Friday, September 11, 2009

The Daily Strike-9/11/09-It's Been 8 Years

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. The healthcare debate took a brief pause today as the country marked the 8th anniversary of 9/11, but it seems like we all take less time to pause and remember these days, doesn't it?

SEPTEMBER 11: As Ezra Klein pointed out today, our country is becoming further and further removed from the events of 9/11. Last year's election was the first since 2000 that didn't center upon 9/11 or the War on Terrorism. And even with a very perilous situation in Afghanistan, most of the political debate now centers around domestic policy.

The President marked the anniversary today by giving a speech at the Pentagon, where 184 people died in the attacks. He was joined by Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen. Vice President Biden attended a memorial at Ground Zero in New York. But the ceremonies lacked the grandeur and political theater they did in previous years. President Bush's popularity always used to shoot up around 9/11 because he could show the country that he was firm in his resolve against terrorism, and on that day, people were susceptible to that message. I hate to write political obituaries, but I'm wondering if the era of 9/11 politics is coming to a close.

Even if it is, the war in Afghanistan certainly isn't. Today, Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin (D-MI) said that he would be against sending more troops to Afghanistan even if, as expected, General McCrystal asks for reinforcements. Liberal House Democrats also say that they would not support sending more troops, especially without a definitive exit strategy. President Obama has made no decision yet about increasing troop levels. I'm sure he will be heavily pressured by the military brass, as every President is. But he needs to look out for the best interest of the country, not the conventional wisdom in the Pentagon. It's such a difficult pace to win a war, no matter how many troops we send. We'll keep an eye on this as the President makes his decision. It's not like the President will be able to devote that much time to Afghanistan. Even beyond the health care effort, he is extremely busy in the next couple of weeks, with the G20 summit, the UN meeting and Monday's speech on Wall Street, where he'll lay out the tenets of his financial regulation plan.

HEALTH CARE: Not that this should be news anymore, but Chairman Baucus (D-MT) says that he is just about ready to unveil his health care plan, possibly by Tuesday. He's been saying this for about 3 months now. Apparently, all that work with the bipartisan "Gang of Six" has been pretty pointless. Senator Grassley (R-IA) today said that he most likely won't support the bill. He thinks that President Obama hurt bipartisan efforts because he didn't abandon the public option. I won't say more except that I really, strongly dislike Chuck Grassley. This is a family blog, so I won't say what I really feel about this grumpy old partisan hack.

RIGHT-WING NUTTERY: Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she would not seek a legislative rebuke to Congressman Joe Wilson for yelling "You Lie" to the President at his address to a joint session of Congress. Apparently, after some convincing from Majority Whip James Clyburn, also from South Carolina, she will allow a vote on a resolution condemning Wilson's actions. Part of the reason they're doing this is because Wilson, despite pressure from his own party, has not apologized for his antics on the House floor. He has broken House rules (you're not allowed to call someone a liar), so he should have to pay a price. If they do actually vote on this next week, I'll be very interesting to see what the outcome is, and how many Republicans, if any, crossover.

Also, tomorrow conservative teabaggers will descend on DC for a protest as part of the "9/12 project." This project was started by Glenn Beck, ostensibly to bring our country back where it was the day after 9/11, but it's really just a way for crazy people to express anger at Obama and liberals. I'll be interested to see if these people get any significant media coverage.

That's it for tonight. I'm up to see The Big Picture in New York this weekend. See you Monday morning!

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