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Particle politics revisited

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Republicans nominated House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to become Speaker of the House when the GOP seizes control in January.

But it’s far from clear that McCarthy can attain the votes to become Speaker. McCarthy has spent the past few days making not-so-subtle promises which may help him become Speaker. McCarthy demanded that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas resign or face potential impeachment during a trip to the southern border. McCarthy also promised that “next year, Republicans will start every day of Congress with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. No exceptions.”

Republicans can adopt any rule they want as it pertains to House operations when the GOP claims control in January. But the House routinely begins each session with the prayer and pledge anyway. In fact, House rule XIV dictates “the daily order of business…shall be as follows: First. Prayer by the Chaplain. Second. Reading and Approval of the Journal, unless postponed under clause 8 of rule XX. Third: The pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.”

Of course, Republicans could always alter the rule to ensure that the “Approval of the Journal” doesn’t interrupt the prayer and pledge. But that’s pretty minimal.

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This underscores that McCarthy is doing all he can to command enough votes to become Speaker. Making promises to bounce Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., from committees. Hinting at impeachment to sate the appetite of the right over the border. Appealing to religious conservatives.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It may work. But so far, the math isn’t in favor of McCarthy when the floor vote hits in January. Reps. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Bob Good, R-Va., are unlikely to support McCarthy. That could be enough votes right there to sink McCarthy’s bid for the gavel.

But if not McCarthy, who? 

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.? House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.? Rep. and incoming House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn.? Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio? Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.?

It wasn’t that long ago that McCarthy was supposed to succeed former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio as Speaker. And then former Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., took the job – despite an adamant claim a few weeks before that he didn’t want the gig. 

There were times over the past 15 to 20 years that the next GOP leader or House Speaker was supposed to be former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Cantor lost his primary. Former Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y. was considered as a potential successor to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Tex., tinkered with a leadership bid a few years ago.

Other names who have gone by the wayside: Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., and former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

This brings us to one of my most enduring theses about Congress. Who winds up in or out of Congressional leadership posts is contingent upon “particle” politics. In other words, infinitesimal, minute, sub-atomic political particles decide who emerge as Congressional leaders. It was hard to see how McCarthy wouldn’t become Speaker seven years ago. Yet he didn’t claim the gavel. It was hard to see how Ryan would become Speaker in 2015. Yet he did.

Right now, McCarthy is the odds-on favorite to become House Speaker on January 3 next year. But McCarthy lacks the votes – so far. Thus, does someone else actually become Speaker through means which aren’t yet clear?

Possible.

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It’s all because of “particle politics.” 

A similar phenomenon unfolded on the Democratic side of the aisle to succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as the leader of the party.

The ascension to succeed Pelosi is a Washington parlor game played for years. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., helped Pelosi form three legs of a stool representing all wings of the House Democratic Caucus. In other words, if you subtract one of the legs, the stool collapses. It was often thought that once Pelosi goes, all three go. That kind of happened with Pelosi and Hoyer stepping away from leadership roles. Clyburn remains – but with a lower-profile leadership post. 

But figuring out who was to succeed Pelosi was a mystery which went on for a decade-and-a-half.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on CBS'

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” 
(CBS News/Screenshot)

Pelosi and Hoyer have had a rivalry dating back to when they interned together in the office of late Sen. Daniel Brewster, D-Md., in the 1960s. Pelosi often blocked Hoyer’s leadership bids. Pelosi endorsed the late Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Penn., for Majority Leader in 2006. Yet Hoyer prevailed. And Hoyer would never directly challenge Pelosi for the Democrats’ top leadership post. Hoyer lacked the votes and would lose. However, over the years, Republicans privately conceded they feared Hoyer more as Pelosi as Speaker. That’s because of Hoyer’s stellar reputation of working across the aisle and not presenting the GOP with a liberal foil.

But that opportunity never came for Hoyer. Or Clyburn, for that matter.

There was even a time many years ago when some factions in the Democratic Caucus believed that former Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., could pose a threat to Pelosi. The two had a chilly relationship for years. Harman never lodged a challenge to Pelosi. 

Nor was Harman around long enough to outlast Pelosi, should the opportunity avail itself.

Meantime, speculation churned for years as Pelosi ushered in a series of other Democratic lieutenants who aspired to succeed her – but never got the chance because of the Speaker’s longevity.

First in the queue was current Ambassador to Japan and former Chicago Mayor, White House Chief of Staff and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill. But after helping Democrats win control of the House chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2006 and becoming Democratic Caucus Chairman, former President Obama drafted Emanuel to serve as Chief of Staff.

Then came Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. Van Hollen was in the House at the time, but eventually moved to the Senate.

Focus turned to former Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., for a time. Then current Health and Human Services Secretary and former Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., was in the mix. But Crowley – like Cantor – eventually lost his primary to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Schiff may have been the latest potential Pelosi successor. In fact, Schiff began a not-so-stealthy campaign to possibly succeed Pelosi. Several House Democrats told Fox that Schiff wouldn’t have launched such an effort unless he had a either an implicit or explicit blessing from Pelosi. That’s partly because Pelosi and Schiff have always enjoyed a special relationship. That was on exhibit when Pelosi tasked Schiff to serve as the lead manager during former President Trump’s first impeachment trial. Schiff chairs the Intelligence Committee. The House Judiciary Committee chairman had customarily been the lead “prosecutor” in such impeachment proceedings. Not the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

However, Schiff ultimately lacked the votes to succeed Pelosi. And House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., has all but wrapped up the deal to succeed Pelosi by acclamation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff does a TV interview at the Capitol on July 26, 2021.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff does a TV interview at the Capitol on July 26, 2021.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

This is notable. Just two hours before Pelosi announced her retirement from the leadership, Jeffries didn’t respond to a question from yours truly as to if he had “a plan in a drawer somewhere” to campaign for the Democrats’ top leadership post. 

This is why it comes down to “particle politics.” 

No one could have foreseen circumstances years ago that Jeffries would be the one who might succeed Pelosi – back when all of the focus was on Emanuel or Van Hollen.

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Who gets into leadership positions boils down to hard work. A bit of magic. A bit of luck. And really good timing.

Kevin McCarthy is now going for the gavel again. Rarely does anyone get a second chance at such a prime leadership post as Speaker. But that’s the opportunity which has now come in McCarthy’s direction.

But McCarthy’s fate hinges on subatomic, political particles, now racing around the political supercollider.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/particle-politics-revisited

Politics

How to send Valentines to kids in hospitals, nursing home residents and more

Valentine’s Day is a day when we think of others. It also can be a day to spread love to people who are facing their own set of challenges.

Throughout the country, pediatric hospitals, nursing homes, shelters and even employers of frontline workers are currently accepting Valentine’s Day cards and other holiday goodies.

Here are a few organizations and gift ideas that you might want to consider extending kindness to.

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Valentine’s Day celebrants can send virtual cards to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for free on the pediatric hospital’s website. Virtual card creators get to pick from an assortment of colorful designs that feature artwork inspired by real patients of St. Jude. 

St. Jude recommends writing “encouraging notes” to its patients. Cards can also be sent all year round and not just on Valentine’s Day. 

Other ways people can support the hospital over the holiday include sending in monetary donations, hosting fundraising events and spreading awareness on social media, according to St. Jude’s website.

St. Jude is partnered with AmazonSmile, an online shop that processes cash donations and giftable items to charities at no cost.

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HIS Radio’s Hearts for Kids Initiative

Non-commercial radio station WLFJ-FM (HIS Radio) is accepting handmade Valentine’s Day cards that’ll be distributed to children’s hospitals throughout North Carolina. 

The station will be delivering “cheer packets” made up of “cards and fun goodies” to children’s wards at the following seven hospitals: North Carolina Children’s Hospital, Chapel Hill; Wake Med, Raleigh; Duke Children’s, Durham; Vidant/Maynard Children’s Hospital, Greenville; Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Fayetteville; Betsy Johnson Hospital, Dunn; and Nash General, Rocky Mount.

HIS Radio will screen cheer packets. Cards and goodies must be received no later than Wednesday, Feb. 8, according to the radio station’s website.

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Valentine’s Day cards can be mailed or dropped off in person at the address below.

HIS Radio–Hearts For Kids

7610 Falls of Neuse Rd, Suite 155

Raleigh, N.C. 27615

The local radio station recommends card submitters refrain from using glitter and googly eyes, making references to illness or religion and providing candy or toys. Instead, HIS Radio suggests making uplifting and gender-neutral holiday cards that feature standard Valentine’s Day greetings. Cards written in Spanish are also encouraged.

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Wish of a Lifetime From AARP’s Cupid Crew

Spreading Valentine’s Day cheer to seniors is an easy task with AARP’s Wish of a Lifetime. The organization has a volunteer-driven Cupid Crew campaign that collects Valentine’s Day cards nationally and delivers these heartfelt notes to seniors who are socially isolated.

Pre-made Cupid Crew Valentine’s Day cards can be downloaded from the Wish of a Lifetime website. Once printed, holiday celebrants can personalize and drop off or mail the cards to local senior communities or someone they know personally.

“Since the pandemic’s start, many older Americans have become more isolated, missing out on chances to connect with their communities and passions in life,” Wish of a Lifetime’s website states. “Through Cupid Crew, you can help them feel more connected and loved.”

Love In Action Project

The Love in Action Project has already kicked off its annual Valentine’s Day card drive, which aims to create and deliver 5,000 cards to nursing home residents in North Carolina. The organization matches volunteers with nursing homes, so cards can be sent directly to these facilities.

According to the Love in Action Project, sending Valentine’s Day cards to seniors in nursing homes fosters human connection, curbs loneliness and aids physical and mental health. 

Volunteers who are interested in participating in this year’s card drive can email the Love in Action Project at info@iamlovenaction.org.

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Open Door Mission

Open Door Mission, a Nebraska-based shelter that offers temporary housing and food to people in need, is accepting handmade Valentine’s Day cards and decorations that’ll be distributed around the holiday. 

Both crafts should be dropped off at the organization’s administration building at the address below.

Open Door Mission

2828 N 23rd St East

Omaha, Neb. 68110

Valentine’s Day cards can include holiday candies and will be distributed to Open Door Mission residents, according to the nonprofit. Donated Valentine’s Day decorations will be displayed at the Open Door Mission’s Hearts of Hope Banquet.

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Send cards or meals to frontline workers

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens showed their appreciation and support to frontline workers with thank-you cards and meals.

Those considerate offerings can be brought back on Valentine’s Day for local hospitals, police departments, firehouses and other essential workers. 

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens showed their appreciation and support to frontline workers with thank you cards and meals. Those considerate offerings can be brought back on Valentine’s Day.

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens showed their appreciation and support to frontline workers with thank you cards and meals. Those considerate offerings can be brought back on Valentine’s Day.
(iStock)

Whether it’s a simple Valentine’s Day card, a homemade baked good or a store-bought breakfast, lunch or dinner, there are different ways you can spread holiday cheer. 

Just make sure to check with the organization you’d like to extend Valentine’s Day appreciation to in case there are specific gifting rules.

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If you’d like to send a Valentine to a veteran or an active-duty service member, read more here.

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Biden issues call for unity after insulting GOP as ‘fiscally demented’

President Biden called for unity, hearkening back to days when elected officials from both sides of the aisle got along, two weeks after he called Republicans “fiscally demented.”

Biden delivered the remarks during a Thursday morning address at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

“In our politics, in our lives, we too often see each other as opponents and not competitors,” Biden said. “We see each other as enemies, not neighbors. And as tough as these times have been, if we look closer we see the strength and determination that has long defined America.”

“There are those in the greatest need who are looking to us. They’ve elected us to help them. To really look at each other, not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as who we really are – as fellow Americans, fellow human beings worthy of being treated with dignity and respect,” the president added.

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President Joe Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Washington.

President Joe Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Washington.
(The Associated Press)

Biden stated that “so much more unites us than divides us,” and that his first two years in office showed that officials “can join hands and get things done.” 

It was just two weeks ago that Biden took a shot at Republicans during a speech at the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day breakfast. 

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President Joe Biden called Republicans 'fiscally demented' while speaking at the National Action Network's Martin Luther King, Jr., Day breakfast.

President Joe Biden called Republicans ‘fiscally demented’ while speaking at the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Day breakfast.
(AP)

“These guys, they’re fiscally demented. They don’t quite get it,” Biden said about Republicans who criticized Biden for signing large spending packages.

Biden has also called Republicans who support former President Donald Trump “a threat to this country,” and compared their political ideology to “semi-fascism.”

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Later in his remarks, the president recalled how things were different when he first joined the Senate in the 1970s, at a time when political opponents could still be friends. He illustrated his point by saying how when segregationists like Sens. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., and James Eastland, D-Miss., were in office, he would see Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., “argue like hell” with Eastland on the Senate floor, then eat with him afterwards in the Senate dining room.

“I don’t know how we go back to doing that anymore, but we have to,” Biden said.

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Hunter Biden’s lawyers demand criminal probe into laptop leakers, Giuliani and others, admit laptop is his

Hunter Biden’s lawyers called on federal and state prosecutors across the country to open criminal investigations into his critics on Wednesday – and in doing so, acknowledged that the notorious laptop is indeed Hunter’s.

Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, wrote letters to the Justice Department and the Delaware attorney general calling for investigations into Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon and John Mac Isaac, who owns the computer repair shop where Biden is said to have left his laptop. Biden’s lawyers also sent cease and desist letters to others who obtained and disseminated the laptop’s contents.

Lowell argued in the letters that Mac Isaac and the others had no right to inspect the contents of Biden’s laptop, much less make copies of it to share with the media.

“This failed dirty political trick directly resulted in the exposure, exploitation, and manipulation of Mr. Biden’s private and personal information,” Lowell wrote in a letter. “Politicians and the news media have used this unlawfully accessed, copied, distributed, and manipulated data to distort the truth and cause harm to Mr. Biden.”

The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

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Hunter Biden's lawyers are going on offense against his critics.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers are going on offense against his critics.
(Getty Images)

Hunter Biden's lawyers sent letters demanding a criminal investigation of Rudy Giuliani.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers sent letters demanding a criminal investigation of Rudy Giuliani.
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

HUNTER BIDEN SEEN AT RITZY NYC ART GALLERY SELLING HIS PAINTINGS FOR UP TO $200K, DESPITE ETHICS CONCERNS

The letter went on to accuse Mac Isaac of “theft of computer services,” and Giuliani of “possession of stolen property.

“Mr. Mac Isaac chose to work with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer to weaponize Mr. Biden’s personal computer data against his father, Joseph R. Biden, by unlawfully causing the provision of Mr. Biden’s personal data to the New York Post,” Lowell wrote.

Despite the appearances, a source familiar with Lowell’s move argued that Wednesday’s letters do not constitute an admission of the laptop’s validity. Biden’s legal team argues that the versions of the laptop released to the public may have been tampered with.

Hunter Biden's legal team is demanding a criminal investigation into Steve Bannon.

Hunter Biden’s legal team is demanding a criminal investigation into Steve Bannon.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The First Son’s newfound legal aggression comes as Republicans on Capitol Hill are preparing their own investigations into both him and President Biden’s family more generally.

An upcoming hearing for the House Oversight Committee will focus on Twitter’s censorship of the New York Post’s original story on the so-called “laptop from hell,” which dropped just weeks before Election Day in 2020.

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Other House investigations are expected to focus on Hunter’s business dealings. Those investigations are likely to rely heavily on the contents of the laptop.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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