Good morning folks,
Congress returns to Washington this week as President Obama prepares to address the nation on Tuesday from the White House about Syria. It will be his 9th address to the nation. Putting aside the arguments on each side of the issue, once again the country finds itself watching the President fail to rally lawmakers and citizens to his cause. To put it more bluntly, has any other two term President been as ineffective in lobbying Congress and motivating the public to support the initiatives that he wants to see passed? It's amateur hour at the White House.
On the American Thinker, editor Thomas Lifson writes, "The sheer ineptitude of President Obama's handling of his Syria red line has made jaws drop all across the political spectrum. The man who garnered so much admiration for his oratorical brilliance, personal charm, and political genius has managed to make matters worse with every step he has taken."
Political observers watching the White House last week could plainly see how tone deaf the Obama team remains to Capitol Hill (including their own political party). Honestly, would it have been possible to make a more underwhelming lobbying effort?
As fresh faced Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL) pointed out yesterday, "...you can’t begin to build a relationship with Congress for the first time when you need their support on something like this." Even more revealing, the Republican Legislator revealed that he offered to help the White House, but was unable to get a return phone call. “...a week – or a week and a half ago – my office actually reached out to the White House and said, ‘Hey we support the strike on Syria, we’re going to help you round up support if you need it,’ I haven’t heard back from the White House yet. I haven’t heard back from anyone, I don’t even know who my White House liaison is, which is supposed to be creating this relationship.” Opportunity missed.
After nearly six years in office, the Obama team still seems to make no effort to court votes. On Saturday, CBS' Mark Knoller tweeted, "President Obama playing a round of golf today at Joint Base Andrews. Pretty day. Sunny and 80. His foursome today includes 3 WH aides, no members of Congress to lobby on Syria authorization bill." Another opportunity missed.
- Politico reports that Democratic Representative John Larson, a likely 'no' vote, has no motivation to support a President belonging to his own political party. "...beyond the set of incentives compelling Larson to be a 'no' vote, Obama doesn’t have the kind of relationship with the former chairman of the Democratic Caucus that would warrant Larson to want to bail out a president who made his own mess with Syria." Opportunity missed again.
Politico sums it up best: "But the grim reality for Obama is that his reservoir of personal capital on Capitol Hill is running dry." The truth is that President Obama has done little to make sure that his reservoir had a constant water supply.
There is little doubt that if the Syria authorization bill fails in either the House or Senate, the President will point fingers and blame Congress. That's a joke the media shouldn't allow him to get away with. They too know that no one more to blame for this debacle than President Obama himself.
Seize the day,
2014 BATTLEGROUND SONAR
(LOUISIANA) NRSC holding Landrieu's feet to the fire over real estate scandal
A key target is Snellings working as the real estate broker for a $1.9 million Capitol Hill home owned by top lobbyist, Tony Podesta. The lobbyist in question does work for mega-companies like BP and Lockheed Martin. Landrieu, is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and she chairs the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. ..The NRSC is pegging it as Landrieu’s “real estate scandal” and contending that the “most powerful Washington lobbyists with business before Landrieu have potentially funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars through her husband, Frank Snellings, for real estate deals.”...Part of Landrieu’s argument for staying an incumbent senator is that she puts Louisiana first and she sits in more powerful committee positions to help the state, Goidel said. But her opponents can contend, “You’re close to power, but you’re too cozy with power.”
(COLORADO) Udall fails to prioritize aid to vets in need
Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, a veteran of the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, wants Congress to get to the bottom of if. He needs support for an amendment that would create a congressional commission to investigate whether the military wrongly discharges wounded troops, leaving them without benefits. So far, he's not getting a lot of help from the senators in his state. "I've reached out to Colorado's senators. I haven't heard back," said Coffman, a Republican who represents Denver suburbs.
(NEW JERSEY) Cory Booker, liberal celebrity?
Josh Lautenberg, the 45-year-old son of the late senator, strongly disputed Booker’s version of the story, arguing that the mayor effectively jumped into the race without giving his father the opportunity to announce his retirement, even going against Booker’s private commitment to his father’s team. The younger Lautenberg — who endorsed a Booker primary opponent but now supports the mayor in the general election — said it’s all part of the Democrat’s style, which he called “all about Cory Booker.” “My father would say, ‘Cory Booker is a very good speaker but there isn’t any substance to what he’s saying,’” Lautenberg said. “My father was someone who really got in the trenches and worked very hard to fulfill his promises to the people of New Jersey and deliver. My father was a workhorse; Cory Booker is a showhorse.”
(ILLINOIS) Durbin: American government guilty of political mortal sin for war in Iraq
"I've listened to this debate and I can't tell you how many times I've hearkened back to 12 years ago and a debate over the war in Iraq," said Durbin, who voted against going to war in Iraq. "Our decision is being made in the shadow of the war in Iraq. ... The shadow recalls that moment 12 years ago when the government of the United States of America was guilty of a political mortal sin: It misled the American people into a war."
CNN/ORC International survey
55% would oppose a U.S. military strike even if Congress passes the resolution
More than 8/10 either convinced or close to being convinced that Syria gassed its own people
Nearly 7/10 say that it's not in the U.S.'s national interest to get involved in Syria's civil war
56% of Democrats think Congress should pass resolution
36% of Republicans think Congress should pass resolution
29% of Independents think Congress should pass resolution
ON THE TWITTERS
(CNN) Barrasso blasts Obamacare in address
Less than a month before the health care exchanges that are part of President Barack Obama’s health care law take effect, Republicans continue to blast the measure and call for its repeal. Sen. John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, said in the weekly Republican address Saturday that the law wouldn’t bolster the quality of care and that rates wouldn’t decrease. “The President had grand intentions when he set out to reform health care in this country - but he made things worse,” said Barrasso, who practiced as an orthopedist before entering politics.
(WALL STREET JOURNAL) IBM to Move Retirees Off Health Plan
International Business Machines Corp. IBM -0.61% plans to move about 110,000 retirees off its company-sponsored health plan and instead give them a payment to buy coverage on a health-insurance exchange, in a sign that even big, well-capitalized employers aren't likely to keep providing the once-common benefits as medical costs continue to rise. The move, which will affect all IBM retirees once they become eligible for Medicare, will relieve the technology company of the responsibility of managing retirement health-care benefits. IBM said the growing cost of care makes its current plan unsustainable without big premium increases.
(YAHOO NEWS) Obama uses secure White House bunker to fight Obamacare battle
On August 21, the day of Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack, President Barack Obama called senior aides together into the White House’s secure, high-tech, national security “Situation Room” to discuss….Obamacare. The White House released an official photograph of the meeting, which had been scheduled before the apparent massacre, on its Flickr stream. It shows the president at the head of the table in the basement nerve center’s main conference room, apparently addressing officials on various video-conference screens. That Aug. 21 meeting highlights how the Administration has been using a secure facility originally designed to manage the government response to natural disasters or terrorist attacks, or oversee military operations, for purposes unrelated to national security.
(THE HILL) Unions push back against labor's ties to progressive groups
Resistance is growing among some unions against the AFL-CIO’s push to strengthen its bonds with liberal groups outside of labor. Union leaders told The Hill that they have questions on how the nation’s largest federation plans to include environmental and civil society organizations under the AFL-CIO banner. Labor has sometimes clashed with groups — even if the two factions both often align with Democrats — as unions have looked to defend their members’ interests.
(NEW YORKER) The President and the Pipeline
On the day of his second Inauguration, in January, Barack Obama delivered an address of unabashed liberal ambition and promise. As recently as early April, before the realities of the world and the House of Representatives made themselves painfully evident, the President retained the confidence of a leader on the brink of enormous achievements. It seemed possible, even probable, that he would win modest gun-control legislation, an immigration-reform law, and the elusive grand bargain with Republicans to resolve the serial crises over the federal budget. And he seemed determined to take on even the most complicated and ominous problem of all: climate change. The President, who had a mixed environmental record after his first term, vowed that he would commit his Administration to combatting global warming, saying that “failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”