Second-term Arizona governor Jan Brewer — best known for shoving her finger in President Obama's face, her unreasonably tough stance on immigration, and, more recently, vetoing her state's anti-gay bill — will not run for reelection, the Arizona Republic reports. Though Arizona's constitution limits governors to two terms, Brewer, who was appointed to her initial term after Janet Napolitano left to become Secretary of Homeland Security, had recently indicated that she might argue that she was eligible for a third, since she was not elected the first time around. But, she said on Monday, "There does come a time to pass the torch of leadership. And after competing this term in office, I will be doing just that." This probably does not mean that Arizona will get any less crazy, though.
Last month, in the course of reading Benjamin Wallace’s superb profile of Ezra Klein and his new media venture, I stopped short on this mysterious quote from his wife (and New York Times reporter) Annie Lowrey:
“He has a bit of the conquistador in him,” says Lowrey. “Everything he does, he’s kind of looking around at the women and the goats and the huts.”
Goats? What does he want with goats?
Conservatives used to say all the time that envy doesn’t work in American politics, that Americans admire the rich rather than begrudge them their fortune. They rarely say that anymore. Instead they warn that Americans resent the rich too much, that our noxious resentment carries all sorts of dangerous side effects. American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks wrote a column in the Sunday New York Times earlier this month warning, “a national shift toward envy would be toxic for American culture,” and then asserted such a shift is already under way. Another Times column a week later, by Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan, who is not even a conservative, likewise frets that rampant envy "has made us less pragmatic and more dogmatic."
Republican David Jolly narrowly defeated Democrat Alex Sink on Tuesday night in the Florida special election to succeed the late Representative Bill Young, which came to be viewed as a preview of the midterm elections. Political parties and outside groups spent $11 million on the race, which featured cameos from the likes of Bill Clinton and Paul Ryan, and let each party try out its strategy heading into November. Jolly hammered Sink on her support for Obamacare, so Republicans will likely see the race as a confirmation that they should keep focusing on the health care law in elections nationwide. Democrats countered that Sink did well, considering that Republicans have held the district for nearly 60 years. The New York Times notes, "political analysts have said that the results of one House special election, no matter how close, seldom transcend state boundaries," but that isn't going to stop those desperate for a political race to analyze.
President Dad-Jeans #Normcore is in town this afternoon ahead of an exclusive $32,400-a-head fund-raiser, and he's spending the intervening hours as a man (from out of town) of the people. At the Gap. On 42nd Street.
Basically, Obama is channeling The Office's Michael Scott, who once said, "I always like to come to New York a little bit early and hit some of my favorite haunts," like Sbarro for "a New York slice."
The idea that it is important to safeguard the dignity of the presidency is one of those ideas, like “reducing deficits is always good,” that’s shared so widely within official Washington that it is considered a bland truism rather than a point of view. Sometimes the shared concern for the dignity of the office becomes a shield on the president’s behalf, as when reporters fretted that a conservative reporter tarnished the dignity of the office by shouting questions at President Obama.
President Obama’s appearance on “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis has prompted another round of worried harrumphing, this time not posed in opposition to Obama’s rude interrogators, but to Obama himself, for engaging in unpresidential comedy. (Which is to say, comedy that is not in the form of trading safe, knowing one-liners as the dinner speaker at a gathering of elite journalists.)
For sheer histrionics, it will never come close to the showdown over charter schools between Eva Moskowitz and Mayor Bill de Blasio. For house-and-home urgency, it doesn’t approach the need for the administration to install a leader of “Build It Back,” the floundering Sandy-recovery program with 19,000 applicants and zero completed repairs. But the ongoing search for a new parks commissioner is an intriguing test of the larger de Blasio progressive experiment.
It’s more of a commercial for Obamacare than our generation’s Frost/Nixon, but it’s also pretty funny. Joining the likes of such luminaries as Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lawrence, President Obama sat down for a faux-tense chat with comedian Zach Galifianakis on the beloved web show “Between Two Ferns.” Before he got around to plugging the now-functional healthcare.gov — “A lot of young people, they think they’re invincible” — Obama delivered a few one-liners aimed straight at Galifianakis’s oversize head. The man has timing.
Members of the Senate are getting less sleep these days, and they can blame Rand Paul. Inspired by Paul's career-boosting Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment last year, 26 Democrats decided to stage a filibuster on Monday night to draw attention to the issue of climate change. Except, their demonstration is actually more like Ted Cruz's 21-hour Obamacare fauxlibuster, since they aren't preventing or delaying a vote. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, who organized the effort, described it as an "opening salvo" to show "that we’re taking this seriously and there is a stirring in the Senate around this issue."
Republicans have poured millions of dollars into a Senate ad in Michigan castigating Democratic Senate candidate Gary Peters, who voted for the Affordable Care Act, for done near killing a woman named Julie Boonstra, who has cancer. Boonstra — who also turned out to be the ex-wife of a Republican county chairman — sadly looks into the camera and explains how she had a wonderful insurance plan to treat her cancer, but Obamacare cancelled it, and now she could die:
Deep behind a tangle of denial and rebranding initiatives, a GOP resuscitation plan emerges.By Frank Rich
When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.By Jason Zengerle
Jon Favreau’s most enduring riffs.
Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013
For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.By Ezra Klein
Mother Jones Jan. 15, 2013
Our debt dysfunction began with the Constitution, funded Manifest Destiny, and makes the trillion dollar coin look tame.By Tim Murphy
Salon Jan. 15, 2012
Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.By Steve Kornacki
New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010
After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009
Obama drew progressive ire from day one.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008
How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.By Jeff Coplon