Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Last Call

To recap, Republicans are unleashing unprecedented obstruction against President Obama: for the first time in American history, a Cabinet secretary nominee will face a filibuster.

Sen. Roy Blunt signaled Wednesday that there may be enough votes in the Senate to delay debate on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon.

Blunt (R-Mo.) said he believed there were 40 votes in the Senate that indicated “it’s too quick to end the debate on this nomination.”
The GOP, which controls 45 votes in the Senate, would need 41 votes to block former Sen. Hagel from hitting the 60-vote threshold that some Republicans have threatened.
“I don’t think we’ll move forward for a few days on that,” Blunt said at POLITICO’s post-State of the Union event. “And there’s been requests for more information. I think ultimately Senator Hagel will provide that information.”

In particular, Republicans on the Armed Services Committee have asked for more detailed financial disclosures from Hagel – a demand dismissed by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the committee’s chairman.

“We’re not going to accept a change in the rules that applies to one nominee,” Levin said earlier this week as he defended Hagel. “We are not going to accept your suggestion and innuendo that there’s some sort of conflict of interest.”

This has nothing to do with Chuck Hagel, and everything to do with Republicans who despise this President.  Indeed, Republicans filed their motion to filibuster Chuck Hagel's nomination this afternoon, requiring a cloture vote on Friday.  This means Democrats have to come up with 60 votes, and at least 5 Republicans, to proceed.   So far only Susan Collins has committed to this, and it's entirely possible that Republicans will be able to delay Hagel's nomination indefinitely.

The question now is, considering this means the Republicans have completely scrapped the filibuster deal they worked out with Harry Reid less than a month ago (surprise, right?)  what will Harry Reid do?

I know what he should be doing right about now.  Will he go back to the filibuster and blow it up?

The Kroog Versus The "Savior"

Paul Krugman was merciless with last night's GOP response to the President speech, given by Sen. Marco Rubio.  He punctures my favorite zombie lie:  the dreaded "Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to make loans to broke minorities" load of garbage:

Here’s the passage:
This idea – that our problems were caused by a government that was too small – it’s just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.
OK, leave on one side the caricature of Obama, with the usual mirror-image fallacy (we want smaller government, therefore liberals just want bigger government, never mind what it does); there we go with the “Barney Frank did it” story. Deregulation, the explosive growth of virtually unregulated shadow banking, lax lending standards by loan originators who sold their loans off as soon as they were made, had nothing to do with it — it was all the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie, and Freddie.

Look, this is one of the most thoroughly researched topics out there, and every piece of the government-did-it thesis has been refuted; see Mike Konczal for a summary. No, the CRA wasn’t responsible for the epidemic of bad lending; no, Fannie and Freddie didn’t cause the housing bubble; no, the “high-risk” loans of the GSEs weren’t remotely as risky as subprime.

This really isn’t about the GSEs, it’s about the BSEs — the Blame Someone Else crowd. Faced with overwhelming, catastrophic evidence that their faith in unregulated financial markets was wrong, they have responded by rewriting history to defend their prejudices.

For Republicans to admit that the banks caused the financial crisis would of course destroy the GOP's base:  the banks, and the people who profit massively by them.  They will tell this lie until they are on their deathbeds, and even then it's only 20-80 that they'd recant.

"The government caused the financial crisis" has to be made to be the truth, or the GOP is done forever.  They know that.  It's the only reason we haven't mobbed every banker in the country yet.

And they're damn well aware of it.

Republican Outreach...With A Clenched Fist

Sen. Marco Rubio explained his vote against the Violence Against Women Act yesterday thusly:

Unfortunately, I could not support the final, entire legislation that contains new provisions that could have potentially adverse consequences.  Specifically, this bill would mandate the diversion of a portion of funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs, although there’s no evidence to suggest this shift will result in a greater number of convictions. These funding decisions should be left up to the state-based coalitions that understand local needs best, but instead this new legislation would put those decisions into the hands of distant Washington bureaucrats in the Department of Justice. Additionally, I have concerns regarding the conferring of criminal jurisdiction to some Indian tribal governments over all persons in Indian country, including non-Indians.

Wait a minute, I mean the awful giant screw you to Florida's Seminole tribes and other Native Americas over criminal jurisdiction of assault of women on tribal lands aside, Marco Rubio seems to be saying that the federal government has no business in enforcing the safety of half the population of the United States.  Also, please note that it should be left in Marco's view up to state and local officials for funding (I guess because "assault" depends on the opinion of any men that are around) but not if those officials are Tribal Police.

Okay.  Sure.  That makes sense.  And because of this, Rubio thinks he's taking a principled stand for Florida's women.

There's your outreach from the GOP, folks.  A crack across the jaw so you'll know who's in charge.


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