For years, centrist observers of American politics have bemoaned the decline in civility in Washington and in our state capitols.
Where once lawmakers from both parties would never place their devotion to partisan principles above their commitment to alcoholism and would wile away their afternoons in bipartisan drinking sessions, today's elected officials are much less likely to interact socially with their political opponents. The time pressures of fundraising, the need to please partisan activist bases and the decline of Georgetown salon culture has reduced the spaces in which Democrats and Republicans can come together.
Luckily, there's still one taxpayer-funded locale with bipartisan accommodations – prison…
John Perzel, a Republican from Philadelphia and Bill Deweese, a Democrat from Greene, share the distinction of both having served as Speaker of the Pennsylvania State House.
They also became convicted felons within a month of each other after separate convictions on corruption charges. Now they’re both at Camp Hill state prison, and according to the website PoliticsPA, they're sharing the same cell…
Democratic Rep. Ronald Waters, who serves in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and worked with both Perzel and Deweese prior to their convictions, commented that "to the best of our knowledge, it seems to be true."
The unusual housing arrangement allegedly came about after Deweese, a Democrat convicted of using state funds to pay his campaign staff, was uncomfortable bunking with his original cellmate — his own former chief of staff Mike Manzo. Understandable, as Manzo testified against him.
Luckily, both are facing relatively short sentences. Deweese was sentenced to 30 to 60 months in prison while Perzel will serve 2 to 5 years, barring a successful appeal. It will probably be the first time politicians express gratitude for the existence of "term limits."
Photo by Federal Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Tags: Corruption, Pennsylvania, Prison
Look, as the President of the United States, sometimes you're gonna have to travel. You're going to have to get in a plane and fly to another state and say some presidential stuff in front of a bunch of out-of-work factory workers. It's just the way it is. It's a simple fact of life.
And if, by chance, those some –or most, or maybe all — of those places to which you simply have to go happen to be in swing states that you will need to carry in November to win reelection, is that your fault?
Some Republican legislators seem to think so…
In a letter to the Government Accountability Office from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, the committee requested an investigation into Obama's recent travel – including trips this week to Iowa and North Carolina – alleging those trips were more political than official.
The White House and Obama For America, the president's reelection campaign, go to great lengths to distinguish between official and campaign activities, as do elected officials and their reelection efforts at various levels of government.
But Obama's recent speeches, the RNC said in the letter, were "events widely reported to be equivalent to campaign rallies." The committee's case sees supporting evidence in a list of the states Obama has visited this month, including the general election battlegrounds of Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio.
Hey, I'm not saying that the president's recent schedule seems somewhat fishy, because it's totally not. I'm just saying that somebody totally else might be tempted to say that the president's recent schedule seems somewhat fishy.
But, I'm certain that Obama's spokespeople have immaculate explanations for anything that anybody might be tempted to maybe think…
Carney seemed offended by q's about whether electoral factors in POTUS travel sked (FL last week, OH + MI this week, NC, CO, IA next week).
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 20, 2012
(via Washington Free Beacon)
Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
Tags: Barack Obama, Colorado, Corruption, Florida, Iowa, Jay Carney, Michigan, Money, North Carolina, Ohio
Many former John Edwards supporters, initially attracted to his campaign by his incredible hair and eloquent statements on poverty in America, remain bitter at the reality that Edwards is an enormous douchebag. We should never have been so credulous. The man told us there were two Americas and we were shocked he had two families?
Opening arguments in the Edwards trial began on Monday, so to avoid any more unpleasant surprises, let's consider how his prosecution is going to continue debasing our national life…
1. If Edwards is found innocent, the government will be unable to study the unctuous slime the former senator emits whenever he smiles, speaks or shakes a hand. If we could only harness the power of this oil, our quest for renewable energy would be over, but the ACLU will probably block such experiments even if Edwards is convicted.
2. If Edwards is found guilty, your campaign contributions will now go to mistress maintenance payments. Edwards' is accused of asking his friends to direct $900,000 to Rielle Hunter in an effort to hide his affair with Hunter from his wife and the public. Under the government's theory, this represented a campaign donation that went unreported and exceeded the maximum allowable contribution. Which means that according to the DOJ, our politicians' affairs should be properly paid by campaign, not personal, funds.
3. Evan Bayh left electoral politics. John Thune refuses to run for president. Mitt Romney is still a less than even bet for the White House. Will we ever have a president with truly great hair again?
4. John Edwards 2016. What, are Republicans the only ones who reboot their political careers after leaving a wife with cancer?
5. This one is serious. Under the prosecution's theory, any third-party payment that could "influence an election" could be considered criminal. For example, if the friends of Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh were to pay his child support, this could lend legitimacy to his "family values" campaign and improve his chances of re-election. Following the government's argument in the Edwards case, this would be enough to send Walsh to jail for up to 30 years. Really, Edwards's most recent offense is forcing me to root for his acquittal. Thanks for ruining everything, asshat.
Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Corruption, Crime, John Edwards
Today begin's the trial of former Sen. John Edwards, and — believe it or not — his favorability is waaaay down. Good thing somebody spent the time and money to get those numbers…
The CBS/NYT poll reveals that only 3 percent of those polled hold a favorable view of Edwards, who has been charged with misusing campaign funds. That is down from 30 percent in 2007 when he was running for the Democratic nomination, which is also the last time the question was asked among registered voters.
Since 2007, Edwards' unfavorable ratings have risen eleven points, from 30 percent to 41 percent today. However, half of those polled are undecided or don't have an opinion of Edwards.
Women, however, especially dislike Edwards, with just 2 percent holding a favorable view of him compared to 45 percent who view him unfavorably.
Just think. In some alternate reality out there in the multiverse, John Edwards is the Vice President of the United States during the Kerry Administration right now.
Can you even imagine how bad that's guy's approval rating is?
Photo by Steve Exum/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Corruption, Crime, John Edwards, Judiciary, Polls
House Republicans furious GSA would spend taxpayer dollars on a trip to Vegas when there are so many tobacco lobbyists willing to pay for it
— David Feldman (@David_Feldman_) April 18, 2012
Tags: Corruption, House of Representatives, Las Vegas, Lobbyists, Republicans, Tweet Untweet, Twitter