Tuesday Quick Hits: Forget It, Hillary
by Deacon Blues
Some quick hits on an eventful day:
Of all people, why is it so hard for Bill and Hillary Clinton to understand that appearances are everything? Perhaps it’s because of a sense of entitlement, but it's bad judgment to assume that Bill’s fundraising for the CGI isn’t conflicted with official duties as Secretary of State, and to assume that four years of avoiding transparency through the use of a private email address do not doesn't look like an attempt to hide something. Sure, it’s a valid question where the Obama legal team was when these arrangements were sanctioned, and it’s a valid question why previous inquiries didn’t uncover the problem with using private email for government business, but that doesn’t change the fact that Hillary’s actions here and elsewhere call into question why she should be the Democratic nominee in 2016.
Bibi Netanyahu got what he wanted today: a speech to prop up his electoral chances back home and a chance to scuttle President Obama’s efforts at an Iranian nuclear deal. I suspect that he’ll succeed at both, because the Senate will now cave and oppose any deal that John Kerry completes. The Iranians don’t really understand American politics as well as the Israelis do, and fail to understand that unless the Senate goes along with such a deal, there is no deal. As such, Netanyahu and the anti-deal senators have now ensured there will be a war with Iran, and Bibi can explain that to his electorate, but of course not until after he is re-elected.
John Boehner angered his base this morning by allowing a vote in the House on a clean DHS funding bill, which passed with Democratic and moderate GOP votes, and is now on its way to the White House. It remains to be seen what this means for Boehner’s speakership.
Boehner Loses the Caucus
by Deacon Blues
In a major blow to Speaker John Boehner, the House GOP leadership lost a vote late today to fund the Department of Homeland Security for only three weeks with no strings attached. In a 203-224 vote, 50 House Republicans refused to vote for the 3-week extension because it didn't deal with Obama's immigration executive order, and now Boehner has nowhere to go without great risk.
It's unclear what House Speaker John Boehner will do next. If the House does not act by midnight, the Department of Homeland Security will run out of funding, triggering a shutdown of the agency.
Fifty Republicans broke with their leadership to oppose the temporary funding measure. Conservatives said the stopgap bill represented a cave to the White House by failing to curtail the president's executive orders regarding immigration.
Republican House leaders could try to pass another short-term budget extension or call a vote on the Senate bill. But that would anger conservatives so much that Boehner could face a challenge to his Speakership.
It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Television Has Improved
In our political cycles this is the time of year I pity professional political writers, for “February is pitiless, and it is boring. That parade of red numerals on its page adds up to zero.” Being an off-election year just makes it worse, only a minor action of a possible HMS shutdown garnering negligible interest for a new Republican low of stupid.
In this black void of nothing to write about attention will be briefly turned to television, an enormously powerful force in all our lives I regard with the highest suspicion and alarm. That infernal box has enormous potential for harm, it can deaden and fool the brain in incredibly subtle ways, the bodily flabbily regressing along in inert sloth, yet in my time with our Earth I’m very surprised to see real signs of improvement and progression with television.Continue reading "Television Has Improved"
Boehner's 15 Minutes Are About Up
by Deacon Blues
With the Senate poised to send the House a clean DHS funding bill in the next day or so, John Boehner's worst days are ahead of him. As the Washington Post's Dana Milbank noted late this afternoon, Boehner faces the prospect of cobbling together a voting majority (including Democrats) to push through a funding bill to avoid a shutdown, or standing tough with his extremist base and having the department shut down, something 60% of America opposes.
If Boehner does the former, and cobbles together a deal, it could cost him his Speakership only weeks after gaining the benefit of a totally GOP-led Congress. If he sticks with the Tea Party crazies that now run the House GOP, who actually talk publicly about immigrants being a national security threat to the United States, then DHS will run out of money over the weekend, which will only shine a brighter light on the crazies Boehner has empowered. Those crazies will get more and more headlines for the pathetic drivel they spew about immigrants, thereby sinking the GOP's chances next year of winning a national election, and Boehner for his part will be guilty by association, making him part of the problem rather than the solution. Once that happens, he might as well resign, because he will cease to be a national figure with any influence.
It couldn't happen to a nicer guy, and he has no one to blame but himself.
Heading Over a Cliff, Part Two
by Deacon Blues
We’re headed for a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, because of the bad decisions by two men: President Obama and John Boehner. Obama for his part never should have poked the House GOP in the eye right after the 2014 elections by going ahead with his Executive Order, setting the relationship with the congressional GOP on a needlessly hostile course. Even then, if he had stopped at prosecutorial discretion to relax deportations and not gone further with granting benefits to those affected, he would have a stronger case. Instead, the White House went too far and despite what Democrats feel about the Texas federal judge’s preliminary injunction, there is more to the legal challenge that should trouble the president’s defenders.
Boehner has shown his own hostility and outright hatred for the president since the new session started, demonstrating once again his own moral defects and a penchant for overplaying his hand. His combative tone to appease his far right base has only eliminated his options, meaning that no matter what Mitch McConnell and Joe Manchin think they can accomplish with splitting the votes into separate measures on the DHS funding and the president’s immigration actions, the House GOP won’t allow them to go forward, ensuring that there will be a DHS funding shutdown this weekend.
Democrats and the White House are ready for this, armed with the knowledge that the public disagrees with the House GOP effort to tie DHS funding to the debate on immigration, with 60% of the public against what Boehner is doing. Yet McConnell and the other adults in the Senate GOP know that the train wreck is coming for the Republicans anyway, because while the party itself will suffer nationally for what is about to happen, the individual House Republicans, tucked safely in their gerrymandered districts will not pay a price. And President Obama and Nancy Pelosi are only too happy to let it play out for several weeks or a month while Boehner and his caucus make one damaging statement after another towards Latino voters in 2016, allowing Democrats to recover from their recent problems.
Update, Wednesday 2/25 AM: As expected, the House GOP is going crazy at the talk about any splitting of the DHS funding bill from their effort to roll back Obama's executive order. For his part, Boehner admitted this morning that he hasn't spoken to McConnell in two weeks, so the benefits of total GOP control of Congress are now well apparent.
Giuliani's Jump the Shark Week
by Deacon Blues
You've read the pathetic things Rudy Giuliani said earlier this week at a Scott Walker fundraiser in New York with GOP elites. Now, in his desperate attempts to wash the stain of racism from his skin, Rudy tells us what he said about Obama wasn't racism because Obama's mother was white.
Rudy, you weren't talking about his mom, were you? You were talking about him. And more tellingly, if Obama were white, would you be saying anything at all about him? Of course not. Instead, when caught, the best you can do is spew "socialism" or "anti-colonialism", which are the words GOP elites have been trained to say to make racist attacks and get a pass from Fox News, or when simply smearing him as "anti-American" isn't enough red meat.
(By the way Rudy, you doddering old fart, Washington and Jefferson were anti-colonialists.)
And in truth Rudy, you really are looking more and more like a publicity-starved has-been who never was, but with an ugly racial stink to you. Which means you fit right in on Fox News, where you will always be right at home.
By the way Governor Walker, good luck with your campaign. We haven't even gotten around to nailing you for your own actions. But why bother when your friends are sucking up all the oxygen?
Jeb is Bush/Cheney II
by Deacon Blues
Jeb Bush rolled out a trial balloon today at Chicago, field-testing his foreign policy message for 2016. The speech succeeded in that the media reliably has overplayed the tag line "I'm my own man" (a typical Rovian maneuver), but failed to show exactly how he is different from his brother.Continue reading "Jeb is Bush/Cheney II"
The Creep is Upon Us
A question of perpetual fascination for sociologists and political scientists is the transformation of Germany in the 1930’s into a foaming, unstable violent Republic of unchecked militarism. How could industrialized Germany, soaked in modern science with such a glorified history of intellectualism and the arts, turn its people into such killing monsters?
A double shock of wartime loss and the Depression, leading to mass rejection of conventional norms and adoption of a brutally effective authoritarian regime that accomplished goals and fed resentments. Coupled with a dismaying human tendency to not recognize gradual distortion, little steps of creep mounted and mounted on the Germans until they became unrecognizable killing freaks, Mozart and Wagner always on the radio in the long September evenings.Continue reading "The Creep is Upon Us"