August 3, 2014 By Cultural Limits
The Secret Service would probably ruin a good time
One afternoon last week, another member of the Limits household and I played hooky and floated a pretty flat five-mile stretch of a river no one outside of Missouri has ever heard of. At one point, as we passed a fairly organized campground, the smell of a wood fire wafted over the river along with eau de old and moldy canvas tent. With that, nostalgia set in. When we were growing up, those were the smells of summer vacation.
Martha’s Vineyard was just out of Mom and Dad’s price range.
To be honest, in this part of the country, from Friday to Sunday (mostly Saturday, but there has to be some travel time) during June, July and the first two weeks of August, every quiet, still. picturesque river teaming with turtles, snakes, trout, tadpoles and the occasional black tailed deer becomes a bank to bank party zone. The working stiffs get out of the city, lose the cell phones and kick back for a couple days. SUVs and pick-ups are traded for canoes, inner tubes and rafts (not necessarily in that order). Every tree hanging over a remotely deep part of the river becomes an opportunity for a swing rope. (Thoughtful floaters have left many in the trees for those who follow, too.) Cliffs over five feet are for jumping – if you dare. Hermetically sealed air-conditioned houses are left behind for all the nylon tents and air mattresses Coleman sells. (Actually saw somebody use a window unit run off a generator to cool off a tent once.) Natural waterways are polluted with sunscreen, among other fluids. And many adult beverages are consumed.
Out here in this part of flyover country, this is standard summer unwinding procedure. In other states, there are methods of R & R in the great outdoors that are more of the hiking and cycling variety. It’s not for everybody, but, hey, neither is lobster and cosmos. To each his or her own.
Working people everywhere need a chance to shut down for so many reasons. Take a break from all the stress, the angst, the constant bombardment of information, etc. We all do. Rest is essential for not just health, but effectiveness. That is why in United States we call time away to recharge “vacation” as in “vacate” or leave.
The problem we are having this August in the United States is that our vaunted government – at least the top of the food chain – is bound to the beach, vineyards, lakes, and spas without having really done any work.
Somehow, we all doubt that they are headed to the party zones for less than the cost of one of Nancy Pelosi’s broomsticks to spend an afternoon doing jello shots in their bikinis and cut-offs.
But that did start me thinking:
- What would San Fran Nan look like wearing one of those old-fashioned orange life jackets that are basically nylon over squared off foam three inches thick with a hole for the head? And does she have earrings to match in her collection?
- Does Chuck Schumer know what to do with a canoe paddle or would he bring a driver from the New York State motor pool to steer?
- Once Dingy Harry got a bath in the river and settled in his inner tube, would he get stuck there? And would he remember to bring a lanyard for his glasses?
- Would any of them drink Busch Light from a can and then actually put the can in the trash bags provided by the canoe rental companies? Conservation, recycling and all that jazz since no glass is allowed on the rivers.
- How about drinking wine from a box? There’s a Chardonnay that’s actually not bad, but somehow it’s doubtful that after refining an international palate, Inside the Beltway types would appreciate the finish. Especially when river water mingles with it.
- Joe Biden, please keep your swim trunks on. One should not skinny dip in the rivers. Scares the fish.
- Michelle in a bikini… [shudder] or eating s’mores with marshmallows roasted over an improvised beach fire…she probably wouldn’t even be able to fathom packing lunch in a cooler.
- And, of course, there’s Sheila Jackson Lee, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Maxine Waters. They’d be forced to talk to each other which would echo off of every flat surface for miles and they might get their hair wet or break a nail…on second thought, leave them behind. After all, their shoes would definitely get wet and that might start a riot.
Was that racist?
Now that it’s August and the city here has pretty much emptied out, as it always does for the first two weeks of August (seriously, no meetings happen because there’s so many people vacating), and Congress has decided to recess with all sorts of national and international fires that need tending (not that Congress can do much about it by themselves), how’s about Obama and the gang come out here to flyover country and find out how we bourgeoisie vacate in a hurry. No oysters, caviar or Dom, but we can offer fresh fruits and veggies, summer sausage, brats, hot dogs, hamburgers and cereal. Anything more than that is a little fancy for the camp-site. (Okay, if one brings along a sterno or camp stove, eggs and bacon for breakfast can happen.)
Think we’d get any takers?
Yeah, me neither.
Note to the White House: Vacations are possible without involving the swanky shores of Martha’s Vineyard. At least the Reagans and Bushes vacayed at their own property and the Clintons used the Presidential Retreat House on St. John in the USVIs that’s already secure. They didn’t inconvenience regular people and they were able to unwind just fine.
By Robert Romano
“I want to be absolutely crystal clear — any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead. Dead.”
That was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) telling reporters last week that there would not be the votes to pass a House Republican plan to defund the health care law via the continuing resolution.
Something he and his colleagues might consider, however, is that that really cuts both ways.
Republicans have 46 members in the U.S. Senate, more than enough to defeat cloture on any continuing resolution that will ultimately result in Obamacare being funded.
To do so, they will first have to block a parliamentary maneuver by Reid to proceed to the continuing resolution in a manner that will allow the defund Obamacare language to be stripped out with a simple majority vote.
According to Breitbart.com’s Matthew Boyle, “They could refuse to grant cloture in the first place until a unanimous consent agreement is reached in the Senate that any amendment added to the bill post-cloture would also be subject to a 60-vote threshold. They could also require Reid to fill what is known as the ‘amendment tree,’ a list of amendments that is the maximum of what could be considered on a bill, with amendments other than that one, before agreeing to grant cloture.”
But, reports Boyle, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refuses to commit to using all the tools in his parliamentary toolbox to do just that. He would be well advised, however, that consciously voting to proceed to any bill that invariably winds up funding Obamacare — even if the amendment to strip the defund language is to be agreed to post-cloture — is just the same as proceeding to a bill where the defund language had already been removed.
Yet, Senate Republicans appear to be content with playing dumb and pretending they will be voting to proceed to legislation that defunds Obamacare — when everyone already knows it in the end it will not.
For example Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said, “It doesn’t seem to make much sense to vote ‘no’ on a bill that contains the defund-ObamaCare provision. I don’t know anybody in our conference who’s for ObamaCare, so I think they’d vote ‘yes’ to get on a bill to defund it.”
That doesn’t sound like Senate Republicans are really committed to the defund strategy. But even if they aren’t — Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) called it “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of” — there is another case to be made for waging a filibuster.
It would strengthen the GOP’s hand. When it is clear that there are neither the votes to fund Obamacare nor to defund it in the Senate, it would force Reid and the White House to the negotiating table.
While many observers have suggested that Reid and Obama will never compromise, history suggests otherwise.
The continuing resolution passed in March 2011 was a compromise largely negotiated by House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) that resulted in some small cuts to the budget. Sequestration was another compromise in exchange for raising the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion in August 2011. The tax deal in December 2012 was yet another compromise in exchange for avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff.
This speaks not only to the willingness of Democrats to make a deal, but also to the utility of Republicans using these leverage points, whether they be continuing resolutions, debt ceiling increases, or otherwise, to achieve major concessions.
As Sen. Ted Cruz noted on Fox News in an interview with Neil Cavuto, “I know for sure that you lose 100 percent of the battle that you begin by surrendering, and all these Republicans who say we can’t win, if they want, these various pundits who want us to surrender, that will make sure we can’t win.”
Cruz is right. Consider the alternative offered by the Washington, D.C. establishment, which frowns upon any confrontation over the continuing resolution or debt ceiling. They fear anything that smacks of a government shutdown or risks default. They would apparently just have Obamacare opponents simply capitulate.
But surely to constituents of Republican senators — who have sworn up and down they oppose Obamacare — submission to a law that will force them onto government-run, taxpayer-funded health insurance is untenable.
They will intuitively understand what this fight is all about, and come 2014, 2016, and subsequent election cycles, they will likely collect political scalps, or attempt to, of any senator whom they perceive forced them onto Obamacare.
In a stark warning to senators, Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens defined the choice facing the so-called deliberative body: “The message for the Senate is very simple: If you vote to fund Obamacare via the continuing resolution, you will own the health care law. If you vote to invoke cloture on a continuing resolution that funds Obamacare, you will own it. And if you vote against a continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare, you will own it, too.”
So, the choice belongs to each and every senator. They can stand with the American people, and block cloture on any continuing resolution that funds Obamcare, or they can roll over and let it be implemented.
But they would be well-advised that should they surrender, the American people will not forget — and they are not forgiving.
Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.
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