Friday, October 10, 2014

Last Call For No Mo Gitmo

"Well," I imagine President Obama saying.  "They're going to hate me anyway, so I might as well go for it and close Guantanamo."

The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said. 
Such a move would be the latest and potentially most dramatic use of executive power by the president in his second term. It would likely provoke a sharp reaction from lawmakers, who have repeatedly barred the transfer of detainees to the U.S.
Officials, who declined to say where detainees might be housed if taken to the mainland, said the U.S. has ample space in its prisons for several dozen high-security prisoners. The administration has reviewed several facilities that could house the remaining detainees, with the military brig at Charleston, S.C., considered the most likely.

I honestly think Huckleberry Graham will pass out/come close to an aneurysm from this.  I really do. On national TV, no less.  Meet John McCain With Your Host Chuck Todd is really, really going to hate this too.

Of course, if President Obama actually tries this, as Steve M. points out, it'll set up a shutdown fight that President Obama will almost assuredly lose.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) on Friday vowed to block all legislation in the Senate with a prolonged filibuster if President Obama tries to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States.... 
Roberts made a similar threat back in 2009, when Obama originally signaled he wanted to relocate detainees to the United States. At the time, the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, as well as a maximum-security prison in Obama's home state of Illinois were being considered to house the prisoners.... 
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who is traveling through the state this week on Roberts's campaign bus, said he would join the filibuster. Roberts predicted he would have broad support from his colleagues. 
"I will have help on this. I can see John McCain there and I can see Lindsey Graham there and I can see Kelly Ayotte there and I can see a whole bunch of other people there," Roberts said.

And why will Obama lose on this?  Because Democrats in the Senate will line up around the block to stab him in the back over this.

Wonder how soon this is going to start showing in campaign ads for Roberts -- and for Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Scott Brown, etc., etc.

I'm sorry to say that this effort will not succeed. On this, America is provincial and irrational, and not even remotely liberal.

Can you imagine what Senate Democrats will do when this happens?  Let me put it to you this way: the only think preventing impeachment hearings and a Senate trial is the fact that it takes 67 Senators to convict.  If this Gitmo thing goes down, well...

It's a nice thought.  But as Steve M. says, Obama will never be able to close Gitmo.  In the future some President may be able to.  That President will not be Obama.

Meet The Glibertarian Here In Kentucky

I haven't talked too much about David Patterson, the Libertarian candidate here in Kentucky's Senate race between Mitch McConnell and Alison Grimes, but he may end up a major factor anyway, as TPM's Sahil Kapur points out.

Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate David Patterson clocks in at 3 percent in the latest Bluegrass Poll, which may be enough to tilt the potentially decisive — and hotly contested — Kentucky race between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who are 2 points apart.

Patterson is hardly a seasoned politician: He lacks the killer instinct to seamlessly rip into his opponents and he freely admits when he doesn't have an answer to a question. He wants to end the drug war, legalize marijuana and let same-sex couples marry ("love is love," he says); he wants to get rid of Obamacare, the Patriot Act, the NSA's spying program and the income tax.

"My message is freedom," Patterson told TPM in an interview on Thursday, vowing to impose a two-term limit on himself if elected — "and that's if my wife lets me run for a second term. She may not."

"The NSA, Patriot Act — there's a whole lot of very, very heavy legislation that has come down in the name of the war on terror. Many citizens may not see it, but I certainly do. And it very much bothers me that the U.S. government can hold and detain a U.S. citizen indefinitely without trial and without charge," Patterson said. "The majority of both parties are interventionists. They like going into other countries. They both enjoy spending money — our money."

Don't get me wrong, I like some of his positions.  But the majority of them are terrible for Kentucky and his rhetoric on those areas are indistinguishable from Mitch:

Asked what he'd do about the roughly half-a-million Kentuckians who would lose insurance coverage if he repeals Obamacare, Patterson said, "Obviously we'd need to put something in place to help those individuals until such time as we can determine how we're going to — once again, I don't have all the answers. But we have to have something set up to assist them."

Like what?  Well, "something".  Some sort of big government approach I guess, right?  Well, who's going to pay for that "something" if you get rid of Kentucky's income tax?  And note he's fine with getting rid of income tax, not sales tax.  He'd send us down the same road as Sam Brownback in Kansas, only as a US Senator he'd push for that everywhere.  You figure there's about what, $2 trillion or so in federal and state revenue from income tax?  If that goes away, we'll have to do what, cut $2 trillion in spending yearly?  Sure, that'll add up.

Patterson claims that if he siphons votes from either McConnell or Grimes, he'd do so "kind of equally" from both. But the surveys tell a different story. According to the Bluegrass Poll, Patterson's support comes mostly from independents, but he has five times as much support from self-identified Republicans than Democrats, and more support among conservatives than liberals. That suggests that Patterson is likelier, if anything, to take votes from McConnell.

So yeah, he may actually help give Grimes the win.  That'll be his lasting legacy, and not his horrendously stupid policies.

GOP Minority Outreach, Part The Endless

Once again I'm just floored by the notion that Latino/Hispanic grassroots advocacy groups are seriously considering sitting out the 2014 elections when lower turnout favors pendejo Republicans like Texas AG and candidate for Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick.  Greg Sargent explains:

Patrick, a former radio host who is basing his run on remarkably lurid claims about the need to secure the border, is an important figure to watch to understand the GOP’s trajectory on immigration, and by extension, the party’s future relations with Latinos. Patrick is almost certain to win; he will be in a position of great influence in a state that is home to much of the border with Mexico — and well positioned to pull the party further right on the issue, particularly if another crisis flares up. 
To see what this might look like, check out Patrick’s latest ad. It raises the specter of ISIS terrorists crossing the border to kill Americans, links that to his Democratic opponent’s opposition to sending the National Guard to the border and her support for in-state tuition for residents brought to this country illegally. “National security begins with border security — and that begins with the Texas Rangers and National Guard,” Patrick says. “Border security will be my top priority.”

But y'all gonna sit out and let this guy win, and let his party win.  Because Patrick is far from the only one.

Perhaps Patrick is a rhetorical outlier in the party. But consider the broad sweep of what we’ve seen lately. Arkansas Congressman and Senate candidate Tom Cotton, who is supposed to be a uniter of the Tea Party and GOP establishment, claims that ISIS terrorists are collaborating with Mexican drug gangs to infiltrate the border and kill people in Arkansas. This didn’t really register at all with the national press corps, as if this has now become par for the course. And it has: GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter went on national TV and casually claimed a bunch of ISIS fighters were detained at the border, citing a far right legal group as a source
Meanwhile, even more “moderate” Republicans running for Senate in purple-ish states, such as Scott Brown and Terri Lynn Land, are flogging the migrant crisis to fear-monger about the border. As David Weigel has noted, Karl Rove’s outside group is running ads hitting Democrats over “amnesty,” even though Rove had previously urged the GOP to adopt immigration reform (which would include said “amnesty”) for the long-term good of the party. RNC chair Reince Priebus — who had alsopreviously urged the GOP to adopt reform, lest its appeal “shrink to its core constituencies only” — recently rolled out another rebrand that appeared to abandon reform as a goal
House Republicans voted to end Obama’s program to defer deportations of people brought here illegally as children, and will mount another stand if Obama unilaterally expands that program, locking the GOP into a stance that calls for ever more deportations. One imagines Ted Cruz willdemagogue that to the hilt as part of his 2016 presidential run. Even Marco Rubio — the great Latino hope of the GOP — was recently spotted dressing down DREAMers as a crowd of South Carolina conservatives hooted and jeered, another signal of where this is all headed once the GOP primary heats up.

Republicans will never allow immigration reform to pass.  They've killed it repeatedly for ten years now, but you're going to blame Obama and stay home.

You do that, 'mano.


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