Roger’s Rules

It’s always worse than you think, Washington D.C. edition

You’re busy, right? You have a lot on your plate. I know that, and I am going to help you out. Forget about the pseudo-shutdown and the posturing by Reid and Obama on one side and Boehner on the other.  The only thing you really need to read this weekend is Andy McCarthy’s piece at NRO, “Funding Jihadists while Denying Military Benefits.” It’s only about 1200 words. You can read it in a few minutes.  But you’ll remember it for a very long time. Think you’re disgusted with business-as-usual in Washington?  Just wait till you get your mind around what Andy has to say about how these clowns are actually conducting, or failing to conduct, the people’s business. And by “clowns” I very much include the Republican as well as the Democratic establishment. Listen:

The Republican establishment — the guys who told us that for a trillion dollars and several thousand American casualties, we could build “Islamic democracies” that would be reliable U.S. allies in the War on Terror — say it is Ted Cruz who is “delusional” and the effort to stave off Obamacare that is “unattainable.”

These self-appointed sages are, of course, the same guys who told us the way to “stabilize” and “democratize” Libya was to help jihadists topple and kill the resident dictator — who, at the time, was a U.S. ally, providing intelligence about the jihadists using his eastern badlands as a springboard for the anti-American terror insurgency in Iraq. That’s probably worth remembering this week, during which some of our new “allies” abducted Libya’s president while others car-bombed Sweden’s consulate in Benghazi — site of the still unavenged terrorist massacre of American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. officials 13 months ago.

Feeling bad yet?

So successful do they figure the Libyan escapade was, GOP leaders are backing a reprise in Syria. It is there, we learn from a Human Rights Watch report issued this week, that our new “allies,” the al-Qaeda-rife “rebels,” executed a savage atrocity just two months ago. Sweeping into the coastal village of Latakia, the jihadists slaughtered 190 minority Alawites. As the New York Times details, “at least 67 of the dead appeared to have been shot or stabbed while unarmed or fleeing, including 48 women and 11 children.” More than 200 other civilians were captured and are still being held hostage.

Smart diplomacy in action, right?

And here at home? “Conservatives” are busy looking for their collective vertebrae, terrified lest anyone blame them for “shutting down the government.” As of this writing, they’ve “negotiated” (i.e., capitulated) several times to the administration in their desperate effort to appear “reasonable” to entities like the New York Times, CNN, and Jay Carney. It’s not working so well.  Meanwhile, the public, fickle, untrustworthy, stupid thing that is is, has the temerity to blame Obama as well as the Republicans for shutting down national monuments, denying death benefits to the families of vets, etc. What ingrates!

in order to demonstrate beyond cavil that they were being reasonable, notwithstanding huge objections to the current unsustainable $3.6 trillion trough of federal spending, conservatives volunteered to fund everything the government does except Obamacare. The administration and its scribes shrieked, of course, but there is nothing illegal or unusual about withholding appropriations for federal programs. The government does it every year. Obama himself does it, not just in refusing to enforce the federal immigration laws (to take just one example) but in refusing to execute aspects of Obamacare that harm preferred corporations, union cronies, and Congress.

But don’t distract us with the facts. We’ve got politics to play here! Naturally, the president told the GOP to take a hike. Doesn’t matter that ObamaCare is the most unpopular legislation in history (with the possible exception of Prohibition). Obama  wants to shove it down our throats, so open wide.  The behavior of the administration this last week or so has been extraordinary, even by the low and cynical standards it set for itself in the previous 4 years. I think the only spending bill that the president let by was the “Pay Our Military Act.” “Why?,” asks Andy.

Because Obama needs to hold Senate Democrats in lockstep “no” mode, but even they would not sign on to refusing to pay our troops in wartime. So the bill was passed — proving that, as the delusional Ted Cruz maintains, Democrats can be moved if unified Republicans make the pressure intense enough.

By the way, the adjective “delusional” before Ted Cruz’s name is sarcastic. That’s clear in Andy’s original. Pantywaists from both parties are screaming that Ted Cruz is an extremist who is wrecking the GOP, but is he?  Or is he rather an almost lone voice of reason campaigning vigorously for the principles he espouses: limited government, fiscal restraint, individual responsibility? Of course, all GOPers emit those phrases on the hustings.  How many follow through with action? Hardly any.

Obama signed POMA even though it cut sharply against his Maximum Pain strategy, but that was because he had his usual Plan B: ignore federal law. As Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky explained on the Corner, administration lawyers issued tortuous guidance, twisting a statute that directs the payment of death benefits into a prohibition against the payment of death benefits. The idea was to add POMA to the community organizer’s propaganda campaign: to show that the Republicans would betray even our fallen heroes if that’s what it took to deny health care to millions of Americans.

But the president who slept through the Benghazi massacre once again forgot that our military is not just an agitprop. Our soldiers really do put their lives on the line, and lose them — as did the one marine and four soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan last weekend. That made it all too real. When bereaved families were suddenly denied death benefits by our government, there was no hiding the fact that the commander-in-chief had, yet again, abandoned those who’d made the ultimate patriotic sacrifice. What’s more, this dereliction was nothing more than crass political calculation — or, as it turned out, miscalculation.

Public anger erupted and even the Associated Press courtiers were reduced to reporting a sharp drop in the president’s approval rating. Congressional Democrats scrambled and a superfluous, face-saving death-benefits law was enacted so the White House could try to pretend the president now had payment authority he’d previously lacked. Administration lawyers continue to mumble about how, though Obama felt really terrible about it, the perfectly clear POMA had been “too vague” to help military families in their time of need.

My do I loathe these people.