"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”

Pericles



Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Senate Scaredy-Crats

Many of us hoped Karl Rove's post 9/11 fearmongering political strategy had become a relic of the past with the Democratic victories of 2006 and 2008. We viewed the ridicule that greeted "A Noun, A Verb, 9/11" Guiliani's stillborn presidential campaign as a sign the electorate had grown wise to being manipulated by images of terrorists on every corner. Surely, the landslide election of a president who rose to prominence through his opposition to a war launched on false claims of imminent mushroom clouds allowed us to dream the voters had seen through the Republicans' scare tactics.

Turns out all of that was nothing more than wishful thinking, if the behavior of Senate Democrats is any indicator. They are still acting as if this were Memorial Day Weekend 2002.

How else could one explain the ever-shrinking Republican minority's ability to successfully return to their "Terror, Terror, Everywhere!" playbook and masterfully play Master Harry and his spineless caucus. Cowering to the specious specter of terrorists running rampant through the streets if America followed through on President Obama's first-day-in-0ffice pledge to close Gitmo, the Senate Scaredy-crats abandoned their Commander-in-Chief and disappointed their political base.

Gitmo - and the enhanced interrogation techniques that unfolded there - will be remembered as one of the more shameful chapters in American history, alongside the Alien and Sedition Acts and the WWII Japanese internment camps. Closing the prison is a critical step in restoring America's moral standing, at home and abroad. Gitmo is not merely a "taint" on America's image, it's continued existence makes us less safe. With each passing month Guantanamo remains open the terrorists ranks expand. Osama bin Laden's most effective recruiting tool must be closed.

But under Harry Reid's intrepid leadership, fifty Democrats (including the two independents) joined with every single Republican (there's the bipartisanship Rush Limbaugh was looking for!) supporting an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Bill barring the transfer of Gitmo detainees to prison facilities within the United States.

Sensing he may have boxed himself in and needlessly created a political problem for the president, Harry the Decisive quickly backtracked. As Greg Sargent reports, despite his embrace of Republican talking points and apparently unequivocal statement, “You can’t put them in prison unless you release them. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States,” Reid is now searching for wiggle room.

Wishy-washy, which-way-is-the-wind-blowing decision-making is embarassing, Senator Reid.

You have to wonder how the President - who wants to move past the sins of the Bush era as quickly as possible - views the recent missteps by Pelosi and Reid that have only served to put a spotlight on the issues he wants to put in the rearview mirror?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Purity Purge Continues

Charlie Crist's decision to jump into the Florida Senate race threatens to open a deeper rift between the party's conservative base and leadership in DC. NRSC Chair John Cornyn's endorsement of Crist (the Obama hugger) over conservative Marco Rubio has enflamed the base. Red State's Erick Erickson is urging party donors to withhold funds (@ Not One Red Cent) from the NRSC.

In the past, most party committees stayed on the sidelines in primary fights. After losing over a dozen seats in the past two elections (and the possibility of losing 3-5 more in 2010), Cornyn finds himself in desperate circumstances, so he chose to back the popular moderate governor who has a substantial lead in early polls. But by rejecting a young conservative Hispanic did he risk further alienating a critical voting bloc?

Dueling Banjos

The media fascination over the past twenty-four hours over the Dueling Banjos played by President Obama and former Veep Dick Cheney makes it clear how difficult moving forward without looking back is going to be. Beyond the fact the chattering class has legimitized Cheney's tired and worn-out fearmongering (didn't Americans reject this approach during the most recent election?), it's clear that the absence of torture investigations HASN'T made it easier for the nation (or the Administration) to focus on the domestic agenda.

In fact, it may have emboldened the former Vice President to continue his crusade.

Denouncing the president's approach to closing Gitmo and ending torture as American policy as "recklessness cloaked in righteousness," Cheney continues his aggressive and unprecedented attacks. I wonder if his cage-rattling might be making some in the Obama Administration reconsider their desire to turn the page on torture investigations.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Never Having to Say Your Sorry

Embattled RNC Chair Michael Steele will rally the irrelephants today by declaring,

"The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over. It is done," Steele said in remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday to state party chairmen. "We have turned the page, we have turned the corner. No more looking in the rearview mirror. From this point forward, we will focus all of our energies on winning the future."

I have no problem with a party leader talking about the future (that is his job, afterall) but I am perplexed. Did I miss something? When has anyone in the Republican Party actually admitted responsibility for the disasters of the Bush Administration?

Monday, May 18, 2009

George Bush's Holy Crusade

GQ reveals the religious cloak Rumsfeld's Pentagon used to push the invasion of Iraq at Bush's White House.

Is it any wonder the Islamic world eyes American military policy as a 21st Century Crusade when Intelligence updates to the President use biblical verses like, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9

I shudder when I see how Rumsfeld reinforced Dubya's belief he was Chosen as an instrument of God by quoting Peter, "It is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men."

How can we not tremble at America's role in this clash of civilizations when "Onward Christian soldiers!" is the White House's marching orders for the military?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Muse, May 17

This Week in Politics:

While planet Earth burns, the Republicans
continue playing their fiddles.

The Republican noise machine remains potent. Remember that DHS report on
Right Wing extremism? In the immortal words of Gilda's Emily Litella, "Never mind."

No one escapes his wrath. Rush Limbaugh
lashes out at McCain's elderly mother.

Does Obama's
decision to revive military trials for Gitmo detainees threaten his left flank?

Predictable, yet diabolical. Hannity is falsely comparing Obama's plans to appoint his own US Attorneys to the Rove/Bush regime's politically motivated 2006 firings of nine US Attorneys.
Insiders blogging on DC's
coming summer blockbuster.

Lifestyles:


Older Americans feeling the pinch from this recession
less than younger generations.

From the "What Else Did You Expect?" File:

More trigger-happy mercenaries working for The Company Formerly Known as Blackwater
find themselves in hot water in Afghanistan.