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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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."