State and Defense Need to Talk Amongst Themselves — UPDATE

As we wonder whether the U. S. will join with Iran on Iraq, we face the threshold question of whether the Pentagon will join with the State Department.

Secretary of State John Kerry says that “We’re open to discussions” on military cooperation with Iran.

But at the Defense Department, not so much.  A spokesman there says, “There are no plans to consult with Iran on military actions inside Iraq.  We are not planning to engage in military-to-military discussions with Iran.”

UPDATE — The White House is with the Pentagon on this one, saying there will be no military coordination with Iran.  So that seems to be an, um, “red line” for the Administration.

New White House Gatekeeper

Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough will replace Jack Lew as White House Chief of Staff.  McDonough has been with Obama since the ’08 campaign, when he was his traveling foreign policy aide.

This is the guy who decides if you get face time with the Prez, so basically he’s the troll at the bridge whose questions you have to answer correctly.

For those of you keeping score at home, there has never been a female Chief of Staff.  Just saying…

A Little White House Snark

With respect to GOP opposition to  Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense, a White House official emailed Politico:

“[O]nly one Senator, Sen. Cruz, has gone on the record to say he’ll vote ‘no.’  (And we appreciate Ted Cruz’s comments during his first week on the job.”

Ted Cruz is the new Tea Party guy from Texas.

WSJ Says CIA Watered Down Rice

The Wall Street Journal — no friend of President Obama’s — is reporting* that the CIA removed the reference to Al Qaeda in the talking points Susan Rice used on the Sunday talk shows:

“The officials said the first draft of the talking points had a reference to al Qaeda [as former CIA Director Petraeus told Congress], but it was removed by the Central Intelligence Agency, to protect sources and protect investigations, before the talking points were shared with the White House.  No evidence has so far emerged that the White House interfered to tone down the public intelligence assessment, despite the attention the charge has received.

“The 94-word intelligence summary emerged from a daylong email debate between more than two dozen intelligence officials, in which they contested and whittled the available evidence into a bland summary with no reference to al Qaeda….”

Then why have Rice do the talk shows at all?  Better to say nothing than to offer disinformation.

* “Bureaucratic Battle Blunted Libya Attack ‘Talking Points,'” Siobhan Gorman and Adam Entous


Big Love in the White House?

Mitt has appointed former Utah governor and fellow Mormon Mike Leavitt to head his transition.  There is also talk that if Mitt wins, Leavitt will become either White House Chief of Staff or Mitt’s version of senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

I’m troubled by the fact that when he was governor in 1998, Leavitt told a press conference that polygamy may be protected under the First Amendment (um, the Supreme Court disagrees) and that the people who engage in it are “good people.”  This was 1998, people, not 1898.

This is a hideous, and to me totally unacceptable, view of women as chattel, who belong in a harem, who exist to please men and bear children.

And these are the creepy people who try to portray Obama as The Other.  Give me a break, and give him a second term.

Today in The Times, On This Blog Back in February

Last February 29, I posted “Tea Party Excess in the States Will Help President Obama Win.”  I wrote in part:

“People who thought they were voting for smaller, more efficient government [in the states in 2010] found that once these candidates were sworn in, it was all abortion , all the time. … Angry voters showing up to fix things in their state houses will help President Obama stay in the White House.  I believe there will be reverse coattails in 2012.”

Today, the New York Times has a front-page story saying the same thing — “Concern in G.O.P. over State Focus on Social Issues,” by Michael Cooper:

“Some Republican strategists and officials, reluctant to be identified because they do not want to publicly antagonize the party’s base, fear that the attention these divisive social issues are receiving at the state level could harm the party’s chances in November, when its hopes of winning back the White House will most likely rest with independent voters in a handful of swing states. … One seasoned strategist called the problem potentially huge.”

Guess Where Mitt Raises the Most Money?

Checking Mitt’s contributions by zip code, most of his money comes from Palm Beach, Florida; the Upper East Side of Manhattan; and Greenwich, Connecticut.

The usual suspects.  A campaign of the one percent, by the one percent, for the one percent.

If you can’t afford to live in those places, you can’t afford Mitt living in the White House.

What’s the Definition of Delusional?

Sarah Palin challenged President Obama to a debate.  She issued this challenge on her Facebook page.

It’s almost sad.  Almost.

The White House is scheduling the Obama-Palin debate immediately after the three-hour, Lincoln-Douglas debate with Newt at a gas station.  April 31st, at half-past never.

It’s tough duty working at the White House.  I’m glad they all had a good laugh as the Palin challenge popped up in their in-boxes.

I Have a New Enemy!

One of the dumbest things I have read or heard in a long time (and bear in mind that I watch Sarah Palin appearances on Fox) is “‘War on Women’ Narrative is Risky Business,” by Sabrina L. Schaeffer (aka my new enemy) at The Hill’s Pundit Blogs.  Here’s a sample:

“And what about the White House’s attempt to intervene in food policy, where it recently took it upon itself to judge home-packed lunches, giving women even less control over how they choose to feed their families?”

Yeah, how about those lunches?  Because if we lose our birth control and abortion rights, think of all the school lunches we are going to have to pack each morning.

Schaeffer is listed on Pundit Blogs as the Executive Director of the Independent Women’s Forum.  So I Googled that and found “The Independent Women’s Forum is on a mission [from God?] to expand the conservative coalition….”  Emphasis added.  Um, then shouldn’t they be the Conservative Women’s Forum?

As for Schaeffer herself, her background is all GOP — worked for Gov. George Voinovitch (R-Ohio), the Republican Jewish Coalition, the American Enterprise Institute.  Nothing “independent” about her.

Keep This Guy Out of the White House!

David Brooks has a column in the NYT today praising Mitt “I’m Also Unemployed” Romney and his advisers.  Brooks specifically mentions chief economic adviser R. Glenn Hubbard as part of “the gold standard of adviser teams.”

Really?  Hubbard was Bush 43’s Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, a man who pushed the Bush tax cuts, not just the pre-9/11 ones, but the 2003 cuts, despite our having to pay for two wars.  Hubbard was a huge fan of deregulation and derivatives.  In other words, Hubbard is high on the list of those who deserve blame for the economic collapse.

I don’t want him anywhere near the White House again.  Mr. Brooks, all that glitters is not gold.