A candidate really can’t lose campaigning against Congress — even if he so happens to work there.
According to Gallup, just 7 percent of Americans say they have either “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress, a historic low recorded by the polling firm. So it makes sense for Sen. Rand Paul to criticize his colleagues in the run-up to a likely run for the White House. “I can tell you without exaggeration that I’ve met the enemy, and the enemy is too often us,” he said in a Friday speech at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” conference, which attracts Christian-values voters to Washington.
Many of the speakers at the event spoke in populist terms — Rick Santorum called for a turn to “blue-collar conservatism,” Michele Bachmann anchored her fiery speech in Obama’s low poll numbers. But Paul’s anger was focused mainly on Congress. Here are some of his key lines:
Congress is responsible for “the bipartisan destruction of our currency,” he said.
“They pass 100-page bills no one has read,” he said. “No bill should ever pass that has not been read.”
“Congress routinely passes laws they exempt themselves from,” he said.
“Over time many politicians become distant and distanced from their constituents,” he said.
“It is the right time for term limits,” he said.
His speech was tight, lyrical even, and at one point echoed Lincoln. Paul said, “I don’t think a nation can long endure” with legalized abortion.
Paul isn’t an obvious choice for religious-values voters — Bachmann and Santorum have proven to be a lot more outspoken on religious issues. But he doesn’t shy away from the issues either. “No government should make anyone choose between their faith and their livelihood,” he said of the pending Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case.
If anything, Paul has proven himself able to pitch himself effectively to many ideological corners of the Republican Party — the libertarian leaning and the faith-based. And the kids love him. That, combined with a war against the unpopular establishment, could provide him with a strong base going forward.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”