Happy New Year wallpaper – Romney Picks Up Endorsements and Gets Machiavellian

candles, flame, warm colors

Happy New Year wallpaper


I hate politics, but observing all the machinations can be fascinating to watch. The pieces – people, sound bites, policy statements, press releases, where to put resources, shifting priorities – all frequently very Machiavellian in nature, if not as well thought out as Machiavelli would have. Mitt Romney has picked up an endorsement from the Des Moines Register, former senator and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, recently former tea bagger darling South Carolina’s corrupt governor Nikki Haley and recently former tea bagger  Delaware Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell. Why do these relatively small endorsements mean so much. They start to add up. What becomes a ripple of support can, though not always, turn into a wave of support. Jonathan Bernstein noted the trend last week with some prescient insight in writing about the O’Donnell endorsement. It’s easy to laugh at the I’m not a witch segment of the conservative movement, if you’re on the outside looking in.

Instead, think about the typical Iowa caucus attendee. She’s fairly attentive to politics, certainly compared to the average general election voter. But she’s also very partisan, and used to living in a world in which conservative Republicans are the good guys and liberal Democrats are the bad guys. In other words, she’s inclined to like all of the GOP candidates. She’s also, most likely, suspicious of RINOs and sell-outs. But how can you tell? Well, endorsements actually help with that. After all, would known Tea Party extremist Christine O’Donnell endorse Romney if he was really a (gulp) moderate?

[  ]…So while one obviously shouldn’t put too much weight on any single endorsement, O’Donnell’s not a bad catch for Romney at all. And the truth is that the more clowns he can have on his side, the better. After all, the very first thing to remember about partisan Republicans is that if they find out that liberals don’t like someone, that’s who they want to support. Anything that the Mittster can do to get mocked by liberals is a real plus for him at this point, and for that, O’Donnell is one of the best.

Coincidence or an ominous trend – for Gingrich anyway – he is starting to slide in the polls. While Romney has ticked up a couple of points. Conservatives, as we know, are big on ideological purity. National polls show that Obama would quash Gingrich. Conservatives may be deciding that a little less purity might be the price they have to pay for having an even money chance at taking the presidency. This is not to say there will not be some kicking and screaming as inter-party politics work themselves out. One of Michelle Malkin’s surrogates writes – Romney: I’m the Ideal Tea Party Candidate

Um, okay. Everybody has a different definition of “ideal,” I suppose.

Romney was probably basing that on having recently received S.C. Governor Nikki Haley’s endorsement, but the Tea Partiers I know are saying that’s not proof that Romney has climbed aboard the Tea Party platform, but rather that Haley has stepped off it.

Public opinion of the tea baggers has been on the decline for some time. That lines up with a recent poll that showed most Americans put the blame for Congressional shenanigans and the unwillingness to make reasonable compromise on conservatives.

Conservatives should love Romney, he lacks the same respect for the truth and integrity as most modern conservatives – Why Does Mitt Romney Hate American Values, Like the Truth


Black and White Sea Foam and Pier wallpaper


Conservatives are taking the recent two month extension of the payroll tax cut as a victory. Whatever. If they lost their roller skates and clown noses they’d tell everyone they planned it that way. This is from The Hill so some skepticism is reasonable – Democrats: Concession to GOP on Keystone will force Obama to kill pipeline

Senate Democrats say the Obama administration will kill the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a controversial issue in the debate to extend the payroll tax holiday.

Senate leaders on Friday agreed to a two-month backstop measure to extend payroll tax relief, which included House-passed language to expedite a decision on the pipeline’s construction. The Senate will vote on the measure Saturday morning.

Republicans hailed inclusion of the pipeline provision as a victory, but Democrats said the practical effect of the language would be to kill the project.

“They’ve just killed the Keystone pipeline. They killed it because they forced the president to make a decision before he can make it so he’s not going to move forward with it,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and an ally of environmental groups.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he was not concerned about giving in to Republicans on the Keystone provision.

“The president is apparently just going to use the option given to him not to let it go [forward],” said Levin. “There’s a waiver in there which we understand the president is going to exercise.”

President Obama is basically a good human being, even if he sometimes disappointing at the political level. That said he and Democrats are not above playing with sound bites to keep Republicans on the edge. They probably truly believe they snatched victory out of the jaws of something. They’ve only delayed the inevitable hostage crisis redux so they can get back  home for the very appropriate turkey dinner.

There’s No Such Thing as an “Indefinite Detention Bill” and Other Pro Left Lies. This guy probably means well but undermines a couple good points by engaging in some egregious “hippie punching“. Pro Left Lies? Lets get off the DLC train of bent knees for a moment. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 contains some – what seems to some very reasonable people – confusing and contradictory language ( a note that it is not a spending bill. Thus all the stuff about the imminent loss of jobs is a bit overwrought. The problematic parts of the bill can be either rewritten or taken out all together, with no harm no foul). Glenn Greenwald is not the only person who finds the language a little scary – Feinstein Introduces Due Process Guarantee Act

Diane FeinsteinOn December 15, just hours after the Senate had passed the compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif., left)) introduced a bill, supported by several of her colleagues from across the aisle, to extract at least one of the sharpest teeth from the freedom-devouring monster created by the NDAA.

The measure, entitled the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011, is an attempt by Feinstein and her co-sponsors to prevent American citizens detained under applicable provisions of the NDAA from being denied their constitutional right to the due process of law.
The stated purpose of the act is:

To clarify that an authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States and for other purposes.

As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Feinstein wields considerable power in the upper chamber of the Congress, but even that influence was incapable of attracting enough support for an amendment to similar effect proposed on behalf of herself and Senator Rand Paul during the Senate’s debate on the original bill.

If approved, this newest measure would amend the Non-Detention Act, originally enacted in 1971. Specifically, the bill would add language to 18 U.S.C. § 4001(b). The proposed revamped paragraph would read:

An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.

Currently, the affected section reads:

(a) No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.

(b)(1) The control and management of Federal penal and correctional institutions, except military or naval institutions, shall be vested in the Attorney General, who shall promulgate rules for the government thereof, and appoint all necessary officers and employees in accordance with the civil-service laws, the Classification Act, as amended, and the applicable regulations.

Although certainly not a repeal of the NDAA, by comparing the language in the Feinstein amendment to that in the unaltered law, one discovers that the Due Process Guarantee Act serves at least as a parchment barrier to the abuses of the unconstitutional detention power given the President as authorized by the NDAA.


If Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) finds the language too ambiguous that might indicate that arguments can be made in good faith that the bill as worded is less than perfect. Let’s also remember that while President Obama might not abuse any gulfs in the interpretations of the bill, that does not mean its better to pass than not. We are not a nation of men – we’re a nation of laws. Literally relying on the mood or temperament of a person is no way to enact laws. We’re all on the same side. If anyone thinks the professional left hippies are using some bad rolling paper you might find this entry from a contributor at Kos written with more clarity and less bile – The Rest of What Levin Said on NDAA Provisions

So we have Obama on record as opposing the indefinite military detention of American Citizens; he advocated for the removal of that section outright.  He also supported DiFi’s amendment to limit the detention to people apprehended “abroad.”  According to DiFi (Dec 6 or 7 session, I forget), this kerfuffle was partly behind Obama’s veto threat, in response to the Armed Services Committee not adopting his request for the “abroad” language in section 1032.  Which is why she offered her amendment.

That amendment for 1032 failed, so she submitted a new one for section 1031, which passed 99-1:

On page 360, between lines 21 and 22, insert the following:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

I think a clear understanding has been gained of the problems inherent in the original bill. I think Members came to the conclusion that they did not want to change present law and they wanted to extend this preservation of current law not only to citizens but to legal resident aliens as well as any other persons arrested in the United States. That would mean they could not be held without charge and without trial. So the law would remain the same as it is today and has been practiced for the last 10 years.

So, according to DiFi, U.S. citizens and legal residents are already exempted from the provisions of section 1031 of the bill.  Levin, from that floor session November 17th, about three hours before the “proof” snippet (1:30:00 or so), agrees with her…

Some good points have been raised on both sides. The points pro and con, absent the hippie punching, have been made in good faith. It is not necessary or productive to have any fights between ideological brethren when you’re all the same page except for some honest confusion over a few words.