Friday, October 02, 2009

DeMint is DeNied

Jim DeMint's efforts to travel to Honduras were nixed by John Kerry, who as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee can block the funds. Although DeMint tried to frame it as an effort to prevent senators from learning the "truth" about Honduras (and, it should be noted, their planned way of determining the truth was simply to talk to Roberto Micheletti) the real reason is much simpler:

"When Senator DeMint lifts these holds and allows these individuals to receive an up or down vote on the Senate floor, the Committee will approve his travel to Honduras, a country that is in the middle of delicate, political crisis.”

Basic tit for tat. The individuals in question are Arturo Valenzuela and Tom Shannon.

DeMint also released a statement with the false assertion that the Congressional Research Service "directly contradicts President Obama’s snap decision about the legality of then-President Zelaya’s removal from office in June." As I mentioned in a previous post, this is not true. The CRS report is in fact critical of the military and the coup government.

Now, repeat after me. "There is no such CRS report. There is no such CRS report." Instead, there is a Law Library of Congress report that is picked apart here, among other places.

Update: Boz notes that DeMint managed to get a plane from the Pentagon. Now he can find out the truthiness of the crisis.


pc 8:51 AM  

What is his problem with Shannon? I always got the impression he was pretty well respected by anyone between Marx and Mussolini on the ideological spectrum. Is there substantive problem with him, or is it 100 percent pettiness?

Greg Weeks 9:25 AM  

Pettiness, and trying to score some points against the administration.

Nell 10:05 AM  

Is it also DeMint that's holding up confirmation of Obama's replacement for the vile Lew Amselem as OAS representative?

That the Defense Dept. is funding this right-wing Republican jaunt doesn't look good. There were rumblings out of the State Dept. a month ago that some other agency was preventing the signing of the formal finding of a military coup -- and it could only have been one or two Other Agencies. At the time I thought that might be buck-passing, but now am increasingly convinced that the holdovers/permanent government are making much of the policy.

RAJ 3:46 PM  

Greg, small point: the report was not even by the CRS, but by the Law Library of the Library of Congress. I and others (including the WSJ) relied on Rep. Schock's characterization of it; that was corrected by some media outlets.

And of course, the report itself is fatally flawed. But I promised CRS to not associate them with the report.

boz 3:52 PM  

Is there substantive problem with him, or is it 100 percent pettiness?
It's pure pettiness in this case, although Shannon has long been disliked by the far right in Washington for the sin of being more moderate and reasonable than his predecessors, Noriega and Reich.

That the Defense Dept. is funding this right-wing Republican jaunt doesn't look good.

I'm checking around, but as I understand it, the DOD really doesn't have much of a choice. If there is a precedent that the minority leader (in this case McConnell) can request and receive this sort of milair transport for members of Congress, then DOD can't say no for political reasons the way Kerry can block travel funds. This isn't DOD undercutting policy to mess with the Dems; it's DOD being apolitical and following the norms they have followed previously regarding Congressional travel.

Nell 5:17 PM  

Thanks for the clarification, boz; let us know if your checking around turns up a precedent or not.

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