Can we please trade Kim Lehmans?

Which of these ladies is more likely to tell you a made-up story?

I’m not saying that the Kim Lehman we’ve got—Republican National Committee member Kim Lehman, who recently tweeted “@politico you’re funny. They must pay you a lot to protect Obama. BTW he personally told the muslims that he IS a muslim. Read his lips”—is bad. We diaspora Iowans love to hear any mention of our mythical homeland not in the context of a 30 Rock punchline, as evidenced by our continued enjoyment of Steve King. It’s just that, in the course of trying to figure out who our Kim Lehman is, we found out about this other Kim Lehman—Kim Lehman the Beelady—who seems much nicer.

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Michael Steele: Still just sayin’ stuff

Striding boldly forward onto his dick, Michael Steele told the crowd at a Republican fundraiser Tuesday that Afghanistan is a “war of Obama’s choosing.” “If he’s such a student of history,” Steele said, “has he not understood that, you know, that’s the one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?” First of all, Steele clearly watched The Princess Bride last week (4:30.) Second, I don’t know if you remember this, but the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, shortly after the September 11th attacks and technically, you know, seven years before President Obama took office. It’s difficult to argue from that chronology that Afghanistan is not a war of George W. Bush’s choosing or, if you have a lot of stickers on your truck, Osama bin Laden’s. It does, however, remain totally easy to say.

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DNC, RNC both spending money like there’s no 2012

Michael Steele at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, where he was described as "the bald guy," "the guy with the mustache," "the guy in the suit," "the, um, he's kind of...he's got glasses..."

Good news, everybody: the GOP isn’t the only national political party taking the money that you thought would help express your political views in Washington and using it to buy caviar strap-ons. Yesterday, the Washington Post revealed that “both the national Democratic and Republican committees spend about two-thirds of the money they take in on the care and comfort of committee staffs and on efforts to raise more funds, with lavish spending on limousines, expensive hotels, meals and tips.” Props to Jacek “Monster In the Closet” Pruski for the link. Those of you who have worked in nonprofits know that the appropriate level of operating costs for a charitable organization is generally agreed to be about 20% of income. During the fundraising cycle that ended in February, the DNC took in about $100 million, and spent $60 million on travel, catering, hotels, entertainment, staff salaries and “office supplies”—a line that, in the RNC’s annual report to the Federal Election Commission, included liquor, jelly beans, and a $900 tab at the Little Door restaurant in Beverly Hills. First of all, if you’ve ever eaten at the Little Door, you know the manilla file folders are incredible. Second of all, the RNC took in $109 million last fundraising cycle, and spent $74 million of it. Where did all that money go?

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Yes: Michael Steele’s RNC spends two grand at bondage club

You're welcome, Daily Show.

Since his earliest plans to resituate the Republican Party within “urban-suburban hip hop settings,” Michael Steele has been a gift to commenters. The chairman of the Republican National Committee has proven himself to have a tin ear for what the American people might want to hear, alienating independents and grassroots conservatives alike with a series of public statements that seem, well, stupid. But could Michael Steele be stupid like a fox? His clown reasoning has made him a punchline, but it’s also made him famous. I mean, who was the last Republican National Committee chairman? Can you name any of them? Steele has turned an obscure post as a party apparatchik into a bona fide public presence; he appears on Fox and Friends just as often as he appears on the Daily Show (pretty much a 1:1 ratio, come to think of it) and his book is selling like lukewarm hotcakes. Few would argue that Steele has made himself reckoned in national politics, but at least he’s made himself recognizable. If recent news reports are any indication, he’s also made himself rich.

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Friday links! Masters and servants edition

Apparently Friedrich Nietzsche is the guest editor this week at Also, I'm not sure Rikki Kramp is this young man's given name.

As anyone who has read about the United States in a book will tell you, ours is a country founded on egalitarianism. Let the tottering empires of Europe labor under the notion of a permanent ruling class; America has no king, because America needs no king. Sure, certain of the exceptionally gifted among us will rise to power and prominence, and it’s only logical that those men and women keep their positions for long, illustrious careers. But even from the lofty heights of power they see us at eye level. Ours is not a culture in which a small elect view the rest of us as braying lambs, raised to numbly trot after the herd. No—we live free, with no shepherds to herd us to safety or slaughter. Or, um, maybe that’s totally how it is. Maybe the levers of American power are set hopelessly beyond the reach of any person of average heights, and we live at the mercy of forces beyond our control. Maybe the presidency really is a fifth column with its top higher than our eyes can see, and our only defense is a conglomeration of old families and wealthy industrialists trying desperately to trick us into right action before it’s too late. Both explanations—a nation of free men, a sad school play in which frightened children mumble words they dimly understand—seem equally possible. And either explanation is, after all, self-fulfilling. This week, Combat! blog presents evidence for both sides. Is America still operated by Americans? Or have we devolved into a kleptocracy in which corporate money and political aristocracy compete to see whose views they can make our own? More than most questions, this one depends on how you look at it.

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