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House Intel Chief To Retire

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg, via Getty

Rep. Mike Rogers will serve out the rest of his term as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. But after 2014, he says he will pursue a new career in talk radio.

Rep. Mike Rogers, the powerful Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, will not seek re-election to Congress after his term expires this year.Rogers made the announcement Friday on the Detroit, Michigan radio station, WJR. In an interview he said he would pursue a new career after his term expires in 2015 as a radio talk show host with Cumulus Media, the second largest owner and operator of AM and FM radio stations in the United States.

Tyranny

The Despotism of Obamacare Delays

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty

Because we’ve lost faith in politics, we’re willing to let presidents trample the rule of law to advance a pale imitation of our highest ideals.

We are now so jaded about the Affordable Care Act that it has lost the ability to shock us. News of its 38th delay in implementation is stirring up outrage from all the predictable quarters, but outrage isn’t shock. Everyone, supporters included, understands now that implementation means improvisation.For many Americans, however, there’s nothing outrageous about broader health care coverage. No matter how clumsy and inefficient implementing the ACA may become, and no matter how bad the risk pool may become as a consequence, enough of us are captivated by the abstract principle of expanding coverage to ensure that repealing Obamacare remains an uphill battle at best.

Kentucky Derby

Can Jesse Benton Unite the GOP?

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He helped Ron and Rand Paul tear down the Republican establishment. Then the ‘sellout’ went to work for Mitch McConnell. Meet the operative who just might bring the party back together.

When Jesse Benton moved to Kentucky, he didn’t think he would ever have to choose between them.But in early 2013, Benton, the former aide to Rep. Ron Paul, Sen. Rand Paul, and now campaign manager to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was booed as he walked to the bathroom in a Louisville pizza place.“I had been told I had to choose, so choose I did,” Benton said last week. “I have no ill will toward [the University of Kentucky], and pull for them against everybody but the [Louisville Cardinals].

Up to a Point

Orwell Was Right

Alexander Khudoteply/AFP/Getty

Your telescreen doesn’t deceive you. I love Big Community Organizer.

Russian Troop Buildup on the Border of Ukraine…And the “New World Order” Is Finally Taking Shape…Taking shape as the perpetual war between Eurasia, Eastasia, and (“O” for “Obama”!) Oceania in George Orwell’s 1984.It didn’t happen as soon as Orwell predicted. Probably because it took another 10 years before everyone was online with the “telescreen,” which watches you as you watch it.I Will Forego the Temptation to Write the Rest of the Column in Newspeak…Anyway, almost a quarter of a century has passed since George H.

Capital Offense

Snyder’s Trail of Crocodile Tears

George Gojkovich/Getty

The Beltway’s NFL owner can buy winter coats for Native Americans until the end of time, and it won’t change the fact that his team’s name is indefensible.

Some weeks ago, I was talking with a few neighbors of mine here in Montgomery County, Maryland. They’re older. Somehow Washington football club owner Dan Snyder came up in conversation. Turns out a few of them had kids who’d gone to high school with Snyder. Any juicy stories, I wondered. They shook their heads: No. In fact, they told me, when Snyder took over the team, and it said in the paper where and when he graduated, they asked their children.

New Rule

Bill Maher for Congress?


The Daily Beast

It’s not so far-fetched. Political comedians are already grassroots political candidates.

Bill Maher wants your vote for Congress this November. No, Maher’s name won’t be on the ballot, at least not yet. Maher recently announced his “Flip a District” contest where he will pick one “terrible, entrenched” member of Congress and “see if we can’t send him scuttling under the refrigerator on Election Night.” (Translation: Beat him)  The contest is now heating up after Maher announced on his HBO show last Friday the first two House members under consideration to be chosen as the big “winner.

Bridgegate

Christie, Not Quite Dead Yet

Politically, this new report “clearing” Chris Christie is anticlimactic and largely irrelevant. I put the irony quotes around clearing because, well, what did you expect a report commissioned by Christie and conducted by a long-time aide to alpha dog Christie defender Rudy Giuliani (I refer to Randy Mastro) to conclude? That Christie should be indicted?So that’s what makes it largely irrelevant. The feds are investigating, and theirs is the investigation that matters.

Skewed

Team Christie Clears Christie

Kena Betancur/Getty

The governor’s internal investigation tries to discredit his critics and didn’t bother speaking to the scandal’s most important players.

Chris Christie’s investigation of Chris Christie has found that Chris Christie did nothing wrong, says Chris Christie’s attorney.On the 46th floor of the MetLife building in New York City, Randy Mastro, an attorney hired by New Jersey’s governor to investigate his administration’s involvement in Bridgegate—at the cost of $1 million to New Jersey taxpayers—briefed the press on the results of that investigation.“This is a vindication of Governor Christie,” Mastro said.

Roman Holiday

Obama's Roman Holiday

Pool photo by Gabriel Bouys

The American president’s stopover in Rome blended humanitarian themes, elite tourism, and general confusion.

ROME, Italy—“Blindatissimi” is not a word Romans particularly like.  Especially when it is raining. It means “armored to the maximum” which is exactly what’s required of the 26-plus cars in a motorcade carrying the president of the United States through Rome’s narrow, cobbled streets.  But it does inspire some of the Romans’ favorite words, like “Mamma Mia!” and “Che palle,” which, loosely translated, means “that sucks.”But if there’s a city left in the world where people still get really excited about an Obama visit, this is it.

Inside Story

Obama To Tame the NSA

AFP/Getty

The president’s metadata plans will curb the NSA’s ability to infringe on civil liberties and still allow intelligence agencies to track the terrorists.

President Obama announced this morning that he will propose legislation calling for significant changes in the NSA’s telephone metadata program. This is good news, indeed.The enactment of these proposals would strike a much better balance between the interests of liberty and security. They would preserve the value of the NSA’s program in terms of protecting the national security, while at the same time providing much greater, and much needed, protection to individual privacy and civil liberties.

THE MONEY MAN

Adelson Courts Jeb in Sin City

AFP/Getty

At this week’s Republican Jewish Coalition conference, all eyes will be on Vegas mega-donor—and his very deep pockets.

Thursday’s conference at The Venetian in Vegas is technically called the “Republican Jewish Coalition Spring Leadership Meeting,” but the GOP presidential hopefuls on the guest list know it’s really Sheldon Adelson’s party.The Las Vegas Sands Inc. chairman and GOP mega-donor is a member of the group’s board of directors.The four-day affair begins with a VIP dinner at Adelson’s private hangar at McCarran Airport with featured speaker former Florida Gov.

Immigration Activists Blast Obama

Teodoro Aguiluz

With no reform made since his initial promises in 2008 and everyone placing blame, the Latino vote—for both Blue and Red—will continue to be questionable come 2016.

For the last half decade, the simple formulation of immigration advocates pushing for reform had been simple: Democrats Good. Republicans Bad.But as efforts of reform continue to stall, advocates are turning up the heat, and hoping that Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House feel the burn as well.“Yes, Republicans have a tarnished brand that could haunt them for a generation, but Democrats have to fight the perception that they are all promise and no deliverance,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-reform group and someone who has met with the president and senior White House officials to discuss a path forward.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Rand Paul is ‘Divergent’

The Daily Beast

There’s a sad rush to dismiss pols like Rand Paul who don’t fit neatly into America’s increasingly unpopular political factions. But could divergence from the status quo be the future?

It turns out that Divergent isn’t just the top movie in America. It’s also playing out in the run-up to the 2016 presidential race, with Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, in the starring role.Based on the first volume of a wildly popular young-adult trilogy, Divergent is set in America of the near-future, when all people are irrevocably slotted into one of five “factions” based on temperament and personality type. Those who refuse to go along with the program are marked as divergent—and marked for death! “What Makes You Different, Makes You Dangerous,” reads one of the story’s taglines.

TERMINOLOGY

What Is ‘Natural Marriage?’

Blue Lantern Studio/Corbis

When a group like the Family Research Council is losing a debate there's only one thing left to do: change the terms.

Today’s Politics 101 pop quiz: In the course of a fierce ideological battle, when it becomes clear that one side is getting its butt kicked, what are leaders of the losing team expected to do? A. Double down. B. Scare the crap out of their followers. C. Beg for money. D. All of the above.No one really needs help with this one, do they?So with public acceptance of gay marriage growing faster than Justin Bieber’s rap sheet, the culture warriors at the Family Research Council have been hawking their National Campaign in Defense of Natural Marriage.

Tough Luck

Obama’s Human Rights Chief M.I.A.

Mark Tenally/Getty

The Senate was set to confirm a new leader for the State Department’s human rights agenda. But at the last minute, Obama’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia cut in—just in time for Obama’s trip to meet the Saudi King.

Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry made calls to senators urging them to confirm the State Department’s top human rights official; he thought the Senate leadership was on board. But suddenly, the White House stepped in and bumped the human rights nominee in favor of Joseph William Westphal, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, only days before President Obama is set to visit the country to repair a damaged relationship.Westphal was confirmed Wednesday night.

'Clinton Vs. Bush? Count Me In'

A Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush presidential faceoff would be great for America. So says Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon, who joined 'Morning Joe' to explain why the U.S. needs this.

  1. President Obama, Guided by Faith Play

    President Obama, Guided by Faith

  2. Behind the Benghazi Witchhunt Play

    Behind the Benghazi Witchhunt

  3. Obamacare's Full Court Press Play

    Obamacare's Full Court Press

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