My countryman, but yet I know him not…
Posted August 2, 2013on:
That’s a line from Macbeth where Ross is about to tell Macduff “all his pretty chickens and their dam” have been sent to the great Perdue Farm in the sky. When hearing this week John McCain had gotten all mavericky again, I thought of that line.
It seems as though McCain and Lady Lindsay, the Kukla and Fran of the Senate, have had enough of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee. While I would like to believe McCain is getting his “altruism on” for the country, I think he smells blood in the water.
Given that Mitch McTurtle now has a Tea Party primary on his fins, he finds himself in a box (hmmm, box turtle?). Sen. McTurtle has to guard against his right flank, but not too aggressively since Alison Lundergan Grimes can use it as a wedge. So McTurtle’s strategy is most likely to climb back in his shell and hope he can ride out the coming storm over appropriations.
McCain sees this as an opportunity to be wall-to-wall on the Sunday shows for the next two months. The battle is already brewing since only 11 senators have signed up with Santa Anna Cruz for his Alamo strategy of tying all appropriations to yet another repeal Obamacare gambit.
Anyone with hobbling around sense in the Senate knows Cruz’s strategy is a fool’s errand since the enabling legislation of the ACA deemed its funding as essential. This means even if Cruz were successful, the funding for Obamacare would continue apace (spillover from the earlier Shakespeare quote) because it has protected status.
And that is just the half of Congress — the real white coat dysfunction is on the other side. Over in Orange Julius’ House, things are worse. Just Wednesday, the little Ryan boy’s budget crapped the bed. A little explanation here: Paul Ryan’s much heralded budget is just a conceptual document — it makes broad proclamations of political philosophy, but it has no specifics. Not until the scalpel hits the meat in the appropriations’ process do you hear the squealing over things like a 50% reduction in community block grants.
On Wednesday, both the Department of Transportation and the Housing and Urban Development appropriations were up for a vote. Both had to be pulled because the Republicans would not vote for the draconian cuts needed to stay within the parameters of the Ryan budget and sequestration. So the DoT and the HUD bills became the DoTn’t and the THUD bills.
Hal Rogers, (5th District, R-KY) the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Representative for one of the poorest districts in the nation said this when he pulled the bills:
Thus I believe that the House has made its choice: sequestration and its unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary cuts must be brought to an end.
The Republican House majority can’t even pass what they proclaim is their sacrosanct political agenda. In other words, if you can’t drive why own a car? John Boehner is going to face another budget crisis with the Tea Party House members most likely in open revolt.
The horns of Boehner’s dilemma, either a government shutdown or violating the Hastert Rule and passing the dozen appropriations bills with Nancy Pelosi calling the tune. There’s a third option of continuing resolutions, but by their very nature they also violate both the spirit and intent of the ballyhooed Ryan Budget.
And what are the little crumpet-eaters of the Tea Party worried about — a 40th vote to repeal Obamacare, a bill to allow any citizen to secretly record any conversation with a federal employee, and passing legislation prohibiting any bailout of Detroit although no one has asked for a bailout and no one has proposed a bailout, but just in case someone does.
The next two months are going to be interesting and a little unsettling for the weak of heart. John McCain adroitly has figured out all the budget action is going to revert to the Senate side — perhaps his desire for teevee face time will coincide with what’s right for the country.
Power may abhor a vacuum, but not in the United States Senate.
Have a great weekend.
This is an open thread.
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