Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, with the threat of a government shutdown averted, President Obama focused on fiscal responsibility and balancing the need to cut spending and the deficit while continuing to support education, clean energy, and other investments needed to win the future. The Amir of Qatar also visited the White House.
The week’s top 10 quotes in politics:
“There is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job.”— White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe knocking Trump for 2012 in an interview on ABC News.
“There’s 85 cousins in the fourth generation. About half of them say they’re going to go into politics. So I think that there’s, like, a tsunami coming.” — Bobby Kennedy Jr. describing the political aspirations of the rest of his family.
“I was never sure that I wanted to be there for, you know, four years.” — Former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers opening up about the infamous gate-crashing incident that ended her tenure in the Obama administration.
“Sounds to me like @ConanOBrien has hair envy #Mitt2012″—Team Romney engaging in a Twitter match with comedian Conan O’Brien.
“I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”— Donald Trump explaining his support among African-Americans in an interview with the New York Observer.
“He was praying that nobody will find out just how disingenuous they are about actually cutting the expenses…” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee putting forth the idea that Vice President Joe Biden was praying, not sleeping, during Obama’s speech on the nation’s debt.
“I sincerely apologize to David Byrne.”—Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist saying sorry to musician David Byrne for using his song without permission in a campaign ad.
“Yes, he is foul-mouthed. Yes, that finger thing is a little creepy. But I love him anyway.” — President Obama expressing his affection for Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.
“His remark was not intended to be a factual statement…” —A spokesperson for Jon Kyl addressing an erroneous statement that the senator made about Planned Parenthood.
“You’re going to have to ask Dennis.” —Congressman (and ventriloquist?) Dennis Kucinich deferring to his puppet in response to a question about how he keeps winning elections on “The Daily Show.”
James O’Keefe is another GOP bottom feeder who will undoubtedly fall from grace with the GOP at some point in his corrupt, shady career.
Conservative film- and troublemaker James O’Keefe does little to dissuade animosity from the left, though after a series of faux pas has left him adrift as ideological allies question who in their right mind who greenlight wiretapping a Senator’s office or cornering a journalist in what can only be described as a “dildo boat.” To that end, Playboy’s Jordan Lieberman sought O’Keefe and found a conflicted picture of a passionate activist with a serious judgment problem.
Struggling to explain him, Lieberman– who received access through O’Keefe after convincing him to trust the columnist because they “inhabit the same circles”– alludes to everyone from Johnny Knoxville to Woodward and Bernstein to G. Gordon Liddy himself: an “ace performance artist–political shit stirrer–jackass.” This convoluted description, while accurate, doesn’t explain too much, though the background that Lieberman gives on his life certainly adds some clarity. O’Keefe has been at this since performing in high school musicals. That preposterous “pimp” coat he wore in the famous ACORN video? On loan from grandma. Yes, he lives in his parents’ house, but he’d rather not talk about it. He is very poor and appears to trust people he barely knows on a whim. He has a cache of juicy “investigative” pieces he can’t release because of the legally questionable way the information was obtained, one– Lieberman’s favorite– in which O’Keefe plays a “high-roller” who visits a resort owned by a prominent politician in search of prostitutes. Always the prostitutes with this one.
Just 100 days into Gov. Paul LePage’s Tea Party-fueled administration, his fellow Republicans are fighting back, defeating his push to bring back toxic baby bottles. Now Maine faces a choice between the Republicanism of moderate Olympia Snowe or the more bellicose LePage, reports Colin Woodard.
After November’s election, Maine Republicans had reason to feel heady. Their candidate, Tea Party-backed conservative Paul LePage, was headed to the governor’s mansion in Augusta, where the GOP had won a majority in both legislative chambers for the first time in nearly half a century.
But a hundred days into his administration, Gov. LePage has managed to alienate legislators, invigorate his opponents, and generate more negative national press attention than any Maine politician since James G. Blaine, who retired from the U.S. Senate in 1881. On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he told the NAACP to “kiss my butt.” He defended a campaign to lift a ban on the endocrine disruptor bisphenol-A in baby bottles by joking that the worst thing that could happen is “some women may have little beards.” Then he had a mural illustrating the history of Maine’s labor movement taken out of a Department of Labor waiting room after an anonymous letter compared it to murals in North Korea aimed at “brainwashing the masses.” The removal triggered large protests by artists and union members, and a possible federal Department of Labor fine in excess of $60,000, for breaching the terms of a grant that helped cover the mural’s purchase, and widespread editorial condemnation, with the Bangor Daily News describing the act as “straight out of Orwell’s world.”
“Gov. LePage has spent the early days of his administration seeking out third-rail issues,” says Ron Schmidt Jr., chairman of the University of Southern Maine’s political science department. “In traditional political math, he should be trying to grow his base”—LePage won by 1 point, with 38 percent of the vote—“but things like the mural could even erode his base.”
The central question in Maine politics has been whether Republican lawmakers would stand by LePage’s more contentious proposals, such as rolling back all environmental laws to match laxer federal standards. Recently it has become clear that many of them are frustrated with the governor, and that the feeling is mutual. On Monday, eight of 20 Republican state senators criticized the governor’s often bellicose behavior in an op-ed published by the state’s largest newspaper chain. The next day, LePage’s bisphenol-A initiative was rejected 35-0 in the state senate, after a 145-3 defeat in the House.
I simply adore the hard-working teachers, policemen, firemen, janitors, college professors, state office workers and the rest of the middle class workers in Wisconsin!
It appears the protesters were some distance away from the main event, but their message had to be heard loudly and clearly.
Ya gotta love these people!