By Christina Wilkie - 10/14/09 11:45 PM EDT
The debate on whether Rush Limbaugh should be able to purchase the St. Louis Rams has quickly become heated. Very heated.
It started on Tuesday night when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) delivered a five-minute floor speech warning of the damage that a Limbaugh-owned franchise would do to the National Football League (NFL). Lee reasoned that the divisive nature of Limbaugh’s radio rhetoric was at odds with the values of the pro football league, which include teamwork, unity and diversity. She also referenced his controversial comments in 2003 about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
On Wednesday, Limbaugh fired back on his show at Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
Said Limbaugh, “I wonder if Ms. Jackson Lee has any regard for the truth. Does she have any regard for hoping, desiring to sound intelligent and knowledgeable or is she content to be happy and proud to go the floor of the House of Representatives and make a fool of herself?
“What makes [Jackson Lee] a sports expert?”
Limbaugh asserted that the media and Democrats are spreading “lies and fabrications and misstatements” about him, suggesting that his comments on McNabb have been distorted.
Other CBC members weighed in on Limbaugh’s bid to buy the Rams.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) worried that Limbaugh’s politics would distract from the game. “Politics may be a contact sport, but football is not a political issue,” he told ITK. “Rush’s ownership could detract from the players by making the politics of one [franchise’s] owner the story. Soon you’ll have players commenting on the owners, and that’s not a good thing.”
According to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the issue has simply been blown out of proportion. “This is a great opportunity for Congress to show some restraint and not do anything,” he said, just hours before Jackson Lee took to the floor. “[Just like] the congressional investigation into steroids was totally unnecessary, politicians getting involved in NFL ownership issues is the same thing.”
But as of press time, ESPN reported that Limbaugh likely was going to bow out of trying to buy the Rams. Dave Checketts, chairman of the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues and head of the potential Rams ownership group, realized he must remove Limbaugh as a minority stakeholder in order to strengthen his bid to gain the NFL’s approval, three unnamed NFL sources told ESPN.
Oh, well. Never mind.
Rep. Bachmann’s action figure flops
It sounded like the perfect plan: HeroBuilders Toys, maker of the hugely successful Sarah Palin action figure, would follow it up with another outspoken, attractive conservative action figure, that of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). But shoppers have yet to buy in.
According HeroBuilders CEO Emil Vicale, the company has sold only about 75 of the Bachmann dolls since they were released last week, compared to the 10,000 Sarah Palins that were sold in the same time period last year.
It’s worth noting that the former Alaska governor has a distinct sartorial advantage over Mrs. Bachmann: Superhero Palin sports a white miniskirt, a long black trench coat and a pistol in a thigh holster. Bachmann, on the other hand, comes in a boxy navy blue pantsuit and what appear to be orthopedic shoes, a look that’s more IRS than CIA.
Another reason for the slow sales may be the economy:
HeroBuilder dolls retail for about $35 each, compared to $17.97 for a Wal-Mart Barbie doll.
So why have the Bachmann sales been slow? A spokesman for the lawmaker said, “With Washington sucking every last dime out of taxpayers’ pockets and draining the economy of every last nickel, we’re not terribly surprised that people don’t have money to spend on these toys.”
Look out, Letterman: Rep. Grayson’s got a Top 10 list
After Republican candidates recently dropped out of the race to challenge suddenly famous Rep. Alan Grayson
(D-Fla.), the lawmaker’s campaign released a Top 10 list on why they dropped out. Some of them are a little inside baseball, so ITK offers the best six of the 10:
1. “D.C. is so hot in the summer.”
4. “Adulation makes me uncomfortable.”
6. “The word ‘Congress’ sounds dirty to me.”
7. “My wife told me that she would love to have me out of town each week, and that makes me kind of nervous.”
8. “I can make so much more money as a lobbyist.”
10. “Would I have to, like, know stuff?”
The congressman made headlines recently when he said that the GOP healthcare plan relied on people “dying quickly.”
His senior adviser, Julie Tagen, had a slightly bloodier take on what motivated the candidates’ decisions: “They don’t want to run because they don’t want to be gutted like a fish.”
A third possibility is that they just didn’t like their odds: In the last 26 years, 237 Floridian members of Congress have run for reelection. Only eight of them have lost.
Solis and Smits party till late
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and actor Jimmy Smits were spotted Tuesday night at Mate, a Georgetown nightspot. Smits was in town for a White House dinner in honor of Hispanic Americans, the Fiesta Latina. Smits told ITK that the best thing about the dinner was the musical performances. “Marc Anthony was amazing,” he said.
Solis was there with her husband of 27 years, Sam Solis, who now commutes weekly from California to Washington.
Secretary Solis, a former congresswoman from California, used to commute home from Washington on the weekends.
“Now it’s my turn to make the long trips,” Sam Solis joked.
Alfalfa Club insiders Bond and Feinstein share a joke about getting roasted
The Senate is often described as the most exclusive club in the world, but for some senators there’s another even more selective group worth belonging to: the ultra-prestigious Alfalfa Club.
This Washington-based club, founded in 1913, boasts several senators as members, including Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas).
In January this year, Bond was sworn in as president of Alfalfa, whose 200 members have included Supreme Court justices, political and business leaders and a number of U.S. presidents.
Speaking to the nominee for deputy director of national intelligence, David Gompert, Bond reminded people attending the Intelligence Committee hearing that as president of the Alfalfa Club, he has a very big budget that allows him to roast leaders in Washington, including members of the intelligence community.
“It’s a machine-gun opportunity to roast everyone in this room,” he jokingly warned the audience.
But the committee’s chairwoman, Feinstein, had other ideas.
“I won’t be in sight,” she deadpanned. (Feinstein was inducted into the club in 1999, only five years after it began accepting women.)
Without missing a beat, Bond quipped, “Well, we might have to find you an opportunity … ”