Tuesday December 10, 2013
September 19th, 2013
The Obama administration keeps undermining its own case for a punitive strike in Syria. If the president wants permission from Congress and support from the American people, he and his aides had better get their story straight.
The "messaging," to use an unfortunate Washington term, has been confusing, contradictory and halfhearted. The nation simply will not approve going to war if its leaders cannot coherently explain what they want to do, how they plan to do it and why.
As if what one Republican state lawmaker said wasn’t bad enough, another came along to, um, second it.
The subject was fried chicken. And barbecue. And black people.
Congress is like a seamless web where every action has an effect on those that follow, the late Richard Bolling, a longtime member of the House and a congressional scholar, used to remind young reporters.
The Obama administration will confront that reality this autumn in the aftermath of its request for congressional approval for a military strike against Syria.
On Saturday, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming delivered the weekly Republican address. He ignored Syria, presumably because his party is deeply conflicted on the issue. (For the record, so am I.) Instead, he demanded repeal of the Affordable Care Act. "The health care law," he declared, "has proven to be unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable," and he predicted "sticker shock" in the months ahead.
It's either part of his peculiar charm or proof of its absence, depending on your feelings about him, which are surely fixed by now. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a way of speaking so gruffly that he causes stirs he can't have meant to. He doesn't exactly put his foot in his mouth, not all the way. Just the big toe and maybe the index one, too.
You have to hand it to the gun manufacturers lobby. Children may be slaughtered, the death toll from firearms may keep mounting, but these guys are unrelenting and know how to play politics.
President Barack Obama surprised many by deciding to turn to Congress for approval before he fires missiles at Syria, but his decision makes sense. When proposing military action that almost nobody wants to wage, it is best to find someone with whom to share the blame.
There's never been a better time to build the highways, rail lines, bridges, fiber-optic networks and other varieties of infrastructure we need for a successful America.
Interest rates for long-term borrowing are at record lows, meaning the future payback costs for borrowing will be millions or even billions less than they might be otherwise.
Our country is about to make the most excruciating kind of decision, the most dire: whether to commence a military campaign whose real costs and ultimate consequences are unknowable.