Some week, huh? Pope-emeritus Benedict is gone as the first top prelate to retire since 1415. Chuck Hagel is confirmed as the first defense nominee to be filibustered. And Dennis Rodman is the first NBA retiree to be dribbling around North Korea to teach the kids some basketball skills.
The only business-as-usual activity was Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s vote against shutting down the filibuster. Once again, Portman demonstrated that regardless of the generous references here and there he is a right-leaning centrist, he continues to vote on most occasions in the column that pleases the Republican fringe.
But the confirmation was a no-brainer once Hagel’s former Republican colleagues had satisfied what amounted to sexual ecstasy by sticking it to the decorated soldier and ex-senator. You could see “mission accomplished” in their faces as they craned their necks toward the nearest TV cameras.
Meantime, a meteor the size of the one said to have wiped out the dinosaurs was hurtling toward America in mid-week that could impact on the dinosaurs on Capitol Hill who love guns, hate the science of climate change and believed that Hagel would abet Iran’s nuclear program while ducking out on Israel. It’s called the sequester deadline, bureaucratic jargon that most people don’t understand, which is just fine with the perps.
Throughout it all, Ohio’s gift to House leadership, Speaker John Boehner, carried out his mission to serve the Tea Partiers by lashing out daily at President Obama. Indeed, his frustration took a new troubled path this week when he demanded that the Senate “get off its ass” to do what he has been unable to do. Good luck on that attempted bailout.
He’s in trouble trying to please the Tea Party’s tax celibates who threatened two years ago to run a candidate against him in his congressional district. This week, Tea Party Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin predicted on Fox News (where else?) that if Boehner caves, “I don’t quite honestly believe that speaker Boehner would be speaker…I think he would lose his speakership.”
Back in Ohio, nobody could be more concerned about the meteor than Gov. Kasich, already under Tea Party fire for expanding Medicaid and spreading a sales tax around. A sequester would put a big dent in Kasich’s expansive plans to create an economic Valhalla in Ohio. Maybe he should have a little chat with his beleaguered Republican speaker friend from western Ohio.