TPMDC Sunday Roundup

Sessions: ‘It’s Conceivable A Filibuster Might Occur’ Against Kagan
Appearing on Face The Nation, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) did not rule out a filibuster against the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan. “I think the first thing we need to decide is, is she committed to the rule of law even if she may not like the law?” Sessions said. “Will she as a judge subordinate herself to the Constitution and keep her political views at bay? And then secondly, if things come out to indicate she’s so far outside the mainstream, it’s conceivable a filibuster might occur.”

Leahy: If Obama Had Nominated Moses, Some Would Say He Hasn’t Produced A Birth Certificate
Appearing on Face The Nation, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) joked that Republican lines have already been drawn against any Supreme Court nomination by President Obama: “It’s reached the point that if [Obama] had nominated Moses the law giver, some would have said we can’t have him because among other things he hasn’t produced a birth certificate.”McCain: Generals Didn’t Criticize Timetable, ‘And They Should Have Because They Know Better’
Appearing on Meet The Press, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that the generals should have advised President Obama against a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan, rather than sign on to it as they did: “They didn’t do it, and they should have because they know better. But the point is that General Petraeus is put in an almost untenable position here. If he says it’s ‘conditions-based,’ which it should be that, then he is not going directly against the president. But if he says directly what the president said and what you just quoted Vice President Biden say, then obviously he is supporting a strategy that he feels that we all know can’t win.”

Panetta: Success In Afghanistan Means No Safe Haven For Al Qaeda
Appearing on This Week, CIA Director Leon Panetta defined what success would mean in Afghanistan. “Our purpose, our whole mission there, is to make sure that Al Qaeda never finds another safe haven from which to attack this country. That’s the fundamental goal of why the United States is there,” said Panetta. “And the measure of success for us is: do you have an Afghanistan that is stable enough to make sure that never happens.”

Panetta: ‘There Is No Question That We Are Abiding By International Law’
Also during his appearance on This Week, Panetta rejected the suggestion that reported U.S. drone strikes are illegal. “There is no question that we are abiding by international law and the law of war. Look, the United States of America on 9/11 was attacked by Al Qaida. They killed 3,000 innocent men and women in this country. We have a duty, we have a responsibility, to defend this country so that Al Qaida never conducts that kind of attack again,” said Panetta. “Does that make some of the Al Qaida and their supporters uncomfortable? Does it make them angry? Yes, it probably does. But that means that we’re doing our job. We have a responsibility to defend this country and that’s what we’re doing. And anyone who suggests that somehow we’re employing other tactics here that somehow violate international law are dead wrong. What we’re doing is defending this country. That’s what our operations are all about.”

Feinstein: ‘I Think We Put All Of Our Eggs In The Petraeus Basket’
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that American ambassadors in Afghanistan and Pakistan should have to work well with Gen. David Petraeus, in the wake of the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, or be replaced. “(Petraeus) should make the calls. If he can’t work with the ambassador, the ambassador should change. If he can’t work with Holbrooke, that should change,” Feinstein said. “I think we put all of our eggs in the Petraeus basket.”

Graham: ‘I’m Very Concerned If Nothing Changes On The Civilian Side’
Also on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) voiced a stronger concern that the civilian U.S. leaders in Afghanistan should be replaced in the wake of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation, describing the relationship between the military and civilian leadership as “dysfunctional.” “This is a chance to start over completely, and the military-civilian relationship is very important,” Graham said. “But I’m very concerned if nothing changes on the civilian side.”

Jack Reed, On Karzai: ‘He Has To Succeed. We Have To Help him’
Appearing on State of the Union, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said that the United States has no choice but to support Afghan President Hamid Karzai. “He’s the elected president – democratic, elected president,” said Reed. “He has to succeed. We have to help him. That burden is, at this point, I think unknown. We can’t change horses. We’ve got to make sure that he does the job he’s been elected to do.”