The Washington Post took another step toward having Ezra Klein teach Kaplan SAT prep courses. Willie Nelson is supporting Gary Johnson for president, no doubt because of Johnson's plan to turn entitlements into block grant programs. And if Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign doesn't go anywhere, he can always be the silhouette in the next De Beers commercial. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, May 17th, 2011:
ANONYMOUS RADICALIZED MARGINAL HOUSE DEM: GOP EXHIBITS 'OPEN BIGOTRY TOWARD LATINOS' TO 'REACH THEIR VIRULENT NATIVIST BASE VOTERS' - Our two favorite confidential contributors, the Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist (who is an actual GOP lobbyist) and the Anonymous Radicalized Marginal House Democrat (who is an actual House Democrat) debated the politics of immigration reform today, with HuffPost Hill acting as moderator. PSLGOPL asked why "a filibuster proof Senate, bullet proof liberal Majority in the House and a President dedicated to Change" hasn't done anything about "Comprehensive Immigration Reform, or better yet, just the DREAM Act." ARMHD responded:
"Easy: because desperate Republicans two years ago had to swap dog whistles for bull horns to reach their virulent nativist base voters, and now nativism has become a litmus test for Republicans.
"Anti-immigrant groups were building blocks of the Tea Party. Tea Party Republicans foam at the mouth when they have to press one for English.They want to arrest and deport anyone buying Tecate beer with cash at WalMart. It's the culture, stupid.
"Republicans' open bigotry toward Latinos will be more and more of an electoral problem for them, of course, but when their party was in shambles two years ago they weren't thinking about the long run, they had to fire up their base right away, including their crazies...especially their crazies. So the people that Karl Rove tried to keep hidden because he was afraid they would completely creep out soccer moms are front and center.
"The Tea Party has made cowards of Republican politicians who used to hold themselves out as courageous statesmen, or more likely, revealed them to be cowards. The sainted John McCain, who worked with Ted Kennedy on a 'grand bargain' on immigration, beat J.D. Hayworth by making a hard right turn. Remember the 'danged fence' ad?
"Lindsey Graham will be practicing law with Bob Inglis unless he can get way right by 2014. Orrin Hatch and Dick Lugar are in deep trouble. Chuck Grassley is trying to explain that when he called for an 'individual mandate' for health care, he meant an individual mandate to prove citizenship in the emergency room.
"What a bunch of wusses.
"With every Republican opposing reform, whether from conviction or from cowardice, it only took one skittish Democrat to kill anything even in that brief window when Democrats had the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster, and Republicans filibustered everything.
"The good news for Democrats is that the electorate will be browner and browner, Latinos see the anti-immigration rhetoric as thinly veiled appeals to bigotry against them, and Asians and other minority groups are watching it all and wondering whether Republicans really like them any better. So enjoy anti-immigration politics now, PSLGOP, anchor babies will be voting soon, and so will their friends."
PSLGOPL tried this: "I know the narrative that every Republican did everything that Mitch McConnell could ever hope or want helps guys like ARMHD sleep at night. But if Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe could stomach Dodd-Frank and Obamacare, they probably would've voted yes on DREAM. Show me a bill that Maxine Waters and Bob Menendez could both support and the PSLGOPL will declare ARMHD the winner of our first online tiff." [Moderator's Note: We love that our characters are now referring to themselves by their clunky acronyms.]
ARMHD was ready for another round: "I have to fight with paranoid, self-loathing Republican lobbyists on my day job. Can I ever get a break from this?
"The Senate actually voted on the DREAM Act in December.
"Only three Republicans voted to end the filibuster: Bob Bennett, who was defeated by a Tea Party candidate and is now gone; Lisa Murkowski, who lost a primary to a Tea Party Republican but won re-election as a write-in (I'm sure she was very lady-like when she raised her middle finger to the Tea Party as she cast her vote), and Dick Lugar. Only five Democrats voted against ending the filibuster: Tester, Baucus, Ben Nelson, Pryor and Hagan.
"No, Collins and Snowe didn't swallow hard and vote with the Democrats.
"Here's a link on the vote: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/18/politics/main7162862.shtml
"Oh, and Lugar, who faces a right-wing primary challenge next year, has now repented: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/12/richard-lugar-sponsorship-dream-act_n_860838.html (I hate having to rely on the Huffington Post for authority, but the New York Times has put up that damned pay wall.) That just leaves Murkowski, and she may repent too as 2016 nears.
"And the House had already voted to pass the DREAM Act, also largely on party lines.
"Game, set, match to ARMHD."
PSLGOPL gracefully accepted defeat: "Damn, ARMHD has a lot of time on his hands. Next up carried interest."
Thanks, PSLGOPL and ARMHD!
SENATE TO VOTE DOWN MEASURE TO END OIL SUBSIDES - The upper chamber is in the process of defeating a Democratic proposal to end subsidies to oil companies. No Republicans are expected to vote for the measure. Democrats will likely respond in kind this week when they vote down a Republican bill to expand offshore drilling. Republicans will respond to THAT by asking the Democrats' ex-girlfriend to the spring dance. Democrats will respond to THAT by spray-painting expletives on the Republicans' locker. China will continue to overtake us.
KYL ON DEBT CEILING TALKS: BOTH PARTIES AGREE ON $150 BILLION IN CUTS - The Senate minority whip told reporters today that congressional debt ceiling negotiators have agreed to roughly $150 billion in budget cuts as part of the talks to avert a likely disastrous government default. "We're talking in the area of about $150 billion right now," Kyl said. "We all recognize that we have to do a lot more than that." [HuffPost's Elise Foley]
COBURN DROPS OUT OF GANG OF SIX, THEN SAYS MAYBE HE'LL COME BACK - Jason Linkins FTW: "It's hard to leave a gang." The Oklahoma lawmaker this afternoon announced that he is leaving the long-term deficit reduction negotiation group, citing disagreements over entitlement reform. "We can't bridge the gulf of where we need to go on mandatory spending," Corburn said. "I don't see that there's going to be any fruition in continuing them at this time." Yay! [The Hill]
If you read The Daily Caller story implying Nancy Pelosi pushed for waivers from the health care law for businesses in San Francisco, you wasted your time. It's not true, says the company which actually applied for the waivers. [Sam Stein]
We checked for a Washington Post MasterClass on how to revive a dying news publication but, alas, nothing.
Hospital executives asked nurses in California for layoffs and a paycut. The nurses kicked them in the balls. An inspiring true story: [HuffPost]
OBAMA TO SPEAK ON MIDDLE EAST - Andrea Stone: "President Barack Obama "will make news" later this week when he gives a major policy speech about the Middle East, his first extended remarks on the troubled region since the Arab Spring uprisings and the killing of Osama bin Laden, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday. The Thursday address at the State Department will be 'an opportunity to sort of step back and assess what we've all witnessed, the historic change we've seen, and to talk about how he views it,' Carney said, calling it a chance to explain the values and principles that will inform the administration's policies and its support for pro-democracy movements in the region."
REPORTS OF THREATS AGAINST LAWMAKERS ON THE RISE - Tonight in Roll Call: "Reports of threats against Members of Congress have spiked this year, eclipsing the total recorded during the much-hyped debate over health care reform last year, writes Roll Call's Daniel Newhauser, but experts warn that the numbers don't necessarily reflect an all-time high. Gainer said he believes Members may be more inclined to report threats since the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in January. In addition, the Capitol Police have only kept collated records for the last year or two, so there are no data to prove threats are at a record high."
There likely won't be a victor tonight in the special election to fill the House seat vacated by Jane Harman. Sixteen candidates are on the ballot, meaning no one candidate will likely pass the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat. If that is the case, the two top candidates will face-off in a July 12th runoff. Jewish-Korean relations hang in the balance. [AP]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act's fledgling program for people with pre-existing conditions inched up to 18,313 in March, the Obama administration recently announced. For those covered by the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, it can be a godsend. The program was so appealing to one Arizona couple, in fact, that they canceled their insurance policies in January and are spending six months without insurance to qualify for the program come July. Yet the PCIP's enrollment numbers have been a disappointment for the administration. Though there are millions eligible, officials said it would reach a few hundred thousand at most. And enrollment has fallen far short of even those meager estimates. [HuffPost]
Scads of commenters on the above story said they'd never heard of this program before and really wish they had. HuffPost Hill postulates that two things help explain the commenters' ignorance (and also the program's low enrollment): One is that HHS hasn't done much to promote the program. To wit: They didn't even put out a press release announcing the latest numbers! Another reason is that the big newspapers gave scant attention to the program's launch even though Democrats repeatedly touted it as an "immediate deliverable" of health care reform. Real crappy job there, newspapers.
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
NIKKI HALEY SLAMS GINGRICH, NEWT OFF TO A FANTASTIC START - In an interview with CNN's Peter Hamby, South Carolina governor and Tea Party-favorite Nikki Haley ripped into Newt Gingrich over his criticism of Paul Ryan's budget. "What he said was absolutely unfortunate," Haley said. "Here you've got Representative Ryan trying to bring common sense to this world of insanity, and Newt absolutely cut him off at the knees." She continued: "When you have a conservative fighting for real change, the last thing we need is a presidential candidate cutting him off at the knees." Newt Gingrich's campaign is starting to bring to mind one of those "America's Funniest Home Videos" clips of a pee wee football running back charging head first into his own endzone. We give it a week until Newt Gingrich delivers a speech titled "Soooooo, When's the Baby Due??? Oh...You're Not Pregnant?" [CNN]
Jake 'Fast Break' Sher-'Fast Break'-man reports that Gingrich owed Tiffany's between $250,000 and $500,000 dollars between 2005 and 2006. Gingrich's terrible news cycle has a lot in common with diamonds. Both are forever. "Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress for two decades, retired in 1999. But his wife, Callista Gingrich, was employed by the House Agriculture Committee until 2007, according to public records. She listed a 'revolving charge account' at Tiffany and Company in the liability section of her personal financial disclosure form for two consecutive years and indicated that it was her spouse's debt. The liability was reported in the range of $250,001 to $500,000." [Politico]
"Gov. Rick Perry has insisted on multiple occasions that he has no interest in the presidency, but RCP has learned that political associates have begun to nose around quietly on Perry's behalf."
@PeterHambyCNN: Willie Nelson endorses Gary Johnson for president.
PAUL RYAN NOT RUNNING FOR SENATE - Our favorite congressman who resembles a 1950s soda fountain clerk, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, won't run for the Senate seat being vacated by Herb Kohl. "What matters to me is not the title. It's my ability to impact policy. It would take me, you know, 12 to 16 years in the Senate to get where I am in the House. I don't want to be in Congress for the rest of my life," said Ryan in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. "I don't want to take myself out of this fight, and leave the fight and a leadership role I have at the moment America is going to make up its mind about what kind of country it's going to become." [Journal Sentinel]
We've been desperately trying to come up with a physical description for Paul Ryan other than "1950s soda fountain clerk.". Thus far, we haven't had much luck, beyond "1940s fighter pilot." Thankfully, Twitter helped us out today:
@elliottjustin: Ryan=Crispin Glover's George McFly
@mjenkins: Gabe from 'The Office'
@draznni: Eddie Munster without the green skin
TODD AKIN RUNNING FOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL'S SEAT - Veteran Rep. Todd Akin announced today that he will seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by the politically vulnerable Claire McCaskill. "McCaskill's close relationship with the White House, along with the recent disclosure she failed to pay taxes on her private plane, may be a liability with many Missouri voters. Even so, McCaskill is as battle-tested as any state official. Akin has a strong conservative voting record, but he is hardly a household name, even in the area he has represented for more than two decades in Washington and Jefferson City. While Akin has attempted to reach out to other corners of the state through the Tea Party movement, he has never run statewide before. That makes him a virtual unknown in places such as southwest Missouri, which offers deep pockets of GOP voters." [Post-Dispatch]
Ann Wagner, former chair of the Missouri GOP, announced that she will run for Akin's seat.
Toria Nuland has been named the new State Department spokesperson. Nuland is the current U.S. special envoy for conventional forces in Europe and previously served as U.S. ambassador to NATO and principal deputy national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney. Glad to see the administration replacing P.J. Crowley, a dude who resigned in protest over the military's treatment of Bradley Manning, with someone who worked for Dick Cheney. Betcha she won't resign in protest! [Yahoo! News]
LEADING NEWSPAPERS FAIL AMERICA - An analysis by the National Journal shows that the five biggest newspapers are covering the deficit more and more and unemployment less and less, even though unemployment remains the huge problem it used to be. "[T]he broadening gap demonstrates just how effective conservatives have been at changing the narrative of economic policy from one dominated by talk of fiscal stimulus to one now in lockstep with notions of fiscal austerity." Real crappy job there, newspapers. [National Journal]
Dawn Dannenbring, of the community group Illinois People's Action, to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon: "As a person of faith, my God believes you shouldn't take advantage of people when they are down. Do you believe in the same God I believe in?" Dimon: "That's a hard one to answer." [WaPo]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - "Dancing trombonist, Jonathan Arons, performing Darth Vega Salsa routine at Andrew Jackson Senior Center in Bronx, NY."
JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Haha, you laugh. There were supposed to be storms, you said. Yes, you were able to walk freely to lunch without worry of getting wet, but it won't last. The radar shows two things: the first is that you can easily make out the center of rotation (which is awesome) and patches of storms sweeping in from the southeast. Though there's severe weather that will impact the Fredericksburg-Manassas area, the District and Maryland should be okay until 7 p.m. or so. Tomorrow: The low pressure system should bring the back end of rains and storms through. All day washout. But please, make sure that you use proper umbrella safety. Thanks, JB!
- Small dog is a legend on the drums. Someone needs to print out some "Need a drummer" flyers for this dog to post at local coffee houses [http://bit.ly/l8WaN7]
- A man survived a two-inch-wide pole through his head. We can't wait for the feel-good, Oscar-baiting biopic starring Russell Crowe [http://bit.ly/iMHOS9]
- As part of a promotion, NBC recreated Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte" featuring the cast of "The Office." [http://bit.ly/iTJN7i]
- The movie Election had an alternate ending. Here it is. [http://bit.ly/lTBXWm]
- Notorious B.I.G. demonstrates that he could also hustle at pool in this 1995 Canadian interview. Also worthwhile just for when Biggie says "Representin' all day, every day in Canada." [http://bit.ly/lqbpyd]
- A lion, tiger and bear live together in an animal rehabilitation center in Georgia. [http://bit.ly/ig3sKT]
- You know how everyone has the adorable picture of themselves as a baby being bathed in the sink? This is the elephant version of that. [http://bit.ly/m2KY5s]
- Inception chair. [http://bit.ly/kC2dMg]
@daveweigel: My guess: http://youtu.be/gXZVhKvvMVU RT @HuffPostHill: What is the entire HuffPost D.C. office watching? http://yfrog.com/h4os0rzj
@NewtBlingrich: i can't wait to tour Iowa in my new campaign bus. we tricked it out with rims, subs and a spoiler.
@pourmecoffee: Congress must act now to raise Newt's Tiffany's debt ceiling.
6:30 pm: Jon Kyl's Senate Majority Fund gets a major boost from appearances by Mitch McConnell and and John Cornyn. That Jon Kyl, he's a nice guy [Bistro Bis, 15 E Street NW].
6:30 pm: Unlike all those others politicians who think people want to eat at steakhouses for breakfast, Saxby Chambliss hosts his steakhouse reception and dinner fundraiser in the evening. How considerate [Ruth's Chris Steak House, 724 9th Street NW].
8:30: Wouldn't it be really cool if Kay Bailey Hutchison changed the name of her "KPAC" to "K-PAX" and then had everyone wear the same 90s sunglasses that Kevin Spacey did in the movie of the same name? No? Never mind! [Johnny's Half Shell, 400 North Capitol Street NW #175]
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm: Fundraisers held in lobbying offices aren't just for Republicans. Even Democrats get in on the action! Go say "hi" to Sheldon Whitehouse [Cornerstone Government Affairs, 300 Independence Ave SE].
12:30 pm: Lisa Murkowski makes nice with her erstwhile 2010 campaign adversaries with a birthday fundraiser at the NRSC [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE].
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: As Olympia Snowe continues to face questions about her position on Paul Ryan's budget, she ducks out to attend a $1000-a-plate fundraiser [Charlie Palmer Steak, 101 Constitution Ave NW].
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm: Is it just us, or is Scott Brown a pretty good approximation of what George W. Bush would be like if the Bushes never left New England? [The Offices of Davis and Harman, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave NW Suite 1200]
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