Tag Archives: Congress

The Liberal Enthusiasm Gap

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: The folks at Public Policy Polling recently announced that Democrats are facing an “enthusiasm gap” going into the 2012 presidential (re)election, with fewer than 50 percent of polled Dems announcing they are “very excited” about…

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Congressional Recesses

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: When our Senators, their upper lips trembling and brows sweating in sheer amazement at the brute strength of their own astounding willpower, conceded that instead of taking a week off for the July Fourth holiday, they would instead stay in Washington and continue to prop up our failing budget, it gave me pause.

CHRIS PUMMER: Time off for a Congressperson is allegedly a perk, but I’m not sure I see it that way. Continue reading

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Should Huma Run?

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: The idea of Huma Abedin running for her husband’s newly vacant seat in congress is pretty absurd to me, mainly because it seems like the sort of position that Abedin, if she aspired to it, would be perfectly capable of running for on her own, and not on the back of her recently resigned-in-disgrace husband.

While I agree with Molly that Huma is capable of running for this or another position on her own, this is less about her husband’s disgrace serving as her only way in, and more about the reality of politics as largely recognizing opportunity. Continue reading

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Direct Democracy

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Now that we’ve reached the point where millions of Americans can make their voices heard when it comes to which American Idol they prefer, what’s stopping us from taking this a few steps further, and allowing us to vote individually on more important issues?

HOWARD MEGDAL: At the risk of sounding elitist, I am not certain that participating in American Idol has prepared Americans for voting on complex issues. Yes, plenty of problems exist in the current system. But opening the system up to a greater number of ill-informed participants doesn’t strike me as a solution.

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JESSICA BADER: Most odd-numbered years don’t offer that much excitement for those keenly interested in American electoral politics. Sure, a handful of states have their gubernatorial and/or legislative elections, and there are always the special elections and local races to focus on, but most of the action is in the even-numbered years. When that odd number is a “1,” however, there’s something every political junkie should look forward to: the redistricting process and the strategizing and score-settling and prioritizing that go along with it.

CHRIS PUMMER: Even when one party rules when redistricting comes around, it’s not always easy to pinch your political opponent. Continue reading

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Justin Bieber’s America

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: The leaked portions of a Rolling Stone Interview with Justin Bieber in which he discusses politics and healthcare has only confirmed what I’ve suspected for a long time now—when it comes to magazine interviews, we’ve got everything backwards.

JESSICA BADER: Molly makes a valid point about the media fixation with what famous people think about issues outside of their area of expertise. That being said, I was more than a little bothered by the criticism of Rolling Stone for asking a teenage celebrity for his opinion on hot-button political issues. Continue reading

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Christopher Lee and Craigslist

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I had several levels of reaction to the Christopher Lee story, they went a little something like this:

JESSICA BADER: The most shocking aspect of the Christopher Lee scandal is how quickly the Republican Congressman resigned due to the public revelation of such a miniscule offense. It’s enough to make you wonder if Lee has done things a bit more serious than sending a shirtless photo of himself to a woman on Craigslist while fibbing about his age, occupation and marital status.

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Policy Watch: Lame Duck, and 112th Congress

JESSICA BADER: Most of the discussion of the upcoming lame duck session of Congress has focused on the prospects of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the impending expiration of the Bush tax cuts. While those are both very important issues, there’s a lot more to the waning days of the 111th Congress.

JEFF MORROW: When Congress reconvenes, the House will be Republican and the Senate Democratic. But despite fears of gridlock, divided government can work. Whether this one does will depend on whether Republicans truly own their stake in government or bide their time for 2012. Even if the outlook for a bipartisan breakthrough isn’t very good, there’s at a chance that the 112th Congress won’t be any less effective than the 111th. Continue reading

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Stephen Colbert’s Testimony

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: Not everyone was impressed by Stephen Colbert’s recent in-character testimony before Congress – even, possibly, those impressed by the previous testimony by Sesame Street’s Elmo or by Harry Reid’s Twitter conversation with Lady Gaga.

AKIE BERMISS: Anytime Stephen Colbert goes to Washington DC I get excited for the ensuing news cycle. Was it just 2006 when he spoke at the White House Correspondents Dinner? It seems so long ago: the Colbert Report was brand new. Its like most Americans over 35 had never really heard of Stephen Colbert. And then he walked into that dinner throwing fireballs of satire around. The discomfort could have been cut with a knife. It was a moment that made us all say, “Wow — this guy is no joke!” Continue reading

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The Aesthetics of Pledge to America

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: The Wall Street Journal informs me that President Obama will be making a tour shortly “to attempt to dismantle the Republican party’s “Pledge To America” governing platform.” Attempt to dismantle? Either the WSJ has a poor view of our President, or Obama has really lost his edge. Face it, folks; this thing can be dismantled by a hay-fever-ridden twentysomething with an 80s-vintage word processor. Allow me to demonstrate.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Lots of people have commented on the meaning behind the written content of the Pledge to America, but I’d like to talk about the pictures that have been included in the downloadable .pdf document. Does it strike anyone else as odd that 15 of the 48 pages in are devoted to pictures? Is this a doctrine or a children’s book? Continue reading

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