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August 2011

Marco Rubio PAC defends, well, Marco Rubio

Reclaim America is outraged. In an email, the newly formed PAC defends it founder, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, against Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz.

And Reclaim America would like you to help buy sending them a few bucks.

From the PAC:


 Last week, Marco gave a historic speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that's been called an "important", "powerful", and "thoughtful" step in promoting a conservative path forward.

But not everyone was impressed. The speech drove extreme liberals crazy, and they are on the attack. We need your help to fight back and support limited government candidates who share Marco"s conservative vision for America.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow chopped up Marco's words and distorted them, even weaving in mentions of Marco's parents to attack him.

Ed Schultz attacked Marco's speech as "psycho talk" and called Marco a "political hack".

These are the typical attacks that are routinely launched against those who are standing up for our conservative principles.

These extreme liberals have no interest in finding common sense solutions to the challenges facing our country. They just want to attack and tear down anyone who doesn't share their extreme ideology.

Which is why we need your help us fight back. Your contribution of $100, $50, or even $25 will help us defend conservatives like Marco all across the country.

Reclaim America PAC will stand up for candidates who take tough positions and challenging the politics-as-usual in Washington, D.C.

Thank you for your continued support,

Team Reclaim

P.S. Your contribution helps us spread the word about conservative's positive vision to change the direction of our country AND fight back against the media elites who attack that vision constantly. Please contribute what you can today by clicking on this secure link.

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Michele Bachmann, Tea Party and those damn airbags

One has to delight in the silliness of Tea Party politics which brings a rigidity to political discourse that should be interesting to watch during the September debates and Florida Republican convention.

We begin the new month with an interesting anniversary. On Sept. 1, 1998, Congress made it mandatory for cars to have airbags. This came 32 years after Congress required automakers to install seatbelts.

This anniversary could unhinge some members of the Tea Party who fervently believe that nearly anything the federal government does is wrong.

Their titular leader, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, may even take on the cause. After all, Bachmann has made fighting for the right to own incandescent bulbs a hallmark of her bid to win the Republican nomination for president.

Mandatory airbags were a result of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act passed by Congress in 1991.  It went into effect on Sept. 1, 1998. 

The ISTEA was passed overwhelmingly. The final conference bill passed the House 372-47.  The Senate approved it 79-8. An interesting side note - both Florida senators at the time, Democrat Bob Graham and Republican Connie Mack - voted against the bill.

What would happen if the airbag bill was being proposed today? Would this be seen as an unnecessary intrusion by the federal government? Would Tea Party supporters rally in congressional districts to fight the proposal?

Would Bachmann add airbags to her light bulb repetoire?

September brings us the Florida GOP's important and not-to-miss, Presidency 5. During the three-day event, which starts Sept. 22, thousands of Florida Republicans will hear from the presidenital candidates.  Those same delegates will then vote in a straw poll.

Presidency 5 begins with a debate hosted by FOX News and a simultaneous event hosted by CPAC will feature speechs by the candidates.

Watch carefully. During that weekend Florida's 4 million Republicans will learn what type of party they have become.

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Jeb Bush does not rule out backing a candidate in U.S. Senate race

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, when asked by Crowley Political Report whether he planned to endorse a candidate in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate,  said today he is "not intending to get involved but circumstances can change."

That leaves the door wide open for Bush to lend his name to one of the candidates. But which one?

A Bush endorsement in the race would have a powerful impact on the outcome. While Bush did not indicate which way he would lean, a big clue came today when his closest political confident, Sally Bradshaw, announced that she is backing former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.

Those who have watched Bush and Bradshaw work together believe that Bradshaw would be unlikely to back Hasner without at least a tacit nod from Bush.

Another dynamic at work is that Hasner's wife, Jillian Inmon Hasner, worked on Bush's campaigns and in his administration. She also worked for former President George W. Bush's campaigns. She most recently was campaign manager for Meg Whitman's unsuccessful bid to be California governor.

The Bush family believes in loyalty and Jeb Bush stays close to many of those who helped him with his political career.

Bush over the last few years has made it clear that he was not terribly fond of former Gov. Charlie Crist - even before Crist left the Republican Party.  Does that ill-feeling spread to George LeMieux, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Crist?

Odds are that Bush will not make an endorsement until late in the campaign. If Bush endorses Hasner, many Florida Republicans are likely to follow his lead.

Hasner still has a long way to go. Bush will not hand him an endorsement unless Hasner proves he is a viable candidate - which means raising enough money to be competitive, not making any major mistakes, and doing well in the polls.

If Bush endorses Hasner, it will be interesting to see how the LeMieux campaign counteracts it. Of course the biggest surprise would be if Bush endorsed LeMieux.

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What do Florida Republicans think of Michele Bachmann?

In June, Crowley Political Report noted Michele Bachmann's entry into the Republican presidential primary with this thought: Michele Bachmann could be a huge pain for other Republican candidates in Florida's 2012 presidential primary.

 That premise will be test this weekend when the Minnesota congresswoman campaigns in Jacksonville Beach, Poinciana, Lutz, Orlando and Sarasota.

Bachmann begins her Florida swing Friday at Angie's Sub Shop in Jacksonville Beach. On Saturday, she will have an invitation only gathering at the Poinciana Town Hall. That evening she goes to Orlando to speak at an awards dinner of the Florida Family Policy Council.

On Sunday, Bachmann will attend services at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz which is north of Tampa. After that, she will attend a rally hosted by the Sarasota County Republican Party.

This is Bachmann's first major campaign swing through Florida. It suggests that she is going to try to win next year's Florida presidential primary. As we said in June, if she can raise the money, Bachmann may find exactly the voters she needs in the Sunshine State to make her a serious contender for the nomination.

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Howard Dean takes on Allen West and David Rivera

Dubbed "Don't kill the dream" a new television ad is being brought to you by the Dean Brothers - Howard and Jim, this Sunday in a congressional district near you.

Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont,  and his brother Jim, are behind the group, Democracy for America that is running the 60-second ad.

From Democracy for America:

A new 60-second television ad released today by Democracy for America targets Republicans for killing the American Dream and failing to create jobs. The ad, “Don’t Kill the Dream,” which will air both nationally and in targeted congressional districts, features Americans who want Republicans in Congress to stop dismantling the middle class and killing the American Dream. The ad calls out Republicans for slashing vital programs the middle class depends on while simultaneously insisting on tax breaks and loopholes for corporations and millionaires.

The ad will run nationally on Sunday shows and in the districts of Allen West (FL - 22) and David Rivera’s (FL -25). This is part of Democracy for America’s national campaign to hold Republicans accountable that will run from now until the election in 2012.


We were city workers in New York State, luckily we had good benefits. We would like to grow old comfortably and get back what we contributed. We would like to see those that we love have the same.
-Samuel and Stephanie Levine, Retired

I came to the United States when I was 10 years old, because this is the land of opportunity. But opportunities are disappearing on us because Washington has decided to protect millionaires and billionaires and squeeze the middle class. That is not the American dream.
-Millie Herrera, Small Business Owner

The American dream is having security and knowing that your kids can have security too.
-Chris Ossman, Engineer

To be able to live a decent life, free of fear about the next medical bill.
-Samuel Levine, Retired

Being able to get a great education, the greatest in the world.
-Austin Brookley, Student

The American dream is not just to make a profit in our business, but to be able to sleep at night and know that we are going to be okay.
- Annette Taddeo, Small Business Owner

But the basic needs of this country are being threatened by what’s going on in Washington.
-Chris Ossman, Engineer

We can let Republicans in Washington kill the American Dream.
-Millie Herrera, Small Business Owner


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Marco Rubio cannot lose in 2012

Rubiofin Crowley Political Report was asked to ponder the fate of Marco Rubio by a Time magazine reporter a few hours before Rubio gave a speech Tuesday night at the Reagan Library in California.

Lots of folks are pondering the future of Florida's hot new U.S. Senator.  And there are no shortage of Republicans who think Rubio should be running for president or, at the very least, that he should get the number-two slot on the national ticket.

2012 is going to be a very good year for Rubio and he doesn't have to do a thing.

The rollout of Rubio has been nothing short of brilliant. His first few months in the senate he said very little, apparently content to find his way around Washington and get a feel for how the senate operates.

Interestingly, the less Rubio said, the more others said for him. Rush Limbaugh gushed on air that Rubio should get in the presidential race.

By early summer, Rubio started making more appearances on national television, gave his first speech on the senate floor and repeatedly, but firmly, denied any interest in running for president or vice president.

Folks seem to be willing to take him at his word that he is not interested in being at the top of the 2012 ticket, but many Republicans still swoon at the idea of Rubio getting the number two slot.

Again, Rubio politely but firmly says he is not interested in vice president.

The fact is that the 40-year old Floridian will be one of top finalists for GOP nominee whomever he or she might be.

Rubio is charismatic, articulate, Hispanic, conservative, a Tea Party hero, and he represents a state with 29 electoral votes.

Yes, he will be a finalist. And if Rubio gets the call from the nominee he is going to be hard-pressed to turn down a shot at being the first Hispanic vice president.

Rubio would have nothing to lose. Assuming he made no major gaffes, even if the ticket lost, Rubio would not be blamed. He could simply return to his senate seat and perhaps emerge as a national GOP leader - not a bad place to be in 2016.

And if he is not chosen for the ticket - Rubio will still play an important role in the party's effort to close the gap with Hispanic voters.

Amazing considering that just 20 months ago, Rubio was considered a long shot to defeat former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Now, he could become one of the most influential voices in the 2012 presidential election.

Read the Time magazine story here.

Here is a video of Rubio's appearance in California:


Art by West Palm Beach artist Patrick Crowley.

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Allan Bense endorses Adam Hasner

Apparently if your name is Allen/Allan Florida Republican contingent is not interested in running for the U.S. senate.

Both Allen West and Allan Bense have said they will pass on the honor.

Bense, a former Florida House speaker, endorsed Adam Hasner in the GOP primary.  Hasner is a former House majority leader.

In a statement released by the Hasner camp, Bense of Panama City, takes a backhand to former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux.

“I’ve known both Adam and George throughout the years, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Adam is the principled conservative that Florida Republicans should support. Adam has a long record of standing up for mainstream, conservative principles that no other candidate in this race can match. He’s earned a reputation as a fighter and a straight-shooter who sticks to what he believes, no matter which way the political winds blow. I know he’ll go to Washington and stand up to both parties when they stray from the common sense, limited-government reforms needed to turn our country around.”

 “It’s not enough to elect just any Republican next November. Our Party needs to nominate someone who can fight against the Obama-Nelson agenda and stand shoulder to shoulder with Marco Rubio in the United States Senate. Adam Hasner has the best track record of any candidate on cutting taxes, cutting spending, and fighting for the pro-growth economic policies that we need to create jobs and re-ignite the American economy.”

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Allen West says no. Mike McCalister says oops. George LeMeiux explains.

A Florida Republican political operative said to Crowley Political Report recently that he has never seen such a bunch of amateurs running some of the U.S. senate campaigns.

Tis a bit harsh.

Still, it has been an interesting few days for Florida senate watchers.


The big headline is that Allen West finally gave a firm "no" - to the question of whether he would enter the senate race.

That huge sigh-of-relief you hear is coming from Adam Hasner, George LeMieux, Mike McCalister and Craig Miller who certainly trembled at the idea of West getting in the race. Loved by Tea Party voters and sitting on far more cash than any of the other candidates, West would have rocketed into top contender status.

After mulling the idea a bit, West concluded he would rather run for a second term in the 22nd congressional district.

"I believe the place where I can best effect the needed change is from the people's House — the House of Representatives," West said in a statement.  "I have been given one of the highest honors to serve in the House of Representatives, and I will continue to serve the citizens in that capacity."


That basically was the explanation that McCalister offered after the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo caught him on camera fibbing about whether he had testified before Congress while serving in the Army.

Video of the former colonel claiming he testified before Congress is out there on YouTube. Caputo asked McCalister about those claims after Saturday's candidate forum in Orlando. McCalister denied ever saying he testified before Congress.

By Monday, he was backing off with a petulant written statement in which he grudgingly admits: "Although I didn’t recall saying it when asked by the reporter, I did say that I testified."


LeMieux took several swipes at his senate race rivals during a recent meeting with Sarasota County Republicans.

Continue reading "Allen West says no. Mike McCalister says oops. George LeMeiux explains." »

New Huntsman video: Obama Failed Us

Republican candidate Jon Huntsman's campaign released a new video this morning in which the former Obama appointee calls the president a failure.


JON HUNTSMAN:   Right now we’ve got people on the fringes; President Obama is too far to the left. [ABC's This Week, 8/21/2011]

CHYRON:   On Barack Obama…

JON HUNTSMAN:  Zero leadership on display in terms of the President, who should’ve used the bully pulpit well ahead of time.  [ABC's This Week, 8/21/2011]

CHYRON:   On Barack Obama…

JON HUNTSMAN: He should’ve walked away from the teleprompter. [ABC's This Week, 8/21/2011]

JON HUNTSMAN: He had two and a half years to do the most important thing demanded by the American people:  Fix the economy, create an environment that is conducive to job growth, and he has failed us. He is a good man, he is earnest, but he has failed us on the most important issue of our day. [CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, 8/22/2011]

CHYRON: Take It From Me...The President Failed.



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Video provided by Huntsman campaign.

Should Charlie Crist endorse George LeMieux or Adam Hasner?

Crist cartoon Consider the possibilities of Charlie Crist endorsement in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Sure, you could argue that an endorsement from the former Florida governor would be worthless. And there is little doubt that most Republicans want little to do with Crist - especially the Tea Party faction.

On the other hand, a Crist endorsement would be an interesting political ploy.

Imagine if Crist endorsed Adam Hasner. That would be a wonderful thing for George LeMieux who is being portrayed by Hasner as Crist's twin brother.

Continue reading "Should Charlie Crist endorse George LeMieux or Adam Hasner?" »

Jeb Bush wants Paul Ryan to run for president in 2012

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has told The Weekly Standard  that he wants Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to enter the GOP race for president.

Bush is quoted by the Standard saying:

“Paul Ryan would be a formidable candidate. I admire his substance and energy. Win or lose, he would force the race to be about sustained, job-creating economic growth and the real policies that can achieve it.”

Bush joins a growing chorus of Republicans who would like to see Ryan jump into what has become a very crowded field of Republican candidates.

The Weekly Standard also has this interesting tidbit:

Ryan is in Colorado vacationing with his family this week. Three sources close to Ryan tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that his wife, Jana, is “on board” with a presidential bid. “That is a very big deal,” says one Ryan confidant. “Not that she’s enthusiastic, but she understands and she’s with him on it.”

Read the entire Weekly Standard story here.

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Jeb Bush wants Paul Ryan to run for president in 2012

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has told The Weekly Standard  that he wants Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to enter the GOP race for president.

Bush is quoted by the Standard saying:

“Paul Ryan would be a formidable candidate. I admire his substance and energy. Win or lose, he would force the race to be about sustained, job-creating economic growth and the real policies that can achieve it.”

Bush joins a growing chorus of Republicans who would like to see Ryan jump into what has become a very crowded field of Republican candidates.

The Weekly Standard also has this interesting tidbit:

Ryan is in Colorado vacationing with his family this week. Three sources close to Ryan tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that his wife, Jana, is “on board” with a presidential bid. “That is a very big deal,” says one Ryan confidant. “Not that she’s enthusiastic, but she understands and she’s with him on it.”

Read the entire Weekly Standard story here.

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Joe Biden will speak to Florida Democrats

Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith announced a few minutes ago that Vice President Joe Biden will attend the party's 2011 state convention.

In a statement, Smith said:

Our state is at a crossroads and Democrats are more determined than ever to fight. With 29 crucial electoral votes, Florida is one of the most important swing states in the country.

With your help, we will re-elect President Obama, Senator Nelson and send more Democrats fighting for middle class families to Congress to join our Democratic Delegation. This year's State Convention is exactly what we need to harness our collective enthusiasm and focus on electing Democrats in 2012.

The convention is Oct 28-30, at Disney Worlds' Contemporary Resort.  The convention website is here.

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Allen West for Senate - the idea is catching on.

AllenWest Returning yesterday from a trip that took Crowley Political Report to Charleston, Washington, Boston and Chicago, we find that there is surging interest in the idea that Congressman Allen West should run for the U.S. Senate.

This is not a new idea to CPR. On July 12, we wrote:

Seriously, isn't Allen West the best GOP candidate to run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson? ... Politics is about money and timing. West has said he is not interested in running for the senate but money and timing suggest there may be no better time than now for the former Army Lt. Colonel.  ... Should West decide to run for the U.S. Senate, much of the GOP field will collapse shortly after his announcement.

More of our July 12 report is here.

On Sunday, West told WPTV-Newschannel-5 program To the Point - "I am running for congressional reelection that is the most important thing right now."


Interviewer Michael Williams asked: "Can you be talked into a senate run  in 2012?"

West replied: "Right now, no."

Williams: "Right now no, but you'll leave the door open?"

Continue reading "Allen West for Senate - the idea is catching on." »

Jeb Bush Jr. endorses Jon Huntsman

The son also rises. Jeb Bush Jr. has become increasingly active in Florida politics suggesting that the second son of former Gov. Jeb Bush is on his way to becoming a candidate for public office in the not too distant future.

In a blog post, Bush the younger writes:

Today at 11:15 a.m. at Scotty's Landing in Miami, I will join Gov. Huntsman to formally endorse his candidacy, and accept a role as National Chairman of GenH – the campaign's youth and young professionals outreach program.


I am confident that Jon's vision will appeal to young voters, who are concerned about the trillions of dollars in debt being piled on their backs, and who desperately seek jobs and economic opportunity.


As more Americans get to know Jon and his record, I'm confident his support will continue to grow. Two years ago, I jumped on board Marco Rubio's campaign when he was polling at 3 percent, and we made history. With Jon, I can't wait to make history again.

The entire post is here.

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Can Florida voters fall in love with Rick Scott?

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has the worst poll numbers of any governor in the nation.  His dismal 29 percent favorability rating has climbed to a mere 35 percent in a new Quinnipiac poll.

Scott has taken notice.

Despite repeatedly telling folks that he does not read newspapers or polls, Scott is clearly paying close attention to both.

In recent weeks, Scott has reshuffled his staff bringing on Tallahassee insider Steve McNamara as his chief-of-staff.  And, as Crowley Political Report and others have noted, Scott is making a greater effort to mingle with the folks.

Scott clearly has is work cut out for him.

According to Quinnipiac, "Florida voters say 45 – 34 percent that they do not like Scott as a person.  This is the highest ‘dislike’ seen in any state surveyed by Quinnipiac University this year.  Voters tend to like their governor, even when they disapprove of the job he or she is doing.  Florida voters like President Barack Obama as a person 69 – 18 percent, but disapprove 51 – 44 percent of the job he is doing, as reported yesterday."

In other findings:

Voters dislike his policies 54 – 34 percent;

Voters disapprove 57 – 32 percent of his handling of the state budget;

42 percent say budget cuts went too far, as 20 percent say not far enough and 25 percent say the cuts are about right;

Voters say 39 – 26 percent that spending cuts in the budget will hurt, rather than help, the Florida economy;

Voters say 51 – 33 percent that the new state budget is unfair to them.

Scott has his work cut out for him. Can he pull it off?

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,417 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.  Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones. The survey was conduct from July 27 to Aug 2.

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Rick Scott tosses aside the velvet rope

Last February, Crowley Political Report wrote about the appearance of the velvet rope.

This was a very bad sign. The staff of Florida Gov. Rick Scott decided they wanted to use a velvet rope to bring more decorum to the Tallahassee press corps.

Here's part of what we said then:

Good lord, there is going to be a lot of strain between the Tallahassee press corps and the newly minted administration of Gov. Rick Scott.

Blame it on the velvet rope.

Brian Burgess, the communications director for Scott, informed the press corps that the time-honored scrum of reporters surrounding the governor for a few final questions at the end of a press conference would be no more.

The kids must stay in their seats until Gov. Scott leaves the room. And there will be no crossing of the velvet rope.

In the great scheme of things it is no big deal. The scrum was often painfully silly and it was not as if suddenly governors were answering questions they refused to answer at the podium.

Still, while it added a bit of decorum to press conferences, the move needlessly annoyed the press corps which is already deeply suspect of the Scott administration.

The velvet ropes quickly disappeared but things still got worse from there. Much worse. Over the months, the Scott administration was often aloof and hostile - and not just with the media.

Now, with Scott's popularity in the tank, the governor has made some important changes.

And they are more than welcome.

Under the direction of his new chief-of-staff, Steve McNamara, Scott's office is much more open. Just in the last couple of weeks, Scott's office has:

 * Reduced the once onerous pricetag for public records making it less expensive for the media and citizens to obtain public records.

 * Invited reporters, for the first time since becoming governor, to spend time with him in his office in a relaxed give-and-take that seemed to work for everyone.

 * Announced that he will do his own series of Bob Graham style "workdays" that will allow Scott to do the jobs of Florida workers. This was an invaluable tool for Graham that gave him  a deep understanding about how issues affected ordinary Floridians.

 * Agreed to visit newspaper editorial boards to discuss issues.

While it appears that the credit for this change in attitude should go to McNamara, it would be unfair not to give credit to Scott.

The governor clearly came to understand that his method of doing business in Tallahassee was not working. He made significant changes in his leadership team and brought on McNamara who has a deep understanding for how Tallahassee operates.

There will always be a certain amout of stress between the media and elected officials. And no one should expect these changes not to be greeted with a bit of suspicion.

But it is a step in the right direction and Scott should get credit for being willing to make the necessary changes.


Rick Scott, Hamster Rage and the Chicago Artist

Let's begin with Crowley Political Report taking pride in the above artwork featuring Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Mike Bender of the St. Petersburg Times was part of a gaggle in Scott's office Monday when he noticed a copy of the drawing on the wall of Scott's new chief-of-staff, Steve McNamara. The drawing was done by Chicago-based artist and graphic designer Brian J. Crowley.

The younger version of the editor of Crowley Political Report is a highly talented artist as his drawing of Scott demonstrates.  He is also the author of Hamster Rage, a web comic with a rapidly growing audience. Learn more about the artist here.

We're told Scott's wife likes the drawing because it captures his eyes.

Indeed. Well if the Scotts would like to pay for a print - I think the artist would be interested.

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Dead People's Stuff and Washington Gridlock

Crowley Political Report should have stopped and taken a picture.

On Highway 17, somewhere outside of Savannah, Ga., was this sign outside of a shop - "Dead People's Stuff For Sale."

On this long, deliberately slow road trip, my traveling buddy wonders if the "Gates to the Federal City" will be open by the time we arrive in D.C.

It seems a fair question.

No matter what side of the debate you are on, watching what is happening in Washington is - well - unsettling.

Some argue that this is the most divisive time in the nation's history. If you are one of those, you probably received an "F" in your American History class.

While it may not be the most divisive time, it may be one of  the most clueless times in Washington.

A young lady behind a bar in Charleston, talked about her big move back to the city. She had lived in Florida. A few things went wrong and some years back she said she needed to start over so she returned to Charleston.

She seemed happy.

In 2010, voters told Washington they wanted the Federal City to start over. Is the spectacle of the last few weeks what voters had in mind?


Whether you have "Dead People's Stuff For Sale" or you're tending bar, folks just want Washington to work - so they can work.

Sure there are differences about what that means, but you can be fairly certain it doesn't include gridlock. And it's probably fair to say that nearly everyone is going to be cranky if Washington makes the economy worse.

With the preening and the prancing on Capitol Hill - with their $175,000 a year paychecks and taxpayer funded gyms - the dwellers of the Federal City often seem to forget the guy just trying to make a living.

And Americans work a lot harder at it than the average worker on Capitol Hill.

Like the guy with this sign somewhere near the Georgia/South Carolina border - "Chinese Take-Out, New York Style."

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