House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, acknowledged Wednesday that he would allow a vote in the House on a newly-minted Senate deal on debt and spending.
“We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win,” he said on WLW radio in Ohio.
Boehner additionally confirmed that he would “absolutely” allow the whole House to vote on a plan introduced on Wednesday in the Senate. That bipartisan plan, unveiled by Senate leaders, would fund the government through mid-January and raise the debt ceiling until early February.
Which begs the musical question…
How in the hell was this any sort of “good fight?”
What exactly was the high-minded principle The Boner and his fellow knuckle-dragging troglodytes were fighting for worth shutting down the entire government for three weeks, throwing thousands of federal workers out of work and cutting off their checks (while Congress made sure they were still receiving their pay) pushing the country into default and making the United States of America look like the nuttiest asylum ever run by the most insane inmates?
“We Just Didn’t Win.”
Which means The Boner is a loser. The Caveman Caucus is full of grunting losers. The Republican Party is a loser. Ted “Canadian Bacon” Cruz is the biggest loser right along his fellow losers in the collective of whiny losers called the Tea Party. That is a good thing to come out of a bad thing.
Ultimately the cavemen caved in. What else could they do? Though the extremist whack jobs in Congress and their little cheerleaders on Fixed News were ready to crash and burn the American economy for the sake of a temper tantrum, eventually the adults wrested the controls away from them and narrowly avoided one potentially very hot mess.
So if the Boner is wimpiest wimp that ever wimped in American political history and is a Dead Man Walking in his remaining tenure as Speaker of the House of Crazy People, who were the winners here?
NOBODY WINS in a sorry spectacle like this and you are on crazy pills if you think anybody won jack. The Congressional crazies will be all over the television and the radio and the Internet telling anyone who will listen, “We WON! We shut down the government! We brought the country to a screeching halt. Man, we ROCK! We are such total bad-asses! High-five and chest bumps all around!”
This will be nothing more than the hollow victory yelps of crazy people and no different from the whiskey-fueled ranting of a mangy drunk arguing with himself on a standing-room bus as a puddle of pee runs down his leg and all the other riders desperately try to pretend the foul-smelling lout isn’t really there.
That is what the Republican Party is now. Mangy, ranting drunks who annoy everyone and stink of stale ammonia strong piss.
We’ll take a break from this unnecessary exercise in brinkmanship and be back for more of the same after the Xmas when “The Real Assholes of Washington D.C.” returns for its next season.
What have we learned? We have learned John Andrew Bohner is the 61st Speaker of the House and a total neutered whipped dog who is regularly kicked around by 30 extremists in his own caucus and he lives in fear of the next kick in the rib.
I’d feel sorry for the Boner if I wasn’t revolted by his submissive groveling weakness and his gutless “I don’t give a shit what happens to the country as long as I’m still Speaker” self-preservation motivation.
See you in January.
- John Boehner Is Worse Speaker In History (davidmixner.com)
- Top ten losers – and a few winners – in the DC debt ceiling debacle (rickdunhamblog.com)
- Republicans are unfit to govern (themoderatevoice.com)
- Has Ted Cruz already moved to quash emerging Senate deal to end the Republican shutdown? (dailykos.com)
This was the week the new fall season of television got underway. Did you catch The Ted Cruz Show this week?
Limited production values. Lousy acting. Boring script. If there ever was a program that deserved cancellation before the debut, Senator Cruz’s phony filibuster to defund Obamacare was definitely it.
Terrible Ted hopes he call bullshit the American people into believing he has the votes to repeal President Obama signature domestic accomplishment (he doesn’t) and that he isn’t operating out of craven calculation and cynically pandering to the GOP wing-nuts in hopes of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 (he won’t).
What makes me sick is how some purer-than-thou liberals actually sided with Cruz when he came out against bombing Syria in retaliation for Bashir al-Assad using chemical weapons against civilians. All of sudden Cruz was being called “principled.” That’s what I can’t stand about some liberals is how they will deep French kiss their worst enemies if they happen to agree with them on something.
If Cruz endorsed motherhood, the flag and apple pie, I’d be opposed to all three. I don’t want to on the same side as Cruz on anything. I can’t believe a principled liberal like a Paul Wellstone, Howard Metzenbaum or Ted Kennedy would crawl in bed with a rattlesnake like Cruz and expect him not to bite, but such is the sorry state of contemporary liberalism.
Normally, there would be an issue or two where I could find common ground with Cruz, but my distaste for the smug bastard makes it impossible for me to even WANT to find common ground.
The TED talk by Cruz lasted 21 hours and 19 minutes. He talked about how terrible/awful/no good Obamacare was. He said most senators have bad haircuts and wear cheap suits. He professed his fondness for White Castle hamburgers. He read from Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Showing my age here, but I remember when the Senate was once dubbed “the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.” Reading Dr. Seuss does not seem to rise to that level of debate Cruz missed the point of the story. By the end , the protagonist ends up liking green eggs and ham. Does that mean Cruz really likes Obamacare?
When his time expired the Senate voted 100-0 to move to consider the legislation from the House to keep the government open and paying its bills with Democrats vowing to strip the defunding poison pill out of it.
That’s right. One hundred to zip. When he was through showing off and wee-weeing in his Depends, Cruz voted to go ahead and proceed with the legislation he claimed he’d talk about until he dropped.
Which only made this particular bit of political theater more of a pointless farce than it already was. The only purpose it accomplished was to give a first-term, junior Senator a spotlight. Cruz delights in being abrasive and pushing his mug into every passing camera even if it means he doesn’t actually get much done in the Senate.
The Cat in the Hat responds to Senator Cruz invoking “green eggs and ham.”
The Cruz style of politics as a contact sport is where you piss into a glass, toss in an ice cube, declare it to be lemonade and roll your eyes in shocked disbelief as to why everyone isn’t lining up for a swig.
Because no matter whether you’re pulling for the Duluth Democrats or the Rockford Republicans, most Americans don’t care which side wins as much as they care about stuff getting done. Simply calling attention to yourself by being the loudest and rudest a-hole standing on a table and pounding on your chest doesn’t do dick but annoy everyone in earshot.
Cruz wouldn’t be the first newbie to the Senate who gambled the best way to the top is not by the long slog of building a legislative record of accomplishments (Obama sure didn’t) and in Washington, even exhibitions of unbridled ambition this naked aren’t unusual.
What is unusual is how bound and determined Cruz is to sharpen his elbows and jab in the ribs either Democratic foe or Republican ally as if neither one of them can respond with an act of payback that chops him off at the ankles. If being the darling of right-wing radio and blogs is all it took to win the Republican presidential nomination, Cruz would have it locked up and Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and all the other potentials could skip 2016. However, just being the darling of right-wing radio and blogs is not the same thing as being the darling of the party elders and the big shots who write the checks and Cruz is not that guy.
Washington is a small town with big egos and long, ugly memories. Cruz hasn’t been there long enough to know this, but 2016 is still far enough away for him to learn
- Jon Stewart Torches Ted Cruz’s Fake Filibuster (VIDEOS) (talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Should Ted Cruz Have Read From Dr. Seuss’s Vile Anti-Japanese Work Rather Than Green Eggs & Ham? (reason.com)
- Cancel The Ted Cruz Show! (rippdemup.com)
Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist whose rep is based upon her sharp-edged nasty snark than deep political insights sniped at President Obama over the Senate’s failure to pass any meaningful gun legislation, “Unfortunately, he still has not learned how to govern,” Dowd wrote with each word dripping in acidic scorn, “How is it that the president won the argument on gun safety with the public and lost the vote in the Senate? It’s because he doesn’t know how to work the system. And it’s clear now that he doesn’t want to learn, or to even hire some clever people who can tell him how to do it or do it for him. “
Dowd, who has never held any elected office besides runner-up to the homecoming queen helpfully suggested Obama should look to Hollywood for pointers on what to do, “The White House should have created a war room full of charts with the names of pols they had to capture, like they had in “The American President.”
The rank stupidity of Dowd’s brain-dead advice was not lost on Obama when he said during the White House Correspondents Dinner, “Everybody has got plenty of advice,” the president said with his own Snark Gun loaded and cocked, “Maureen Dowd said I could solve all my problems if I were just more like Michael Douglas in ‘The American President.’ And I know Michael is here tonight. Michael, what’s your secret, man? Could it be that you were an actor in an Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy? Might that have something to do with it?”
Instead of the I.R.S. investigating the Tea Party, someone ought to investigate why the Times continues to give Dowd space to spew nonsense.
“Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress,” the president said. “‘Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?’ they ask. Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?”
That was a laugh line for the president, but the next one was him speaking from the heart. “I’m sorry. I get frustrated sometimes.”
Obama has hosted Republican Senators for dinner. He invited Paul Ryan to sit down for lunch. He’s played golf with other Republicans. As far as outreach goes, the president has tried everything but a pajama party sleepover in the Lincoln Bedroom.
This is the kind of “bipartisan” reaching out b.s. that make the collective nipples of the Washington press corps hard and erect. In the wake of the I.R.S. investigations, the continued Benghazi story and the Justice Department’s surveillance of the Associated Press, last week was Christmas in May for the professional Obama bashers in the GOP and right-wing noise machine. What made things a bit more unusual was how the supposed Obama worship ping “liberal” media piled on as well.
The nature of the professional press is they are at your feet one day and at your throat the next. The easy (and lazy) way to lay the blame for the failure of Congress to get anything done even when a clear majority of Americans want it, is to go Dowd’s way and lay it all on the wimp in the White House. That allows the Republicans to claim their hands are clean and that is exactly the cover idiots like Mo Dowd provide them.
Dowd’s specialty is supposed to be politics, but she doesn’t seem to know how to count votes, how deals are cut to win votes, and how hard it is to “punish” lawmakers who don’t do the president’s bidding when they’re more afraid of special interest groups, possible primary challengers and irate voters back home than the man in the Oval Office.
Sometimes you must leave the high road and fetch your brass knuckles. Obama should have called Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota over to the Oval Office and put on the squeeze: “Heidi, you’re brand new and you’re going to have a long career. You work with us, we’ll work with you. Public opinion is moving fast on this issue. The reason you get a six-year term is so you can have the guts to make tough votes. This is a totally defensible bill back home. It’s about background checks, nothing to do with access to guns. Heidi, you’re a mother. Think of those little kids dying in schoolrooms.”
This is how bubblehead liberals like Dowd breathing the rarefied air in their ivory towers believe the world should work. Come on Obama, you gutless wonder! Be like President Josiah Bartlett and impose your will, reward your friends and punish your enemies. Guilt trip a balky Democrat if you can and ridicule them if you must. It’s easy. Just call President Bartlett and ask him!
And then what? What if Sen. Heitkamp says, “I’m sorry, Mr. President. My constituents don’t want this bill and I don’t either.” What can Obama do then? Call Harry Reid and tell him to make sure Heitkamp only gets the crappiest of committee assignments? Obama was in the Senate with Reid before he moved from the Capitol to the White House. He knows Reid has no clout juice and they don’t fear Obama, they laugh right in Reid’s face.
The truth why President Obama can’t seem to get anything through Congress the answer is simple The strategy of Congressional Republicans is to give him NOTHING. If Obama is for it, they are against it. Even if it is something Republicans normally favor. This has always been known. Now even some Republicans are ‘fessing up to the strategy, but that doesn’t shake the conviction of the skeptics who say if only Obama twisted arms a little harder and thumped that bully pulpit a little more.
There are far too many fools like Mo Dowd who think the President can do what he wants simply because he IS the President. They blame Obama because it is easier than to blame a few hundred Republican obstructionists in Washington whose policy position is if Obama is for it, they are against it. This is by design, not accident. I’m reading Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein‘s It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism and I’d be doing Dowd the biggest favor of her life if I passed it on to her to once I’m done. There are lots of answers for her between the book’s covers.
Ornstein, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, ” It’s time to acknowledge how far the Republican Party has veered towards tolerating extreme ideological beliefs and policies, and how the GOP has embraced cynical and destructive means to advance political ends over problem-solving.”
While Dowd would have us all believe if Obama would only grow a pair he could knock some sense into the GOP. Ornstein and Mann know that’s too simple by half and despite the eagerness of the press to slice the pie into even slices of who’s to blame for the political gridlock, they aren’t reluctant to point to the Republicans as deserving the lion’s share. “…However awkward it may be for the traditional press and nonpartisan analysts to acknowledge, one of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the center of American politics, it is extremely difficult to enact policies responsive to the country’s most pressing challenges.”
Derailing Hillary Clinton 2016 is the real target of the Benghazi “scandal.” If it hurts Obama too, that’s just gravy to the wing nuts. According to her polling numbers, Clinton has become more popular, not less. The Republicans and Fox News haven’t laid a glove on her.
Dowd is impervious to reason, logic, history or fact. She preens from her perch as the Grey Lady’s Red-Haired Harpy lacking the gravitas of Paul Krugman, the intelligence of Thomas Friedman, the compassion of Nicholas Kristof or the social conscience of Charles Blow.
But she’s still got Obama to kick around for another three years. Unless her Republican friends successfully impeach him first. She’d probably like that.
I WENT to New York last week to cover the TV presentations for the new season, shows like “Scandal,” “Shark Tank” and a faltering “American Idol.”
I may as well have stayed here.
You know that the faltering American idol in the White House must be reeling in this scandalous spring. No Drama Obama is immersed in drama so over the top it could have been scripted by Shonda Rhimes and Karl Rove.
Who knows? If Washington keeps imploding, Hillary may run in 2016 on restoring honor to the White House.
You know Dowd is sippin’ that purple drank when an relentless Hillary-hater is looking wistfully to her for relief. Could that be why she forget how much she despises Hillary as she spitefully made clear in 2008.
As a possible first Madame President, Hillary is a flawed science experiment because you can’t take Bill out of the equation. Her story is wrapped up in her marriage, and her marriage is wrapped up in a series of unappetizing compromises, arrangements and dependencies.
Instead of carving out a separate identity for herself, she has become more entwined with Bill. She is running bolstered by his record and his muscle. She touts her experience as first lady, even though her judgment during those years on issue after issue was poor. She says she’s learned from her mistakes, but that’s not a compelling pitch…If Hillary fails, it will be her failure, not ours.
What is Dowd anyway? A smug, smart-ass who is passed off as some sort of “liberal” but comes off more like the Times version of a self-hating one like Fox’s Kirsten Powers or a TV critic? Why should anyone take seriously a political columnist who doesn’t seem to know how politics works?
If you believe the op-ed page even the Times doesn’t believe Dowd parroting the G.O.P.’s talking points about “scandals.”
The American public, Greg Sargent pointed out this morning, does not find a presidential scandal in either the Benghazi talking points or the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of right-wing groups seeking a tax-exempt and disclosure-free status.
In a C.N.N. poll released over the weekend, 61 percent of Americans say President Obama’s comments about the I.R.S. investigation were mostly or completely true, and 55 percent say the I.R.S. acted on its own. On Benghazi, 50 percent believe that early statements about the attack reflect what the administration believed at the time, compared with 44 percent – 76 percent of them Republicans – who say officials intentionally misled the public.
The blind hatred of the Republicans for this president will gradually lead them to overplay their hand. For now Obama will have to take incoming fire from the front from Republican Klingons trying to depose him as well as backstabbing “liberals” and the eighth biggest hack in journalism who have the long knives out after Obama the same way they were for Bill and Hillary, Al Gore, John Kerry and every other Democrat who doesn’t measure up to Joe Bartlett.
Because in Dowd’s wacky world, the only good Democrats are Democrat who aren’t real.
- Gibbs: I don’t read Maureen Dowd. Dowd: Backatcha (hotair.com)
- MSNBC’s Joan Walsh Blasts ‘Deeply Stupid’ Obama-Blaming Maureen Dowd Column, NRO Writer Agrees (mediaite.com)
- Maureen Dowd Discovers That Barack Obama Is Neither Andrew Shepherd Nor Josiah Bartlett (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Gentry Liberals and Brass Knuckles: The Case of Maureen Dowd (blogs.the-american-interest.com)
There are many ways to become well-known as a U.S. Senator. You can be a grinder, a workhorse who shuns soundbites on Sunday morning talk shows to busy yourself doing the dirty work of writing legislation. You can wrap yourself up in the business of providing support for the folks back in your home state. You can learn the rules of the Senate and take the time to build working relationships with both sides of the political aisle.
Or you can say, “screw that,” and become well-known for being a jerk. That’s where Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) comes in. With sharpened elbows and a nasty disposition guaranteed to annoy your allies and outrage your enemies. There is a reason freshman Senators are often treated like children underfoot. They either don’t know or don’t care what the protocols are of the Senate. Guys like Cruz prefer throwing a sharp elbow and being a royal pain in the ass.
Cruz is a Princeton debating champion, Harvard Law School graduate, law clerk to the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and the former solicitor general of Texas. He’s not dumb. Just nasty. He just goes about things in dumb ways such as his slimy attack on Chuck Hagel during his confirmation hearings to become Secretary of Defense. “We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme or radical groups,” Cruz told the Senate Armed Services Committee before it voted to approve Hagel’s nomination. “It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea.”
That unsubstantiated slam against Hagel’s character earned Cruz a rebuke from John McCain. McCain ended up voting against his former Republican colleague, but shot down the junior senator from Texas when he said of Hagel, “no one on this committee should at any time impugn his character or his integrity.”
Cruz’s bare-knuckles approach doesn’t do much more than calling attention to how much of a jack-ass he is. We saw how much of mule’s patootie Cruz really is when he used a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting as an opportunity to lecture Diane Feinstein about the Constitution. What followed was a very public display of irritation with the upstart freshman.
“Would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights?” Cruz said, speaking to Feinstein.
“Likewise, would she think that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against searches and seizures, could properly apply only to the following specified individuals, and not to the individuals that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the law?”
Pointing her finger and glaring at Cruz, Feinstein shot back.
“One, I’m not a sixth grader,” Feinstein said. “Senator, I’ve been on this Committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in and I saw people shot with these weapons.
“I’m not a lawyer,” she added, “but after 20 years, I’ve been up close and personal with the Constitution. I have great respect for it. … So I, you know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time.”
“I thank you for the lecture. Incidentally, this does not prohibit — you used the word ‘prohibit’ – it exempts 2,271 weapons. Isn’t that enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka? Do they need other high-powered weapons that other people use in close combat? I don’t think so.”
What a snot-nosed, swaggering rookie like Cruz probably doesn’t know is while he’s trying to score rhetorical points with the Fox and Friends crowd, Feinstein wasn’t just blowing smoke when it comes to having first-hand familiarity with gun violence. She could have lectured her caustic colleague of the bloody events that led to her becoming the mayor of San Francisco. Namely, the murders of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.
Feinstein went on CNN and to explain her angry reaction to Cruz’s condescending remarks.
“Well, I just felt patronized,” Feinstein told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I felt he was somewhat arrogant about it. When you come from where I’ve come from and what you’ve seen, when you found a dead body and put your finger in bullet holes, you really realize the impact of weapons. And then as you go up the technical ladder with these weapons, and they become more sophisticated, and more the product of a battlefield, and you’ve got these huge clips, or drums of 100 bullets out there that people can buy, when you see these weapons becoming attractive to grievance killers, people who take them into schools, into theaters, into malls, you wonder, does America really need these weapons? My answer to that is no. And so it’s based on my experience.”
None of this phases Cruz who seems to revel in starting new fires as soon as the previous ones are put out. There’s no chance a nervy punk like Cruz learns anything remotely resembling humility or even simple manners from Feinstein setting him straight. That would take a degree of class Cruz shows no signs of possessing.
That’s okay. There have always been terrible Senators like him and they usually find themselves isolated by their own rudeness, offensive ways and arrogant attitudes. Cruz isn’t even the biggest asshole from Texas serving in Congress. Not as long as Louie “Terror Babies” Gohmert is gibbering like a drunken hyena in the House.
As a senator, Cruz has six years to make a complete fool of himself. He should pace himself.
Big political news. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) became the most prominent member of the GOP caucus to come out. In favor of same-sex marriage, that is. Portman, who was on Mitt Romney’s short list of possible vice-presidential running mates attributed his change of heart to his son coming out as a gay man.
I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.
That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.
Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.
So let’s review: it’s okay to previously be on record as opposing gay rights and same-sex marriage just so long as your positions “evolve” once you learn your son or daughter is one of those people you’ve actively discriminated against.
It has to become personal. Oh, and you have to be a Republican too.
I was blind but now I see. Go forth and sin no more. Hallelujah!
Portman remained a religious-based, anti-equality, bigot throughout his entire career prior to his sonny-boy coming out only to be “transformed” and “evolve” when his previously held beliefs suddenly became personal for him.
Until it did he was fine with discriminating against someone else’s child.
- Let the military decide on don’t-ask-don’t-tell
- Supports Amendment to prevent same sex marriage
- Supports banning homosexuals in the military
- YES on banning gay adoptions in DC.
- YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage
As recently as 2011, Portman was a typical Republican homophobe actively opposing same-sex marriage and not apologizing for it. I’m not nearly as impressed by my home state Senator’s partial-reversal as some folks are. It’s nice. It’s late, but it’s still nice. I’m sure those gays and lesbians Portman happily discriminated against will be glad he’s getting off their backs.
Hooray, and so what if Rob Portman goes forth and sins no more? Just because you got religion doesn’t mean you’re not a sinner anymore.
Everyone was wondering why Romney chose Paul Ryan over Portman as his vice-president when it was obvious Portman could have helped Romney in the critical state of Ohio (you know, that place that when it was declared for Obama and ended Election Night sent Karl Rove into such a frenzy he tried to eat his own foot).
Now we know why. Ryan didn’t have a gay son.
Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce shares my skepticism about Portman’s epiphany.
If Will hadn’t come out, or if he’d been as straight as Nebraska highway, Portman wouldn’t have cared about the sons and daughters and brothers and sisters of all the other Dads who love them and want them to have the same opportunities? It’s not just the implied notion that discrimination is OK unless it inconveniences Sunday dinner with the Portmans. It’s also the relentless banality through which even “decent” Republicans struggle to come to simple humanity. Does any group of people have dark nights of the soul that are so endlessly boring and transparently insincere?
It’s like listening to Kierkegaard sell flatware. I’m glad there’s another vote for marriage equality here. I’m also glad I didn’t have to listen to the full explanation behind it.
Me too and frankly I don’t get why I should give Portman credit for doing what he’s supposed to do.
It’s wonderful and terrific that Rob has decided to stop discriminating against a group of people. But am I supposed to bake him some cookies too?
- Senator Rob Portman reveals he has a gay son, now supports same-sex marriage (thesunnews.typepad.com)
- Does Senator Rob Portman Still Believe Businesses Should Be Able to Fire His Son for Being Gay? – VIDEO (towleroad.com)
- Ohio Senator Rob Portman Announces Support For Marriage Equality (buzzfeed.com)
Want to make a Republican mad? Tell them there’s a strong strain of racial intolerance in their party.
Want to make a Republican even madder. Let the person telling them be another Republican and one with unimpeachable credentials. Someone like Colin Powell.
While the pundits in Washington gripe about the lack of racial diversity in Obama’s new Cabinet (so far) they have forgotten the Republicans have a far greater problem with racial diversity. They don’t want any according to Powell.
“There’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party,” Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.”
Without naming them, Powell went after the swinish John Sununu, the Mitt Romney supporter for describing President Obama as “lazy” and America’s favorite ditz, Sarah Palin for referring to the president’s explanations about the embassy attack in Libya as “shuck and jive.’” It probably hadn’t slipped Powell’s mind how Sununu had dismissed his second endorsement of Obama as being racially based and didn’t mince words about the casual way the Republicans have infused race-baiting of the president in their criticisms of the president.
There is also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the President is “shuckin’ and jivin’,” that’s a racial-era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well say that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow. He was tired. He didn’t do well. He said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with that. The birther, the whole birther movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?
The pushback to Powell was swift and predictably, attacked the former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff personally instead of addressing the issue.
“Powell’s behavior is petulant. Attacking Republicans makes him a liberal media darling and provides more fuel to Bush-haters. Yet Powell is no saint. He is just a disgruntled ex-employee who dislikes the boss who fired him,” growled Eric Golub in the Washington Times.
“I think the case that he makes is weak, and it is an odd thing for a man who declares himself to be a Republican—and has done so well under Republican presidents—to say,” snorted Brit Hume to Bill O’Reilly who dismissed Powell saying “used to be a Republican and I don’t think he is any longer.”
The yapping of the attack dogs of the conservative media won’t deter Powell from telling hard truths to the more reasonable members of the Republican Party. The GOP has been on the sick end of two straight losing national elections and as it moves further to the extreme Right, it has left Blacks, Asians and most importantly, Latinos, behind for the Democrats. Powell has been consistent in explaining why this has happened, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears to his fellow Republicans.
“I think the Republican Party is having an identity problem,” Powell said, “If it’s just going to represent the far right wing of the political spectrum, I think the party is in difficulty.” The former Bush Cabinet member said he voted for a GOP presidential candidate seven times in a row before voting for President Obama twice. “I’m a moderate, but I’m still a Republican.” The general is absolutely right about the dire state of the Republican Party but saying that out loud will get you denounced as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) by the factions who specialize in that kind of thing.
They would be better served to shut up and listen to one of the few Republicans left with widespread crossover appeal. The moderation of Powell’s voice may irritate the likes of O’Reilly, Hume and Golub but what irritates them more is Powell’s criticisms have the sting of harsh truth to them and he remains one of the most admired men in this country.
When Powell speaks, it carries much weight and Americans respond to his words. That’s what his critics fear the most. They might have to actually start working on fixing what’s wrong with the Republican brand and would sooner cut off their right nut than give up their Obama Hate-A-Thon.
And they really are mad at Powell for calling them out for it and spoiling their fun.
Washington is such a “me too” town. Once the professional pundits and news makers decide what the story de jure is going to be, they pound it home with all the quiet subtlety of a jack hammer breaking up concrete.
This week the story was someone looked around and said, “Hey! President Obama sure is picking a lot of White guys for his Cabinet vacancies.”
Looking to shape his second term support team, the president announced his choices of Senator John Kerry as his new Secretary of State, John Brennan to replace the disgraced David Petraeus as head the C.I.A., elevated his White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to Treasury Secretary and tapped former Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican to be the Defense Secretary.
Out came the long knives.
Margaret Carlson, Bloomburg News columnist: At the rate he is going, Obama is going to have a Cabinet that looks more like the Augusta National Golf Club than America.
Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY): “It’s embarrassing as hell. We’ve been through all of this with [2012 GOP presidential nominee] Mitt Romney. And we were very hard with Mitt Romney with the women binder and a variety of things and I kind of think there’s no excuse with the second term.”
Rosa Brooks, Foreign Policy columinst: To use one of President Obama’s favorite phrases, “Let me be clear”: I have nothing against white guys. I have a white guy for a father, two white guys as brothers, and a white guy husband. I love them all. But all the same, it sure would be nice to see a few more girls in the club. In particular, President Obama missed a historic opportunity to be the president who appoints the first female secretary of defense.
John Dickerson, CBS News politics contributor: “If the president is being judged quickly on race and gender issues, it may be because he taught people to do that. In his campaign there was not a race or gender issue that the Obama campaign didn’t jump on when it came to Mitt Romney and the Republicans, and so now he’s feeling a little bit of that heat himself.”
Mike Huckabee, former Republican governor of Arkansas: “Now a lot of those females who supported Barack Obama are scratching their heads, and they’re saying, ‘Whoa! How come there is so much testosterone in the Obama Cabinet and so little estrogen?’” Because if you look around, all of these high-powered appointments that he is making are all white guys.”
A loser like Huckabee is as White as a Kleenex and he’s taking pot shots at the president over “diversity?” Oh, hell no.
Take a moment to soak in the sublime hypocrisy of the overwhelmingly White and predominantly male mainstream media criticizing the Black man who happens to be the President of the United States for not having enough diversity in his appointments. Like everyone else, I would like to see more women, more people of color and more than White guys sitting around Obama at Cabinet meetings. Lisa Jackson is leaving the Environmental Protection Agency and Hilda Soltis has stepped down as Secretary of Labor. There’s two more chances for an infusion of diversity.
However, it shouldn’t make eyes roll every time Obama chooses testosterone over estrogen. Sometimes the best man for the job happens to be a man and a White one at that. Isn’t that what a colorblind society is striving for? Content of character over the color of skin and all that jazz?
I do wonder how many of the self-styled experts on diversity were around when Susan Rice (who is still U.N. Ambassador) was looking to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department. Were they equally outraged then when the Republicans smeared her without mercy over the Benghazi debacle?
Maybe, just maybe, all the critics should withhold judgment until Obama finishes filling the vacancies in his Cabinet before ripping him for hiring too many White guys.
When you get right down to it, Obama isn’t obligated to select who he wants in his Cabinet based upon whether it includes all the proper colors of the rainbow. What matters most are these are the guys the president wants carrying out his initiatives and that trumps the grumbling Obama isn’t putting enough non-White men out in the open where everyone can see them.
Sometimes the best man for the job actually is a man and even a White man at that.
If diplomacy is the gentle art of saying the most unpleasant things in the most tactful way then Susan Rice is a consummate diplomat. As Barack Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Rice is the face and voice of America’s foreign policy whether it is right, wrong or somewhere in between.
Foreign policy is usually not an issue that impacts presidential elections, but following the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya and the deaths of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the nation wanted answers. Rice was dispatched by the White House to appear on ABC’s This Week and other Sunday morning talk shows. Rice told ABC’s Jake Tapper, “…our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.”
“We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to — or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that as you know in — in the wake of the revolution in Libya are — are quite common and accessible. And it then evolved from there.”
There is nothing wrong with Congressional oversight over what happened in Benghazi, but the heavy-handed sledgehammer approach McCain and his Mini-Me partner Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) have taken seems based upon an opportunity to launch their own attack on the Obama Administration in general and Ambassador Rice specifically.
“I don’t trust her,” Graham said about Rice during a Capitol press conference, calling her “more a political operative than she is anything else when it comes to Benghazi.” McCain has said Rice is “not very bright,” an interesting observation coming from the man who chose Sarah Palin as his running mate for vice-president.
The increasingly cranky senior senator from Arizona is still bruised by the 2008 presidential election. McCain has never fully healed from his loss to the upstart Obama and has never fully stopped running against him. Backed by the fawning loyalty of the Beltway press, McCain has become one of the president’s most resolute enemies.
In 2008, McCain took his campaign on the road and dropped into Iraq to shake the hands of a few perplexed soldiers and reinforce his tough guy persona. Rice, an advisor to Obama in 2008, dismissed McCain’s press junket saying, “His tendency is to shoot first and ask questions later; it is dangerous, and we can’t afford four more years of this reckless foreign policy” is just one vintage example of the form.”
Chances are McCain has not forgotten nor forgiven Rice for those remarks.
The Senate is a club restricted to 100 members and no one senator is first among equals. But if anyone tries to project the persona as “the Senator” it’s McCain. There are 52 weeks in a year. Rachel Maddow reported on her program that in 2012, McCain has appeared on the Sunday talk shows for 21 weeks. The senior senator from Arizona rarely turns down an opportunity to pontificate.
If McCain really wants to pick a fight, in Rice he has a worthy adversary. Foreign Policy.com described Rice as “gracious and charming” but someone who can curse like a sailor when it suits her. “Rice cursed with such conviction that it made you wonder what she sounds like behind closed doors.”
Rice met with the GOP senators leading the opposition, McCain, Graham and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-Conn) to discuss their concerns as to the possibility of the president nominating her as Secretary of State. Graham emerged from the meeting unimpressed and broadly hinted Rice was being challenged as pay back for Democratic opposition to John Bolton.
The blunt and blustery Bolton was George W. Bush’s recess appointment to the United Nations. Senate Democrats objected to Bolton based upon his confrontational approach to diplomacy. Bush was notorious for appointing activists whose philosophies were in direct opposition to the posts they were filling. When Bolton quipped, “There’s no such thing as the United Nations. If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference,” it was apparent he would continue the Bush Administration’s “up yours” approach to foreign countries.
“I remember the John Bolton episode pretty well,” Graham said. “Our Democrat friends felt like John Bolton — they didn’t have the information needed to make an informed decision about Ambassador Bolton’s qualifications — John Bolton to be ambassador — and Democrats dug in their heels and said, ‘We’re not going to vote, we’re not going to consider this nomination until we get basic answers to our concerns.’”
Rice has said her remarks about Bengahzi were based upon the intelligence reports available at the time, but McCain and his cohorts remain unmoved. Following Tuesday’s kiss-and-make-up meeting. The back-scratching friendships McCain has cultivated with the Washington press corps is serving him well now. Dana Milbank, the Washington Post columnist, lamented in 2010, “I miss John McCain” and wrote mournfully, ” I was an original McCainiac, riding with him in his SUV through the back roads of New Hampshire in ’99. Even as other McCaniacs drifted away, I tried to find excuses for him.”
On November 16, Milbank’s McCain mancrush was displayed in a hit piece entitled, “Susan Rice’s Tarnished Resume” where he sneered, “Obama’s over-the-top defense of Rice was surprising, particularly in contrast to the president’s relative indifference in accepting the resignation of CIA chief David Petraeus, one of the most capable public servants. And it was disappointing, because McCain, even if wrong on the particulars, is right about Rice. She is ill-equipped to be the nation’s top diplomat for reasons that have little to do with Libya.”
The grandstanding extends to the House of Representatives. The task of vetting nominees to Cabinet positions is reserved for the Senate and the House has no part to play. That didn’t stop 97 House Republicans from signing a letter to President Obama saying Rice “caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world…we strongly oppose any efforts to nominate Ambassador Susan Rice for the position of Secretary of State”
The yapping of 97 Republicans will have no effect on whether Obama nominates Rice. In fact, it may have the opposite effect. Obama almost has to nominate Rice or look like he backed down to McCain’s threat. The president respects McCain, but he’s beaten him straight-up. McCain has to defer to Obama’s authority, not the other way around.
“If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after someone, they should go after me,” Obama said at his first post-reelection press conference. “And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the United Nations ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intel she had received, and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous.”
Despite the grousing of a handful of conservative obstructionists, if Obama really wants Rice to replace Hillary Clinton, he’s going to win that fight if he wants it. The overt partisan bias of the right-wing media was outed by Thomas Ricks, an expert on defense policy who appeared on Fox News and blasted Rupert Murdoch’s network, “I think the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox is operating as the wing of Republican Party.”
Following her unsuccessful meeting with the Republican senators, Rice released a statement, “While we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved. We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the Administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved.”
In the aftermath of a long and bruising presidential election, few outside of the Beltway are focused on an partisan fight between the president and one of his defeated rivals. This is simply the opening shot of what appears to be a continuance of the Republican strategy to obstruct Obama at every opportunity.
Rice is resigned to the prospect that if nominated, her confirmation process will be a long, tough slog with her opponents determined to make her sweat. Yet even McCain knows it comes down counting the votes and the president’s party picked up seats in the upper chamber. Rice is inevitable as the next Secretary of State and if Republicans still touchy from Obama’s reelection were looking to pick a fight, this looks like a losing one.
- Oops! McCain Once Offered Identical Assessment As Susan Rice On Benghazi Attack (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- The Ridiculous Attack on Susan Rice (slate.com)
- John McCain can’t stop going on TV and being wrong about Benghazi (salon.com)
- McCain On Benghazi: Busted (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)