Thursday, January 30, 2014

Last Call For Henry Waxman

40-year House veteran Democrat Heney Waxman of California is calling it quits after serving 20 terms, and he's blaming the Tea Party.

Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, a diminutive Democratic giant whose 40 years in the House produced some of the most important legislation of the era, announced Thursday that he would retire at the end of the year.

Mr. Waxman, 74, joins a growing list of House members who are calling it quits, many in disappointment over the partisanship and ineffectiveness of a Congress that may end up as the least productive in history.

“It’s been frustrating because of the extremism of Tea Party Republicans,” Mr. Waxman said in an interview on Wednesday. “Nothing seems to be happening.”

The frustration is felt on both sides. More than 30 House members have announced they will retire, resign or run for other offices this year, including stalwarts like George Miller, Democrat of California; Tom Latham, Republican of Iowa; Frank R. Wolf, Republican of Virginia; and Howard P. McKeon of California, chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

Waxman knows things aren't going to get any better in 2014, and with the Republicans still not having anyone who can win in 2016, they'll be just as insane then, too in the House.

Why would you want to stick around in this funhouse of stupid?

The Illigitimate Presidency

After five years and two elections, you'd think Republicans would accept the fact that Barack Obama is President of the United States.  But of course, you'd be wrong.

Congressional Republicans are taking President Obama to court over his use of executive power to sidestep Congress.

The executive actions that Obama touted during the State of the Union speech are adding fresh urgency to the legal efforts of Republicans, who say he is using the authority of his office in unprecedented ways.“We can go to court,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said. “We haven’t got many more options except [to] tell the American people that we’re seeing an abuse of the intent of the Constitution.”

Republicans have launched a salvo of legal actions to challenge the president on issues ranging from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans would not sit idly by as Obama takes unilateral actions like raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.

“We’re going to watch very closely, because there’s a Constitution that we all take an oath to, including him, and following the Constitution is the basis for House Republicans,” Boehner said.

Remember, these are the same guys who said when Bush was President that not only could the "plenary executive" regularly override the other two executive branches, but absolutely had to in order to win the Warren Terrah.

Now, the President with the fewest number of executive orders in modern history somehow must be reined in by a nearly all-powerful Congress who must resort to the judicial branch to stop any constitutional actions they don't like.  They've all but killed the recess appointment, now they're looking to destroy executive actions in the courts.

The real goal of course is impeachment...

The Jersey Takedown

GOP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continues to drown in bad news, and the latest is a brutal NY Times piece on Christie's inner circle, portraying a man (that despite his protestations that he had no idea what his aides were up to) was in total control of every aspect of his influence machine.  Christie knew exactly what his inner circle was up to.

His campaign called them “the Top 100,” the swing towns that Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey wanted to win as he prepared for a re-election campaign. Capturing these towns, sometimes referred to as mini-Ohios or mini-Floridas, would validate the governor’s argument that he would be the most broadly appealing Republican choice for president in 2016.

Staff members in the governor’s office created tabbed and color-coded dossiers on the mayors of each town — who their friends and enemies were, the policies and projects that were dear to them — that were bound in notebooks for the governor to review in his S.U.V. between events.

Long after most of the State House had been shuttered for the night, Mr. Christie’s aides worked on spreadsheets, documenting calls and meetings with key players in the towns — one Republican called it “political Moneyball” — as the governor tried to win endorsements and friends.

New Jersey's mayors were the key to Christie's bi-partisan credibility -- and thus, the key to his 2016 ambitions.  Christie and his aides played hardball with them every step of the way.

Officially known as “intergovernmental affairs,” the operation was a key element of the permanent campaign that allowed Mr. Christie to win twice in a largely Democratic state. It was led by Bill Stepien, his two-time campaign manager and deputy chief of staff, and then by Bridget Anne Kelly, who succeeded him in his role in the governor’s office.

They were part of what one high-ranking Republican called “the crew” around Mr. Christie: friends who strategized at Mr. Christie’s kitchen table in Mendham and socialized with him in the governor’s box at MetLife Stadium.

Now this operation is at the heart of the growing scandal over the closing of lanes at the George Washington Bridge in an act of political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J.

Mr. Christie has said that he had not been aware of his office’s involvement in the maneuver, and nothing has directly tied to him to it. But a close look at his operation and how intimately he was involved in it, described in interviews with dozens of people — Republican and Democrat, including current and former Christie administration officials, elected leaders and legislative aides — gives credence to the puzzlement expressed by some Republicans and many Democrats in the state, who question how a detail-obsessed governor could have been unaware of the closings or the effort over months to cover up the political motive.

In other words, the notion that Christie didn't know what was going on is patently absurd.  Absolutely everything was a political calculation to the man, and everything had a political motive.  Christie's political machine ran roughshod over New Jersey, and those that crossed him found out the hard way that there was a lot of political damage Christie's office could do if they didn't play ball.

Everything that the Republican party has attributed to the Obama administration for last five years was really happening in Trenton, in Chris Christie's inner circle.

And it's all crashing to earth around them.


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