I have suspended writing new posts for this blog. I watch the Republican presidential debates and listen to the debate about bombing Iran and am speechless. There is hardly anything left to say.
Obama has no interest in bombing Iran. And although he caved into Bibi’s settlement expansion, he won’t green-light Israel to attack Iran. 2012 is not a year Americans will rally to support a president in a time of war. Americans believe they are overstretched with a dormant economy and believe Obama overstretched the federal budget through bail-out, stimulus and health care. An attack on Iran would make Romney a shoe-in. Even Obama wouldn’t let Netanyahu walk over him in this.
The majority of Americans don’t care about the Israel-Iran conflict. The Republicans are going wild on Iran to show that Obama is weak on national security, but Obama’s commander-in-chief narrative gets better with every Quaeda or Taliban leader offed, every drone that hits its target, those 2500 marines to be based in northwest Australia and on-going naval exercise near the South China Sea.
The Israeli leadership has been talking out of all sides of the mouth. Barak says Israel isn’t near a decision to bomb Iran one day. And the very next day, Israeli intelligence states that the aftermath of such an attack wouldn’t be as bad as many experts predict. Israeli officials have even back-tracked on whether Iran will ultimately go ahead and construct a bomb.
All of this occurs against the possibility Netanyahu will call for early elections this year and party elections that took place this week. Prepare for another round of hairsplitting debate tomorrow: this one on what the IEAE meant by its talks with Iran Monday and Tuesday were ‘good.’
This is what’s happening .
1. First Republican House leadership wanted to have a two month bill that would extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits.
2. Republican House members rejected this.
3. Meanwhile, the Senate passed a two-month extension by 89-10, an overwhelming bi-partisan majority for a bill endorsed by Senate Minority Leader McConnell.
4. The Senate left for the holidays and will return January 2nd.
5. Normally, with a situation this serious and a bill passed across parties by the Senate, House members would vote to pass the Senate bill. INstead, the House did not take a vote on the bill itself, but used a procedural rule to have a joint Senate-House Committee reconcile the differences. In this way, Republicans would be protected from the burden of having voted against the payroll cut and UE extensions.
So these are the choice:
1. The House passes the Senate bill that gives a 2 month extension
2. President Obama calls the Senate back to vote on a house fill for a full year extension. The Houses passes it, too
3. A House/Senate Committee works out the differences. But since the House never voted on an actual bill, how that would happen is unclear.
4. No bill is passed and unemployment insurance runs out for millions and millions more will see a significant increase in payroll taxes.
Don’t these people realize that taking money out of peoples’ pockets now is a clear and present danger to the economy?
Once again, blogs are on fire. This week, Andrew Sullivan, the maestro of the blogsphere, endorsed Ron Paul for the GOP nomination. (He still supports Obama for the general elections.) Others, including other media, criticized Fox News for their condescending and unfair coverage of Paul’s campaign, and Fox ended up giving Paul an unusual amount of time in this week’s debate to explain his ideas.
Jonathan Chait is astounded that many left-of-center politicos or pundits so appreciate a man whom he chronicles as promoting some serious racist views. Frum blames everything sectarian about today’s GOP on the libertarian trend that Paul represents.
Wow! The ‘intellectuals’ -both right and left – seem obsessed with Paul. Why? After all, Paul had an intense and vocal following in 2008 which got him into the GOP debates as a sid-show.
This year is different. He may even win Iowa and has shown stamina in other states leading up to the primaries. More importantly, at a time when it’s downright embarrassing to listen to what comes out of the mouths of each GOP candidate for the presidential nomination, Paul is at least consistent, humble and genuine. This in itself is attracking attention.
But Paul’s real contribution to American politics in 2011 is his uncompromising anti-interventionist foreign policy framework.
In 2008, Obama held out the promise of the new path for US foreign policy. He was against the Iraq war and pledged to ‘talk to’ enemies like Iran and to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Obama instead has proved a ‘realist’ without the scope and vision that once defined realism nor does he offer an integral, unique vision arising from his own views.
Here comes Paul. The Iraq war was a huge waste of money. So are all the other costs of America policing of the world. Iran isn’t a threat; it doesn’t even have the flying ability to reach the US. In fact, Iran reacts to what it sees as American military moves all around it, primarily American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but this summer NATO actions in Libya, with threats against its ally, Syria. Iraq is in defensive, not offensive, mode.
Israel is more a problem than an asset for the United States. Why should the US stay involved in the ‘peace process’? Let them figure it out on their own.
Paul is the only politician within the Democrats or Republicans who can and does consistently advocate a new way of looking at the US role in the world. His world view counters establishment ‘realism’, ‘neoconservatism’ , ‘liberal imperialism’, an ill-define and muffled ‘Obama’ doctrine and other theories so in vogue in America since it became a Great Power after WW2 – a phenomenal rise for a country not yet 200 years old!
Paul appealed to strong sentiments within the American electorate in last night’s GOP debate. Why are we trying to change the world: we have too many problems here. All the money going into war would be better spent here.
Paul ignores ‘popular’ intellectual discussions about, say, Iran. He offers up a completely different world view. It’s no longer ‘should we have given more support to the Green movement’ or ‘how close are the Mullahs to possessing a nuclear bomb’?
It’s ‘why are we in this conflict with Iran in the first place’? Maybe Iran is reacting to the Anglo-American coup against their democratically-elected government in 1953; the forced installation of a brutal Shah; support for Iraq during the Iraq/Iran war; the rejection of Iran’s olive branch to the US after 9/11?
I voted for Obama because I thought he would put American foreign policy on a new track. I thought he might actually do something with Iran on the same level that Nixon did with China. But that takes skill, patience and sometimes years of preparation, not to mention a clear understanding on both sides of what each gets out of it. It didn’t happen.
I thought Obama would actually work behind the scenes for a regional solution to Iraq and Afghanistan. Deals with Assad. Deals with Saudi Arabia. That did not take off.
Paul dismisses all that. As a candidate he asks: could America help build an international order based on trade that could move beyond the balance of power politics that has been the foundation of international relations for several centuries.
I may be reading too much into Paul’s views as well as Obama’s. But the world went from a regional balance of power framework for understanding foreign policy relations, into a two superpowers framework, and now into something variously described as a’unipolar’ model, a ‘multi-polar’ world or a ‘hyper power’ framework. If not these, then the foundation is ‘American decline’ and paralysis among everyone else.
This is too much, too fast. Someone who can get the stage has to advocate for a competing world view. That wasn’t Obama. At least for a moment, it’s Paul
All hail the last GOP debate! I watched the first 1 1/2 hours of it. Once again, Bachmann stood out as relentless. Perry did better but not that much better. I thought Newt got into a style of ‘explaining’ his positions instead of throwing them out as bombs. Doesn’t work for him. It got boring. Sort of like: oh, here we go again, they’re distorting my words, I have to set them right, so here’s what I really said blah, blah, blah. He’s too comfortable in his feisty skin.
Romney was on fire. His response to Newt’s criticism of Bain Capital deals was inspired, especially bringing up how many jobs were lost by Obama’s restructuring of GM. ‘You win some, you lose some.’
Fox must have really be chagrined by the flack it took from other media about putting down Ron Paul in their highly condescending coverage of his campaign because Ron got a lot of face time and used it well, making a strong case about why Iran is not a threat to the US.
In short, the debate was predictable, covered no new ground and hopefully all participants went home and took a long shower with lye soap. That’s what I’m going to do. The new meme out there: the ‘cootie’ defense.
Blogs are ablaze! Media critics are circling Fox News for its smug, condescending and unfair coverage of Ron Paul’s campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.
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Herman Cain has done what Quddafi, Fidel, Arafat and dozens of celebrities, straight or hyped on drugs could not! He took her totally off guard. Watch it!
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Still, is it that unreasonable to expect more than Gingrich and Romney? I find both of them inadequate for the monumental challenges facing this country. For starters, both have been rejected by the party at points in the past – Gingrich by the House Republicans in 1998 and Romney by the whole GOP electorate in 2008 – so why, now that times are even tougher, should we turn to them? Beyond that, our government needs widespread reforms; old ways of doing business must be undone, and that requires presidential leadership of the highest caliber, and I doubt that either can deliver. In different ways, they’re too attached to the old ways, and I just doubt that the country will follow their lead. Jay Cost, /em>
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