Senate Votes to Avoid McChrystal

The Senate yesterday, on a straight 40-59 party line vote, nixed an amendment offered by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to the Defense Appropriations bill that would have required Gen. McChrystal to testify before the Senate on his Afghanistan counterinsurgency plan.
McChrystal has made an urgent request for additional troops for Afghanistan. In his August 30 report — leaked last week — he said that the war in Afghanistan may be lost in the next twelve months unless a new strategy supported by more troops is implemented quickly.  

It appears Democrats don’t want the American people to hear why he thinks this is so.  President Obama, meanwhile, jets off to Copenhagen today to lobby for the Olympics to come to Chicago in 2016, which he apparently believes is more important than winning the war.  

Dating back to 2007, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is on the record saying he “forced” Gen. Petraeus to testify before the Senate about plans for the surge in Iraq.  The Democrat-led Senate at that time had no problem with testimony and accountability then, inserting the testimony requirement into a troop funding bill.

Where’s the sense of urgency now?  There are Americans in harm’s way in Afghanistan this very moment.  Our troops are making sacrifices every single day, some with their very lives.

Not the kind of “sacrifices” Michelle Obama was talking about yesterday in Copenhagen:

“As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the president to come for these few days,” the first lady told the assembled, fawning crowd, “so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home.”

The sacrifices being made in Afghanistan are not the kind where you are forced onto Air Force Two with an entourage of celebrities and aides to cater to your every whim — risking only jet lag and possible failure in your bid to pad your Chicago buddies’ bank accounts — but the real kind of sacrifice our soldiers make as they confront radical Islamist terrorists in their bid to keep America safe.  There is a distinct difference.

Some disturbing questions have become apparent this week: Why isn’t the president engaged on the issue of Afghanistan? Why had Obama only spoken with McChrystal once in three months? Why don’t Senate Democrats want to hear from Gen. McChrystal? Couldn’t think of a cute, catchy nickname to make a “betray us”-type rhyme?

Obama is the President of the United States, not the Mayor of Chicago.  If he’d prefer the latter job, there exists a growing number of Americans willing to make him available for the position.

Carter:  Rangel Must Step Down as Ways and Means Chairman

House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), forced to make yet another questionable financial disclosure, last month admitted that he failed to report assets worth nearly one million dollars on his federal disclosure forms.  House Democrat leaders are still ducking the issue, hiding behind the 15-month stagnant House Committee on Ethics investigation of his Rangel’s multiple ethics and tax violation charges.  Rangel continues to serve today in his capacity as chairman of the very tax-writing committee with oversight of the Internal Revenue Service.

House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (R-Texas) fired an ethics warning shot this week: unless Rangel voluntarily resigns as chairman of Ways and Means by next week, Carter will introduce a Privileged Resolution in the House to force a recorded vote on Rangel’s removal from that powerful position.  

“To allow Mr. Rangel to continue to serve as Chairman is the same as allowing a confessed bank robber to serve as Chairman of the Banking Committee during the trial,” Carter said.  “Mr. Rangel must step down as Chairman until these issues are resolved.  If he refuses, the House must remove him by a recorded vote.”    

The House Ethics Committee began the Rangel investigation on July 31, 2008.  Pelosi promised the investigation would be completed before the end of 2008, yet the investigation now well into its second year has twice been expanded to include new charges of tax and ethics violations against Rangel.  

Carter continues to press the issue, having once before forced a vote on Rangel in February.  As mounting charges and ethics questions mount, support for Rangel is becoming more and more difficult for at least the rank-and-file Democrats members to justify.  The culture of corruption is another thing Democrats in competitive districts are having difficulty justifying back home.

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House Republican leader, is backing the action by Carter.
“It is improper for Rep. Rangel to remain in a position with such vast power and influence while serious questions about his official conduct continue to multiply and go unanswered,” Boehner said.  “Several weeks ago I wrote a letter to Rep. Rangel asking him to step aside while the Ethics Committee conducts its investigation.  He has not done so, and his fellow Democrats have voted to protect him every step of the way.”

“Given the nature and severity of the charges against Rep. Rangel, I would urge all my colleagues, Democrat and Republican, to do the right thing and support the Carter resolution next week,” Boehner added.

There is a behind-the-scenes conundrum for Pelosi that may force a showdown between the Speaker and the Congressional Black Caucus next week.  We will bring it to you here.  Stay tuned.

We the People Can Read

Let Freedom Ring, a non-profit, pro-freedom organization, has joined the effort to garner 218 signatures on a discharge petition that would bring H.R. 554 up for an immediate vote on the House floor.  The bipartisan measure requires that all non-emergency legislation be made public and posted on the internet for a minimum of 72 hours before a vote.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has refused to bring the measure up for a vote, and the discharge petition would sidestep her effort to block.

There are 181 signatures on the petition which includes some Democrats.  For more information go the Let Freedom Ring website.

We the people can read.  That’s what Democrats are afraid of.