The D.C. "cocktail party circuit" is real, and never so real as it becomes in December. Your humble correspondent, who arguably peaked sometime in 2010, was nevertheless put on The List for a few of the city's think tank and media parties.
So: At the Americans for Tax Reform event, I grabbed a manhattan and talked with some conservative activists about how Obamacare was dooming the Democrats. Popular theory: The party would have to back away from the law, inasmuch as it could. The question was whether Democrats would be able to make the case for single-payer as a replacement (as Brian Schweitzer and his Montana acolytes do) or just run screaming from the wreckage. Seton Motley, who used to work for the Media Research Center and left to start a group called Less Government, was convinced that even Hillary Clinton would have to run against the law in 2016. As we talked, a TV screen ran through slides of the "naughty" and "nice" figures of 2013.
Ezra Klein: Nice, for writing a column that told Democrats to give up on tax increases in this year's budget brinkmanshop.
Sam Brownback: Nice, for leading a conservative policy revolution in Kansas.
Barack Obama: Naughty. No explanation given, though the photo on this was of the days-old Selfie Moment.
Over to the Heritage Foundation's Christmas party—Christmas, not holiday. This was for the media exclusively, and four cocktails had been rebranded for our enjoyment. Parampumpum Politico Punch; On Donner, On Blitzer (for CNN); Hark, the Herald (Jim) Angle Sings (for Fox News); and DeMint Julep. The new president of the think tank was sherpa'd from conversation to conversation by a staffer, rescued by another when the conversation went on too long.
Apparently, ours was one of the draggy convos. DeMint laughed when I called him Mr. President—"I still have business cards that say 'president-elect.' " He did not miss being in the Senate during crunch time, and was cheerful about the think tank's 2014 agenda, all positivity and educating the public on how the health care law was hurting them and inducing socialism. The only way Republicans could screw it up, he said, was if "they bring up immigration again." Little chance of that. Merry Christmas!
TODAY IN SLATE
More Than Scottish Pride
Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself.
What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture
Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter
The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge
The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems
Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.
Giving Up on Goodell
How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.