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.


63 Comments on “Mid Day Tidbits: Updates to the Grand Bargain and the Benghazi Default”

  1. RalphB says:

    These wingnut generated rumors keep getting floated and, amazingly, some people in the MSM who have credibility keep knocking them down. Obviously there are problems with security and/or intelligence which need to be fixed but first an investigation needs to point them out without partisan rancor. I hope Pickering’s investigation does that.

    • dakinikat says:

      That’s really the only hope. As long as Congress is captured by insane Republicans, we’ll get nothing real from them. I would hate to see this incident repeated elsewhere if it’s because we’re relying on mercenaries basically.

      • RalphB says:

        State was likely placing some dependence on the CIA for security from the local base. The NYT story says there was an informal agreement of that sort.

        The C.I.A.’s security officers played a new role on Sept. 11, carrying out an informal agreement with the mission to come to its aid in an emergency.

        In normal circumstances that would probably work OK but, in Libya with only the militias for backup, it seems a pretty bad idea. We didn’t know enough about who our friends were and their capabilities, at the very least.

  2. ANonOMouse says:

    A couple of more good news polls:

    PPP Polling


    Obama 53
    Romney 44


    Obama 52
    Romney 46

  3. pdgrey says:

    Dak, thanks for Mr. Burns! As to Sullivan, it’s like you said but it’s good to have someone call out the crazy tea party right. As to the grand bargain, I admit I scared, but like i wrote before we need to start the day after the election.

  4. pdgrey says:

    top advisor to the presidential campaign of Mitt the twit has supported campaigns to criminalize homosexuality and abortion in Africa

    • ANonOMouse says:

      “top advisor to the presidential campaign of Mitt the twit has supported campaigns to criminalize homosexuality and abortion in Africa”

      Well, that takes Africa off my bucket list.

  5. peregrine says:

    My Friday Reads comment goes into some detail about the “Victory Rally” that the Repubs have planned for tonight and a caravan tour through Monday. I’m hoping someone shoots out their tires when they come to my state.

    • RalphB says:

      Damn, that was good.

    • NW Luna says:

      Watching that video — Obama’s saying that “bipartisanship” which means cuts on health care, education, etc., is a “price too high to pay” and is a return to failed policies. (best as I can transcribe)

      He seems to be a better speaker than 4 yrs ago. He looks worried about not having a 2nd term. Guess if you have to fight for it you really have to wake up. But I’m encouraged that he might stand up to the Repugs more in a 2nd term.

  6. NW Luna says:

    This morning a story on the yanked (surpressed) report that tax cuts for the rich do not create jobs or good economic times was in the Seattle Times newspaper. It’s a standard MSM paper, so glad the story’s getting out.

  7. Beata says:

    I expect Biden to play a strong role in a second Obama term, especially since he is looking toward a run for POTUS in 2016. As in the past, Obama is going to need Biden’s deal-making connections with Congress. I see Biden arguing against major changes in SS, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as other safety net programs. He’s our firewall in the Obama White House, imo. If Biden plans to run in 2016, he’s not going to want to alienate the Democratic base. Biden’s a very clever Irish politican – even though the right-wing loves to paint him as a joke.

    • NW Luna says:

      Biden is an LBJ-type Dem. I’d take him over Obama’s moderate Republicanism.

      Nevertheless I am irritated that Biden is considered appropriate to run for POTUS in ’16, but Hillary will be “too old.” No, Beata, I know you don’t believe that. But the pundits do.

    • peregrine says:

      Aw, no, Beata. As much as Biden will help Obama, he’ll be 70 this month. I’ll not forget how he, as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, protected Clarence Thomas’ privacy during the Supreme Court nomination Senate proceedings by denying 3 other (female) witnesses’ testimony. Liberal legal groups and women’s groups criticized him for mishandling the hearings and not doing enough to support Hill. To his credit, he did oppose Thomas’ nomination, but it’s left to speculation if further testimony would have changed the 52-48 vote in Thomas’ favor.

      • Beata says:

        You misunderstand me, Luna and Peregrine. My point was not about Biden’s viability as a 2016 candidate. My point was that if, in his mind, he has plans to run, he is not going to want to be part of an Obama grand bargain to gut SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and other safety net programs.

      • NW Luna says:

        Beata, I think I did understand and agree; that’s why I said he’s an LBJ-type Dem, not Obama’s moderate Republicanism. So he should be throwing his weight against efforts to gut Medicare & SS.
        Then I went off on a tangent of my own about age of male v female politicians.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        YES! Obama’s pick of Biden in 2008 made me decide not to vote for Obama until McCain picked Arctic Barbie as his, well picked her.

      • peregrine says:

        OK, I misunderstood your comment. I hope we can count on Biden to be a firewall. The 2016 presidential run is foremost Hillary’s as the Democratic Party owes her (and Bill) big, big, big, big, big-time.

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    Bush thought he had a “mandate” after his last election and “used it”.

    What should be rolling around Obama’s mind is that a lot voters are voting AGAINST the GOP without any major enthusiasm for the challenger. He should also bear in mind that HALF this nation is viscerally against him personally and though he may not be faced with another term after November, he could make it pretty miserable for whoever decides to run on the Dem ticket if he thinks he can easily shove his agenda down the throats of those who supported his election.

    A loss of enthusiasm for a candidate running on his ticket could lead to more voters staying home come 2016 if they are faced with defending budget cuts they opposed and defeated.

    This will only lead to an assurance of another GOP victory offering the same crapola when each cycle less and less eligible voters are exercising their rights at the polls.

    The public does not want to lose these social safety nets and if Obama sees his victory as the “mandate” to make huge cuts along the way he may be inviting suicide to the Dem Party itself.

    This is what makes me less certain of Obama overall. His ability to “give in”. There are other ways to cut the budget without adding grief to so many in the process.

    Be careful of the “mandate” you vote for. You may very well get it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I agree. If Obama is reelected, the GOP should be ignored and/or worked around. There is no need for Obama to roll over for the House. He should push Harry Reid to get rid of the filibuster and push through some jobs bills.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Thanks for the updates, Dak. IMHO, if there is a second Obama term, we need to focus on how to reverse the Patriot Act, domestic spying, and Obama’s assassination list. I realize that will be a lot harder than fighting the “grand bargain,” but it needs to be done if we want to live in a democracy.

  10. pdgrey says:

    Staten Island Marathon canceled. I guess Bloomberg really got push back. And it didn’t help it started on Staten Island

  11. RalphB says:

    “Let me tell you something. I may be the only person in America, but I am far more enthusiastic about President Obama this time than I was four years ago.”

    — Bill Clinton, quoted by Time, at a campaign rally in Florida. h/t political wire

  12. RalphB says:

    Here’s the latest national tracking polls:

    ABC News/Washington Post: Obama 49%, Romney 48%
    Public Policy Polling: Obama 49%, Romney 48%
    Purple Strategies: Obama 47%, Romney 46%
    Rasmussen: Obama 48%, Romney 48%
    Reuters/Ipsos: Obama 46%, Romney 46%

  13. RalphB says:

    Here are the latest polls from the battleground states, NO Romney leads:

    Colorado: Obama 46%, Romney 46% (Reuters/Ipsos)
    Colorado: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (Public Policy Polling)
    Colorado: Obama 47%, Romney 45% (Denver Post/SurveyUSA)

    Florida: Obama 48%, Romney 46% (Reuters/Ipsos)

    Iowa: Obama 49%, Romney 45% (Gravis)

    Michigan: Obama 52%, Romney 47% (Rasmussen)
    Michigan: Obama 52%, Romney 46% (Public Policy Polling)

    Nevada: Obama 50%, Romney 44% (Mellman)

    New Hampshire: Obama 50%, Romney 44% (New England College)

    Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 47% (CNN/ORC)
    Ohio: Obama 49%, Romney 49% (Rasmussen)
    Ohio: Obama 47%, Romney 45% (Reuters/Ipsos)
    Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (We Ask America)

    Virginia: Obama 48%, Romney 45% (Reuters/Ipsos)
    Virginia: Obama 49%, Romney 48% (We Ask America)
    Wisconsin: Obama 52%, Romney 45% (We Ask America)

    • pdgrey says:

      Ralph, this is just a guess but, if Obama wins here and most people (the serious people) really think he won’t. I think it will be the FEMA thing. If you don’t live in Florida this is just a major thing. They know first hand that it works and remember what happened during Andrew. I could list many more hurricanes, the one’s where I lost power for 10 days in 100 degree heat and the help I got from FEMA. Jeb Bush wasn’t going to make his father’s mistake. It’s crazy that medicare is nota BIG issue, but the republicans actually won that argument 2010 here. Your are dealing with seniors that get scammed everyday. I fault the democrats for not controlling that.

      • RalphB says:

        I understand but don’t understand the people who let themselves get played time after time.

      • pdgrey says:

        Ralph I live in a retired neighborhood these people get scammed everyday of their lives. Roof repair, charities, door to door flimflam it never stops. Our local news tells a new one everyday. It’s really sad. Old people are abused and taken advantage off here.

      • pdgrey says:

        Ralph just to add, these people I’m talking about are poor to middle class or living on Social Security and depending on Medicare. There are actually Romney yard signs in the front yards of houses that were built by the Army Corp of Engineers between 1948 and the early 1960’s . Those houses were sold for $25,00.00 at the time. It’s really sad. I guess I know aging people have a hard time because they want to trust people. I believe this because I was a care giver for two parents. The situations they got into was amazing.

      • pdgrey says:

        Gee, Ralph I love ya, I’ve gotten on a high horse, I know we all have one but I hope I didn’t sound preachy. Old people and animals are my hot buttons. Sorry.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I love those polls, especially the one’s with Obama at or above 50