In 2004, Fabian Núñez, then the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, received an odd phone call. It was the assembly’s sergeant at arms, reporting that Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader, was sitting at the speaker’s dais in an otherwise empty chamber. “Kevin McCarthy looks like he’s presiding, but there’s nobody in there,” the sergeant at arms told Núñez. Despite their political differences, Núñez and McCarthy were friends; both had been elected to the assembly in 2002 and had swiftly risen to the top posts in their respective conferences.
Despite my scramble to finish a piece before I vanish next week for a short leave, I found myself irresistibly drawn to a Washington Post front-pager today that may rank as the most absurd political "controversy" since the kerfuffle over whether First Dog Bo really qualified as a rescue pooch. Headline: “Obama says D.C. schools not on par with Sidwell.” Subhed: “Daughters’ private education better than public options, he says.” Gist of the piece: When asked on “Today” whether Malia and Sasha “would get the same kind of education at a D.C.
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett would like to make one thing exceedingly clear: The Obama administration is not bad for business. No way. No how. Not one little bit. “We are not anti-business,” the president’s chief liaison to the business community stresses to me over the phone one afternoon in late July, an edge of frustration ruffling her usually calm-as-cream voice.
Lord have mercy. These days, a man can’t even strap on a bunch of explosives, take a network building hostage, and get himself shot dead by police without touching off a partisan slap fest. Before I fired up my computer this morning, I assumed that conservative partisans would have been busy little beavers during the night. Sure enough, not one but two e-mails awaited me, crowing about James Lee’s environmental extremism.
Rick Perry should be riding high. Chasing his third full term as governor of Texas, Perry is a blood-red conservative running in a blood-red state in a blood-red cycle. In April of last year, he cheered a bill in the statehouse aimed at reasserting Texas’s sovereign rights against an “oppressive” federal government. A few days later, he began publicly musing about how, in its struggle against tyranny, Texas might find it necessary to secede.
[Guest post by Michelle Cottle] God, what is it with the Palin women? Every time they do something stupid, their immediate response is to blame someone else. Forget Mama Grizzly’s obsession with the media haters. What is up with Bristol’s pity-me puling about her latest split with Levi? Boo hoo hoo, he lied to me about his trip to Hollywood. Boo hoo hoo, he admitted he might have knocked up another teenage girl. Boo hoo hoo, he tricked me into appearing on all those magazine covers with him.
Say this for the president: He knows how to charm the ladies. Obama’s sit down on “The View” this morning seemed to go about as smoothly as one could hope. POTUS stayed cool, confident, and charming as he answered questions ranging from “Why don’t we get out of Afghanistan?” to “Where is your message machine to combat the right’s?” to “Were you invited to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding?” (No. He was not.) His one clear moment of not knowing how to respond was when Joy Behar asked if Mel Gibson needed rage therapy.
In an attempt to do something constructive before my day spirals into chaos, I like to hit the gym around 5:30. At that hour, the only viewing options are typically CNN, local news, and VH1. Anyone who has ever tried to get cranking on the elliptical while watching pre-dawn traffic reports will understand why I opt for the music videos.
[This is a guest post by Michelle Cottle] I understand why Breitbart has Jonathan Chait, among others, up in arms about conservative pseudo-journalism. But what I find disheartening about this Andrew Breitbart business isn’t what it says so much about conservative journalism as about the sorry state of journalism period.
Like most great women of mystery, Sarah Palin is at once everywhere and nowhere. On any given evening, you might see the former Alaska governor-turned-conservative-icon on Fox News, chatting up like-minded travelers about the political buzz du jour. Her byline pops up now and again in the opinion pages (supporting McCain, bashing enviros). She periodically hits the campaign trail with favored candidates. She is a prolific and passionate tweeter.