Political Merry-Go-Round Keeps Spinning

What's a circus without a merry-go-round? Washington is becoming more like a three-ring circus with conflicting political agendas.

Washington, DC is a fascinating place. Just consider the last 24 hours.

President Obama, America's first black chief executive, mounts a podium in front of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Obama praises King for words that "belong to the ages," chides those who dismiss racial gains since the 1963 speech and points out unfinished work to curb growing income inequality in America.

At a fundraiser in Idaho, House Speaker John Boehner tees up a battle with Obama over raising the federal debt ceiling this fall. Despite a warning from the Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that the nation will run out of cash in mid-October, Boehner promises a "whale of a battle," including a possible shutdown of the federal government.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry warns that those responsible for the toxic gas attack in Syria will be held accountable and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says U.S. warships are ready to obey a presidential order to launch cruise missiles at military targets in the war-torn country. Senator John McCain, who has advocated U.S. military intervention for months, calls leaks about pending missile strikes "crazy."

Just another day on the merry-go-round known as the nation's capital.

Congress won't be back in session until after the Labor Day holiday, but that hasn't stopped briefings on the situation in Syria following a major chemical weapon attack that some claim killed as many as 1,500 people. Obama's security advisers have huddled to review options, Kerry has signaled the United States firmly believes the embattled Syrian government is to blame and various military actions have been suggested and aggressively critiqued.

Some military experts say a short-term retaliatory attack will have little long-term effect and could even deepen the resolve of the Bashar al-Assad regime to hunker down and fight to the end. Liberals are questioning the value and economic justification of U.S. military involvement, saying it will accomplish little, but cost a lot.

There seems to be anything but unity on what to do — and whether to do it.

But that's the case on many policy fronts — from a big budget deal to a major transportation bill to a farm bill with provisions for Food Stamps, which has emerged as a staple for a growing number of Americans who have tumbled out of the middle class in the last recession.

Amid the political gunfire and potential real gunfire, Obama's new initiative on college affordability has been virtually lost in the smoke, along with earlier efforts to stiffen gun registration and reform immigration policy.

Tune in tomorrow for another chapter of America on the never-ending, less-than-fun-filled political roulette wheel.