Lawmaker News

Consensus — and time — in short supply

Keeping your eyes on the sad Syria crisis may actually be more comforting than paying attention to the Congress's inability to pass a bill to keep the government open.

The few days of September scheduled for legislating — in the House it was only nine — are slipping away, swallowed up initially by President Obama's bungled response to the chemical attack in Syria. Indeed, with the end of the fiscal year coming Sept. 30, consensus is nowhere to be found.


Syria: Obama is Winston Churchill compared to Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Alan Grayson

On the matter of war crimes by the Assad regime in Syria, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) literally offer no policy and no ideas about how to stop the slaughter of innocent people with chemical weapons.

Read them carefully. Listen to them closely. They have nothing coherent to say. They suggest nothing effective to do. By contrast, President Obama has taken the initiative and offers a course of action that will send a message to Bashar Assad and reduce his capability of using chemical weapons for mass murder against innocent people.


Alan Grayson vs. Barack Obama

The Syrian debacle spawns new directions. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) appears, wearing a peace symbol tie, on PBS "NewsHour", in The New York Times and everywhere else this weekend. His analysis was lucid and well-articulated — better, in my opinion than any of the others. Pundits can’t recall a time when left factions have so closely aligned with those of the right in opposition to a specific issue. I can: Watergate. And like Watergate, it all seemed so spontaneous and unplanned, as if an accident or a simple twist of fate.

Below is a selection of Grayson’s comments. I was especially surprised by the PBS interview excerpted here, courtesy of NewsBusters:


A states’ rights defense against Barack Obama

The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens says an attack on Syria without regime change — taking out Assad — would be “feckless.” Other mainstream conservatives say random and indecisive, certain to bring payback. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) say it is a case of American global status, which is an immoral assessment, a product of arrested and unbalanced development.

New York Times regular Nicholas D. Kristof says, “Striking Syria now may seem inconsistent, but it’s better than consistently doing nothing in the face of atrocities,” which is immoral also: Just go out there and kill a bunch of those Indians.

But this, vengeance, really is the basis of much military action: Revenge, retaliation, about something historic. Atlanta was the price of Southern secession; Nagasaki was the price of Pearl Harbor. And to our immediate times: Iraq was a direct, gut response to 9/11. President Obama’s consideration now on Syria is identical to the Cheney/Bush invasion of Iraq.


The Ted Cruz birther problem

Let's see if every Republican, Tea Party advocate and rightist who raised the birther issue against President Obama will publicly state that Ted Cruz should not run for president because his dual citizenship with Canada should disqualify him.

Don't get me wrong. I do not believe the issue should disqualify Cruz, despite my lack of esteem for his politics. I don't think it should matter if Cruz has or had dual citizenship. But imagine what the right would do if Matt Drudge bannered a revelation that President Obama is a dual citizen with another country!


Queen Hillary, King Jeb: America’s descent into monarchy, Part 2

My piece here last week declaring that America’s desire to be governed by family cultures, particularly those from Massachusetts and New York, represents in all but name a return to monarchy brought some interesting responses.

Responses were widespread and there were interesting parallel events: Donna Brazile said a HIllary Clinton nomination would be a “coronation” like it was a good thing. James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal ran a piece titled “Queen Hillary.” New York Times correspondent Timothy Egan suggested “Presidents should vacation outside their political comfort zones.”

I claimed that a royal political family giving of a family pet to a president was at once patronizing and demeaning. It treated him like a minor or external member of the family political cult (a pet). And by accepting the animal, the president acknowledged himself to be a willing agent of the family cult. And guess what? They went out and got President Obama a new doggie, one from Michigan.


The government shutdown against ObamaCare is dead

Behind the scenes today, major Republican power is falling like a house of cards against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and others pushing the idea of shutting the government down over ObamaCare.

It will not happen. The idea is dead as a doornail. 


Obama to the Vineyard: America is a monarchy in all but name

Will New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie go to Kennebunkport, Maine, on his summer vacation? You know he would like to. You can tell by the way he thumps his foot when Jeb Bush scratches his neck. 

Obama goes directly to Camelot’s spa on The Cape. “Camelot” is what we unabashedly called the place when Jack Kennedy was the first king of America, because it reminded Jackie Kennedy of King Arthur. Really.

Frankly, I did not think my aunties were ready for democracy; even the televised "Wheel of Fortune" type we play in our time, pretending we are still a republic. They’d only been one generation from the Old Sod and nothing there in their previous 900 years in the rainy moss prepared them for Jeffersonian principles. The only thing that prepared them for America was hunger.


The more Christie bashes the right, the more voters like him; the more Obama talks without action, the more voters tune him out

There is now a powerful movement within the Republican Party to isolate the more rightist elements who counsel total obstruction. Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and their ilk are increasingly isolated from GOP power brokers who are now dead set against their plan to cause a government shutdown over ObamaCare.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) rises in public opinion polls, and rises with Republican power brokers, every time he picks a fight with the right. The GOP civil war has begun. 


Cruz's crusade strains GOP

Influential conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer calls it "nuts," while Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) calls it the "dumbest idea" he has heard and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) calls it "dishonest."

It is the idea now pushed by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), but more loudly by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), to shut the government down unless a bill defunding ObamaCare is passed to keep the government operating after Sept. 30.