Saturday, April 4, 2015

Last Call For Bloody Bill's Revenge

Since Bill Kristol has been wrong about pretty much everything for years now, it's no surprise that he's totally wrong about President Obama's nuclear framework with Iran.  It's even less surprising that he's calling for open war with Tehran as a result.

It's certainly fair to criticize the particulars of the deal, which is honestly less of a "deal" than a series of cascading concessions to Iran. Some of the particulars are so indefensible that they may become the best vehicle for stopping or killing the deal. In fact, Congress might advance several pieces of legislation or amendments along these lines, in addition to the cumbersome Corker-Menendez bill. For example: no sanctions relief if Fordow, which Obama himself said was utterly unnecessary for a peaceful nuclear program, stays open. No sanctions relief if there aren't any-time, any-place inspections. No sanctions relief if the centrifuges don't stop spinning, or if enriched uranium isn't shipped out of the country. No sanctions relief without recognition of Israel's right to exist. One could—and Congress should—multiply examples of the arrows that can be launched to try to bring down this vulnerable deal.

But it's important not to lose sight of the whole, even as one goes after its most vulnerable parts. The whole of the deal is a set of concessions to an aggressive regime with a history of cheating that will now be enabled to stand one unverifiable cheat away from nuclear weapons. In making these concessions, the U.S, and its partners are ignoring that regime's past and present actions, strengthening that regime, and sending the message that there is no price to be paid for a regime's lying and cheating and terror and aggression.

We opponents of the deal disdain to conceal our views and aims. We urge Congress to stop this bad deal. We urge Congress to kill it. We believe sanctions, sabotage, and the threat of military force can better constrain the Iranian regime's nuclear weapons program than this bad deal. But we will also say openly that, if it comes to it, airstrikes to set back the Iranian nuclear weapons program are preferable to this deal that lets it go forward.

So if the GOP can't kill the deal then what, a coup where Congress takes control of the military and attacks Iran?  Kristol is insane, and yet he's still a media voice taken seriously rather than a bloody warmonger who helped sell us a false war with Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands.

Again, utter and complete insanity.  The man belongs in prison, not the opinion pages.

The Insurrection Question

Over at the Washington Post, Colbert King asks if the GOP congress would side with Republican-led states in open defiance of the Obama administration through nullification, the practice of simply declaring through state law that federal edicts that states don't like are simply null and void.

It’s a scary thought, but here it is: If some red states were to openly defy the authority of President Obama in the exercise of his constitutional duties, would today’s Republican Congress side with him? Or would they honor the insurrection?

I wish it could be said with confidence that the legislative branch would oppose a rebellion against the executive branch of government. But I’m not so sure.

Last month, the Republican-led Arizona House of Representatives passed, on a 36-to-24 party-line vote, a bill sponsored by tea party Rep. Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) that “prohibits this state or any of its political subdivisions from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with an executive order issued by the President of the U.S. that has not been affirmed by a vote of Congress and signed into law as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution.”

If adopted by the Arizona Senate and signed into law, executive orders issued by the president would have no force or effect in that state. What’s more, the Arizona House has passed a number of other bills aimed at nullifying policies, rules and regulations of the Obama administration that have not been approved by Congress.

The word “insurrection” does come to mind. Yet the resistance out West to federal authority has been received in virtual silence on Capitol Hill. It’s almost as if the GOP Congress wanted an uprising against the president.

As I've been pointing out, nullification of Obama's executive orders has been in play for several years now, with several states passing laws that refuse to force existing or new federal gun control laws, and Mitch McConnell openly telling states to ignore EPA regulations on power plant emissions, I'm pretty sure we've been in a constitutional crisis for a couple of years now.

To answer King's question, yes, the GOP congress will side with red states and has been. Hell, this is a congress that is constantly suing the President for being the President.

So yes, we're on a dangerous path and have been.  It's about time that maybe our media woke up to this.

Bad At Electoral Math

Political author Eric Ham predicts that Jeb Bush has the edge in the electoral college based on the 2014 midterms, and that by taking Gov. John Kasich as his running mate, he can win Ohio, or by picking Gov. Brian Sandoval, he can win Nevada and take the advantage with Latino voters nationally.

Though Pennsylvania, Virginia and possibly Colorado lean toward Clinton in an all-important White House run, no two states are more integral to any presidential victory than Nevada and Ohio, and they stand solidly in Bush's corner. Nevada has been carried by the winner in every presidential election since 1912, with the exception of 1976. Not to be outdone, since 1964, Ohio has been the only state in the nation to back the winning candidate in every presidential cycle. The advantages held by the GOP in these two bellwether states will make even Clinton's inevitability a tall climb. The Silver State leaned Democratic in 2008 and 2012, with Obama besting Mitt Romney 52 to 46 percent even in a brutal economic climate. Fast forward to 2014, and the Republicans have picked up both chambers of the state legislature. Adding to the list of Republican advantages, Gov. Brian Sandoval, one of the nation's most prominent Latino officeholders, won reelection in a landslide with a whopping 70 percent of the vote. Sandoval and Bush (no stranger to the Latino community) could provide the blueprint for reaching the crucial Latino vote and moving Nevada into the red column. Like Nevada, the Buckeye State is currently enjoying a decided red advantage that could tilt the presidency to Bush in 2016. The single biggest advantage is its immensely popular Republican governor, John Kasich. While harboring his own presidential ambitions, should Kasich decide not to run, there would be no better champion for a Bush-led ticket than him. A two-term governor and former congressman, Kasich has deep roots in Ohio. The Republican presidential nominee will also enjoy the same advantages of the Democratic National Convention, as Cleveland is the host city for the Republican National Convention. Clinton's inevitability makes her formidable, but like his brother before him, Bush recognizes the Electoral College, not the popular vote, is the difference between victory and defeat.

But as David O. Atkins points out, Ohio and Nevada will not be enough for Bush to win without the rest of the electoral college firewall that the Dems have totally collapsing.

Let’s grant Ham’s premise that Bush’s background in Florida will help any more than Gore’s background in Tennessee aided him. Let’s also grant the dubious notion that the Kasich effect and the GOP convention will somehow put the GOP over the top in Ohio. Let’s give the GOP Colorado despite its ever-more-blue demographic shifts, and let’s assume that some combination of Bush’s Spanish speaking and Sandoval’s endorsement somehow pulls Latino voters in Nevada to Bush in spite of the GOP’s rabid freakout over immigration and unwillingness to budge on the issue.

It’s a series of dubious longshots, but let’s give Bush Florida, Colorado, Nevada and Ohio. Let’s also give Bush the swing state of North Carolina (because this isn’t a discussion otherwise), and let’s assume that 2016 isn’t the year that demography overwhelms the GOP in Arizona and Georgia. Let’s also assume (as is likely but not at all certain) that every red-leaning swing state like Missouri and West Virginia falls to Bush.

Even all that still doesn’t get the GOP to more than 268 electoral votes. The Democratic nominee would still win the White House, even under that highly improbable scenario
. Bush would have to go beyond that feat to somehow pluck off Iowa, Wisconsin or Virginia just to eke out a narrow win—nor is there any particular reason to believe that will happen. Scott Walker will be dragged through the mud by grueling presidential politics, Virginia continues to solidify its Democratic core in the north, and an older white Democratic nominee is likely to perform significantly better in Iowa than even Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012.

In other words, Florida, Ohio and Nevada aren't going to be enough for Bush to beat Clinton in 2016.  Not by a long shot.  He's going to need to get several more swing states as well, namely Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire without losing Missouri, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Even if Bush wins the three states Ham has him with the "advantage" in, he still loses.
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