just heard. Sign up to participate via the GP Facebook page.
The Log Cabin Republicans are keeping a low profile. No marquee speakers or frenzied news conferences. But an aide tells HOH the group does expect to post something on its website and blast out an official response once Obama signs off for the evening.
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.
(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!
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:
Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist did not feel he got the first-class treatment he deserved from United Airlines after a parade of passengers noisily purged their systems in his immediate earshot.
.@united I booked a first class seat and now I’m in the very last row next to a bathroom that’s in heavy rotation.
Peanut producers in the Peach State want to help draw Sen. Saxby Chambliss out of his shell.
The second-term Georgia Republican on Thursday become only the fifth inductee into the Peanut Hall of Fame, an elite club — “Induction in the Peanut Hall of Fame is the highest recognition one can receive from the growers in the state of Georgia,” the congratulatory press release asserts — created by the Georgia Peanut Commission.
Previous honorees include President Jimmy Carter and the late Sen. Herman Talmadge, D-Ga.
The trade group hailed Chambliss’ leadership as a former chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, effectively commending him for never cracking during farm bill negotiations. Full story