"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Wanted: One House Speaker (No Experience Necessary)”: No Work Required, Excellent Benefits, Unlimited Time-Off

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) unexpectedly announced his retirement two weeks ago, many on Capitol Hill feared an ugly free-for-all, with a dozen or more House Republicans hoping to take advantage of the unique opportunity.

GOP leaders, desperate to avoid such chaotic circumstances, moved quickly, rallying behind House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). He faced two challengers – one of whom entered the Speaker’s race late – but the unruly mess of a massive field of candidates never materialized.

Instead, a different kind of unruly mess forced McCarthy to quit.

There’s no shortage of questions about what happens now – to the party, to the country – but the most immediate question is who will to try to be the next Speaker of the House.

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) threw his hat into the ring yesterday, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is reportedly “considering” it. Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Dan Webster (R-Fla.), both of whom took on McCarthy, are very likely to give it another shot.

Rep. Tom Cole’s (R-Okla.) name came up quite a bit yesterday as a more mainstream option, while Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) heard their names floated.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who resigned in disgrace nearly two decades ago, said yesterday he’s open to reclaiming his old post if Republicans rally behind him. (Seriously, that’s what he said.)

And while it’s certainly possible that one of these men may end up as the GOP’s nominee, let’s not pretend any of them are at the top of the Republican wish-list. Politico noted the Republican Party’s favorite.

It’s all about Paul Ryan right now. […]

The Wisconsin Republican is getting bombarded with calls and one-on-one appeals from GOP lawmakers, urging him to be the party’s white knight. Boehner has had multiple conversations with the Ways and Means Committee chairman. Even before he dropped his own bid, McCarthy told Ryan he should do it. And the list goes on: House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) spoke to him about it on the House floor, and Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) also has pushed Ryan to reconsider.

Referring to Ryan, Trey Gowdy said, “I have spent more time trying to talk him into running [for Speaker] than I did my wife into marrying me.”

The Republican Party’s problem is that Paul Ryan really doesn’t want to be Speaker. Almost immediately after Boehner announced he’s stepping down, Ryan quickly made clear he would not run. Almost immediately after McCarthy withdrew from consideration, the Wisconsin congressman once again said he “will not” be a candidate for Speaker.

But this time, the party is pushing him anyway. Boehner was heard saying yesterday that “it has to be Ryan” – even if Ryan himself disagrees.

For what it’s worth, Ryan’s rhetoric shifted slightly late last night, and though different reporters are hearing different things, the Washington Post, citing “top GOP sources,” said this morning that Ryan “is seriously considering a bid for House speaker.”

It’s a miserable job, and Ryan knows it, but that doesn’t mean he’ll ignore the intensifying pressure.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 9, 2015

October 11, 2015 Posted by | Congress, House Freedom Caucus, House Republicans, Speaker of The House of Representatives | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Time To Get A Life”: Republicans React To Benghazi News

The article The Times published on Benghazi this weekend infuriated many Republicans, who ran screaming to television studios.

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who has made a special crusade out of the attack on the American diplomatic and intelligence compound in Benghazi, was asked on “Meet the Press” to justify Republican claims that Al Qaeda agents planned and executed the operation. (The article found no evidence that Al Qaeda was involved.)

Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC put her finger on the political question when she asked Mr. Issa why Republicans “use the term Al Qaeda.” After all, she said, “you and other members of Congress are sophisticated in this and know that when you say Al Qaeda, people think central Al Qaeda. They don’t think militias that may be inspired by Bin Laden and his other followers.”

“There is a group there involved that is linked to Al Qaeda,” Mr. Issa said. “What we never said — and I didn’t have the security to look behind the door, that’s for other members of Congress — of what the intelligence were on the exact correspondence with Al Qaeda, that sort of information — those sorts of methods I’ve never claimed.”

I’m still trying to parse that sentence.

On Fox News on Sunday, Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan insisted the story was wrong in finding that “Al Qaeda was not involved in this.”

“There was some level of pre-planning; we know that,” he said. “There was aspiration to conduct an attack by Al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya; we know that. The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical movement on the compound — this is the compound before they went to the annex.”

For anyone wondering why it’s so important to Republicans that Al Qaeda orchestrated the attack — or how the Obama administration described the attack in its immediate aftermath — the answer is simple. The Republicans hope to tarnish Democratic candidates by making it seem as though Mr. Obama doesn’t take Al Qaeda seriously. They also want to throw mud at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who they fear will run for president in 2016.

Which brings us to one particularly hilarious theme in the response to the Times investigation. According to Mr. Rogers, the article was intended to “clear the deck” for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said today that The Times was “already laying the groundwork” for a Clinton campaign. Other Republicans referred to Mrs. Clinton as our “candidate of choice.”

Since I will have more to say about which candidate we will endorse in 2016 than any other editor at the Times, let me be clear: We have not chosen Mrs. Clinton. We have not chosen anyone. I can also state definitively that there was no editorial/newsroom conspiracy of any kind, because I knew nothing about the Benghazi article until I read it in the paper on Sunday.


By: Andrew Rosenthal, Editorial Page Editor, The New York Times, December 30, 2013

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Benghazi, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“With Friends Like This”: Michele Bachmann Still Has Access To Our Nation’s Top Secrets

Here are just a few of the people who have publicly condemned Rep. Michele Bachmann’s work on the House Intelligence Committee in the past year — from her own party: The GOP’s most prominent voice on foreign policy, the speaker of the House, the party’s leading 2016 presidential candidate, and the chairman of that very committee.

Then there was the epic eye roll that White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennnan, who was recently tapped to lead the CIA, delivered when asked about Bachmann. “I’m not even going to try to divine what it is that sometimes comes out of Congress,” he said with a laugh.

The rebukes followed Bachmann’s neo-McCarthyite witch hunt against Muslims in the federal government, for she feared “deep penetration” by Muslim Brotherhood agents. One suspect included Huma Abedin, a top aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who it turned out was not a terrorists and happened to be beloved by members of both parties.

While the witch hunt was surprising, the fact that Bachmann would use her perch on the Intelligence Committee to do something stupid was entirely predictable. This is Michele Bachmann, after all, who sees conspiracy theories everywhere and for whom the word “intelligence” is rarely used in the same sentence without the addition of a negative qualifier.

And yet, Bachmann has now officially been reappointed to her seat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. On Friday, House Republicans released their list of committee members for the nascent 113th Congress, and Bachmann’s name is on it. The post gives her access to classified information and the power to oversee the country’s intelligence agencies, including the use of drones and efforts to thwart Iran’s nuclear program.

And if that’s not enough, two of her co-conspirators, Reps. Lynn Westmoreland and Tom Rooney, will retain their seats on the committee as well. Westmoreland and Rooney, along with Reps. Louie Gohmert and Trent Franks, signed on to Bachmann’s letters to the inspectors general of five national security agencies demanding investigations into alleged Muslim Brotherhood penetration.

(Incidentally, security breaches are not really the domain of inspectors general, who deal more with budgetary and administrative impropriety. Counter-intelligence agents would be the more appropriate choice if Bachmann were actually concerned about infiltration and not using the campaign to boost her fundraising and reelection bid.)

That means that most of Bachmann’s anti-Muslim cabal remains on the Intelligence Committee, representing a quarter of the 12 GOP members of the group. The only new member, Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo, replaces Rep. Sue Myrick, who had one of the most notoriously anti-Muslim records in Congress before resigning last year. Pompeo may not be much better.

Why is Bachmann getting another round on a committee she probably has no business being on? We can’t know for sure, but probably because immediate domestic political concern trumps foreign policy competence every time, especially if you’re John Boehner.

In July, the National Review’s Robert Costa reported that “many senior House GOP aides were wary of elevating” Bachmann to the Intel Committee at the time of her appointment, but “Boehner assured them that it was an appropriate gesture.” After losing her presidential race, the seat was “a political lifeline” for Bachmann and it was all thanks to Boehner, Costa explained.

The uproar over the Abedin affair threatened to undo all of that, but apparently was not enough. Either Boehner is scared of taking on Bachmann and her vast grass-roots network of admirers, or he’d rather appease her and tap into that political power. Either way, he’s choosing to keep her in a position of power over national security, despite calling her views “dangerous” only a few months ago.

And it’s all the more surprising considering that Boehner had no problem culling a number of other high-profile Tea Party members from plum committee posts last month, in what became known as the “Tea Party purge.”


BY: Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon, February 11, 2013

February 12, 2013 Posted by | National Security | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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