Groucho Marx said he wouldn't want to join a club that would have someone like him as a member. But some members of the exclusive club that is the United States Congress are telling their constituents something different: Please let me remain a member of a club I find so horrid that it isn't even worth saving, in a city where the only righteous path is to wage (metaphorical) war on the United States government.
That, at least, is what the House Republican Conference is telling its members to say to constituents when they return home this August. As Roll Call reported yesterday, the Conference has given its members a planning kit, called "Fighting Washington For All Americans," that explains how they should talk to voters about what House Republicans are up to. There are instructions on how to use that social media the kids are all into these days, and even a sample op-ed, titled "Fighting Washington For You." "Every day I serve in Congress," it reads, "I work to fight Washington."
You'll notice that the Republican members aren't being told to say they're going to "clean up" Washington or "reform" Washington or "make Washington work." It's obviously too late for that. They're just going to fight it. We wonder what they'll say when one of their constituents stands up at a town hall and says, "Hey Congressman: aren't YOU Washington? I mean, you live and work there, and you make the laws. Right? If the problem is just 'Washington,' doesn't that make you part of the problem?"
The congressman could respond, "Whoa there—I may work in Washington, but you can be damn sure I'm not making any laws." And that would be true. Asked last weekend about Congress' inability to accomplish anything, Speaker of the House John Boehner responded, "We should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws that we repeal." Even by that bizarre standard, Boehner's House is a complete failure. They've voted to repeal Obamacare 37 times, and yet the law stands. They pretend to repeal laws, and enact a performance of repealing laws, but they don't actually repeal any laws.
But let's be honest: when members of Congress say they're going to "fight" something, most of the time the promise is little more than a pledge to say bad things about it on television and deliver fist-shaking speeches about how terrible it is. That's true whether the thing being fought is a piece of legislation, a societal descent toward moral depravity, or the United States government itself.
So They Say
I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have. As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress. While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me.
DAILY MEME: Immigration In-Fighting
- Immigration reform seems to have been jogging in place the last few months.
- And, many attempts at forward movement are thwarted before they reach escape velocity.
- And the Senate—which passed an immigration reform bill—is getting antsy waiting for the House. Especially Republicans, who fear retribution in the next election cycle.
- Especially since a majority of Americans (and rich tech companies) approve of the policies the most recent round of immigration reform aims to address (although not in the package that the Senate cobbled together perhaps).
- Senator John McCain said yesterday, “I’m no bleeding-heart liberal ... But, my God, we need to resolve this issue."
- But, as summer recess draws near, harmony between the House Republicans and everyone else seems increasingly ... unlikely.
- Yet onward the efforts to encourage a bill go. Michelle Obama gave the keynote address at the National Council of the La Raza's conference today.
- Young immigrants did a risky protest on the border today.
- While Steve King said risky (and stupid) things about young immigrants.
- We'll see if any progress can be made besides reaching new heights of inane bickering in the upcoming weeks.
What We're Writing
- The White House has condemned attacks on gays and lesbians throughout Africa, but, as Gabriel Arana writes, Obama has been silent on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown.
- Nate Silver, the man who runs the “FiveThirtyEight” and recently left The New York Times for ESPN and ABC, is a statistical journalist who reports about likely results. Though some journalists have been threatened by this type of work, Paul Waldman writes that they shouldn’t be, because traditional political journalism asks and answers questions that Silver doesn’t.
What We're Reading
- Great! North Carolina is set to pass the most restrictive voter-ID bill in the nation.
- She may not be a witch but she might be coming back. Three years after her failed Senate run, Delaware Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell is considering a rematch against Senator Chris Coons.
- Senator Mitch McConnell's troubles keep piling up. After being shut out of the negotiations with Harry Reid over executive confirmations, McConnell is now facing heat from within the Kentucky Republican Party.
- The Pentagon has laid out the possible military options for intervening in Syria. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey sent a letter to Senator Carl Levin, describing the challenges the U.S. would face if it intervened in the conflict, saying intervention could cost billions.
- Organized labor tries a new way of working around falling interest in unions.
- Why politicians aren't going after the hipster voter. (Hint: It doesn't exist.)
- Why are people (mostly of a certain age) still donating to the Obama campaign when he isn't facing another election?
- The definitive guide to House floor charts.
Poll of the Day
There is still a year until the Wyoming Senate race, but Liz Cheney may want to get to the starting line as soon as possible. According to a poll taken by Public Policy Polling, the former vice president’s daughter is 28 percent behind incumbent Republican Senator Mike Enzi. Though her numbers are much closer to her potential Democratic adversaries, she will start the primary in a deep hole.