Prove It

Speaker of the House John Boehner claimed, “There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR [continuing resolution]” and reopen the government. To that, President Obama called on Boehner to “prove it:”

If Republicans and Speaker Boehner are saying there are not enough votes, then they should prove it. Let the bill go to the floor and lets see what happens. Just vote. Let every member of Congress vote their conscience and they can determine whether or not they want to shut the government down.

My suspicion is, my very strong suspicion is, there are enough votes there, and the reason Speaker Boehner hasn’t called a vote on it is because he doesn’t apparently want to see the government shutdown end at the moment unless he’s able to extract concessions that don’t have anything to do with budget.

The House has already voted 46 times in a quixotic attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Why not try one up-or-down vote to fund the government? And another vote to raise the debt limit consistent with the spending Congress has already authorized?

Even if Boehner is right and there aren’t enough votes, what do we have to lose? If indeed a majority of the House is determined to keep government shutdown and undermine the credit worthiness of our nation, then let them vote “no” and face the voters next year for the consequences of such a decision.

Meanwhile, the shutdown is hurting Pennsylvanians: 71,000 Federal workers in Pennsylvania are going without pay, and 227,254 Pennsylvanian small businesses can no longer access certain government loans.


Satire entitled Applying government shutdown logic to the baseball playoffs by Atlanta Braves fan Paul Kaplan’s follows the jump.

Romney’s Foreign Policy Views “Downright Dangerous”

— by Max Samis

Over the course of his presidential run, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has made some outlandish comment on foreign policy, including that he would “do the opposite” of President Barack Obama on Israel, and that Russia is the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe.” Romney has earned condemnations from multiple public officials for his statements, including from Vice President Joe Biden and former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell. In addition, the Los Angeles Times found last month that despite his heated rhetoric, Romney has yet to offer any specifics of what he would do differently than Obama-especially on Iran.

Now, Romney’s policies have been examined by Fred Kaplan, a noted foreign policy expert and writer for Slate. Kaplan’s judgment? That “Romney doesn’t seem to understand – nor do some of his advisers – the extent to which the world has changed since the end of the Cold War,” and that his “statements on foreign policy range from vague to ill-informed to downright dangerous.”

Highlights of Kaplan’s article follow the jump.

Conventional wisdom holds that U.S. presidential elections do not hinge on foreign policy. On this point, conventional wisdom is almost certainly correct. But it shouldn’t be, for two reasons. First, foreign policy is the one realm in which presidents can do pretty much what they want. (Congress may rant at some action but rarely halts it.) Second, in this election in particular, Mitt Romney’s statements on foreign policy range from vague to ill-informed to downright dangerous.

Does Romney believe the things that he’s said about arms control, Russia, the Middle East, the defense budget, and the rest? Who can say? He has no experience on any of these issues. But his advisers do; they represent, mainly, the Dick Cheney wing of the Republican Party (some, notably John Bolton, veer well to the right of even that). While not all presidents wind up following their advisers, Romney has placed his byline atop some of his coterie’s most egregious arguments-not least, several op-ed pieces against President Obama’s New START with Russia, pieces that rank as the most ignorant I’ve read in nearly 40 years of following the nuclear debate…

Romney doesn’t seem to understand-nor do some of his advisers-the extent to which the world has changed since the end of the Cold War. International politics were never as cut and dried as that era’s image suggested-two superpowers, each dominating its sphere of the globe and competing for influence at the margins of the other’s domain…

Which leads to Romney’s final complaint: that Obama’s foreign policies ‘have not communicated American strength and resolve.’ It’s not clear what Romney means by this; he cites no examples. The one case in which he had to concede Obama did well-ordering the killing of Bin Laden-certainly communicates more strength and resolve than anything Bush did on that front. To the extent America’s image has been tarnished under Obama’s presidency, the main reason has to do with what some see as an excess of ‘strength and resolve’-the quintupling of drone attacks launched against targets in Pakistan, Sudan, and Somalia under Bush.

Which leads to some questions: What is Romney’s position on drone strikes? What’s his position on Afghanistan? During the Republican debates, he once said that his position was not to negotiate with the Taliban but to defeat them. What does that mean? Does he want to keep tens of thousands of U.S. troops there after NATO’s 2014 deadline? To what end? Doing what? He also once said that military spending should consume at least 4 percent of gross domestic product. Obama’s most recent military budget ($525 billion, not counting the cost of the war in Afghanistan) amounts to 3 percent. So Romney intends to raise the budget by one-third, or by about $175 billion a year-by more than $1 trillion in the next six years. Where is he going to get the money? What’s he going to spend it on? No details. None.

Is Romney an extremist? Or, in keeping with the GOP approach to politics in general these days, has he simply calculated that it’s best not to agree with Obama on anything? Either way, one thing is clear: He is not a serious man.

Click here to read the full article.