Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Daily Strike-6/23/10-Fired

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. It was quite a momentous day in politics, but it was even more momentous in sports, as the United States advanced to the next round of the World Cup with an extra-time goal against Algeria. It was awesome.

MCCHRYSTAL: The President "accepted the resignation" today of General Stanley McChrystal as the lead commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal was in hot water for mocking several administration officials in a Rolling Stone article. Obama, rightly, believed that this act crossed the line. The President can't have a general in world's most difficult conflict who uses poor judgment, nor can he have one who threatens the sacrosanct chain of command. As the President said in an afternoon press event, disagreement is healthy, but disunity is not.

The President chose General David Petraeus, one of America's most popular military figures, to take control of the quagmire in Afghanistan. Petraeus will leave his current post as the head of Central Command. Conservatives and moderates were giddy at the choice, citing Petraeus' supposed surge success in Iraq. But the surge was partly successful due to exogenous factors, such as the Sunni awakening in the summer of 2007. Petraeus seems like a competent general, but he is being handed a war with a flawed strategy and no end in sight. I hope Petraeus is able to turn things around.

Because Petraeus is so widely respected, he is likely to gain Senate confirmation to his post almost immediately. His hearing will most likely be next week, coincidentally at the same time as the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan (talk about a story that's fallen off the map!).

THE SENATE: There seems to be some possible light at the end of the tunnel for the long-stalled tax extenders/unemployment bill in the Senate. Today, Senator Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on a third version of the bill, which inexplicably cuts more funding for Medicaid and rolls back some of the revenue provisions. The changes are designed to win the votes of Maine moderates Snowe and Collins, though the two Republican Senators have yet to voice their support. It remains to be seen whether Reid will be able to corral the votes.

The Democrats beat back an absurd, hypocritical amendment today, offered by Senator DeMint (R-SC) that would permanently extend the low tax rate on Capital Gains. All of the self-proclaimed deficit hawks in the Senate (i.e. every single Republican Senator besides Voinovich of Ohio, plus Ben Nelson of Nebraska) voted to put a major dent in our deficit and debt. And apparently no one will call them out for this blatant hypocrisy! Luckily, the amendment failed 40-57.

THE HOUSE: The House today overwhelmingly passed a bill that gives the newly formed Oil Spill commission full subpoena power. The only dissenting vote was from Ron Paul (R-TX). The House will take up the DISCLOSE Act, which sets new limits on campaign expenditures. We'll have more on that bill tomorrow.

CONFERENCE: House and Senate conferees are trying to finish negotiations on the Wall Street Reform bill, yet they're stuck on a few sticking points. House Democrats, led by the New York delegation and some moderates want to gut the language on derivatives offered by Senator Lincoln (D-AR). Removing this provision would be bad policy, and it also might jeopardize the bill's chances in the Senate. Meanwhile, Democrats have had to tread carefully in order to keep the votes of the four Republicans who supported the bill, Senators Brown (MA), Collins (ME), Grassley (IA) and Snowe (ME). Conferees will try to come to a conclusion by Friday so that final votes can be held in each chamber next week.

That's it for now, see you tomorrow!

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