Since President Obama promised that there would be “no boots on the ground” to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq, he has ordered two major increases in the number of boots on the ground in Iraq. American forces’ numbers jumped up to 3,000 so-called “advisers” shortly after the mid-term elections.
The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has noticed. In a monologue Monday night, he ripped Obama from the anti-war left and called the president’s promises “bullsh*t.”
In the segment, Stewart plays clips of Obama promising not to put “boots on the ground” to fight ISIS, and juxtaposes them with announcements that more troops are being sent into Iraq to serve as “advisers” to the Iraqi military. Stewart then skewers that.
“Oh, I’m sorry, that was my mistake,” Stewart mocked. “I’m sorry. So it’s not 3,000 troops, it’s 3,000 advisers. Okay. Well, you know, that’s a lot of advisers. (laughter) I feel like after the first 2,000 give their input, it’s mostly going to be like ‘I just want to reiterate what Tony said.’”
At one point, Stewart jokes that at the rate Obama keeps increasing the number of U.S. “advisers” in Iraq, “By 2016, everyone on earth will be in Iraq fighting ISIS!”
Stewart’s angry comedic riff helps explain why Obama delayed announcing the troop increase until after the elections. Had it come before the elections, the Democrats’ base would have been infuriated, and the nationwide bloodbath that saw Republicans re-capture the Senate may have been even worse for the Obama Democrats.
The Age reports that Hizballah has admitted that an ambush outside Damascus, Syria on Sunday has left five nuclear scientists dead. The five men were killed by machine gun fire while riding in a van on the outskirts of Damascus. The attack may have been carried out by Syrian rebels on Israel’s behalf.
One of the dead was reportedly Iranian. The nationalities of the other four have not been revealed.
In years past, Syrian is known to have accepted nuclear expertise from Iran and North Korea.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the deaths of the five scientists. That group is based in London but has operatives all over Syria, according to The Age.
The Syrian government has confirmed the deaths, and that one was Iranian.
Terrorist group Hizballah said that the “five scientific experts were martyred by terrorists as part of the ongoing plots of the Zionist entity,” Israel.
Israel launched a surprise raid on a previously unknown Syrian nuclear facility in 2007, and destroyed it.
The report of the killing of five nuclear scientists in Syria, and Hizballah’s public angry reaction to it, raises all kinds of questions about Syria’s ongoing nuclear ambitions and the terrorist group’s connections to that. Israel fears that should Iran develop a nuclear weapon, it could hand that off to the terrorist group for a devastating attack on Israel’s people.
According to this gun shop owner in Ferguson, MO, the uncertainty in the Michael Brown case has led to two spikes in gun sales.
Steven King owns a gun shop in the Ferguson area.
King tells CNN that gun sales went up “exponentially” in August during the first wave of riots and violence that struck the city after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot teenager Michael Brown.
Sales tapered off after the riots, but as the grand jury is rumored to be nearing a decision on whether to indict Wilson, gun sales have “skyrocketed” again — not just at his shop, but at gun shops all over the area.
King says that the gun buyers range in age from the young to elderly, and include men and women and all races. Many are first-time gun buyers. Some are buying pump shotguns and rifles, but most are buying home defense handguns.
“100 percent of the people that have bought a firearm this weekend, have bought it because of some sort of fear of the unknown, what’s gonna happen this next week or so with the Ferguson verdict,” King told CNN.
“They saw what the protesters are capable of doing back in August,” he added, and they don’t want to get caught off-guard again. So many have purchased guns and are taking gun classes ahead of the verdict.
Writing in the Daily Beast, Sen. Rand Paul lands on a new position on the war against ISIS.
It’s the right war, but being done by Obama in the wrong way, rendering it illegal.
The Constitution, Paul correctly writes, puts the power to declare war not with presidents but with Congress.
Congress has not actually declared war on anyone since World War II. Since then US forces have been engaged in conflicts from Korea to Vietnam to the Middle East to Central America and Europe, but not once has it actually declared war. The closest that we have gotten to a full declaration of war is probably the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Saddam Hussein.
Obama has engaged US forces in Libya and now Iraq without bothering to take it to Congress, before or after the limits imposed by the War Powers Act. That, plus Paul’s contention that the US is not under attack by ISIS, is where Paul says the problem is.
In a war with transnational terrorists on the other side, though, when are we under attack and when are we not? It’s not as cut and dried as a group of terrorists crossing the porous border and wreaking havoc. They’re not going to roll across the border in an armored column and they’re not going to launch sorties of bombers over our cities. That’s not how it works. ISIS has beheaded two Americans and has shown that it can recruit other Americans to its cause using social media. It is building a base from which it says it intends to strike us.
If the Constitution were not enough, the War Powers Act reiterates the legislature’s prerogative. The War Powers Act does not allow for any military action to take place that is not authorized by Congress or to repel imminent attack. Period. The only exception is military action to repel an imminent attack. In that case, the president has 60 days to report to Congress. Obviously, it’s an exception that doesn’t apply to any of our current wars.
This administration has allowed, as Professor Michael J. Glennon writes, “nothing less than a collapse of the equilibrium of power, the balance expected to result from ambition set against ambition, the resistance to encroachment that was supposed to keep the three branches of the federal government in a state of equilibrium and to protect the people from the government.”
It’s time for conservatives to say enough is enough. Obama’s commandeering of Congress’s powers—from making war, to remaking our health-care system—has to stop. There needs to be an across-the-board, consistent defense of the constitutional separation of powers. Nothing less will win the day. That should include this current battle in the Middle East. Taking military action against ISIS is justified. The president acting without Congress is not.
On this question, Sen. Paul is probably right. He gets there in a strange way though, decrying the unlimited geographical scope and timeline of fighting terrorism.
That’s not the choice of any American leader. 9-11, London, Madrid, Fort Hood, Boston, beheading Americans in what used to be Syrian territory…how many times do terrorists have to attack us on our own soil and our allies’ soil and elsewhere before the likes of Rand Paul figure out that the enemy isn’t bound by any of our norms, notions or ideas about anything? We hold ourselves to the Geneva Conventions regarding how we treat terror masterminds while they kidnap schoolgirls, behead reporters and sell Christian women into sex slavery — and tweet images of themselves flying their flag right outside the White House.
It would be nice to put some geographical and time limits on this war. The enemy won’t abide by any limits, though.
This is Paul’s third or fourth position on what to do about ISIS. He mused that there may be no solution (May) has had mixed feelings while taking a dovish posture (August) and in September allowed that he was coming around to a more hawkish stance. At that time, he quoted Reagan and wrote that he would have acted “more decisively and strongly against ISIS” than Obama has.
Which wouldn’t be all that difficult. Obama has trickled troops in while signaling ISIS that while they have to duck US air power they will never have to face the true might of the American military on the ground. Obama isn’t even drawing fake red lines. The president is slow-rolling America into fighting ISIS in a way that is hauntingly similar to the way US forces were slow-rolled into the war in Vietnam.
Paul’s own stances don’t really bear out the claim that he would have been more decisive than Obama. He just probably would not have been any less decisive.
That’s not much to put on the resume for someone who wants to be commander-in-chief.
KHOU reports that a bipartisan group of some of the nation’s top lawyers is filing a request today to get the indictment against Texas Gov. Rick Perry tossed out of court.
Perry was indicted in August by a Travis County grand jury under the direction of a special prosecutor on abuse of power charges, because he issued a veto, as the state constitution allows governors to do.
The bipartisan group includes well-known attorneys like Republicans Ted Olsen and Ken Starr — both former U.S. solicitors general — and Democrats such as former state Supreme Court Justice Raul Gonzalez.
The Innocence Project’s Jeff Blackburn has also joined the effort. Blackburn has led the effort to use scientific evidence to exonerate people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, we all believe in the Constitution, we all believe in freedom of speech, and we all believe that this prosecution is profoundly mistaken and must be stopped — right now,” said James Ho, a former Texas solicitor general who is coordinating the effort with Dallas attorney Prerak Shah and California lawyer Eugene Volokh.
State District Judge Bert Richardson now has to consider whether to give the bipartisan group’s request any weight.
In just about any other jurisdiction in the United States, the charges against Perry would never have gotten to the indictment stage. Travis County’s District Attorney’s office claims a statewide writ over political cases since the 1980s. It has used that power a handful of times to launch clearly political cases against former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, former Rep. Tom DeLay and now Gov. Perry.
The case came to indictment just weeks before the mid-term elections, as Gov. Perry departs the office he has held for 14 years and explores a second run for president.
Rush Limbaugh has been the scourge of Democrats ever since he used to show up on Nightline with Ted Koppel in the 1980s. Now according to the Daily Caller, he’s threatening to sue the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for defamation.
The Limbaugh team is currently proceeding from the standpoint of litigating and has not yet made a decision as to whether the DCCC could make any concessions at this point to prevent the lawsuit.
The DCCC “has intentionally disseminated demonstrably false statements concerning Rush Limbaugh in a concerted effort to harm Mr. Limbaugh, and with reckless disregard for the resulting impact to small businesses across America that choose to advertise on his radio program” according to the GlaserWeil law firm’s letter to the DCCC, which was obtained by TheDC. “Mr. Limbaugh clearly, unambiguously, and emphatically condemned the notion that ‘no’ means ‘yes.’”
“Let’s be clear: Rush Limbaugh is advocating for the tolerance of rape” the DCCC stated in a September fundraising email after Limbaugh mocked Ohio State’s new mandatory sexual consent guidelines. (RELATED: Democrats Attack Rush Limbaugh On Way To November Loss)
Limbaugh’s team said that the DCCC’s campaign against Limbaugh provides grounds for a defamation case, based on legal precedent.
Limbaugh has one thing, in addition the truth, that ought to have the Democrats very worried: deep pockets. He can hire the very best legal team to turn the screws to the DCCC. He can wage a serious legal war against them.
Defamation of a public figure is usually tough for plaintiffs to win, but the Democrats may have made Limbaugh’s case here easy. They had clear motive to defame him, they have defamed him repeatedly in the past, and it’s beyond reason to believe that they truly believed that he was really advocating for tolerance of rape. They might be able to build their case on stupidity, but ignorance won’t work. Democrats have been trying to destroy Rush Limbaugh for decades now.
Discovery is going to be fascinating.
Joseph Curl picks out more evidence that President Obama is not going to even look for anything like common ground with Republicans. It’s his way or no way.
Sen. John Barrasso on Sunday gave a stunning insight into the White House meeting Mr. Obama had Friday with congressional leaders. In an interview on Fox News, the Wyoming Republican said Mr. Obama insisted his policies were on the ballot, but now that voters have spoken, he’s ignoring the message — and he didn’t care a whit what Republicans had to say.
“We went to the White House to say, ‘Mr. President, we want to work with you on the issues of jobs, the economy, affordable energy, health care.’ I was astonished [that] during that whole lunch, the president didn’t ask anything about that at all. He just was so focused on this executive amnesty issue that he ignored the idea of having a dialogue on ways we could actually change the direction of the country and move forward with regard to jobs and the economy,” Mr. Barrasso said.
Some of that is Obama’s narcissism and ego at work, along with his disregard for the voters and the Constitution, but surely some of it is just delusion. The voters repudiated Obama so soundly this mid-term that they left no uncertainty about it. Democrats lost in a remarkably thorough and resounding way. They failed spectacularly to defeat popular Republicans like Greg Abbott in Texas, and even failed to beat relatively unpopular ones like Rick Scott in Florida. Democrats have simply fallen apart at the state level. The surest way to beat a Democrats has been to tie them to Barack Obama and his policies. Barack Obama really has presided over the gutting of his own party.
Yet there’s Obama ignoring all issues save the one he wants to talk about, and making demands of the Republicans in Congress, when he isn’t pretending that they aren’t elected by the voters too.
Since the mid-term election, Obama is already gearing up to pick two fights, one over the immigration executive order, and another over net neutrality. Both are power grabs, and intended to be provocations to Congress. He is daring them to stop him.
I predicted that he would behave this way, yet it’s still astonishing to actually see it. Barack Obama thinks that he is the government unto himself, and the rest is just window dressing.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) has led one of the most remarkable changes in any state’s politics in American history.
Wisconsin is the birthplace of Big Labor, which for decades has funded the Democratic Party in that state and nationally.
Walker was elected four years ago promising to reform the state’s Big Labor-friendly labor laws and cut taxes while improving education. He made good on that promise, and the result has been successful. Unemployment shrunk, and Walker has been able to cut taxes while enacting school choice.
School choice is one of the most potent yet under-explored issues in American politics, with the potential to erode and even re-shape the Democratic Party’s coalition. School choice may have powered Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s narrow re-election victory in Florida.
Walker has now beaten back a fierce, Big Labor-funded recall and an election challenge. The left has thrown everything it can at Walker, and he has repeatedly won. Wisconsin can now be classified as a red state, not quite as red as Oklahoma or Texas, but red until Democrats prove otherwise.
Walker is only 47 years old. If he runs in 2016, he presents fellow Republicans and the Democrats a formidable record. To the presumed Democrats — Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren — Walker presents a much younger voice who has hunted in their policy back yard and come out the victor. Against any Republican challengers, Walker can make the case that he can run and win in blue or swing states, and he can get real and lasting reforms done. His record stacks up strongly against red state governors — Walker can say that they have had it easier than he has — and Republican senators, because they lack the executive experience that governors bring to the presidency.
Fair or not, all Walker needs to do to highlight the relative leadership strengths of governors versus senators is point out how terrible former Sen. Barack Obama’s presidency has been.
On Meet the Press Sunday, Walker gave the strongest hint yet that he will run for president in 2016.
Host Chuck Todd asked Walker about 2016 and possibly supporting fellow Wisconsinite Rep. Paul Ryan for president. Ryan was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012.
“I’d be the president of the Paul Ryan fan club,” Walker told Todd. “But I do think if we’re going to beat Hillary Clinton this next election, we gotta have a message that says Hillary Clinton is all about Washington.
“We offer a fresh approach — any of us, now 31 governors across the country — have the executive experience outside of Washington to provide a much better alternative to the old, tired, top-down approach you see out of Washington, D.C.
“Overall, I believe governors make much better presidents than members of Congress,” Walker said.
The Daily Signal has unearthed a video that needs to be explained.
In the video, which is from October 17, 2013, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber admits that “lack of transparency” and “stupidity” helped Democrats pass that law.
Gruber’s admission should be set alongside President Barack Obama’s promise to have all debates regarding Obamacare televised on C-SPAN for the American people to see. As we know now, that never happened. The Democrats negotiated over that bill among themselves, and made deals to get it is passed among themselves, and passed it despite the majority’s objections to it.
Obama’s transparency promise was all a ruse.
In the clip, Gruber goes on at length about how it would have been impossible to pass Obamacare if the American people really knew what it would do. That echoes then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s admission that Democrats would have to pass the bill before the American people could find out what is in it.
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure that the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber admits. The Supreme Court decision upholding the mandate did regard it as a tax, at least in Chief Justice John Roberts’ mind.
“If CBO scored the mandate as taxes the bill dies,” Gruber says.
“If you had a law that…made it explicit that healthy people are gonna pay in and sick people are gonna get money, it would not have passed,” Gruber admits.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really really critical to getting the thing to pass,” Gruber said. He added that even with all of that deception, perpetrated by his party on a grand scale, “I would rather have this law than not.”
The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber has a must-read on how Valerie Jarrett influences and more or less runs the Obama White House.
Be aware, of course, that the New Republic is no longer a neo-left pub, but a true left organ now. It’s in the tank for Obama ever since Chris Hughes took it over.
It’s at the end of Scheiber’s long piece that we learn that America just doesn’t deserve the holiness that is embodied in Obama and Jarrett.
The post-election Obama sees no need to descend from the heavens to meet us mere mortals halfway.
As it happens, the way the White House runs these days does even less to check Obama’s inclinations. According to a former high-level aide, there is no longer a daily meeting between the president and his top advisers. Under the old system, if the president waved off one adviser’s objection to his preferred plan of action, another could step in to vouch for the objection’s merit. The advice Obama gets now, though, comes more regularly through one-off interactions with the likes of Jarrett and Denis McDonough, who don’t have anyone else to back them up. In the second term, observes the former aide, “Maybe the president says, more often than in the past, ‘We’re doing it.’”
The result is that Obama has become even more persuaded of his righteousness as the years have gone on. His belief that he can win over opponents is unshaken. Unfortunately, these opponents include a party in the throes of radicalism and a self- interested class of ultra-rich that increasingly calls to mind plutocracy—not people whose better instincts you can appeal to. Obama and Jarrett should know this. Any time they have made preemptive concessions to the GOP or business leaders, their negotiating partners have simply pocketed the concessions and asked for more. From the budget battles to immigration reform, they have consistently overestimated the ability of Republican elites to reason with their rank and file. As recently as early this year, the official White House position was that it preferred Congress to ban workplace discrimination against gays. Congress!
Perhaps no episode illustrates this mind-set better than the fate of the consumer agency that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill created. In 2010, Jarrett and two other advisers persuaded Obama to install a genuine populist in the person of Elizabeth Warren to set up the agency. But they never intended for her to actually run it, a promotion Warren aggressively sought. “Having Warren in the short-term role was their elegant solution,” says a former administration official. “It was the best way to appease the left while preserving [Obama’s] reasonableness to business. That’s what drives him: Do they look reasonable? … That’s what Valerie’s all about.”
It’s no surprise that Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett would govern as reasonable people. It’s who they are. The tragedy is that we live in surpassingly unreasonable times.
Leftists like Schieber are fascinating creatures. Republicans — supposedly “in the throes of radicalism” — now control the House, the Senate, and have unified control of 23 state governments. The Obama Democrats controlled everything six years ago but have been voted out of control of Congress and only have unified control in fewer than 10 states. The mid-terms saw Democrats bounced out of power in Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland — deep blue states — while the supposedly “radical” Republicans further consolidated their hold on Texas and Florida and made inroads in North Carolina and Colorado and almost snatched a Senate seat in Virginia. The bench for Republicans deepens down to state legislatures now and into the millenial generation and includes Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Mia Love, Will Hurd and on and on and on; the Democrats’ bench consists of Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren — all Baby Boomers, and two of the three are essentially re-treads now while Warren is a typical northeastern liberal academic with the boutique appeal associated with such candidates. She will not play anywhere outside the deepest blue states. As the three run for president, they will be trying to out-left each other to appeal to a base that is ever more out of touch with reality.
Which party is in the “throes of radicalism” again?
Former Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) appeared on Meet the Press Sunday.
Cantor warned that if President Obama insists on pushing an executive order on immigration, it will be “incendiary.”
Allegedly neutral host Chuck Todd ran right over that and took Obama’s side.
“But isn’t repealing health care just as incendiary? Why isn’t that incendiary?” he asked Cantor.
It’s not “health care,” of course, but Obamacare that the Republicans have promised to repeal. Obamacare was opposed by the majority when the Democrats passed it and Obama signed it, and it has never enjoyed majority support since.
“That’s not incendiary because we know that’s gonna happen,” Cantor whiffed. And then he noted that the Democrats wasted time passing bills condemning the Iraq war after they won in 2006, but ended up going along with then-President Bush’s position. Todd chuckled while Cantor answered.
What Cantor should have done is noted that Obamacare lacks majority support and is whipping up a tornado of chaos and premium hikes for millions of Americans. He should have noted that Congress has the power to pass bills, but the president does not have the power to re-write laws on his own.
Todd set Democrat strategist Stephanie Cutter up by asking her if repealing Obamacare is “equally incendiary” to the president violating the law and going it alone on immigration. She scored the layup uncontested.
Watch the segment here.
Pat Caddell is a lifelong Democrat, and was Jimmy Carter’s pollster. He appeared on Fox Report on Sunday to discuss whether Obama will negotiate with Republicans now that the voters have given them control of both the House and the Senate.
The short answer on immigration reform, according to Caddell, is “No.” Obama will do what he will do, because he is who he is and no election result will change him.
“He is who he is,” Caddell fumed. “He is willing to blow his party and the country up because he is a narcissistic man who doesn’t have a clue how to do his job.”
Caddell is right, but there is more to Obama’s post-election antics than his obvious narcissism. Barack Obama did not come to the presidency with any history of compromise or negotiation on his resume. He came to the presidency with a couple of big red flags on his record. In both the Illinois and the United States Senates, Obama tended to do one of two things. When he could safely go with the far left, he went with the far left. When that option did not look safe, he hid and voted “present” or just did not vote at all. Obama’s history of going far left when he can, and hiding who he is when he has to, goes all the way back to his college days, according to his own autobiographies. Nothing in his history suggests that he is even interested in compromising.
He was never a leader. He still is a “community organizer,” which is fancy term for “rabble rouser.” Or “shakedown artist.” And that’s all he will ever be.
It’s going to be an interesting two years.
State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-TX) was elected to become the state’s next lieutenant governor Tuesday night.
Patrick’s opponent, Democrat state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, was supposed to have Hispanic voters flock to her because she is Hispanic herself. According to the state media covering the race, Patrick was supposed to lose the statewide Hispanic vote by a whole lot, because during the primary he talked about border security in ways the media does not approve. He talked tough, about securing the border, and so forth.
So he was supposed lose big among Hispanic voters. But then reality hit. The Dallas Morning News’ Roger Jones noticed that the media’s cherished expectations and beliefs got turned inside out.
A conventional wisdom bubbled up among media people like myself about the tenor of Republican Dan Patrick’s message on immigration. We concluded that his hard-edged border security focus in his campaign for lieutenant governor was going to stampede Hispanic voters into the waiting arms of Democratic statewides.
Wrong. Or at least partially wrong.
Patrick trailed Leticia Van de Putte among Hispanic voters by only 52-46, according to NBC’s exit polling on the race. I said “only,” because the 40 percentage range among Hispanics was once a mark of distinction for statewide Republicans. When George W. Bush reached 40 percent among Hispanics in balloting for governor, it was heralded as a breakthrough. Patrick was well into the 40s despite his so-called “anti-immigrant” rhetoric and calls for, among other things, repeal of in-state college tuition for Texas high school grads who are in the country illegally.
Here’s the big surprise for me: Patrick thumped Van de Putte among Hispanic men, 53-46. These voters clearly didn’t find Patrick’s tough immigration stance offensive.
Isn’t that interesting?
You know who else won on Tuesday among Latino men? Greg Abbott, the next governor.
Abbott won among white men and women, by a lot, and among Latino men, by a few points.
Might it be the case that the media assumes things about a whole lot of things that aren’t actually true?
I don’t know what to make of this. The Supreme Court was not yet on the hook to take up a challenge to Obamacare’s subsidies. But it has taken up that challenge anyway.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider a challenge to the subsidies that are a linchpin of President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, accepting a case that suddenly puts the law under a new legal cloud.
Two years after upholding much of the law by a single vote, the justices today said they will hear a Republican-backed appeal targeting tax credits that have helped more than 4 million people afford insurance.
Dontcha love the media? They hardly ever mention the millions who lost their insurance thanks to Obamacare, and the millions whose insurances are being jacked up because of it, and all the job loss and chaos it has created. They tilt to focus on the Obama administration’s talking points.
A ruling blocking those credits might unravel the Affordable Care Act, making other provisions ineffective and potentially destabilizing insurance markets in much of the country. The high court’s decision to hear the case comes days before the start of the law’s second open-enrollment season. A decision will come by June.
I’m sure that readers here are familiar with all this. The plain language of the Obamacare law stipulates that the taxpayer-funded subsidies are only available in states that created their own Obamacare exchanges. Many states elected not to do that, but the subsidies are being paid anyway. That’s at the heart of this challenge.
According to Haaretz, Gen. Martin Dempsey, U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made some helpful and conciliatory comments toward Israel. The nation’s top military officer lauded Israel for going to “extraordinary lengths” to avoid civilian casualties during the latest round of fighting with the Palestinians.
Dempsey’s comments come after unknown figures within the Obama administration blasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “chickensh*t” and a coward. Relations between the U.S. and its ally, already shaky, were made shakier by those comments, and by the administration’s refusal to investigate who made the comments and reprimand them.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked to react to Dempsey’s diplomatic comments during today’s press conference, by the AP’s Matt Lee. Psaki had the choice of agreeing with Gen. Dempsey, refusing to offer an opinion, or disagreeing with him — the latter, carrying the possibility of opening up another argument with Israel.
Psaki chose the latter.
Lee asked Psaki to comment on whether the Obama administration believes that the Israelis lived up to their own “high standards” on civilian casualties.
Psaki undiplomatically replied, “It remains the broad view of this administration that they could’ve done more. And they shouldv’e taken feasible precautions to prevent more civilian casualties.”
Psaki’s comment here sets the United States up for criticism on the question of civilian casualties should we get more deeply involved on the ground fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. She has also singled out Israel for criticism that is ultimately unfair and impossible to satisfy. One can always “do more” to avoid civilian casualties, but the Israelis are fighting Hamas, which goes out of its way to increase civilian casualties and use them for propaganda.
Yahoo News/Reuters is running this cryptic little number on the Friday after pivotal mid-term elections.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military has drawn up plans to significantly increase the number of American forces in Iraq, which now total around 1,400, as Washington seeks to bolster Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State, U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday.
It’s an anonymously sourced report, making it tough to evaluate. Did it come from the Joint Chiefs of Staff or a lower-level planner, SecDef Hagel or someone else? The source matters quite a bit.
It’s also missing an awful lot of detail, such as, how many troops are we talking about — a few hundred, tens of thousands, what? Did Obama order this plan, or is it an ordinary contingency plan of the type that the Pentagon draws up for every possibility, or is this more of an action plan that is in some stage of deployment? The story just doesn’t go into any of that.
Its timing raises the possibility that the Obama administration did not want to go public with any possibility of escalating the war against ISIS until after the election, lest he further alienate the hard left Democrat base.
Update: NBC gets some more detail. Post-election, the Obama administration is looking to double the number of American troops in Iraq, but not in actual ground combat roles. They will be “advisers” to the Iraqis and the Kurds.
We’ve seen this war before. It’s not the last couple of Iraq wars, in which the U.S. went in big to win quickly, and succeeded.
It’s the slippery slope war that we lost in Southeast Asia.
Update: The cryptic story has turned into an authorization to double forces in Iraq, and a request for $5.6 billion more to fund the operation. That’s less than Obama requested to fight Ebola. It’s quite fascinating that this news is hitting on the Friday following the election. It has clearly been in the works for a while.
On Fox a few minutes ago, Chris Wallace said that this slow-drip approach has “the scent of Vietnam.” That seems to be the prevailing reaction today.
My opinion on all this is that fighting ISIS on the ground is inevitable. They are recruiting about 1,000 new fighters a month, and despite the airstrikes they are still hauling in buckets of money every day. Some of our allies on the ground in Syria have already switched sides to join ISIS. The Kurds continue to fight with amazing capability and bravery, but they are not enough to defeat ISIS. At this point, they are holding ISIS in place, which is good, but they’re not rolling ISIS back. Likewise, the less capable Iraqi security forces.
We can choose to fight ISIS hard now, and win, or we can continue with the current approach, which allows ISIS to strengthen to the point that they actually become entrenched and we may not be in a position to take them on (not with Russia menacing Europe, which may require our attentions through NATO). Obama continues to pursue the latter approach, which he admits will not defeat ISIS. That’s what he is saying when he holds up Yemen and Somalia as successful counter-terrorism.
Democrat Rep. Steve Israel: Now that They’re In Control, Republicans Should Pass the Senate’s Immigration Bill
The losers in Tuesday’s epic bloodbath continue to try dictating terms to the victors. Here’s Rep. Steve Israel, liberal Democrat from a safe seat in New York.
The Republicans crushed the Democrats across the board, increasing their hold on the House, taking control of the Senate, even increasing their numbers far down the ballot.
To the extent that immigration was on the ballot, voters repudiated the Democrats’ point of view. The Republicans held serve in the House for a lot of reasons, and not destroying their credibility with their base by passing that awful Senate bill is high among them.
To Rep. Israel, that just means that Republicans should pass the Senate’s lousy immigration bill anyway. That’s what he said on MSNBC today.
“People need to not go to the corners, but come to the middle,” Israel said. “Democrats want infrastructure to create good paying jobs and sustainable paychecks and rebuild America. Republicans want corporate tax reform. Put the two together and do infrastructure. On immigration, there shouldn’t be paralysis on this. 68 senators from Harry Reid to Marco Rubio agreed to pass a bill. When you can get Harry Reid and Rubio and John McCain to agree on passing the bill, let’s just pass it in the House.”
There’s shouldn’t be any paralysis. Enforce the current law. Do immigration reform piecemeal, with security taking first place. And the president should not even contemplate issuing any executive orders on the subject.
The headline isn’t an interpretation or an exaggeration. It is literally what White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told CBS’ Chris Jansing Thursday.
See for yourself.
Jansing asked McDonough, “Is there one thing you can say to American voters they’re going to see that’s different, given the message they sent on Tuesday?”
McDonough replied, “They’re going to see Washington working better if this president has his way. And that’s what he’s going to do.”
That’s quite an answer coming from a party just got shelled, pulverized and overrun because the man in the White House has become a toxic brand.
McDonough’s comments are one more signal, as if we needed one, that Obama intends to spend his last two years in office provoking constitutional battles and crises. It’s just not in his nature to change or compromise.
Tuesday’s devastating losses may already be triggering a civil war in the Democratic Party. But it’s one-sided — the remaining Democrats in Congress versus Barack Obama.
Over at NRO, Ramesh Ponnuru highlights comments made on the record by Sen. Harry Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone. Krone went on the record to slam Obama and his political operation, evidently with Reid’s approval.
Reid was Obama’s human shield in the Senate over the past six years. It was Reid who kept legislation passed by the House Republicans from getting any votes in the Senate, and who blocked Republicans even from being able to offer amendments to bills. Reid’s aim was protecting Senate Democrats from having to publicly split with Obama, and to prevent Obama from having to veto any legislation that had gotten through both the Senate and the House. Such votes might have ended up helping endangered Democrats survive their terrible Tuesday. Reid might even still be majority leader.
Now Reid is no longer the majority leader in the Senate. Republicans now own his home state government too.
Reid made his choices, but projecting blame is always easier than accepting responsibility.
Twitchy highlights a tweet first sent out by the leftwing Vox.com and seconded by the director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. His name is Guy Cecil.
Vox tweeted out a graph that shows clearly that Obama was a drag in the battleground states, a decisive drag.
The director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee agrees.
— Guy Cecil (@guycecil) November 6, 2014
That tweet is still up, not deleted.
The media love to play up any evidence at all of a civil war among Republicans. Here we have the Democrats’ Senate leadership directly blaming Obama for their defeats. But Obama is unique among presidents. He is not beholden to the Democratic Party. He has his own party that he controls outside the DNC — his Organizing for America groups and his Battleground Texas-style groups. They’re supposed to be independent, but in reality they answer to him and his operation.
We have the makings and the rumblings of a Democratic civil war. Let’s watch the mainstream media ignore it.
Putin appears to be upping the ante in Ukraine.
Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said a convoy made up of 32 tanks, 16 howitzer cannons and 30 trucks of troops and equipment crossed the border into the rebel-controlled Lugansk region on Thursday.
Another column including trucks and three mobile radar stations crossed another border point in the same region, he said.
The Fiscal Times reminds that Putin’s objectives go far beyond seizing chunks of Ukraine.
The deteriorating situation in Ukraine might deserve its low profile if it was just violence in Ukraine. But it’s not. It’s symptomatic of renewed Russian pressure all along the frontier with Europe. Days after the cease-fire came into force (again, escaping doublespeak is impossible), Russian forces abducted an Estonian security service officer and spirited him away in a car into Russia. It’s not clear if he’s back. A mystery submarine was near Stockholm, and on October 28thNATO fighters from several countries scrambled to intercept four groups of Russian aircraft conducting potential nuclear drills along the alliance’s periphery.
The objective of this pressure is ostensibly to split NATO. In the short run, according to Tsarov, the Russians and their rebels seem to be aiming at capturing enough of Ukraine’s coastline to create a land bridge to the Crimean peninsula, which is now accessible to them only by water. But over the long run, Russia’s intent is to force the states along NATO’s periphery to react strongly; to react as if, per John Kerry, there is a 19th century threat.
They will; and that reaction will be profoundly unsettling for many Western European nations, which make up the bulk of traditional NATO and often have the unfortunate diplomatic tic of acting puzzled by aggression, like somebody who violated the seating chart at dinner. After the rebels’ November 2 elections, for example, the German government responded that the vote was unlawful because it was not in compliance with the Minsk agreement, Ukrainian law or the Ukrainian constitution. Angela Merkel’s office said it could not understand how Russia could consider recognizing the elections.
Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Moldova are all preparing in one way or another for war with Russia. They’re shifting forces to the east, and they’re deepening cooperation with NATO.
The mid-term elections changed a lot, but they didn’t change anything that’s going on outside our borders.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s top concern remains global warming, by the way.
Louisiana’s Senate seat is still up for grabs. Incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and challenger Bill Cassidy (R) are headed to a runoff in December after finishing first and second Tuesday, but both failing to get 50% of the vote in the “jungle primary.”
Landrieu trails in the most recent head-to-head polls in that race, and now has lost the support of her party according to Politico.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has canceled its advertising reservations for Sen. Mary Landrieu ahead of the December runoff in Louisiana.
The committee canceled all broadcast buys planned from Monday through Dec. 6 in the state’s five major media markets, three sources tracking the air war told POLITICO. That’s about $1.6 million worth of time. The DSCC is in the process of canceling an additional $275,000 in cable placements, according to buyer sources.
The DSCC’s Republicans counterpart, the NRSC, is still in for that election. Its buy of $2.3 million is still going up.
Cassidy, the Republican, is getting cheeky.
Cassidy is behaving like a front-runner. On Tuesday night, Landrieu challenged him to six debates. He countered Thursday by saying he would agree to only one — on the Monday before the Saturday runoff.
As a publicity stunt — and to get the name of the unpopular president in stories about his refusal to debate more — Cassidy added his own challenge.
“For every time Senator Landrieu barnstorms the state with Barack Obama, I will participate in another debate,” he said in a press release.
Arizona Sen. John McCain has commented on President Obama’s executive order amnesty threat a couple of times today. He is urging the president not to do what he has signaled he will do for months now.
“The American people want us to get to work on the complex things,” McCain told the Associated Press. “We just finished the least productive Congress in history. They want us to pass the XL pipeline, they want tax reform, they want a government that functions on their behalf, and they also reject resoundingly the policies of the President of the United States.
“But, most disturbing to me is if he acts by executive order and grants amnesty to millions of people, that will inflame the entire situation to the point where I think it would be — make it much more difficult to enact comprehensive reform. There’s no reason for him to do it. I don’t believe it is constitutional and it’s incredibly — that was the most disturbing part of his press conference yesterday.”
What if Obama doesn’t really want any bill to pass Congress? What if “inflaming the country” is his goal?
Texas Gov. Rick Perry had to appear in Travis County court today for a hearing in the case against him. Perry was indicted in August on charges that he abused his power by saying that he would exercise his constitutional veto power, and then following through with that, regarding state funds for the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit.
The veto had no impact on the PIU’s operations. The county was able to make up the $7.5 million that Perry vetoed by moving other money around to compensate. None of its investigations, including one into the state’s Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, were interrupted, despite some Democrats’ claims to the contrary.
The Public Integrity Unit claims a statewide writ to prosecute wrongdoing by public officials, a task that was more than complicated by Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s (D) arrest for drunk driving, and her failure to resign after pleading guilty to that charge, in 2013. So much for the integrity of the official who heads the Public Integrity Unit.
Perry and his top-flight legal team appeared for today’s hearing, which centered on defense motions to get transcripts of the grand jury testimony, and to get the special prosecutor removed from the case. Breitbart’s Sarah Rumpf, who is an attorney herself, reports on something strange that was revealed in today’s hearing.
District Judge Bert Richardson heard arguments from both sides, as well as testimony from several court employees regarding the unique way that records have been kept in this case. One major issue is that the files for Perry’s case were not kept in the same way that court files are normally kept, and Perry’s attorneys have had problems getting records requests filled. Testimony from court employees included admissions that certain files — including original documents — had been on employees’ desks instead of in a central filing location, and that for the past sixteen years, Travis County had assigned a special cause number for the grand jury proceedings in only two cases: Tom Delay and now Perry. Delay was cleared of all charges against himearlier last month by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, but the case took years to resolve and ended Delay’s political career.
What does that part about “special cause numbers” mean?
On its face, it means that Tom DeLay and Rick Perry have been singled out for different treatment than other PIU targets have gotten. Given how DeLay’s case progressed, and how Perry’s case has been handled so far, it cannot be argued that they were singled out for special favorable treatment, as one might expect for powerful and famous political figures.
The Travis County DA and its Public Integrity Unit are headed by Lehmberg, a Democrat, and Travis County is the bluest county in the state. Both DeLay and Perry are Republicans.
In DeLay’s case, then-DA Ronnie Earle shopped the charges around to three grand juries before finally securing the indictment as the clock was ticking down. The charges of money laundering were not even criminal when DeLay supposedly committed them. DeLay was eventually exonerated entirely, but not before Earle had managed to convict him, destroy his political career, help the Democrats capture the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, and cost DeLay millions of dollars over the course of about nine years of his life. That case took a key Republican leader out of action at a critical moment for the Democrats, and tarnished the entire GOP for years.
In Perry’s case, the sitting Republican governor and probable presidential contender has been indicted for taking action that was obviously written into his state constitutional powers, and for speaking, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. Some members of the grand jury went on a public relations campaign against him after indicting him (one was an activist at the Texas Democratic Party’s statewide convention). Perry defended himself from that publicly, only to have another Democratic Travis County judge threaten him.
The entire case has been strange and very obviously political from the beginning.
Rumpf’s report suggest that the Travis County DA’s office came up with some new system for categorizing political cases for DeLay, years before his case even started. He was indicted nine years ago. The “special cause number” somehow goes back 16 years, to circa 1998, which puts it between the Travis County DA’s prosecution of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in 1993-94 and DeLay in 2005. Earle was humiliated in the Hutchison case, and she went on to become one of Texas’ most popular politicians as Texas transitioned from a Democrat stronghold to the Republican fortress that it is today. Had the case against her succeeded, Texas politics would look very different today. Earle’s success in the DeLay case had a profound impact on not just Texas politics, but national politics as well.
The DA office and the PIU changed hands, when Earle left and Lehmberg took over in 2009. But that “special cause number” system remained in place.
If the implementation of “special cause numbers” constitutes some filing system, then who developed that system, and for what purpose?
We can get a hint of what its purpose might be, from the Breitbart paragraph above. Rumpf writes that the Perry team has had trouble getting files from the DA’s office. Some of that is due to the files not being stored in the central location where other case files are stored, but on employees’ desks, and some might be attributable to the “special cause number.” One employee who is processing a request for files may not know that such files even exist, if they’re classified under a special number, and are stored on other employees’ desks. The defense team loses access to information to which it is entitled to mount a vigorous defense. But the DA knows where that information is the whole time.
Has the Travis County DA’s office devised a means of hiding information from certain defendants? That question needs to be investigated, regardless of how the Perry case progresses.
Reporter Admits that Houston Mayor Subpoenaing Pastors Hurt Wendy Davis…But Then Gets the Story Entirely Wrong
Wendy Davis never had a chance to be elected governor of conservative Texas, running as a liberal in an anti-liberal wave election. It just wasn’t going to happen, not even if the Democrats could clone Battleground Texas’ Jeremy Bird and put a clone of him in each of the state’s 254 counties.
Davis was hurt by a number of things, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy gets at one of them in this story: abortion. The issue that made her famous was also one of the major reasons that she lost.
Kennedy’s story is well worth the read, as it does break down how problematic Davis’ filibuster turned out to be for her and her party, but apparently he either doesn’t know what happened in Houston, or let some bias slip in.
He admits that the subpoenas of pastors in Houston, in the weeks right before the election, hurt Wendy Davis. They certainly did. But take a look at how Kennedy renders that sordid business.
Davis rarely mentioned her Baptist faith except in her book. It didn’t help when Houston Mayor Annise Parker was drawn into a city legal dispute that involved subpoenaing pastors’ sermons.
That second sentence is entirely incorrect.
Mayor Parker was not “drawn into a city legal dispute that involved subpoenaing pastors’ sermons.” That isn’t what happened.
Parker’s city administration is being sued because it threw out thousands of signatures on petitions that would have put her controversial “bathroom ordinance” up for a vote in a referendum. The lawsuit seeks to get those petitions restored, which would presumably put the ordinance back on the ballot.
Parker’s city administration chose to subpoena five pastors’ sermons and their internal church communications, despite the fact that they are not parties in the lawsuit. They publicly opposed the ordinance, as is their right. But they’re not parties to the lawsuit. The subpoenas also ordered the pastors to appear at a local lawfirm that is known for supporting leftwing causes.
Parker herself defended the subpoenas, at first, in a tweet that she has since deleted. It’s preserved here.
Controversy erupted nationally. Parker and her city attorney backtracked. They claimed not to have read the subpoenas that they had sent out, and which Parker had publicly defended.
They finally had to surrender and rescind the original subpoenas and issue new ones that omit the sermons, which are all publicly available on the churches’ websites anyway. There was never any need at all to subpoena those sermons.
None of that is captured in Kennedy’s writing that Parker was “drawn into a city legal dispute that involved subpoenaing pastors’ sermons.” Perhaps he just didn’t follow the story. There was a whole lot going on.
But that section of Kennedy’s story is so far from the facts that it ought to be corrected.
The mainstream media infamously failed to vet Barack Obama or hold him to account for any of the radical things that he or his many associates have said and done.
But a reporter tried to use House Speaker John Boehner’s press conference today to hold him to account for things that may or may not have been said by some incoming House members.
The unidentified reporter sets Boehner up as follows:
“Mr. Speaker, you have a new crop of conservatives coming into the House that have suggested among other things that women need to submit to the authority of their husbands, that Hillary Clinton is the anti-Christ and that the families of Sandy Hook victims should get over it….How do deal with them differently than in the last election?”
She growled the “get over it” part. She couldn’t even ask a biased, loaded question in a straightforward way.
To his credit, Boeher rejected the premise. He could also have pointed out that reporters routinely ignore the edgier things that many Democrats say, all the time.
When Boehner rejected her question, she made this face at him.
Watch video of the exchange.
Aside from the obvious bias in the question, the reporter’s reaction gives another part of the game away. She was setting Boehner up to react strongly, like Obama did to Major Garrett yesterday. Boehner didn’t bite, but if he had, you can bet that a clip of him overreacting to a woman’s question would have been all over the leftwing blogs.
On Wednesday, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned President Obama that issuing an executive order on amnesty would be “waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
Today, House Speaker John Boehner used a different metaphor to send President Obama the same message: Don’t do what you’ve already threatened and promised to do. The speaker made his remarks in a press conference this afternoon.
A reporter sets Boehner up by framing the question in favor of Obama, asking “Mr. Speaker, you heard the president say he gave you a year waiting for you to deliver on immigration reform and that in this post-election period he’s ready to act and then he would pull back those executive orders if you can have legislation that works. Could that be a catalyst for you to actually get something done?”
Boenher replied, “No. I believe that the president continues to act on his own, he’s going to poison the well. When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself. He’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path. The American people made it clear election day they want to get things done and they don’t want the president acting on a unilateral basis.”
The question is, if Obama does what he says he will do, what can Congress do? The last resort is always impeachment, and that is possible now that the Republicans hold the Senate. But despite Obama’s lawlessness, that remains a remote possibility.
Less drastic measures include defunding Obama’s ability to grant amnesty. Whatever decision the president makes, it will require some taxpayer-funded support from the federal infrastructure. Republicans could pass measures to defund that. Any such bill will require the president’s signature, which sets up a showdown over spending. Obama wants showdowns. That’s why he is threatening to use an executive order in the first place.
Obama is playing with matches, but he doesn’t fear burning himself. He wants to burn the GOP, and the constitutional checks on his power.
People of a left persuasion often argue that you cannot legislate morality, before they go and attempt to legislate morality – their own, of course, not any morality that they oppose.
They also like to argue for keeping government out of the bedroom, while they’re perfectly happy to put government in the bedroom, in your living room and in your kitchen and in your wallet and right into your hand when it suits them.
They’ll ban plastic bags in a leftwing city like Austin, ignoring strong evidence that reusable bags are unsanitary and increased use of paper leaves them fewer trees to hug.
Now in Berkeley, they have a soda tax to show for their efforts.
Tax hikes on soda, in the name of public health, were on several ballots across the country including San Francisco, but the only one that actually passed Tuesday is the one that was up for grabs in Berkeley.
The American Beverage Association, made up of soda makers, spent lots of money on one side to oppose the ban. Former New York Mayor Micheal Bloomberg, of soda ban infamy in his city, spent about $650,000 of his own money to impose his disdain for sodas on Berkeley. Berkeley voters approved by 3-to-1, but the law won’t tax consumers. It taxes the soda distributors. Leftists in other cities have tried, a couple dozen times, to impose similar taxes. Berkeley is the first to actually do it.
The taxes will go into the city’s general fund, where they’re likely to be used to fund Berkeley’s other hair-brained leftwing ideas.
Forbes opines that the tax sets a scary precedent for the food industry well beyond soda makers. It does. If soda can be sin taxed, so can a whole lot of other perfectly legal products that Americans choose to consume or not to consume. Will a Twinkie tax be next?
The soda tax is explicitly designed to persuade American consumers to make a lifestyle choice that the likes of Bloomberg deem more appropriate for them than they choices they are currently making. It’s a very regressive tax. It will hit the poorest the hardest. The left don’t mind imposing some regressive taxes and have been fairly upfront about their goals — they don’t like Americans’ current choice which, by and large, is to drink lots of sugary drinks, and are using taxes and laws for the purpose of coercion.
That model began for the most part with tobacco, a legal product that many wanted to ban but settled for stigmatizing and sin taxing to death. It’s unlikely to end in Berkeley, or with soda, or even with food.
In fact, the soda taxmen already have leftwing cities with big universities in their crosshairs.
[H]ealth advocates are practically jumping for joy. After decades of hard-fought losses on soda taxes, they hope their victory in Berkeley will breathe new life into the issue. The win is “absolutely huge,” according to Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University and author of “Food Politics.”
“Yes, it’s Berkeley, yes, it’s a liberal community with a big university, but there are lots of communities like that in America,” said Nestle, who is currently working on a book about food advocacy and the soda industry. “Others will certainly do the same thing. If it could win in Berkeley, it could win in a lot of places. Maybe it will pass in Austin. Maybe it will pass in Ithaca. … Other places are going to try this.”
Bloomberg still has lots of money to burn.
The following clip is from October 17, 2013. The government shutdown, during which Obama’s government had locked veterans out of their own memorials and shut down self-sufficient businesses in national parks, had just ended.
President Obama reacted by challenging his opponents to win elections.
And we responded: Challenge accepted!
The 2014 midterms saw Republicans capture the Senate, take over the entire government of the state of Nevada, and sweep Democrats out of state legislatures across the country. The GOP victory is so sweeping that it may damage Democrats for years, even decades, to come — according to the leftists at Vox.
On October 17, 2013, President Obama said: “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don’t break it. Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That’s not being faithful to what this country’s about.”
Obama’s threat to carry out a unilateral amnesty for millions of illegal aliens threatens the system that he claimed to defend just over a year ago. And he is well aware of that.
You know things are bad for Barack Obama when Chris Matthews’ tingles turn into a tantrum.
Matthews, a lifelong Democrat who worked for the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill*, took to MSNBC’s air after Obama’s press conference Wednesday. Matthews usually hails Obama for his soaring rhetoric, but he was having none of that after Obama’s strange, sometimes petulant and intentionally divisive performance.
What Matthews did instead is have a breakthrough. He finally noticed that behind all the lofty speeches is a politician who only sees what he wants to see and who intends to do whatever he wants to do, with or without support from the voters or even his own party. Matthews exposes Obama’s total inability to compromise, and what Obama really meant when he claimed to hear the Americans who didn’t vote in the mid-terms, as if they are Obama’s silent base.
“There’s something in this guy that just plays to his constituency and acts like there’s no other world out there,” Matthews said, adding that that means America is headed for a “collision” on illegal immigration because Obama refuses to recognize any position on it besides his own. Matthews agreed that if Obama takes unilateral action on illegal immigration, it will be like “waving a red flag in front of a bull,” as Sen. Mitch McConnell warned Wednesday.
Matthews, an old school Democrat who may hate Republicans but still values the Constitution and the two-party system, gets a lot right in that segment, but he still fails to realize one thing. Obama wants and must have confrontation. He was never interested in being president of all of America. Compromise is not in his make-up. It’s just not there. Those of us who oppose Obama’s agenda, and that may now include some Democrats, are illegitimate to him. So is the Constitution with its restraints on his power.
The trained community organizer has to have division in order to generate anger and get his way. The collision that Matthews fears, Obama embraces.
*I originally wrote that Matthews worked for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Which was wrong.
In case you missed it, here’s country superstars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley’s routine from the Country Music Awards Wednesday night. The crowd ROARS when Underwood jokes about the Democrats losing the Senate.
The Texas Tribune published this post mortem on Battleground Texas and its role in Wendy Davis’ spectacular defeat.
It’s a good piece, but some of the comments are hilarious.
This one, from a self-described Battleground Texas ground operative, is so good it ought to be framed.
Unfortunately for her, drugs weren’t legalized in Texas.
This one is good too. But…how does “redistricting” explain a statewide result, let alone a whole bunch of statewide results, which were consistently for Republicans and against Democrats?
Some people use words, having no idea what those words mean.
Was Maryland “redistricted” into voting Republican too?
In the real world, no poll of recent vintage or any reputation showed Davis or any other Democrat anywhere near winning in Texas. They weren’t even showing up as competitive. And they lost.
She isn’t alone, though. Several commenters over there blame the Texas Democrats’ gargantuan loss on the voter ID law or something other than their own fault and their party’s policies and actions. That ignores a whole lot, including the last 20-odd years of Texas history.
Which, when you recall that most of Battleground Texas’ operatives aren’t from around here, makes a lot of sense.
He’s not going to change, not for you, not for the voters, not for anybody.
Lose the House? He’s not going to change. Lose more governorships and legislatures? He’s not going to change. Lose the Senate and find himself isolated atop a rump, coastal party?
He’s not going to change.
Barack Obama is tired, you see. Tired of your ability to resist and reject what he wants to do to you.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s two thousand words on the scale of Wendy Davis’ spectacular defeat Tuesday night. Plus a few thousand words about the Republican Party that is emerging from Tuesday night’s victories.
The Wu Tang Clan shirt might have been clever, in an insidery way.
But it did not change anything. Texas is still red. Very, very red. Of Texas’ 254 counties, Greg Abbott won all but 19, and most by a whole lot of votes. (Map source: Politico)
This is Elise Stefanik. She is 30 years old. Having won her race in NY-21, she is now the youngest woman in Congress. She is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. And she is a conservative Republican.
So the millenials have their first representation in Congress.
Gen Xers have Sen.-elect Cory Gardner (R-CO) to join Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio and a few others who are already there. He is 40 years old. He finished off the Democrats’ phony, cynical “war on women” by defeating one its mascots, Democrat Mark “Uterus” Udall.
Remember all that talk, during the 1980s and 1990s, of a “New South”?
Conservative Sen. Tim Scott (R) won re-election last night. Scott is the first black man elected to the Senate from the South since Reconstruction. And the 49-year-old is a conservative Republican.
Scott was joined in re-election in South Carolina by Gov. Nikki Haley (R). Haley is of Indian heritage. She is 42 years old.
Staying in Texas for a moment, this is George P. Bush. He is 38 years old, and a conservative Republican. Texas elected him land commissioner Tuesday night — with about 61% of the vote.
This is Susana Martinez (R). New Mexico re-elected her governor last night. Martinez, a conservative Republican, won in a blue state.
Wisconsin used to be a reliably blue state. It’s the birthplace of Big Labor. But it’s red now, thanks in no small part to Gov. Scott Walker. Gov. Walker is just 47 years old, yet the conservative reforming Republican has already beaten Big Labor three times, and may have broken Big Labor’s power for years to come.
Let’s to up to Utah. This is 38-year-old Mai Love, campaigning for Congress at a gun show on the Saturday before the election.
Mia Love, conservative Republican, won Tuesday night and will serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Here she is right after learning that she is the first black Republican woman elected to the House, ever.
Rather than write a string of words to describe what has happened to Barack Obama’s Democratic Party tonight, I’ll show you a short movie. It’s from a horror film that is nowhere near as terrifying as what the Democrats have experienced tonight.
To get the obvious results out of the way, Wendy Davis not only did not make a strong showing in her race for Texas governor, she bombed. Greg Abbott defeated her literally everywhere, in the cities and in the countryside, among men and among women (52-47, by the way), even among Hispanic men. It was embarrassing, for her and for Battleground Texas.
Wendy Davis fared poorer than the Democratic nominee did four years ago, even though she had the vaunted Battleground Texas operation backing her. Embarrassing.
Not only did Wendy Davis lose, all of the statewide Democrats lost, and all by huge margins. Not a single Texas Democrat got above 40%. And then, Davis’ state Senate seat went to Republican Konni Burton. Go ahead and laugh, if you’re not a Wendy Davis fan.
The Republicans easily picked up the six U.S. Senate seats that they needed to take control. The GOP candidates picked up West Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, Arkansas, South Dakota, Montana and North Carolina. They needed six; that’s seven. And we don’t know what will happen yet in Louisiana and Alaska. The Republicans could take both. If they do, that exceeds even the most optimistic projections. I had it at +7 for weeks. They beat the spread.
The misery for Democrats by no means ends in the Senate. The Republicans increased their margin in the U.S. House by about 10 seats.
And they wrested three governorships away from Democrats in deep blue states. Republican Bruce Rauner defeated incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn in Illinois, 50-46. Martha Coakley turned in another dismal performance in Massachusetts, losing to Republican Charlie Baker. And in probably the most shocking result of the night, Maryland elected just its second Republican governor since the 1970s. Larry Hogan defeated Gov. Martin O’Malley’s chosen successor, easily, 52-46.
It goes without saying that Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland are not generally considered to be battleground states. But now they are. The Republicans also held serve in Maine. Republicans came close to winning Senate seats in New Hampshire and Virginia.
Battleground Texas rode into the Lone Star State promising to make the state more competitive for Democrats.
They have failed. Not only that, the Texas Democrats might have been better off if the president’s personal political support group had never shown up in Texas.
Their brightest star, governor nominee Wendy Davis, flamed out. Despite the backing of President Obama, the media, Hollywood and rich liberal trial lawyers (or perhaps because of all of that), Davis underperformed the Democrats’ showing in 2010. Bill White lost to Gov. Rick Perry 54-42 four years ago. Wendy Davis is set to lose 58-31. Or maybe 57-32.
Read that again. The Democrats lost ground compared to where they were four years ago, and where they were four years ago in Texas was not a good place at all. They couldn’t win a thing statewide. They couldn’t even make it close.
They still can’t.
From Governor-elect Greg Abbott to Lt. Gov-elect Dan Patrick to Land Commissioner-elect George P. Bush to Sen. John Cornyn, from the statewide party to the county level, the Republicans have destroyed the Democrats in Texas. Destroyed.
All the president’s henchmen and all the president’s canvassers and social media mavens could not even make the races interesting.
Battleground Texas may as well move on to prey on some other state. Texas will just repel them again if they stay.