Fumbling away the Senate majority in all likelihood, spurring a conservative renaissance and blowing Democrats’ historic opportunity for health-care reform, President Obama lamely thanks the victims-to-be. “Obama Thanks Democrats For ‘Hanging In There’ On Obamacare.”
Stumbling from crisis to crisis is no way to gain credibility. “As was the case in last fall’s CR/shutdown battle, this week Senator Cruz did not have a legislative strategy with an endgame. He neither presented an alternative strategy to his colleagues nor pursued one as a lone wolf on the Senate floor. In both cases he simply made a single aggressive tactical legislative move that didn’t point toward an alternative outcome, then accused his colleagues of being cowardly, unprincipled, and deceptive for not following his lead into a blind canyon. . . . While momentary rebellion is flashy and can feel good for a moment, it’s not a strategy to win, not how you change policy. And the goal is to change policy for the better, not just to build a bigger mailing list, right?”
Bumbling U.S. policy in Syria leads to predictable results. “Peace talks between Syria’s government and opposition were left in limbo on Saturday after a top United Nations mediator declined to set a date for the next round of negotiations, citing his frustration with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” Another Obama-Hillary Clinton-John Kerry fiasco.
Grumbling conservatives will note they have been making this exact argument for years now. Sandy Berger suggests: “With no political solution immediately forthcoming, we need to shift course. The Geneva process should continue; it is how the war will end. But the United States must pursue a strong set of actions that would address the immediate threat posed by al-Qaeda in Syria and give Geneva a chance to succeed.” You don’t say? I wonder why Hillary Clinton didn’t think of this.
Humbling — at least it should be for the administration — to see its Syria policy collapse. John Kerry: “None of us are surprised that the talks have been hard, and that we are at a difficult moment, but we should all agree that the Assad regime’s obstruction has made progress even tougher.” What in the world did he expect?!
Crumbling Big Labor, specifically the UAW, loses at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee. Conservatives did some impressive community organizing. “The worker-to-worker outreach, by contrast, was carried out by a dedicated core of anti-union employees who handed out flyers, voiced their opposition through a website and social media, and held a big meeting one Saturday to make their case. . . . [P]eople on the fence were persuaded by a clause in the Neutrality Agreement negotiated between Volkswagen and the UAW before the election, which established this as one of the principles of collective bargaining: ‘maintaining and where possible enhancing the cost advantages and other competitive advantages that VWGOA enjoys relative to its competitors in the United States and North America.’ In other words, keeping wages and benefits from getting too high relative to the already-unionized Big Three automakers in Detroit.”
Mumbling ineffectually is a good way to describe this president’s foreign policy. “The President needs to get out of the bubble and take a long hard look at what is going wrong. Jimmy Carter (a man whose basic foreign policy instincts are very close to President Obama’s) had a sudden moment of clarity when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. As his defenders correctly point out, the decisions he made in the last 18 months of his presidency prepared the way for Ronald Reagan’s more confrontational approach. It’s a moment like this that President Obama needs. Perhaps at some point the accumulation of snubs, rebuffs, and failures coming out of his Syria policy will help him push the reset button on a foreign policy approach that’s increasingly corroding his and his country’s standing in the world.” Read the whole thing.
Rumbling with the far right again. “Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) delivered a message to Tea Party critics when he cast a decisive vote Wednesday that led to Senate passage of a debt-ceiling hike: Bring it on. In perhaps his most defining moment in the 113th Congress, McConnell strode up to the dais and declared his ‘aye’ vote in a clear voice heard throughout the chamber. It broke the impasse and seven more Republicans soon voted as well to end the filibuster. . . . Supporters of McConnell inside and outside the Senate said it was a moment of real leadership for the longtime Kentucky senator, who, over the past year, has voted more often with Tea Party groups as he readied for the tough primary challenge.” The primary challenge isn’t that tough, actually.