It was mere moments before the government shutdown, and Rep. David Schweikert looked like a man without a care in the world.
The minutes ticking toward midnight, the Arizona Republican stood in statuary hall and searched for words to describe his emotions. It quickly became apparent that neither regret nor reticence was anywhere to be found. Instead, it was something like eagerness ““ even excitement ““ that best captured the congressman’s spirit.
“I know it’s not comfortable for a lot of people here, but this is how it’s supposed to work,” Schweikert told National Journal, his eyes wide and his smile broadening.
“It’s supposed to be cantankerous. It’s supposed to be this constant grinding.”
It’s supposed to lead to a government shutdown?
“Well, the one thing that isn’t working the way it’s supposed to, is there’s supposed to be a sense of constant negotiation — you’re constantly working a deal,” said Schweikert, a former county treasurer and state representative. “And this is unlike any dealing experience I’ve ever had — in my county government, my legislature, even my previous couple of years here.”
The difference, Schweikert explained: “We get nothing from the other side.”
Moments earlier, a precession of House Democratic officials — led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — had trudged slowly into the corridor with a choreographed gloom and settled around the microphones. There, they proceeded to ring in the shutdown and rebuke Republicans for their “planned” shuttering of the federal government.
Schweikert, a conservative elected in the 2010 tea party wave, strode casually into the Capitol’s hallowed hall, a discernible spring in his step. Asked to explain his good spirits, Schweikert hinted that earlier that day he, too, was anxious about the looming shutdown. But then, he said, an eleventh-hour experience replenished his optimism.
“I just held a mini-telephone town hall an hour ago, with a random dial,” Schweikert said, leaning in and rubbing his palms together. “I’m from a fairly conservative district so it’s not a real good sampling. But it was interesting. Somehow, they figured it out.”
Figured what out?
“They’re pissed at the Senate.”
“I think something the left might not have calculated is: This one ain’t like the others,” Schweikert said, referring to the string of fiscal fights that has consumed Congress since 2010. “A lot of folks, with the health care law, they’re fearful that it affects their pocketbook.”
Schweikert and other GOP lawmakers have grown accustomed to receiving mixed reviews during various spending disputes, even in their right-leaning districts. But the constituents Schweikert spoke with around 11 p.m. Monday were overwhelmingly supportive, he said. And moreover, the vast majority of them blamed the shutdown drama on Democrats’ refusal to budge on Obamacare.
“I think they may have screwed up,” Schweikert whispered, nodding his head. “There’s a handful of senators who may have just made a vote that ends their careers.”
Schweikert is but one representative, yet his perspective encapsulates the conservative disposition in the days leading up to Sept. 30. Armed with these two self-assuring sentiments ““ bottomless support from their constituents, and subsequent exoneration from blame ““ conservatives have grown emboldened to the point where they are pushing their chips to the middle of the table and betting on the demise of President Obama’s health care law.
Schweikert was utterly cerebral in the minutes before the first government shutdown in 17 years, and maybe a little bit enthusiastic. Not because it doesn’t have real-world ramifications and not because he wanted to see a shutdown. But because Schweikert and other conservatives feel great about the gamble they are taking — and feel no pressure to fold their hand now.
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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.”