Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Weekly Strike-6/1-6/6

Good evening and welcome to the Weekly Strike, where we preview the week in politics. Congress is out of session, and that's very unfortunate if you are a) unemployed, b) without health insurance or c) a doctor who treats Medicare patients. Because Congress didn't act, all of these people will be facing a pretty tough week. But fear not, at least you can read my blog.

THE WHITE HOUSE: All of the action this week will be at the White House, where President Obama is dealing with quite a myriad of problems. First and foremost is the continuing devastation of the oil spill in the Gulf. After this week's "Top Kill" operation failed, BP and the administration are looking for answers. I think it's about time President Obama take on a larger role. Today, he meets with the head of the newly formed oil spill commission at the White House. Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder is headed down to the Gulf Coast to survey the scene. There are reports that the administration could be considering law suits against BP for malfeasance. I hope, if only for political reasons, that the administration goes down this path.

The tragedy about this situation is that BP has been an utter failure at stopping the spill, yet they are the only ones who have the access and machinery to fix the problem. I think the government needs to come in and take over the operation. This is a great lesson, though, in our economic system. BP gets all the rewards of massive profits by drilling in the gulf, yet the risk is socialized, with the after effects wreaking havoc on a large part of the country. Even if BP accepts full liability, which so far doesn't seem too likely, the economic and environmental damage will be with us for years to come.

The President also must deal with another crisis in the Middle East. This weekend, Israeli forces stopped a Flotilla, which was bringing supplies to Gaza. The Flotilla was full of Turkish and European activists, who apparently set up the high profile confrontation to gain some publicity for their cause. This does NOT excuse the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces, which reacted to a minor provocation with violence, reportedly killing 11 people in the process. President Obama wants to patch up our somewhat strained relationship with Israel, but he needs to come out against this abhorrent behavior forcefully.

RECESS: I'll also be looking this week to see how the Congressional recess goes for members traveling back home. I don't expect any town hall style outbursts, mostly because the health care issue is settled. I do expect some tough questioning for Democratic members, especially from older, white constituents. Democrats have been instructed to highlight the instant benefits of the health care law to seniors. They've also been told to highlight contrasts with their Republican opponents, especially on the economy. If Democrats are to have any success this year (success is defined as not losing a catastrophic number of seats), they will need the help of all candidates in crafting a narrative. The narrative has to highlight how the Democrats brought the economy back from the brink, while the Republicans who drove us into the ditch just want to sit back and blame others. If Democrats try to throw each other on the bus by saying "I stood up to my party and voted against" this or that, they'll fall as one.

That's it for now. See you tonight!

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