Well, Give Him an A for Candor

File under “damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

The administration has set up a series of meetings, evidently intended to persuade Congress to embrace the president’s plan to deal with the Sunni militant group known as ISIS. Congressional Republicans had been loudly complaining that they aren’t sufficiently consulted on White House policy initiatives.

So how has Congress responded?

Per the New York Times,

“A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, ‘Just bomb the place and tell us about it later,’ ” said Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia, who supports having an authorization vote. “It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.”

This isn’t governing. It’s a game of gotcha, and We the People are the pawns.

An engaged/informed citizenry would clean house–by cleaning out the House–in November. I’m not holding my breath.


  1. As I stated in an earlier blog; I am more afraid of GOP than I am of terrorist attacks, either foreign or home-grown. They can’t be trusted to protect their constituents and their word cannot be trusted because it vascilates almost daily. November is almost here; we can begin to sweep them out of office rather than continuing to allow them to sweep their dirt under the rug. VOTE!

  2. Oh please. Bush started this whole mess by invading Iraq. President Obama followed the exit strategy signed by bush and explained that Iraq was a stupid war in the first place. He’s been proven right because it’s a mess. Oh and Mr. McCain has several photos with the leader of ISIL on the web to view.
    GOP = war mongers

  3. My first response is that I know little about ISIS other than what I have seen and heard in the news. The beheadings were terrible and were highly well documented. I have read that ISIS is well funded (by whom?), they are large in number and have threatened to attack the US. If I can trust the media then I am led to believe that they should be eradicated, however I do have questions about the US needing to be the ones to do this. President Obama did seek to build system of support with other nations, but they are largely christian, western countries. If ISIS is as destructive and as dangerous as we have been led to believe then why aren’t other middle eastern countries joining the US in eliminating these thugs? For this larger reason as well some less obvious ones, I do believe that it is important to have congressional approval. Having said that, working with the present day congress and getting them to agree to anything is going to be a big problem.

  4. Congress sees this as another opportunity to sandbag the president. First they called for him to create a strategy to deal with the terrible ISIS threat and as soon as the words left his lips, they began finding fault with him and his strategy. A reasonable person might question such actions in the face of the threat posed by ISIS, maybe even question the priorities of some in congress and their loyalties.

  5. Madeleine Albright, Bill Cinton’s Future Secretary of State was asked by Lesley Stahl on 60 minutes in May 1996 about the sanctions on Iraq –
    “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” and Albright replied “we think the price is worth it.”
    Albright was confirmed as Secretary of State unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99–0. She was sworn in on January 23, 1997. I bring this up to show a continuing pattern of the USA’s violence in the Middle East. The next step was GWB and his Neo-Cons invading Iraq.

    How many millions of people in the Middle East have been killed, wounded, and become refugees because of American Aggression?? The American Public as a whole has been profoundly indifferent to these casualties.

    Muammar Gaddafi was another leader in the Middle East that was targeted for Regime Change. NATO carried out bombing campaigns in Libya. Gaddafi was eventually killed, and today Libya is in chaos. One our goals is to remove Assad. Last year the USA wanted to bomb Assad’s forces to help out the forces opposing Assad. Opposition here prevented that particular bombing campaign.

    We have figuratively speaking poured toxic chemicals all over the Middle East, and we are surprised that these toxic chemicals have reformed/combined into ISIS.

    The Wall Street-Security-Military-Industrial Complex will have another source of Profits from the bombing campaign.

  6. @Mary Kay: “however I do have questions about the US needing to be the ones to do this… If ISIS is as destructive and as dangerous as we have been led to believe then why aren’t other middle eastern countries joining the US in eliminating these thugs?”

    “Led to believe”? Who do you think is “leading us to believe” that ISIS isn’t bluffing, other than ISIS itself? How many rapes, beheadings, and crucifixions do you need to be convinced that these aren’t just kids in Halloween costumes making funny home movies with their smartphones?

    These people aren’t being secretive. They’re not hiding in bunkers. This isn’t Bush’s Boogieman moving around imaginary WMD’s that somebody in Congress named John McCain wants us to believe are real. This is out in the open. ISIS isn’t is hiding. They wan’t you to know they’re up to. Why on earth should I not take them at their word when they say they want to come to Europe and America and do exactly what they’re doing in Iraq?

    I think other Mideast countries aren’t joining in because they’re scared to death of igniting a Syria within their own borders. As long as it’s the U.S. and the “Christian” West dropping the bombs, it keeps ISIS’ attention focused on the “infidels.” For now.

  7. Republicans have, somehow, sold the canard that it’s not about America, it’s about Obama. As near as I can tell, they are no longer in the business of governance at all. They are in the business of self preservation at any cost.

    I’ve explained before my opinion that the motivation behind that, is recovery from the most destructive administration in American history. So that they would employ that strategy is not surprising. What does surprise and disappoint me is the degree to which, and the numbers of Americans who, buy it hook, line, and sinker. Where does that come from?

    Dan Kahan at culturalcognition.net from Yale School of Law is less surprised than I. His research says that being associated with your “tribe” is among the most important motivations that we are subjected to. So we will do, say, believe (almost?) anything that our “tribe” seems to.

    What does that portend about rational society? Is it something new? Are there exceptions? Will we always have that as an avenue for manipulators?

    Dan says that’s just the way we are. I say, I hope not.

  8. One has to wonder what would be the state of the middle east now if we had progressed to energy directly from the sun decades ago, and therefore didn’t care about which tribe there was ascending or descending in power. Let them work it out without our money, our guns, and our attention.

    Unfortunately we can’t know because we can’t afford now to not take sides. Business obligates us to support whatever side we think can win, and will do business with us.

    The problem is not Islam, it’s oil. How long will it take for us to learn that?

  9. @Pete: a bit callous to boil this down to a business decision.

    I was/am/never will be in any way be a Bush supporter when it comes to Iraq. I think that was a huge miscalculation. But can I just remind the finger-pointers that one of the most vocal supporters and crusaders for that war, when it began, was the late, well-known Christopher Hitchens — way out there on the Left.

    Fighting ISIS is not about supporting business. And the Mideast ain’t going to work this out on its own. Get real.

    Re: Dan Kahan’s reserarch…. and you think liberals are exempt from lock-step tribalism? I disagreed with Hitchens on many things, including Iraq and religion. But one thing he was not was a tribalist. Truly a free thinker, who did not have his values handed to him on a platter, and didn’t really care who he crossed.

  10. Since there are mostly bad guys on all sides of the ISIS terrorists in Iraq/Syria, my first inclination is to let them have a shootout with each other. HOWEVER, if it’s necessary for a coalition including the USA to eradicate ever-crazier terrorists, then going to the Congress as constitutionally required is the right thing to do.

    I had to blanche at John McCain’s comments. When the President announced the proposed pullout of troops in Iraq, McCain said it was foolhardy to reveal our strategy to our enemies. Now McCain wants to know (and wants the world to know) the President’s strategy in this new militaristic effort. You’re right Sheila – the President is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

  11. Statistics is the bridge between each of us and all of us. All 7B of us have opinions. We’d each like to think of ourselves as independent thinkers. Statistical and demographic science however allow us to determine when our thinking is not random but those who believe this are much more likely to believe that too. That says nothing about any individual, but says lots about groups.

    Politics is all about groups. One vote gets you nowhere. Groups voting for you gets you hired, groups voting against you get you fired if you’re a politician.

    Brand marketing is based on statistics. It says, for instance, the car that you drive defines who you are, and here’s who the people are who drive our cars. They’re sophisticated, exciting, sexy, and successful at whatever they do. What a tribe to be associated with. I’ll take one.

    If you happen to depend on fossil fuels to make a living, there are many threats and opportunities that you face. They all have to be managed in order for you to succeed. Brand marketing is your friend.

    Here’s an idea. Tell the people that real Americans understand that burning fossil fuels is what built America. That little engines are like little penises or small breasts. Unsatisfying. That those threatening our oil supply are anti American. That those who are against us dumping our waste into their atmosphere are too stupid to a see that it just goes away never to be heard from again. That scientists who speculate that we change weather are obviously conspiring against the greatest country that ever existed.

    If you do all of that in a free market democracy good things will surely follow. Opportunities expanded and threats rendered impotent. What a country.

    Of course, that could never happen here.

Comments are closed.