Capitol Hill swarmed by performers in straitjackets
Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) turned heads on Capitol Hill this week by sending performance artists dressed in straitjackets and blue-and-red tinted glasses to the House offices.
Why it matters: It's part of a campaign Kinzinger is launching against political extremism and attention-grabbing political antics at a time when the House is focused on flashy hearings and probes into the Biden administration.
- Kinzinger told Politico, which first reported his campaign, that the glasses symbolize the ideological binary in the American political system: "We’ve been programmed so much to believe ... that each event in the world should be seen through blue or red glasses."
- Kinzinger retired from Congress this year after voting to impeach former President Trump over the Jan. 6 attack and serving on the Jan. 6 select committee.
The state of play: The performers were first spotted roaming the House office buildings on Tuesday, perplexing lawmakers and staffers with their unwillingness to speak or do anything to broadcast their message.
- The mystery was solved on Wednesday, when they began carrying QR codes that link to a website denouncing political extremism and calling to "reject conspiracies and stand for truth, courage and integrity."
What he's saying: "We call them 'drones'," Kinzinger told Axios in an interview. "They're just kind of droning around, they really don't have a purpose at the moment ... because they just feel unrepresented. They feel like government is just kind of going along."
- By "grabbing attention," Kinzinger said, they're also meant to satirize the "desperate need of every lawmaker and staffer there" to get onto television and go viral on social media.
- Kinzinger said the purpose of them staying silent at first was to cultivate mystique.
By the numbers: Kinzinger said he is spending $250,000 on an "initial launch," including TV and digital ads, billboards and other performance art campaigns.
- "I'm sure it'll end up probably building to be even more."
- The money comes from Kinzinger’s 501(c)(4), Country First Action.
What we're watching: The anti-Trump Republican suggested he plans to stay in the GOP and will likely run for office again: "It's not, like, on my radar right now ... [but] I expect that there will be a moment where it's like, okay I'm ready to do this again."
- He added: "Anything but the House."