Senators Bennet and Gardner Should Lead by Example not Gimmick



The federal government faces a partisan budget showdown and possible shutdown at the end of April. Posturing and game playing are thick in the air. But Colorado’s senior and junior senators have a bipartisan solution to cut through the gamesmanship…by upping the ante of gamesmanship. Their proposal as reported by Ernest Luning in the Colorado Statesman, is, in the event of a shutdown, to impose an hourly quorum call between 8:00 a.m. and midnight. Senators not dutifully appearing in the chamber could be subject to arrest by Senate Sergeants.

But, conditions on triggering enforcement make the proposal appear toothless. The measure activates only if a majority of senators is absent, and only if those present vote to direct the Sergeant to round up the truant Senators.
Senators Bennet and Gardner describe their handiwork to the Statesman thusly:

“Washington’s habit of turning routine responsibilities into manufactured crises has to end,” Bennet, a Denver Democrat, said in a statement. Maintaining that Washington dysfunction has grown under the Trump administration, he added, “Coloradans don’t shut their communities down because of a disagreement, and the Senate shouldn’t be allowed to do so either. This resolution would encourage Congress to avoid such a crisis and work to keep the government open.”
Gardner, a Yuma Republican, said he was proud to work across the aisle with Bennet on the proposal and called it proof that Coloradans won’t quit working for the American people, regardless of party.
“Coloradans expect their elected officials to do their jobs and work together to avoid shutting down the federal government,” Gardner said. “I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and prove we are a responsible governing body that will do whatever it takes to reopen the government in the event of a shutdown.”

Count this taxpayer unimpressed with the proposed austerity. Budget clashes reflect serious divisions in public priorities, schisms between the executive and the legislature, regional tensions, and a failure of leadership from the major players. The statesmanship and deal making necessary to break the logjams is unlikely to be on rich display in the buzzing senate chamber. More likely it will be in an office somewhere around a large table with representatives of both chambers, both parties, and both political branches hammering out an outline they can sell to their members and constituencies.

President Trump does not seem impressed by the bargaining leverage, his spokesman reportedly demurring: “We dn’t want to getinto which senators are being naughty and which are being nice.” The smirking call to “lock ‘em up till they do their job,” is not a serious proposal to bridge the gap. Maybe Senators Bennet and Gardner, who are reportedly respected and able operators could put steadying hands on colleagues’ shoulders and help bring people together.

Give Mitch McConnell His Due

Attention Republicans who strongly dislike Mitch McConnell (I’m not among his fans), consider this complication: It is possible he is a major reason Hillary Clinton is not president and Neil Gorsuch is Justice Gorsuch. His immediate decision not to even hold hearings for Merrick Garland had several effects:
A. There was no chance that either moderate or vulnerable GOP senators would be herded into voting for him and swinging the balance of the court for a generation.
B. The empty seat became an asset for Trump in a couple ways. Average voters who didn’t like the direction of liberal government probably didn’t want to see Hillary get Obama’s third term and have a liberal court on her side as well. Plus, sophisticated voters knew she probably wouldn’t renominate him, but would go harder left.
C. A lot of Republicans wary of Trump voted for him only in the hopes of getting a conservative on the court.
D. Trump won an incredible unlikely victory by a razor margin in a few key states.
E. Trump kept his promise and nominated a stellar conservative.
F. It was only possible because McConnell was willing to hang tough against relentless national abuse for not giving Garland a hearing or vote. And none of the vulnerable GOP senators had to face the hostile media on their vote on Garland.

Keeping Federal Paws off Marijuana

There is a way for Jeff Sessions to honor the rule of law, ignore Colorado’s and other states experiments with liberalized marijuana laws, and roll back the abusive federal government.

All he has to do is say the New Deal era case of Wickard v. Fillburn was wrongly decided and unreasonably expanded federal authority over intrastate business.

Interstate commerce means commerce crossing state lines. Otherwise, the Feds have no biz.
It would be a multiple revolution for liberty.

Insurgent Fake News: Trump Orders Missile Strike on United Airlines

Breaking: Trump orders surgical strike on United Airlines Training Facility.

In a decisive show of force, US military units sent a single precision missile into the United facility identified as the training office of the crew that manhandled a passenger earlier this week. The viral video has enraged millions.

“We wanted to send a strong message that this brutal event crossed a red line,” said White House spokesman Sean Spicer. “The traveling public will not tolerate such outrages and neither will the president. We trust the message was received.”

Airline CEOs around the world are signalling their support. Some are calling the action too modest. “I don’t know if the deterrent is adequate,” Frontier CEO Barry Biffle commented. “They probably should have taken out United’s entire fleet.”
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly observed “This was an appropriate use of force against excessive Chicago style violence. When we need to remove passengers, we rely on bad jokes and tickling. But, I guess that’s old school hospitality.”
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz struck a philosophical note. “This is an important learning opportunity for our team. As we sift through the rubble, and work to re-acommodate our training rooms, we’re empowering each other to identify and share synergies that will make United an even friendlier place to fly.”

The Limits of Diplomacy Without a Big Stick

A friend on social media recently posted that bombs don’t solve anything. Diplomacy and AID are the way to go.
Well, I’m not a big fan of bombs, and am becoming more pacifist in my old age. But I can observe a few things. Talking never deterred a single tyrant. Neville’s peaceful cheer did not placate Hitler. Aid has not done a damn thing for Africa except enrich its savage kleptocrats.

But lets consider Germany and Japan. The US utterly defeated them. Destroyed their means to make war. And then occupied them. We aided them, too.

Well, Germany and Japan seem to be doing pretty well today. What lessons should we draw about American intent and influence in the world?

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