Why We’re Doomed: Republican Senators

Just read Not Fit to Lead: The Iran hearings have shown how the Republican Party can no longer be trusted with the presidency by William Saletan. Yeah, I know, it’s William Saletan. But read it anyway.


In all three hearings, Kerry explained how the inspection and verification measures in the Iran deal are designed to rectify flaws that led to the failure of the North Korean nuclear agreement. He spent much of his opening statement outlining these differences. This made no impression. When the Senate held its next hearing a week later, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presiding Republican, dismissed the Iran agreement with a quip: “How did that North Korean deal work out for you?”

The concept of negotiation seems to elude them:

At the Tuesday hearing, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania told Kerry we should demand a better deal, “and if the ayatollah doesn’t like it and doesn’t want to negotiate it, oh, ‘boo-hoo.’ We’re here for America.” Weber, speaking for others in his party, ridiculed Kerry’s concerns about Iranian distrust of the U.S.: “Me and my colleagues were up here thinking, ‘Who cares?’ ” When Kerry replied that the Iranians wouldn’t have negotiated on Weber’s terms, the congressman scoffed, “Oh, my heart pains for them.” These lawmakers don’t seem to understand that much of a negotiator’s job consists of understanding, caring about, and accommodating the other side’s concerns.

The call of the chickenhawk is heard through the land:

Graham is running for president as a foreign-policy expert. But three hours of testimony on Wednesday about the difficulties of using military force to stop Iran’s nuclear program taught him nothing. Wrapping up the hearing, Graham demanded that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter answer a simple question: “Who wins the war between us and Iran? Who wins? Do you have any doubt who wins?” When he didn’t get the prompt answer he wanted, Graham thunderously answered the question himself: “We win!” He sounded like a football coach delivering a pep talk. The differences between football and war—what “winning” means, and what it costs—didn’t enter into his equation.

Miz Lindsey used to call himself a Gulf War veteran. He did serve in the Air National Guard during the Persian Gulf War, but his service didn’t take him outside of South Carolina.

Other highlights: Ted Cruz, who never served a day in uniform, exchanged these words with John Kerry:

Cruz: Gen. Soleimani, the head of the al-Quds forces, has more blood of American service members on his hands than any living terrorist. Under this agreement, the sanctions under Gen. Soleimani are lifted. Now, Secretary Kerry said to the families of those men and women who gave their lives, who were killed by Gen. Soleimani, we should apologize. …

Kerry: Sir, I never said the word apology. I never mentioned apologize. I said we should thank them for their extraordinary service. I never said the word apologize. Please, don’t distort my words.

Cruz: Secretary Kerry, it is duly noted you don’t apologize to the family members of the service members who were murdered by the Iranian military.

Kerry: That’s not what I said, senator. [I said] I thank them for their extraordinary service and I would remind them that the United States of America will never take the sanctions off Qasem Soleimani.

Cruz: Sir, I just want to clarify. Do you apologize or not?

This truly is Joe McCarthy territory. Cruz also distinguished himself in an exchange with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who has a PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford and who was once the head of the physics department at MIT. Moniz testified that he had not read a specific report about EMPs, or electromagnetic pulses. However, “if you look at our Quadrennial Energy Review published in April, we do identify EMP as a risk to transformers, and we are beginning to try to work up a response to that.” Here is what Cruz did with that bit of data:

Cruz: You told the United States Senate you hadn’t read the congressionally mandated commission on EMPs and that you didn’t know what an EMP was.

Moniz: That is incorrect. I said I did not know this 2008 report recommendations. I said I was quite familiar with the issue, and we all know about EMPs from airburst nuclear weapons.

Cruz: Secretary, let me read the testimony verbatim so that I don’t mischaracterize you. … “Senator Johnson: ‘Are you familiar with the EMPs commission 2008 report?’ ‘No, I am not, sir.’ ‘You’re not? Do you know—do you know what an EMP is?’ ‘You’ll have to explain it to me, please.’ ” I find that stunning. …

Moniz: That was about the report. If you read further in the testimony, you will see my explicit statement. Of course I know about the issue.

Cruz: Do you agree that an EMP detonated by Iran in the atmosphere could kill tens of millions of Americans? …

Moniz: It depends upon the specifics. These are highly variable—

Cruz: Does that mean, yes, it could?

Moniz: I said it is highly variable in its—

Cruz: OK. You’re refusing to answer the question.

I don’t hate people easily, but Cruz is testing me.

32 thoughts on “Why We’re Doomed: Republican Senators

  1. Did Kerry happen to mention that the major flaw in the NK agreement was Resident Shrub telling NK the agreement was no longer in effect? Just wondering…

  2. Well, I’m 90% sure Obama will get every Democrat behind him on the Iran deal. Do we need to get any Republican votes to prevent a rejection of the treaty?

    And Erinyes is right; Cruz is not a people. He’s a mesothelioma lawyer stand right behind you to grab your settlement. Only less bright….

  3. Cruz is an ignorant, bombastic, strutting, pompous, uber-“Christian” demagogue.

    The GOP assholes and their MIC buddies want a war with Iran at any cost – and for oodles of profits.

    All the more reason to help GOTV for the Democrats!
    They may not be close to perfect, but not all of them have lost their f*king minds, like the other party has!!!
    Everyone in today’s GOP is a nucking fut!!!!!!!!

    Oh, and someone needs to ask Miz Lindsey (I see what you did there, maha 🙂 ) to explain how ‘we won’ in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  4. I think the missing element in the discussion is … war. The opponents of this agreement are either desperate to deny the administration a diplomatic victory, especially in an election year (almost) OR they have decided a new mid-east war is a good idea.

    Regardless of the motive, the demagoguery makes war likely/certain because Iran is not going to re-negotiate the deal. Without a deal, they will proceed with developing the bomb, which is what the republicans say they want to avoid. Kill the treaty and war becomes certain. American boots on the ground become certain. A permanent or semi-permanent presence on Arab soil becomes certain to make sure they aren’t putting together a nuclear program.

    We have recent evidence from which we can estimate the death toll, US and foreign. Thousands and hundreds of thousands. We have recent evidence from which we can estimate the financial cost. It will be trillions. The opponents of this treaty need to discuss the ‘exit strategy’ how do they plan to extract us from the mess eventually? And then let’s put the cost of the treaty next to the cost of the war and decide.

  5. I think Cruz was starved for his father’s acceptance. It seems obvious to me that anybody so intent on projecting themselves as the smartest chap in the room is only putting up a front to mask a deep seated insecurity. Check out this video, and then tell me I’m wrong.
    I’m not sure that Cruz’s tale of running around at 15 years old with a well worn pocket edition of the Constitution seeking out debates on interpreting the Constitution is the product of an image building campaign or whether Cruz was really such a geek. Maybe I’m the one who had with a misspent youth, but at 15 years of age most of us normal guys were running around trying to satisfy our new found hormonal urges.. and, believe me, debating the Constitution wasn’t one of those urges.

    • Swami — yeah, the good old days. Nowadays I keep meeting geezers who just want to debate the Constitution. (sigh)

  6. Listening to some of these GOP idiots, you’d think they were kids in a schoolyard.
    I mean a yard at a school for mentally and emotionally damaged children.

    I don’t know how Kerry, who actually was in a war, kept his cool, and didn’t throw every expletive in the book at these “MORANS!”

  7. Yes, Swami. I don’t profess to know much about the dating game these days, even among other seniors. But, I think among certain geezers “debating the Constitution” is equivalent to the old line, “would you like to come up and see my etchings?”

    It would be idle to speculate how many young innocent people were lured into the seducer’s lair, with the promise of noteworthy etchings, only to find a cheesy black light poster and, on rare occasions, a strobe light.

    I read in a retirement village blog that these days, seniors looking for some action, referred to as “SALSAs,” remove their glasses to achieve that romantic stare into the distance and, with only the slightest hint of a wry smile, ask, “Why don’t you come over, and we can, uhhmm, ‘debate the Constitution?'” When delivered with a nod and a wink, it can be quite an effective seduction tool. But, it is clearly not what the Framers had in mind. Fortunately, I think David Brooks will soon weigh in on the moral decline evidenced by this phenomenon.

    Please be careful to “guard your honor,” Maha, Geezers can not be trusted.

  8. If the deal falls through, Iran will crank up the centrifuges. Israel will bomb them with (or most likely without) permission from us. I think a significant portion of the senate wants this to happen, and are hinting to Israel their tacit support. Israel will bomb the Iranian facilities to dust. The US will bitch about it but still support them. Iran will not be able to retaliate in any meaningful way. And that will be that.

  9. If the deal falls through due to the (moronic Mfing) Republicans in Congress (with the help of a handful of insanely stupid Democrats), and they override the President’s vetoing their nullification of this treaty, we will have effectively screwed the other nations in the deal.

    And how will that help us in the future?

    Once again, we’ll be seen as ‘going rogue.’

    But the GOP doesn’t care about the future.
    They’re all about seizing more power by gaining the Presidency, while keeping Congress.
    And then, FSM help us!

    Today’s GOP:
    Party over people!
    Party over country!!
    PARTY UBER ALLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Miz Lindsey doesn’t mention his flying up experience..Make new friends and keep the old..one is silver and the other is gold.

  11. I find it interesting that formal debate is not necessarily a good training ground for being able to set up an honest argument. Seems like it taught Cruz to simply use a few simplistic tactics which work against people who don’t know their stuff and stand their ground.

  12. Zoomar is right on the money. Israel will bomb the Iranian facilities to dust. Of course, the U.S. and the United Nations will condemn this attack just as they condemned the Israeli attack on the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981. The last thing the US needs is another disastrous war in the Middle East. Israel is well paid and equipped to carry out this mission. That’s what Israel is for.

  13. Moniz: It depends upon the specifics. These are highly variable—
    Cruz: Does that mean, yes, it could?
    Moniz: I said it is highly variable in its—
    Cruz: OK. You’re refusing to answer the question.

    How it should have gone from there:
    Moniz: No I’m not.
    Cruz: Then please answer my question sir, Do you agree that an EMP detonated by Iran in the atmosphere could kill tens of millions of Americans?
    Moniz: Depends.
    Cruz: Again, you refuse to answer the committee’s question.
    Moniz: Did too.
    Cruz: I remind you sir, you’re under oath.
    Moniz (best Ed Wynne voice): So!?
    Cruz: Sir you are in contempt of this committee!
    Moniz (best Jack Benny voice, arms akimbo, sideways glace camera left): Well!

  14. NOPE! If Israel bombs Iran, it will go global. Israel will be wiped off the face of the Earth. The rest of us won’t fare much better. We’re 2 minutes to midnight.

  15. Tom, your first sentence rings plausible to me (always happy to be agreed with.) The last two sentences, not so much. I’d say that the opposite has come to be true as to who serves whom in the Israel/US relationship. At least in Israels collective mind. I hope the next president sets them straight on that point.

  16. Erinyes, I hope Israel has more sense than to bomb Iran, but I honestly don’t see any scenario that wipes them off the map if they do. Do you mean from nuclear weapons? They have 80 warheads and the means to deliver them anywhere. And how do you wipe Israel off the map without taking most of Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and what should have been Palestine with it? Who will do this wiping? A coalition of Saudi and Iran? The Turks? Maybe a small smuggled device. Possible I guess. Again, that can only come from countries with too much to lose from an Israeli retaliation.
    Israel bombed the USS Liberty in 1967. We ate that one for the larger picture. We bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 using the bogus excuse of “mistaken target.” They had to eat that one. If Israel bombs Iranian nuclear facilities, Iran will eat it too, because as in the previous two examples, the alternative is to costly to consider.

  17. I am no expert on foreign policy but judging from what I have read about the relationship between Israel and the U.S., Israel will not do the bombing but get us to do it. They just need the right (no pun intended) president and a willing Congress. Congress has already proven they are willing to be Netanyahu’s puppet. The middle east is a very unstable part of the world and we want to control it and of course the rest of the world. Oh, it’s Monday and I need to go take one of my anti-crab pills.

  18. I’ll be calling the office of one of my Senators today – that gutless wonder UpChuck Schumer, who has taken Joe Lieberman’s spot as a dual Senator for NY State and Israel.
    He says he won’t vote for the deal, but, he won’t ask other Democrats to join him.

    What a putz!

  19. Hah..I’ve spent more time in the LBJ than Miz Lindsey spent on his entire ten year wilderness tour. I hope that little cupcake is enjoying his fantasy of being a big bad war dog because that’s all his military service amounted to… an overpaid and over awarded fantasy.

    “When I die, I’ll go to heaven, because I have served my 108 hours in hell” – L Graham,Wilderness tour 1996-2006

    Well, I guess it’s time for me to go buff my Gallantry Cross( with palm).. 🙂

  20. If anyone wants to get a glimpse of how far down we’ve descended with the childish antics used to campaign for the highest office in our land…then check this out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ted-cruz-bacon-machine-gun_55bf80b1e4b0d4f33a034dde?
    I suspect it won’t be long before the GOP is sponsoring cockroach eating contests for their Presidential aspirants, or they’ll be hosting events were biting the heads off of live chickens will be the order of business. Who knows..Maybe a GOP sponsored bacchanalia might do the trick.
    I guess Cruz’s overly cerebral schtick is going over the heads of the Repuglican masses so he has adjusted his tack to reflect to the Ann Coulter method of messaging theory .

  21. Goatherd:
    ““Why don’t you come over, and we can, uhhmm, ‘debate the Constitution?’” When delivered with a nod and a wink, it can be quite an effective seduction tool. But, it is clearly not what the Framers had in mind. “

    Ben Franklin totally had seduction in mind when he used that line. Jefferson would have used the line if he had to, but he didn’t have to, because uhm, slaves.

  22. And these days, when this geezer puts on “White Rabbit,” the pill Grace Slick sings about is most likely blue.

  23. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presiding Republican, dismissed the Iran agreement with a quip: “How did that North Korean deal work out for you?”

    Hey McCain, when Bush blew off the Clinton agreement with NK and bombastically declared them part of the “axis of evil” because he needed a non-Muslim country to round out his list of enemies, and they subsequently went full-tilt boogie toward building nukes, how did that work out for the world? And why the hell would anybody listen to flippant Mr. “Bomb-Bomb-Bomb Iran” on anything to do with foreign policy?

  24. Zoomar. Israel would be overrun. Like an elephant in a fire ant hill. They’re surrounded with fed up neighbors. China and Russia are signatories to the Shanghai cooperation organization.I believe Iran has been granted observer status. The BRICS are gaining power, the global power shift is near. The world is pissed at this toxic US/ Israel/ UK Super group. If one is covered with fire ants, nuclear weapons are useless; they’re pretty damned useless right now.

  25. Erinyes: Can’t say they wouldn’t have it coming. I have also stepped on a few fire ant mounds in my time. They are truly unbeatable.

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