Recently in Congress Category

I Am Not Too Worried

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In science, it is understood that to overcome inertia, you have to supply an excessive amount of energy to get movement. However, once that is done, the required energy to keep things moving drops substantially.

With Firedoglake screaming bloody murder and instituting a petition to kill the bill, I see just such a theory, but put to work politically. Honestly, the chances of killing the bill are pretty slim. But, make enough noise about killing the bill, and why, and maybe the pols begin to see their pretty little butts are not so securely fastened to their congressional and senatorial seats. At that point, change will happen.

And now is the time to make some noise. The Tea Baggers have pretty much screamed themselves hoarse and are out of sync with the parliamentary moves of congress. However, I think Firedoglake is poised at precisely the right moment to strike. Though the stated goal may not be admirable, the eventual effect may be laudable.
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Good Idea!

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Digby suggest putting something so outrageous into bills that it is bound to distract the screaming harpies attention away from legitimate items. The Democrats can then remove the outrageous item, leaving the legitimate items in the bill. Call it the "Ohhhhh, look, shiny" maneuver.

Legacy Chooses

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Ian Walsh believes President Obama is just about done being proactive. I agree.

The Republican/conservative brightness before the burn out I keep thinking is happening, only gets brighter and brighter, and not in a good way. As the Birthers, Tea baggers, and generally just mad at the world types, descend upon the town hall meetings, I realize that my imagining of their behavior falls quantitatively short of their capabilities.

Then, Ian had this to say:

They took the lesson of the Clinton administration to be "don't enflame (sic) the fanatics on the right--avoid social issues, and don't slash the military".  They were, of course, wrong: the radical right (and there is hardly a non-radical right left) will oppose Obama no matter what he does and if Obama is unwilling to use to the full might of the administrative apparatus against them, they will simply take advantage of his weakness to escalate.  Tactics which are seen to work, will not be abandoned, to the contrary, they will be used more and more.
don't enflame (sic) the fanatics on the right--avoid social issues

Suddenly, my imagination made a quantum jump that pictured a radical increase in the use of deadly force, with a resultant increase in dead minorities (including gay, lesbian, and transgenders).

Now, I am not about to believe one way or another that President Obama understood this possible scenario. Still, to pick health care as his first major policy push might have been for other reasons besides the time was right. Regardless of whether he recognized it was a policy that could result in the least amount of insanity and violence, in the end, it is what happened.

Ask yourself this; had President Obama picked an African American jurist for the Supreme Court, just what kind of push back do you think would have happened? Unlike health care, an African American nominee to the Supreme Court is a racial element that would have inflamed the radical right even more then the current push for health reform. I don't know about you, but my imagination in this situation includes some serious killings, maybe even a lynching or three.

What? You think that's too far? If there are calls by influential leaders of the radical right for people to bring guns to town hall meetings, my suggestion of lynchings had President Obama attempted to place an African American on the Supreme Court is going to far? Considering how easy it is for the radical right followers to kill gays, lesbians, and transgenders during less politically decisive times, any push to end DADT, or otherwise legislate equal rights for sexual orientation, would suddenly result in a decrease of killings? We are talking about a section of the electorate that thinks it is funny to print out liberal hunting licenses.

So, for whatever reason, President Obama went the path of least resistance. But, Ian is right. No matter what policy the President pursues, the radical right will fight back. And they will use any action they perceive to have already been effective. If the push for health reform does stall, and no bill is forthcoming this year, I too believe the President is dead in the water. He will achieve no further legislative goals. And even if he does pass health care reform, I still believe he's dead in the water, simply because the radical right, already inflamed and instilled with an Armageddon mindset, will simply believe the end is nigh and make a homicidal/suicidal push. They are going to take as many with them as possible.

In my opinion, any further legislative attempts by the President and violence is assured. It is already occurring. If President Obama manages to shove a version of health reform through congress, he's going to be faced with one angry, pissed off radical right. He will pretty much be unable to overcome any further resistance because civil unrest is only going to continue. Chances are, it will take up most of his administration's attention.

So, once he's done with as much of the legislative work he can realistically achieve, I suggest he turn his attention to judicial/legal house cleaning. Unleash the Justice Department and force a searching and fearless constitutional inventory of our government. There is a world of hurt in it, with much latent corruption and incompetence set to cause further decades of pain and suffering, thereby weakening our country. If he truly wants to be seen as an agent of change, the more important task he faces is exposure of the past administration's eight years of malfeasance and criminality. Hell, cleaning up the last 30 years of modern conservative governance is one damn fine legacy, if you ask me.

Now, I do not believe President Obama wants that for a legacy. But most people do not get to choose their destiny, it chooses them.

Jack Ass Of The Day

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Atrios simply called him a wanker. That's too kind. Evan Bayh is Jack Ass of the Day. What it boils down to; he doesn't want to have to vote on a bill and show his loyalties to the insurance industry.

So Much For Seniority

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See, there are consequences for acting like an arrogant prick.

The Washington Post

The Senate dealt a blow tonight to Sen. Arlen Specter's hold on seniority in several key committees, a week after the Pennsylvanian's party switch placed Democrats on the precipice of a 60-seat majority.

In a unanimous voice vote, the Senate approved a resolution that added Specter to the Democratic side of the dais on the five committees on which he serves, an expected move that gives Democrats larger margins on key panels such as Judiciary and Appropriations.

But Democrats placed Specter in one of the two most junior slots on each of the five committees for the remainder of this Congress, which goes through December 2010. Democrats have suggested that they will consider revisiting Specter's seniority claim at the committee level only after the midterm elections next year.
You know, I've tried to work up some tears over this surprise development, but my eyes are as dry as bleached bones in the desert sand.

Hypocrite Of The Week

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The Washington Post

Whatever happens in Mississippi, Boehner has enough trouble to preoccupy him here in Washington, where House Democrats have been passing their agenda with little thought for Republican preferences. "The majority has taken, once again, their go-it-alone policy," Boehner lamented yesterday. "It's time for Democrats and Republicans to work together."
Time for Democrats and Republicans to work together? Where the hell was this sentiment when the Republicans were the majorities in both the house and senate? Seriously, how the hell can this man even eat food with that mouth, considering the bullshit it produces.
Washington Post

Lott's early exit casts a shadow on an extraordinary congressional career. Elected to Congress in 1972 at age 31, as a defender of Richard M. Nixon, he voted for impeachment as a House Judiciary Committee member when confronted with the evidence. He was the House's second-ranking Republican at age 39; won the same job in the Senate 14 years later; as 1984 Republican platform chairman shaped a supply-side document in defiance of the White House staff's design; and served for six years as the most effective Republican Senate majority leader of his time.
An early exit casts a shadow on an extraordinary congressional career? I think being removed from the majority leader position over charges of racism managed that quite effectively. Robert here is just pissed because his beloved Republican party is in a position to lose another seat in the Senate. Otherwise, this rambling, unfocused column has no other purpose than to reiterate Lott's resume. He sure as hell didn't explain why Lott is resigning. Hell, he more or less discounts the conventional wisdom on Lott's departure.

Actually, federal legislators know how to build tidy nest eggs without spending one day in the private sector -- none of them much better than Trent Lott. Except for one year as a practicing attorney fresh out of law school, Lott has spent his career on the public payroll -- four years as a congressional staffer, 16 years in the House and 19 in the Senate.
Though, he fails to deliver any proof of Lott's nest egg.

Indeed, this entire effort on Novak's part seems more about venting his displeasure over Lott's pending resignation and it's effect on the Republican party's standing in government then on strengthening the narrative of Lott leaving for financial reasons. The old boy just seems to lack the heart of defending a rat fleeing a sinking ship.
New York Times

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 — The White House began a campaign Thursday to save the candidacy of Michael B. Mukasey for attorney general, with President Bush defending him in a speech and in an Oval Office interview, where he complained that Mr. Mukasey was “not being treated fairly” on Capitol Hill.

Gee, I wonder if the people of New Orleans feel they were "not being treated fairly" during the aftermath of Katrina? I suppose that's water over the dike. How about the Iraq veteran's who've come home to discover their promised benefits cut? I wonder if they have feelings of "not being treated fairly?"

Anyway, it's really pathetic to have to listen to our president whine about unfair treatment as if life is some kind of fall festival with fun rides and rip-off carnival games. But then, I am expecting too much from the vocabularily challenged village idiot.

When is this wimp going to develop a back bone? Oh, wait, never mind. His mother is carrying it for him.

Kettle, met pot.

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Washington Post

The White House plans to try implementing as much new policy as it can by administrative order while stepping up its confrontational rhetoric with Congress after concluding that President Bush cannot do much business with the Democratic leadership, administration officials said.

According to those officials, Bush and his advisers blame Democrats for the holdup of Judge Michael B. Mukasey's nomination to be attorney general, the failure to pass any of the 12 annual spending bills, and what they see as their refusal to involve the White House in any meaningful negotiations over the stalemated children's health-care legislation.

Any meaningful negotiations? When the stance of the White House is to simply refuse to fund health insurance for children on ideological grounds, there is no possibility for meaningful negotiations to occur.

Oh, and isn't it rich that the White House is complaining about being left out of the process now, when for the 5 years of republican control of the House and Senate, the democratic party wasn't even allowed to propose legislation.

Kettle, met pot.

New York Times

ISTANBUL, Oct. 11 — Turkey reacted angrily Thursday to a House committee vote in Washington to condemn as genocide the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey that began during World War I, recalling its ambassador from Washington and threatening to withdraw its support for the Iraq war.

In uncharacteristically strong language, President Abdullah Gul criticized the vote by the House Foreign Relations Committee in a statement to the semi-official Anatolian News Agency, and warned that the decision could work against the United States.
I am not a foreign policy wonk. Hell, I am not a wonk of any type. But, it seems to me, that if you wanted to ham string BushCo™'s march towards war with Iran, what better way then to piss off an ally. Turkey being close to Iran and all, it seems that we'd be needing their air space and bases for any bombing of Iran, though I could be wrong.

Also, if someone wanted to work towards making it more difficult to stay in Iraq, this seems to be a rather novel, and indirect, manner in forcing the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would definitely take up the measure. “I said if it comes out of committee, it will go to the floor,” she told reporters. “Now it has come out of committee, and it will go to the floor.”
I'm just saying.

Of course, the down side to all this; it becomes more grist for accusing Democrats of not supporting our service members.

New York Times

Mr. Gates and other military officials have said that 70 percent of the military cargo sent to Iraq is flown through Incirlik or on routes over Turkey.

To drive home the potential impact of the House action, American officials have warned that delivery of new heavily armored trucks, known as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, could be disrupted. Senior military officials said Thursday that the roughly 400 such vehicles delivered since July have been flown in over Turkey but not landed on its territory. Those flights could avoid Turkish airspace, if necessary, they said.
So, I am not so sure as to the intelligence of this move. In terms of forcing hard choices about the continued presence of our troops in Iraq, and of any military action against Iran, it seems to be questionable. But, in life there has to be some risks. Yet politically, this could spell disaster for the Democrats in the House. Still, I am of a mind to sit back and wait. Honestly, this can't be anymore damaging than, say, lying us into illegally invading and occupying a sovereign nation.
Oh, Christ! Just when you thought it was safe to be a Republican again.

At long last, our national nightmare is over.

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