Giving Aaron Schock a Pass on Honduras and DeMint

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aaron schock mccain.jpg
Congressman Aaron Schock is a highly reasonable, intelligent, balanced Republican Member of Congress — and though I have only met him twice, I was impressed with how he conducted his conversations and views in DC cocktail policy chatter — particularly at an MSNBC party where Rachel Maddow was tending the bar.
Yesterday, Schock was on my mind as I listened intently to Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain lay out the parameters of what reasonable governance would look like from a responsible, conservative perch — and was impressed with Senator McCain’s repeated statements that he wanted to help President Obama succeed — and would differ from him in some areas — but would be solidly with him on others.
Lindsey Graham said that “Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, is not a Muslim, and is a good man — and those that are saying otherwise are just ‘crazy’.” Graham went on to say that he also meant no insult to Muslims in any way and that if Obama was a Muslim, he would still support him; he just wanted to make it clear that there is nothing sane about arguing that President Obama is not in line with his self-proclaimed faith of Christianity.
These two Senators were speaking at the powerhouse conference titled “First Draft of History” sponsored by the Atlantic Monthly, Newseum, and Aspen Institute — and hearing them made me think of Aaron Schock who may be the Republican Party’s best chance reviving a kind of reasonable, pragmatic leadership among its youngest and most effective Members. Schock is now the youngest member of the US House of Representatives.
But I was disheartened to learn that he has agreed to go today with Senator Jim DeMint down to investigate the Honduras situation.
Wait, strike that.
Schock may be doing real investigating — while Senator DeMint is siding with others in a foreign government — a coup-installed government — against the Government of the United States. He is working hard there as an elected US government official to actively undermine American policy.
I suspect that Congressman Schock is going down to check out what is real and what is not in the mess of the Honduras coup and its aftermath — but Jim DeMint is going down to “meddle” in the situation and to encourage the coup leaders to stand strong against the White House and the US Department of State.
Senator DeMint has behaved from the beginning as if he has a dog in the race down in Honduras, and it is not the one that the US government feels comfortable supporting at the moment. None of Honduras’ neighbors do either.
It is extremely rare that a Chairman of a Committee on which a US Senator works would move to block a resource allocation that would allow that Member to fly somewhere within the jurisdiction of that Committee — but Senator John Kerry blocked DeMint’s plans to go and commiserate with wealthy businessmen who had recently had visas revoked by the US government and to encourage them to stand strong against the US government.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell intervened and arranged a Department of Defense secured plane to take the Senator and several House Members to Honduras — thus reversing John Kerry’s action.
I am currently looking into how exactly Senator McConnell secured agreement from the Department of Defense, part of the Obama-controlled Executive Branch, to provide the plane.
Senator John Kerry’s rationale for rejecting Jim DeMint’s request for resources for the Honduras trip was that DeMint has blocked consideration of two key Obama Latin America foreign policy appointments.
One of these is the current Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon is the President’s pick to serve as US Ambassador to Brazil — and the other is Georgetown Professor Arturo Valenzuela who is slated to succeed Shannon as Assistant Secretary for the same region.
DeMint has argued quite transparently on his Senate website and from the floor of the Senate Chamber that he believes that the real democrats in Honduras or the ones that through out the ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who has snuck back into Honduras and is sleeping on a couch inside the Brazilian Embassy.
Many think that Zelaya over-reached in his role as President and tried to force the extension of his term and powers in extra-constitutional ways. The Honduran Supreme Court ruled against Zelaya’s course — but a military coup that expelled the President is also extra-legal, and received condemnation from the entire raft of Latin American neighbors and the United States.
One informed Latin America policy expert confided that despite all of this, the Obama team handled badly the Honduras coup, and should have had this issue resolved in a week. But this person confidentially stated that there is a lack of depth on the President’s team — crippled by the complicating factor that Assistant Secretary Shannon is keeping quiet during his confirmation purgatory — and there is no successor in his role because of DeMint’s block.
But the story is bigger than Obama appointees.
DeMint seems to be focused on undermining US government policy by commiserating with foreign nationals abroad.
I respect Senator DeMint’s right to speak his mind and conscience from the floor of the Senate, on his blog, on twitter, wherever he likes — but there is something extremely wrong about a US Senator conspiring with government officials of another nation as well as wealthy supporters of a coup against the applied policies of the United States.
Jim DeMint made the decision to go to Honduras just as de facto Honduran president Roberto Micheletti began to issue signals that he was willing to work out an arrangement on the ousted President and to negotiate something with the United States and other regional stakeholders.
Aaron Schock should learn what he can but he needs to be careful of jumping on any bandwagons.
I’ll never forget when former US Senator Fred Thompson was on a trip to Malaysia sponsored by a Senate-cleared non-profit foundation, but once there — Thompson felt extremely uncomfortable with the tone of the meetings and the way the political views of the delegation were being co-opted by the hosts and by the Malaysian government and business officials Thompson and others were meeting.
Thompson bluntly said, “This doesn’t feel right.” And then he got up, picked up his materials, and flew immediately back to the United States.
Congressman Schock is someone Independents, Republicans and open-minded Dems should want to get to know in future years — so this post is meant to encourage him to keep his powder dry.
Agitating against US government policy while abroad is not a career-booster in either political party.
— Steve Clemons
More Information: On September 24th, Congressman Schock made these recommendations about how to resolve the crisis in Honduras:

1. Resuming US aid, international aid and ending the VISA sanctions.
2. Cooperating with the Honduran government by sending normal election observers to ensure the fairness of the regularly scheduled November election and recognizing the legitimacy of that election, so long as it is conducted in a fair and accurate manner.
3. While the Library of Congress report found the removal from power of former President Zelaya legal and constitutional, they also found Zelaya’s removal from the country to be explicitly unconstitutional. Schock is calling for the Honduran government to allow Zelaya out of the Brazilian Embassy, recognize that his punishment for what led to his removal from power IS his removal from power, drop plans to prosecute him and issue a general amnesty for everyone involved in his removal from power. As a private citizen, Zelaya would have the right to campaign for his choice in the upcoming presidential election. However if he resorts to the incitement of violence, or advocates the violent overthrow of the Honduran government, then he should be arrested and put on trial as the government would do with any other citizen.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

55 comments on “Giving Aaron Schock a Pass on Honduras and DeMint

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “jackie, it’s not about the last attack. It’s about stopping the next attack. You want to go back to the dream-world of the 90s again, you’ll get the same bad results”
    Remember, not too long ago, when this racist wretch was masquerading as a leftist?

    Reply

  2. nadine says:

    jackie, it’s not about the last attack. It’s about stopping the next attack. You want to go back to the dream-world of the 90s again, you’ll get the same bad results.

    Reply

  3. Outraged American says:

    Jackie, girlfriend, you can borrow my dildo too. Clean it with bleach
    before you return it please. Common courtesy.
    9/11 has been used to destroy, very obviously, the lives of millions
    of people in so many countries and destroy our Bill of Rights.
    Me, I would rather die in a “terrorist” attack than live in a police
    state, and we’ve certainly engendered more of both since 9/11 and
    we still don’t know the story, just the fairy tale.

    Reply

  4. jackie says:

    Nadine,
    At the time, 9/11/2001 seemed really horrible, but my god woman, get a grip! It shouldn’t be used to wreak havoc on the world. There has to be some proportion of revenge for the crime. Me, I’m over it, I’m sick of the killing and bombimg.
    All the best to you and I hope you get the revenge out of your heart.

    Reply

  5. arthurdecco says:

    “Steve, get the hell out of that town. I’ve read your commentary now for how many years?? And I’ve seen you change, brother. It saddens me.” posted by POA
    POA, it has been my experience that deliberate, repeated, fawning attention always leads to dissolution – even corruption – in the subject of that focused assault. And it IS an assault as vile as any other form of rape and rapine.
    I can speak authoritatively on the subject, having been in my youth the dimwitted, too-trusting and naive recipient of the same false bonhomies and deliberate manipulations Mr. Clemons is surely being made the victim of by exactly the same kind of people as those who cared little for me and even less for my opinions, but who seemed to require my at-that-time limited influence in my professional sphere to support their own selfish agendas, and incidentally, to make them more money.
    For those of us who are sensitive to these issues, Mr. Clemons’ blog and perhaps even his internalized opinions are obviously being co-opted in real time by real people with agendas at odds with Mr. Clemons’ stated objectives. I wonder if he’s even aware of it, given the sophistication of the targeted manipulation that is possible today and the resources available to those doing the dirty deed.
    It’s ugly what can happen even to those people who start out with only the best of intentions and hearts as pure as the driven snow when they get swept off their feet by the unlimited resources – charmingly presented or otherwise – available to those who want to control everything and everyone.
    Getting the Hell out of Dodge was the only cure I was able to discover that had any lasting effect. And I somehow don’t think Mr. Clemons is ready, if he ever will be, for such a drastic change in his high-powered, if peripheral, Washingtonian lifestyle.
    Wot’s say I ask him… Mr. Clemons…? Are you ready to ride out of Dodge if it becomes necessary to save your soul from the devils who now appear to want to own it? The proof that your soul no longer exclusively belongs to you being this latest round-eyed gushy piece on just-another-odious-opportunistic-self-serving politician whose own voting record, as cold-heartedly listed by POA, shows him to be calculatingly venal and therefore undeserving of the kind of positive, misleading coverage you have provided him with here?

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  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Look at his voting record, Steve. The guy is just one more yes-man for the right. What about his position on abortion? How about his vehement “I want you to know I’m not gay” announcements, as if we should give a shit whether he is gay or not. Is he announcing that it would be a terrible thing were he gay? On every issue, he just caters to the right.
    To be honest, your endorsement of this child puppet is inexplicable. The guy utters a few platitudes on the cocktail circuit, and now he’s a wonderboy???
    Steve, get the hell out of that town. I’ve read your commentary now for how many years?? And I’ve seen you change, brother. It saddens me.

    Reply

  7. downtown says:

    “I was impressed with how he conducted his conversations and views in DC cocktail policy chatter…”
    You couldn’t have stated it more eloquently.

    Reply

  8. Steve Clemons says:

    Jim D — I have not found Aaron Schock to be anything but quite reasonable.
    I hope that he keeps his balance and moves up into Republican leadership. To some degree, he could become the Republican’s Joe Biden — someone who starts in high elected office very young, and works upward in what is a marathon of public service, not a sprint.
    best regards,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  9. Jim D says:

    Congress man Schock is my Congressman.
    I consider Schock a weasel.
    Wait until you find out about this guy

    Reply

  10. ... says:

    nadine quote “why is the left so hung up on race? can you tell me that?” because they are all jews living in israel??? i don’t know nadine.. tell us…

    Reply

  11. Outraged American says:

    Nadine is awake. It must be morning in Tel Aviv. Ahmadinejad is a
    Jew. And no one seems to care.

    Reply

  12. nadine says:

    jackie,
    Trying to prevent a repeat of a certain event in 2001 that you seem to have forgotten about. Whatever the color of the people involved (why is the left so hung up on race? can you tell me that?)
    But you have a point that Bush’s government spending was too high – this was a big factor in causing Republican support to dry up in 2006 and 2008, believe it or not. But not to worry, the Democrats are staging a Republican revival by governing far, far to the left. I just hope the Republicans get their act together this time.

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  13. jackie says:

    Dan,
    I really laughed this morning when I read the “Circle of Twits” comment.
    Nadine,
    With your limited government spending, etc., where were you from 2001-2008? As long as all that money is spent killing brown people, I guess it is OK with you?

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    One cheer to Mr. Tomasky for realizing that the Tea party movement actually does believe in limited government and balanced budgets. But he is fooling himself if he really thinks it is funded by big business. No, Obama tried and mostly succeeded in buying off Big Pharma, the Insurance companies, AARP, the AMA, etc. The tea party/anti-Obamacare movement is something very scary: an actual grass-roots movement, a protest by terrified taxpayers who see an avalanche of government debt, regulation and taxes headed their way in a completely out of control manner.
    But if it’s really grass-roots, then Mr Tomasky would have to acknowledge its legitimacy, so there follows the usual effort to downplay its size (the 9/12 crowd was hundreds of thousands, not tens of thousands), concentrate on the few nutters (he seems to have forgotten how Bush was portrayed for 8 years), and pretend it has big corporate funding (very little that I can see – just look at the hand lettered signs and amateur speakers, as opposed to the International ANSWER backing that the Iraq anti-war movement got).
    Plus his moaning over the cable news coverage is just humorous. I know it must really gall him that the Left doesn’t control EVERY media channel, only every TV station but Fox news, and every major paper but The Wall St Journal. 90% is not good enough, he wants it all! And the talk radio shows. It’s not Rush Limbaugh’s fault that Air America can’t attract any listeners, guys. Why would liberals need talk radio when they already have NPR? What Tomasky is really yearning for is the good old days when the New York Times could declare what was news and what was not news, and nobody could get around them. Well Thank God! those days are gone.

    Reply

  15. nadine says:

    Hi Ole Anderson,
    Didn’t you get the memo? Dissent stopped being patriotic last January 20th. Now dissent is racist, apparently.
    Obama’s pro-Zelaya stance is fairly mystifying to me. Zelaya’s removal was ordered by Honduras’ Supreme Court in accordance with the Honduran constitution and he has been replaced, not by an army officer, but by a member of Congress of his own party who is not even running in the presidential election. Not only was Zelaya planning to hold an unconstitutional referendum to get “popular support” to stay beyond the end of his term, the Hondurans report that Zelaya had computers already pre-programmed with the “result”. Naturally he won big. Why Obama, in one of his rare bouts of decisiveness, instantly sided with this Chavez-wannabe I cannot say.
    Miguel Estrada, one of our best legal minds and a naturalized US citizen who was born in Honduras, explained the law here: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/10/opinion/oe-estrada10

    Reply

  16. John Fullerton says:

    It is a mystery to me why no one seems to connect DeMints’ membership in “The Family” to his current activities. As Jeff Sharletts’ book reveals, DeMints interest in Honduras is probably just to organize a cell of prayerful worshippers of Jesus. It is the sort of thing that’s been going on in that group since before the days of Sukarno in the Phillipines or any number of African dictators who were also cozied up to and invited to the Annual Prayer breakfasts in Washington. Somebody check into the whereabouts of Doug Coe, does he happen to be heading for Honduras too? You folks should read Sharletts’ book. There is no comparison nor parallel to John Kerry. This man DeMint thinks he is doing gods work. Delusional beyond belief in my opinion.

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    or – of

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  18. ... says:

    kerry is guilty of meddling when he does this “in early 1986, the 42-year-old Massachusetts Democrat stood almost alone in the U.S. Senate demanding answers about the emerging evidence that CIA-backed Contras were filling their coffers by collaborating with drug traffickers then flooding U.S. borders with cocaine from South America.”
    and demint is getting at the bottom or what???
    their are some similarities, but the differences are huge.. demint is looking to line his pocket… kerry wasn’t… at one point in time the usa might have stood for truth, but at this point it stands for MONEY and very little of anything else… sorry i don’t see much similar with kerry and demint and think the differences require a different response.

    Reply

  19. ... says:

    dan kervick quote “Our overseas empire, the old “free world” of which Nadine thinks we are still the leader, is a Hollywood facade peopled with military extras doing make-work fighting, and stocked with expensive special effects gadgetry. But there is nothing behind it; the real world behind the facade is falling apart rapidly.”
    thanks dan.. that sums it up pretty well…

    Reply

  20. ... says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim, Oct 02 2009, 6:40PM – Link
    “…I think it’s better not to create any precedents that suggest that type of behavior is out of bounds.”
    Do you think such a precedent could hurt people like Reid and Hoyer, visiting the Israeli settlements?”
    i see no one took you up on that question paul… avoidance is a popular tactic, especially when someone asks a very direct question…

    Reply

  21. ole anderson says:

    Well now, wait a minute. You sound awfully Republican here.A different opinion is unpatriotic, somehow? I am an Obama man, a little worried at the moment, and I think he got it wrong here in Honduras. Zelaya, with prompting from his buddy Chavez, attempted to circumvent the Constitution of Honduras by seeking a plebiscite allowing his re-election. He was rightfully deemed to be in violation of Honduran law by the Supreme Court and Congress and was arrested and removed from the Country in a non violent manner. The Congress appointed Micheletti to serve out the remaining 3 months of Zelaya’s term. So there exists room for different perspectives on this issue, and I request that you revisit your thoughts in this matter. Thank you, Ole Anderson PS: The manner of his removal, or his removal At All, does concern me.

    Reply

  22. Randy says:

    Mr. Clemons:
    As a constituent of Mr. Schock’s, I would suggest that you are completely wrong about him. Schock, if you will dig into his past a bit, is nothing more than a political opportunist who salutes whatever political cause most convenient for him and calculated to boost himself to the “next step” up the political ladder. I’m disappointed that you seem so sanguine with someone who is much more interested in running for office and furthering his career than in serving.

    Reply

  23. JLW says:

    Steve, Are you familiar with Al Giordano’s blog, The Field, on his web publication Narconews.com? (http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield) It provides a very different perspective on the coup in Honduras than comes from the traditional media. His view is admittedly left wing but he has access to sources and opinions that others don’t seem to have. When I listen to NPR and BBC I hear shadows of what Al is reporting but without a recognition of the class divides in Central and South America. Without an understanding of those class divisions it’s hard to see that the people who own everything are supporting the coup and the people at the bottom seem to be resisting.

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    Paul,
    Thanks for that. NYRB no longer lands in my mailbox….
    I think what Tomasky has found is this intense fear of loss that psychologists have identified in numerous experiments and that is one of the cornerstones of behavioral economics thinking. People tend to find loss far far more painful than they find gain pleasurable. Loss of socio-racial status isn’t worth it even at the gain of justice and equality for all. Loss of the teensy bit of something like health insurance that we all have (ANY employer can simply drop coverage or change the premium split unless it’s all under contract) — this loss is felt far more than the gain would be felt from actual secure and affordable insurance.
    The “tenthers” fear loss of political power that is largely illusory anyway. What a mess if states took over interstate commerce by weakening the commerce clause. What a mess if there were different safety standards and the like across the country. Already the educational standards do deep disservice to those who are dependent on weak or underfunded schools. Making this worse would be calamitous for many people.
    But because that fear of loss is floating just under the surface, it’s there for the politicians who somehow don’t feel that they will have to pay for the damage they are doing. The privatization of schooling directly affects only those who need public schools. The indirect effects are so diffuse as to be ignorable. So what if, in 20 years, you can’t find enough doctors or lawyers or basically informed fellow citizens because you destroyed the public school system and turned out a generation of ill-educated idiots. At least you got re-elected and made some serious money. And you paid for private schooling for your own kids.
    We’re stuck in this insane game in which the private good of a few is defined as the public good of the many and the fear of loss of any good at all keeps us in thrall to that voice of deregulation and privatization.
    There are ways through this mess, but as with any game theoretic situation, some player somewhere has to take an irrational risk. Would that 15 senators could find it in their soul to allow themselves to be primaried to the right. Would that some 10 or 15 media people would see that what they are doing to save their own careers is damning the rest of us.

    Reply

  25. Paul Norheim says:

    Some excerpts from an informative essay about the Tea Party Movement:
    “Something New on the Mall
    By Michael Tomasky
    We have never seen, at least in the modern history of the United States, a right-wing street-protest
    movement. Conservatives who oppose Roe v. Wade march on Washington every January 22, the anniversary
    of that 1973 decision; but aside from that single issue and that single day, the American right over
    recent decades has, until this summer, carried out its organizing in a comparatively quiet fashion,
    via mimeograph machine and pamphlet and book and e-mail and text message, and left the streets to the
    left.
    So we have something new in our political life—the summer’s apoplectic and bordering-on-violent town-
    hall meetings, and the large “9/12” rally on Washington’s National Mall that drew tens of thousands
    of people to protest America’s descent into “socialism” (or “communism,” or, occasionally, “Nazism”).
    How extreme is this movement, and how seriously should we take it?
    The September 12 rally, the culminating (for now) event of the “Tea Party” movement that sprouted to
    life earlier this year, was organized chiefly by FreedomWorks, a conservative lobbying organization
    founded in 1984, and supported by nearly thirty conservative organizations, ranging from the well
    known (Club for Growth, Competitive Enterprise Institute) to the obscure (Ayn Rand Center for
    Individual Rights). It was also promoted heavily on the Fox News Channel, especially by the hard
    right’s new man of the moment, Glenn Beck.
    Much of the sentiment on display expressed a genuine fury on the part of citizens who believe in
    limited government and are opposed to the bank bailout, the auto bailout, health care reform, the
    deficit, and other policies of the administration. But another kind of anger, less respectable, was
    also expressed, and most of it was directed at one person in particular. “Parasite-in-Chief” read one
    sign, showing Barack Obama standing at the presidential lectern. “TREASON” read another, the “O”
    rendered in the familiar Obama campaign poster style, with the receding red lines suggesting a
    horizon. Another maintained that “Obammunism Is Communism.”
    (…)
    This conservative protest movement, though, has three powerful forces supporting it: bottomless
    amounts of corporate money; an ideologically dedicated press, radio, and cable television apparatus
    eager to tout its existence; and elected officials who are willing to embrace it publicly and whose
    votes in support of the movement’s positions can be absolutely relied upon. The 1981 marchers and all
    the left-leaning protest movements with which we’ve been familiar over the years—and that serve in
    our minds as the models for street protests and political rallies—have typically had none of this
    kind of support. For the foreseeable future, what we witnessed on September 12, and over the summer
    at the town-hall events, is likely to be a permanent feature of the political landscape.
    (…)
    And the high-powered operations of these groups do not mean that none of the opposition to Obama’s
    policies is genuine and spontaneous. Liberal and conservative bloggers have sparred over this
    question, the former tending to overstate the control that astroturf groups have over people, the
    latter tending to deny it completely.
    The argument over spontaneity versus coordination largely misses the point, which is the way that a
    loose network of groups sustains and encourages opposition to the administration and gives the
    movement currency and power it would not otherwise have. Money is the ultimate lubricant of politics,
    and the potential money supply for Tea Parties and other astroturf contributions is virtually
    limitless. In this case, though, it may not be the most important force contributing to the rise of
    this movement.
    any signs at the march were critical of the press. The universal view among these folks is that the
    country’s major media outlets are virtually state-controlled and obedient to Obama’s every wish. They
    have tuned out NBC, CBS, CNN, and others completely. This, too, is a new thing: millions of Americans
    who get their “news” only from outlets that will tell them exactly what they want to hear.
    (…)
    he third source of support for this movement is Republican elected officials. Thanks in part to
    millions of dollars of donations to Republican senators like Charles Grassley and Mike Enzi, the Tea
    Party movement can count on virtually every Republican in Congress to vote with it on major bills.
    Only Maine Senator Olympia Snowe seems not to bother with them much, which is one reason why she
    might yet vote with the Democrats on health care. (She has made her opposition to the public option
    clear, but she did on September 17 sign a letter with three Democrats indicating that she might back
    a bill without one.) This, again, is a situation without precedent. When the labor or anti–Vietnam
    War or civil rights movements held their marches, they knew they still faced a battle within Congress
    to win over a broad majority of Democrats. Within today’s congressional Republican Party there is
    little or no such tension.
    This is hardly surprising, given the increasing homogeneity of the GOP in recent decades, as most
    moderates from New England and elsewhere have left the party. But it is striking to see elected
    officials staying silent in the face of extremism or even egging it on, as are the eleven Republican
    cosponsors of a House bill that would require future presidential candidates to produce their birth
    certificates when they file their statements of candidacy, an obvious sop to the so-called “birther”
    movement whose adherents claim that Obama is not an American citizen. Instead of elected officials
    acting as a sort of restraining ego to the activists, everyone here shares one big id.
    There is, of course, one last trait all these people have in common. They, or at least 98 percent of
    those I saw on the mall on September 12, are white. It’s difficult to say what part race plays in
    their anger. But because they are so overwhelmingly white, everything these folks say about “their”
    country being taken away from them has an inevitable racial overtone. Would this movement have
    started if, say, Hillary Clinton or John Edwards were president? I think it probably would have—Lord
    knows, there are few Hillary Clinton admirers among these groups. And I think it does have
    ideological rather than racial roots and causes. But it seems unlikely that it would have emerged
    with quite this ferocity—unlikely, for example, that the presence of a President Edwards would have
    led to people carrying guns to presidential speeches, as happened when Obama spoke to veterans in
    Phoenix this summer. And there seemed a racial angle, too, in the anger that exploded last spring
    about having to pay for “losers'” mortgages.
    We can’t measure this, and I’m not sure what good it would do us to know even if we could. What we do
    know is that this movement is backed by corporate millions, powerful media organizations, such as Fox
    News, and votes in Congress, and that it will be around for quite some time, advancing new fake
    scandals and lies. The next phase in all this, if health care passes, might well be “nullification”
    lawsuits or resolutions in states that don’t want to have to implement Obama’s reform.
    There’s a name for the followers of this movement, too—the “tenthers,” as in the Tenth Amendment,
    which reserves unenumerated rights to the states. So far this year, thirty-seven states have
    introduced so-called “sovereignty resolutions,” and North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Alaska,
    Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Tennessee have passed them. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, Minnesota
    Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty have all intimated that if
    Obama’s health care plan is enacted, nullification may be the best course of action. If they choose
    it, I’m sure there will be another march.”
    Read more at The New York Review of Books:
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23150

    Reply

  26. Paul Norheim says:

    Gore Vidal in an interview this week:
    “Obama believes the Republican Party is a party when in fact it’s a mindset, like Hitler
    Youth, based on hatred — religious hatred, racial hatred. When you foreigners hear the
    word ‘conservative’ you think of kindly old men hunting foxes. They’re not, they’re
    fascists.”
    “He has a total inability to understand military matters. He’s acting as if Afghanistan is
    the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism. But he believes the generals. Even
    Bush knew the way to win a general was to give him another star.”
    “America should leave Afghanistan, he says. “We’ve failed in every other aspect of our
    effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it.” The “War on Terror”
    was “made up”, Vidal says. “The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass
    destruction’. It has wrecked the airline business, which my father founded in the 1930s.
    He’d be cutting his wrists. Now when you fly you’re both scared to death and bored to
    death, a most disagreeable combination.”
    “His voice strengthens. “One thing I have hated all my life are LIARS [he says that with
    bristling anger] and I live in a nation of them. It was not always the case. I don’t
    demand honour, that can be lies too. I don’t say there was a golden age, but there was an
    age of general intelligence. We had a watchdog, the media.” The media is too supine?
    “Would that it was. They’re busy preparing us for an Iranian war.”
    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article6854221.ece

    Reply

  27. bob h says:

    You wonder whether Graham, McCain, Brooks now sense that extremist rhetoric has gotten so far out of hand that violence could be imminent. They want to separate themselves from that should it occur.

    Reply

  28. Outraged American says:

    Dan, buddy, I’ll tell you a few things about getting your message
    out to Amurcans who are a bunch of dumb…
    I’ll compose myself and write something really serious.. no…
    not going to happen.
    Americans now get their news from comedians. It is not 1970
    anymore when families sat in front of the TV and watched
    footage of the body bags coming back from Vietnam.
    I’ve worked in both news and entertainment, and, beyond
    teaching for a few years, that’s all I’ve done. And volunteer
    work.
    The most effective way to get anything across is to sweeten it
    and make it palatable, which would be funny.
    I did work for Jon Stewart’s management company. And you’ve
    seen that I’m helping Mike Rivero’s radio show.
    You question my credibility, which is fine, I could be an eight
    year old locked in a basement in Idaho, but I have given you the
    chance to ascertain my credibility.
    You have asked which independent news show I worked for,
    until I get back from a potential trip to the Middle East I can’t
    say, which is why I offered my email address so that I could have
    that conversation with you in private.
    As for “childish” — I deal with kids all the time, really young
    ones, whom I want to have a full life like ever other child on
    Earth, which is why I do what I do.
    You can bang on on blogs, I do things and will continue to do
    things until my dying breath.

    Reply

  29. Dan Kervick says:

    Outraged, I haven’t accused of making up your life. I have challenged your conviction that the kind of discourse you engage in is effective. And I know you have the same doubts about my kind of discourse. If you can’t say here what it is that you do, because you need to be discreet, I can understand that. But then we will have to leave it there, because I don’t want to know you at a level beyond our interaction on the Washington Note. I wouldn’t use your email address because I wouldn’t want you to get mine.
    Your taunts are extremely childish. Do you think I haven’t learned to put up with those kinds of taunts and a hundred times worse in my years writing about politics on blogs?

    Reply

  30. Dan Kervick says:

    “California has a 12.2% unemployment rate – the fifth highest in the country. Should Barbara Boxer, who is also a member of the Committee, stay at home and focus on delivering jobs to her state?”
    Yes. This country is in deep economic peril right now, and we don’t have time for all the old foreign policy nonsense, and pretentious posturing. Lost jobs, personal debt, health care, trade, national and global financial reform, financial solvency – those are the things that matter.
    DeMint is also on the Senate Banking Committee. These are the guys who oversaw the legalized transformation of our financial system into a Ponzi scheme in the name of DeMint’s stupid understanding of “freedom”, who destroyed our economy and put tens of millions of Americans out of work, all while voting to send trillions of dollars to blow things up in Iraq and Afghanistan. These clueless incompetents should be in the stocks in front of the US Capitol!
    DeMint has all kinds of time to save Christianity from the Socialist hordes of Latin America, but can’t be bothered to save an American worker from the bread line, since that would involve parting with a few of his Christian dimes. Unless he is going to Honduras to sell more cars and forest products, then he should skip it. Boxer too. Her state is a bloody embarrassment to the country. It’s filled with some the richest people in America and yet can’t pay its bills.
    I’m sorry, but seeing some of the things that have been going on in the extended DC village recently – star studded charity galas, endless blather about ideological non-events, stupid media confabs and theoretical panel discussions about everything under the sun, including today’s Circle of Twits writing the “first draft of history” – I am just struck by how totally out of touch Washington is.
    Our overseas empire, the old “free world” of which Nadine thinks we are still the leader, is a Hollywood facade peopled with military extras doing make-work fighting, and stocked with expensive special effects gadgetry. But there is nothing behind it; the real world behind the facade is falling apart rapidly.

    Reply

  31. Outraged American says:

    My mustache is BUSH-ier than Bolton’s.
    Calling Dan, can Dan come out of the house and play, Mrs.
    Kervick?
    Dan, you constantly QUESTION me on my work in independent
    media — you have my email address so go for it. QUESTION
    away.
    I was a very scared child, maybe because I grew-up in a war
    zone. I’m not talking about Phoenix, although it is one now,
    damn Mexicans.
    Anyway. I went to grade school with Walter Kirn, at this seriously
    pathetic grade school in Phoenix. Kirn was my arch rival, but
    decades later I re-connected with him via the miraculous
    internet. He wrote a book called “Thumbsucker” and now I think
    it might be about Dan.
    OK, Dan, I’m not harshing you as much as you’ve harshed me.
    I’m just offering you the opportunity to prove to yourself that I
    am who I am before you down me again.
    Not that I care. One thing I’ve learned, probably the only thing
    I’ve learned, is just to go forward and do. That’s obviously
    Steve’s credo, he’s an automaton, and I mean that in the best
    way — anyone standing next to Perle without taking a bite out
    his neck deserves our utmost respect.

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “….and obsessive need to clean my toenails in public”
    That was you??? I woulda sworn it was John Bolton.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Oddly enough, Kervick, Steve predicted that you wouldn’t want my email address”
    That got a chuckle out of me. It wasn’t exactly clairvoyant on Steve’s part
    You ever get the impression Steve is kickin’ back laughing his ass off about ALL of us?

    Reply

  34. Outraged American says:

    Oddly enough, Kervick, Steve predicted that you wouldn’t want
    my email address. Can’t stand a woman who stands-up to bull-
    sh*t and actually does something about it, eh?
    “Eh” in American is “huh”
    Dan,you have repeatedly accused me of making up my life, but
    especially the five years I’ve spent working as a volunteer in
    independent media attempting to make a difference, but you
    don’t have the nipples to actually find out if I’m telling the truth
    or not.
    Would “coward” be too strong a word?
    I’m willing to play, Dan — you want to know my life you can
    hear all about it. If you’re not willing to play then STFU, I’ll re-
    translate that into Norwegian “Shut the fuck up”
    I have done more to change and help the dialogue in this
    country than you will ever do, and I plan to do more.
    I’m a bit of an empathetic person, which I would say truly is my
    biggest character flaw, beyond the snoring and obsessive need
    to clean my toenails in public.
    What the sam heck do you besides post and pray that most
    Americans can read? Losing battle on that last one Dan.

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    “But I do know that South Carolina has an 11.5% unemployment rate – the sixth highest in the country. So maybe DeMint should stay home and work a little harder on delivering jobs to the struggling people of his state, and spend a little less time gallivanting off to places like Honduras…” (Dan Kervick)
    That’s what members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee do; they immerse themselves in “foreign relations” and frequently that means travelling to foreign lands.
    California has a 12.2% unemployment rate – the fifth highest in the country. Should Barbara Boxer, who is also a member of the Committee, stay at home and focus on delivering jobs to her state?
    Come to think of it, Massachusetts isn’t doing too great either. Their unemployment rate is 9.1% which puts them well into the bottom half of the states in terms of jobs. Should the Committee Chairman, John Kerry, stop travelling to tend to Massachusetts’ economic woes?
    DeMint is a moron, but if he wants to go to Honduras, let him go.
    Maybe he will like it so much that he won’t ever come back.
    That would really be a win-win!

    Reply

  36. Dan Kervick says:

    I don’t want your email address OA.

    Reply

  37. Dan Kervick says:

    “But according to the majority of “news” items I found, he’s got “great abs”, and he really wants you to know that he’s “not gay”…”
    Which he demonstrated to his conservative fan club by flexing his abs to vote against extending hate crimes protection to people targeted for their sexual orientation.

    Reply

  38. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Co-sponsored….
    8. H.RES.34 : Recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
    9. H.RES.42 : Calling on the President and the Secretary of State to withhold United States funding for and participation in the Durban Review Conference and its preparatory activities, and for other purposes.
    12. H.RES.175 : Condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.
    25. H.RES.615 : Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Members who vote in favor of the establishment of a public, federal government run health insurance option are urged to forgo their right to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and agree to enroll under that public option.
    39. H.R.227 : To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.
    66. H.R.1208 : To strengthen existing legislation sanctioning persons aiding and facilitating nonproliferation activities by the Government of Iran, and for other purposes.
    67. H.R.1238 : To prohibit the presence in the United States of any alien formerly detained at the Department of Defense detention facility at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
    69. H.R.1327 : To authorize State and local governments to direct divestiture from, and prevent investment in, companies with investments of $20,000,000 or more in Iran’s energy sector, and for other purposes.
    88. H.R.1920 : To prohibit United States funding for the 2009 United Nations Durban Review Conference (“Durban II Conference”) or any other activity relating to the planning, preparation, or implementation of a follow-up meeting to the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (‘Durban I Conference’) in Durban, South Africa.
    89. H.R.1985 : To amend the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to enhance United States diplomatic efforts with respect to Iran by expanding economic sanctions against Iran to include refined petroleum, and for other purposes.
    95. H.R.2194 : To amend the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to enhance United States diplomatic efforts with respect to Iran by expanding economic sanctions against Iran.
    97. H.R.2294 : To require the approval of the relevant State governor and legislature and the President’s notification and certification before the transfer or release of an individual currently detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a location in the United States, and for other purposes.
    113. H.R.2875 : To provide that certain photographic records relating to the treatment of any individual engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside the United States shall not be subject to disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act).

    Reply

  39. Outraged American says:

    Kervick & Norheim, the daring & darling duo, Steve has sent you
    my email address. Use it wisely and well.
    Kervick, I told you I’d tell all about the news show I worked on
    and my life as a teen stripper/ pundit baba. Here’s your Truth or
    Dare moment.
    Which one of you two claimed I couldn’t speak Hindi? Forget
    that — it was Varanasi, who with any luck is floating in the
    Ganges in Varanasi itself, surrounded by the corpses of lepers.
    Varanasi — if you’re there –, “Pani hai?”
    In all honesty I can’t speak English, much less American or
    Hindi. Like Norheim I come on TWN to practice basic grammar
    and pretend expertise in US foreign policy or the Dalmatian
    Coast.
    OK, this is an aside, and I never do these, but decades ago,
    when I worked for the paper you can find in any airplane toilet, I
    interviewed Randy Travis and the Judds backstage at at a
    concert at Mad. Square Garden — it’s a concrete block so I was
    like, “”Where’s the garden?” Travis was a sweetheart, as was
    Wynona Judd.
    Anyway there were two young blondes also backstage who
    worked for David Letterman and they said that he was a “great
    boss.”
    Pay with perks.

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hypocrisy Schocker: Aaron Schock “Awards” COPS Funding To East Peoria That He Voted Against
    Jun 24, 2009
    In a stunning act of hypocrisy, Congressman Aaron Schock held a press conference with members of the East Peoria Police Department to “award” a $410,000 federal COPS Technology Grant that he voted against on the House floor. During the event, Congressman Schock claimed “here in East Peoria, the police department, they make great investments in their people, and it only makes sense to continue to invest in the technology and tools they have in order to keep the citizens of East Peoria safe and police officers safe in the line of duty.”
    “Opposing much needed law enforcement funding is bad enough, but it is simply outrageous for Congressman Schock to then hypocritically take credit for securing the very money he voted against,” said Gabby Adler, the Midwestern Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Aaron Schock not only misled the people of East Peoria, he lied to the faces of the men and women of the East Peoria Police Department who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect the community.”
    The $410,000 COPS Technology Grant for the East Peoria Police Department was requested by former Congressman Ray LaHood, and included in the FY 2009 Omnibus Spending Bill that Aaron Schock voted against. According to local reports, this funding is being used by the East Peoria Police to upgrade their communication capabilities to ensure future interoperability with other area first responders and to upgrade two dozen squad cars with digital in-car camera video systems.
    continues…
    http://dccc.org/blog/archives/hypocrisy_schocker_aaron_schock_awards_cops_funding_to_east_peoria_that_he_/
    Well, looks like he’s learning fast. If all else fails, bullshit.
    And here’s the youngster with “hot abs” at one of the infamous “teaparties”, waxing eloquent to an adoring crowd of drooling Beck fans.Ya gotta love the “Joe Wilson is my friend” stuff, doncha??
    http://www.quincynews.org/local-news/stirring-tea-on-a-saturday-morning-in-washington-park.html
    2:17 Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) is full of energy. He bounds to the stage.
    Schock mentions Rep. Joe Wilson of “you lie” fame…calls him his friend and says President Obama wasn’t telling the truth when he says health care reform won’t add to the deficit. CBO says it will add $900 billion.
    Continues….
    He’s also strongly in favor of increased sanctions against Iran, including blocking refined petroleum products. He appears to be a party player, (if his voting record is any indicator, he votes straight party lines) and can be expected to go along to get along, even if it means starving or killing a few hundred thousand more Muslims through sanctions or bombing.
    Not sure, but he may have been on Cantor’s recent Israel junket, still checking. You know the trip, where Cantor gave Obama the big “fuck you”, in Israel, by directly, loudly, and publically voicing opposition to Obama’s stance on the settlements?
    But according to the majority of “news” items I found, he’s got “great abs”, and he really wants you to know that he’s “not gay”.

    Reply

  41. Dan Kervick says:

    I don’t know anything about whether DeMint has the legal right to go play foreign policy in Honduras. But I do know that South Carolina has an 11.5% unemployment rate – the sixth highest in the country. So maybe DeMint should stay home and work a little harder on delivering jobs to the struggling people of his state, and spend a little less time gallivanting off to places like Honduras, or penning off-the-wall wingnut manifestos like *Saving Freedom*.
    It’s amazing the amount of sheer bullshit these characters in Washington have time for.

    Reply

  42. nadine says:

    Wigwag, Kerry has a very long history of undermining the administration. Talking of flouting the Logan Act, do you remember when he went to Paris to hold private negotiations with the North Vietnamese when he was with Vietnam Vets Against the War?
    ‘Course, now the shoe is on the other foot he is all against it. Naturally, he knows what harm it can do.

    Reply

  43. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I suspect that Congressman Schock is going down to check out what is real and what is not in the mess of the Honduras coup and its aftermath”
    Well of course. How can he determine what lies to tell us if he doesn’t know what the truth is?
    “….but there is something extremely wrong about a US Senator conspiring with government officials of another nation….”
    Yet you haven’t said a word about Reid, Hoyer, Cantor, and Huckabee giving Obama the shaft on the settlement issue.
    “Agitating against US government policy while abroad is not a career-booster in either political party.”
    Unless, of course, you’re kissing Israeli ass.

    Reply

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…..he just wanted to make it clear that there is nothing sane about arguing that President Obama is not in line with his self-proclaimed faith of Christianity”
    Except, of course, for the fact that he is still killing Muslims, torturing Muslims, rendering Muslims, and threatening Muslims, and abetting frying Muslims in white phosphorous.
    Other than that, he’s a fine upstanding Christian.

    Reply

  45. Franklin says:

    Not to cast aspersions on DeMint’s motives, but I’d wager that there’s bound to be some financial payoff in the stance that he’s taking on this issue. It’s not like the pro-coup forces don’t have financial resources to burn here in the U.S. (either through business interests based in the U.S. or Honduran emigres). There’s no personal financial payoff in supporting the principle of free and open societies in Honduras.
    As far as this not being a “black and white issue” regardless of what one thinks about Zelaya’s ties to Chavez, I think there’s a fairly compelling reason that every democracy in this hemisphere and the EU states have come down against the coup government. A person who ascribes to the importance of free and open societies and democracies in our hemisphere can’t abide by what’s happening right now in Honduras. The timing of the action too in advance of the upcoming election — complete with bans on peaceful assembly, free press, and free speech — not to mention the murder of innocent protesters has more than a few resonances with the actions in Iran right now. DeMint’s position on this issue is hypocritical at best. Schock’s actions aren’t exactly confidence inspiring either.

    Reply

  46. Eli Rabett says:

    Once again you defend the nominklatura. Think they will throw you some scraps? What are you, Thomas Friedman in training?

    Reply

  47. Zathras says:

    I care more about who the Packers carry on their practice squad than I do about who is president of Honduras, but the Obama administration is making a mistake by not pressing harder to get nominees confirmed.
    If Sen. DeMint thinks his time is well spent by bopping down to Central America and expressing views that everyone knows don’t represent those of the American government, fine. He’s doing much more damage to our ability to run foreign policy by gratuitously holding up nominations to key State Department posts in Brasilia and Washington. A big reason the Senate is less important in our national political life than it was two decades ago is that its members do less oversight and more petty harassment of the Executive Branch than they used to. Each new administration takes longer to fill its senior appointive positions than the one before it, which means each new administration struggles with the nuts and bolts of routine policymaking more than the one before it.
    I’ll say in Sen. DeMint defense that he seems conscientious about letting people know where he is traveling, something politicians from his state appear not to do from time to time. As little as he does overall when he is in Washington, though, his dedication to keeping important policy posts vacant for as long as possible does more damage than any he is likely to do in Central America.

    Reply

  48. John Wolf says:

    Steve,
    I usually respect your opinion, but your link to
    Schock’s website isn’t very reassuring, especially
    with press releases like “Schock Releases Report
    Contradicting State Department on Honduras.”
    http://schock.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?
    DocumentID=146377

    Reply

  49. Paul Norheim says:

    “…I think it’s better not to create any precedents that suggest that type of behavior is out of bounds.”
    Do you think such a precedent could hurt people like Reid and Hoyer, visiting the Israeli settlements?

    Reply

  50. WigWag says:

    To be fair, Paul, I should point out that Steve never questioned DeMint’s loyalty, but others who have commented about this subject at the Washington Note have. The whole point of bringing up the Logan Act is to suggest that DeMint’s loyalty may be somewhat suspect.
    I just think it would be better to let DeMint go to Honduras, say his little piece and then leave.
    The man is clearly terrible but I don’t think there’s alot to be gained by trying to censor what he says or where he says it.
    The United States is better off for what Kerry and his compatriots did in the 1980s; I think it’s better not to create any precedents that suggest that type of behavior is out of bounds.
    That’s why I think making a “federal case” out of an idiot like DeMint is probably a bad idea.

    Reply

  51. WigWag says:

    Paul,
    Kerry did more than conduct an investigation of the contra-cocaine connection (it wasn’t precisely the Iran-Contra affair). Kerry traveled to Central America as did several Democratic House and Senate members who opposed the Reagan-Bush Central America policy.
    In fact, the Democrats in the House and Senate at the time behaved in an extremely similar manner to the way DeMint is behaving now.
    I agreed with the Democrats back then; I still do.
    But what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.
    DeMint should be allowed to travel to Honduras (which appears like it’s going to happen despite Kerry) and the Democrats (and Steve Clemons) should criticize him on the merits.
    Implying that he’s some type of traitor or less than a loyal American because he plans to go to Central America and criticize the American President would make Kerry and the rest of the Democrats who did that when Reagan and Bush (the first) were President traitors too.
    Debating the merits of this by criticizing the loyalty of your opponents is just plain dumb.

    Reply

  52. Paul Norheim says:

    Are you really comparing Kerry`s investigation of the Iran-
    Contras affair with DeMint going to Honduras?

    Reply

  53. WigWag says:

    Here’s a little taste of a Salon article from October 25, 2004 about John Kerry and his opposition to Reagan’s Central American policy.
    How John Kerry exposed the Contra-cocaine scandal
    By Robert Parry
    “…Yet, over the past year, even as Kerry’s heroism as a young Navy officer in Vietnam has become a point of controversy, this act of political courage by a freshman senator has gone virtually unmentioned, even though — or perhaps because — it marked Kerry’s first challenge to the Bush family.
    In early 1986, the 42-year-old Massachusetts Democrat stood almost alone in the U.S. Senate demanding answers about the emerging evidence that CIA-backed Contras were filling their coffers by collaborating with drug traffickers then flooding U.S. borders with cocaine from South America.
    Kerry assigned members of his personal Senate staff to pursue the allegations. He also persuaded the Republican majority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to request information from the Reagan-Bush administration about the alleged Contra drug traffickers.
    In taking on the inquiry, Kerry challenged President Ronald Reagan at the height of his power, at a time he was calling the Contras the “moral equals of the Founding Fathers.” Kerry’s questions represented a particular embarrassment to Vice President George H.W. Bush, whose responsibilities included overseeing U.S. drug-interdiction policies.
    Kerry took on the investigation though he didn’t have much support within his own party. By 1986, congressional Democrats had little stomach left for challenging the Reagan-Bush Contra war. Not only had Reagan won a historic landslide in 1984, amassing a record 54 million votes, but his conservative allies were targeting individual Democrats viewed as critical of the Contras fighting to oust Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government. Most Washington journalists were backing off, too, for fear of getting labeled “Sandinista apologists” or worse.
    Kerry’s probe infuriated Reagan’s White House, which was pushing Congress to restore military funding for the Contras. Some in the administration also saw Kerry’s investigation as a threat to the secrecy surrounding the Contra supply operation, which was being run illegally by White House aide Oliver North and members of Bush’s vice presidential staff.”

    Of course we now know that Kerry turned out to be right. Had his investigation been stymied history would not look kindly on those who obstructed Kerry’s efforts.
    As much as Kerry or Clemons or WigWag may disagree with DeMint; as a United States Senator who happens to be on the Foreign Relations Committee, should his effort to view the situation first hand really be impeded?
    And of all people, should it be Senator Kerry telling Senator DeMint that he can’t go to Honduras?

    Reply

  54. questions says:

    I have the vaguest of memories that one of the textbook tenets of “realist” foreign policy is that the government must speak with one voice, one rational, identifiable, self-interest seeking voice. To the extent that this univocity is necessary for a realist to be a realist, then a realist cannot allow DeMint to conduct his very own foreign policy.
    But if one were to suggest irrationalism as the basis of foreign policy, then perhaps DeMint’s trip and all the fact-finding trips actually fit into a coherent, if irrational, theory of foreign policy.
    I think that irrationalism is descriptive while realism is prescriptive fantasy. We do not know our national interests, nor do we agree, nor do we speak with one voice.
    But it’s kind of hard to conduct anything or anyone that can rightly be called “irrational.”

    Reply

  55. WigWag says:

    Let’s remember that this is not the first time that members of the House or Senate have vehemently disagreed with an Administration about policy in Central America.
    During the Reagan Administration, Democrats in both houses of Congress did everything they could to undermine and criticize Reagan’s policies towards Nicaragua and El Salvador. Of course Reagan didn’t help himself by stumbling into the Iran-Contra imbroglio.
    But to be fair minded, Steve, I think you have to point out that one of the harshest critics in the Senate of Reagan’s Central America policy was none other than the Senator who tried to prevent DeMint from traveling to Honduras; John Kerry.
    From the time he entered the Senate in 1985 until the time Reagan left office in 1989, Kerry hounded Reagan about Nicaragua and El Salvador. I happen to think Kerry was right. But in light of this, it seems ironic that Kerry would seek to prevent DeMint from traveling to a Central American nation to criticize Administration policy when that is precisely what Kerry did himself a quarter century ago.
    In fact numerous Democratic House and Senate members and many American “celebrities” traveled to Central America and a large number of them objected to the policies of the Administration then in power.
    Kerry should not have blocked DeMint’s trip; DeMint was just taking a page out of the Democratic playbook.
    Don’t get me wrong; I think DeMint is an idiot, but being an idiot is obviously not a disqualifier for being elected to the United States Senate or the Presidency for that matter.
    And as you pointed out in your essay, the situation in Honduras is not black and white. We do need reasonable members of both political parties to visit Honduras and assess the situation in a sober matter. If Congressman Schock is one of those; that’s great. We surely need to see some reasonable Republicans developing foreign policy credentials.
    But in my opinion it’s a little silly to go on and on about how unprecedented Senator DeMint’s behavior is.
    It’s not unprecedented at all. He learned everything he needed to know from the current Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    Reply

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