There seems to be an interesting round of speculation taking place in Washington over whether Speaker John Boehner will move on immigration reform in the House next year, and (if so) when he would do so.
One bit of minor calendar news before we get on with it: for the next two weeks, this column will be on hiatus. Instead, it will be pre-empted by our annual awards columns where we note the notable and laud the laudable from the past year.
Welcome back (after we took last week off, to digest) to our Friday roundup! We should have two weeks of news to cover, but nothing much of anything strange or startling happened Thanksgiving week, so we're going to concentrate on just this current week.
The Obama administration just rolled out what could be called "version 1.1" of HealthCare.gov. After two months of nothing short of disaster, the White House is now confident that the website is ready for prime time. Mostly.
In fact, it was even a big week just for political anniversaries. Fifty years ago this week, an event of no little importance happened. I speak, of course, tomorrow's 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who by the BBC.
There's an old adage in politics that the way to win political struggles is to "bring a gun to a knife fight." If this imagery isn't violent enough for you, the subject on the table now is whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering what is called the "nuclear option."
After pointing out one story which was strangely ignored in the pile-on in the media this week, it seems the profits for the company contracted to build the Obamacare site are way up. How nice for them, eh? Sigh.
We decided it was time to coin a new political term. We'll repeat the definition we gave it, back in May. Wedgie: When a political party's "wedge" issue turns on them and instead of dividing the other party, begins to divide their own.
Putting secession on the ballot in a county is, pretty obviously, nothing more than a political stunt. It brings to mind those who launch efforts to amend the Constitution even though they know they're never going to succeed. I appreciate the value of a good political stunt, though.
Although it's been a week heavy on Obamacare, we're going to (mostly) look forward this week, to the upcoming budget battles. Because buried in the Obamacare stories this week was one very important bit of news.
Wouldn't it be great to have a place where children and adults alike could learn about the sordid history of how American politics really works? If Bruce Rotor has his way, visitors to New York's state capital will indeed have this opportunity, at the "Albany Museum of Political Corruption."
We've been in the midst of crass politics for three solid weeks now, so it doesn't seem that unbecoming to engage in some more of the same at the end of the shutdown/default crisis. The name of this game is politics. Here's who came out a winner, and who bears the loser label.
If there was some underlying "cut deficits" strategy to the Republican shutdown, then why would the House have passed a budget bill on the brink of the shutdown which increased the debt by $29 billion?
They ought to just change the name, really. Leave it as just the "Democrats" versus the "Tea Partiers" -- because the Republican Party of yore is nothing more than a corpse waiting for burial, at this point. John Boehner, in fact, just hammered the last nail in its coffin.
Ted Cruz wanted to be on television. That's pretty much it, in terms of any effective result that he achieved. In fact, it was so obvious that the worst invective against Cruz continues to come from his own party.
Before we get this ball rolling, we have two minor points which relate to the calendar which we feel merit mentioning. First, for the superstitious among us, it's not only Friday the 13th, but it's actually a double-dose, being 9/13/13. Wooo! Scary!
John Boehner tried a diplomatic solution, to allow Tea Partiers to vote for the umpteenth time against Obamacare while still allowing some sort of budget to pass so the government doesn't shut its doors in October. This compromise was just rejected by the Tea Partiers.