Another Tone Deaf Choice
by Deacon Blues
Naming a political hack as your Ebola "czar", rather than a nationally-respected medical professional is not the way to calm the public's fears. Yet I expected nothing more from this administration.
Really, Ron Klain is the guy you came up with? I'm sure he'll command the respect of hospitals and public health systems around the country.
Based on this type of decision-making, I guess we can expect some other political hack for the new AG now rather than someone with bipartisan respect.
Democrats need to distance themselves from the administration on Ebola, because they can't afford to be yoked any longer to just another example of Obama indecisiveness and eventual caving.
Same-Sex Marriage and 2014
by Deacon Blues
To the surprise of many, the Supreme Court today started its new term by refusing to act upon lower-court rejections of same-sex marriage bans. By not taking up even one challenge of the potential cases before them, the court let stand circuit court rulings against state bans on same-sex marriage, thereby allowing the lower-court rulings to take effect and enable same-sex marriage in the states affected.
The conventional wisdom amongst court observers is that the Court felt it unnecessary to weigh in on the matter when all circuit court cases to date have agreed that such bans are unconstitutional. Under this thinking, once a conservative circuit goes against the consensus so far and issues a ruling supporting a state's ban on same-sex marriage, then the Court will take up that case and rule. Since some of the circuits yet to decide are conservative districts, it can be assumed that today's actions will only encourage right-wing judicial activism on that circuit or circuits, and a case or cases will make their way to the SCOTUS perhaps for the next session.
But today's decisions also make it clear that the justices weren't sure they had the votes to rule against same-sex marriage. It takes four votes amongst the nine justices to have a case scheduled for the court's docket in that session. Today's action means that there wasn't at least four conservatives who wanted to consider overturning the lower court rulings (liberals had no reason to want the cases heard since all lower-court decisions so far had sided with same-sex marriage).
And if you wanted to know what spark could drive gay voters to the polls next month to vote for Democratic senators, you just saw it.
Paul Stokes Fear Over Ebola
by Deacon Blues
For Rand Paul to align himself with crackpot Louis Gohmert and spread fear and hysteria about our efforts to deal with the Ebola crisis in Africa only shows that the man has no business being a serious presidential candidate. He, like Gohmert, would however make a good carnival barker.
Gohmert can be excused because he is a laughingstock that deserves to be representing Texas. Paul is a healthcare professional, who should know better.
An Immediate Defense?
by Deacon Blues
Yes, I am greatly alarmed at the news about ongoing Secret Service security breaches over the last several years, at a time when this president has encountered vastly more threats than his predecessors. But I am also alarmed frankly at the default position of this White House to immediately and publicly support the Secret Service director in the midst of yesterday’s congressional debacle.
Exactly how shaky are things inside the Service and inside the White House that such assurances are necessary?
Update: So why give such an immediate defense if she resigned anyway? Why did the White House make itself look stupid by coming out to defend her earlier in the day if it was already in the works that she was on her way out?
Giving Foreign Policy Back To the GOP
by Deacon Blues
When Obama told Steve Kroft for Sunday’s “60 Minutes” that blame for the rise of ISIL rests with collective failures of the intelligence community and the Iraqi Army, he continued a tradition under his administration of blaming others for the faults of his own White House team. There was immediate pushback from within the intelligence community, both here and abroad, and from the national security media, challenging the notion that the White House was somehow blindsided by ISIL’s rise and the failings of the Iraqi armed forces. Both the IC and the media were quick to point out that the White House could not have missed signals and reports going back to 2011 on the risks of a destabilized Syria and the failings of the Iraqi Army, and from 2012 on the gathering strength of ISIL in that vacuum. Yet as late as this week, Obama gave an unconvincing performance of a man six years into his tenure still trying to point the finger outward when in fact he needs to look within.
As a result of this terrible willingness to let his White House staff dictate policy based on polls and political considerations, something that permeated his first-term foreign policy as well, public opinion has suddenly shifted in the GOP’s favor for the remainder of his term. The public doesn’t believe Obama anymore when he talks about not putting boots on the ground, because they think he’s already let things get out of control so much in Iraq and Syria that we’ll need to go back in regardless of what Obama says. It should not be surprising that the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the public expects America to take on the burden of fighting ISIL, by large numbers if the military leadership determines it necessary. The one part of government with large approval ratings over a discredited Congress and administration is the military. Once again, like on immigration and other issues, this White House has mishandled an issue so badly that they’ve handed the political advantage back to their opponents, and you can be sure that the GOP will ride this through November and into their new majorities in 2015.
Sure, there is internal finger-pointing going on now between those inside the administration who were obsessed at the time with getting rid of Assad and those who now claim they saw the danger inside Iraq all along, but the role of your National Security Advisor is not to make another Condi Rice pre-9/11 mistake, but to sort out and highlight urgent priorities for the president. Nothing of the kind happened here, again, and even if it did, there’s no indication from his record that Barack Obama would have acted. As a result, and ironically, he now finds himself saddled with his own dereliction of duty, just like George W. Bush did in August 2001.
Letter From California
09/29/14 0642.21 PST
San Jose, California
It has been noted more than once that in 1978 California made a mushy pivot to stingy hold-the-line fiscal spending in what had once been a proudly functional social service state. I was 15 at the time, and in all the alleged arc of my adult perception and growth California has sputtered along in an infuriating slow-motion degradation of social services and priorities.
Hopeful souls heralded the arrival of a Sacramento Democratic supermajority and alleged liberal Democratic governor as the beginning of a new era of government faith and investment, but it was not to be. Governor Brown is not a FDR liberal, not hardly, but he did spur a significant investment in education by putting a gun to our heads with terrible spending cut threats 2 years ago. Ugly, but it did happen.Continue reading "Letter From California"