We were so enjoying tracking the overseas adventures of the congressional delegation traveling in the Middle East. We’d followed along through the tweets of one of the staffers accompanying the group.
Brad Dayspring, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), started out chronicling the codel through a series of behind-the-scenes photos and observations. Sample tweets: “Istanbul traffic . . . pretty similar to DC traffic.” “The pudding store in Istanbul. Really.” We also were treated to snapshots of his seat on the airplane and of the Grand Bazaar. Far more interesting than the dry, official tweets coming from his boss and others on the trip.
Alas, the travelogue abruptly halted after a tantalizing few days, only to return with tamer, more work-focused tweets.
We blame our friends over at Roll Call, who wrote about Dayspring’s travels — the Heard on the Hill column featured a cheeky piece titled “Air Cantor,” and then reporter Paul Singer re-tweeted Dayspring’s missives, prefacing each with “@EricCantor’s excellent junket.”
A stateside Cantor spokeswoman wouldn’t comment, but she noted that her boss is tweeting the trip, too, for those who are dying for a minute-by-minute account.
The group of lawmakers, including Cantor and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen — who connected for the first time with Turkish family members — will visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and France before returning this week.
We hope Dayspring isn’t too Twitter-shy; we would love to see some snapshots of the Eiffel Tower when they arrive in Paris.
Back when he was Vice President Dick Cheney’s legal adviser and chief of staff, David Addington was a shadowy figure, someone who rarely if ever spoke to the press — and certainly not for quotation. In 2006, U.S. News & World Report called him “the most powerful man you’ve never heard of.”
But that was then.
Addington, said to have been a force behind some of Cheney’s and the George W. Bush administration’s greatest hits — no warrants needed for National Security Agency eavesdropping on Americans, military commissions rather than civil courts for terrorists, and the claim that Cheney, because he technically presides over the Senate (one of the Framers’ first successful jobs programs), was not a member of the executive branch — has been coming out of the shadows.
Addington, who runs a policy shop at the Heritage Foundation, also championed a larger presidential legislative imprint through a huge increase in presidential “signing statements.” He’s been doing television for some time but got high visibility when he popped up in November to ask a question during one of the Republican presidential candidates’ debates.
Then, last weekend, he was quoted in the New York Times opposing President Obama’s recess appointments.
“I’m kind of surprised he did it,” Addington said, “because more so than most presidents, this guy has a personal ability to assess the constitutional implications,” he said, given that Obama has taught constitutional law. “It’s flabbergasting and, to be honest, a little chilling.”
“Chilling.” Not bad. Remember: In this town, the better the quote, the more you get quoted.
It was announced Tuesday that Cecilia Muñoz, a civil rights activist and the White House director of intergovernmental affairs for the past three years, is now director of the Domestic Policy Council.
Muñoz, formerly a longtime top official at the National Council of La Raza, has been a key liaison for the administration with Latinos, a critical voting bloc that’s been increasingly upset over Obama’s immigration policies.
Muñoz had been a leading contender for the job for several months. She is expected to retain the immigration portfolio as she assumes her new role.
Three weeks ago, New Hampshire’s Republican Party treasurer, Robert Scott, started trying to get the presidential candidates to sign a pledge to bring “a new spirit of civility, effective dialogue, compromise, consensus and results to the office of the president of the United States.”
Since then, Manchester Union Leader columnist Garry Rayno writes in his weekly “State House Dome,” “not one presidential candidate would sign” it.
Scott, whose new book, “Thinking Beyond Gridlock,” surveys the damage the current political gridlock inflicts on the country, says he sent information to all the campaigns but no one was willing to sign up.
Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman “was the only one who actually engaged me in conversation,” Scott told Rayno, but Huntsman’s campaign said he wouldn’t sign any pledge.
Scott, a former state representative from Newport, N.H., introduced Huntsman at an event in Newport last week, but the Obama administration’s first ambassador to China was not signing up.
Well, gridlock is a problem, but we’ve always thought a “spirit of civility” generally has been overrated. Still, somewhat surprising that a compromiser like Newt didn’t make the pledge.
For political junkies in the United States, the Republican debates have been a source of endless fascination and entertainment. But at least they’ve been largely cordial.
In Israel, it seems, debates can quickly become shouting matches and worse. Take, for example, a heated exchange Monday between Anastassia Michaeli of the hard-line conservative Yisrael Beiteinu party and Raleb Majadele, an Arab Israeli member of the Labor Party, at a meeting of the education committee of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
The issue was a reprimand that had been meted out to the principal of an Arab Israeli high school, who took students to a human rights march last month in Tel Aviv, the newspaper Haaretz reported. You can view the video at wapo.st/
“You are marching against the state,” Michaeli shouted at Majadele, who was sitting a couple of chairs away.
“Shut up,” he yelled, shouting that “she won’t shut me up. . . . The issue of fascism won’t stop here. . . . Fascism will not be allowed to take over the house.”
“It is disrespectful to the status of women in the Knesset,” Michaeli shouted back. Each vowed to take the other to the ethics committee.
Michaeli gathered up her papers and started walking out of the room. Then she pivoted and came back to pour herself a plastic cup of water — which she promptly threw at Majadele’s face, soaking his shirt and lap. She then stormed out.
Majadele smiled a bit as he gathered himself. Haaretz provided no translation, but he appeared to be telling the committee that Michaeli’s actions proved his point.
Surely Robert’s Rules of Order has been translated into Hebrew?
With Emily Heil
The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.