It’s time to Break It Down!
This is another of those weeks. For anyone interested in reading or writing about current events, the list of relevant topics is both inviting and long.
- If you have a Right-leaning religious bent, the now famous Kentucky Clerk, Kim Davis, was released from jail yesterday.
- For tennis fans, Serena beat Venus (no last names necessary) in the U.S. Open Quarterfinals last night. She’ll play Roberta Vinci in the semifinals Thursday.
- For those for whom politics is their wheel-well, Round 2 of the Republican Party Presidential Debate series kicks off a week from today…Part I at 6:00 p.m., followed by the Prime Time nightcap at 8:00 p.m.
- If you are just dying for the juiciest details of the latest violent jump-off, a pair of Atlanta teens landed in jail for allegedly attempting to murder their parents.
- If you love Hillary…or you love to hate Hillary, she has executed yet another tack in an effort to subdue or escape e-mailgate; she apologized.
- If you’re a tech titan, Apple releases the new 6S today.
- If you are a football fan, over the weekend, two Texas high school football players executed blindsided tackles on an unsuspecting referee, allegedly after a slur was uttered.
- For fans, and perhaps detractors of Pope Francis, on yesterday, the Holy Father radically revised the process by which Catholics may annul their marriages, streamlining steps that many in the church considered too cumbersome and costly.
- If you are a hoops fan, yesterday was huge…because President Obama entertained the reigning NCAA National Champion Duke Blue Devils at the White House. As an aside, I must note, that in itself was not the top aspect of that news, though it certainly was newsworthy.
The actual significance of the encounter stemmed from the fact Duke’s Coach, Mike Krzyzewski, actually praised President Obama. It was well delivered, well deserved, and surely setting appropriate. Coach K said:
“On behalf of our Duke community, we want to thank you for serving our country over these last two terms. You’ve been an amazing leader for our country. And it’s not just you, but your family and the sacrifices. So thank you very much for your service.”
He even urged the crowd to give the President a standing ovation.
Of course, the reputedly conservative Duke Coach has publicly expressed other opinions about President Obama. Krzyzewski is the same man who criticized the administration’s strategy regarding ISIS and said in 2009 when Mr. Obama didn’t choose Duke for the Final Four:
“The economy is something he should focus on, probably more than the brackets.”
Coach K may very well be an ideologue. But he is suave, and capable of being glib, despite his fiery on court persona. I’ve seen him deliver the goods in person. He did a good job yesterday.
- Of course, if you are a student of history, you know that Friday marks the 14th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th, or 9/11). These attacks were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks consisted of suicide attacks used to target symbolic U.S. landmarks.
That’s an auspicious Top 10 for considering a blog topic. Yet, none cut the mustard in terms of my choosing today’s subject. I believe the President’s phenomenal accomplishment gets the nod. At least it gets mine. Moreover, as I’ve noted before, to use a basketball analogy…my court my rules.
To wit, despite historic measures and wide-ranging attacks by opponents of the Iran Deal, President Obama and his team have not just withstood the often vicious and ad hominem attacks from within the borders of the United States and abroad, they have managed to construct a coalition that is not merely capable of sustaining a veto; as of yesterday, the President amassed enough votes (41) to prevent a Senate vote against the Deal from occurring.
It is without question, the Iran Deal is controversial. Republicans have initiated a number of desperate attempts to scrap the deal before it ever materialized, including issuing an unprecedented invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress, without first advising the President…just weeks before the Prime Minister’s election in Israel
That affront took place prior to the completion of the Deal. So did a broadside attack in the form of an open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran signed by 47 senators and instigated by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). It was, in modest terms, a stunning breach of protocol. While many observers insist, it would be beyond the pale to characterize or dub the signers as “traitors,” it was definitely another slap in the face of President Obama and an affront to the presidency,
When the question was put to retired Major Gen. Paul D. Eaton for perspective, he wouldn’t say Cotton and Co. were “traitors.” However, he did not hold harmless the Senator from Arkansas. As he put it:
“I would use the word mutinous.”
Eaton has had a long career, which includes training Iraqi forces from 2003 to 2004. He is now a senior adviser to VoteVets.org. He went on to say:
“I do not believe these senators were trying to sell out America. I do believe they defied the chain of command in what could be construed as an illegal act.”
Eaton certainly had stern words for Cotton. As he framed it:
“What Senator Cotton did is a gross breach of discipline, and especially as a veteran of the Army, he should know better. I have no issue with Senator Cotton, or others, voicing their opinion in opposition to any deal to halt Iran’s nuclear progress. Speaking out on these issues is clearly part of his job. But to directly engage a foreign entity, in this way, undermining the strategy and work of our diplomats and our Commander in Chief, strains the very discipline and structure that our foreign relations depend on, to succeed.”
The consequences of Cotton’s missive were plainly apparent to Eaton. He went on to say:
“The breach of discipline is extremely dangerous, because undermining our diplomatic efforts, at this moment, brings us another step closer to a very costly and perilous war with Iran. I think Senator Cotton recognizes this, and he simply does not care. That’s what disappoints me the most.”
That’s among the more frightening aspects of this entire episode. The freshman senator from Arkansas and 46 of his Republican colleagues sought to Bigfoot Obama on a deal not yet done whose details are not yet known. This demonstrates in a classic fashion how contemptuous so many members of the Radical Right are of this President. Yet to paraphrase the late Maya Angelou, “And Still He Rises!”
In yesterday’s edition of the Washington Post, Michael Gerson makes a point that one would think would have been clear to all 47 signatories of Senator Cotton’s letter.
“If Republican senators want to make the point that an Iran deal requires a treaty, they should make that case to the American people, not to the Iranians. Congress simply has no business conducting foreign policy with a foreign government, especially an adversarial one (See the Netanyahu invitation). Every Republican who pictures his or her feet up on the Resolute Desk should fear this precedent.”
There was a time one could have imagined Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) making this point. That was back when he fancied himself a statesman. Instead, he signed the letter.
In wrapping up his thoughts on Senator Cotton, General Eaton said:
“I expect better from the men and women who wore the uniform. And the American people deserve better from the Senate.”
So the huge, in Joe Biden parlance, “Big eff’n deal,” news is, three Democratic senators announced Tuesday they will vote in support of the nuclear deal with Iran, paving the way for a possible filibuster of Republican-led attempts to disapprove of the controversial agreement. Given the pressure on Democrats, on Jewish legislators in both Houses, on anyone in a heavily Jewish precinct, district, or state, that the President whom Republicans targeted from his first day in Office, in an attempt to deny him any political victories at all…ever, could marshal the requisite number of Senators to potentially avoid even having to issue a veto is a simply amazing feat of nuanced Presidential leadership. Add it to the list!
Pro-deal statements from Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) mean 41 senators are now publicly backing the deal, enough to keep a disapproval resolution from emerging from the Senate and making its way to President Obama’s desk and forcing a veto.
In related news, a fourth Democrat making an announcement Tuesday, Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), said he would vote to disapprove of the deal, as did the last undecided Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, thus dashing White House hopes for bipartisan Senate support.
Republicans are still engaging in discussions designed to avoid a 60-vote minimum requirement to scuttle the Deal. Democrats, understandably oppose such a move, in part due to precedents set by Republicans when they were in the Minority. It appears likely at this point that the 60-vote requirement will stick, and that Democrats will filibuster attempts to bring the measure to a vote.
Who would have thunk it possible? President Obama is wearing this Lame Duck thing extraordinarily well thus far. “Game, Set, Match: POTUS Style!”
I’m done; holla back!
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