Note to Self [What You Say | What I Think]


Yes, you really did just hear that gaffe. Here is the question: Did a Democratic Member of Congress just gaffe up really, really badly in one direction, or the other?

Translation: Did he botch, or tip, it?

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Personal Reflections on Politics and Priorities


The Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol building.

Let us speak of love and life and the beauty of this Universe.

What? Oh. Right. Sorry.

Look, to the one it seems really simple; to the other, we all have people in our lives who will, when they don’t like the obvious implication of an obvious fact, chuff and puff and stutter: “Wh-wha-what? What are you talking about? What does that even mean?” The thing about this behavior is that except for the fact of contention, these people in our lives know damn well what we’re talking about, and if there is any confusion about what it means, they’re certainly tipping their hand by going from zero to attack in zero-point-two-one-seven-three seconds. You know that common tease, “Struck a nerve, there”?

Sometimes it seems tragic: Perceived competitive pressures can seem so permeating in and of the perspectives subscribing to or advocating its processes and outcomes as to inhibit normal, healthy social function. More accessibly: Capitalism escalates mental health risk factors. Or, more generally: People who believe in or advocate the dog eat dog rat race can fall into it so deeply that their social faculties degrade into dysfunction.

And sometimes we think, “Huh? But you knew what this meant yesterday. And you even believed it last week!”

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(chortle!)


Er … um … right.

Gay Republican Plans to File for Young Seat

Thank you, Abby Livingston.

Roll Call Headline Oct 10 2013(chortle!)

(titter!)

(sigh ….)

Okay, now that I’m done being childish … well, okay, I’m not done being childish. But it’s also because the short article doesn’t explain what the headline means; is Nick Zoller homosexual, or does he come from a place called Gay? I mean, no, really, it’s just a funny headline, but I don’t get its connection to the article.

Anyway, turns out he’s from St. Petersburg, Florida.

GOP: The Somethin’ Shall Somethin’ Ag’in


Believe it or not, a conservative associate of mine sent me this article, actually thinking … er … um … right. I have no idea what he was thinking.

On Thursday afternoon, as the government shutdown entered its third day, a Republican member of the House sat down with a group of reporters in an office building not far from the Capitol. He spoke on the condition that he be referred to only as a House lawmaker, but without betraying the agreement it’s fair to say his was a perspective well worth listening to. The congressman walked the group through a set of issues involved in the shutdown—the continuing resolution, House-Senate relations, the coming debt limit talks, and more—but what was perhaps most striking was his frank talk about how the GOP leadership got itself into its current predicament. What became clear after an hour of discussion was that the House Republican leadership’s position at the moment is the result of happenstance, blundering, and a continuing inability to understand the priorities of both GOP and Democratic colleagues.

The congressman began with an anecdote from the Civil War. “I would liken this a little bit to Gettysburg, where a Confederate unit went looking for shoes and stumbled into Union cavalry, and all of a sudden found itself embroiled in battle on a battlefield it didn’t intend to be on, and everybody just kept feeding troops into it,” the congressman said. “That’s basically what’s happening now in a political sense. This isn’t exactly the fight I think Republicans wanted to have, certainly that the leadership wanted to have, but it’s the fight that’s here.”

When the September 30 deadline for funding the government was still weeks away, the lawmaker explained, he never thought Republicans and Democrats would fail to reach agreement on a continuing resolution. “To be honest with you, I did not think we’d be in a government shutdown situation,” he said. “I’m surprised that we’re here.” The congressman frankly admitted that he never saw the intensity of the party base’s opposition to Obamacare that came to the fore in the August recess. “I think that probably the Cruz phenomenon had a lot to do with that,” he said, referring to the campaign by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to raise support for an effort to defund Obamacare. “I think it disrupted everybody’s plans, both in the administration and certainly the House Republican leadership.”

As the congressman told the story, as August progressed—and Cruz, along with a few Senate colleagues, the Heritage Foundation, and others, ran a high-profile campaign to stir public opinion against Obamacare—the House GOP leadership was mostly unaware of what was going on. “They got surprised a little bit by the Obamacare thing,” the lawmaker said. “This was something that blew up in August. Nobody really saw it coming—probably should have a little bit, I’m not being critical of anybody in that regard, on either side of this—but it just happened.”

(York)

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A Note on Future Presidents


It will take me a while to find a copy of the decades-old Doonesbury strip that leaps to mind, though I’m thinking it was the late Jerald terHorst and the long-running joke about future presidents.

Rep. Peter T. King accused President Barack Obama of “undermining the authority of future presidents” to engage in military action in a scathing statement issued following Obama’s Rose Garden speech Saturday.Rep. Peter King (R-NY)

Obama said he would seek an authorization for the use of military force against the Syrian regime in response to the widely-reported use of chemical weapons, but King, a New York Republican and former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, blasted that move.

“President Obama is abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief and undermining the authority of future presidents. The President does not need Congress to authorize a strike on Syria. If Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians deserves a military response, and I believe it does, and if the President is seeking congressional approval, then he should call Congress back into a special session at the earliest date,” King said in a statement. “The President doesn’t need 535 Members of Congress to enforce his own redline.”

(Lesniewski)

It is not that we are unfamiliar with the defense of future presidents and presidencies, but this is something of a twist.

Love, Hate, and Huma’s Pathetic Weiner


“She said her husband should be elected mayor! You do not get to trash his candidacy and praise hers. Want to support Huma? Then vote for Anthony!”

Marc Tracy

Yes, really, it comes to this.

The thing is that I really, really don’t care. Really. I promise. The sad saga of the Little Weiner That Couldn’t Quit is all abstraction to me. Can he get elected? We’ll see when this is over.

But Marc Tracy’s article for The New Republic was one of those idiotic headlines I just couldn’t resist. I don’t know, maybe I was expecting satire.

Huma AbedinThere isn’t a transcript available yet, and I was too transfixed and oblivious of myself to take notes during this proverbial train wreck. But basically, she said that she determined that it was best for her, her marriage, and her child to stay together. It all seemed perfectly valid. And the Twitterati seemed to agree: My feed lit up with variations on a theme I have been seeing since Weiner announced his mayoral candidacy in late May—Huma is great; I love Huma; it should be Huma. As in: Weiner is the worst, and, relatedly, Abedin is the best.

Sorry, but no. Abedin spoke at her husband’s press conference (it was reportedly her idea, in fact), among the most important events of his political career, in the service of getting him elected mayor. This doesn’t mean you can’t agree with what she said. (Besides, to the extent that she was speaking about her decision to remain married to Weiner, it isn’t really our business.) But at least listen to what she said! She said her husband should be elected mayor! You do not get to trash his candidacy and praise hers. Want to support Huma? Then vote for Anthony!

Maybe Abedin should be mayor. Maybe she should be President Hillary Clinton’s chief-of-staff. Maybe she should divorce Weiner and marry someone better, like Eliot Spitzer. Or maybe she should be First Lady of New York City. But to deny that she is in the same boat as her husband as far as his political ambitions are concerned is to believe she is incapable of making informed decisions for herself. I doubt that is how her admirers feel ….

…. Abedin’s story isn’t over yet, either. But in this chapter, she is shilling for her husband to become mayor. If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with her.

(Sigh.)

Yes, really.

I don’t have a damn thing to say to disagree with Tracy. Like I said, it’s all abstraction, like whether Irv Halter can unseat Rep. Doug “Tar Baby” Lamborn in Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District.

But … I don’t know. Really? This is really what our political discourse is coming to?

The Drowning Game


“Yes, we’re only half-way through the calendar year—or, roughly one-fourth of the way through the current Congress—but federal lawmakers are already behind the last Congress’ pace, and it was the worst in modern times.”

Steve Benen

Conservative Wet DreamWhat we’re essentially dealing with is a means of rendering government weak enough to drown it in a bathtub; simply make it so incompetent that it cannot lift its head out of the water. After all, that would require House approval, and the Republican majority certainly isn’t in an approving mood.