Monday, November 25, 2013

Whether in Richmond or in DC, GOP-ers make the case that they're mutant life forms -- possibly from Outer Space?


Virginia Board of Elections Chairman Charles E. Judd, former executive director of the state Republican party, certified Democrat Mark Herring's win in the attorney-general vote count but voiced concern about "the integrity of the vote count." He somehow neglected to mention Neville Chamberlain or Hitler.

"In the eyes of Republicans, the agreement with Iran has a fatal flaw: It was negotiated by the Obama administration. This president could negotiate a treaty promoting baseball, motherhood and apple pie, and Republicans would brand it the next Munich."
-- Dana Milbank, in his WaPo column
Republicans mindlessly oppose Iran nuclear deal

by Ken

In case you didn't hear, today the Virginia Board of Elections certified Democrat Mark Herring as the attorney general-elect, by 165 votes (out of more than 2 million cast) over Mark Obenshain.

As the Washington Post's Laura Vozzella reports:
The board voted unanimously to certify the results, but Chairman Charles E. Judd said he was doing so “with question.”

“I’m concerned about the integrity of the data,” Judd said in brief remarks from the dais in the meeting room of a Capitol Square office building. “I’m concerned about the lack of uniformity, that there be no differences in any of the localities in how votes are counted.”
Which is bullshit, of course. If the tally had gone the other way, by an even smaller, Chairman Judd wouldn't have any questions about "the integrity of the data." For that matter, if he had a brain in his head, he would be aware that the state's Republicans changed the procedure for counting absentee ballots in midstream, after the heavily Republican counties had counted theirs, with a view to disenfranchising as many such ballots as they could in heavily Democratic areas.

Chairman Judd, you should know, is former executive director of the state Republican Party.

Meanwhile on the national scene, Republicans raced to prove that they must be some sort of mutant life form, possibly of alien origin, in reacting to news of the accord with Iran. Here's Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank.
Republicans mindlessly oppose Iran nuclear deal

By Dana Milbank, Monday, November 25, 2:52 PM

Republicans are opposed to President Obama's deal with the Iranians -- whatever it is.

A couple of minutes after 9 p.m. on Saturday, word crossed the news wires that negotiators in Geneva had reached an agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Then, at 9:08 p.m. -- before any details of the pact were known -- Ari Fleischer delivered his opinion on the agreement, via Twitter.

"The Iran deal and our allies: You can't spell abandonment without OBAMA," he wrote.

This is the sort of trenchant judgment Fleischer was known for as chief spokesman for President George W. Bush at the start of the Iraq war. His anagram analysis was so relevant to the topic that it deserves application to his name, too. Turns out you can't spell "Re: Chief Liars," "Hi, false crier," "Hire Sir Fecal" or "I relish farce" without ARI FLEISCHER.

But Fleischer's instant and reflexive response -- even knees don't jerk as quickly as he did -- set the tone for Republicans. Three minutes after Fleischer's tweet came one in agreement from Ron Christie, another veteran of the Bush administration. "Precisely," he wrote, also without the benefit of knowing what was in the agreement. "A disgraceful deal."

An hour later -- still before Obama detailed the accord in a statement from the White House -- John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, had analyzed the administration's motives in reaching the deal.

"Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care," he tweeted at 10:15 p.m., 19 minutes before the president spoke.

Aha! So the agreement to suspend Iran's nuclear program, negotiated over several months, was actually a clever (and prescient) ruse to turn attention away from problems with the health-care law, which surfaced in the past several weeks.

This was a variant on the "wag the dog" accusation, named after the 1997 film. But in the movie, and in the way critics applied the accusation to President Bill Clinton, a devious commander in chief was distracting attention from domestic troubles by waging war.

Cornyn's usage, however, would appear to be the first time a president has been accused of distracting the public's attention by making peace. Call it "wag the dove."

In the eyes of Republicans, the agreement with Iran has a fatal flaw: It was negotiated by the Obama administration. This president could negotiate a treaty promoting baseball, motherhood and apple pie, and Republicans would brand it the next Munich.

The opposition in this case is particularly mindless. Certainly there are reasons to be skeptical that Iran will act in good faith. But the deal is temporary -- six months -- and easily reversible. In the (likely) event that Iran doesn't agree to a permanent accord to end its nuclear program, the tougher sanctions contemplated in Congress could be applied. Would it be better to go to war now without exhausting diplomatic options? We've been there and done that -- when Ari Fleischer stood on the White House podium.

But Republicans were being reflexive, not reflective. They went right to 1938. Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.) tweeted the message "Worse than Munich" and a link to a Breitbart News article with that headline and images showing Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart juxtaposed with Hitler and Chamberlain.

"America just had a modern-day Neville Chamberlain moment," former congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) declared. Hawkish elements in Israel embraced the analogy, too.

All the great minds of the Republican foreign policy establishment joined in:

"Placing your trust in #Iran is like betting on a blind horse on a wet track," tweeted Rep. Vern Buchanan (Fla.).

Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) called it a "total surrender by Obama administration."

Rep. Ted Poe (Tex.) determined it to be a "bum deal."

"In addition to domestic debacle of Obamacare," wrote Rep. Tom Price (Ga.), "now POTUS and Dems accelerate crisis in Middle East."

Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) said the administration won only "cosmetic concessions." House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) quickly branded the pact a "mistake." Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) said it "makes a nuclear Iran more likely."

And Cornyn kept right on going, sending out links to articles titled, "Abject Surrender by the United States" and "Our ‘Suckers Deal' with Iran."

In the stampede to judgment, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) risked getting trampled. He actually waited until hearing Obama speak before issuing a statement, and then declared that he would "look forward to studying details."

A member of the opposition party who wants to think before criticizing the Obama administration? Good thing "JEFF FLAKE" doesn't lend itself to anagrams.

For a "Sunday Classics" fix anytime, visit the stand-alone "Sunday Classics with Ken."

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