The word "heist" is defined by Merriam-Webster's as either a) to commit armed robbery on, or, b) steal. It also happens to be the main part of the title of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' 2012 hit album. The Heist featured chart-topping hits "Can't Hold Us" and "Thrift Shop," among others. But March 21, 2017 was probably the first time the Grammy-winning record got name-dropped by a U.S. senator. I'm going out on a limb and also guessing this is the first time anyone in public office has referred to "Mr. Macklemore." And if Sen. Maria Cantwell's point was to get attention back on the repercussions of repealing healthcare, then mission (kind of) accomplished.
Speaking about the perils of rolling back President Obama's signature domestic legislation, Cantwell spoke specifically about the cuts to Medicaid. With the House set to vote Thursday on Speaker Paul Ryan's replacement bill, everyone with a capital D or R by their name and an office on Capitol Hill is out either lambasting or promoting the major legislative change. As a Democrat, Cantwell is not a fan of what many are dubbing TrumpCare. And she found in Macklemore's (AND Ryan Lewis', ahem) album a fitting symbolic title of what she believes gutting Obamacare represents — a heist.
Sen. Maria Cantwell on health bill: "I wish I could get a famous rapper from Seattle here, Mr. Macklemore, because this truly is a heist." pic.twitter.com/d7O0HGil26— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 21, 2017
It is both endearing and awkward to watch Cantwell talk about "Mr. Macklemore," the "famous rapper from Seattle." She's 58 years old, and as a senator, the woman no doubt has plenty of pressing issues that demand her attention. Whether or not an album extolling the virtue of thrift store shopping and a no-holds-barred approach to partying plays any major role in her music repertoire is not for me to judge, though he is from Washington, the state she represents. But what I will say is that it seems the words about Mr. Macklemore are not exactly uttered with the effortless ease usually on offer from ardent fans.
That being said, politicians are in the scoundrel-y business of politics. And that often means doing whatever it takes to win. Obviously, the rise of Donald Trump has posed an unforeseen type of challenge to Democrats when it comes to winning. One thing Trump does better than anyone on the D.C. scene is drive the conversation where he wants it to be. If Cantwell is turning that style against him — inexplicably pulling a major hip-hop star into a conversation about healthcare legislation — in order to gain attention and control the media narrative, then perhaps she's thinking of another Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lyric:
"Can we go back now / This is the moment / Tonight is the night / We'll fight 'til it's over."