CONGRESS – This is a busy week for Congress. The institution well known for doing nothing finds itself in the uncomfortable position of considering four very weighty measures.
First up is the contentious trade bill that has Democrats fighting Democrats over not only the details of the bill but the transparency of the negotiations. The Obama administration wants congress to allow the president the authority to finalize a major trade deal with Pacific Rim countries; reserving only the right to vote up or down without any opportunity to amend or filibuster the agreement. But the left wing of the President’s party led by Elizabeth Warren says no way in hell. “The devil is in the details.” She said. “If this is such a good deal for the American people then let’s see the details and have a healthy debate before we sign off on it.”
Congress will also take up a new military spending bill. With the Middle East in flames and ISIS striking civilian targets here at home there are those who will argue for an increase in our military capabilities. They will meet opposition from both Democrats and Republicans who feel that our interventionist policies have proven ineffective and that the country should take a more hands off approach. Noticeably absent will be the long awaited congressional approval for the ongoing war against ISIS. Never go on the record about sending our men and women off to battle if you don’t have to.
Then there is the weighty matter of the renewal of the Patriot Act and the NSA’s controversial data mining operations. Do these policies keep us safe or are they an infringement on our civil liberties.
One would think that these three items would be more than enough to test the limits of a body loathe to accomplish anything. But no matter the number of items on the docket, in a Republican controlled congress there is always time to consider another anti-abortion bill. And so they will. This bill is essentially the same bill offered earlier this year that even conservative female legislators found so off putting the leadership could not find enough votes to push it through. But nothing entices the Republican Party like social issues. Whether it’s at the local, state or federal level; Republicans are always willing to entertain social issue legislation that stands in stark contrast with the majority of the electorate.
JEB DOUBLES DOWN – Yesterday I commented on how I believe that Jeb Bush disqualified himself from ever winning the White House when he named his brother…former president George W. Bush…as his go to guy on Middle East affairs. Yesterday, in an interview on FOXNEWS Jeb doubled down on the issue.
Bush was asked hypothetically if as president, knowing what we know now about the result of the decision to invade Iraq…would he still order the invasion. Jeb said “Yes.”
I understand that it is hard to turn your back on your brother. I understand the need as a Republican candidate to carry the Republican shield of a strong military, American leadership abroad and American "exceptionalism". But being conservative doesn’t mean being stupid. There is no one, other than those in the Bush administration who were instrumental in instigating the war that believes invading Iraq was a policy worth repeating. To look at America’s longest war with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and state emphatically that you would do it all over again demonstrates either a lack of awareness or a level of deceit that is beyond the pale.