Tonight we’re watching the State of the Union address to see exactly what the last two years of the Obama presidency may bring. It will be a tough few years given the group that was sent to Congress last fall. We’re about to see a bunch of whackadoodle dandies go wild. There are several rumors up on the internet concerning possible executive orders that will be announced to tonight. Here is one of the more interesting ones.
It is being reported that one of President Obama’s surprises at the State Of The Union will be an announcement of an executive order that will take on the Koch Brothers and Citizens United.
Eleanor Clift of The Daily Beast reported:
Wednesday is the fifth anniversary of Citizens United, and reformers have been told that the president may announce executive action in his SOTU speech that would require businesses contracting with the government to disclose political contributions after contracts have been awarded. This would ensure that the contracting process is blind, but also give the public (and the media) the information needed to connect the dots to look for backroom deals or conflicts of interest.
Guess who happens to have multi-million dollar contracts with the Department of Defense? The federal government hatingKoch Brothers have tens of millions of dollars in defense contracts with the federal government. Rush Limbaugh also has a federal government contract that allows his showto be broadcast on the American Forces Network.
It is possible that the president will announce this executive order tonight, but he may also decide to wait and make a separate announcement. When/if the president does decide to make this announcement it will be a huge boost to transparency. The Koch brothers have a web of secret organizations that they route their money through, so most of their campaign spending will remain a secret, but it will become a bit easier to connect the dots and figure how much direct influence campaign donations are having on public policy decisions.
Ron Fournier of the National Journal suggests we just the President’s agenda with this set of criteria. Progress or Politics?
Republicans just seized control of Congress. President Obama’s job-approval ratings just jumped. Gas prices and the unemployment rate are down. The gross domestic product is up. Now what? Democratic and Republican leaders face a choice: Begin governing together, or treat this moment like just another stop on a perpetual campaign.
Unfortunately, both the White House and the GOP-led Congress seem focused prematurely on 2016. Republicans are sending to the White House legislation they know Obama will veto. The president is pushing an agenda he knows Congress won’t pass. It’s a recipe for more gridlock, more fighting, more courting of donors and ignoring the needs of a country in transition.
In other words: The state of the union is the status quo.
If you’re OK with that, stop reading. If you’d rather see progress than partisan gains, consider this: The State of the Union address is an opportunity for the president to chart a path toward consensus on issues like jobs, social mobility, education, infrastructure, energy, the debt, the environment, and terrorism.
Is Obama more interested in politics or progress? Here are five ways to tell from his address tonight.
Isn’t Obama a lame duck? After all, this speech comes after Republicans won control of both chambers for the first time this presidency. Here’s a trivia question: When was the last time a President gave his seventh year State of the Union to a Congress that wasn’t controlled by the other party? Answer: Franklin Roosevelt in 1939. Every other two termer had lost control of Congress by the last lap of his presidency. They all faced a steeper political terrain than Obama does. Dwight Eisenhower faced Cold War setbacks. Ronald Reagan spoke in 1987 right after the Iran-Contra scandal broke, and he had to lead the speech with a discussion and apology. Bill Clinton was in the middle of his Senate impeachment trial in 1999. And George W. Bush spoke at a time when we were losing in Iraq. He faced withering controversy over the “surge” of troops, which proved a good policy, but made for a challenging speech environment. Some of them had productive last two years; some didn’t. But there is much room for a creative president and Congress to achieve things, even by fighting.
For President Obama, the new party balance offers some unexpected benefits. In recent years, Congress has been paralyzed, polarized, and entirely dysfunctional. Now conservatives control it, but at least it might actually pass legislation. Obama suddenly will be more central, more relevant than he has been in domestic politics over the past year. His veto pen will be all that stands between the Republican agenda and enactment. He can draw lines, pick fights, or choose cooperation. In so doing, too, he will have the ability to make broad public arguments in the context of a real debate—on the economy, on the role of government, on contentious long-term issues such as climate change.
How can the President use this diminished but still potent platform?
President Obama is courting controversy with his decision to address a group that has become dominated in recent years by extremists.
Some have questioned the appropriateness of the President speaking to such an extremist group, especially because in the past it has issued threats against the United States government.
The three major networks will not be showing the President’s speech tonight. We will be doing this tonight on our blog because it’s an extremely important issue. You will be able to watch it on the cable news networks and of course, Univision who will be delaying its live telecast of the Latin Grammys to give airtime to Obama at 8 p.m. EST.
Here’s some background information.
How does America feel about Immigration and immigration reform? Here’s seven charts that break out poll results.
He then opened up the program to callers, including “Steve” – who asked the Republican elected official what typically happens in history “when one culture or one race or one religion overwhelms another culture or race.”
“When one race or culture overwhelms another culture, they run them out or they kill them,” the caller said, warning that immigrant groups sought the return of former Spanish territories in the U.S.
Kobach initially threw cold water on the caller’s suggestion before implying President Barack Obama was tacitly endorsing violence against whites.
“What protects us in America from any kind of ethnic cleansing is the rule of law, of course,” Kobach said. “The rule of law used to be unassailable, used to be taken for granted in America, and now, of course, we have a president who disregards the law when it suits his interests.”
“So while I normally would answer that by saying, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never happen in America,’” Kobach continued, “I wonder what could happen. I still don’t think it’s going to happen in America, but I have to admit, things are strange and they are happening.”
There’s some interesting analysis out there on what all the reactions by Republicans will do to the next two years.
Republican leaders who had hoped to focus on corporate tax reform, fast-track trade pacts, repealing the president’s healthcare law and loosening environmental restrictions on coal are instead being dragged into an immigration skirmish that they’ve tried studiously to avoid for most of the last year.
That’s largely because the question of how to handle the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. bitterly divides Republicans, and the party has been unable to agree on an alternative to the president’s plan.
To many, stark warnings from Boehner and McConnell sound more like pleas to the president to avoid reenergizing the GOP’s conservative wing, whose leaders are already threatening to link the president’s immigration plan to upcoming budget talks.
Another government shutdown is not what McConnell and Boehner had in mind when their party won control of Congress this month.
In fact, McConnell said flatly a day after the election that another shutdown would not happen. But calls by firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to use “all procedural means necessary” during Congress’ lame-duck session to block the White House’s immigration plans have left leaders scrambling to tame their rebellious ranks.
Republican leaders are increasingly concerned that if Obama follows through, the anti-immigrant fervor in their party will rise to an unappealing crescendo and the rank-and-file’s desire to confront the president will overtake other party priorities.
So, hang on until it’s all announced at 8:00 pm EST and we’ll see if all hell breaks loose like Crazy Tom Coburn is projecting.
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a political firestorm but acts of civil disobedience and even violence in reaction to President Obama’s executive order on immigration Thursday.
“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Coburn said on Capital Download. “You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. … You could see violence.”
This is breaking news. With 68% of the precinct reporting, it appears that Eric Cantor will lose his seat in Congress.Here’s some information on the race from earlier today.
Disorganization and poor funding have stymied the campaign of tea party activist David Brat, even as he tapped into conservative resentment toward a party leader who has been courting the Republican right for years.
Brat, an economics professor, simply failed to show up to D.C. meetings with powerful conservative agitators last month, citing upcoming finals. He only had $40,000 in the bank at the end of March, according to first quarter filings. Cantor had $2 million.
Despite those shortcomings, Brat has exposed discontent with Cantor in the solidly Republican, suburban Richmond 7th Congressional District by attacking the lawmaker on his votes to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, as well as his support for some immigration reforms. At a May meeting of Republican activists in the district, Cantor was booed, and an ally he campaigned for was ousted as the local party chairman in favor of a tea party favorite
Cantor was assumed to be the next Republican Speak of the House should Boehner resign. Cantor lives in suburban Virginia.
Another old school republican, Lindsey Graham, is on the ballot too and facing a tea party challenger tonight also.
Graham’s opponents are divided and getting little help from powerful anti-establishment outside groups.
With the most recent poll indicating Graham close to the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff, he spent the day before the primary on a bus tour through the conservative, voter-rich upstate region.
In his final campaign commercial before the primary, Graham touted his conservative credentials, which he said included support for “building the Keystone pipeline, opposing Obamacare, looking for answers on Benghazi, standing up for our military.”
Turn on the TV to watch the exploding talking heads of Washington.
In one of the biggest political upsets in recent memory, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary election on Tuesday to a political unknown who focused his campaign on Cantor’s support for a path to citizenship for the children of immigrants.
Randolph-Macon College economics professor Dave Brat won the Republican primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Brat had 56 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44 percent when the Associated Press called the race just after 8 p.m.
Cantor’s defeat will send shockwaves throughout Washington. The House majority leader was one of the most well-known Republican figures in the country, reputed for his strategic acumen and political ambition. He wielded an immense amount of clout within the Capitol and was widely expected to one day seek to become the speaker of the House.
His primary was never expected to be seriously competitive, and his loss is catching everyone — from veterans of Virginia politics to longtime analysts in Washington — by surprise.
The speculation is that District Republicans did not like his squishy stand on immigration and his talk of le Republican “Dream Act”. He also was not spending a lot of time in the District itself.
The big news of the evening: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost the Virginia GOP primary to Tea Party challenger Dave Brat … a Christian Reconstructionist who cites 16th century theologian John Calvin as an influence. Just what we need, another extreme right wing religious fundamentalist in Congress.
When it comes to rebutting President Obama’s national address Tuesday night, Republicans have four different approaches from four different corners of the party’s ideological wings.
This four-vs.-one approach, to some, is the result of the expanding media universe that allows many different views to be heard, reaching so many different voters. Yet others see the various responses as a sign of a divided Republican Party that cannot unite around the single idea or a single voice to respond to Obama’s State of the Union address.
After President Obama delivers hisState of the Union address tonight, all eyes will turn to Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress, who will deliver the GOP’s rebuttal.
While giving the rebuttal address is a major opportunity to shine in prime time, the Republican response to the State of the Union during Obama’s presidency has seemed more like a curse.
Those who have come before McMorris Rodgers have made embarrassing fumbles, have left politics all together, lost a national race or now face federal charges.
She reminds me of the reanimated dead people from American Horror Story. #GOPresponse
This is all I’m hearing: “Who’s got the cutest feetsies? I’m going to eat those toes! Yes I am!” That’s what every GOP rebuttal sounds like.
Rep McMorris voted against raising the minimum wage and extending employment insurance.
It’s Miss Whatever from Romper Room…..#republicansoturesponse
Well, Cathy McMorris Rodgers said God more times in 4 minutes than Obama did in 75 minutes, so the GOP wins! GAME OVER!
McMorris Rodgers: GOP has “plans to close [income] gap, plans that focus on jobs first w/out more spending, government bailouts”
“GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD”- the Republican “response.”
McMorris-Rodgers’ dogwhistle abortion reference: parallel to how some would like us to return to keeping women’s health care a dirty secret.
Okay, and for the off brand responses:
Excerpts of his speech show Lee will pin the widening wealth gap on the president’s policies and tout the ideas of a new generation of leaders including himself and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
“Americans know in their hearts that something is wrong. Much of what is wrong relates to the sense that the ‘American Dream’ is falling out of reach for far too many of us,” Lee plans to say. “We are facing an inequality crisis — one to which the president has paid lip-service, but seems uninterested in truly confronting or correcting.”
Obama plans to use the State of the Union to announce executive actions to raise the minimum wage for new federal contracts, help the long-term unemployed find work and expand job-training programs.
Lee, an attorney who is halfway through his first term, was chosen by Tea Party Express because he is a recognized leader who is popular among the GOP base because of the message he delivers about improving the economy and reducing the size, cost and intrusiveness of the federal government, said Sal Russo, co-founder of the organization. Tea Party Express is a national group representing the movement.
“People who have been willing to stand up and say, ‘Stop,’ like Mike Lee, have drawn a great deal of support,” Russo said.
OK, Mike Lee gets the line of the night: “Obamacare is an inequality Godzilla” http://static.teapartyexpress.org/
“What I’ve been proposing is that we not shy away from the president on the debate about lowering taxes,” Paul said, speaking in his office. “I think the way to get to more jobs is to bring less money to Washington, leave more money with the businesses that create the jobs.”
Paul recently joined Snapchat and is a frequent presence on Facebook and Twitter. He noted that his response to the State of the Union will be easily disseminated through his online channels.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) announced Monday she will deliver her own State of the Union response in Spanish that will be televised by CNN, Telemundo Univision and other channels.
and I’m still trying to figure this out. I admit to being flummoxed.
Does anyone know what frequency my fillings need to be set at to hear Rand Paul and Mike Lee?
The chaos stemming from an insurrectionist movement within the Republican Party continues to be felt in all corners of the world. Meanwhile, a Capitol Police Officer–on duty but not being paid–has just been choppered off the West Lawn of the White House. It appears a woman tried to ram a gate at the White House.
“The United States Capitol Police have stabilized the incident,” officials said in a message.
The incident began a little after 2 p.m. when the woman tried to breach White House security at 15th St. and E but didn’t get through, law-enforcement sources said.
She was chased at high speeds for about 12 blocks, the sources said. Near the Capitol, she began firing and was shot, the sources said. Her condition was unknown.
The Capitol Police are having a live presser now. There was a baby in the car and it’s fine. Another presser is due at 4:15 est. They do not believe this is related to terrorism and is considered an isolated incident.
Meanwhile, the insane are still running the asylum: Bachmann: Republicans ‘About The Happiest’ They’ve Been In A While During Shutdown (VIDEO).
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Wednesday said she wasn’t worried about Republicans caving to pressure to end the government shutdown because “this is about the happiest” she’s seen her conservative colleagues in a long time.
Appearing with colleague Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Bachmann told Fox News host Sean Hannity that she believes there has been “strong unity” between conservatives on almost every budget vote.
“This is about the happiest I’ve seen members in a long time, because we see we are starting to win this dialogue on a national level,” she said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed just after 1 p.m. it has re-activated the Hurricane Liaison Team ahead of the anticipated landfall of Tropical Storm Karen.
For the latest on the storm’s strength and projected track click here.
“Gulf Coast residents in potentially impacted areas should take steps now to be prepared and follow the direction of local officials,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said in a prepared statement. “FEMA will continue to support our state and local partners as they prepare for any potential impacts.”
The liaison team works in tandem with the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was not immediately clear how many FEMA employees are affected by the re-activation.
Non-disaster FEMA personnel were deemed non-essential earlier in the week, but it remains to be seen how much of the agency the White House will reinstate to address the storm expected to make landfall Saturday or Sunday somewhere between eastern Louisiana and the Florida panhandle.
I am assuming these folks are going to be unpaid also.
Can the Republicans get over their wet dreams that we don’t need a federal government now?
There are 233 Republicans in the House. Insiders estimate that three-quarters of them, or about 175 GOP lawmakers, are willing, and perhaps even eager, to vote for a continuing resolution that funds the government without pressing the Republican goal of defunding or delaying Obamacare.
On the other side, insiders estimate about 30 House Republicans believe strongly that Obamacare is such a far-reaching and harmful law that the GOP should do everything it can — everything — to stop it or slow it down. That includes precipitating a standoff leading to a government shutdown. “This isn’t just another bill,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., one of the most vocal of the 30, told me. “This isn’t load limits on turnip trucks that we’re talking about. This is … an extremely consequential bill that will impact every American, and that’s why you have such passionate opinions.”
Another 20 to 30 GOP members sympathize with that position but might be willing to compromise, except for the fact that they fear a primary challenge from the Right.
In the continuing resolution fight, it is the 30 most committed members, along with their 20-30 allies in the next-most-committed group, who are setting the House Republican agenda. The ones pushing for a fight over Obamacare, even if it leads to a shutdown, are controlling what the House does.
Which has led to the question: How can 30 Republicans beat 200 Republicans? How does that work?
Polls consistently show that Americans aren’t happy with Obamacare. They think the law will make health care more expensive, and decrease its quality. But a new survey of 1,976 registered votersfinds that only 33 percent believe that the health law should be repealed, delayed, or defunded. 29 percent believe that “Congress should make changes to improve the law,” 26 percent believe that “Congress should let the law take effect” and see what happens, and 12 percent believe that the law should be expanded. The bottom line? Voters are skeptical that Obamacare will live up to Democrats’ hype. But they also believe that it should be given a chance to succeed.
The new poll was conducted by the Morning Consult, a healthcare media company founded by Michael Ramlet. Ramlet, in evaluating the results of his survey, finds that voters are “unmoved by three months of the defund argument,” and that a majority would “blame congressional Republicans a lot for a government shutdown.”
How’s that working for Speaker Boehner? He really has to choose between his country and his tea party caucus. Many Republicans aren’t with him either. Does he really think he can keep his speakership either way?
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK): Asked on MSNBC on Monday if a shutdown was “going to hurt the Republicans,” Cole said, “I do, but more importantly I think it’s going to hurt the American people.”
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA): “I’m prepared to vote for a clean resolution tomorrow… It’s time to govern. I don’t intend to support a fool’s errand at this point.”
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ): “Obamacare is definitely not ready for prime time. But I do not want the government to shut down. I think after voting against it some 40 times, we have represented our constituents and made our point.”
Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY): “From my perspective, the desired end state remains the same — a delay of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare and a temporary lifting of the sequester — both to January 2015… However, we need a successful strategy to get that implemented, and this approach will not do it.”
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY): “The circus created the past few days isn’t reflective of mainstream Republicans — it projects an image of not being reasonable. The vast majority of Republicans are pretty level-headed and are here to govern.”
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY): “[A]s a lifelong and consistent supporter of women’s rights and health care, I do not support addressing divisive social issues such as access to birth control on a last-minute continuing resolution.’’
Rep. Peter King (R-NY): “We should not be closing down the government under any circumstances… That doesn’t work, it’s wrong, and, you know, Obamacare passed. We have to try to defund it, we have to try to find ways to repeal it. But the fact is, we shouldn’t be using it as a threat to shut down the government.”
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA): “We’re pretty much out of options at this point. They’re all giddy about it. You know who benefits the most here from a shutdown? The Democrats benefit and they know that.”
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL): “The shutdown doesn’t do anything to help our reputation as an incompetent Congress,.. People hire us not to get to this point in the first place.”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): “We have to stay on the right side of public opinion…Shutting down the government puts us on the wrong side. The fight is on the debt limit.”
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA): Wolf warned that his party will be blamed in the case of a shutdown. “That’s the battle that’s going on in my party. There are some that are saying, ‘shut it down! … If we shut the government down, who’s going to fund the [Veteran Affairs] Hospital? Who’s going to fund the veteran who doesn’t have a leg? Who’s going to fund the FBI who’s working on a counter-terrorism case? Who’s going to fund cancer research?”
Republicans and Democrats in Congress are trading blame ahead of Tuesday’s government shutdown, but there’s another culprit in DC’s latest dysfunction whose offices are not to be found in the gilded suites of the Capitol, but in a drab, fluorescent-lit office five blocks away. There, a team of organizers, lobbyists and 20-something social media specialists are harnessing the power of the Tea Party to drive a wrench into Congress’ gears. Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the once esteemed Heritage Foundation, has been working day and night for years to bring about just the crisis now gripping DC.
Since its founding in 2010, Heritage Action has worked aggressively to influence lawmakers on issues from immigration to agriculture to the budget. It uses a three-pronged strategy to twist arms on Capitol Hill: lobbying members on hot-button issues, ranking them publicly on how they vote, and getting word out far and wide when lawmakers buck the conservative line. That combination—unparalleled in either party—has given Heritage the ammo to take on the leadership of its own party, widening the gap between the conservative grassroots and their leaders in Congress. As Heritage’s clout accumulates, the group’s divisive style offers a window into the new way of doing business in Washington, where, thanks to redistricting, lawmakers are more worried about primary challengers than the opposition
I guess this is the revenge of outcasts like Demint and Grover Norquist who seem like prime candidates for the sociopath of the month club.
How long do you think this will last?
The issue of what to do with Syria, its civil war, and its brutal dictator’s gas attacks on its innocent citizens is on the US agenda tonight as President Obama takes the case for “narrow” attacks on specific Syrian targets. Can he persuade a war weary nation who has heard this type of case once before? The speech will be carried on TV and the internet live tonight at 9 pm EST.
Some suggested before Speech Reads:
President Obama’s big national address on Syria tonight isn’t aimed just at a deeply skeptical American public. It’s also targeted to the members of Congress who could decide the fate of the Obama administration’s actions on Syria, including the request for an authorization of force, if that route is still open.
What those actions could look like is totally in flux as of Tuesday afternoon, with a new report fromThe Wall Street Journal that Syria is not only acknowledging it has chemical weapons for the first time, but also saying it would tell the “United Nations, Russia, and others” where they are located. This development comes a day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared to an American audience that his country has never used such weapons and refused to comment on whether Syria had a stockpile.
With the White House privately starting to believe it may not have the votes for an authorization of force, the administration has spent some of the last day trying to win Republican Senate support for getting a new agreement through Congress, reports National Review‘s Robert Costa. That agreement could be pegged to the diplomatic progress made over the last day, and it could be something we all hear more about tonight.
So far, Obama has given many of his usual staunch opponents a good deal of face time to discuss the possibilities on Syria. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden hosted a group of Republican senators—including Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and Saxby Chambliss—for dinner (Italian was served) at the Naval Observatory on Sunday. And a half-dozen Republican lawmakers were granted the attention of White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough this week.
Obama’s speech will likely be about more than just missiles—specifically, the whirlwind of diplomacy that we’ve seen over the past 24 hours. But how members of Congress take tonight’s speech will go a long way toward deciding just how much room the administration will have to act.
Russian Times: Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Syria’s chemical arms handover will only work if the US and its allies renounce the use of force against Damascus.
“Of course, all of this will only mean anything if the United States and other nations supporting it tell us that they’re giving up their plan to use force against Syria. You can’t really ask Syria, or any other country, to disarm unilaterally while military action against it is being contemplated,” President Putin said on Tuesday.
President Putin said that the matter of bringing Syria’s chemical weapons under international control has long been a subject of discussion by experts and politicians.
Putin confirmed that he and President Barack Obama had “indeed discussed” such a possibility on the sidelines of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg last week.
It was agreed, Putin said, “to instruct Secretary of State [John Kerry] and Foreign Minister [Sergey Lavrov]to work together and see if they can achieve some progress in this regard.”
President Putin’s comments came shortly after the Syrian government said it would agree to place its chemical weapons arsenal under international control.
Think about what will happen if the Russian initiative starts to fly.
Chemical weapons are relatively easy to make and store (and fire), but much harder to dismantle safely. The chemicals themselves are fiendishly dangerous and need to be destroyed with specialist equipment without creating environmental hazards. Plus the explosive part of the delivery shell needs careful handling. Destroying CW stocks is therefore a complex and expensive operation, even under calm conditions. Both the United States and Russia have both heavily failed to meet internationally agreed deadlines for destroying their massive Cold War legacy chemical weapons stocks.
There is no precedent for attempting anything like this in a country wracked by civil war. It just can’t happen. No Syrian chemical weapons will be destroyed or “handed over” quickly.
Meanwhile any new process of setting up an international monitoring and destruction regime will require painstaking UN and wider negotiation with the Assad regime, thereby giving Assad and his state apparatus a massive boost of renewed confidence and legitimacy. Before long Washington may find itself locked on to implicitly or even explicitly supporting Assad in his civil war as the best chance to get some sort of internationally agreed CW destruction programme delivered in Syria.
1. Is Kerry a national-security genius, or a guy who says whatever half-baked idea comes to mind, or both?
2. Why are the Russians seemingly so ready to aid Kerry and President Barack Obama by helping relieve Syria of its chemical weapons? Since when is Russia interested in helping the U.S. out of a jam, even if it burnishes its own reputation in the process?
3. Do these early signs that Russia might be interested in making a deal to avert an attack prove that threatening to attack was the right thing to do?
4. Who is making American policy on Syria? Kerry or Obama?
5. Why would Assad give up his chemical weapons? He saw what happened when Libya’s late dictator Muammar Qaddafi gave up his weapons of mass destruction program, which is to say, he lost some of his deterrent power.
6. How do you possibly verify that Assad has given up all of his chemical weapons? The Syrian regime possesses hundreds of tons of these munitions.
7. Does Syria get to keep its biological weapons under this still nonexistent deal?
8. If the U.S. gives up the idea of an attack, would the remaining moderate rebels, so dispirited, start moving toward the al-Qaeda column?
9. How do you secure and transport all of these chemical-weapons components in the midst of a horrifically violent civil war?
10. Even if the theoretical strike was intended to be “unbelievably small,” why would the U.S. tell Syria this?
11. A related question: Who goes to war not to win?
12. Let’s just say that Assad gives up his chemical weapons. Does that mean he gets to kill civilians in more prosaic ways indefinitely? Is that it?
13. If Assad’s behavior is even somewhat analogous to Hitler’s, as administration officials (and surrogates like Senator Harry Reid) are suggesting, then how is it possible to argue for anything other than Assad’s total defeat?
14. At a certain point in this drama, will any of the various Arab countries that want the U.S. to bomb Syria then go do it themselves?
15. How did the U.S. get so bollixed-up by the tin-pot dictator of a second-tier Middle East country?
Tonight at 9:00 PM ET, President Obama will address the nation from the East Room of the White House.
The President will be speaking about the United States’ response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons that killed more than 1,400 civilians — including more than 400 children.
You can watch the President’s speech live on WhiteHouse.gov/Syria.
I have to believe that we’re all going to have some different thoughts on all of this. I am still torn.