By Burgess Everett
If everything goes as planned, gay rights history will be made on Thursday in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday set up the the final series of votes for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — which prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity — culminating in a vote final passage on Thursday afternoon if the bill passes a key, 60-vote threshold procedural test in the morning.
Senate passage of ENDA seemed more and more likely Wednesday after the Senate unanimously accepted an amendment by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) protecting religious groups exempted under the legislation from government retaliation. That amendment likely secured the vote of several other Republicans pushing for that language, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
By Ian Reifowitz
I’ll leave the legal analysis to others who are far more expert than I on that matter.
My point is this: for all those who may have temporarily, let’s say, forgotten or even denied that there is any substantive difference between the Democratic and Republican parties, this decision should remind you exactly what those differences are.
The decision was 5-4. The justices who voted to declare parts of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional were all appointed by Republican presidents, including two by George W. Bush, who took in office in 2001.
Do you still think there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats?
Look, this has not been a good couple of weeks for our government, and a lot of liberals have been rightly agonizing over just how much they support the Democratic Party.
To those people, I say this: Criticize President Obama all you like, and criticize the Democratic Party or various figures for whatever you think needs criticizing. It’s important to speak out, as speaking out can help move our party and the President in the right direction.
But don’t forget that there are real, substantive differences between the two parties. They are not the same. The Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party for our country, for our economy, for justice, for equality, and yes, for liberty. Barack Obama is better than Mitt Romney or John McCain would have been on all those counts as well.
To deny those facts is to deny reality. Furthermore, denying those facts makes it more difficult to motivate progressives to do what needs to be done to achieve the broad, progressive goals we share.
The two parties are not the same. And that matters. [Full Quote]
THE U.S. SENATE
Senator John McCain, irrepressible interventionalist, recently visited Syrian rebels and caused much doubt and controversy. He wants President Obama to involve our young military in the religious and civil war in Syria. Syria is not a Christian nation. We should not send our young patriots to die for them. The problems in Syria must be solved by diplomatic means. We have the world’s greatest military and we are the most powerful nation on earth. However, we should use our power to help solve the world’s problems–when we can–through means that don’t require bullets, blood and dying. IMHO. —GoodOleWoody
When do they start revealing the skeletons in Paul Ryan‘s Closet?
John McCain shocked this blogger when he went on Fox and candidly told the nation the real reason why Republicans are unfairly withholding confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense: Revenge! Pure and naked! Yesterday, McCain appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Moderator, David Gregory, played video of McCain’s revenge admission…and the senator refused to own up to his statement and reverted to a sane politically correct response. Did McCain lose his balls or does he not realize that the public follows every word of his frequent appearances on TV? John, we know what you said. You cannot now disavow your quest for revenge against your alleged friend, Chuck Hagel, and, against the entire Democratic Party for the way past Republicans were treated in confirmation hearings, e.g., John Bolton. In some instances like this a doctor is called in to adjust the patient’s medication. Simply looking into his mirror does not work for Senator John McCain. Once again our war hero is acting badly. —GoodOleWoody
By Hayes Brown
Speaking to Fox News host Neil Cavuto, McCain said that he still believed that Hagel would get the votes required to be confirmed. What followed was the clearest indication yet that he’s still bitter that Hagel turned against the Iraq War:
McCAIN: But to be honest with you, Neil, it goes back to there’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and say he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people — people don’t forget that. You can disagree but if you’re disagreeable, then people don’t forget that.
Watch McCain’s statements here:
McCain had just voted “no” on the bid to end debate on Hagel’s nomination, supporting the Republican filibuster. Just days ago, McCain insisted that he would do no such thing, and is currently claiming that he’ll vote to break the filibuster following the Senate’s President’s Day recess ten days from now.
The two, formerly close friends, faced off during Hagel’s confirmation hearing over the success of the 2007 surge in Iraq, highlighting McCain’s lingering frustrations with the former Republican Senator from Nebraska. That frustration is shared among many of Hagel’s other opponents, including the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, forming the backbone of neoconservative opposition to his confirmation. McCain is right, however, that once the filibuster breaks Hagel is still set to be confirmed in an up-or-down vote. [QUOTE]
Graham threatens to hold up Hagel, Brennan votes
By Lindsey Boerma
(CBS News) Until President Obama details his actions on the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Sen. Lindsey Graham will block votes on his nominees to head the Department of Defense and the CIA, the South Carolina Republican vowed today on “Face the Nation.”
Graham said he’ll heed advice floated by fellow Armed Services Committee member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., not to filibuster Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., as defense secretary and John Brennan as CIA director. But, citing a recently unearthed letter that then-Sen. Joe Biden sent in 2005 pressing for further information before a vote on former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Graham said he’s going to urge the message among his colleagues, “No confirmation without information,” and will place a hold on the confirmation votes – an action any Senate member reserves the right to take – until the White House explains its garbled talking points following the Libya attack.
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February 11, 2013
On “Morning Joe” this morning hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski say to Senator Graham (R-SC), “Get over it!”