The debt-ceiling crisis should make you miss the bland politico
Dick Gephardt spent most of his 14 terms in Washington writing his legislative achievements in water. For a guy who spent decades in the Democratic Party's leadership, including stints as both the Majority and Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Dick Gephardt isn’t yoked in political memory to any specific initiative or policy portfolio. Next to a walking media bonanza like Newt Gingrich—or even the elegant, unctuous vampirism of his one-time Senate counterpart, Tom Daschle—Gephardt’s flavorless public profile was never going to leap off the screen.
Just because the government has shut down doesn’t mean Congress will cease its central function of making Americans’ lives miserable. While everyone watches the legislative back-and-forth on the budget, the House may vote this week to thwart a key new Labor Department protection affecting $10.5 trillion in retirement funds. Basically, House Republicans want to allow the financial services industry to continue to steal from your 401(k) and IRA plans. And far too many Democrats want to help them.
Focusing on the House is a better strategy. Here's why
In the ensuing fourteen months, Democrats and their assorted allies will spend tens of millions of dollars to protect their razor-thin majority in the United States Senate. The Kentucky race alone—to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—could cost the parties in excess of $100 million, according to some estimates. In other competitive contests, outside spending could easily exceed that benchmark.
Republicans defund academic studies whose lessons they don't want to learn
Under the cover of austerity, Republicans defund academic studies whose lessons they don't want to learn.
A Hill reporter's guide to D.C.'s most indistinguishable politicians
A Hill reporter's guide to telling DC's most indistinguishable politicians apart.
If you look at the House Republican vote, you find regional divisions that mirror the Red-Blue divisions in the national electorate. All in all, 85 Republicans voted for the Senate resolution and 151 voted against it. The opposition was centered in the Old South. Southern Republicans opposed the measure by 83 to 10. The delegations from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina were unanimously opposed.
"I AM AWARE," H. R. Haldeman writes, "that I there is a cult of people in this country who collect every scrap of information about Watergate because of its many fascinating mysteries." He's more than aware: his memoir. The Ends of Power, is a seething nest of almost every conceivable scrap of Watergate conspiracy theory developed to date. The Democratic Trap Theory, the CIA Trap Theory, the Blackmail Demand Theory: you name it, H. R. Bob buys it.
The start to the Roger Clemens trial last week was a sleepy affair. Clemens is charged with lying to Congress during a 2008 hearing on steroids, when he testified that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs in his storied pitching career. He faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted on all counts. But, despite the high stakes and some melodramatic rhetoric from the lead prosecutor—who built his opening statement around a quote from Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem Marmion—the courtroom lacked much buzz. At one pre-trial deliberation, I had several pews to myself.
Bloomberg has an absolutely terrific piece of reporting out today about how the big banks have mobilized to water down the Volcker Rule—the reform measure designed to prevent federally-backed banks from placing bets for their own bottom line. Here’s the gist: To make their case in Washington, banks and trade associations have been pressing a coordinated campaign to get regulators from five federal agencies to scale back the draft of the proprietary-trading rule issued in October, according to public and internal documents and interviews.