It's hard enough fighting a war against the president of the United States, with his bully pulpit and the resources of the executive branch at his disposal. But how can you prevail over him when all your time is spent battling your own comrades? This is the dilemma the Republican party confronts.
It's happening everywhere. Mitch McConnell, who could plausibly claim to have done more to undermine Barack Obama than anyone else in the country, now faces a Tea Party primary challenge in his re-election race. Yesterday the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee lit into his party's leadership after the Speaker pulled a bill funding transportation and housing from the floor, probably because they didn't have the votes to pass it. Two likely 2016 presidential candidates, Senator Rand Paul and Governor Chris Christie, are in a public battle of insults that has all the dignity and gravitas of a grade-school playground slap-fight. Heroes of the right like Ted Cruz pour contempt on their colleagues for knuckling under to liberals, while establishment figures like John McCain fire back with equal derision. And the issue of immigration reform continues to rip the party apart at the seams, with elite Republicans convinced the GOP needs to pass reform if it's to win a presidential campaign any time soon, and the party's base (and the members of Congress who represent it) dead-set against anything that looks too kind to undocumented immigrants.
It wasn't too long ago that Democrats looked at the Republican party with envy, marveling at its ability to keep all its factions talking, thinking, and moving in lockstep. That unity of purpose and action may return one day, but for now, the GOP is a hot mess. It's almost enough to make you feel bad for them. Almost.
SO THEY SAY
"I'm going to get honest when I tell you about Carlos Danger because I think that that's magnificent. It's a porn joke. It's funny. It's hysterical. It's a Kool-Aid smile again, you see what I'm saying. This is what Carlos Danger has done, people are stopping in their tracks laughing in the middle of the street."
DAILY MEME: HIKING TO THE BEER SUMMIT
It's summer, there isn't much happening on the political news front, so, of course we're arguing about a beer summit.
This time, its an angsty battle between Rand Paul and Chris Christie that has the media in a hops-driven tailspin. (Here's a quick guide to the many other heated fights currently sucking up all the oxygen in the Republican Party.)
- The two that have 2016 speculators all a-twitter were trading ideological-laced barbs, which led Paul to say "We’re going to have to patch things up if we can sit down. I am inviting him for a beer, anytime he would like to come down and sit down at the pub right around the corner from the Senate we’ll have a beer."
- Christie declined.
- And the fount of beer summit thinkpieces began (with Politico's "8 times when a beer might really be the answer" taking the "groooooan" cake).
- (Although it wouldn't have technically been a beer summit according to Urban Dictionary's definition: "The meeting of President Obama and any parties for which an injustice has occurred. This meeting must take place in the White House and be broadcast throughout the media.")
- And many might take issue with calling any instance of politicians getting a beer a summit.
- Perhaps it's a good thing Christie and Paul never met at a pub in Capitol Hill. Picking the appropriate beer for your policy views and constituency can be a tricky thing.
- In the end, this may be a time when we could learn from the Russia's Beer Drinker's Party and Russian lady astronaut beer summit's example—perhaps even important enough to put the Hot Line to good use...
WHAT WE'RE WRITING
- As illegal demand for OxyContin rises, pharmacies are being robbed more frequently. Peter Andrey Smith writes about what Big Pharma is doing to protect its outlets and employees.
- Watching ‘extreme’ pornography doesn’t result in actual violence. Jillian Keenanwrites about why banning it only sends a message that anyone who watches it—both men and women—is deviant.
WHAT WE'RE READING
- Andrew O'Hagan reports from detention centers holding children in Afghanistan.
- Olivia Messer reveals the overwhelming sexism in the Texas legislature that women have spent decades fighting against.
- This year, more than 200 Newtown residents have received new local pistol permits. In all of 2012, only 171 permits were issued.
- Sarah Kliff unpacks the resistance to Obamacare.
- The Daily Show makes fun of Kentucky lawmakers trying to nullify federal laws.
- Brian Beutler explains what House Republicans' budget bedside manner reveals about their governing ideology's future.
- Vladimir Putin's laws against "gay propaganda" have caught the ire of many but have earned the praise of American religious conservative activists.
- The director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture says he is interested in displaying Trayvon Martin's hoodie.
- Liberal and Democratic leaning groups have raised more money in the first half of the year than conservative groups.
- According to a UN report, July was the deadliest month in Iraq since 2008.
POLL OF THE DAY
Kentucky Senator and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is down by a point to a Democratic Senate challenger, according to poll results released by Public Policy Polling. The poll was conducted on behalf of two liberal groups that are opposed to the incumbent, but McConnell has already been documented to be the least popular senator in the U.S. He currently has a 40 percent approval rating, compared with 51 percent disapproval.