The Edge is National Journal's daily look at today in Washington -- and what's coming next. The email features analysis from NJ's top correspondents, the biggest stories of the day -- and always a few surprises. To subscribe, click here.
Call Him Hizzoner
Bill de Blasio will be the next mayor of New York, barring something extraordinary. The question for Washington is whether the self-styled anti-Michael Bloomberg is a harbinger for politics outside of Gotham.
You could make the case that de Blasio has no national import; you could argue that he was a candidate who could focus on inequality only because of New York's exceptional boom and the city's dramatic decline in crime, which allowed voters to jettison their fears about personal safety.
For his part, Peter Beinart sees more national significance in de Blasio's primary win—a sign that a Reagan-Clinton bifurcation in our politics is coming to an end and a new, millennial-driven Left is coming to power. Either way, watch this man, whether or not you live in the five boroughs.
SYRIA NEGOTIATIONS COMING TO NEW YORK LATER THIS MONTH. Secretary of State John Kerry said today that discussions Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to set up a peace conference on Syria will continue in New York sometime later this month, The New York Times reports. But Kerry said the prospects for such talks would hinge largely on how efforts to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control proceed. Kerry and Lavrov also said that progress on their chemical-arms talks could ultimately help lead to negotiations between Syria's warring factions. The State Department announced Kerry will travel to Jerusalem on Sunday to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for meetings that will focus in part on Syria. Read more
- The sudden swerve toward international diplomacy offers President Obama the opportunity of a better outcome in Syria—at the risk of creating an enervating standoff that weakens him in all the other struggles barreling his way this fall, National Journal's Ronald Brownstein writes. Read more
43 HOUSE REPUBLICANS SUPPORT BILL RISKING SHUTDOWN TO STOP ACA. Forty-three members of the House Republican conference have signed on to sponsor an alternate continuing resolution, led by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., that would defund the Affordable Care Act and delay its implementation for one year even at the risk of a government shutdown, Talking Points Memo reports. "After weeks of working with and listening to members on how to approach the government funding deadline, it's clear that House Republicans are united around two goals: keeping the government open and protecting our constituents from the harmful effects of Obamacare," Graves said. The maneuver left Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to say he was unsure what to do next, adding: "They'll just shoot it down, anyway." Read more
FED PREPARING TO CHANGE POLICY—AND LEADERSHIP—SOON. The Federal Reserve will decide next week whether to end months of speculation and begin scaling back its monthly bond purchases, or continue to wait for another month or two, The New York Times reports. Complicating matters, as many as nine of the central bank's policy-making committee could be replaced next year, including Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose term finishes at the end of January. The White House insists Obama has not decided to select former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers as the next Fed chief, but speculation continues to rise that such a pick is only a matter of time. Read more
- The job of Fed chairman is as much about character and temperament as it is intellect and experience, National Journal's Michael Hirsh writes. And that's why Summers shouldn't get it. Read more
U.S. CONSULATE IN AFGHANISTAN ATTACKED BY TALIBAN. A U.S. consulate in western Afghanistan was hit today by a wave of car bombs set off by Taliban fighters, causing a firefight that left at least two Afghans dead and another 17 wounded, the Associated Press reports. U.S. personnel were said to be safe and temporarily relocated to Kabul. The attack, in conjunction with a suicide truck bombing on the other side of the country, "raises concerns of spreading insecurity in Afghanistan as U.S.-led troops reduce their presence ahead of a full withdrawal next year," the AP notes. Read more
A NEW FRONT IN THE GOP'S WAR ON SCIENCE. Republicans are going after environmental groups' last, best line of defense, National Journal's Patrick Reis reports. The environmental lobby has long leveraged three main arguments in its fight for clean-air policies: climate science, jobs, and public health. But ever since Obama took office, Republicans have made strong inroads against the first two arguments, turning the once solid talking points into question marks among moderates and outright liabilities among conservatives. As the administration considers new clean-air regulations for coal-fired power plants and other polluters, GOP lawmakers on the Hill are attacking the fundamental science the Environmental Protection Agency says proves that curbing emissions protects the public from harm. Read more
WHY DEMOCRATS HAVE REASON TO FEAR. Members of Congress who were dreading a showdown on Capitol Hill over authorization of an attack on Syria have been given a reprieve. Even though the midterm elections are still more than 13 months away, the specter of an attack, and the unknown repercussions that could follow, were certainly on their minds. If the United States launched cruise missiles to punish the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons, what would happen if Syria launched a retaliatory attack against Israel or other U.S. interests in the region? This had the potential to be a big issue in 2014. The combination of a weak economy, disapproval of Obama, and Syria could hurt midterm prospects, National Journal's Charlie Cook writes. Read more
KOCH BROTHERS BREAK NEW GROUND IN DARK MONEY. The Koch brothers are nothing if not innovators in the murky world of campaign finance, and their latest venture—a secret fund that quietly distributed $250 million to conservative groups during the 2012 election, as revealed by Politico on Thursday—is no exception. The group explores near-virgin territory in the tax code as the first in what could be a new class of weapons in the secret money arms race. National Journal's Alex Seitz-Wald reports. Read more
Please note: This is not a comprehensive list of Sunday show guests, and lineups are subject to change. Please consult network websites for details.
- President Obama will sit for an interview on ABC's This Week.
- Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., will appear on FNC's Fox News Sunday.
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., will discuss Russia's role in the Syria crisis on NBC's Meet the Press. Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., will discuss the 2008 financial crash.
- Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will appear on CBS's Face the Nation.
- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, will participate in a political roundtable on CNN's State of the Union.
"I think I understand the Senate better than any man or woman who's ever served in there." -- Vice President Joe Biden (Politico)
RADIO SILENCE. In an effort to get out their message, Syrian journalists are turning to what might seem like an archaic medium—the radio, Newsweek's Mike Giglio reports. About a dozen FM radio stations have started since the beginning of Syria's two-and-a-half year conflict, some with the help of the State Department. Obaidah al-Kadri, director of Al-Watan, a radio station that staffs about 30 people, said that he hopes his station reaches "silent Syrians," or those who don't side with regime, but are also skeptical of the rebels. "That underlying message is one of moderation and civility. Think National Public Radio in Arabic. What they're hoping to do is undermine Assad and promote a more moderate voice for the opposition—in essence, to get a head start in the battle of ideas with the Islamists who might overtake Syria if Assad is overthrown," Giglio writes. Read more
CREATIVE IS AS CREATIVE DOES. A new study from a pair of researchers at the London School of Economics contrasts the innovative contributions made by "creative firms" with those of individual "creative workers" across any industry, and determines that "while the emphasis from policymakers has been on the creative industries, workers in creative occupations may also be significant drivers of innovation and economic growth," The Atlantic Cities' Richard Florida writes. The study focused on six measures of product and process innovation, finding that creative workers are crucial to innovation across all industries, and that cities help channel such creative contributions. As Florida concludes, the research "makes clear (that) the better, more effective path to generating the kinds of innovations that underpin job creation and economic growth comes from creative workers in cities." Read more
CHART OF THE DAY
THAT INFAMOUS GREEN LIGHT. Jaz Parkinson, an art student from England, charted how a handful of famous works incorporate color, imagining "how famous books would look if you could only read them through a visual signature," Wired's Liz Stenson reports. Parkinson used 1984, The Wizard of Oz,and The Great Gatsby, among others. Instead of using an algorithm—which would have saved time—she said that she read a copy of each book and made a "note in MS Excel in a table whenever a color is evoked in the mind." Read more