It seems, as luck would have it, that I picked a rather good time to escape from Washington's insanity last week. The political media spent much of its energy trying to make sense of Hillary Clinton's extraordinarily weak press conference "explaining" why she deliberately violated the rules by setting up an under-secured private email account from which to do business as Secretary of State -- avoiding transparency-aided accountability, and likely jeopardizing national security, in the process. A few days later, additional elements of her excuse-making fall apart, while Americans were made aware of the stunning manner in which more than 30,000 of Mrs. Clinton' emails were permanently deleted by her own lawyers…who didn't even read the contents of the messages they destroyed. These revelations betray breathtaking political myopia, profound 'above-the-law' entitlement, abject recklessness with the nation's diplomatic efforts, and an obsession with secrecy. And here's how Team Hillary plans to wait out what should be a disqualifying scandal:
8) Wait for media to move on to next shiny object, fear no legal consequences from D admin, prepare "old news" talking point for '16 attacks— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 12, 2015
The balance of the week's political oxygen was sucked up by many liberals, including some allegedly respectable mainstream people, (ignorantly) shouting about jailing United States Senators for exerting their Constitutional authority vis-a-vis the Obama administration's terrible rumored nuclear deal with the terroristic Iranian regime. Obama, as is his wont, is trying to cut Congress out of the process, even though treaty ratification is the upper chamber's explicit Constitutional duty. Forty-seven Senators decided to publicly remind the Iranians that unless the negotiated settlement is endorsed by the legislative branch, it will effectively expire the moment Obama leaves office. Future Congresses and presidents will not be bound by some unilateral side bargain, they warned, especially one that's struck over strong bipartisan objections (more on that later), and despite overwhelming public skepticism and opposition. For doing their jobs and stating facts, these Senators elicited furious recriminations from the Obama Personality Cult, which sought to dream up ways to criminalize the GOP's appropriate dissent. Dissent was the "highest form of patriotism," we were told by the Left during the Bush years. Now dissent would merit a prison sentence, if those very same former dissent fetishists were to have their way. Again, what a week. Which brings us to the issue mentioned in the headline, which Cortney covered ably on Friday:
It’s a cause any politician would have a hard time opposing: cracking down on human trafficking. Instead, in a breakdown sensational even by Senate standards, a bill to address the issue is set to go down in a partisan firefight. The cause of the row? Democrats didn’t read the 68-page bill to discover its provisions dealing with abortion, and Republicans didn’t disclose the abortion language when Democratic staffers asked them for a summary of the legislation. The spectacle has infuriated groups that advocate for cracking down on sex trafficking and left Democrats and Republicans even more skeptical of whether they can trust each other...As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sealed the bill’s fate Thursday by scheduling a vote that’s sure to fail, Democrats acknowledged they had erred in not poring over the trafficking bill to detect language that would prohibit money in a restitution fund from being spent on abortions. They also conceded they were familiar with the arcane legislative language because Republicans had informed Democrats of their desire to include the abortion provision late last year...
...The provision is essentially an expansion of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funds from being used for abortions and is routinely included in spending bills. Provisions similar to the Hyde Amendment are included in other types of programs, such as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program...Republicans were aghast that Democrats were sticking to their insistence that their aides had not read the bill...Indeed, Democrats appeared to have ample chances to spot the language. For example, the abortion language is on pages 4 and 5 of the bill. But when it came up in committee, the top Democrat, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, offered an unrelated amendment on the same page — apparently not noticing the abortion provisions. The bill was approved unanimously by the judiciary panel. And on Monday, a full two weeks later with still no ire over the abortion language, Democrats agreed to move ahead.
Read the whole Politico story, which lays out the facts -- which, in turn, lay the blame for this embarrassing debacle directly at Democrats' feet. Recapping: Prosaic legislative language restricting taxpayer funding of abortion was included in Republicans' anti-sex-trafficking law. GOP authors alerted their colleagues on the other side of the aisle that this provision was coming a few months ago. The resulting bill received zero dissenting votes in a Senate Judiciary Committee vote. But once pro-abortion activists started raising hackles, Democrats decided to filibuster a law that would help victims of sex trafficking. This, from the party that carries on about the so-called "war on women." In a feeble attempt to defend their decision, Democrats initially and falsely claimed that Republicans "snuck" the language into the bill, then were forced to retreat to "we didn't read the bill." Here's Mitch McConnell lighting up Harry Reid and company for interfering with a human rights bill in order to appease the hardcore abortion lobby. Note well that McConnell offered Democrats an up-or-down vote to amend the bill by stripping out the abortion language. Democrats promptly objected to having the opportunity to vote on that specific item, which is ostensibly their entire basis for obstructing the underlying legislation's passage. Radical incoherence:
Just so we're crystal clear, Senate Democrats' apparent commitment to (deeply unpopular) taxpayer-funded abortion is causing them to actively block an anti-human-trafficking bill. They knew the pro-life language was in there for months, but now they're pretending to have suddenly discovered it, to their shock and horror -- but they don't want to actually vote on whether to strike the supposedly offending language. Incredible. The Democratic Party, with lots of cover from a news media heavily populated with pro-choice coastal elites, routinely paints Republicans as "out of the mainstream" on abortion. In reality, it's Democrats whose top officials and extremist allies are wildly out of step with the public. President Obama, for instance, favors taxpayer-funded late-term abortion on demand. Planned Parenthood can't distinguish between infanticide and abortion, which probably explains why they've been such fans of Obama. House Democrats killed a law to outlaw barbaric, often misogynistic, sex-selective abortions. California Democrats approved a measure allowing non-doctors to perform abortions. Virginia Democrats distorted the truth beyond recognition to attack a common-sense proposed abortion limitation. Many conscientious Americans are pro-choice, but these are the beliefs and actions of pro-abortion zealots. Good for Senate Republicans for holding Democrats' feet to the fire on this bill, and shame on the Democrats for what they're doing. After prevailing in this worthy fight, Congressional Republicans should keep the momentum going by getting their act together on this issue.
UPDATE - McConnell drew a line in the sand, vowing to stall President Obama's Attorney General nominee, Loretta Lynch, until Democrats stop obstructing this bill.