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Another fine mess they’ve gotten into
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday starkly warned Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) not to eliminate the filibuster on presidential nominations, threatening to end the 60-vote threshold for everything, including bills, if he becomes the majority leader. “There not a doubt in my mind that if the majority breaks the rules of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate with regard to nominations, the next majority will do it for everything,” McConnell said on the floor
Let’s roll the tape back to last January, when the new Senate, vis a vis the the 2012 election, was seated. At that time, which correlated with a 2 year cycle governing Senate rule changes, Reid could have proposed any rule changes that he wanted, including all cloture matters, and implemented them via a simple (non-nuclear) majority vote, which the Dems would have won hands down.
Instead, he was punked by McConnell, who promised to be a good boy and not abuse the 60 vote threshold re vital Senate business. Reid, a genuine conservative when it comes to protecting Senate tradition, took him at his word. Ya know, the Senate being “the greatest deliberative body in the world” and all that crap.
Now, I had always assumed that it didn’t matter what kind of handshake deal wanna be Senate Leader McConnell made with Reid. McConnell would junk tradition for even transient power. That’s just the way the modern GOP rolls. It was so obvious to me (and I assumed, other progressives) that I didn’t consider it worth posting about.
Sigh. But, alas, that time has come. I leave it to Big Orange blogger brooklynbadboy to do the honors. As he says, “the cat is out of the bag”:
Senate Democrats need to get this through their thick skulls: Republicans don’t give a shit about “Senate comity.” They’ve proven that time and time again. Nor do they give a shit about Senate traditions or the proverbial “one day it might be us” crap that Democrats box themselves in with. They will abuse the filibuster now and get rid of it completely when they get the majority. It doesn’t matter at all what Democrats do. Republicans are going to be Republicans. So let’s just end this ridiculous farce now and just get rid of the whole goddamn thing and restore majority rule as the Founders wrote into the Constitution. McConnell and the GOP certainly have the guts to do it. The question is, do the Dems?
Jon Stewart reviews another thrilling episode of the action-adventure series, “McCain”
Obie Grump Kanobi, as Stewart calls our favorite galavanting action star and former POW, Senator John McCain (Warmonger-Az), has never seen an international conflict where US military forces shouldn’t just stay the fuck home.
As pointed out here about McCain in Tales From The Benghazi Crypt Keeper:
Just as he has never gotten over being tortured by the North Vietnamese, manifest in his ‘bomb the hell out of ‘em’ knee-jerk response to nearly every foreign policy crisis, he will never get over losing to The Black Man in The White House.
Early in President Obama’s first term, McCain beat the war drums on Iran. During the Arab Spring, he demanded that our default response be to arm every opposition group in sight, despite the fact that many of them are Islamic fundamentalists with Al Qaeda sympathies. The strategy of “leading from behind” that operated so effectively in overthrowing Libya’s Mohamar Qadaffi, costing not a single American life, makes McCain’s wrinkled and liver spotted skin crawl right off his malformed skeleton. (That skeletal malformation was the result of a crash landing he endured after being shot down over heavily populated Hanoi by the Vietnamese during one of his 23 bombing sorties.) This is a guy who really, really enjoys the smell of napalm in the morning.
The political point being that arming anyone and everyone who mouths the word “democracy” is not necessarily a trusted ally; that weapons provided to today’s “freedom fighters” won’t be used by anti-US forces tomorrow, a point that Stewart drives home. (See, e.g. the Muhajadeen in Afghanistan, who we armed to fight the Soviets but who later morphed into today’s Al Qaeda and Taliban.)
In the clip above, one of the vaunted Syrian rebel commanders photographed with McCain during his secret trip to Syria (designed to undermine President Obama’s cautious foreign policy?) appears to be the same guy who kidnapped 11 Shiite religious pilgrims in Lebanon. That would, of course, make him a terrorist, assuming he uses the ransom money to buy weapons.
During the 2008 presidential election, McCain’s hand chosen VP candidate, Sarah Palin, accused Obama of “pallin’ around with terrorists.” This was an apparent reference to Obama’s acquaintance with former Weather Underground co-founder, Bill Ayers, who happened to be a professor at the University of Illinois at the same time Obama was teaching law there.
McCain seems to be as oblivious to irony as he is to critical judgment. A dangerous combination for someone who seems to have an open invitation from the Sunday morning talk show “public affairs” programmers, who regularly offer him a platform from which he can inflict his warmongering bias upon their considerable audience.
To be fair, McCain seems to be somewhat saner on domestic matters. However, when his carefully self-cultivated image as a political Maverick is seriously challenged by the extreme right wing of the GOP, as it was on the issue of immigration when it could have determined his most recent re-election to the Senate, he will default to doing whatever it takes to maintain his political survival.
For someone who has so much invested in the legend of his own mind, the image of him as the Crypt Keeper is, well, a keeper.
Like progressive bloggers blessed with a satirical warp everywhere, we at US are deeply saddened by the departure from the Beltway Bubble of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Wingnuttia). A search of our site contains more “here” “here” “here” Bachmann links than we have the time, desire, or patience to document.
The many comments from the blogosphere over this momentous political and comedic event spans the political spectrum. From Reality Challenged Wingnuttia, we have The Beckster who called it “sad and tragic”, the result of the “Chernobyl” that is Washington, D.C. with her “honor and integrity” intact. (Gag me with a ladle.)
On the left, we enjoy FDL’s TBogg, who writes:
I, for one, am sad to see her go and, in fact, I was previously unhappy to hear that she might actually lose in the upcoming 2014 election. While there are many profoundly stupid conservatives in the House (I’m looking at you guys: Louie Gohmert, Patrick McHenry, and Jason Chaffetz) to hang around the Republican neck, Michele Bachmann brought a special bright-eyed ingenue lunacy to the party. Although she lacked the 12-hour meth-binge feral viciousness of a Sarah Palin, she was no less a virtual Pez dispenser of “Hunh? Whut?….” quotes, but always served with a “Bless their hearts” chaser and a squirrels in the attic stare.
I shall miss her star turn panache and amphetamine eyes; she gave good face to the Loonier Than Thou wing of the party. Now we are left with Peter King and the aforementioned Gohmert who are nothing more than stock villains sent over from central casting when the call went out for red meat slabs of resentment, ignorance, and opportunistic yahooism. I expect that Michele will probably move on to something a bit more on the evangelical side, since she lacks the dirty stripper-past-her-prime hardness that Fox prefers from its lady talkers,
Of course the big loser in all of this is delightful hubby Marcus Bachmann who stands to lose more “Me Time!” with Michelle always about the house and constantly under his marabou bedroom slippers with the four-inch heels.
What he said.
(With a nod to Liberace, for his implied, fabulous influence on Marcus.)
Washington Monthly’s Ed Kilgore writes :
Even as “investigators” seek without much success so far to find evidence that the IRS scrutiny of applications for 501(c)(4) status represents a vast political conspiracy—one that might have changed the outcome of the 2012 election, no less—the aggrieved Tea Party Movement is taking action…
I would have hoped everybody has figured out by now that the Tea Party Movement is not some news-from-nowhere citizens uprising that’s recruiting previously apolitical Americans in a battle against Washington, but a large, radicalized segment of the conservative “base” of the GOP (none the less Republican for the self-identified independent status of many Tea Folk, who vote Republican very loyally but don’t want to identify with it because they don’t trust it is or will remain sufficiently conservative). As such, it is much less a threat to the Democratic Party than to the GOP—insofar as Republicans have political objectives that don’t always coincide with the truculant and ideologically extreme attitudes of the activist “base.”
Precisely. The recent hyperventialtions by the Rethug Scandophiles are less a threat to the Obama Administration than it is to the Rovian wing of the Grand Obstructionist Party. A point we have been trying to make here repeatedly.
Or as Willie might have said: Go for it:
“Lay on, McDuff, and be damned he who first cries, ‘Hold, enough!”
-William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Today’s GOP, split between its traditional Wall Street moneyed interests and its hyper-ideological Teabagger contingent, the reincarnation of its former discredited Bircher wing, has reached new levels of political dysfunction. (Its other faction, Christian fundamentalists, has been rather quiescent of late, most likely due to a paucity of pending national social legislation.)
It’s as if GOP icon Ronald Reagan had, after firing the air traffic controllers, replaced them with the inmates of Ken Kesey’s Cuckoo’s Nest and Christopher Lloyd’s Dream Team.
Politico captures the mood:
Less than two weeks ago, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy walked upstairs to Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Capitol office to discuss a sensitive issue: Why did Cantor schedule a vote before McCarthy had the chance to survey Republican support?
The meeting — described as “tense” by several people familiar with it — ended with McCarthy abruptly standing up and storming out of the room. Aides downplayed the exchange. But a week later, it turned out that McCarthy’s pique was merited: The health care-related bill was suddenly pulled from the floor in what was the most recent stumble for House Republicans.
The GOP leadership is dealing with an unprecedented level of frustration in running the House, according to conversations with more than a dozen aides and lawmakers in and around leadership. Leadership is talking past each other. The conference is split by warring factions. And influential outside groups are fighting them.
The chaos has led to a sense of stalemate for House Republicans, who have been in the majority since 2011.
Of course, if you listen to the Beltway Insiders, it’s all President Obama‘s fault for the resulting political gridlock. His failure to herd these crazy cats into an actual functioning body of legislators is proof positive of his “lack of leadership.” At Wednesday’s news conference, for instance, O was asked by ABC News’ Jonathan Karl whether he had lost his “juice” to get things done. O replied:
“But, Jonathon, you seem to suggest that somehow these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job. They’re elected — members of Congress are elected in order to do what’s right for their constituencies and for the American people.”
Not surprisingly, MODO disagrees:
“Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It’s called leadership.”
Excuse me if I think that is just plain stupid. Mitch McConnell promised from the very first day that Obama took office, the GOP’s first priority was to prevent the duly elected President of the United States from implementing any part of his agenda. Four and half years later, that dedication to obstructionism hasn’t changed a wit, as Senator Pat Toomey acknowledged when explaining the defeat of a greatly watered-down bipartisan gun safety bill that would require mandatory background checks on all gun purchasers:
“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so polarized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it.”
Some? Okay, maybe there are some vestigial traces of moderation among “some” members of the GOP. But the promise of “scoring” by lobbying groups like the NRA and the various Koch Brothers funded organizations means that if individual GOPers even thought about compromising with Obama they’d have their asses primaried in a heartbeat.
The logical end point of this blind ideological obstructionism is that the Rethugs have rendered themselves incapable of taking yes for an answer. Take the Affordable Care Act. (Please.) Though Obama thought nothing of pissing off his progressive base by refusing to pursue a public option, let alone a simple single payer expansion of Medicare, he instead adopted the Heritage Foundation‘s individual mandate construct that Mitt Romney implemented when he was governor of Massachusetts. Notwithstanding that Senator Max Baucus, the chief architect of the Act, adopted the individual mandate as the core principle of “Obama Care”; and furthermore, made numerous changes demanded by the Rethugs, not a single one of them voted for the Act. How’s that for bipartianship delusion, Mr. President?
MODO concludes with her best advice on how to transcend GOP obstructionism on the issue of closing GITMO:
“The senior senator from Kentucky has been a leader in Keep-Terrorists-Offshore. Maybe, if the president really wants to close Gitmo, he should have a drink with Mitch McConnell. Really.”
Really? Maybe Obama should order Marine One to deposit him on the track at the Kentucky Derby Saturday afternoon, walk down the steps dressed like a Southern waiter with a towel over one arm and a tray with a frosty mint julep on it, straight over to Mitch’s box seat, bow and say:
“For you, Massah McConnell. Is there anything more I can do to pleasure ya’all?”
Now that’s the kind of leadership the Village courtiers would really appreciate.
Stephen’s helpful suggestions on how to reduce hospital overcrowding
Stephen Colbert warns us that a hospital is no place to get sick, especially if you are indigent or have fallen into a coma.
If, for instance, you’re an undocumented immigrant, you might find yourself discharged from an Intensive We Don’t Care Unit in Las Vegas and given a one way bus ticket to Los Angeles, with 3 days of meds and instructions to dial 911 when you get there. Same goes for the mentally handicapped.
If you’re really lucky and have fallen into a coma, you could be flown on a private jet for free and deposited in another country altogether.
But there is a darker possibility. You could be shipped off to somewhere that no one ever returns from…a Carnival Cruise vacation.
And That’s the Word.