Two Republicans senators -- Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins -- have now gone on record that they will vote to raise the debt ceiling, as required by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, so that the United States will be able to pay its bills of what is has already authorized to spend. Not bad for the Party of Personal Responsibility. Two! Only 43 more to go.
Tom Coburn, Republican senator of Oklahoma, said it would be a "wonderful experiment" not to raise the debt ceiling. "It’s the $250 to $300 billion a year in stupid things we do that we wouldn’t pay," he said.
Just to be clear, since Mr. Coburn seems to want to obscure the point, or miss it entirely, that those "stupid things" we wouldn't pay are things we've actually already bought. And therefore owe.
At least he used the word, "stupid."
The State of New York (with a Republican Senate majority) passed some of the toughest gun control legislation in the country on Tuesday. In response, the National Rifle Association released a statement that said, in part --
"While lawmakers could have taken a step toward strengthening mental health reporting and focusing on criminals, they opted for trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners in New York, and they did it under a veil of secrecy in the dark of night."
Hey, imagine how scary that dark of night would have been if they also had guns.
It must be difficult for an organization trying to defend itself on the wrong side of history and public opinion. Most especially after a tragedy -- sorry, after so many tragedies -- have occurred with that organization's constituency at the core.
I understand that there are two issues if you bring them up a fight is guaranteed to start, even if only one person is present. Guns and religion. (How bizarre that it's those two. One would like to think that they're at opposite ends of the spectrum.) But it also seems to be that, at least with guns, it's a issue that has people on one side of the debate trying to find a fair balance, and the other side putting up a wall and saying "My cold, dead hands."
Yes, yes, I know that "Guns don't kill people, mentally ill criminals kill people. But me, I look at that NRA quote above and just want to offer the spokesman a hypothetical. Imagine two fantasy worlds. In which of the two would fewer gun deaths occur, whether intentional, accidental or in self-defense -- the world where there were no mental health problems and no criminals? Or the one where there were no guns?
The NRA released arguably one of the most reprehensible TV ads ever, trying to call President Obama an "elitist hypocrite" in the gun control debate, because he won't seek armed guards at schools, while happily accepting armed guards at his daughters school. The NRA ad continued referenced the president's young children throughout the ad -- at one point asking if "you" thought the president's children were more important than yours? Leaving out the point that they might not be more "important," but they certainly were more at daily risk. But forget the debating points on this issue of the president's children, all of which the NRA is on the losing end, more at issue is how utterly desperate does one have to be to drag any president's school-age children into any debate? But especially one about...gun control! Right after the tragedy with school children. Already this has begun to backfire on them big-time. As well it should. One can disagree on the issue -- but I think most fair and rational-minded people don't disagree about this.
The Hurricane Sandy Relief bill passed the House last night. Finally! Mind you 179 Republicans voted "no" and told the Eastern Seaboard and hurricane victims that they were on their own, but I prefer to look at this from a positive perspective. That means that 49 Republicans in the House will not be going to the pit of the seventh circle of Hell.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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