Today: Dede Scozzafava, updates on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Rachel puts on her pummelin’ gloves.
Rachel kicked off with the surprising news that President Obama has rejected all four of the troop options he had been considering for Afghanistan, thus invoking the little-known fifth option: “Nyaaaaaah.”
Karl Eikenberry, the current U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and a retired Lieutenant-General who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, had been sending urgent messages asking Obama not to send more troops.
Which, yeah, would give one pause.
According to Eikenberry, the government corruption in Afghanistan is apparently too massive to make a simple troop surge work.
Which is, in its own special way, impressive. Say what you will about Hamid Karzai, you have to admit he is no ordinary leader. Maybe they’ll put his face on currency one day.
Or name a variety of poppy in his honor.
Fear not: There will be more war news to make you frustrated and cranky later on.
Feel the Coburn
President Obama attended Veterans Day ceremonies on Wednesday and Rachel took a moment to run through the improvements the past year has brought for veterans in the U.S.
Rachel pointed out that “be in favor of taking care of veterans” is an easy political rule of thumb.
Unless you are Senator Tom Coburn (R – Oklahoma).
You will be astonished to learn that Senator Coburn was only in second place on Rachel’s political pucky list.
Be afraid, Pete Hoekstra. Be very afraid.
From Islamabad to Worse
Rachel moved on to the thorny problem of fighting the Pakistani Taliban while also worrying about loose nukes. And nukes in general.
Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker brought up the interesting point that we shouldn’t necessarily assume that both sides look at an agreement the same way.
Only 15,987 more broad-based cultural assumptions to go!
If your name were to become a verb, what would it define?
(I have a nagging feeling “Davising” would be realizing in the middle of excitedly telling someone about a fascinating nerdball thing you’ve just learned that the population to whom it’s fascinating is exactly you, and then descending into uncertainty about whether you should soldier on and finish telling the other person about the thing while he or she makes Polite Face just so it’s something close to a normal human interaction or spare you both precious seconds by awkwardly cutting yourself off or what.
Just a guess.)
A woman who knows for sure what it means to have your name turned into a verb is New York State assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who was running a perfectly good, odds-on successful Republican Congressional campaign until the far right decided to help out.
Well, OK, not really help out.
The far right noticed that Scozzafava did not want to abolish roads and schools and just flat tax everyone a chicken and seemed surprisingly reluctant to call Barack Obama a Socialist Nazi Rosicrucian Thuggee Antichrist who will personally pilot a black helicopter to your house to infect you with the flu virus and then not give you enough vaccine for it just so he can have the pleasure of letting his death panel pull the plug on you.
So they took enough of a break for looking in clues about the New World Order in supermarket bar codes to run a conservative candidate, split the vote, and lose. But boy, did they make their point!
In the middle of all this was poor Ms. Scozzafava, who seems like a perfectly nice person with an actual grip on what’s going on in her district.
I liked the fact that when Rachel asked her if she’d switch parties, Scozzafava shook it off and asserted that, no, the parties really are different.
Not as different as I’d like, but it was still a refreshing change of pace.
Rachel Re: Hoekstra, Line, and Sinker
If you need something to be grateful for today, be grateful that you are not Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R – Michigan).
I’m guessing there was at least a part of yesterday when Hoekstra thought he was wriggling off the hook.
After all, Rachel had already dealt him a solid body blow on Tuesday night. He probably figured he we was at least past the worst of it, and maybe over the holidays people would forget that he’s a loudmouthed cameradoxie with no impulse control.
I wonder when it dawned on him that Rachel would be spending nearly eight minutes of airtime showing the world his dumbest decisions.
If you need something else to be grateful for today, be glad that you do not work in Pete Hoekstra’s office and thus do not have to make tense, overly chipper conversation about how it really wasn’t so bad, not really.