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Getting “Cozy” with Iran and Other Lies

Watching the Armed Services Committee meeting yesterday was not anyone’s idea of a pleasant way to spend the better part of an afternoon. It was a repeat of most of the worst moments of the confirmation hearing two weeks ago, and in some respects it was even worse than the hearing. The most contentious moment came when Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) reprimanded Ted Cruz for impugning Hagel’s patriotism when he was throwing out random suggestions that Hagel “might” have received [1] money from North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Then Inhofe jumped in to defend Cruz by saying that Iran’s “endorsement” of Hagel’s nomination meant that Hagel was somehow “cozy” with Iran. “You can’t get cozier than that,” he intoned [2]. Of course, it’s easy enough to dismiss all of this as nonsense and move on, but it’s worth saying a few words about how despicable these tactics are.

Between Cruz’s speculation that Hagel could be a foreign agent (he’s not impugning anyone’s patriotism, you see, he’s just “asking questions”) and Inhofe’s assertion that Hagel is somehow responsible for what Iranian officials say about his nomination, at least two of the Republican committee members disgraced their party yesterday. It has been common for many decades in foreign policy and national security debates to hurl accusations of “weakness” and “appeasement” as skeptics of hard-line policies, and war opponents have been routinely portrayed as disloyal or anti-American, but I believe it has been quite rare if not unheard of (at least in my lifetime) to see members of the Senate openly questioning the loyalty of a Cabinet nominee. It was a disgusting display, but unfortunately one that was an all-too-fitting conclusion to a campaign that has been dominated by dishonest and scurrilous attacks.

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16 Comments To "Getting “Cozy” with Iran and Other Lies"

#1 Comment By Gordon Hanson On February 13, 2013 @ 11:04 am

Umm, Senators Inhofe and Cruz, you wouldn’t happen to be agents for a foreign government, like, say, Israel, objectively speaking, would you? Just asking, mind you.

#2 Comment By Franklin Paisley On February 13, 2013 @ 11:13 am

Assuming the good people of Texas don’t come to their senses, Ted Cruz is going to be a disgrace to his party for many years to come. I am not looking forward to it.

#3 Comment By cdugga On February 13, 2013 @ 11:55 am

If you don’t stand up and represent, then somebody else is going to stand up and represent you. How you guys likin ya’alls representatives? When I see a republican in the room standing up and saying those views do not represent me, are despicable, and do not represent mainstream conservatives, then we will get some action out of our congress. Until then, Rush and AM talk radio stands for who the actual spokespeople for the republican party are.

#4 Comment By Ron Beasley On February 13, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

You expect that from McCain, he is a bitter old man. Inhofe has never been anything but a partisan hack but Cruz is a real loser. They are not only an embarrassment to the party and the Senate but the entire country.

#5 Comment By James Canning On February 13, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

Gordon Hanson – – Bravo!

#6 Comment By Plus Threes On February 13, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

Inhofe and Cruz are really something. It is unprecedented – staggering, really – for American senators to demand that a cabinet nominee pledge allegiance to a foreign state.

This can’t go on much longer. The time is approaching when we’ll have to add a new question to the catechism for public office holders: are you now serving or have you ever served the interests of the state of Israel or its American lobby?

#7 Comment By icarusr On February 13, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

We have known, since Clinton was impeached over a stain on a blue dress by Republican hacks who were rogering their own mistresses in Congress, that there is practically no limit to hypocrisy on the part of the common GOPer.

We have known, since Cheney took over the reins of government from a befuddled and bewildered Bush, that there is no depth of immorality to which the GOP won’t descend in pursuit of power, global and domestic.

We have known, since “heckuvajob Brownie”, “stuff happens”, “I don’t recall” Gonzales, Harriet Miers and the Powell Speech that the sole criterion for Republican office holding is absolute loyalty to dogma or the Leader, competence and the national interest be damned.

We have known, since McCain imposed the Palin and her litter on the world stage, that the Republican Party will not hesitate to stoop – to any level – and will forebear from no gimmick in the pursuit of political advantage.

We have known, since the first “apology tour”, “death panels”, “Muslim sympathiser” “show us the birth certificate” nonsense, that calumny is the preferred method of Republican political discourse.

We have known, since the moment a placard went up with the immortal words “Get your Government Hands off my Medicare,” right down to the execrable and “brassy” “Restore the Cuts to Medicare” campaign of the Ryan/Romney disaster, that Republicans are led by liars, because they themselves are stupid and grasping beyond measure.

This then is the bill of indictment, partial, against a party and a political movement that is, objectively, in pursuit of harm to the nation for the sake of political gain. This is not about Inhofe or McCain or Cruz – and to personalise it is to miss the bigger picture. It is about a method of playing politics, and the cynical worldview underlying and supporting it – a culture of a subclass (with emphasis on “sub”) of political operatives – that has poisoned the national political scene – perhaps irretrievably. Obama’s nomination of Hagel, regardless of the man’s qualification, has the distinct advantage of laying bare, as if in IMAX Real3D, this rot at the heart of American politics.

#8 Comment By Clint On February 13, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

Senator Jim Inhofe,
“Last year, after his ill-advised and disastrous foray into thinking that the Middle East peace process negotiations could be restarted by returning Israel to its pre-1967 borders and dividing Jerusalem, Obama was forced to abandon his position by true friends of Israel on Capitol Hill.

In fact, it was protests by members like me and others – both Republican and Democrat-that forced Obama to beat a retreat and accommodate legislative mandates to increase funding for programs that provide for the continued existence of the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Apparently, Imhofe thinks he’s speaking to The Knesset.

#9 Comment By James Canning On February 13, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

Plus Threes – – It is worth remembering that the Israel lobby often in effect forces Israel to do things it might not otherwise do, and that this results in damage to the national interests of the American people.

#10 Comment By James Canning On February 13, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

Clint – – Bravo. Senator Inhofe wants Israel to keep the West Bank, no matter how many hundreds of billions of dollars this will cost the American taxpayers (through endless war or near-war)? What an idiot. To be kind.

#11 Comment By James Canning On February 13, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

Apparently Senator Inhofe is not aware that Lebanon is a democracy. Or, is he simply a liar when he claims Israel is the “only democracy”? I suspect he is simply a liar.

#12 Comment By Allan On February 13, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

So it looks like Rand is on board with Cruz and Inhofe’s ridiculous allegations.

He said today, “There’s all kinds of rumors all over the internet about foreign groups that may have provided financing and I think he needs to reveal that, and so I am one who is saying, yes, I do need a little more information before making a final decision.”


#13 Comment By JKK On February 13, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

All I have to say is that if this keeps going, then I’m placing my money on the Republicans nominating Santorum in 2016… I mean–for the last two elections they’ve elected the “2nd place” dude… and with the insanity level that they keep showing–I’m not sure I see anything else happening.

.. and if it does.. man, will that be a thumping…

#14 Comment By Clint On February 13, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

Decorated combat sergeant Chuck Hagel will be confirmed and Rand Paul had better man up and not kneel before the neoconservative dictates altar or many of us Rand Paul supporters will make him pay for being a a sell out chickenhawk coward.

” Mr. Inhofe has vowed to use procedural tactics to slow the Senate’s consideration of Mr. Hagel, a step that would require 60 votes for confirmation instead of the usual simple majority of 51.

The tactic could prove mainly symbolic, however, because at least 60 senators, including some of those who voted against him on Tuesday, have indicated that they will allow his nomination to come to the Senate floor. “

#15 Comment By KenI On February 13, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

Want to talk about foreign governments or secret international donors? It’s not Chuck Hagel who is involved, try looking into Sheldon Adelson and the “Emergency Committee for ISRAEL” as to who is most trying to influence our next SecDef nominee. That seems like a more logical place to start. Daniel, thank you for doing such a great job in covering the neocon smears against the reputation of a patriotic American like Chuck Hagel. It breaks my heart to see the entire Republican foreign policy so effectively under the control of the Israeli lobby. This is why your website is called the AMERICAN Conservative and not the pro-Israel neocon.com (we have far too many of those influenced by secret donors whose major interest is not America, but Israeli). You deserve a raise for being the only one in DC capable of reporting the truth about what is happening.

#16 Comment By Cliff On February 14, 2013 @ 8:46 am

Didn’t the presidential candidate of the party of Inhofe & Cruz take time off from his campaign last year to do some fundraising overseas? Yes, he sure did.