But Corbyn has struggled mightily since becoming the opposition leader and he now finds himself in the midst of a full-blown intra-party crisis over the question of whether to authorize U.K. bombing raids against ISIS inside Syria. He’s vigorously against it, but dozens of Labour members of Parliament back expanded military action in the wake of the Paris attacks. In the U.K., where the opposition leader has his own “shadow cabinet,” the vast majority of Corbyn’s backs airstrikes.
The House of Commons is expected to vote Wednesday on intervening in Syria. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is nervous because Parliament voted down his request to bomb the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad two years ago (just as the U.S. Congress, in essence, rejected President Obama’s request). Concerned about some in his coalition peeling off, Cameron could call off the vote if he can’t be assured of some Labour MPs crossing over to back his government.
The political class in London spent the weekend buzzing about whether Corbyn, who has been drumming up grassroots opposition, will give his caucus a “free vote” – letting them back the strikes – or if he’ll insist on party discipline and demand members oppose them. He’s expected to reveal his plans at a leadership meeting today. It’s a dramatic moment getting wall-to-wall coverage in British media. If Corbyn chooses to whip the vote, several leading ministers in his coalition are expected to resign. His shadow foreign secretary, for instance, has been publicly supportive of airstrikes. Three Labour members have called on Corbyn to step down. And local news reports say that some have sought legal advice about ways they could oust Corbyn as leader. Meanwhile, Corbyn allies have suggested that they will replace disloyal ministers.
The hardcore base of the Labour party, still feeling burned over the imbroglio in Iraq, is with Corbyn. And he feels strongly that he has a mandate because of his recent election. But many MPs argue that the proposed resolution is narrowly tailored to prevent boots on the ground, and that knee-jerk opposition to the use of force is imprudent.
In a reflection of how hard it is to adapt from winning the outside game to playing the inside game, there has been a string of other unforced errors. Just last week, one of Corbyn’s closest allies quoted from Mao’s “Little Red Book” and tossed a copy at the British equivalent of the Treasury secretary. Corbyn has a toxic relationship with mainstream media outlets on Fleet Street—even the coverage in left-leaning outlets is pretty brutal—but he retains a zealous band of activists who support him vocally on social media.
Labour members of Parliament are increasingly panicked about electoral backlash, but he’s unbowed. “I feel there are some people who haven’t quite got used to the idea the party is in a different place,” Corbyn told the BBC yesterday. “I’m not going anywhere.”
The showdown in Britain echoes a messy American — and global — debate over how involved the international community should get in Syria, and in what way. Russia and France are pounding the country with airstrikes, along with the U.S., but defining the goals and the endgame continues to be challenging. Some in Congress want to see a formal authorization of military force, but Obama shows no signs of getting sucked into a Hill fight that could only wind up tying his hands.
Corbyn’s struggle also foreshadows the sort of challenge that someone like Sanders, or Ted Cruz for that matter, would have if they actually won power. The hostility toward establishment figures has made 2015 the year of the outsider across the West. But as we enter December, the pushback here in London could give an early indication of how the tide might ebb across the pond.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— Authorities identified a veteran of the Iraq war and a married mother of two as the civilians killed Friday when a gunman opened fire inside a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. From The Post’s story: “The 29-year-old veteran, Ke’Arre Marcell Stewart, was a DJ, an entrepreneur and, by all accounts, a devoted father to his two young daughters. Jennifer Markovsky also had two children, a son and a daughter. The 35-year-old Hawaii native had gone to the nearby Planned Parenthood clinic to support a friend. …. The attack also killed Officer Garrett Swasey of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police and left nine other people wounded.”
The suspect, 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear Jr., is being held without bond and is scheduled to appear in court today. “He has been described by people who know him as a malcontent and a drifter who has had numerous run-ins with the law over the years.” It emerged on Saturday that Dear shouted “no more baby parts” to explain his motive.
Was it only a matter of time? Abortion rights groups say that political rhetoric contributed to the shooting. “Ever since the summer, when an antiabortion group accused Planned Parenthood of illegally selling fetal tissue, threats against the organization had escalated to unprecedented levels,” abortion providers tell Sandya Somashekhar. “They stepped up collaboration with the FBI and local police and stiffened security at clinics. But on Friday, their worst fears came true.”
— The University of Chicago cancelled all classes for today after FBI counter-terrorism officials warned administrators of possible gun violence directed at the campus. An online threat warned of an attack at 10 a.m. on the “campus quad.” The school’s medical center, located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood in the South Side, will remain open with added security, but most other parts of the university will be shut down. (Chicago Tribune)
— A charter bus carrying college students back from Thanksgiving break overturned south of Richmond: “The passengers were mainly students picked up in Richmond who were returning to campuses of the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Radford University elsewhere in the state,” per the AP. No one was killed, but least one person is seriously injured and 35 others are being treated for minor injuries.
— President Obama is preparing an executive order to increase pay for the 7,000 members of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service. Joe Davidson reports: “A draft order now being considered says federal agencies ‘shall … gradually increase the rate of basic pay of all SES employees’ to ensure they are not paid less than subordinates. … The order would be implemented in stages, with agencies required to prepare a rotation plan for senior executives by May 31.”
— Donald Trump’s campaign canceled a press conference scheduled for today that was intended to unveil endorsements from African-American clergy. The meeting sparked controversy after a “Black Lives Matters” protester was roughed up at a Trump rally in Alabama (“maybe he should have been roughed up,” The Donald contended). Forty pastors were originally expected to endorse Trump after the meeting, but some black faith leaders took to social media to bash Trump and any movement to back his candidacy. Others who were said to be backing him denied that they had committed.
— A fearless Pope Francis visited a Muslim mosque in a dangerous Central African Republic neighborhood. He called for an end to the religion-based violence that has claimed more than 6,000 lives there in the past two years. Our Kevin Sieff, who is there, notes this is the first papal visit into an armed conflict in recent memory.
GET SMART FAST:
- Turkey will receive $3.2 billion in E.U. aid to help care for Syrian refugees in exchange for agreeing to limit the number of migrants it allows to enter Europe. (Loveday Morris)
- Lawyers for the latest White House fence jumper say their client is not “violent” or “militant,” but simply had an unusual method of delivering ideas to improve the government. (Martin Weil)
- Chicago will expand a program to equip police officers with body cameras in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting. (AP)
- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorneys will try to convince a judge to give the Boston Marathon bomber a new trial on the grounds that it was impossible for a Boston jury to be objective. (ABC)
- On Black Friday, 151 million went shopping, but it’s unclear whether that’s more than last year the National Retail Fund changed its survey methodology. Today is Cyber Monday. (Sarah Halzack)
- Air evacuations of soldiers with traumatic brain injuries may be hurting more than helping due to the negative effects of cabin air pressure, according to a new University of Maryland study. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
- Adele’s new album “25” sold 3.38 million copies in its first week, easily shattering the previous record of two million held by NSYNC. (USA Today)
- Basketball legend Kobe Bryant will retire at the end of the season. (ESPN)
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS
- Hillary Clinton unveiled a $275 billion jobs plan, which calls for pumping federal money directly into infrastructure projects. (Abby Phillip)
- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said some museums may offer minimal benefit to the public while enabling wealthy donors to reap substantial tax advantages. (New York Times)
- The New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed Chris Christie, saying he is the right man “for these dangerous times.” The once-powerful newspaper’s editorial board didn’t exactly do wonders for Newt Gingrich in the Granite State four years ago…. (Union Leader front-page editorial)
- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh endorsed Hillary Clinton. (Abby D. Phillip)
SUNDAY SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:
— Ben Carson, appearing on several shows from Jordan after visiting two Syrian refugee camps, said the United States should focus on supporting existing facilities sheltering those who have fled the Syrian civil war. “We’re hearing that they all want to come here to the United States. And that’s not what they want. They want to go back home,” Carson said “This Week.” “But they said the United States and other nations could be much more supportive of the herculean efforts manifested by the Jordanians in taking in people at a lot of expense to themselves.” He also said the refugees he met with knew he wasn’t referring to everyday Syrians as “rabid dogs” but radicals and jihadists. (Jose A. DelReal)
— Trump continued to defend his discredited claim that he saw TV footage of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks. (NBC News)
— Carly Fiorina criticized Trump for mocking a New York Times reporter with a congenital joint condition, saying Trump “only feels big when is trying to make everyone else look small.” (Jose A. DelReal)
— Jeb Bush said he would embed American troops with the Iraqi army and arm the Kurds. (CBS News)
— John Kasich said his plan to defeat ISIS includes building a coalition with several Middle Eastern countries, similar to the Gulf War. (ABC)
— Lindsey Graham told “Face the Nation” that the U.S. must commit ground forces to fight ISIS. (CBS)
DRIVING THE WEEK: THE U.N. CLIMATE SUMMIT IN PARIS
More than 140 world leaders are gathering for high-stakes climate talks that start today. It’s a big legacy play for President Obama, and every key administration figure is in Paris.
Expectations are high, but so are the stakes: Research suggests that the world can ultimately expect to see about seven feet of gradual, long-term sea-level rise for every degree of warming. “The central goal of the gathering is to forge an agreement that would set the world on a path to ultimately restrict planetary warming to less than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures,” Chris Mooney reports in a preview of the talks. “But as ambitious as this effort is, time and numbers are working against it. Some scientists and analysts now suggest the two-degree target may be all but out of reach. The world has waited so long to cut emissions, they say, that sticking to two degrees may require extremely harsh cuts that could damage economies, or the assumption of future technologies that have not been invented yet.”
Fact: 2015 is the hottest year on record. Blue spots below are colder than average. Red spots are warmer. The darkest red shows the warmest temperature on record.
News: Obama and Bill Gates will unveil a major effort to spur spending on climate research today. “A coalition of governments and private investors is preparing to launch a major research initiative that seeks to pour billions of dollars into an urgent search for solutions to global warming,” Joby Warrick reports. “President Obama and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are expected to stand with counterparts from more than 20 countries in announcing the unprecedented effort, which is aimed at spurring rapid advances in research and development for clean energy, U.S. officials confirmed Sunday. Nineteen governments, including the United States, China and India, will join in a ‘Mission Innovation’ initiative that commits governments to a doubling of public investments in basic energy research over the next five years, Obama administration officials said.”
Protests: Hundreds of thousands of environmentalists took part in rallies around the world on Sunday. In Paris, where a state of emergency bans mass demonstrations, violence erupted between French riot police and several hundred activists at a major square. Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters throwing projectiles.
Bracketing: Mitch McConnell stresses that nothing Obama agrees to will be binding. In an op-ed for The Post, the Senate Majority Leader writes: “It’s unclear what the president hopes to achieve at this U.N. conference, given that Secretary of State John F. Kerry recently said that there are ‘not going to be legally binding reduction targets‘ and that large countries including Japan have echoed the sentiment. But this much is clear. We know that the president is concerned with his legacy, and we know that he often prioritizes symbolism over substance. If Obama thinks it’s okay to push a power plan that threatens working families for the benefit of, at best, a carbon rounding error, then he should say so. But Congress and more than half of the states have already made clear that he won’t be speaking for us. The courts will also continue working to determine if this power plan is legal.”
Why the administration is not calling whatever comes out of Paris a treaty: “Earlier this month, Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Joe Manchin (D-WestVa.) introduced a sense-of-the-Senate resolution insisting the president seek the Senate’s advice and consent on ‘any protocol, amendment, extension or other agreement’ reached at the Paris conference,” The Post’s Karoun Demirjian and Steven Mufson note. Administration officials, knowing the Senate would reject anything they agree to, have been adamant that they will do no such thing.
— “The GOP’s identity-politics crisis: Holding race-card aces but loath to play them,” by Marc Fisher: “After years of deriding Democrats for dividing Americans into hyphenated subgroups, Republicans face a tantalizing and vexing prospect this year. With two sons of Cuban immigrants, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, joining a famed African American surgeon, Ben Carson, near the top of the polls, they have a unique opportunity to reach out to minorities as the party has long wanted to. Some party officials say the Republicans’ more diverse field of candidates — especially in contrast to the Democrats’ all-white list — is evidence of conservatism’s broadening appeal. But others, loath to adopt the identity politics they associate with liberalism, maintain that the focus must stay on conservative ideas rather than the ethnicity of the people touting them.”
— “Fear and fury in Freddie Gray’s Baltimore neighborhood as first of six officers goes on trial,” by Peter Hermann and John Woodrow Cox: “The morning sun had just reached West Baltimore when William Tyler stepped out of his rowhouse into a neighborhood that, nearly seven months after the riots’ fires had been extinguished, was still smoldering. He stood for a moment in the long shadow of the battered public housing project across the street, where Freddie Gray spent much of his time before suffering a severe spinal injury while in police custody on April 12 and dying a week later. Tyler, 44, knows many outside this world hoped that the charges filed against the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest would bring a measure of peace and optimism to a place chronically devoid of both. They haven’t. Instead, in the riots’ wake, violence has exploded. Earlier this month, the city topped 300 killings in a single year for the first time since 1999, bringing the near-constant sound of blaring sirens and droning helicopters to West Baltimore and the deployment of dozens of additional officers to the most desperate areas. Now, the long-troubled relationship between law enforcement and the community where Tyler has lived since childhood faces a new, complicated test as the accused in Gray’s arrest and death go on trial.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: The Thanksgiving holiday saw Ted Cruz continue to grab a larger share of the media voice. Over the past five days, our analytics partners at Zignal Labs relay that Cruz had more mentions than any other GOP candidate but Trump. Cruz continues to be bolstered by his flat-tax plan and proposal to abolish the Internal Revenue Service. That, and Cruz’s description of the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter as a “transgendered lefist activist” has set Twitter all, well, atwitter. [Cruz’s campaign explains he was not actually saying the shooter was those things, but he was trying to demonstrate how little was known with certainty in the hours after the shooting.]
The New York Times runs its version of the “Cruz surges” story today, following The Post and several other outlets over the past week: “In fact, Cruz’s Iowa bandwagon, long churning in relative obscurity, seems to be approaching capacity. Event audiences have swelled. … During a weekend swing through central and southern Iowa, Mr. Cruz filled a high school common area in Lamoni and prayed with a well-wishing pastor in the parking lot of a Casey’s General Store. He ordered fried pickles in Mt. Ayr and thanked officers in Lenox for opening a campaign car after a member of Mr. Cruz’s staff locked the keys inside. At a church in Des Moines on Sunday morning, Mr. Cruz expressed faux regret that his team had invited members of the news media — ‘I apologize for bringing pestilence and plague into the church,’ he said to laughs — and he acted out a scene from the film ‘The Princess Bride.'”
–Pictures of the day:
President Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo paused for a moment of silence at Le Bataclan in Paris:
Workers put up the Washington Post sign at our new building:
NASA released an artist’s rendering of a supermassive black hole in honor of the 3rd annual Blackhole Friday:
Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) caught up with President George H. W. Bush at the University of Houston-Navy game:
–Tweets of the day:
Donald Trump boasted about his crowds in Florida:
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) poked fun at Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for their frequent presence on the Sunday political shows:
Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) shared his thoughts on self-serve kiosks at McDonald’s:
Sounds like Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) didn’t do much Black Friday shopping:
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) mourned the victims of the shooter at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs:
— Instagrams of the day, holiday weekend edition:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is the official “turkey” fryer in his family, according to wife Cindy:
DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz shared a photo of her Thanksgiving table:
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) helped get his house ready for the holiday with a few chores:
Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) showed his kids decorating their Christmas tree:
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) showed his stripes as a Star Wars fan with a Yoda Christmas ornament:
Christmas decorating began at the White House:
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) brought out his Model T after Thanksgiving:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— Wall Street Journal, “Marco Rubio straddles line between insider, outsider,” by Patrick O’Connor and Byron Tau: “Marco Rubio likes to remind GOP primary voters of the long odds he faced running for the Senate in 2010. ‘Everybody in the Republican establishment came forward and said, ‘You can’t run, it’s not your turn, you’ve got to wait in line,’’ Mr. Rubio told the crowd at a recent campaign stop in early-voting Iowa. The underdog narrative helps Mr. Rubio cast himself as a political outsider to a party desperate for change. But it glosses over a basic fact: The 44-year-old Florida senator has spent the bulk of his working life in politics, reared by the party whose leaders he occasionally campaigns against. This tension between Rubio the insider and Rubio the outsider is in some ways his biggest challenge—positioning himself as a bridge candidate, while some of his rivals target evangelicals and tea-party conservatives and others try to rally the establishment. At the same time, the breadth of Mr. Rubio’s support across the party could make him particularly suited to unite the fractious GOP. This could prove to be a benefit in a general election.”
— Huffington Post, “In confidential memo, Hillary Clinton urged Obama to close Gitmo,” by Ryan J. Reilly: “Weeks before she stepped down as secretary of state (in Jan. 2013), Hillary Clinton wrote a memo urging President Barack Obama to step up his administration’s efforts to close the military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in his second term. … Clinton told Obama she worried that support for closing Guantanamo would further erode unless the administration took action. ‘We must signal to our old and emerging allies alike that we remain serious about turning the page of GTMO and the practices of the prior decade,’ Clinton wrote in the document, using the military abbreviation for the U.S. naval base. ‘The revitalization of transfers, efforts to prosecute some detainees in federal courts, a longer-term approach to the return of Yemeni detainees, and credible periodic reviews would send the signal and renew a credible detention policy.’ She also encouraged Obama to consider moving Guantanamo detainees into the country. ‘If the law permits, I recommend that you consider transfers to the United States for pre-trial detention, trial, and sentences,’ Clinton wrote.”
— The AP got ahold of Hillary Clinton’s schedule from the State Department after a two-year FOIA fight. Though there are redactions of the 1,294 pages of calendars, Stephen Braun reports that the then-secretary “met or spoke by phone with nearly 100 corporate executives, Clinton charity donors and political supporters during her four years at the State Department between 2009 and 2013. In addition, at least 60 of those who met with Clinton have donated or pledged program commitments to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. A dozen have been among Hillary Clinton’s most reliable political fundraisers, bundling more than $100,000 in donations during her failed 2008 presidential campaign or providing larger amounts to Clinton-allied super political action committees this time. And at least six entities represented in the meetings paid Bill Clinton lucrative fees for speeches.”
— Boston Globe, “Wellesley was a ‘touchstone’ for Hillary Clinton,” by Annie Linskey: “Like many others, Clinton has fond and lasting memories of her college days, but she also has taken care to nurture her ties to it even as her career has grown. … For Clinton, the relationship with the college spans nearly every chapter of her life. … ‘I see myself in years to come making time to go be a guest lecturer or spend other occasions there,’ Clinton [told Linskey in an interview]. ‘I always think about it.’ At the same time, the practical needs of a campaign are also served by her Wellesley network. Twenty percent of the members of Wellesley’s board of trustees have written checks to Clinton’s campaign.” The piece includes a vivid scene of Clinton meeting 45 students at the school: “I thought she might cry,” recalled Ahilya Chawla, a Wellesley College senior who cofounded a group of students supporting Clinton on campus. “But she’s Hillary; she doesn’t cry.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard makes mark on party by defying it. From the New York Times: “Gabbard, Democrat of Hawaii, has a reputation among her colleagues for being a composed, contemplative presence in a chamber more prone to reaction than reflection. But lately she has started to shed that persona. Since the deadly attacks in Paris, she has become a high-profile critic of President Obama’s policies in Syria … That unexpected burst came just weeks after she bucked the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, by calling for more presidential candidate debates.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
New book chronicles Jeb camp’s efforts to undercut Rubio over the past year. From a BuzzFeed excerpt of McKay Coppins’ “The Wilderness”: “Indeed, beneath the glossy exterior of his public profile — that of the compassionate conservative, the happy warrior, the good-natured reformer — Jeb possessed a hard-edged, often ruthless political style that ran through his entire rise and reign in the Sunshine State … It wasn’t until Rubio dazzled a roomful of donors at the Koch brothers summit in Rancho Mirage that Jeb and his tight-knit 2016 team decided the young senator needed to be neutralized. For their new mission, they adopted a code name: ‘Homeland Security’ … All [Rubio] needed was a gentle reminder of his place in the pecking order. And so the word went out to Jeb’s army of foot soldiers: Carry the message.”
–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Clinton attends a fundraiser in the District organized by female Democratic senators. After meeting with black pastors in New York, Trump holds an evening rally in Macon, Ga. In Iowa, Cruz holds events in Coralville, Clinton and Bettendorf, Kasich stops in Cedar Rapids and Ames; Huckabee greets voters in Sidney and Glenwood; and Jeb speaks in Goose Lake. In New Hampshire, Christie stops in Portsmouth and Loudon; Rubio is in Laconia and Rye; and Martin O’Malley speaks in Manchester, North Conway and Somersworth. Less than 10 weeks out from Iowa, The Post’s Robert Costa notes that several of the GOP candidates are HUNKERING DOWN and putting all their chips on a single state.
–On the Hill: The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. The House meets at 2 p.m. for legislative business and 6:30 p.m. for votes.
–At the White House: President Obama attends a climate summit in Paris, where he will attend bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The pope is here! The fighting is over,” Africans cheered in the streets as Francis drove past on his way to visit a mosque.
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— More gloomy weather: “Today is rather similar to yesterday, with thick clouds blocking out the sun and at least periodic dampness,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “Drizzle is a risk throughout, perhaps focused early in the day. Showers and light rain should become more likely with time as well, as a little low pressure system rides a front to our south. The bulk of the consistent rain during the day should try to stay south of us. Cold air is actually a little more intense aloft, so many spots may end up a notch chillier here on the ground compared to yesterday as well. Not a huge difference though. Highs are mostly in the low-and-mid 40s, with a few upper 40s possible. Winds are from the north around 5-10 mph.”
— The Redskins have moved into first place in the NFC East after beating the New York Giants 20-14. That’s despite their 5-6 record. (Liz Clarke)
— The Nationals are losing Jordan Zimmermann, who signed a five-year contract with the Detroit Tigers after pitching seven seasons for Washington. (Chelsea Janes)
— Virginia Tech hired Memphis coach Justine Fuente to replace Frank Beamer, who retired after 27 years leading the Hokies. (Ava Wallace)
— Mike London resigned as Virginia’s football coach after six seasons. (Ava Wallace)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Check out NASA’s rendering of a black hole in action:
The White House Christmas tree arrived on Friday:
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) showed viewers how to make pumpkin cheesecake: