Late in the 18th century, the neoclassic English architect Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe was commissioned by the state of Virginia, at the suggestion of Thomas Jefferson, to design one of the world’s first penitentiaries, in Richmond, Va.
According to the constitutional historian Garrett Epps’ new book, American Epic: Reading the Constitution, “Latrobe succeeded so well at the commission that he was then hired to design the U.S. Capitol.”
The coincidence of events is remarkable.
My warnings from two recent columns, one labeling House Republicans the Banana Republicans, the other warning that the far right will doom the GOP, have come true.
Public approval has collapsed for the Republican Party, the Tea Party, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Republicans employing extremist tactics to impose crushing pain and economic danger upon Americans.
Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) should allow votes on clean bills to fund the government, end the shutdown and end the danger of a GOP-induced default that would cause a GOP-induced economic crash. The public verdict is in. The Republican Party is guilty as charged.
The fiasco must end. The government must be reopened. The financial crash must be avoided. The inmates must no longer be allowed to run the asylum by Republican leaders. The obsession against ObamaCare must end.
The Hill reports today that, oh no, House members have to reuse their towels at their gym! Gosh, do they have to bring their own soap too?
Let's talk some politics. As a depressing and despicable week comes to a close, the scoreboard for the week is clear. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) and House Democrats have hit the jackpot: They look strong, principled, of capable of regaining control. Pelosi looks like a leader and stateswoman, while House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) looks inept, disingenuous and weak after the worst seven days of any Speaker in many years.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) looks like a fighter, and if Republicans take the big blame for the fiasco, which seems overwhelmingly likely, Senate Democrats come out of the mess looking stronger.
Harry Reid blasted them Wednesday. I blasted them last Thursday in my column. America is blasting them in polls showing that approval of the Tea Party has fallen to record lows. In fact, Obama's approval rating towers above the Tea Party's. Public approval of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (California) is well above the Tea Party's.
September 27, 2013, 08:23 pm
By A.B. Stoddard, columnist, The Hill
Republican Party leaders and top GOP donors can top off their bad week with even more challenging news: Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) is now the top contender among possible 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls, jumping 8 points since July, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.
The Cruz-ade, as I called it in my column this week, to defund ObamaCare or shutdown the government has taken the Texan to new heights in only two months since he began pushing for something he knew could not be achieved. Money has been raised, along with his profile, and ObamaCare is right where it was before, save for a few delays the administration — not Republicans— has imposed.
Regarding my new column, Banana Republicans 2013, here is the inside: The smartest Republican strategists, major Republican donors, and even some Republican leaders in Congress (whom I criticized) privately agree with me.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is the best thing that has happened to Democrats since "Brownie" handled Katrina for Bush 43, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is playing him like a violin. Let him talk, and the more voters who hear Cruz, the better for Democrats.
I could not help but notice that former President George H.W. Bush, serving as an official witness Saturday at the Maine wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen, co-owners of a Kennebunk general store, was wearing one blue sock and one red sock. It was not an accident; wife Barbara was on hand, signing as well. They do not let the former president who brought traditional New England cachet and karma to weigh down the first important president from the West, Ronald Reagan, appear dotty, especially when signing the charter for a gay marriage. But what I found troubling is that the blue sock was on the right foot and the red sock on the left foot. This is the way the world ends.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) should resign from the Senate and run for president in 2016. Cruz can no longer effectively represent Texans because he is almost universally disrespected by House and Senate Republicans, as well as Democrats.
His erratic behavior surrounding ObamaCare is merely the latest example of "The Ted Cruz Show" in which this politician is wasting taxpayer money on shameless personal politics and legislatively ineffective self-promotion.
September 12, 2013, 09:18 pm
By A.B. Stoddard, columnist, The Hill
Keeping your eyes on the sad Syria crisis may actually be more comforting than paying attention to the Congress's inability to pass a bill to keep the government open.
The few days of September scheduled for legislating — in the House it was only nine — are slipping away, swallowed up initially by President Obama's bungled response to the chemical attack in Syria. Indeed, with the end of the fiscal year coming Sept. 30, consensus is nowhere to be found.