Patterico's Pontifications


House Votes to Arm Syrian Rebels

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:00 pm

Generally, arming people is a good idea because it’s rare that they end up fighting you with your own weapons later.

Almost never happens. Right?

Hey, remember Justin Amash? He’s the Tea-Partying Congressman who explains all his votes on Facebook. Here is an excerpt from his explanation of his vote today against arming the rebels:

If the Syrian groups that are “appropriately vetted” (the amendment’s language) succeed and oust Assad, what would result? Would the groups assemble a coalition government of anti-Assad fighters, and would that coalition include ISIS? What would happen to the Alawites and Christians who stood with Assad? To what extent would the U.S. government be obligated to occupy Syria to rebuild the government? If each of the groups went its own way, would Syria’s territory be broken apart, and if so, would ISIS control one of the resulting countries?

If the Syrian groups that we support begin to lose, would we let them be defeated? If not, is there any limit to American involvement in the war?

Perhaps some in the administration or Congress have answers to these questions. But the amendment we’ll vote on today contains none of them.

Above all, when Congress considers serious actions—especially war—we must be humble about what we think we know. We don’t know very much about the groups we propose to support or even how we intend to vet those groups. Reports in the last week suggest that some of the “appropriately vetted” groups have struck deals with ISIS, although the groups dispute the claim.

Yes, we must be humble about what we think we know — and also about our ability to foresee unintended consequences from military missions we have not thought through. Government action almost always results in some kind of unintended consequences. When that action is military action, and the people in charge have not thought about the answers to the tough questions, those unintended consequences can be harsh indeed.

I stand with Ted Cruz and Justin Amash in opposing this action. But not, apparently, with most Republicans.

Vote on Scottish Independence Tomorrow

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 pm


Voters will answer “Yes” or “No” to the referendum question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

With 4,285,323 people – 97% of the electorate – registered to vote, a historically high turnout is expected.

Polls are consistently showing the “no” vote (a vote against independence) up by 52 to 48 percent — but undecideds could change it all.


Loyal Jay Carney

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

So Jay Carney is now working as a commentator at CNN. In an interview this week, he made no effort to hide his loyalties.

Q: So you’re not positioning yourself as nonpartisan?

A: I am who I am. I deeply believed in what I did and what he has done as president. And I don’t walk away from that at all. There is no nirvana, but CNN’s mission is news-focused. They are not actively pursuing a niche in one political camp or the other. I believe in the president, believe in the rightness of his policies. I’m also my own person, and I’m going to express my views. But it would be disingenuous to suddenly pretend that I wasn’t loyal to [the president].

On the heels of that, came this:

Q: Why did you choose CNN?

A: They’re down the middle. They’re not partisan. And I think that’s good. You don’t have that dynamic where people are choosing what they want to hear based on their own personal politics.


Added: Apparently there was an exchange between Carney and Bill Kristol on CNN in which Carney admitted there would indeed be boots on the ground in Iraq fighting Isis:

“You can’t imagine the fight against ISIS going in such a way that we would say, you know what, this thing is on the cusp and we need to send in 3,000 or 5,000 U.S. combat ground troops to win this thing?” Kristol asked Carney.

Carney replied, “Well, again, that would be saying specifically only 5,000, not 5,005–”

“No it wouldn’t,” said Kristol. “It would be leaving the option open, which is what a serious commander in chief does.”

“I think the shorthand that a lot of people use about no boots on the ground is semantically problematic because obviously there will be American military personnel with their boots on the ground,” Carney claimed.

Best part had to be when host Jake Tapper reminded Carney:“Jay, you don’t work for the White House anymore. You can be frank.”

Joe Biden: These “Shylocks” Took Advantage

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

It’s a strong indication of what a buffoon this guy is that this offensive comment will likely merit a shrug from Big Media. It’s just Joe being Joe, you see.

It’s a cliche to say “Imagine how the media would react if a Republican had said this.” That said, imagine how the media would react if a Republican had said this.

Romney Running Again?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am

So says a top GOP money man. (Well, he says he might.)

It’s a test of your ability to be civil to one another. Please try.

Yesterday’s News, Tomorrow: 7th Circuit Reinstates Wisconsin Voter ID Law

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

Yes, I know, that headline makes me sound even more prompt than I am. I’m admittedly days late to the reporting of this news, but there are a few things that happened when I was overwhelmed at work last week that deserve some mention, and this is one of them.

In April, when a Democrat judge invalidated the Wisconsin voter-ID law, I said: “I hope the state of Wisconsin appeals this, and stuffs a resounding reversal opinion right down this judge’s partisan Democrat throat.” Looks like we are well on the way:

In a stunningly fast decision, a federal appeals court in Chicago reinstated Wisconsin’s voter photo identification law on Friday — just hours after three Republican-appointed judges heard arguments on reactivating the hotly debated law in time for the November election.

In a brief order, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said, “The State of Wisconsin may, if it wishes … enforce the photo ID requirement in this November’s elections.”

Wisconsin officials wasted no time in saying they would do just that.

“We are taking every step to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November general election,” said Kevin Kennedy, the state’s top election official. “We are now focused on communicating with local election officials and voters, and will have more information about the details next week.”

The court has not issued a final ruling; this is just a one-pager lifting the stay. But it’s a strong indication that they are going to reverse.

Election Law Expert Rick Hasen says the appellate court decision is a “big, big mistake,” which is persuasive evidence that it’s a good idea.

The decision in April was a partisan travesty. It’s nice to see it on its way to the trashbin.

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