TheDC Morning

TheDC Morning: Harry Reid is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Senate

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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1.) Harry Reid is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Senate — Harry Reid can’t get no respect, TheDC’s Alex Pappas reports:

“Louisiana Sen. David Vitter called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid an ‘idiot’ on Monday for saying the damage from Hurricane Katrina was ‘nothing in comparison’ to Hurricane Sandy. ‘Sadly, Harry Reid has again revealed himself to be an idiot, this time gravely insulting Gulf Coast residents,’ Vitter wrote on Twitter.”

This verbal assault on Reid comes just weeks after House Speaker John Boehner reportedly told him to “go f#ck yourself” — twice. It’s unclear if Reid proscribes to the much-lauded “sticks and stones” philosophy or whether names actually hurt him.

2.) Hagel the hollower? — Is President Obama placing Chuck Hagel at defense to gut the department? TheDC’s Nicholas Ballasy reports:

“In August of 2011, former Republican Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nomination for secretary of defense, addressed the possibility of the automatic defense cuts or ‘sequester’ taking effect, arguing that the Pentagon is ‘bloated’ and needs to be ‘scaled back.’ Hagel was asked if he agreed with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s assessment that the automatic cuts would be harmful to national security. ‘I don’t know all the facts, but I would say this. The Defense Department, I think in many ways has been bloated.'”

Hagel’s views are just a wee bit  different than Panetta’s, who warned that further defense cuts would “hollow out the force and would inflict severe damage to our national defense for generations.” And by wee bit, we mean significantly.

3.) Rand Paul, in Jerusalem — Say what you will by Rand Paul, he certainly doesn’t pull punches. TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein reports:

“In Israel on Monday, Paul gave a speech to the actual libertarian-minded Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, in which he reiterated his position on ending foreign aid, including to Israel. … ‘It will harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process,’ Paul said in his speech, according to ‘I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits … you destroy your currency by spending money you don’t have.’ Paul acknowledged American aid to Israel is unlikely to be cut anytime soon, and said his preference would be to begin cutting aid to countries with a rocky relationship with America, like Egypt and Pakistan, according to”

Of course, America’s debt problem has nothing to do with our foreign aid. We just don’t spend very much on foreign aid programs, at least relative to the scale of our long-term fiscal problems. Ending it, or doubling it for that matter, will not be determinative in our fiscal future. Reforming or not reforming our entitlement programs will, as the Kentucky senator surely knows.

4.) Benter’s back — The mysterious Hong Kong gambler who has generously donated to liberal orgs that are seen as something less than traditionally pro-Israel is now funding ads defending a secretary of defense nominee who is seen as something less than traditionally pro-Israel. TheDC’s Vince Coglianese reports:

“One of the funders behind an ad campaign promoting Chuck Hagel’s nomination to head the Pentagon is also a major donor to the liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America. Hagel, who President Barack Obama tapped Monday as his nominee to head the Defense Department, is already under fire from critics who say he ‘has sought to distance the United States from Israel’ during his career. According to a Foreign Policy magazine report Monday night, a substantial ad campaign aimed at swatting such attacks on Hagel is already underway, and gambling magnate Bill Benter is bankrolling it — at least in part. Benter is best known for reportedly contributing generously to J Street, a liberal ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ group which has also received funding from George Soros.”

5.) Tweet of Yesterday — KimJongNumberUn: American delegation coming to meet me today. Sure hope they don’t expect to be fed.

6.) Today in North Korean News –BREAKING: “Anniversary of Kim Jong Un’s Assumption of Supreme Commandership Observed in Brazil”

VIDEO: Brit Hume says Hagel nomination signifies the return of ‘Vietnam Syndrome’

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Jamie Weinstein