Why it doesn’t matter, electorally speaking, that the public hates Congress more than Barack Obama.

Writing stuff like this actually does no favors for Democrats

President Obama has hit another low in another poll, but so have many of his critics in Congress.

The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll gives the president an approval rating of 40%, a record low; Congress has a rating of only 14%, also a low.

…and this is why: it produces a false equivalence.  Democratic incumbents in trouble aren’t going to be happy to see Barack Obama showing up… but Republican incumbents in trouble – yes, there are some – weren’t going to get ‘Congress’ to come out to campaign for them.  They’d get specific (and popular) Republican politicians to do that.  I understand that you can’t really compare Barack Obama’s popularity against every member of Congress and not have the result be utterly cumbersome, but I think framing the discussion this way doesn’t really lead to correct conclusions.



Wikipedia bans Capitol Hill from making Wikipedia edits.

Of course.

Wikipedia administrators have imposed a ban on page edits from computers at the US House of Representatives, following “persistent disruptive editing”.

The 10-day block comes after anonymous changes were made to entries on politicians and businesses, as well as events like the Kennedy assassination.

The biography of former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld was edited to say that he was an “alien lizard”.

Although that one arguably pales in comparison to the nameless Congressional staffer who needed the world to know that Mediate is “sexist transphobic*.”  Or perhaps not; but I’m noting it largely because I’d like the record to show that this is all at best (or worst) a bipartisan exercise in wearing-your-posterior-as-a-head-covering.  And, of course, to make it clear that, to the best of my knowledge, Donald Rumsfeld is NOT an alien lizard.  I mean, sheesh: everybody knows that he’s from a cadet branch of the Merovingian dynasty.  Where do you think he got the money to fund Fang Island in the first place? (more…)


Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Democrats will exceed expectations. …Heh. Maybe they will.


Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the strength of individual candidates will help her party outperform expectations in the upcoming midterms.

“Pundits are wildly misinterpreting or over interpreting,” the Florida Democrat said, specifically responding to a projection published by the Washington Post that gives Republicans an 86 percent chance of taking control of the Senate.

“Models don’t elect candidates. Voters do,” she said, speaking at a Thursday morning event organized by centrist Democratic think tank Third Way.



I encourage Senate Democrats to go to the wall to bring back IRS bonuses.

I absolutely encourage them:

The House on Wednesday approved legislation that would prohibit performance bonuses for senior executives at the Internal Revenue Service.

Rep. Paul Gosar’s (R-Ariz.) amendment to the fiscal 2015 Financial Services appropriations bill was approved on a 282-138 vote, with one member voting present.



Struggle over whether to kill Export-Import Bank picking up steam.

You know, when I first saw this…

…well, the first thing that I thought was Actually, I wouldn’t mind Ariel Stryker going to fetch Edward Snowden and getting him in front of an American grand jury.  But you have to expect a certain amount of that sort of thing from hard-shell libertarians; live and let live, says I.  So I guess that the second thing that I thought was Killing the Export-Import Bank is probably not gonna happen. (more…)


New House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy… wants to kill the Export-Import Bank.

Come, I will conceal nothing from you: the Export-Import Bank is squarely in the middle of things that I typically go rah-rah over out of a sense of solidarity with the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.  I can’t keep track of everything, after all*.  But apparently this is making people sit up and blink:

 House Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy says Congress should let the Export-Import Bank expire, the biggest blow yet to the imperiled subsidy agency whose charter expires this fall.

On “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked McCarthy if he agrees with “conservatives who say that the Export-Import Bank is a form of crony capitalism and it should be put out of business — allowed to expire.”

I forget who said this first**, but fear really is a wonderful motivator. (more…)


National Seersucker Day comes back to Congress, thank God.


No, I am not joking about either half of that title.

Today, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) announced that National Seersucker Day has been formally reinstated. A bipartisan Capitol Hill tradition, Members of the House of Representatives typically wear Seersucker on Wednesdays and Senators wear it on Thursdays.

The tradition started in 1996 by Trent Lott, and continued until 2012.  That year ninnyhammers in the Senate decided that it was, astoundingly, bad PR to have Hill staffers and legislators be doing anything except engage in hyper-partisan Stab Time.  Dana Milbank at the time got it right:

I agree that seersucker is not weighty. When I wear my seersucker suit and powdered white bucks (only between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and typically with a bow tie), perfect strangers have at times greeted me as “Professor” or “Poindexter.”

But those who canceled Seersucker Thursday have got it exactly backward: Our leaders can’t agree on important things because they’re missing this kind of social lubricant. “Some say you don’t want to make it look like the Senate’s being jovial with all these serious things going on,” Lott told me. “My view is you can’t get serious things done because you don’t have events where you can enjoy each other’s company.”



Select #Benghazi Congressional investigating committee announced.

And hey!

Elections have consequences: “House Republicans have decided the select committee to investigate the Benghazi terror attack will include seven Republicans and five Democrats, according to two senior House GOP leadership aides.”  This is in stark contrast to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s eyebrow-raising demand that Democrats be given equal membership on said committee: it’s an open question whether Pelosi will appoint anybody at all at this point.  Given her generally poor decision-making since 2009, I’m going to guess that she’ll boycott the entire thing out of pique until it becomes clear that playing even a bad hand on this still beats playing no hand at all.

And when I say that elections have consequences, I am not snarking – well, I’m not just snarking.  I’m also quoting select committee chair Trey Gowdy (via Hot Air): (more…)


The beautiful, cheerfully optimistic cynicism of Uncle Milton.

I got sent this via email, and it is so, so true:

Basically, it’s one iteration of Milton Friedman’s famous observation: “The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.” I miss Milton Friedman: he was also so genuinely happy and serene when he talked about how to ruthlessly game the system to the legitimate benefit of all humankind…


Rep. Ann Kuster (D, New Hampshire-2): hates town halls, likes being rude.

Ooh, I can answer this one!

Since taking office in 2013, Rep. Annie Kuster has yet to hold a legitimate townhall meeting for constituents in New Hampshire’s 2nd congressional district, and onlookers are taking notice.

Today Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, a Republican-leaning group, released video footage of trackers merely asking why she’d yet to appear before the people who elected her in such a setting.

The answer is, of course, that Rep. Kuster doesn’t want to explain why she’s so far to the left of her constituents.  Not to mention, she apparently has staffing problems: (more…)


The House Ethics Committee needs to do more than ‘investigate’ Members of Congress.

I have no idea whether this particular case has anything to it:

The House Ethics Committee is looking into whether Rep. Luis Gutiérrez’s (D-Ill.) violated House rules.

The Ethics Committee did not specify the matter on Thursday, but USA Today has reported Gutiérrez continued to employ his former chief of staff Doug Scofield — now an Illinois lobbyist — as a paid contractor since 2003. Scofield had been paid more than $500,000, the newspaper reported, to train staff and write press releases, among other things.

…but I’ve noticed that while there are a goodly number of investigations, nothing ever seems to happen to the Members of Congress who get investigated. They’re all as pure as new-fallen snow, apparently.  I say this in a rare mood of bipartisanship: it beggars the imagination to think that there is nobody currently in Congress who deserves to be thrown out of it.  They’re overdue for making an example of somebody.

Via Instapundit.


Two more Democrats take their balls and go home.

Freshman Gloria McLeod of CA-35 and long-time Representative Rush Holt of NJ-12. No great loss, in either case. McLeod’s a California apparatchik who apparently misses the little pond of county government and Holt was someone who aspired to scientific gadfly*, but only achieved “mild aggravation.” Double-digit Democratic districts – say that five times, real fast – that were lovingly redistricted to keep ‘em that way**; still, every time we see one of these seats get filled with a hothouse flower of a freshman legislator it’s a mild gain for us.

I wonder if this is the end of the retirement wave? (more…)

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