The forever peevish Republicans on Capitol Hill have added a wicked new twist to our conduct of foreign policy. It’s called the Perfect Snowstorm, which is how Sen. John McCain excused himself and 46 other GOP senators for their lack of deliberation in signing the notorious Iran letter.
“It was kind of a very rapid process,” McCain said, inartfully. “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.”
McCain was even more diplomatic when he was first confronted about his signatory role. “I sign a lot of letters,” he replied in a feathery response.
That part about the blowback was even understated as the clumsy escape from a snowstorm produced a broad sweep of condemnation, even from some normally friendly other Republicans. I could only ask how these seasoned Masters of the Universe could allow themselves to accede to a young Harvard novitiate now in his earliest weeks in the Senate. (The Hill Republicans are a religious order, my friends.) Sen. Tom Cotton, the letter’s 37-year-old author, will now have something to boastfully tell his grandchildren someday as he rises to the task of moving the goal post to Fox News, where we will soon hear that he is presidential material.
Nobody suffered more bruises than Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who somehow found his way out of the shadows of his apparitional career to sign the letter. From Cleveland to Cincinnati the editorials denounced his thoughtless action. “Shameful!” the Plain Dealer cried. “Careless!” asserted the Beacon Journal. “A mistake!” declared the Cincinnati Enquirer, usually a Portman ally. The senator’s Democratic challenger this year, former Gov. Ted Strickland, promptly called it “disgraceful.”
The opening that the senator gave to his critics was a mile wide because it shattered his image of a blandly reflective moderate who could always be counted on to do the businesslike thing without hurting anyone’s feelings. Not so, now that an unthinking partisan has stepped out to reveal himself.
Portman, who was Dubya’s budget advisor, hails from southwestern Ohio. It’s the home, too, of another loser; John Boehner. The speaker, in similar haste to humiliate President Obama, was the tour guide for Benjamin Netanyahu’s so-called nonpolitical speech to Congress. In fact, Bibi literally rolled his host with his own sly tactics.
Non-political speech? The word from Israel is that Bibi’s handlers injected film clips of his congressional speech into his political ads.
We’ll leave it at that as the house lights dim in the Republicans make-believe ballroom.