Two Votes Away!

It looks as if extending those unemployment benefits that expired on December 28 for the long-term unemployed is two votes short of passing in the Senate.  All 55 Dems are for it, and they have three Republicans — Dean Heller of Nevada, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

But a majority of 58 doesn’t matter when you need 60.

Even if it passed the Senate, good luck in the House of Crazies.

The Dems shouldn’t have done the Murray-Ryan deal without an extension of benefits.

Getting Even Stickier for Rice

Well, that didn’t go well.

Secretary of State wannabe Susan Rice had a private, hour-long meeting with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a moderate, that left Collins complaining that Rice had played a “political role” in her five Sunday talk show appearances about Benghazi in the midst of the presidential election.

Collins also called Benghazi an “eerie echo” of the 1998 Al Qaeda bombings of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, when Rice was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

We don’t need the Empty Barn Jacket back in the Senate.  But, Mr. President, there are plenty of excellent choices for State besides Rice and John Kerry.

Offer the country an accurate, coherent explanation for Benghazi before investigations do it for you, choose someone else for State, and get on with your second term.

Murkowski Gets It, But Too Late

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Republican from Alaska, now says she is sorry that she voted for the Blunt-Rubio Amendment, which would have allowed an employer to deny health insurance coverage, such as for contraception, for any religious or moral reason.

The only Republican to vote against the amendment was Sen. Olympia Snowe, who is retiring.

I had hoped to see Murkowski and Susan Collins of Maine join Snowe.

Blunt Amendment Defeated

The Blunt Amendment, which would allow an employer to deny health coverage for anything based on religious or moral objections, was defeated in the Senate, 51 to 48.

Thank you to Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine for voting against it.

Thumbs down to Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska for voting for it, as did Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

You’re going to be sorry, Scott Brown.

President Obama’s compromise on contraception took care of the Catholic Church’s objections.  It actually made things much easier for the Church than existing law in many states, which the Church lives with.

This issue now has nothing to do with freedom of religion and everything to do with politics.  Knock yourself out, GOP, it’s ultimately a loser for you.

Contraception Fight Divides GOP

President Obama seems to have united Dems behind him with his changes to the rule on providing free contraception under Obamacare.

Now it is the GOP that is splitting.  GOP leaders in the House and Senate are pushing legislation to abolish the rule altogether, so that contraception would not be covered.  But Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both R-Maine, are expressing satisfaction with Obama’s new policy, which has women deal directly with insurance companies when a religious-affiliated employer has First Amendment objections to providing contraceptive coverage.

The more extreme the GOP position, the more they will alienate women voters in 2012.

Marco Rubio, R-FL, who is leading the anti-contraception fight in the Senate and is being pushed for Veep, laughingly says that all of his four children were unplanned.  I don’t know if his wife thinks this is funny, but a lot of women, including many Catholic women, don’t.  He and Speaker Boehner, who is leading the fight in the House, are hopelessly out of touch on this issue, as usual.