Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
By John Feehery
We are stuck in 2009 and we can’t get out. (more…)
By John Feehery
What issue will dominate August of 2013?
Will it be war?
In 1914, as Barbara Tuchman wrote in the Guns of August, war dominated the discussion, more specifically, the First World War.
The Great War, as it was called until the Second World War, forever ushered in modernity, with all of its terrifying warts.
We were allies of the British in those wars, but in the War of 1812, they burned the Capitol building in August.
When I first started on Capitol Hill, war invaded August when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
The Viet Nam War officially started in August when the Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.
The State Department just closed a bunch of embassies in anticipation of possible terrorist attack. Could this restart the war on terror and could security once again become the dominant issue of this coming August?
Or will it be taxes?
Dave Camp and Max Baucus certainly hope so.
And there is some historic precedent.
Abraham Lincoln instituted the first income tax in American history in the middle of the American Civil War. He needed revenue and he imposed the income tax through the power of martial law, although the tax collecting authority never actually got set up.
The first real Tea Party tax protest (outside of the actual one in Boston) brewed into an actual armed conflict, when the Shay’s Rebellion broke out. The Federal government wanted to tax potent potables, but some North Easterners found that to be so objectionable, that they threatened to break away.
George Washington had to let them rebels know, in no uncertain terms, that a rebellion was not acceptable. And he did.
All of this happened in August.
Protest movements aren’t just reserved for tax rebellions.
The Tea Party earned its bones by protesting countless town hall meetings over the specter of Obamacare.
Scandals can dominate the headlines in August.
Will Weinergate and Filnergate continue to spark the attention of the news media?
Remember, Bill Clinton danced around the Monica Lewinsky issue in August.
“I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” I guess he called whatever she did with him a different thing than sex.
And I guess you can call whatever Anthony Weiner and Bob Filner have been doing in their free time something other than sex, although sex is certainly something that is on their minds.
Great social and civil rights movements get their mojo in August. Could this be immigration reforms great chance?
After all, it was in August where Martin Luther King gave his “I have a dream speech.” And it was in August when Woodstock happened.
There are plenty of dreamers who want to see our broken immigration system fixed.
Maybe there will be a big moment that will teach our children well how we move this country forward.
August can be a tough month for iconic celebrities.
Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Elvis Presley and Warren G. Harding all died in August. (I threw Harding in because he partied like a rock star).
There was a good story in today’s Washington Post (good story because I was quoted in it) about how a bunch of grassroots operators are trying hard to manipulate the narrative in the favor of their clients this August.
That means sending out operatives to ping questions at Congressional members at the assorted town hall meetings that will happen this month.
We will see if the operatives are successful or if history will rear its ugly head once again.
By John Feehery
The group of bilious billionaires who gave us Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, Joe Miller, and other losers is now trying to replace Mike Simpson with a trial lawyer named Bryan Smith to Congress.
As you know, I am not a fan of the Club.
I have accused them facetiously of being funded primarily by Democratic billionaire George Soros because they do such a good job of getting Republicans to waste money in pointless primaries.
Primaries are fine and an important part of the political process. Some members of Congress, especially dumb ones who say really stupid things and who basically just warm their seats, ought to primaried. But that’s not who the Club for Growth targets in their efforts.
Led by former Congressman Chris Chocola, or the Count as I like to call him, the Club is remarkably unsophisticated in how it picks its victims. The first criteria is that the person has to be a friend of John Boehner. The second is that the target has to be a fan of the legislative process and be willing to reach honorable compromise. Third, the person has to at some point have pissed off Chocola, who had an undistinguished career in Congress with a voting record that roughly paralleled Simpson’s record.
What is most frustrating in this particular case is that Idaho needs Mike Simpson now more than ever, especially in the face of an aggressive and unrelenting Obama Administration.
Idaho has a lot of federal land. The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service own about 64% of the land mass of the State of Idaho. The Federal government owns so much of the state that the Idaho legislators are considering legislation that would demand that the Feds give back a huge chunk of the land. That’s not going to happen, but you can appreciate how powerless many Idahoans must feel in the face of that.
Idaho also has a huge mining industry, which causes some environmental damage. That means that the Environmental Protection Agency has a huge presence in the state, and their directives can have a huge impact on job creation in the state.
Mike Simpson is the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and the Interior. In other words, he controls the purse strings of the federal agencies that have the biggest direct impact on jobs in his district and his state.
Chris Chocola talks about Simpson’s tenure on the Appropriations Committee as if it were a bad thing. He says that because Chris Chocola is an idiot.
What Simpson does, by controlling the purse strings, is act as a watchdog over the Obama Administration’s most active federal agencies in his state, the agencies most likely to screw with job creation back home.
Simpson has proven to be a tireless advocate on behalf of his constituents in the face of a out-of-control Obama Administration.
They listen to Simpson because they have no other choice. That is how the legislative process works. That is how the Founding Fathers designed it. They gave the power of the purse to the Congress so that they can represent the views of the people. And Mike Simpson tells the bureaucrats when to back off, and they have no choice but to listen.
Simpson doesn’t win them all, because it is a complicated process. But Mike Simpson has worked hard to rise steadily up the seniority list, using his ability to make powerful friends and his ability to make smart compromises to most effectively represent his constituents, and protect those constituents from the worst abuses of an out-of-control White House.
This isn’t about bringing home the bacon. It is about bringing the Obama Administration’s attack dogs to heel.
Chris Chocola doesn’t get that. How could he? He doesn’t know squat about Idaho. He spends most of his time playing golf in Florida. And Florida is a long way from Idaho.
And Chocola doesn’t really understand the legislative process. He was a largely ineffective member of the Congress who lost his bid for reelection because he ran a lackluster campaign.
I don’t know who this Bryan Smith is. I am sure he says all of the right things at all the right times to make guys like Chris Chocola like him. His main claim to fame is that he speaks Dutch. But he made his money as a personal injury lawyer. That’s what Congress really needs: A Dutch-speaking personal injury lawyer.
Do you really think that the Obama Administration is going to care what a Freshman Dutch-speaking personal injury lawyer it going to say to them in the last two years their Administration? Or will they care more about what the guy who controls their office budgets from the Appropriations Committee says?
For Idaho and for the people in Idaho who actually work for a living, it’s not really about where Smith and Simpson stand on the issues, because they probably agree on about 99% of the issues. What matters is who really has the power to stop the EPA and the BLM from doing really stupid things that will kill jobs.
Simpson has that power. Smith might get it in 18 years or so, but by that time, those jobs will be long gone.