It's a new week; same as the old week

Tuesday November 13, 2012

It seems the results of Election Day haven't sunk in and never will sink into the mindsets of those who already are gearing up for the next go-around in 2014. For them, the campaign is never-ending.

Just a few observations one week later:

* The Republicans in Congress and their favorite commentators are pushing hard to make the resignation of former General David Petraeus and CIA director something more than a low-rent rendezvous with his biographer with the aim of proving the Obama administration was somehow lax on national security. Their home run would be to show that it somehow caused the CIA to drop the ball prior to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 that killed four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens.

Let's point this out once again: That attack could have happened in any number of countries and during any U.S. administration, as the 1983 suicide bomb attack on a U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, during the Reagan administration proves. In that disaster, 241 died, and we soon after pulled out of Lebanon. The Benghazi incident was tragic but certainly wasn't a sign the nation is asleep at the switch. Republicans should back off.

* Talk from Democrats about revising the Senate rules that have allowed the Republicans to bring the legislative process and action on presidential appointments to a standstill through the overuse of the threat of a filibuster has some pols, columnists and others wringing their hands about the effect on partisan infighting in that august chamber.

In truth, the procedural roadblocks thrown up against anything the president has proposed illustrate the dire need for reform of these rules -- which belong more in the 19th century than the 21st. If the Republicans find a way to retaliate, big deal -- they've been retaliating since 2008 and blocking legislation that might have eased the Great Recession by now if allowed through their deathgrip defense, which is based largely on the requirement of 60 votes to bring a bill to the floor for a vote.

Changing the rule to require a senator to actually conduct a filibuster, or non-stop speech, on the floor of the Senate would ensure only legitimate issues are slowed or blocked in this manner. It would benefit whichever party controls the Senate, because they might actually get something passed.

* A number of dumb and dumber governors are still refusing to implement the changes required under the national health care reform act, such as expansion of Medicaid and a health insurance exchange. This is rebellion on a level with the refusal of governors in the South to allow blacks access to education in "white" schools in the 1960s and should be dealt with as forcefully as President Kennedy did to bring about integration.

These acts, along with other refusals by Republican radicals to follow federal legislation is not much different than the acts of the Confederate states prior to the Civil War. In their minds these extremists believe they are on the side of righteousness and are "preserving our way of life," not merely refusing to admit their side lost on a vote in Congress. For the good of the country, they should set an example and follow the law until, and if, they can overturn it. In the 1860s, we all know where the radicals ended up.


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