What libertarians—of both the “left” and “right”—want to do is to remove the possibility of an experience I had at work this past weekend.
She’s been coming in for a couple of weeks now, and always seems to come to me for help. Her name is Anne. She’s African American, and deaf.
This past Saturday, she came in while I was on the reference desk. I recognized her immediately and she asked if I remembered her. I said “Of course”, and asked her to sit down. She wrote me a note in which she explained that since English wasn’t her first language, would it be possible for someone to help her fill out some paperwork. I asked her what the paperwork was, and she said it consisted of documents she had to prepare for a new job.
Now, technically this isn’t in my job description. As a rule, we can’t spend an inordinate amount of time with just one patron. But, it was a slow Saturday afternoon, and many times the real job description for librarian is to go beyond what is normally expected. So, I spent the rest of my reference shift helping her with her paperwork. Once my relief came, I had her come with me to the children’s area, where there is a small children’s table, and we finished with her documentation. The look on her face and her effusive thank yous were enough payment for me for the day.
Contrast this with something that’s happening in Kentucky right now, where a Tea Party group wants to roll back library funding 30 years, claiming that taxes were “illegally collected”. In service of that, it has a Survey Monkey page which asks: “Are Public Libraries Still Valid in the 21st Century”. Of course, I filled it out and encouraged all my colleagues and friends to do so as well.
Four years ago today: President Obama kisses First Lady Michelle Obama after his health care address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol (Photo by Pete Souza)
1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
2:15 The President and Vice President meet with Secretary of Defense Hagel
President Obama will tape interviews in the afternoon with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, CBS’s Scott Pelley, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Fox’s Chris Wallace, NBC’s Brian Williams and PBS’s Gwen Ifill.
ABC: Obama to Visit Capitol Hill to Make Case for Syria Strike
President Obama is planning to visit Capitol Hill on Tuesday, making his case on Syria face-to-face with senators. The president is scheduled to meet with Senate Democrats at their weekly policy luncheon, intensifying his outreach as part of the administration’s push for military strikes with Syria. He could also meet with other members of Congress, particularly those who remain undecided on Syria, officials said …. The Senate is scheduled to open debate this week on the Congressional resolution to authorize a limited military strike in Syria.
USA Today: Obama, Biden dine with Republican senators
President Obama dropped by a Sunday night dinner that Vice President Biden hosted for a half-dozen Republican senators. Lawmakers had a family style Italian dinner while discussing a proposed resolution authoring military action against Syria over the use of chemical weapons.
…. Obama spent about an hour and 20 minutes at the vice president’s official residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Biden’s Republican guests: Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Deb Fischer of Nebraska.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Syrian President Bashar Assad could resolve the crisis surrounding his purported use of chemical weapons by turning “every single bit” of his arsenal over to the international community by the end of the week.
But Kerry, who joined British Foreign Secretary William Hague at a news conference in London, said he didn’t expect Assad to do that.
In a strong rebuttal to remarks by Assad, Kerry said there is very compelling evidence that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against his own people.
Michael Tomasky: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Their Craven and Brazen Hypocrisy on Syria
The Republican hypocrisy on Syria is just amazing. Imagine that Mitt Romney were president. Romney took a far more hawkish line than Barack Obama did on Syria during the campaign. He wanted to arm the rebels, supported in-country cover ops, and so on. So if Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons during President Romney’s tenure, there’s every reason to think he’d be pushing for action too. And what, in that case, would Republicans now temporizing or opposing Obama be doing in that case? They’d be breathing fire, of course…..
…. Obama isn’t a stupid man. He knew a lot of these yahoos would vote no just because it’s him. But he surely hoped that a certain number of them just might cast a vote in line with their worldview, which would slide many of them into the yes column. I’m sure many of my liberal readers are just glad they’re voting no, however cynically they might be doing it. Fine. But you should also leave a little space in your brain for the contemplation of just what a bunch of relentless hypocrites they are, making a decision as weighty as this purely on the basis of their hatred of Obama. And this defeat, if defeat it is, is supposed to destroy his credibility? It would only destroy theirs — that is, if they had any.
If news consumers tuned into the Sunday morning public-affairs shows hoping for a high-minded debate over U.S. policy in Syria, they probably came away disappointed.
… Putting aside the hilarious irony of [Karl] Rove, who helped the Bush/Cheney administration lie the nation into a disastrous war in Iraq, accusing anyone of amateurishness, there’s a more subtle problem with Rove’s whining.
As he sees it, Obama erred by following the constitutional model and should have taken “an action” without congressional approval. And who was the one arguing two weeks ago that Obama should take this debate to Congress? That would be Karl Rove….
It was only a matter of time before our polarized politics threatened to destroy a president’s authority and call into question our country’s ability to act in the world. Will Congress let that happen?
To raise this question is not to denigrate those, left and right, who deeply believe that the United States should temper its international military role. Nor is it to claim that President Obama’s proposed strikes on Syria in response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons constitute some sort of “slam dunk” policy that should win automatic assent. But a bitter past hangs over this debate and could overwhelm a discussion of what’s actually at stake.
….. While hawks criticize Obama for not being willing to act boldly enough against Assad, doves criticize him for being too willing to risk a wider war. Members of Obama’s party have to understand the risks of forcing him to walk away from a red line that he drew for good reason.