Sen. Kaine: "As we commemorate the shooting at Virginia Tech, honoring those we lost, honoring those brave survivors like Colin Goddard and Lily Habtu who are using their painful experience to help others, honoring the resilience of the entire Hokie Nation, it is my hope that my colleagues in Congress will get serious about gun safety. I am a gun owner and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. But the time is long overdue for a comprehensive background check system that keeps weapons out of the hands of dangerous people like Seung Hui Cho. And I look forward to working for the day when we will accomplish this and have a safer nation as a result."
Great work by Del. Scott Surovell, who hopefully will soon be State SENATOR Scott Surovell. Clearly, though, as Surovell understands, we need a lot more education, enforcement, and stronger laws to stop our streams, rivers, etc. from being polluted in the first place!
Mt. Vernon, Virginia. This past weekend, Delegate Scott Surovell held his seventh annual Little Hunting Creek Cleanup in the Hybla Valley section of Fairfax County. The cleanup, in coordination with the Friends of Little Hunting Creek and the Alice Ferguson’s Foundations Annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup, was led by Delegate Surovell at three different sites:
Janna Lee Avenue Bridge
Mount Vernon Shopping Plaza behind the Shoppers and Post Office
Eighty volunteers helped remove the trash from the creek over eight hours. Volunteers included students from Fort Hunt Elementary School, Carl Sandburg Middle School, West Potomac High School and Mount Vernon High School. Additionally, residents of the surrounding neighborhood assisted with the event.
The cleanup netted around 8,500 pounds of trash including:
For more, see Right Wing Watch, but in short, the 2013 Virginia nominee for Lt. Governor, EW Jackson, yesterday attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for briefly listing 2016 Republican Presidential candidate (and an extremist by any definition of the word) Ben Carson in its "extremist files," claiming that SPLC's criticism of Carson was "no different than what maybe slave masters or segregationists would have said." Yes, you could brush it off as, "well, it's typical insanity by EW Jackson," but the problem is that Jackson't not an aberration in today's Republican Party. Remember, this is a party where top leaders, like Rudy Giulani and Scott Walker, routinely question Barack Obama's religion, patriotism, birth status, you name it. They also deny climate science and evolution, whlie routinely making outrageous comments about a whole host of other topics. The question is, how can an extreme, John Birch Society-style freak show like this be a major political party in this country?
From our old friend Paul Goldman, this one is definitely worth sharing! ;)
Cuccinelli and co-author Mike Farris slam Goldman's legal credentials and call him a political whatever.
Really Ken, that's the best you got?
Want to debate this issue in front of the media? I doubt it, as the following makes clear.
by Paul Goldman
Wow, did Norm and I hit a nerve with our latest column exposing the legal flaws in the constitutional arguments of Mr. Cuccinelli and his constitutional scholar posse. It was like Clint Eastwood "The Good, 'Bad and the Ugly" combined with Gary Cooper in "High Noon."
Our column, found here, lays bare the law and politics behind Mr. Cuccinelli and posse's efforts to get the Virginia General Assembly to pass a resolution demanding that Congress convene a Constitutional Convention pursuant to Article V of the U.S Constitution.
Norm and I were the first columnists in Virginia to explain the hard legal and factual truths.
The CUCCINELLI et al plan is now dead in the GA.
So today, he hit back at us: we are big boys, we can take it.
Hey Ken: You aren't the only one to go to law school here, dude! But I agree: I wasn't the AG nor did I hold the positions of the others mentioned in your Washington Post column found here.
Mr. Cuccinelli suggests it took a "fair amount of..." whatever for Norm and me to question the all those professors, law deans, former Supreme Court clerks, and others in terms of their understanding of Article V.
Sorry Ken: All it took is a little common sense and legal analysis.
By the way Ken: I am the only one who actually has any experience creating a governing document, the Elected Mayor Charter change endorsed by the General Assembly. So maybe you don't have the right experience to discuss these kinds of founding document matters!
Bottom line: Cuccinelli slammed me as a "political blogger" and thus, someone who viewed the discussion from a partisan political writing angle. That's silly: If that were true, then why would Cuccinelli have asked me to help him get some new laws passed in 2013 to improve the political process: laws which passed with huge bipartisan support?
Let's face it: This Con Con idea seemed a sure winner to Ken and his posse, but now, thanks to some of us who have been willing to speak analytically about the law and facts involved, the idea has been defeated for this year.
Will it be back in 2016? Absolutely, if not before. But if you read our Post column, and then the Cuccinelli rebuttal, you will realize his column actually supports our analysis.
(UPDATE: The comments on this are scathing. - promoted by lowkell)
For anyone who remembers Webb's 2006 campaign for U.S. Senate, you undoubtedly recall that he talked constantly about the poor getting poorer, the rich getting richer, and the "middle class getting squeezed." Yet now, for some bizarre reason, he's not a "fan" of the "'middle class' lingo" or apparently of "class" rhetoric?!? Sorry, but Jim Webb has now officially jumped the shark. WTF?
I'm not sure if Virginia Republicans simply have little knowledge of history or no sense of self awareness, but to see them praise Martin Luther King, Jr., despite opposing much (most?) of what he stood for, is truly striking. For instance, Rep. Barbara Comstock cites the King quote, "The time is always right to do what is right." Yet Comstock is a diehard right winger, anti-progressive, tool of the most powerful in our society at the expense of the most vulnerable, proponent of MORE economic inequality, supporter of minority voter suppression techniques (such as a stringent photo ID law she voted for in 2013), etc.
Not surprisingly, Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized that the Republican Party "geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism," something they honed during the 1970s and 1980s with its infamous "Southern Strategy" of Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, etc. Today, has the Republican Party changed very much, when it uses the fabricated, fallacious excuse of "voter fraud" to push minority voter suppression laws across the country? How about when its Tea Party wing holds rallies at which you don't have to look very far to see the most vile, racist imagery about Barack Obama, Michele Obama, etc. on their signs? Even worse, in some ways, is the deafening silence, the lack of condemnation, of these signs and rhetoric by leading Republicans. Of course, one of the top Republican House leaders was recently found to have spoken at a white supremacist conference organized by David Duke, and he has NOT been booted out of leadership. Hmmmm.
As for MLK, Jr.'s views on economic fairness and social justice, how many of these quotes or these or these (or manymore) do you think Barbara Comstock - or other Virginia Republicans (e.g., Dave Brat, Ed Gillespie, Ken Cuccinelli) would be comfortable with?
*"Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism."
*"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
*"So it is obvious that if man is to redeem his spiritual and moral 'lag', he must go all out to bridge the social and economic gulf between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' of the world. Poverty is one of the most urgent items on the agenda of modern life."
*"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."
*"The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty."
*"We must create full employment, or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available... Work of this sort could be enormously increased, and we are likely to find that the problem of housing, education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished"
*"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin-we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
There's actually been a Democrat campaigning for Delegate Joe Morrissey's seat in the 74th District since July. Meet Kevin Sullivan from James City County, a proud union man and former Political Coordinator for Teamsters Joint Council 83, Labor Liaison for Attorney-General Mark Herring, and President of the Charles City Ruritan.
This is Kevin at the annual Mathews Democratic Crab Steam last August, so that's the pounding in the background. He has been pounding the pavement because he wants to represent the interests of blue collar workers in Richmond.
There are not enough people in government who have punched a time clock or carried their lunch in a bag or lived paycheck to paycheck. That's what I want becoming a legislator. I want to represent regular people.
His platform emphasizes Medicaid expansion, education, worker protection, and legislative ethics. He has pledged not to accept the state health coverage provided to Delegates until the Medicaid coverage gap is closed. Educational innovation, technical training opportunities, the cost of higher education, and student loan debt concern him. As a worker's voice in the legislature, he wants to focus on Workman's Compensation and worker misclassification. Saying there is too much "big money" in politics, he is trying to fund his campaign with small donations. In the legislature he would work to limit contributions and gifts to state officials.
At the time we met, Sullivan wanted the opportunity to face Morrissey in a primary. We'll see if that comes to pass.
Back in September 2007, after gearing up (and then quickly shutting down) a presidential campaign, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner opted instead to run for U.S. Senate following Senator John Warner's retirement announcement. At the time, most Virginia Democrats (myself included) loved Mark Warner and were excited about his candidacy, in large part because we figured he was a shoo-in to win the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by John Warner.
In addition, Mark Warner had generally been a strong governor from a progressive perspective, for example vetoing repeal of Virginia's estate tax and signing an executive order (albeit when he was on the way out the door, in December 2005) protecting gays from discrimination in state hiring. So, when people like me saw national progressive blogger Matt Stoller attacking Mark Warner for his "disgusting Lieberman-esque [campaign announcement]" video," as well as for being a "centrist, not a partisan," we were offended. In response, I went after Stoller, writing what is in hindsight a cringe-inducingly rah-rah post defending Mark Warner's honor. Barf.
Well, now, seven years later, I'm read to come groveling to Matt Stoller with profuse apologies. Let me state it as bluntly as possible. Matt, you were right and I was an idiot: Mark Warner turned out to be everything you were worried he'd be, and worse. A few examples.
*Today's disgraceful vote for the Keystone XL Canadian tar sands export pipeline, which is utterly inexcusable any way you want to look at it.
*Warner's long history of pandering to coal, including his appalling speech to a coal "astroturf" rally on the Mall, at which he declared (among other idiocies), "we outta have this driven by the market not by government policy." My god, as if the government hasn't been subsidizing coal and letting that industry get away with murder for decades now?!?
*Warner's constant "dissing" of his progressive and environmentalist "base," something you'd never see a Republican do to his or her "base," yet which Warner appears to take glee in doing as a key part of his "schtick" as a "radical centrist" (whatever the heck THAT means).
*Warner's miserable Progressive Punch rating -- #47 out of 100 in the Senate, less progressive than all other Democrats other than conservadems Joe Manchin, Mary Landrieu (on her way out the door), Mark Pryor (ditto), Kay Hagan (ditto), Claire McCaskill, Joe Donnelly and Tom Carper.
*Warner's obsessive focus on the debt, rather than on job creation, infrastructure investment, and income inequality.
*Warner's incessant false equivalencies, "both sides" nonsense, Republican "framing," all of which are very damaging to the Democratic "brand."
*Warner's blind obedience to the NRA. As teacherken wrote in April 2013: "Mark Warner voted against the assault weapons ban. Mark Warner voted against limiting the size of magazines...It matters not to me whether Mark Warner believes the baloney of the gun lobby or merely lacks the guts to stand up for what is right. What is right is to stop the slaughter. If you are unwilling to step up to that, I am unwilling to offer you my support, my money or my vote."
Now, in fairness, Warner DID vote for the Affordable Care Act. But, of course there's always a caveat with this guy. In this case, not only did Warner oppose a public option, but he did so for the wildly false reason that "it could prove a budget-buster." In fact, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, "Creating a public option that all Americans could choose would save $68 billion through 2020." That's right, SAVE $68 billion, yet the guy who is obsessed with the budget deficit opposed it anyway? It makes no sense whatsoever, just as Warner's support for Keystone XL - a project that would create the whopping total of fifty (50) permanent jobs, none of which would be in Virginia, while encouraging development of the environment-destroying Canadian tar sands. Brilliant.
Bottom line: If Tom Perriello, Bobby Scott, or any other serious, strong progressive chooses to primary Mark Warner in 6 years, I will support that person wholeheartedly. I also, of course, would never support Warner for President or Vice President. It's not as if Warner's "radical centrism" b.s. guarantees him reelection anymore anyway, as Ed Gillespie's near upset victory a few weeks ago demonstrated. So why put up with Warner's Republican Lite garbage anymore? I just wish I had realized this back in 2007, instead of attacking Matt Stoller for hitting the nail on the head. Live and learn, I guess.
According to right-wing extremists (and overall nutjobs) Del. "Sideshow Bob" Marshall and Sen. Dick "Plastic Fetuses and Raging Homophobia" Black, Virginia should use its "police powers..to protect our citizens and residents from exposure to Ebola even if it means a timely court challenge against passenger airlines or the federal government if they continue to permit entry into Virginia of passengers flying from Ebola affected areas." Rather than, say, Republicans funding health authorities like the CDC and NIH, or maybe confirming a Surgeon General, or perhaps providing grants and training to equip hospitals, or...oh forget it, fearmongering is so much easier. By the way, as one high-ranking Virginia Democratic elected official sarcastically messaged me about this, "Does the governor control the FAA now?" Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reported, "In airports in all of the affected regions and across the world, passengers coming from flights from West Africa are [already] being screened for elevated temperatures," and "If a passenger is sick or has a fever, they won't fly." In addition, "More flight restrictions will only make it more difficult for life-saving aid and medical professionals to reach West Africa." As the World Health Organization explains, "Any discontinuation of transport will affect humanitarian aid, doctors, nurses and human resources entering the country, the transfer of biological sampling and equipment for hospitals." Other than all that, "Sideshow Bob" and Dick Black are really onto something here. (snark)
Is Eric Can'tor this crazy and/or stupid? Or is he just an utterly cynical politician who will say or do anything, no matter how laughably nonsensical it is, to keep and enhance his power? I vote for the latter.
The thought that Ken Cuccinelli could have been elected Governor of Virginia last year is a horrifying one, for a whole host of reasons. For one, he's a conspiracy theorist (e.g., he dabbled in "birtherism," also claimed the government used Social Security numbers to "track" us, also believes that thousands of climate scientists are all in some dark conspiracy to impose some U.N. agenda or something, etc, etc.). For another, he's an unabashed theocrat and vehement opponent of women's access to contraception. Evidence for those charges? Listen to Cuckoo on Red State's "Coffee and Markets" radio show. A few highlights...er, lowlights, by Krazy Ken Kookinelli.
*On the Hobby Lobby case (see here for how that case is "About Labor Rights And Religious Extremism, Not Birth Control"), Cooch says the left is actually "against consciences, if they could outlaw them they would, I mean let's face it; it's actually fairly critical to their whole worldview." Hmmm.
*Cooch recommends that listeners "Google 'Humanist Manifesto' and read it...it is the game plan for the vast left-wing conspiracy, and if only the right-wing conspiracy were so vast, we'd be a lot better off...it's part of that playbook."
*If Hobby Lobby wins its case, Cooch claims "it is clearly one of the more poignant stakes in the gut for the left." Why? Because, Cooch claims, the left "cannot tolerate god, they cannot tolerate the acquiescence of government to faith; it clearly has to go the other way in their worldview, and that's a major problem."
*Cooch claims that nobody has a "retort" to his claim that the U.S. is a "natural law country," that we just sit there "dumb and mute" when he spouts his brilliance. Duhhhhhhh.....
*More Crazy Cooch: "The left of course demonizes corporations to begin with...so the notion that a corporation could reflect a moral compass, particularly one grounded in faith, I mean it makes their head explode, which is one of the charms of this case."
*Cooch is "so proud" of Hobby Lobby's owners for its willingness to "risk everything they've built to vanquish [sic] the principle of religious liberty, which maybe more than is under assault in this country today...we should all be so grateful to them...I'm just so impressed." (note to Cooch: "vanquish" is exactly the opposite of the word you presumably intended to use there, but whatever...please continue! LOL)
*More Cooch paranoid, unhinged lunacy (and psychological projection): "People in this country don't realize how tyrannical the left is. It is phenomenally intolerant of any views other than its own. And it must label them as bad, evil, malodorous in some way. It's all they have; they can't really argue against them so they don't...Every liberal position is built on a fallacy. If you give me enough questions honestly answered, I can get you to the hollow core of any liberal position. Of course, normally...they won't answer your questions, because they instinctively know that themselves...truth is our friend."
*Oh, and Cooch says people are going to have to "start going to jail" because they won't "bake a cake" for a gay couple or whatever.
*On the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial campaign, Cooch says he would have won except for "two silver bullets" against him: 1) Bob McDonnell's scandals; 2) the government shutdown.
*I skipped over a bunch of this blithering idiocy and insanity, but at the end Cooch talks about 2016, and how Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are two of the best candidates for the Republicans. Cooch also claims that Barack Obama has "helped destroy this country," and that we don't have someone in the White House who "loves this country." Also, the only reason Obama became president was because of Republicans failing for 6 years and the GOP abandoning "every principle we ever said that we ascribed to."
After listening to this raving lunacy and wild-eyed extremism, I'd venture to thank any deity you believe in, or simply the wisdom of the majority of Virginia voters, that Ken Cuccinelli was not elected governor of our state. Boy, did we ever dodge a bullet (silver or otherwise) on that one. Phew!
The Bieber part starts at 3:45, including Warner's (correct) comment that the Tea Party and "Beliebers" are "about equally informed." I just wish that Sen. Warner would succeed in his efforts on this front. :)
I actually think this is spot on, not sure why Mark Warner deleted it. The fact is, Republicans are utterly (and unhealthfully) obsessed with a) Barack Obama; and b) the Affordable Care Act (which they derisively call "Obamacare," even though it's modeled almost totally on conservative ideas, such as the individual mandate, private/for-profit insurance, and the health care exchanges). If they in any way, shape or form COULD blame the snowstorm on "Obamacare," they would. Oh wait, let's not give them any ideas. Heh.
P.S. After deleting the following tweet, the Warner folks tweeted "Oops. Staff #fail on a snow day. Removed as quickly as possible. Enjoy the rest of your snow day." Now THAT is a #FAIL!
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted today by a federal grand jury on 14 counts stemming from the first couple's acceptance and solicitation of thousands in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman during McDonnell's term.
Taken together, the charges, if they resulted in convictions and maximum sentences, could produce fines in excess of $1 million and put the McDonnells behind bars for decades.
By the way, my article almost a year ago on how both Rod Blagojevich and Bob McDonnell were both corrupt, but at least Blagojevich did some good things for his state, seems more true today than ever.
UPDATE: @omeola of the Richmond Times Dispatch tweets, "Frmr Gov @bobMcDonnell sez "emphatically" that he "did nothing illegal" for Williams in exchange for what he thought was personal friendship." Also, "McDonnell says he will use 'every available resource and advocate I have for as long as it takes to fight these false allegations.'"
UPDATE #3: Speaking of corrupt slimeballs, Speaker Bill "ALEC" Howell weighs in. (per tweet by @chelyendavis) as "'very disappointed' by news of McDonnell indictment, calls McD friend who 'made mistakes in judgement'."
UPDATE #4: Sen. Donald McEachin says, "Today is a sad day for the Commonwealth of Virginia. If nothing else, this speaks to the urgent need for comprehensive ethics reform."
UPDATE #5: I hear the word "sad" being thrown around a lot today. What's really sad? I'd say first and foremost, that the McDonnells did what they are alleged to have done, betraying the trust that Virginians placed in them (and lying about it, minimizing it, excusing it, etc, etc.). Second, it's sad (and anger inducing) that Virginia has such a pathetically lax system of legalized corruption, and that this system hasn't been reformed from top to bottom by now. That's what I'm really "sad"/angry about.
UPDATE #6: Josh Israel of ThinkProgress points out that "While this marks the first time the former Virginia Attorney General has been on the receiving end of a criminal indictment, this is not McDonnell's first time under ethical fire: in 2005, he exploited a loophole to evade disclosure requirements, hiding corporate contributors to his AG campaign."
Just one problem, Bishop Jackson: we wouldn't have called you a "nutcase" or "completely outside of the mainstream of American thinking" if it weren't 100% true. And thank goodness you ARE "completely outside the mainstream of American thinking," because if your belief system ever really took hold in this country (god forbid), we'd essentially be Salafism: Western Hemisphere Edition. No thanks!
As I'm sure everyone's well aware, often times politicians say things that they don't really believe. In recent weeks, we've had a prime example of that with the announced retirement of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th, VA), and the praise heaped upon him by Democrats and Republicans alike. For instance, Senator Kaine praised Wolf has having "exemplified the best in public service," while Gov. Bob McDonnell claimed that Wolf has "sought out common ground...has worked across the aisle...has represented the people of this Commonwealth with distinction and with grace."
Common ground? Working across the aisle? The "best in public service?" Really? Well, actually...not so much. First off, if you look at Wolf's voting record, he ranks a dismal 390th out of 433 in terms of "progressive score vs. district tilt." In other words, Wolf has been one of the most right-wing members, relative to his district (the 10th CD is a "purple," swing district) in Congress. How far-right is this guy? Well, Wolf's lifetime 7.19% progressive score on "crucial votes" places him further to the right than some of the most extreme members of Congress (e.g., rabid Paul Broun of Georgia, Dana Rohrabacher of California) and on just slightly less right wing than this maniac. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that Wolf has earned horrendous ratings on women's reproductive health and freedom (e.g., ZEROES by NARAL and Planned Parenthood; 100% rating by the National Right to Life Committee); on civil liberties (e.g., ZEROES by the American Civil Liberties Union); on LGBT equality (e.g., a string of ZERO ratings by groups like PFLAG and the Human Rights Campaign; and a 100% rating by the Christian Coalition); the environment (e.g., a pathetic 17% from the League of Conservation Voters in 2012). For good measure, Wolf also received a 100% rating from the fossil fuel/far-right-wing-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute, which pushes climate science denial and opposes almost any government regulation - for health, safety, whatever).
So much for Frank Wolf being in any way, shape, or form a representative who has sought out "common ground" or has "worked across the aisle." In fact, behind his generally quiet, reserved demeanor, the guy's about as far right/wingnutty as they come.
But it's not just that Wolf holds hard-right positions on almost all the issues. It's also that he's a big-time conspiracy theorist and a corrosive, negative force in Congress. Exhibit A has been Wolf's obsession with the 2012 tragedy at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. For instance, Wolf has called for a select committee to "get to the truth once and for all so we can find out what happened" in Benghazi. In that statement, note that Wolf referenced Fox "News" in his assertion that "the direct ties to the Al Qaeda senior leadership undercut early characterizations by the Obama administration that the attackers in Benghazi were isolated 'extremists' - not Al Qaeda terrorists - with no organizational structure or affiliation.'" Wolf also referenced the completely discredited 60 Minutes piece by Lara Logan, which according to Wolf "confirmed what Wolf had detailed on the House floor this past July: 'a quick reaction force from the CIA Annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound, at time running and shooting their way through the streets just to get there.'"
Well guess what? You guessed it: Frank Wolf was wildly, outrageously wrong on basically everything he was hysterically raving about regarding Benghazi. Just today, in fact, the New York Times is out with the results of a months-long investigation into the Benghazi consulate attack. What the Times found was, in sum, that almost none of what Wolf and other Republicans have been ranting about is true. To the contrary:
In the previous installment, I promised new thoughts on the mystery of President Obama's seeking and gaining the pinnacle of power only then to manifest an incapacity to use it against Republican enemies relentlessly seeking to thwart, delegitimize, disempower, and destroy him.
I recognize that some people reject the question, proposing variations either of "He's in cahoots with the Republicans, only pretending to want to achieve the things they defeat" (this one was popular on Daily Kos) or of "He's doing just fine given what he's up against." Those people will doubtless not be interested in my proposed answer to a question whose premise they reject.
To me, that premise --that President Obama has been extraordinarily unable or unwilling to confront his implacable Republican political foes-- is clearly true. In fact, I think it likely will be considered by future historians the salient truth about Mr. Obama's presidency (at least up to this point-- we can only hope the coming showdowns will show him to be readier for battle).
So I maintain that this question is the one to be asking. As for my proposed answer, I don't want to oversell it. As I said yesterday, it's speculative, and only partially developed. Consider it a "clinical intuition" (and yes, I do have a background in psychology). I do think I've come up with something.
The whole idea rests on a single observation: While President Obama seems astoundingly handicapped in wielding power against his enemies within the American political system, he shows no such incapacity for toughness against external enemies. He's attacked them with drones. He ordered the lethal attack against Osama bin Laden.
Against those outside the "We" of the community, he can seek and destroy. It's within the boundaries of the community that he shrinks from confrontation.
My clinical intuition tells me an inference can be made here.
According to newspaper accounts, the USDOJ is investigating Governor McDonnell for the following alleged quid pro quo: the Governor used his state power to help promote a Virginia company's products in exchange for monies tendered in the form of alleged loans and/or gifts. Assuming this quid-pro-quo is the sole basis of the investigation, then I ask: Why is this a matter of federal jurisdiction as opposed to solely 10th amendment state jurisdiction?
Governor McDonnell has no federal power. He is a state official, deriving power from the Virginia constitution. Whatever he allegedly gave sleazy business guy Jonnie Williams involved the trading of state power good only in Virginia. Based on newspaper accounts, these include Mansion events, access to state officials, and the like.
The federales are trying to make a Hobbs Act violation out of what seems to be state activity. The First Lady did travel to Florida to promote a Star Scientific produce, and Johnnie boy did take her on a New York City fashion spree. But unless there is some claim of a interstate conspiracy not reported in the press, these actions had nothing to do with McDonnell.
She is her own person. She isn't a state official, she has no power herself. Why should there be federal jurisdiction in this matter?
I know there is due to the Hobbs Act. But this begs the question: Should there be?
If the Governor of Virginia helps a local VA business get some special access/influence/whatever with state government, why is this a federal crime? Are we in Virginia so pathetic, so in need of help from DC, that we can not be trusted to handle this situation under state law?
Sure, the Congress doesn't much like, any more than we all do, the possibility of a Governor trading his public position for personal private. But why is it a federal crime?
In the midst of a covert trip to Afghanistan to visit American troops, Gov. Bob McDonnell says he will discuss undisclosed gifts from donor and benefactor Jonnie Williams later.
The governor is part of an official Department of Defense delegation visiting U.S. service members stationed in Kuwait and Afghanistan, including members of the Virginia National Guard.
Meanwhile, Jeff Schapiro points out that "[j]ust because McDonnell is apologizing doesn't mean the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, a federal grand jury in Richmond and the city's prosecutor will drop their investigations." Schapiro adds:
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