April 7, 2015

Chris Matthews took apart all of the nonsensical objections to Obama's negotiations with Iran with a few pointed questions to Michael Rubin from the American Enterprise Institute (aka Koch Industries Thinkers, Inc.)

We begin with the "appeasement" talking point, which is a crowd favorite on the right, despite the fact that it has absolutely no basis in fact. Nevertheless, conservatives have trotted out such knowledgeable beings as Ron Christie, Allen West, John Bolton, and Ted Cruz. Armed with their talking points and media training, each looks straight into the camera and tells their fearful audience this deal is as terrible as Chamberlain's agreement with Hitler.

Tweety isn't having it, and reminds that the very same argument was used to get us into the Vietnam war.

Michael Rubin was ready, armed with his own set of talking points. "Obama is caving in from a position of strength," he exclaims, with all the fervency of a True Believer.

Matthews comes back to that by tossing out the other favorite talking point, the one that Bibi and other neocons are using. In their perfect world, we just don't make a deal. We hold out and make a tougher deal work. And by tougher deal, I mean some kind of fantasy negotiation where Iran gives up all their nuclear capability and recognizes Israel's right to exist.

Matthews then asks the magic question of Rubin. "In a couple of weeks there's going to be a vote in the Senate. You want this to go down, right? You want 67 Senators to challenge the President on this."

Rubin replies, "I think it's a bad deal, yes."

Matthews presses harder, pushing Rubin to answer yes or no to the question of whether he wants the deal to go down, and ultimately, Rubin answers yes, and Matthews asks him what happens next.

"Then we go back to the negotiating table and negotiate a tougher deal," Rubin replies.

Down comes the hammer. "So you want the President of the United States, having been defeated by his Congress, goes back to where?"

Exactly. Talk about a circular argument. On the one hand, Rubin thinks Obama is caving from a position of strength. On the other, Rubin wants Congress to spank the President hard and reject his agreement, and then send him back to the negotiating table.

I realize that Rubin is simply parroting the right wing talking points which were carefully drafted by the right wing war machine. But with one carefully targeted question, they all fall apart.

Eugene Robinson finally got a word in, too, reminding Rubin that if this deal goes down because of Bibi and our Congress, they're going to be stuck with a President who is going to be in office for another year and have absolutely no leverage with our negotiating partners and Iran to do any kind of better deal.

I give credit to Matthews for actually pointing out the circular and nonsensical nature of the right's objections, but it really galls me that AEI gets trotted out as any kind of legitimate think tank. It's wholly owned by the Kochtopus and exists only to oppose anything that Obama or Democrats try to do. They're as dogmatic and rigid as they come, and nothing their "scholars" come up with should ever be considered legitimate.

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