The Spectacle Blog

#CPAC2015: The Palin Purpose

By on 2.26.15 | 6:07PM

Before I start into her speech, let me just say that Palin, as a person, is unfailingly nice. So nice, in fact, that last night, she spent close to an hour in the hotel's lobby bar taking selfies with college Republicans and shaking hands. She even took a photo with yours truly. And we need more people in the movement who are unfailingly nice. Because in this ridiculous line of work, literally no one is unfailingly nice.

To my great surprise - yes, I'll admit it - Sarah Palin's speech was not about Sarah Palin. She was tasked by CPAC to talk about veterans, and that's what she did. As the mother of a veteran who has served in Iraq, she was well-placed to give the address, and given a subject to talk about - a purpose - she did well, showing why she's still important to the conservative movement, even if she's long since passed out of political relevance.

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#CPAC2015: Walker-Palooza

By on 2.26.15 | 5:39PM

Scott Walker is a folk hero. Walking out without much fanfare, he took the stage with his sleeves rolled up and started talking about the Founding Fathers. It's a tent revival.

And that makes sense. Scott Walker is headlining the Great American Revival, a plan to create more jobs, more opportunity and, possibly, more speaking engagements that don't require suit jackets. He has a profile for a leader that American needs and he's certainly going to tell you about it. Because according to Governor Walker, he's earned the ability to gloat a little, and given the response, I'm not sure anyone in the room would disagree.

Walker's speech is not very different from the other speeches we've heard throughout the day: he focused on the middle class, he excoriated the Obama Administration for their lack of propriety in the arena of foreign affairs and he outlined what he believes the Obama Administration is doing to destroy America. But unlike the other speeches we've heard today, Walker's is a campaign stump speech complete with lines that are destined to follow him throughout his potential candidacy like:

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#CPAC2015 Afternoon Session: Christie, Carly, Cruz

By on 2.26.15 | 1:37PM

CPAC's afternoon session featured a few more people, with big draws like Chris Christie and Ted Cruz filling the ballroom with countless college Republicans (only one pair around me seemed to make a love connection). They might have had to wake up a ballroom full of sleepy conference attendees this morning, but this afternoon's speakers were playing to a house ready to jump out of their seats and applaud, and that's pretty much what they did.

First up was Chris Christie, who chose to do a "talk show" format interview with radio host Laura Ingraham instead of speaking from the podium, and he certainly surprised the audience with his, well, maybe the best term for it is swagger. Chris Christie's speeches aren't always made to a national media, even though he acknowledged that what he does on a state level has national implications and makes for great fodder for national stories, if ony because the New York Times is right in his backyard. 

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Hillary Clinton’s Foundation Took Foreign Donations

By on 2.26.15 | 12:17PM

While the Clintons were struggling to make ends meet, they decided to start a foundation that would help others just like them across the globe. The Clinton Foundation, which focuses on global poverty, the spread of HIV and AIDS in developing countries and combating Climate Change, is an international aid organization that is mostly concerned with making sure the Clinton name is recognized globally as one of compassion, primarily in places where people don't have regular access to media.

But the Washington Post has discovered that, while Secretary of State Clinton was traveling the globe, promoting peace and resetting our relationships with world leaders with plastic Staples buttons, the Clinton Foundation was taking donations from foreign governments, many of them with business before the United States. 

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Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Mike Lee Kick off CPAC

By on 2.26.15 | 10:57AM

Greetings from Maryland where I’m attending the Conservative Political Action Conference so that you don't have to. While we are only in the early hours of the conference, I have already seen more articles of clothing fashioned from the American flag than I thought were humanly possible. There is a man here with a pair of MC Hammer-style pants, decorated with the Stars and Stripes, that would strike fear into the heart of any of America’s enemies. Beyond red, white and blue attire, the most prominent trends at this year’s essential gathering of conservatives are Duck Dynasty beards that could comfortably house a squirrel family of four and really, really inappropriate shoes.

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Now It’s Kerry’s Turn to Bash Bibi

By on 2.25.15 | 10:53PM

I guess senior members of the Obama Administration are taking turns bashing Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last night, it was Susan Rice who said Netanyahu's speech would be "destructive" to U.S.-Israeli relations. 

Now it's Secretary of State John Kerry's turn. Testifying before a House Committee, Kerry questioned Bibi's judgment and evoked his support for the War in Iraq. Kerry stated that Netanyahu "was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush. And we all know what happened with that decision."

This would be the same John Kerry who was for the Iraq War before he was against it. What chutzpah.

If he isn't too busy fondling the Defense Secretary's wife or a Senator's daughter, I suppose tomorrow will be Joe Biden's turn to bash Bibi. 

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John Boehner Wants You To Up Your Fashion Game

By on 2.25.15 | 7:21PM

He might have the unenviable task of providing the backbone to Republicans, after Mitch McConnell all but gave away the farm in the Senate, but John Boehner has more important things on his mind today than whether the TSA will have the money necessary to keep them in blue surgical gloves for the forseeable future. 

John Boehner wants you - yes, you, newly elected member of Congress - to start looking like you belong here. He's not naming names, but you know who you are, sweatpants afficionados.

During the final vote series of the day, Boehner reiterated the rules for proper behavior on the House floor. Boehner, who is known for ribbing lawmakers and reporters for their attire, has made reminding members of House rules a regular practice.

Many lawmakers frequently wear jeans or casual shoes to the House floor, particularly during the first vote series of the week that are usually close to dinnertime.

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Rahm Emanuel Will Have to Face a Chicago Runoff

By on 2.25.15 | 6:58PM

Obviously, Tuesday’s Chicago mayoral election pitted Democrats on the left against Democrats on the further left against Democrats who might as well have come out of a Karl Marx treatise, but that’s no reason to play off Tuesday’s election results. After all, while I might care about it because I live here, Rahm Emanuel’s failure to clinch re-election speaks volumes about how the progressive left, which once saw the Obama team as saviors bearing manna from heaven, have now abandoned their fearless leaders because their election failed to produce real progressive results.

Instead of hitting the 51 percent needed to take the title, Emanuel halted at 45 percent and will now face a runoff against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, making his path to Chicago’s traditional “Mayor for Life” role much more difficult than originally anticipated. 

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The TSA Is Very Sad About This DHS Thing

By on 2.25.15 | 6:20PM

Guys, the Transportation Safety Administration is very sad. Really sad. Like, they might not even feel like rifling through your unmentionables tonight they're so dejected and depressed.

Everything about their job has simply lost its charm. Life as they know it may come to an abrupt end this week, though they will not actually be getting an unpaid vacation from work, thanks to regulations that mandate they work without pay until the "shutdown" subsides, and they would like you to know that despite what you've heard, witnessed and know to be true based on a boundless volume of evidence, the TSA is a very vital part of our Homeland Security program, and if you don't fund them, America, there will be a price to pay. And that price is probably a cavity search.

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The IRS Was Good to Lois Lerner

By on 2.25.15 | 5:47PM

It seems that whatever Lois Lerner was doing, she was doing something right by her bosses.

Turns out, while was worming her way into the hearts and minds of every Republican in America, over her alleged use of IRS resources to investigate conservative 501(c)(4)s, trying to root out their dastardly ring of influence, she was also worming her way into the hearts and minds of IRS higher ups, who rewarded her excellent work with more than a hundred thousand in bonuses.

Former IRS official Lois Lerner received $129,300 in bonuses between 2010 and 2013, records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show.

Over a three-year period, Lerner, the head of the tax-exempt division at the heart of the IRS targeting scandal, received a 25 percent retention bonus—averaging $43,000 a year—on top of her regular salary...

Former acting IRS commissioner Steven T. Miller recommended Lerner for a $42,000 retention bonus in December 2009, when she first became eligible for retirement.

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