The DC Morning: 2/23/2010

Pat McMahon Contributor
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DCCC to institute paddling if members don’t catch up on dues — Dems distraught over distant, distracted public option — Eric Holder confuses drug dealers with terrorists — Inhofe seeks climate redemption — Christians attack C Street for being shady — Dirty Chavez embarrasses self, southern hemisphere, in Mexico

1.) Cap Hill frat boys behind on their dues — John Conyers, Charles Rangel, David Obey, and Ike Skelton are just a handful of DCCC fraternity brothers who are behind on their dues. Internal documents obtained by The Hill reveal “the campaign committee is short millions of dollars of dues from dozens of members, including a number of key chairmen and other leaders.” Many brothers who have yet to give dues will be vulnerable as a result during their reelection fights, unless fraternity sentinel Chris Van Hollen can paddle his team into shape. “Weeks before the 2008 elections,” writes The Hill, “the DCCC cracked down on dozens of tardy members and by Oct. 21 had received past dues from a number of chairmen and at least half of owed dues from all but four exclusive subcommittee chairmen and 29 other members not in competitive races.” DCCC leadership is reportedly considering a dry house and a no sleep-over rule until the brotherhood’s dues are brought up to date.

2.) Public option to Democrats: I just need some time to clear my head — Democrats took long showers last night, and afterward, ate ice cream straight out of the tub following Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s pronouncement that he would not support the public option. “I don’t think you [pursue] something like the public option, which cannot pass, will not pass,” Rockefeller told the Huffington Post Monday night when explaining why he thinks reconciliation efforts would be stymied by any attempt to include a public option. Following the breakup, Democrats’ friends suggested they sign up for an account at, or some other online dating service, in order to find a subsidized health care plan that is more compatible with the party’s flirtatious and scatter-brained personality. Rep. Heath Shuler, a frequent critic of which plans the party brings back to the House, thinks maybe Democrats should take a break. “I was actually surprised that they’re pushing it again. The most important thing is jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. We need to focus on jobs,” Shuler told the Daily Caller’s Jon Ward. “First downs are a lot better than throwing the bomb route or the Hail Mary,” Shuler added, reminding Democrats that they may have to settle for the less than perfect plan.

3.) Attorney general confuses advanced radical terrorist network with group of “thugs” — “We need not make more of these people than they are,” AG Eric Holder said of radical Islamists imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others…are thugs. They engaged in criminal, warlike activity against the United States but are not different from those we have handled in the past and will be able to handle in the future,” Holder said, giving District marijuana users–many of whom Holder imprisoned while serving as a U.S. Attorney Eric and leading a prudish crusade against relaxing–intense Clinton-era flashbacks. Citing yesterday’s guilty verdict for wannabe bomber Najibullah Zazi, the AP reports Holder as insisting “all options remain open for the location of a 9/11 trial,” no matter how many American citizens protest having their pastoral hometowns and regal cities turned into potential terrorist targets.

4.) Sen. Inhofe gears up for a climate fight — After years of being the butt of global warming denialism jokes, Sen. Jim Inhofe plans to get some much-needed jollies from grilling EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at a hearing this morning. In a report that Republicans on the Environmental and Public Works committee released today, Inhofe charges that the EPA is using faulty science from the CRU and the IPCC to implement new rules on emissions. Inhofe spent Monday night preparing for the mother of all showdowns, only to learn that the EPA decided late last night to delay the new regulations after Blue Dogs and Republicans protested the cost of cutting back on emissions. Inhofe will most likely redirect those energies into demanding that the Justice Department investigate Penn State climatologist Michael Mann for misusing stimulus funds (seriously).

5.) Pastors attack C Street for not adhering to correct definition of religion — C Street, the ominously average Christian halfway house used most recently by cheats John Ensign and Mark Sanford, faces a tough challenge to its religious bona fides from some preachers in Columbus, Ohio. According to the Columbus Dispatch, “13 pastors from mainstream Christian denominations plan to file a complaint today with the Internal Revenue Service contending that the center is not a church and that its tax classification as one ‘poses a threat to the integrity and legitimacy of all religious organizations in the United States.'” The Ohio group is expected to file its next complaint against Andrew Lloyd Weber, challenging historical inaccuracies contained in the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

6.) Chavez, Uribe get wild at Cancun — It’s not Spring Break in Cancun, Mexico, but that didn’t stop Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from getting sauced and acting like a huge dictator on Monday. During a luncheon for a Central/South American and Caribbean unity summit, Chavez and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe suddenly remembered that they can’t stand each other, and “started yelling and called each other names, using obscene language,” CNN reports. Raul Castro apparently had to break up the fight, wondering aloud as he did so, “How is it possible that we’re fighting at a summit intended to unite Latin American and Caribbean countries?” Uribe and Chavez, with hang-dog looks on their faces, admitted that they needed to stick together if they were going to continue to suck as global leaders.

VIDEO: Reid my lips: No more domestic violence

Democrats’ attempts to coordinate health-care message leave Republicans scratching their heads — President Obama’s attempt to press ahead with a comprehensive health-care bill on Monday prompted one reaction in Washington more than any other: confusion. “I was actually surprised that they’re pushing it again. The most important thing is jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. We need to focus on jobs,” said Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat

Presidential approval ratings dip to all-time low as Obama moves to sell health care — President Obama’s approval ratings have hit an all-time low, indicating that the White House faces a tough job as it tries to gather support this week for both a jobs bill and a revised health-care bill. A new poll from Iowa-based Selzer and Company shows that since November, Obama’s approval rating among Iowa independents dropped sharply from 48 to 38 percent — reaching its lowest level yet.

Richardson to Obama: If health care stalls, ‘focus on the main issue facing the country’ — jobs — As President Obama tried Monday to salvage a health-care bill, one Democratic governor voiced obligatory support for the effort but indicated that state governments would prefer the White House pay more attention to job creation

Jerry Maldonado: My wife left me; things I learned in the process — Life can be so horrible at times, but everything happens for a reason. That is the belief I carry and probably most of you as well. It’s that belief in life we learn from and try to come to terms with events and situations to offer ourselves peace and hope

James Zumwalt: What evil lurks within Ahmadinejad’s heart? — Experiencing frustration in his efforts to resolve myriad foreign policy issues, President Barack Obama blames some failures on President Bush. As to Obama’s failed policy to derail the Iranian express train seeking to load a nuclear arms cargo, he may want to consider blaming the 18th century philosopher Jacques Rousseau

Rep. Joe Wilson: Washington’s budget blunders — Reckless, record-breaking spending in Washington is crippling America’s financial future. Rhetoric alone is certainly not going to fix the spending spree that lawmakers have taken part in for entirely too long. While it is important to study history so we do not make the same mistakes from our past, I believe the across-the-aisle finger-pointing and arguments about which political party incurred the most debt is nothing but a Washington-style waste of time

Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman: Effort to demonize guns continues as parks open to law — Monday was the dawning of a new era for people on both sides of the gun rights issue as a new federal law too effect, allowing loaded firearms to be legally carried into national parks by private citizens. It also appeared to be the point in history where—hopefully—the anti-gun hysteria generated over this common-sense change in the law peaked

Stephen Richer: As Bennett goes, so goes the GOP? — It’s not very often that Utah is a topic of conversation in Washington, D.C. Only when a high-profile polygamist is on the run or when the Jazz are in the playoffs do my friends ask about my home state. But as of late, I’ve frequently been summoned as an expert Utahn to discuss Sen. Bob Bennett’s (R-Utah) upcoming election