[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
60°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 23
1941 - SCV's first real movie house, the American Theater, dedicated in Newhall [story]


The Rational Center | Commentary by John Zaring
| Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013

johnzaring2012At some point this week, the Senate will vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel from Nebraska.   As defense secretary, Hagel will be in charge of the largest and arguably most important sector of the federal government, which is why the position is supposed to be non-partisan.

But Hagel’s fellow Republicans don’t see it quite that way.

Let’s be honest: Hagel’s performance before the Senate Armed Services Committee was weak.  At times, the attacks from longtime friends such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who as a presidential candidate once had Hagel on his short list for the same position, left Hagel shocked to the point of incoherence.

Hagel’s bigger problem is what he’s not, which is a neocon, and that has the more hawkish members of the Senate and their supporters on the outside, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, up in arms (no pun intended).  Hagel is paying the price for being unafraid, during his time in the Senate, to abandon the GOP’s position on matters of war during the Bush years.

On Monday, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced he would like to put Hagel’s nomination before the committee for a vote today, but Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., quickly jumped into the fray to say, “Not so fast, Carl.”  Graham said he’s going to put a “hold” on the nomination until he gets some more answers from the administration about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

You read that correctly. Graham wants to hold up a vote on the defense secretary over an issue that involves – yes – the State Department.

That prompted a scathing rebuke from the White House, with Obama’s press secretary Jay Carney saying, “What is unfortunate here is the continuing attempt to politicize an issue, in this case, through nominees that themselves had nothing to do with Benghazi, and to do so in a way that only does harm to our national security interests.”

It appears Hagel will achieve the 60 vote threshold needed to overcome any attempt at filibuster by his former party-mates, so basically Graham knows he can do little more than stall the vote a day or two.

Once Hagel is approved, the real work will begin.  Hagel will be charged with guiding the Pentagon through an already-underway transformation started by current Pentagon head Leon Panetta, taking America from a post-Cold War strategy based on large-scale ground battles to today’s more specialized operations like we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speaking of the defense budget, let’s address the looming sequester which, if Congress continues to do, well, nothing, will take effect March 1, and in the process wipe out billions from the Pentagon’s budget.

History shows that the sequester was voted into law by the GOP-controlled House and with majority Republican support in the Senate, yet Republicans have been trying hard over the past few weeks to reposition it as, according to Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, “the Obama Sequester.”

Let’s review the facts.

On Aug. 11, 2011, the Budget Control Act, which is the official name for the sequester, passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 269-161.   A quick check of the Roll Call shows that 174 of those 298 “yes” votes came from House Republicans, a group that included every GOP leader, including Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Congressman (and eventual Mitt Romney running mate) Paul Ryan.  Boehner, in fact, told CBS News on that day, “I got 98 percent of what I wanted.  I’m pretty happy.”

So I am forced to ask: Since only 95 Democrats voted for it and Boehner got 98 percent of what he wanted, WHO owns it?

The Republican attempt to position the sequester as Obama’s doing is interesting in a couple of ways.  For years, they’ve been insisting the president isn’t serious about deficit reduction.  Yet now, they want to position Obama as the architect behind draconian cuts, making him the Angela Merkel of American austerity.  Let’s not forget that since the debt ceiling crisis, which is what the sequester stems from, the GOP has been pushing the idea that the budget needs to be cut.  However, now they want the blame Obama for the cuts they’ve been calling for all along.

As an easily confused Scooby Doo often said, “Hu-ruh?”

Republicans have little leverage at this point.  Even conservative standard bearer Bill Crystal wrote in The Weekly Standard that “allowing the sequester to go into effect would be deeply irresponsible.”

Tonight, when Obama goes before a joint session of a stubbornly dysfunctional Congress to discuss the state of our union, he will beg for bipartisan cooperation, knowing full well he won’t be getting it anytime soon, on pretty much anything.   Late in his first term, Obama figured out that for Republicans, it wasn’t about philosophical differences; it was just nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking, being obstructionist as a theory of governance.  Republicans simply want to stop stuff from happening that they don’t like, so they aren’t looking for compromise, only spoilers.

Throughout his first term, the president was too often the lone adult in the room cognizant of the creed of the nation –  E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one” – which is why tomorrow he will once again take his dog-and-pony show on the road.   Obama learned the hard way that Republicans in Congress only want to hurt him and hurt Democrats, regardless of the cost to the nation, so he will work from the outside in, reminding the American people that they reelected him to be the defender of the middle class and the poor’s advocate.

I suspect the president will look past the blank stares in the Capitol tonight and speak directly to those of us watching at home, utilizing the bully pulpit to advance his second-term priorities of job creation, immigration reform, tax reform and yes, gun control.  And I also suspect it will take a sequestration of memory for Americans to buy the spin offered up by McConnell, Graham, Boehner and others that Obama has mutated from a crazy socialist, big-government-loving liberal into a European-style king of austerity hell-bent on turning America into Greece.

Yep, Scooby said it best.

John Zaring describes himself as a reformed Republican turned moderate Democrat who believes democracy works best when its government actually functions because its leaders are working together. He serves on the Castaic Area Town Council’s Land Use Committee, Castaic Middle School’s Site Council, the Hart District’s WiSH Education Foundation, and he is the West Ranch High School representative on the Hart District’s Advisory Council. A self-proclaimed “New Democrat” a la Bill Clinton, he lives in Castaic with his wife of 21 years and their daughters, Fiona, 16, and Kylie, 12. His commentary publishes Tuesdays.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Every year, more Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to weaken and become more likely to break. You mgiht not know that you have this “silent” disease until your bones are so weak that a sudden strain, bump, or fall causes your wrist to break or your hip to fracture.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Instead of rushing forward to implement a new formula by July 1, ample time should be given to study what has been proposed, and already identified flaws in the formula should be changed.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Traffic is one of the most common concerns raised by residents throughout Southern California. Here in the city of Santa Clarita, we utilize a sophisticated, extensive, state-of-the-art Intelligent Transportation System to manage traffic circulation on our streets, to keep you safe.
Monday, Apr 16, 2018
The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare can help you make informed decisions about your care.
Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
In 2016, California voters went to the polls and made it clear they wanted elected state officials to spend more money on school construction and passed Proposition 51 to invest $9 billion to upgrade aging buildings, build new schools where needed and build Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities to support better CTE programs.
Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018
Despite voter approval of construction funds in 2016, school districts are struggling to explain to their communities why the state is refusing to release the majority of the money.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1941 - SCV's first real movie house, the American Theater, dedicated in Newhall [story]
Bolstering a countywide movement to fight homelessness, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance on Tuesday providing homeowners with new opportunities to build or convert existing spaces into Accessory Dwelling Units, also known as “backyard homes” or “granny flats.”
Supes Approve Housing Solution to Fight Homelessness
Here is the list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for May 24-June 2:
May 24-June 2: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
LOS ANGELES – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its summer programming lineup this week for both Los Angeles and New York.
‘Grease’ 40th Anniversary, ‘Hairspray’ Among Academy’s Summer Screenings
On May 24, tech professionals, child welfare leaders, political figures and foster youth will descend on L.A.’s “Silicon Beach” to explore how technology can address some of the toughest issues facing Los Angeles County’s foster care system.
LA’s Tech, Child Welfare Sectors to Address County’s Foster Care System
In recognition of National 529 College Savings Day, the Santa Clarita Optimist Foundation’s Safety Town – Santa Clarita program announced Monday the launch of a 4-day promotion by ScholarShare 529, California’s state-sponsored college savings plan.
May 29-June 1: ScholarShare 529, 4-Day Promotion
LANCASTER – The California League announced Monday that JetHawks outfielder Vince Fernandez has been named Player of the Week for the period from May 14-20.
JetHawks’ Fernandez Named Cal League Player of the Week
When thinking about leadership positions in government, people often picture a man before considering a woman. These career-based gender stereotypes often psychologically institutionalize men and women.
CSUN Professor’s Film Tackles Gender Bias in Leadership Positions
Two months after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Marines, Leonel Gonzalez enrolled at College of the Canyons with the goal of becoming a psychologist.
After Overwhelming Start, COC Student Veteran Readies for Graduation
SACRAMENTO – As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day weekend is a busy time on California roadways.
CHP to Conduct Maximum Enforcement Period for Memorial Day Weekend
The Canyon Theatre Guild has announced the cast for its production of, "Gilligan's Island the Musical."
Canyon Theatre Guild Announces Cast of Gilligan’s Island the Musical
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold a Teleconference Meeting, Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
May 24: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference Meeting
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board of Director's Regular Meeting will take place Friday, May 25, at 11:30 a.m.
May 25: Sanitation District Regular Meeting
The Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA) presented scholarship awards on Monday totaling $2,250 to three high school graduating seniors who are majoring in art in the SCV community.
Local Graduating Seniors Awarded with Art Scholarships
Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce in honoring fallen heroes at Eternal Valley's Annual Memorial Day Ceremony.
May 28: Eternal Valley Memorial Day Ceremony
SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a legal brief on Wednesday defending the nationwide preliminary injunction California secured on December 21, 2017, protecting birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Becerra Files Brief to Protect Birth Control Access Under ACA
1865 - Discoverer Ramon Perea and partner sell Pico Canyon oil claim to Edward Beale & Robert Baker for $300 [story]
Santa Clarita Valley condominiums that changed owners during April 2018 yielded a median price of $410,000, which set a record high and for the first time broke the $400,000 benchmark, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors reported Monday.
SCV Condo Median Prices at Record High as April Sales Jump
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold special and regular meetings at City Hall on Tuesday, May 22, starting at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.
May 22: Santa Clarita City Council Special, Regular Meetings
“Fresh Meat,” a play by CSUN graduate student Karen Casady set to open next month as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, is the tale of a dalliance with cannibals and furries, and what happens when one small algorithm goes awry.
CSUN Grad Student Play About Cannibalism Set for Fringe Festival
The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Board of Trustees will hold its next business meeting at College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus on Wednesday, May 23, starting at 3 p.m.
May 23: COC Board of Trustees Business Meeting
With the goal of contributing to coral reef research, California State University, Northridge biology alumna Jessica L. Bergman has submitted her graduate thesis project, “Behavior of Brooded Coral Larvae in Response to Elevated pCO2,” to the National Science Foundation East Asia Pacific Summer Institute.
CSUN Grad Adds to Research on Acidification of Coral Larvae
College of the Canyons brought home three All-American designations and set a new school record during the two-day California Community College Athletic Association Track & Field State Championships hosted by Bakersfield College May 18-19.
Cougars Earn Three All-American Nods at CCCAA State Championships
College of the Canyons had 13 players recognized with All-Western State Conference East Division honors including sophomore slugger Calvin Estrada who was named Player of the Year, and sophomore southpaw Jacob Lopez who tossed a season worthy of Pitcher of the Year Honors.
Thirteen Cougars Named All-WSC; Lopez, Estrada Take Top Honors
College of the Canyons all-conference soccer goalkeeper Jordan Burrow will transfer to Ottawa University in the fall after committing to continue her playing career as a member of the Braves.
Canyons Goalkeeper Jordan Burrow Signs With Ottawa University
The Lancaster JetHawks are excited to announce that Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar will appear at The Hangar in the festivities for the 2018 California League All-Star Game, to be presented by the city of Lancaster on Tuesday, June 19.
Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar Added to JetHawks’ All-Star Game Festivities
Michel Moore, the Los Angeles Police Department's First Assistant Chief and a Santa Clarita resident, is one of three finalists in the search for a new LAPD chief.
Santa Clarita Resident Michel Moore in Running for LAPD Chief
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce a donation to the Margaret Herrick Library and the Academy Film Archive from George Stevens, Jr., the award-winning filmmaker and founder of the American Film Institute.
AFI Founder George Stevens Jr. Donates Archive to AMPAS
The LA County Arts Commission and the Homeless Initiative Second Dwelling Units Pilot Program recently announced the winners of the Yes to ADU Design Competition, which invited artists, architects and engineers to submit concept designs for Accessory Dwelling Units — also known as “granny flats” or ADUs — as possible solutions to LA County’s homelessness crisis.
County Yes to ADU Design Winners Offer Homelessness Solutions
The Santa Clarita City Council hosted a dedication ceremony on Friday morning to celebrate a public art addition to one of the city’s busiest trails: the Santa Clarita Cycling Bear by local artist Frank Rock.
Santa Clarita Cycling Bear Dedicated During National Bike Week
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of May 21-27, 2018.
‘Mayans MC,’ ‘Missing Time,’ ‘Unbound’ Now Filming in Santa Clarita
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan reminds eligible voters that the registration deadline to vote in the June 5 Statewide Primary Election is Monday night at 11:59 p.m.
Monday Last Day to Register to Vote in June Primary
The California Retail Survey, which compares retail sales activity for each of California’s 58 counties and 482 cities, ranked the city of Santa Clarita 22nd in retail sales in its most recent report.
Santa Clarita Ranks No. 22 in California Retail Survey
A bipartisan coalition of 39 state and territory Attorneys-General including California AG Xavier Becerra Monday urged Congress to combat the opioid epidemic by passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 and the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education and Safety (CARES) Act.
State AG’s Press Congress to Fight Opioid Epidemic
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, or SCV Water, and Los Angeles County Waterworks District #36 have released their Annual Water Quality Report for 2018.
SCV Water Releases Annual Water Quality Report
The JetHawks allowed 10 extra-base hits, and 19 hits overall, in a 12-2 rubber-game loss to the Inland Empire 66ers on Sunday afternoon at San Manuel Stadium.
JetHawks Lose Rubber Game in 66ers Rout