This week is the time to give thanks. What are folks in politics thankful for this year?
— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is thankful for former Sen. Scott Brown‘s (R-MA) indecision. Brown has been publicly flirting with a NH SEN run for months, and other Republicans have been passing on the race left and right. Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) should be thankful for Democrat Rick Weiland, who hasn’t united his party behind his candidacy, despite being the only real candidate. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is thankful for Matt Hoskins and Senate Conservatives Fund for playing the role of chief antagonists to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
— Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is thankful that potential Dem rivals Bill Daley and Lisa Madigan passed, effectively granting him renomination. Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is thankful that 2010 candidate Eliot Cutler (I) wants to give it another go next year, improving LePage’s chances at winning a 3-way race. The DCCC is thankful for the government shutdown, while the NRSC is thankful for the botched Obamacare rollout. Both committees are fighting uphill battles this cycle to win back majorities in their respective chambers (the DCCC much more so than the NRSC, per Tuesday’s new CNN generic ballot poll), but they both end the year with more potent cases to make against the other side than they started with.
— On the lighter side, members of Congress should be thankful for the wealth of extra-curricular activities D.C. has to offer! Plenty of pols complain that Washington is a horrible place, but Trey Radel and Mike Crapo have demonstrated there’s plenty to do around here besides legislating and fundraising. And Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) is thankful that he no longer has to go without towel service at the House gym, now that the government has reopened.
And we are forever thankful for you, our readers, for your support over the years. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll see you back here on Monday.
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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.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.