September 10, 2013

* With Obama set to address the nation tonight at 9 p.m., White House speechwriters are revising to keep pace with events, notably the emerging diplomatic solution for international control over Syria’s chemical weapons:

Mr. Obama is now expected to say that the threat of military action has led to the diplomatic opening, and to urge Congress to keep the pressure on Syria even as his administration examines whether the Russian proposal is serious or a way to obstruct military action.

As best as I can determine, the Congressional vote on authorization has been put on hold indefinitely, which will give lawmakers a way to stay quiet while events unfold.

* Indeed, the President specifically asked Senate Democrats today to delay a vote to give the diplomatic process time to unfold, while also asking them to keep the threat of military force credible.

* A daunting challenge for the President: Historians tell Joel Achenbach they can’t think of a time when a Congressional vote to authorize presidential warmaking powers was this much in doubt.

* Robert Costa reports the White House is privately wooing GOP “hawk” Senators to get them on board with the emerging diplomatic solution, to make it easier to win wide support, thus again confirming this could be real.

* Amanda Terkel’s sources claim Obama officials have been discussing the Syrian chemical weapons deal for a year, raising questions as to whether the administration really stumbled into this solution, as the claim has it.

* Steve Benen and Rachel Maddow on how the GOP response on Syria, which is not comparable to the Dem posture on Bush, has again unmasked it as a non-functional, even pathological opposition, with real consequences for a very important debate.

* David Drucker has the latest on that House GOP scheme to keep the government funded while simultaneously voting (unsuccessfully) to defund Obamacare. Conservatives are seeing right through this, and are demanding a real defund-Obamacare vote, prompting pushback from the GOP leadership:

House Republican leaders on Tuesday criticized a plan to defund Obamacare by threatening to shut down the government as a fantasy scenario concocted by outside groups to raise money, and urged GOP lawmakers to swiftly approve a temporary spending bill needed to keep the government open.

A money raising fantasy? Do tell! Love how GOP leaders are shocked by the vehemence of the defund-Obamacare crusade they helped feed for literally years now.

* The conservative Club for Growth calls on GOP lawmakers to vote down the GOP leadership scheme to avoid a shutdown, again raising the possibility House Republicans won’t even be able to pass that themselves, without Dems.

What happens then?

* Meanwhile:

Senate Democrats are waiting for House Republicans to prove they actually can pass a bill through their chamber before committing to a plan.

In other words, Senate Dems will simply wait to see if House Republicans can pass anything funding the government at current levels.

* Good point from Paul Krugman: The GOP refusal to grapple with what Obamacare actually does in policy terms could lead Republicans to badly miscalculate in their crusade to block the law, resulting in political disaster.

* And I missed this one, but Ted Cruz and other conservatives are palling around with David Barton, the evangelical historian who questions the division between church and state and is a diehard foe of Obama’s Common Core educational standards.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.