Ringside Seat: Politicians Just Wanna Have Fun

When you're a politician, you have a finely tuned sense of your public image. Aware that your every word is being heard and your every gesture watched, you can easily become so hyper-vigilant about not saying anything that might get you in trouble that you grow overly calculated, leading voters to conclude you're just another phony looking to pull one over on them.

Or so we tend to think. But sometimes, politicians can do things like what Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen, a liberal Democrat, did the other day. After seeing Cindy Lauper perform at the White House, Cohen tweeted, "@cyndilauper great night,couldn't believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness." The tweet was quickly deleted, but nothing really disappears these days, and now Cohen is mightily embarrassed. Now, "couldn't believe how hot u were" might show that Cohen still holds on to the crush he had on Lauper back in 1983 when "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" came out. On the other hand, he could have just meant that her performance was hot, smokin', tearin' it up, and settin' the place on fire. Whichever it was, Cohen isn't talking. 

Of course, things could be worse. Telling a famous singer she's hot isn't as bad as saying the same thing to the attorney general of California. Or tweeting out pictures of your junk to ladies to whom you are not married, resigning your seat, and thinking you still might be able to become mayor of New York. That would be much, much worse.

So They Say

“My sense is that Obama is a very bad negotiator. Obama doesn’t listen. Clinton listened. Clinton understood the art of getting to a deal because he’d been Arkansas governor. He’d dealt with legislatures. He was used to talking it out, paying attention. Obama is a college professor. He gives a lecture and then he grades you on your ability to understand his lecture. There’s no practical way that a Republican-Obama negotiation is going to work, because they want radically different things."

Newt Gingrich, on "How to Negotiate with a Democratic President"

Daily Meme: Good Old-Fashioned Liberal Bashing

  • Our federal government, acting out of character, is seriously debating and voting on a number of the big-ticket policies that make up the backbone of the president's agenda, including immigrationgun control, and the budget.

  • And, as decreed in the Beltway's third law of motion, whenever a party exerts a force on a second party, the second party simultaneously gets outraged and expels a series of blog posts onto the first. 

  • Charles C.W. Cooke went ballistic on those in the media noting that the Senate's grand compromise on gun control is ... pretty paltry: "ThinkProgress and Talking Points Memo and Salon will smirk and make oh-so-smug jokes about 'black helicopters' and militias. After all, we already regulate commercial sales, Internet sales, and gun shows, right? This is just a baby step — nothing to worry about, wingnuts."

  • Even worse, Erick Erickson says, is that the Manchin/Toomey compromise is going to lead doctors to take away your guns!

  • Ann Coulter described the White House's gun-control push thusly: "Obama has been draping himself in families of the children murdered in Newtown. ... This allows liberals to act as if Republicans' only counter-argument to their idiotic gun control proposals is: We don't mind dead children."

  • What about Obama's budget? A former Dubya speechwriter writes, "make no mistake: There is absolutely nothing in Obama’s 2014 budget for any true Republican to love."

  • The NRCC's new  Buzzfeed-tastic site has a post titled, "Obama’s Budget Is Finally Out And It’s Got More Gimmicks Than A 2 A.M. Infomercial."

  • A Breitbart writer adds, "History will look back at this budget, however, as an abdication of leadership."

  • All in all, the outrage is pretty tame at this point ... but then again, nothing has hit the House floor yet.

What We're Writing

  • California, long the home of a supposed failure of liberalism, has been the target of more than a little outside, undisclosed conservative spending. But, writes Harold Meyerson, the state's fighting back against the dark money and the politics it's backing.
  • The State Department and the White House have been making noises about reviving the Israel-Palestine issue, but what the recently-resigned Palestinian prime minister and Matt Duss know is that without an end to occupation, no solutions are on the horizon.

What We're Reading

  • Too much poverty, too many guns—is stopping the first our best option for reducing gun violence? John Judis argues it is.
  • Haley Barbour will no longer fundraise for American Crossroads, the super PAC that all conservatives would just like to forget they ever gushed over.
  • Five reasons you should miss old-school political jingles.
  • Our current background-check system allowed a fictional big-game hunter to terrorize Robin Williams in Jumanji, perhaps one of the more potent arguments for stricter gun-control laws.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek has 46 experts explain how to do 46 things you didn't know you desperately wanted to know how to do.
  • A new study suggests that for years conservatives have been fighting the data of climate science ... with personal attacks on Al Gore.
  • The McConnell tape scandal continues: An ethics investigation has been started to see if his staffers were investigating Ashley Judd's mental state on the government's dime. 
  • The Obama administration's trying to help poor people and the GOP's trying to fire-hose them—Slate says the class war is on.
  • Nate Cohn takes on the same Stephens-Davidowitz study about racism in Obama's elections and comes away with a different answer than our own Jamelle Bouie
  • The intrepid Washington Post has discovered that North Korea is being made fun of on the Internet, only missing the scoop by several years.

Poll of the Day

An NBC/WSJ poll has found that a commanding majority of Americans, nearly two-thirds, supports citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Support is understandably strong among Hispanics and weak among conservatives, but when Republicans are informed that a path to citizenship would include fines and back-taxes, nearly 75 back the idea.