Dana Milbank Live

Apr 01, 2011

Dana Milbank Live is your weekly opportunity for a give and take with Dana centering on the latest political news in Washington and his recent columns.

Each chat also features your responses to Dana's Etch-a-Sketch requests -- his lazy attempt to get you to do his work for him by seeking your best lines about the week's political oddities. This week's Etch-a-Sketch:

House Republican freshmen on Wednesday delivered a message to Harry Reid by scrawling his name on an oversized envelope and taping it, with blue painter's tape, to a ceremonial door outside the Senate chamber. What similar expressions of legislative maturity do you suggest they attempt in the future? Whoopie cushion in the Senate president pro tempore's chair? Panty raid on the Senate cloakroom?

Dana's columns this week:
- Robert Gibbs, Facebook and the White House corporate placement service
- Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
- The Gang of Two of the debt crisis
- The Obama doctrine: A gray area the size of Libya
- Haley Barbour, the fat cats' candidate

It's good to be "Live Online" again. Does this mean I was previously dead online? And have I been born again online?

I am assured the following is not an April Fool's joke. At 10:05 this morning, Speaker Boehner's office helpfully forwarded a press release from freshman Rep. Rick Crawford, a ringleader of the GOP first-termers.  He announced that the freshmen Republicans would be holding a rally/press conference on the Senate steps this morning "calling on Senator Reid to pass a bill."  Only one problem with this brilliant plan: Senator Reid and his 99 colleagues are not in the Capitol today. The Senate isn't session; the lights are out and the doors are locked.

It is, I guess, a perfect symbol of the resistance to a deal on the budget: all noise, no purpose. I've been soliciting your thoughts on what further the House freshmen could do to demonstrate their legislative maturity after Wednesday's parade to the Senate with blue painter's tape.  We'll have a poll along with this chat for you to vote on some of the best suggestions.  And please keep the ideas coming. 

Yesterday, the House freshmen hosted Newt Gingrich to get his advice on the politics of a shutdown, which is akin to the Democrats hosting Jimmy Carter to get his advice on handling gas prices.  But since the freshmen are in the market for advice, I feel it's my duty to offer them some -- and that's where you come in.  Help me help the House Republican freshmen in their effort to stymie compromise.


I think the next move is painting a message on their foreheads or, what the hell, maybe they should go for broke and paint their bodies in patriotic colors. It's getting warm enough in DC to do that, right?

You obviously haven't been in Washington this week. We are re-living January.

Still, I think you're on to something.  If some of these guys took their shirts off and refused to put them back on until Harry Reid accepted their demands, I think the Democrats would surrender quickly.   However, if Kristi Noem participates in this prank it may have the reverse effect.

Dana: What are the odds that the Senate will willingly abandon its constitutional authority, as you noted in your column, and let the House act unilaterally to cut the budget. May second question is, if that did happen, would Robert Byrd rise from the dead? Thank you.

Yes, if that happens, Robert Byrd will host a live online chat on Monday to discuss the constitutionality.   The only way this could possibly work is if the House freshmen sneak into the chamber and duct tape all of the Democrats to their seats and cover their mouths with the same duct tape.  (I don't think painter's tape would work for this.)    Then there would be no objection voiced when the House proposal to suspend the constitution comes up for a vote.   

For you would it be: 1) Palin-Bachmann or 2) Barbour-Gingrich

May I mix and match and go with Palin-Barbour?  Also, for the Democratic side, I came across an excellent one while doing my column on Anthony Weiner last week:  Franken-Weiner '12

Does Congress still receive a paycheck if the government shuts down?

Yes, because they consider themselves to be "essential" government employees.  Both the Senate Democrats and the House Republicans have dropped bills prohibiting lawmakers from receiving paychecks in a shutdown, but because they can't agree on a version of a no-pay bill, they will be forced to accept their paychecks.

Where have you been? We missed ya. Friday's just weren't the same without ya.

I had been observing the Muslim sabbath of Friday by refusing to work.  But Peter King threatened to investigate me, so I relented.

Dana, thanks for your column today; it was informative and appalling at the same time to see so many Obama admin. alumni turn to join the riches. My question concerns Obama's re-election and him trying to appeal to his progressive base (including yours truly). We've seen the president intervene in yet another middle eastern conflict, skip on closing Gitmo, hand the rich tax cuts, refuse to involve himself in the budget proposal, and an array of other issues where he isn't taking a clear stance to support lower and middle-class Americans. Although there's obvious nuances, the President is becoming more like Bush and the status quo every day. I don't plan on voting for him in 2012. Do you think progressives will abandon him at the polls or will they bitterly help campaign for him again?

I don't know you -- or at least I don't know if I know you -- but I am willing to wager that you will vote for Obama in 2012.  Certainly that is his calculation.    You just aren't going to vote for the likely Republican nominee, Michele Bachmann (or even for Mitt Romney, should his underdog campaign prevail).   You may think you'll sit at home and not vote at all, but Obama is calculating, correctly I think, that you (and enough others of his base) will show up.

I would further read your mind and state that what is disappointing you about Obama is not as much what he's doing (he's just being a practical pol) but how different what he's doing is from his campaign rhetoric and the lofty expectations he set for liberals that he would forever change politics and the world.

Are you telling me he's dead?!?

Well, technically.  But the House Republican freshmen have been keeping him well preserved.  It is all for their "Weekend at Bernie's" prank next week, when they march over to the Senate chamber with Robert Byrd, Lyndon Johnson and John Calhoun.

The Tea baggers should take their shirts off and paint letters on their chest spelling out "pass the bill Mr Reid" a la a college basketball game. On the other hand the Man Boobs would be grotesque.

Can you say man boobs and tea baggers in a live online chat?   I may be returning to the dead after this one.   By the way, the freshman congressman I would least like to see without his shirt on the Senate floor is Blake Farenthold, who is no relation to the Post's David Farenthold (who looks just fine when he walks on the Senate floor without his shirt).


Is it true that Steve King's district may go bye bye in the redistricting? What will he do? Fox news ? Mike Pence just said that there the GOP has legislation on the floor of the house now to not take a salary if there is a gov't shutdown. True or False?

Steve King had better hurry up and import some Mexicans.

Yes, the legislation that takes away lawmakers salary is the same bill that suspends the Constitution.   I believe this is what's known as a bitter pill. 

The president's story has more weakpoints than the Redskins offensive line. How can Hillary defend Syria, who constantly funds terror groups and is the main assistant of Iran? The double standards with Libya are getting to be laughable too. We may not get a lot of our oil from them, but other parts of Europe do care about Libya. Worse most of the Dems calling the hundreds of people killed in Libya a humanitarian crisis hated the idea of going after Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of people were killed. Conservatives have bought in to the left's anti-war stance right as Obama came out for military action. Could our political system be any more partisan? Its sad that the only person who has really been consistent is Dennis Kucinich. I think I am going to be sick.

You are misinterpreting the Obama Doctrine.  The Obama doctrine says:  We intervene when the costs outweigh the benefits.   Libya is relatively easy and Syria is hard, so we intervene in Libya.     Kucinich, on the other hand, would never intervene anywhere, unless somebody sneaks an olive pit into his sandwich.  Then he will sue.

Are you in the top three of list of media lapdogs who are vying for the next White House liars job? Looks like you're trying hard to be number one.

Darn!  I made it to the final four, but I was just knocked out of the tournament by my column today -- which disparaged the large number of corporate sellouts in the Obama White House. 

Did Obama or did Obama not release, or have released, a copy of his birth certificate? I thought someone had released, authorized or not, a copy, but that some doubted its authenticity since Hawaii's certificates don't look like those of some states. I should add I have not actually seen your birth certificate, nor that of any U.S. President, living or dead.

 I have seen Obama's actual birth certificate, and I can understand why he is not releasing it.  His father is Donald Trump.

You're wearing a tie!

Actually, my face is the April Fool's joke. 

In support of the House Republicans am doing this chat from the Quartermaine in Bethesda wearing only body paint from the waist up.*


*It's really UnderArmour.

When KO left MSNBC i lamented we wouldn't get to see you two together again. I failed to anticipate your return in the same timeslot. Lawrence ain't Keith, but I’ll take it. Also, don't rule out appearing on HDnet when the time comes.

As you might gather from my answer to the last question, anything involving me and HD is probably not such a good idea.

Progressives are mad at Obama for what he is doing - they long ago concluded that his campaign rhetoric was to steal the words he stole from Duval Patrick " words . . just words" And that leads me to Gingrich - on what planet other than the Beltway is Gingrich considered intelligent ? Shrewd, yes - he knows he's milking a money machine while pretending to run for an office he will never win.

Give the man a break.  He is blinded by his passion for his, er, country.

GOP freshman: Unemployment rate falls- Obama's fault!!! April Fool's!!

I think less than one minute elapsed between this morning's unemployment report and the (lengthy) statement from Eric Cantor's office saying it wasn't good enough.  I'm guessing they have two statements ready to go:  The jobs report was lousy, and the jobs report wasn't good enough.

Has Rep. Duffy made sure that he gets paid during a government shutdown, since he has so many bills to pay off?

I will pay him myself if he continues to supply us with videos about his impoverished existence at $174,000 a year. 

Hi Dana, I never even heard of Blake Farenthold till I just saw his name here. I found this link to a picture of him and for sure you are right -as always

Now tell me Harry Reid wouldn't surrender in a heartbeat if that thing (on the right) walked into the well of the Senate wearing body paint.  Or ducky pajamas. 

Did I miss it or did the dough boy Dodd escape your sights? After saying he wouldn't become a lobbyist he, wait for it, becomes a lobbyist. What a scumbag.

Yep, he's in today's column.  Motion Picture Association.   Sad.  (Although I guess if you're going to be a lobbyist, that one's at least a fun gig...)

Sending Reid a basket of Oreos where the frosting is replaced with toothpaste so his mouth will be minty fresh when he agrees to the $60B in cuts.

Brilliant!  Or send ex-lax mints to all the Democratic senators, so they'll be in the loo when the unanimous consent request is made to suspend the constitution.

When I am vexed by Obama's choices, I contemplate the alternative. McCain in Libya, McCain and the Tea Party hordes, McCain and BP. And I fear there haven't been enough foreign funerals to keep Palin out of the country enough.

This is why Obama is (correctly) calculating that you'll vote for him no matter what he does.

and is loose in the Capitol-- snake will hold out in hiding until Rest of the GOP and some Dems agree to his(it's) demands.

A very timely prank.    Forwarding this to the guy in the ducky PJs.

1) TP the Dirksen Senate Office Building 2) Steal the Gavel and place it in the hand of the Statue of "Freedom" at the top of of the Capitol 3) Place a giant condom over the Washington Monument

I will contribute the maximum to any lawmaker who participates.   In fact I will host a fundraiser.

And think of all the fun that could be had with the residents of Statuary Hall.

Hi Dana. Way off topic here, but what's up with all the posters of you around D.C.? Is this part of an underground Post ad campaign?

Yes, odd indeed. Stickers of my mug showing up on parking meters, at bus stops, at the Big Hunt and in the Darlington House ladies room.   I blame Blake Farenthold and the House Republicans, although I don't know how he got into the ladies room.    

Ok, got to hop.  Sorry I didn't get to all the questions. Keep the conversation going on Twitter (@milbank), particularly if it involves TP-ing the Senate or man boobs.    Thanks for chatting.



In This Chat
Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank writes the Washington Sketch column about political theater in the capital. He joined The Post as a political reporter in 2000, after two years as a senior editor of The New Republic and eight years with the Wall Street Journal. He is also author of two political books, Homo Politicus (Doubleday, 2008) and Smashmouth (Basic Books, 2001). He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter. • Dana Milbank Bio & Archive
• Milbank Q&As
Recent Chats
  • Next: