Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Daily Strike-11/10/09-Being Presidential

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. It was getaway day for many here in Washington. The United States Senate will not hold votes for the rest of the week, because they could not reach an agreement on amendments to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. Thus, a continuation of our daily reminders that the United States Senate is the biggest obstacle to progress in this country.

FORT HOOD: The President today gave a powerful and sobering speech in Fort Hood, Texas to commemorate those who lost their lives in last week's shootings. Many seasoned political observers, like Chuck Todd and Mark Ambinder, called this one of President Obama's best speeches. One of the key roles of the President, a role that is often forgotten in the midst of legislative wrangling and policy disputes, is to be the consoler-in-chief. In other words, the President is required to adequately express the sorrow that the rest of us our feeling. He did so today in a very moving, sincere way. The President gave brief descriptions of each of the victims, described their life stories and the work they were dedicated to, and mentioned the family members they were leaving behind.

He also used this speech, as he often does, to teach a larger moral lesson. He spoke with clarity by saying that no religion, and no God would tolerate this sort of violence, and that justice will confront the perpetrator in this life and the next. It may not be my style of rhetoric, but it struck the right tone at such a solemn ceremony. He also used the speech to express a more general appreciate for the troops and their sacrifice. He extolled their values of selflessness and dedication to the country.

Overall, it was a very moving tribute, and it allowed President Obama to play a role that we often don't get to see: the role of a true moral leader.

THE SENATE: On the other side of the moral spectrum is the United States Senate. Today, former President Clinton visited the Democratic caucus, and urged them to seize the moment when it comes to health reform. Majority Leader Reid announced that the Senate will begin consideration of health care legislation next Monday, assuming the CBO finishes its cost estimate of the bill by Friday. Of course, Senators would first have to vote to proceed to the bill. This would require a 60 vote threshold. A few Democratic moderates have not yet committed to even voting to bring the bill to the floor. If Reid is not able to get those commitments, we might see a series of painful negotiations before debate even begins on the bill.

Inexplicably, the Senate will stand in recess during Thanksgiving week. And with health care expected to take the full month of December, I don't expect that we'll see the Senate take up other important House-passed bills this year, like food safety and student loan reform.

Alright, that's enough Senate bashing for one day. See you tomorrow and Happy Veterans Day!

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