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Fair and Balanced

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"Fair and Balanced"

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Having gone from trying to obstruct passage of the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans have now decided that they’re just bitter that they lost and in retaliation are going to prevent the Senate from conducting any business whatsoever after 2PM. Gail Collins has a pretty good column about this, but one part bothered me:

Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, begged the Senate to allow him to go ahead and hear testimony from military commanders who had come from as far as South Korea to talk about the defense budget. Even the new, unimproved version of John McCain — the one who vowed there would be “no cooperation for the rest of the year” — was willing to allow an exemption for that one. But another Republican gave a thumbs down, and the officers were dismissed for the day.

“Disappointed,” tweeted Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who had to cancel a hearing on police training contracts in Afghanistan. Bad as we think the Republicans’ behavior has been, it should not be taken as an excuse for senators to take out their frustrations on Twitter. No good can come of political tweets.

Haha—Twitter is silly!

But do you know what’s really silly? Having military commanders fly from South Korea to Washington DC to brief legislators on relevant aspects of the military budget only to tell them they’ve wasted their time because some guy doesn’t want to let Carl Levin conduct the hearing. Does that punish Carl Levin? No, it doesn’t. At best, it punishes a handful of hard-working military officers. The Afghanistan thing is worse. Yes, it’s Claire McCaskill’s hearing but it’s Afghanistan’s police force and it’s the US Army and Marine Corps that’s fighting in Afghanistan for lack of sufficient local security forces. Holding that kind of work up out of pique is really and truly outrageous and deserves to be described as such unleavened by strained efforts to hit both sides.

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