National Review Editor: Ban Obama From Delivering State of the Union Address

Congressional Republicans have found themselves completely stymied by President Obama’s executive action on immigration. There’s no bill for them to vote down, they lack the votes for impeachment, and shutting down the government never works. National Review editor Rich Lowry has suggested an innovative new way for Republicans to express their displeasure: ban President Obama from delivering the State of the Union Address:

“If I were John Boehner,” he said, referring to the House speaker, “I’d say to the president: ‘Send us your State of the Union in writing. You’re not welcome in our chamber.’ ”

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Why Didn’t Republicans See Obama’s Immigration Move Coming?

One of the strangest things about the immigration debate is the fervent belief by conservatives that President Obama is motivated only by devious partisan considerations. Immigration hawk David Frum notes, “the president’s political opponents almost unanimously believe that his act of nullification is motivated by the crassest kind of political calculation.” (Frum does not endorse this belief among conservatives, he merely passes it on.) Michael Gerson — like Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, and unlike Frum, a strong proponent of immigration reform — argues that Obama “uses undocumented workers in a vast political ploy.”

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Obama, Ferguson, and the Torments of Liberalism

President Obama’s remarks last night on the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, will not be recorded by history as a stirring piece of rhetoric. But in a small way, it managed to capture the narratives swirling around the tragic events. And it encapsulated the eternal dilemma of the liberal, carefully balancing ideological pressure, which is always more acute in furious times.

The competing realities Obama was attempting to balance include the following:

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Brooklyn Is One Step Closer to Hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention

On Monday, DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced that Phoenix and Birmingham were out of the running to host the 2016 convention, leaving Columbus, Philadelphia and, yes, New York City as the finalists. And should the Democratic machine choose us over a place with swing voters, Mayor de Blasio intends to make Barclays Center — and, by extension, Brooklyn — the center of the action. A decision is expected sometime early next year, which means that the people who live off of the Atlantic Avenue stop still have a little time to save themselves from a hellish week of (worse-than-usual) gridlock and (huger-than-usual) crowds by somehow sabotaging the bid.

House Republicans Now Also Covering Up Benghazi Scandal

Late Friday afternoon, the House Intelligence Committee released a report on Benghazi. It is an article of faith among conservatives that Benghazi, Libya, was the site not only of a terrorist attack on an American diplomatic site but a heinous cover-up by the Obama administration in 2012. The Committee, which is led by Republicans, instead concluded that the administration did not order security to “stand down,” nor did the Obama administration deliberately mislead the public about what was happening.

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Nevada State Assembly Won’t Be Run by a Racist, Sexist Homophobe After All

Last week, the world outside of the Nevada political sphere was introduced to Ira Hansen, the bigoted, conspiracy-theory-believing Republican recently elected speaker of his state's Assembly. Once people had the opportunity to read the lowlights of Hansen's newspaper column, which included his takes on "the truth" about women in the military (they "do not belong" there), the gay community (home to a "grossly disproportionate" number of "pederasts"), and "simple-minded darkies" (that one speaks for itself), people began calling for him to give up his new leadership role, which he was supposed to begin in February. On Sunday morning, he obliged, saying that "character assassination" had forced him from the job.

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Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Dies at 78

Marion Barry, the four-term Washington, D.C., mayor often referred to as the city's "Mayor for Life," died on Saturday night. His family did not publicize the cause of death, but the 78-year-old had suffered from diabetes, prostate cancer, and kidney problems over the years. To those outside of D.C., Barry was best known for his 1990 arrest and six-month imprisonment for crack possession, but he remained one of the capitol's most prominent politicians even after he left the top office. (In addition to his 16 years as mayor, he served as a city councilman from 2004 until his death.)

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Republican-Led Committee Fails to Uncover Benghazi Conspiracy

The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee sold out the United States' proud Benghazi truthers on Friday, when it released the results of a two-year investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Libya. According to the House panel, the U.S. military, the CIA, and the Obama administration responded "properly" to the assault, which left four Americans dead. In other words: There was no Benghazi scandal.

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House Republicans Finally Sue Obama Over Obamacare

After threatening to do so for months, House Republicans have finally sued the Obama administration over the president's "king-like" changes to Obamacare, the New York Times reports. The lawsuit, filed on Friday against the secretaries of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department, accuses Obama & Co. of illegally delaying the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate. It also challenges the $175 billion the law is set to pay to insurance companies over the next ten years in order to subsidize health care for poor people.

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Video of the day

Charlie Rangel Opens Debate With Fake Phone Call

Congressman Joe Garcia Picks Ear, Eats It on Live TV

Sarah Palin Thinks Chelsea’s Baby May Make Hillary ‘Open Her Eyes’ About Abortion

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In The Mag

Back on the Trail

When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.

By Jason Zengerle

Reading List

Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013

The Case for Deficit Optimism

For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

By Ezra Klein
Salon Jan. 15, 2012

The NRA's Democratic Helpers

Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.

By Steve Kornacki

From the Archives

New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010

Boehner's Army

After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009

With Friends Like These

Obama drew progressive ire from day one.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008

Hiding In Plain Sight

How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.

By Jeff Coplon