Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Last Call

Israel, seeing President Obama has been re-elected, decides if that they can't bomb Israel, they'll just bomb Gaza instead.

An Israeli air strike Wednesday killed the head of Hamas' military wing, the first attack in a broader military operation against terrorist targets in response to an increase in rockets fired on Israel from Gaza.

Palestinian leaders immediately condemned the Israeli attacks as an escalation, with the Hamas military wing saying Israelis had opened "the gates of hell on themselves."

Medical sources said nine people died in the Israeli air strikes, including a young girl, and 35 others were wounded.

An Israel Defense Forces statement said the attack on a vehicle in Gaza carrying Ahmed al-Ja'abari, the Hamas military leader, was part of "an extensive program of direct offensive strikes against Hamas, Islamic Jihad" and other terrorist targets approved by Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the IDF chief of staff.

So now on top of everything else President Obama is dealing with, we've got Bibi choosing about right now for getting his war on.

This is turning into a hell of a week.

Filled To Busted With Filibusters

In a development that should stun absolutely nobody, The Hill is reporting that despite having at least 54 Dems in caucus (and 55 after Angus King quits playing footsie), the Dems don't have the 51 votes they need for filibuster reform yet.

Lawmakers leading the charge acknowledge they remain short, but express optimism they’ll hit their goal.

“I haven’t counted 51 just yet, but we’re working,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a leading proponent of the so-called constitutional or “nuclear” option, in which Senate rules could be changed by a majority vote.

“We’re building the momentum right now,” Udall said. “It’s hard to say at this point, but I think it’s looking very good. The last two years have really helped coalesce people’s minds around the idea that we need to change the way we do business.”

The problem for Udall and other supporters of filibuster reform is that many veteran Democratic senators remember when the filibuster was a useful tool in their years in the minority.

Dems don't want to go on record as making the Senate so partisan?  Really?  Have you guys seen the last four years?  Your new Senate collegues were specifically elected because they ran on fixing the filibuster:

All seven Democratic senators-elect — Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tim Kaine (Va.), Chris Murphy (Conn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) — have pledged to support filibuster reform. Sen.-elect Angus King (I-Maine) made filibuster reform a central plank of his campaign.

But Democrats can’t count on a number of their “old bulls,” as was reflected by a vote just two years ago.

Udall, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) proposed a package of reforms for the 112th Congress that would have eliminated filibusters on motions to proceed to new business. Their package also would have required senators wanting to hold up legislation or nominees to actually hold the floor and debate, and shortened to two hours the time that must elapse after a filibuster on a nominee has been cut off.

The package failed in a 44-51 vote, with Democratic Sens. Jim Webb (Va.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Reid voting no. Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), John Kerry (Mass.) and Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) did not vote.

Dems better figure out a way to get this done.  You can bet the next time the GOP gets control of the Senate, they sure as hell will.

The First Fight In The Schism

The Conserva-schism in the GOP continues this week as the Tea Party and Country Club wings of the party battle it out to see who will remain in charge of the House.  The first skirmish on tap is for leadership of the House Conference Committee, the #4 position in the GOP House.

Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA) and Tom Price (GA) will go head-to-head Wednesday afternoon as the members hold a closed-door vote to elect the next House Republican Conference Chairman, the party’s No. 4 leadership role.

Speaker John Boehner is officially neutral but privately supporting McMorris Rodgers. Paul Ryan, the returning chairman of the Budget Committee whose profile rose enormously during his vice presidential run, is asking colleagues to back Price.

McMorris Rodgers is the highest ranked woman in the House Republican conference, and a loyal leadership ally who has earned their trust as the conference’s vice-chair. A surrogate for Mitt Romney’s presidential run, she isn’t known as a hard-line ideologue but has cultivated a conservative voting record in recent years.

Price, meanwhile, is the favorite of the GOP’s conservative wing. A former chairman of the deeply conservative Republican Study Committee, he has been backed by outgoing conference chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX), who is expected to chair the Banking Committee next year.

Those who support McMorris Rodgers say she’s in good shape to win.

Orange Julius on one side, Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver on the other.  I'm hoping both sides lose, but let's keep in mind this position will be the person in charge of hashing out legislation with the Senate, and a Price win here would signal that the Tea Party is running things, Boehner's job is in serious trouble, and that there's zero chance of compromise with Senate Dems.

I'm hoping Price does get the nod.  Giving away the game this early would make things a lot easier on the Democrats in the long run.  We'll see who wins.

[UPDATE]  And the GOP establishment wins as McMorris Rodgers gets the nod.  Sorry, Tea Party.  You lose again.


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