August 2, 2011
If you are of the liberal persuasion, which appears to be a slowly dying breed, then politics in Washington and the policy positions of the # 1 liberal, Barack Obama, are certain to make you a little queasy, if not violently ill.
There is no sugar-coating the fact that in the debt-ceiling battle, the Republicans won, the conservatives won, the Tea Party won and the liberals got hammered.
Sure Social Security and Medicare were protected, but the cuts that will go into effect in the next ten years will hurt the middle class and the poor, while the wealthy and the corporations go scot free.
The President got the debt ceiling issue put off until after the 2012 election but that’s about all he got in terms of achieving one of his key goals. Tax revenue, closing corporate loopholes and the Grand Bargain all got dumped in the circular file.
Liberals are furious with the Presidnet and his team for not standing tall for what Democrats are supposed to stand for -using government to help those in need and to invest in the future. There’s a lot of talk in liberal circles that the President just doesn’t know how to frame an argument to counter act the right or how to use his office to slam the right with liberal and progressive positions.
The President just seems intimidated by the right and willing to go along with the flow rather than meeting conservative positions with liberal ones. The President and most liberals, except the hated Nancy Pelosi, seem afraid to attack the right, to use outrageous comments to counter act outrageous comments and to use the Internet to show how off the wall the Tea Party positions really are.
Liberals just seem to be willing to be beaten up politically and then complain about being beaten up. So another victory for the right with the left being taken to the cleaners. When will the word ” fight ” enter the liberal vocabularly?
July 27, 2011
Somewhere in the deep recesses of the West Wing a gaggle of lawyers for the Obama administration are pouring over the obscure language of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment as perhaps one very odd way out of the debt ceiling crisis.
The Civil War era amendment states in part “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”
Now anyone reading Section 4 would likely come to the conclusion that this language has little if anything to do with the current debt ceiling imbroglio, and they would be right – perhaps.
We are getting down to crunch time here in the USA and the gridlock in Congress does not seem to be abating. The President must do something to avoid default and one option is to invoke Section 4 of the 14th Amendment. It is clearly a stretch, although former President Bill Clinton has already advised Obama to invoke the amendment to at least temporarily avoid another financial meltdown.
Obama and his lawyers are not so sure about whether Section 4 of the 14th Amendment has legal standing in this issue, but there is disagreement in the White House. The argument for using the 14th Amendment is that Obama invokes it, raises the debt ceiling, is sued by the Republicans and the issue goes to the Supreme Court for review.
Here is where it gets interesting. The Court often stays away from what are termed issues that are termed “political” in nature. Advocates of the 14th say that the Court would stay out of this mess, even though there is a constitutional challenge. Of course this is pure speculation, but there is precedent for the Court staying out of the political fray, and this is certainly a time of political fray.
Perhaps this constitutional sideshow will remain on the sidelines and a deal will be struck at the 11th hour. But Obama does have one option that could be used in desperation. It might be instructive to reiterate that the 14th Amendment came out of the Civil War, and this debt ceiling fight certainly is a civil war.