by Benjamin J. Kirby
Maybe I don't know as much as I think I do about politics. But what I do know is that this is either downright dumb or pure evil: Which Senator Put a Hold on Veterans Benefits Bill?
Senators, as you may or may not know, can put a "hold" on a bill -- any bill, really -- for just about any reason. And they can do it anonymously.
As you can imagine, this makes for legislative things to move... slowly in the United States Senate.
You might also think that there would be certain politically "untouchable" bills that everyone would want to just get passed. Like, say, a cost of living -- or COLA -- increase to benefits paid to veterans and their survivors. After all, who would be stupid enough to block money to veterans forty days before an election in a Presidential election year?
Apparently, one Republican did just that. One anonymous Republican.
Of course, now that the Senate is adjourned (for yet another extended recess; and let's not get started on why they can't come back into session and pass this and other important bills like it... it's a post for another time), the bill won't be passed -- assuming no Republicans object to funding for VETERANS -- until it is nearly too late.
Which gets us to the maybe evil part. Could someone have been stupid enough to hold up funding for veterans? Yes.
But could there also be a Republican looking ahead to November 13, when the Senate has to pass the bill in order for veterans to get the payments in December? You bet.
A devious Senator who is willing to accept some political punishment for his party in the short term -- ie, an Obama win and the Democrats keeping hold of the Senate -- in order to make it impossible or nearly impossible to pass the bill in time after the election. If the funding for the COLA increase to veterans and their survivors gets botched, well, it was on the Democrat's watch, right?
If the Theory of Evil is right, Republicans are already framing their story for the post-election season. And it's a frame that doesn't include Mitt Romney or a Majority Leader McConnell.
If the Theory of Stupidity is right, then we're all in trouble.
Someone should be ashamed, because veterans and their families deserve a whole lot better than petty political games. And this, by the way, is why Americans hate politics so much.