When Henry Waxman was elected to the House of Representatives, he was 35 years old. Now, at 74, the congressman says he’s ready to pass the torch.
“After 40 years in Congress, it’s time for someone else to have the chance to make his or her mark, ideally someone who is young enough to make the long-term commitment that’s required for real legislative success,” he said in a statement announcing his retirement Thursday.
Just a few hours after news of Waxman’s departure broke, a potential (and young) candidate has spoken up: Sandra Fluke.
“I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate,” Fluke, 32, told KPCC, a California radio station. “A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running.”
Her name should ring a bell. Two years ago, in February, Fluke was barred from testifying at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing about contraception. Chairman Darrell Issa said that because Fluke was not a member of the clergy, she could not appear on the ultimately all-male panel, which was supposed to discuss contraception in relation to religious freedom.
So House Democrats convened an unofficial hearing themselves. Fluke, then a third-year law student at Georgetown, spoke in support of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance companies cover contraceptives like birth control.
A few days later, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” on his show.
“What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex — what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right?” Limbaugh said. “It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”
In March, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, under pressure from Democratic lawmakers and considerable public outcry, said Limbaugh’s comments were “inappropriate.” Limbaugh eventually apologized for his “word choices.”
Fluke has plenty of time to think about a run, and she’s not the only one. Steve Lopez at the Los Angeles Times suspects that Zev Yaroslavsky, a longtime Waxman political ally who sits on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, will soon be vying for Waxman’s open seat. Bobby Shriver and Sheila Kuehl, who are running to replace Yaroslavsky on the board, could jump into the race, too.
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"As Donald Trump captures the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee, a new poll finds he begins his general election campaign well behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. The new CNN/ORC Poll, completed ahead of Trump's victory last night, found Clinton leads 54% to 41%, a 13-point edge over the New York businessman, her largest lead since last July. Clinton is also more trusted than Trump on many issues voters rank as critically important, with one big exception. By a 50% to 45% margin, voters say Trump would do a better job handling the economy than Clinton would."
In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal sets out to relieve conservatives of the temptation to back a third-party candidate over Donald Trump. "The thought is more tempting this year than most, but it’s still hard to see how this would accomplish more than electing Hillary Clinton and muddling the message from a Trump defeat. ... The usual presidential result is that the party that splinters hands the election to the other, more united party." But in the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol is having none of it: "Serious people, including serious conservatives, cannot acquiesce in Donald Trump as their candidate. ... Donald Trump should not be president of the United States. The Wall Street Journal cannot bring itself to say that. We can say it, we do say it, and we are proud to act accordingly."
- Nate Cohn, New York Times: "There have been 10-point shifts over the general election season before, even if it’s uncommon. But there isn’t much of a precedent for huge swings in races with candidates as well known as Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. A majority of Americans may not like her, but they say they’re scared of him."
- Roger Simon, PJ Media: "He is particularly fortunate that his opposition, Hillary Clinton, besides still being under threat of indictment and still not having defeated Bernie Sanders (go figure), is a truly uninspiring, almost soporific, figure. ... She's not a star. Trump is. All attention will be on him in the general election. The primaries have shown us what an advantage that is. What that means for American politics may not all be good, but it's true."
- The editors, The Washington Examiner: "At the very least, Trump owes it to the country he boasts he will 'make great again' to try to demonstrate some seriousness about the office he seeks. He owes this even to those who will never consider voting for him. He can start by swearing off grand displays of aggressive and apparently deliberate ignorance. This is not too much to ask."
Humana announced it plans to "exit certain statewide individual markets and products 'both on and off [Obamacare] exchange,' the insurer said in its financial results released Monday." The company also said price hikes may be forthcoming, "commensurate with anticipated levels of risk by state." Its individual-market enrollment was down 21% in the first quarter from a year ago.