Most of what’s published on this blog is just my opinion, often based on little more than other blogs I read and the MSM. And, although I uphold the idea of contrariness for its own sake, most of what’s here is not greatly beyond the mainstream. Arguing for why Iran should get nuclear weapons and would get them inevitably was, in late January when I posted about it, contrary to all the received opinion I was seeing. The article linked below is by someone with some genuine expertise in the Middle East. It is nice to see that I am not the only person who thinks that, however undesirable it might be for Iran to have nuclear weapons, the sky will not fall.
This Washington Post story is interesting for its topic but what I found especially interesting is near the end in the discussion of Mitch McConnell and his role (and presumptuousness) in his state’s politics.
McConnell didn’t recognize the Tea Party people. What greater testimony to his “establishment” Republican character? What a tantalizing idea that the Tea Party might have been, after a few elections, the means of developing a new third party in the US had it not so closely allied itself to the idea of influencing the Republican party. (I write as a liberal interested in seeing electoral choices greater than those the system now provides and one who has wished for but seen no chance of a real alternative party for either conservatives or liberals.)
“Paul’s infiltration strategy began in 2008, after his last presidential bid, when he saw the potential to continue building his movement by working within the Republican Party.
But the idea took off in 2010 when Paul’s son Rand ran for Senate. On an outsider, small-government message very similar to his father’s, Rand Paul won the Republican primary that year against an opponent who was handpicked by Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader and senior senator from Kentucky. (All emphasis added)
Then, quite strangely, the establishment and the Pauls came together.
At McConnell’s request, the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent an adviser to Kentucky to watch over Rand Paul’s general-election campaign — “to be the grown-up in the room,” according to one Washington Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly.
The adviser, Trygve Olson, developed a friendship with Rand Paul, and the two realized that they could teach each other a lot — to the benefit of both candidate and party. Olson showed Paul and his campaign establishment tactics: working with the news media, fine-tuning its message. And Paul showed Olson — and by extension, McConnell — how many people were drawn to the GOP by his message of fiscal responsibility.
One day that year, at Paul’s request, McConnell joined him for a tea party gathering in Kentucky, according to a Republican who was there. “Who are these people?” McConnell asked, bewildered by the dearth of familiar faces at a political event in his home state.
And at Rand Paul’s suggestion, Olson joined his father’s presidential campaign this year, basically to do what he did for Rand: help bring the Paul constituency into the Republican coalition without threatening the party. It’s probably no small coincidence that the partnership helps Rand’s burgeoning political career, too.
“You can dress in black and stand on the hill and smash the state and influence nobody, or you can realize the dynamics and the environment and get involved in the most pragmatic way to win minds and win votes and influence change,” said Benton, the campaign manager. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”
But on Friday, Komen said that it will “amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.”
From the Washington Post story this morning:
Komen board member John Raffaelli said the board voted unanimously in October to change its grant-making criteria, including adding a rule that bans grants to organizations under investigation”
It is no secret that in our governmental system police, a prosecutor, and/or agrand jury (under certain constraints of law) can investigate broadly. Less understood is that Congress can investigate anything it chooses whenever it chooses for any reason it chooses. Whichever party holds a majority in one of the houses of Congress can employ the “investigatory power” to public or partisan purposes as it wishes.
Given the sensitivities regarding Planned Parenthood in our current political environment, Komen’s adoption of the principle stated above was an action of high political character and its board knew that (as the full story sets out) when it acted.
What’s most troubling is that the principle held any appeal (and it holds appeal to other organizations to suspend or cease activity with the subject of investigations) when the very point of an investigation is to secure an accurate answer.
Suspension (not breaking, in my view) with people being investigated by police, prosecutors and grand juries for certain kinds of illegal or criminal activity is called for in many cases. The same should not be the case when the investigation is by Congress. The price of its broad span of investigatory power must be that there ought not be a penalty imposed prior to the published findings of the investigation.