Mid Day Tidbits: Updates to the Grand Bargain and the Benghazi Default

I grabbed that YouTube and this observation  from Andrew Sullivan’s blog at DB.  He’s done a great take down of Frum and stated something we all know about the Republican Party.  There are many republicans that need to wake up to the fact that Republican ‘conservatism’ isn’t conservative at all.  The modern Republican Party is extremist and filled with people who would be better placed in fascist or theocratic societies.

The question of what would better help get the GOP back to sanity and concern with solving the actual problems we face is a real one. David thinks that Romney would help. Given that he has surrendered at every single point in this campaign to the furthest right in his party – all the way from firing Ric Grenell to endorsing Richard Mourdock – I fail to see the logic. He Etch-A-Sketched as late as October because of this, which reveals his weakness with respect to his own party. (Compare his father’s courage and candor to Mitt’s cravenness and salesmanship.)

My own view is that the only way to rehinge an unhinged party is for it to lose badly. And because Romney put Ryan on the ticket, and endorsed the entire Tea Party shebang, it will be hard for the wingnuts to blame defeat on running a moderate. I think the likeliest combination for a Grand Bargain is Obama, a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. That won’t happen. But the second likeliest is Obama, a Democratic Senate and a GOP House with a smaller majority. I cannot see Romney compromising on revenues at all if he is president, with a GOP House, which kills the chance for a deal. When Jim DeMint says that an Obama victory would force a GOP retreat on their no-revenue-increase-ever theology, I believe him.And when the left starts fretting that Obama really will cut a Grand Bargain that tackles entitlements, I think they have every reason to.

Yes, the discussion we had on my “Grand Bargain” worries is beginning to spread.  Here’s a bit from Politico.  Both Politico and Sullivan are right leaning and tend to be Republican, so bear this in mind when reading this.

The course Obama chooses would set the tone for his second term — and it’s not just Democrats he would need to massage. Republicans are likely to retain control of the House, and with it the power to derail or approve large items on the president’s agenda, such as immigration reform. They will demand major fixes to entitlement programs and a renewal of the Bush-era tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.

Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill are gaming out scenarios, including the possibility of the president releasing his own plan and traveling the country to sell it. But the exact strategy depends on the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential, House and Senate elections, how congressional Republican leaders interpret the results and whether the GOP relents on taxes, officials said.

Obama, if he wins, will assert that voters had a choice — and his vision on taxes, entitlements and the deficit prevailed.

“If I’ve won, then I believe that’s a mandate for doing it in a balanced way,” Obama said this week in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’ve already made a trillion dollars worth of cuts. We can do some more cuts. We can look at how we deal with the health care costs in particular under Medicare and Medicaid in a serious way. But we are also going to need some revenue.”

But the big unknown is where Obama would draw the line once he plunges into the give-and-take of congressional deal making.

There are also two important reads today at WAPO on the Benghazi Consulate attacks that are must reads.  The first is information that the CIA was relying on Libyan militias for protection and security.  They didn’t come through during the attack.  This once again reminds us that we’ve outsourced a lot of things since the Bush years including a lot of security details.  This crap is left over from Rummy and needs to be reviewed. These kinds of things are at the real heart of what should be investigated instead of the Issa witch hunts.

At 9:40 p.m. on Sept. 11, when CIA officials at the agency’s Benghazi facility learned of the attack on the U.S. consulate one mile away, they took two separate actions. First, a seven-person security force prepared to leave to help defend the consulate. Separately, according to Greg Miller’s report on the night’s events, agency officials “sought, without success, to enlist Libyan militias that had been hired to provide security for the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.”

The degree to which the CIA succeeded or failed in upholding what The Wall Street Journalsays was a secret agreement to provide “emergency security” for the consulate appears to bethe subject of some dispute. But one thing that perhaps the State Department and CIA might agree on, based on the information publicly reported so far, is the degree to which the Benghazi consulate was failed by its Libyan security forces.

Though U.S. officials seem to have largely refrained from pointing fingers at their Libyan counterparts, one consistent feature of the drip-drip of information about the Benghazi attack seems to be that U.S. agencies felt they were not getting the security they expected and perhaps needed from the host country.

Still, it’s not shocking that the nascent Libyan state would be unable to meet those expectations, and its failure raises questions about why the U.S. agencies were caught off guard by this on Sept. 11.

 David Ignatius has some further analysis which also makes for a good read.   It’s aptly titled:  “In Benghazi timeline, CIA errors but no evidence of conspiracy”.  We’ve really experienced a lot of CIA failures over the last few decades.  When will we seriously engage the agency’s mandate, effectiveness and actions? My hope is that rather than lead us down the road to political circus, the Congress and the Administration use this tragedy as a way to evaluate the CIA and the use of mercenaries for protection of US assets and people.

A detailed CIA timeline of the assault on U.S. facilities in Benghazi paints an anguishing picture of embattled Americans waiting for Libyan security forces who didn’t come and courageous CIA officers who died on a rooftop without the heavy weapons they needed, trying to protect their colleagues below.

It’s a story of individual bravery, but also of a CIA misjudgment in relying on Libyan militias and a newly formed Libyan intelligence organization to keep Americans safe in Benghazi.

While there were multiple errors that led to the final tragedy, there’s no evidence that the White House or CIA leadership deliberately delayed or impeded rescue efforts.

The CIA is now reviewing its security plans around the world to make sure the agency isn’t relying on shaky local forces. This is a difficult task because the United States has vulnerable arrangements in dozens of places.

I think that last bit is the most important in all of this.  So, again, I think these are the two major issues that we need to watch post-election.  We need to learn the real lessons of the Benghazi situation instead of use it to further both Clinton and Obama derangement and Republican political aims.  We also need to watch the course of the grand bargain as it makes its way through the machinations of lawmaking.

Too bad there are mostly strident partisan politics that will influence both of these things because these policies will impact American lives greatly.