Fair and Unbalanced

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Mike Littwin

"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles."

Littwin: Hey, better nitwits than traitors!

Littwin: Hey, better nitwits than traitors!

So now we learn the truth about the Tehran 47’s open letter to the Iranian mullahs.

It wasn’t about TRAITORS, as the New York Daily News headline screamed. It was closer to “idiocy,” as the slightly more dignified New York Times editorial board suggested.

It seems — and this may not be a shock — that the 47 letter signers, including Colorado’s own Cory Gardner, had no idea what they were doing. That’s the only logic that makes any sense: They had no idea it would cause such controversy. They had no idea that it was anything other than another in an endless series of shots taken at Barack Obama. They had no idea it would be even more incendiary than the Bibi invite. And, besides, you think any of them had ever heard of the Logan Act? (Had you? I know I hadn’t.)

That has to be the answer, doesn’t it?

Maybe. It’s certainly the answer you get if you read John McCain’s near-admission to something resembling idiocy. It was McCain who told Politico that the 47 signing senators were rushing out of town because of an impending snowstorm — and might not have taken enough time to fully consider the consequences.

‘Iran is a prime example of where we can and should work together.’ Yes, Sen. Gardner.

And so it seems as if climate change made them do it, although not man-made climate change, of course.

Here’s the McCain explanation if you missed it: “It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm. I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.”

Yes, more discussion might have helped. More discussion might have led someone to foresee that this letter would force those Democrats willing to line up with Republicans on Iran to have to choose — and that they would obviously choose Obama. More discussion might have led someone to suggest that this may be the worst Iran-related idea out of Washington since Bud McFarlane’s alleged cake.

I mean, when they signed the letter, could the 47ers really have expected that respected foreign policy experts would write that Republicans hate Obama more than they hate a nuclear Iran?

Did they see a #47Traitors Twitter hashtag trending?

Could they have guessed that Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith would write that the constitutional lesson in the lesson actually got the constitutional part all wrong?

For an answer read the Politico story. Or if you’re rushed by the weather, all you have to do is read the headline: “Iran Letter Blowback Startles GOP.” They never saw it coming. And, oh, it was idiocy, all right, and on almost every count. Except for the treason part. Come on, these guys aren’t traitors. They’re just American-loving Obama bashers.

In any case, the McCain explanation wasn’t the only one. Rand Paul’s explanation, for example, had nothing to do with the weather. Paul signed the letter, after all, even though he’s the rare Republican who actually thinks that Obama should be negotiating with Iran.

His explanation?

Paul signed the letter, he said, because he wanted “to strengthen the president’s hand.” That’s what he said.

Cory Gardner, meanwhile, blamed Obama for reacting to the letter that undermined Obama. What else? According to Gardner, the real problem was not with the letter, but with the Democratic response. If only they had ignored it, as the snow-swept Republicans apparently expected them to.

Gardner told the Denver Post that Obama’s reaction was all about distracting people. If that sounds familiar, it’s only because during his Senate campaign, Gardner called virtually every criticism pointed at him a bid to distract people. And so in going after Obama, he tried this for old time’s sake: “If you listen to the reaction of the administration, they are in hyperdrive trying to downplay what’s really at stake. That’s why the president is trying so hard to distract people from the real issue.”

Of course it was the Republicans who provided the distraction by writing the letter. They distracted everyone from the Hillary Clinton email scandal that was going at full boil. Instead, the letter demanded a choice: Would you vote for someone who used a private email server or someone who offers constitutional-law courses to enemy mullahs?

My favorite part of Gardner’s explanation came when he was asked how this letter helped him fulfill his campaign pledge to work to end Washington dysfunction. He said that “Iran was a prime example of where we can and should work together.”

Tom Cotton, who wrote the letter, must have agreed, sort of. He has insisted the letter wasn’t meant to be for Republicans only and that he had approached Democrats about signing it. But Politico couldn’t find a single Democrat who had been approached, and, as far as I know, Cotton hasn’t volunteered any.

But then again, he may have been distracted. There’s no snow this weekend, but, you know, it’s starting to look like Spring. And a young senator’s fancy lightly turns to… the next fight.

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About the Author

Mike Littwin

He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
mlittwin@coloradoindependent.com | Twitter @mike_littwin

5 Comments

  1. Colin J Guthrie on said:

    The most depressing part of it all is, simply, how good old Cowlorado got suckered – by the Front Range garbage wrapper, Denver Post – into losing the sound, intelligent, thoughtful, and sensible Senatorial expertise of Udall, in favor of Teheran Cory Gardner.

    There was a time when the incoming Junior Senators sat down and STFU, until they had learned a little bit about the complexity of governing this Nation. But, above all else, Teheran Cory is a prime example of Teabaghead/Republikkklanism in a nutshell. Reminds one of the old clichés: Those who don’t want to learn, won’t; and those who know all there is to know about everything already, can’t. Teheran Cory Gardner certainly is the epitome of someone who belongs in both those categories.

  2. Don Lopez on said:

    Mr. Littwin continues to suffer the debilitating symptoms of PTSD (political tsunami stress disorder). Since November his symptoms have intensified as he struggles to find something to vent his pent-up anger on.

    Apparently he feels he has found it in the phony-baloney Letter to Iran controversy and he has used it to express his outrage with all the sincerity of a personal injury lawyer. This has little to do with whether Iran does or doesn’t develop nuclear weapons and a lot to do with Mr. Littwin’s frustration over newly-elected Senator Gardner’s November victory over recently-rejected Senator Udall.

    To date, Mr. Littwin has devoted two columns to this semi-meaningless non-issue which is two more than he devoted to the assassination of two New York City police officers in December and two more than he devoted to last month’s desecration of the Denver Police Fallen Officer Memorial.

    It would be helpful if Mr. Littwin would characterize the ongoing Iran negotiations currently being held without congressional approval. Here’s how Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith characterizes that type of deal:

    “The bottom line, then, is that any deal struck by President Obama with Iran will probably appear to the Iranians to be, at best, short-term and tenuous. And so we can probably expect, at best, only a short-term and tenuous commitment from Iran in return.

    Here we can see the under appreciated benefits that accrue when the President succeeds in winning congressional approval for a foreign policy deal (whether it is a treaty, a congressional-executive agreement, or something short of those things). To win such approval the President must expend political capital and convince the American people and its representatives about the value of the deal. The expenditure of presidential capital signals the importance of the deal to the President. If he succeeds in winning approval from Congress, that approval credibly conveys that the nation, as opposed to a particular president, is behind the deal.”

    How does Mr. Littwin feel about the deal? Is it good, bad, tenuous, substantial? Does he believe the deal should be aimed at stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons or just delaying the process?

    And while Mr. Littwin would like readers to believe the Letter to Iran is unprecedented it, of course, isn’t. Here are just two examples from The Weekly Standard:

    “In 1990, former President Jimmy Carter secretly wrote to the leaders of the U.N. Security Council nations urging them to oppose a resolution offered by his own country. The existence of the letter was revealed when one of its recipients shared a copy with the White House. President George H. W. Bush was “furious” at the “deliberate attempt to undermine” his foreign policy, according to his national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft.”

    “In 2007, newly elected House speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Syria to meet with dictator Bashar al-Assad. At the time of the trip, the Bush administration was seeking to isolate Assad, whose regime was supporting insurgents in Iraq who were targeting U.S. troops. Pelosi disregarded the administration’s request to cancel her trip. Instead, she appeared in Damascus and reassured the world that Assad was eager to be a constructive player in the region and wanted peace with Israel.”

    And what does Mr. Littwin think about President Obama’s apparent flip-flop on the subject of negotiating sans congress? This also from The Weekly Standard:

    “The following comes from the Obama campaign website. It spells out the need for congressional approval of a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq.

    Obama and Biden believe any Status of Forces Agreement, or any strategic framework agreement, should be negotiated in the context of a broader commitment by the U.S. to begin withdrawing its troops and forswearing permanent bases. Obama and Biden also believe that any security accord must be subject to congressional approval. It is unacceptable that the Iraqi government will present the agreement to the Iraqi parliament for approval—yet the Bush administration will not do the same with the U.S. Congress. The Bush administration must submit the agreement to Congress or allow the next administration to negotiate an agreement that has bipartisan support here at home and makes absolutely clear that the U.S. will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq.”

    I don’t expect an answer any time soon and neither should you.

    “On Wednesday evening, two police officers from neighboring departments were shot by a would-be assassin as a crowd protested outside of the Ferguson Police Department headquarters. The attempted murder is hardly surprising. Most law enforcement officers presumed it would only be a matter of time before such a tragedy would occur again.” USA Today March 13, 2015

    “I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked,” Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) told Breitbart News. “They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with this comparison.
    President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage.”

    “Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer (Darren Wilson) involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The federal investigation did not uncover any facts that differed significantly from the evidence made public by the authorities in Missouri late last year. ” New York Times January 21, 2015

    “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”
    President Obama redefining “randomly”

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Folds of Honor Foundation
    Wounded Warrior Project
    Memorial Day – May 25, 2015

  3. Will Morrison on said:

    What this REALLY shows is that the senate, just like the house, has NO leader. McConnell actually signed this piece of mutiny letter, written by a NUT CASE 37 yer old 60 DAY member of the senate? Rather than telling him to sit down and shut up and learn how the senate works, he goes along with this MISERABLE plan? What kind of leadership is THAT?

    And just like I said before the election, Cory Gardner is making a fool of the voters of this state. I said he would be an embarrassment, and he’s living right on DOWN to my prediction. Way to go Colorado. Are you happy being represented by an IMBECILE? It’s just going to get worse, you’ve still got nearly 6 YEARS of this IDIOT to go.

    An especially large thank yo to those voters of the state who couldn’t even be bothered to put a damned stamp on an envelope and put it in the mail. Your LAZINESS is the most embarrassing thing of all. That you can’t even be bothered to do THAT says a LOT about your real concern for the future of this country.

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