The Snowstorm Made Them Do It

John McCain blames the Benedict Tom Cotton letter ‘splaining our Constitution to Iran on the weather:

“It was kind of a very rapid process.  Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm.  I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.”

There you have it, people.  The world’s greatest deliberative body, until a few flakes fall from the sky, inducing panic — and treason.

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It’s Not So Bad

The results in the Senate are not, as many are proclaiming, a victory for the GOP establishment, but a big win for the Tea Party.  Yes, Karl Rove and Reince Preibus got them to don sheep’s clothing for the campaign, but they will govern as the wolves they are.  Take the issue of Personhood — that a fertilized egg has the same constitutional rights you and I do.  Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis, Tom Cotton, Steve Daines, and Joni Ernst all believe that.

On the one hand, you might see it as bad news to have more crazies in Congress.  And a Tea Party senator like Joni Ernst can do a lot more damage than a Tea Party congressman like retiring Michele Bachmann, since one of 100 is far more influential than one of 435.  But the good news is that these new senators aren’t going to shut up for the next six years (or even two) and will hurt the GOP with their extremist views.  They will be baggage for the 2016 presidential nominee.

Having Republican control — especially batshit Republican control — of both houses of Congress hurts their White House prospects.  Voters will pause before turning the entire government over to this GOP, you need someone who can at least veto the wingnut stuff.

So a GOP-controlled Congress helps the Dem presidential nominee.  The Dems also have a good chance of taking back the Senate in 2016.  They’ll have the young/minority voters who don’t bother to show up for mid-terms, and they’ll have seven states up that went GOP in 2010, but for Obama in 2008 and 2012 — New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

If the Dems win the White House in 2016 and take back the Senate, what then?  Not much.  Even a President Elizabeth Warren would have to face a GOP House, so a progressive agenda would be DOA.

Our best shot at actually getting stuff done?  That would be a Republican president with a Dem Congress.  The Dems will work with a Republican prez, the GOP won’t work with a Dem.

 

Quote of the Day

An anonymous U. S. senior official, speaking about Israeli P. M. Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu and Iran’s nuclear program,  quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic:

“It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

Not to be confused with another senior U. S. official who called Bibi “a chickenshit.”

I would say it wasn’t just our pressure on Bibi, but also our assurances, which today look pretty hollow.

To me, the scariest thing right now is not Ebola or ISIS, but that we seem to be on the verge of doing a disastrous deal with Iran.

Quarantine Confusion Continues

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is releasing, Kaci Hickox, a nurse who recently returned from West Africa to her home state of Maine, where that state will decide how she should be monitored for Ebola.  Returning residents of New Jersey will still be subject to a 21-day quarantine.

Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs of Staff want all troops returning from West Africa to undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine, putting them at odds with President Obama.

Walking It Back

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo softened a bit on the quarantine for health care workers returning from West Africa.  He now says they can do their 21-day quarantine at home and that they will be compensated for lost wages.

Soon after Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that New Jersey residents can also be quarantined at home (he didn’t address lost income), and that efforts would be made to get non-Jersey residents back to their own states for their quarantine.  But once a person leaves New Jersey, I don’t know what jurisdiction Christie would have to impose a quarantine on them if their home state doesn’t have such a requirement.

There’s still a gap between Cuomo/Christie and the Obama Administration, but it’s been narrowed somewhat.

The New Ebola Battle

The new Ebola battle isn’t between health care workers and the disease itself, but between the federal government and the states.

The Obama Administration is pushing New Jersey governor Chris Christie and New York governor Andrew Cuomo to rescind their mandatory 21-day quarantine for anyone arriving from West Africa who has had contact with Ebola patients.  Their quarantine announcement took the feds (and New York City) by surprise.

Meanwhile, Illinois and Florida have joined the quarantine.

Good luck getting Christie or Cuomo to budge.  Christie is running for president and can’t be seen as caving to Obama.  Cuomo is up for re-election in a week and can’t be seen as weak and indecisive, as pushed by Christie and then pulled by Obama.  He may also run for president, so he has to seem tough.