Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Last Call For The Fold On Lynch

Who would have predicted that after running away from President Obama and losing the Senate that Senate Democrats would no longer have President Obama's interests at heart in the lame duck session?

President Obama will have to get his nominee for attorney general past a Republican-controlled Senate, Democratic and Republican aides say. 
A packed schedule after the election is almost certain to push the vetting process for Loretta Lynch into January, when Republicans are set to take power in the upper chamber. 
It seems likely [the Lynch vote] would be in the next Congress. It’s difficult to process an [attorney general] that quickly,” said a Democratic aide. 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not yet made a decision on whether to move Lynch’s nomination in the lame-duck session, according to spokesman Adam Jentleson.

But aides say the time crunch and growing GOP opposition to Lynch make it exceedingly unlikely that the replacement for Eric Holder will be confirmed in December. 
That means the task of approving a new attorney general — a position that is a lightning rod for controversy — will fall to the new Republican majority of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 
“Ms. Lynch will receive fair consideration by the Senate. And her nomination should be considered in the new Congress through regular order,” McConnell said in a statement.

So yeah.  Outgoing Senators have their own agendas, and helping the President is absolutely not one of them.  But sure, the problem is Obama hasn't reached out enough to the people in his own party who told him to go to hell, right?

The Long Knives On Vee Jay

Washington insiders have long resented Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, comparing her to everyone from "the voice in Obama's head" to Othello villain Iago to the last guy to hold the role in the last White House, Karl Rove.  But after 2014's brutal loss for the Democrats, a lot of pressure is now on the President from the left to clean house, and to start with letting Jarrett's head be the first to roll.

And nobody on the left hates Valerie Jarrett quite like New Republic editor and author Noam Scheiber, who has quite the extensive post-midterm hit piece on Jarrett up.  My feeling is that it would have gone up even if the Democrats had done well.

Jarrett’s work behind the scenes served the president well so long as people like Larry Summers, Rahm Emanuel, and Robert Gibbs (the former press secretary, with whom Jarrett also clashed) remained inside the building. She diversified the views he received without stifling internal debate. But then, one by one, the big personalities left. After two years, Summers and Gibbs had been replaced by far more amenable actors; Emanuel’s strong-willed successor, Bill Daley, lasted less than a year before being replaced by a relative cipher, too. 
Today, Obama’s top economic adviser is Jeff Zients, a former management consultant and Jarrett pal who had no experience in government before joining the administration. The senior adviser seat that David Axelrod once occupied now belongs to Dan Pfeiffer, and the chief of staff is Denis McDonough. Both joined Obama in 2007 and have long since made their peace with Jarrett’s influence. “My sense is Denis does his best to not turn that into a reckoning kind of relationship,” one former White House official told me. “He doesn’t want to test it.” 
As Jarrett has outlasted her rivals, it has increasingly fallen on her to do more than simply protect Obama from those who might undermine his presidency. She must nudge him when he becomes self-satisfied and rein in his worst political impulses. It is a position for which she is uniquely unqualified.

And then Scheiber goes on a pretty epic roll.

Valerie Jarrett is not above keeping a shit list—or as hers was titled, a “least constructive” list. One progressive activist recalls Jarrett holding the document during a meeting and noticing her own name on it, along with the names of others in the room. “It was kind of an honor,” the activist told me. This was not out of character for Jarrett. The woman who once resisted Emanuel’s commandment against rewarding bad behavior has often gone out of her way to suppress dissent among ideological allies and others who question the president. (A White House official says the document was prepared by a staffer acting without orders and that it is not a common practice.) 
Consider her interactions with the LGBT community when they agitated for an executive order banning discrimination by federal contractors. Jarrett had been one of the Obama team’s biggest supporters of gay rights since the campaign (long before Obama himself “evolved” on the marriage question). She had even authored a memo advising the president to sign the executive order. But when Obama decided against it in 2012, he dispatched Jarrett to deliver the news to four or five groups active on the issue. 
The meeting was a minor fiasco. A BuzzFeed reporter had broken word of the gathering just before it began, prompting Jarrett to lecture everyone in the room for several minutes about speaking to the press. She fumed that the reporter was outside “writing stories,” and told the activists that “we can’t have White House meetings if you do this kind of thing.

Scheiber goes on for another 3,000 words or so of anecdotes and stories on how Jarrett is basically the Bitch From Hell and how everyone hates her and how she's destroying Obama's legacy,  It's amazing then to find somebody that Scheiber hates more than Obama himself, and that person is definitely Jarrett.

He ends with this:

It’s no surprise that Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett would govern as reasonable people. It’s who they are. The tragedy is that we live in surpassingly unreasonable times.

Why can't Obama just give me my pony?

No Longer Neutral On Net Neutrality

President Obama weighed in this week on the issue of Net neutrality, and he's instructing the FCC to regulate broadband internet as a utility.  It may sound boring to you, but it would mean a lot of good news for consumers.

Obama, who campaigned on the issue of net neutrality, said the FCC's new rules should explicitly ban such paid prioritization deals and sided with consumer advocates who have pushed for the FCC to reclassify ISPs so that they can be regulated more like a public utility. 
"Simply put: No service should be stuck in a 'slow lane' because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth," Obama said in a statement. 
"I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online."

He also said the FCC should apply its new rules equally to mobile and wired ISPs, with a recognition of special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.

Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and AT&T have been fiercely lobbying against this, claiming government regulations will crush their business and the internet.  Republicans will certainly go berserk over this too.  But America has the slowest, most expensive internet in the developed world and the only way to fix it is by treating broadband internet as a public utility the way we do power, water, and sanitation.

Of course, we're behind by several trillion dollars in maintenance of power, water and sanitation, so I wouldn't hold your breath on all that getting fixed any time this generation either.

The reality however is that up until this week, tens of millions of voters had no idea what net neutrality meant.  Now they know that Obama is for it and Ted Cruz is against it, so it has to be evil, and everything that you don't like about your internet will be Obama's fault.

And that's all that matters.


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