So much for significant new gun-control legislation. The bipartisan Manchin-Toomey bill to extend background checks to gun shows and Internet sales has died in the Senate. It got 54 votes, but that wasn’t enough to overcome what was essentially a Republican filibuster.
The Manchin-Toomey compromise bill was a scaled-back version of earlier proposals to extend background checks to unregulated private gun sales. Many gun experts argued that the slimmed-down proposal would have only marginal effects on gun violence. But even that small step couldn’t get through the Senate.
Republicans who voted for the bill included Pat Toomey (Pa.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), and Susan Collins (Maine) and John McCain (Ariz).
Democrats who voted against the bill included Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.). Technically, Harry Reid voted “no,” but that’s a procedural move so that he has the right to bring the bill up again.
I’m not sure this is true. Arizona is doing one hell of a job establishing itself as the westernmost state in the New Confederacy.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted Arizona will follow its Southwestern neighbors and move from swing-state status to Democratic stronghold as the border state’s demographics continue to change.
On Tuesday, the former Arizona governor told reporters that she is confident her home state will take after Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado in gaining Democratic voters in the coming cycles.
“Arizona will be behind them,” Napolitano said during a discussion hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think it will be more purple over time, but ultimately blue.”
In 2012, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., secured his first term with a 3-point margin of victory in a race much closer than many operatives anticipated. Meanwhile, partisan control of the congressional delegation flipped as Democrats won two House seats and Republicans lost one seat. But those gains were also a reflection of a newly redrawn congressional map that favored Democrats.
“It’ll happen, I think,” Napolitano said. “The fact that I could win three straight elections there, I think is indicative that Democrats can win and do win in Arizona.”
In the 2012 elections, Republican Mitt Romney carried Arizona with more than 54 percent of the vote. In John McCain’s failed bid for president in 2008, the GOP senator won his home state with 53 percent.
After more than a week of negotiations, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cut a deal for the filibuster reform package that sailed through the Senate on Thursday. Unfortunately for fans of real filibuster reform, who expected Reid to win at least some GOP concessions—like a proposal by Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) that would force the minority party to muster at least 41 votes to continue a filibuster, rather than force the majority to find 60 to end it—the final package looked strangely like the minority-friendly one proposed last month by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.).
The first part of the Reid-McConnell deal, Senate Resolution 15, creates a temporary “standing order” that will expire with the end of the current Congress in 2015. The second part, Senate Resolution 16, is a permanant change. Here’s a breakdown on what it accomplishes—and doesn’t.
Steve Benen observes as John McCain Descends Further Into Incoherence.
For those who can’t watch clips online, McCain appeared on Fox News to raise a series of strange complaints, and roll out a truly bizarre new analogy.
“[W]ho changed the talking points that was used by Ambassador Rice? And why? And on what circumstances? Why was reference to Al Qaeda left out? There are so many things that have happened. And the interesting thing is, finally, Neil, we knew within hours of all the details when we got bin Laden in the raid there, every bitty one of them. They are making a movie out of it.
“And here we are 10 weeks later, and finally our ambassador to the United Nations who appeared on every national Sunday show has now said that she gave false information concerning how this tragedy happened as far as the spontaneity of a demonstration triggered by a hateful video.”
But comparing this to the raid on bin Laden’s compound is a special kind of dumb. I realize national security and foreign policy is an issue McCain struggles with, but this isn’t complicated: the bin Laden raid was our idea. It was our mission. We planned it and we executed it. We knew the details “within hours” because, unlike the terrorists’ attack on Benghazi, the raid in Abbottabad was carried out by our guys, not their guys.
Honestly, I’m not sure whether to be annoyed by the senator’s nonsense or feel sorry for him.
The top Republican leading the fight against Susan Rice as the new secretary of State softened his opposition and said Sunday he was open to hearing her explain why she declared the burning of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was part of a protest rather than a terrorist attack.
“I’d give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on the “Fox News Sunday” show. “I’d be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her.”
Also Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a vocal critic of how the administration handled fallout from the Benghazi attack, said President Obama more than Rice is responsible for her television comments claiming the Sept. 11 Libyan attack was a spontaneous eruption from protesters angry over an anti-Islam video.
“I blame the president above all others,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week” program - indicating he is more upset with Obama than Rice.
Sen. John McCain is calling for establishment of a Watergate-style congressional committee to investigate the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The Arizona Republican tells “CBS This Morning” he believes the unanswered questions surrounding events at Benghazi on Sept. 11 require such a select committee.
McCain accused the Obama administration of making misleading statements. He also said U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went on national television and said incorrectly that the violence was the result of a demonstration against an anti-Muslim movie made in the United States. Asked if he’d stand in the way of any nomination of Rice as the next secretary of state, McCain replied, “She’s not qualified.”
For four years, the leader most capable of unifying the fractious Republican Party has been Barack Obama.
Now the Republicans find their divisions newly revealed in the raw. By exposing the party’s vulnerability to potent demographic shifts, the 2012 results have set the stage for a struggle between those determined to re-brand the Republicans in a softer light and those yearning instead for ideological purity.
But before acceptance comes denial. And the party’s first challenge, it seems in the immediate aftermath, is to find common ground simply in diagnosing the problem. While some leaders argued that basic mathematics dictates that the party must find new ways to talk about issues like immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage, others attributed Republican losses to poor candidate choice, messaging missteps and President Obama’s superior political operation.
“We continually crank out moderate loser after moderate loser,” said Joshua S. Treviño, a speechwriter in George W. Bush’s administration who now works for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative group. He said Mitt Romney was part of a “pattern” of Republican nominees, preceded by John McCain, Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush, who were rejected by voters because of “perceived inauthenticity.”
While both campaigns have been lowering expectations ahead of Wednesday’s first presidential debate, two of Mitt Romney’s more notable surrogates raised the bar on Sunday, with one predicting Romney will turn the race “upside down.”
Both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. John McCain said they expect Romney to shine when he shares the Denver stage for the first time with President Barack Obama.
“We have a candidate who is going to do extraordinarily well on Wednesday night,” Chris Christie said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. The Republican governor said Romney will have his first chance to directly contrast his vision for the country with that of Obama.
“This whole race is going to be turned upside down come Thursday morning,” Christie said.
McCain — who has debated both Obama and Romney — also predicted Romney will fare well this week. He said the debate will likely have more viewers than any other presidential showdown in history and argued that both candidates will “do excellent in their own way.”
“I think you could argue that Mitt has had a lot more recent experience, obviously,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”…
The president’s campaign spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, told reporters on Air Force One that Obama likely won’t be flinging barbs during this week’s presidential debate.
“If you’re expecting that, that’s probably not what he’s going to deliver,” Psaki said.” He’s speaking directly to the American people and what they want to hear is what his plan is for moving the country forward.”
After years of being a self-described “liberal Republican,” Jeremiah Goulka stayed with his party even as it began to slide down the path of craziness. He believed in the Republican mantras of “picking oneself up by one’s bootstraps” and the infallibility of the US military.
Then he volunteered to work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and soon after spent several weeks in Iraq working with the RAND Corp.
The scales fell from his eyes. Alternet link
While in New Orleans, he discovered an entirely new world of people he never knew had existed.
Then something tiny happened that pried open my eyes to the less obvious forms of racism and the hurdles the poor face when they try to climb the economic ladder. It happened on an official visit to a school in a suburb of New Orleans that served kids who had gotten kicked out of every other school around. I was investigating what types of services were available to the young people who were showing up in juvenile hall and seemed to be headed toward the proverbial life of crime.
My tour guide mentioned that parents were required to participate in some school programs. One of these was a field trip to a sit-down restaurant.
This stopped me in my tracks. I thought: What kind of a lame field trip is that?
It turned out that none of the families had ever been to a sit-down restaurant before. The teachers had to instruct parents and students alike how to order off a menu, how to calculate the tip.
I was stunned.
And in Iraq:
Our nation-building efforts reeked of post-Katrina organizational incompetence. People were assigned the wrong roles — ‘Why am I building a radio station? This isn’t what I do. I blow things up…’ — and given no advance training or guidance. Outgoing leaders didn’t overlap with their successors, so what they had learned would be lost, leaving each wheel to be partially reinvented again. Precious few contracts went to Iraqis. It was driving people out of our military.
This incompetence had profound human costs. Of the 26,000 people we were detaining in Iraq, as many as two-thirds were innocent — wrong place, wrong time — or, poor and desperate, had worked with insurgent groups for cash, not out of an ideological commitment. Aware of this, the military wanted to release thousands of them, but they didn’t know who was who; they only knew that being detained and interrogated made even the innocents dangerously angry. That anger trickled down to family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. It was about as good an in-kind donation as the U.S. could have made to insurgent recruitment — aside from invading in the first place.
So, he has left the party of his childhood and youth, because, as they say, “reality has a liberal bias.”