Tuesday Open Thread [2.18.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on February 18, 2014

42 calls out 43 for not being on Twitter.

Teabagger Senator Ted Cruz is apparently not very well liked by his fellow Republican Senate colleagues, and last week was yet another example as to why. You see, the debt ceiling bill, which had passed the House by a bipartisan majority of all of the Democrats and 28 of the non-gutless Republicans. Ideally, what the Senate Republicans wanted to do was to pass the bill with little fanfare, quickly and quietly by unanimous consent. Then Ted Cruz stepped in, and filibustered the bill, requiring a recorded vote that needed 60 votes to pass. That meant 5 Senate Republicans had to vote yes. But the Senate Republicans are even more gutless than the House, and the Republican leadership were having a hard time coming up with the votes. So they, the leadership, i.e. Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, had to vote yes. And the votes probably guaranteed McConnell’s defeat in his primary, and gave a serious boast to John Cornyn’s teabagger challenger.

Go read Dana Millbank’s account of the incident. You will be amazed at how close our nation came to utter disaster because of the cowardice of Senate Republicans and Calgary Cruz.

Very few Americans know how close the country came to catastrophe this week. [...] But 15 minutes after the voting should have ended, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had apparently secured only two of the five Republican votes he needed to join all 55 members of the Democratic caucus to pass the measure. He raised three fingers in the air and worked his way among his members but was met with folded arms and shakes of the head. Looking queasy, he patted his thigh nervously and drummed his fingers. In the hubbub, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) knocked a full glass of water and coaster from McConnell’s desk to the floor.

Democrats, watching the spectacle, took the extraordinary step of ordering the Senate clerk not to read aloud the ongoing vote tally to avoid setting off a market panic; because the House had already left on a two-week recess, a failure of this vote would have left little chance of avoiding default on Feb. 27, when the Treasury was to run out of funds. [...]

“Watching the chaos from the side of the chamber was the man who caused it: Cruz, his hands in his pants pockets and a satisfied grin on his face. The Texas Republican strolled to the clerk’s table to check on the vote count and was met with a look of disgust from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). And the feeling was widespread: Moments after Cruz walked into the Republican cloakroom, four senators emerged from it and changed their votes to ‘aye.'””Cruz reemerged from the cloakroom, chewing gum, his hands again in his pockets. He smirked as his colleagues finally overcame his filibuster after a ­59-minute struggle. “

Fareed Zakaria is tired of the “both sides do it” narrative.

I have been described as a centrist. And I freely admit to believing that neither side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on wisdom or virtue. But sometimes, reality points firmly in one direction. Watching the machinations in Washington over the past two weeks, it is now impossible to talk about how both political parties are to blame for the country’s gridlock.

Consider what just happened on immigration, an issue ripe for resolution. … The leadership of the Republican Party in Congress talked about a comprehensive reform package that would create a lengthy waiting time for citizenship — 13 years — and couple this with tougher enforcement. Most Democrats were willing to accept this compromise.

But it became clear to the GOP leadership that even this would be unacceptable for many tea party Republicans. So, on Jan. 30, party leaders circulated a new proposal that took away any prospect of a special path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, no matter how long they waited. Instead, these people would merely be given legal documents allowing them to work and pay taxes. This was a huge concession to tea party activists and seemed unlikely to go anywhere. Democrats had been firmly against the concept of permanent second-class status for illegal immigrants. A majority of the public opposes it as well.

But within a few days, President Obama took the opportunity of an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper to say he was “encouraged” by the proposal. … Every Democrat I spoke with hated the idea, for moral and political reasons. Most were surprised by Obama’s concession. So what happened? A few days later, House Speaker John Boehner stood in front of the media and explained that even his new plan was a nonstarter and immigration reform was dead.

POLLING

TEXAS–US SENATE–REPUBLICAN PRIMARY–Human Events/Gravis: Sen. John Cornyn 43, Rep. Steve Stockman 28, with 29% undecided.

Said pollster Doug Kaplan: “These are dangerous numbers for Cornyn, because they show that despite his power in the Senate and his familiarity with the voters, he has not yet made the sale.”

HAWAII–US SENATE–DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY–Hawaii Poll: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) 48, Sen. Brian Schatz (D) 40, with 11% undecided.

MARYLAND–GOVERNOR–DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY–Baltimore Sun Poll: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) 35, Attorney General Douglas Gansler (D) 14, State Senator Heather Mizeur (D) 10.

Hopwever, the primary race is far from decided as 40% of likely Democratic voters have yet to pick a candidate. In the Republican primary, Larry Hogan (R) leads a crowded field with 13%.

MINNESOTA–GOVERNOR–APPROVAL RATINGS–Star Tribune Minnesota Poll: Gov. Mark Dayton (D) heads into re-election with the highest job approval rating of his term: 58% of Minnesotans think Dayton is doing a good job as governor, with 29% saying they disapprove.

“Those numbers come after the governor orchestrated an income tax increase on the wealthy and after the troubled rollout of the state’s health care exchange that opponents hoped would diminish his popularity.”

NATIONAL–OPINION ON CUBA EMBARGO–Atlantic Council: 56% of Americans favor a more direct U.S. engagement with Cuba or even a normalization of relations with a nation that U.S. policy has treated as a pariah since the 1960s.

“The poll offered even greater evidence that a political tide has turned with its finding that two critical domestic political constituencies favor renewed ties to Cuba by even larger majorities than the nation at large. Survey respondents from the US Hispanic community supported broader Cuban relations by 62% to 30%. And voting-age residents of Florida, a decisive swing state in recent presidential elections, back a policy change by 63% to 30%.”

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  1. Jason330 says:

    hmmm….58% of Minnesotans think Dayton is doing a good job as governor….just after the governor orchestrated an income tax increase on the wealthy.

    Those things can’t b related can they?

  2. Jason330 says:

    To the old crusty Cubans who are still sore because Castro took their plantations away, I say fuck off already.

    The cold war is over bitches.

  3. Delaware Dem says:

    Yeah, I say screw the Cubans in Miami. Time for them to grow up or fuck off. Dems already win Florida without them.