I don't know how these people remember to keep breathing
Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, responded to a BuzzFeed News report Wednesday with a statement saying he did not trust Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei over President Obama when it comes to negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
“The headlines accusing me of saying I trust the ayatollah in Iran are false,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a statement on his website. “Simply reading my actual words in the stories below those headlines shows this. And let me say for the record, I certainly do not trust the ayatollah.”
What he actually said:
“I don’t know, I hate to admit it, but in terms of this framework, do I trust President Obama, or do I trust the Ayatollah? In terms of what the framework actually says? I’m not so sure I’m trusting President Obama on this.”
So his clarification isn't on that he trusts President Obama even a tiny bit more than the hated leader of America's super-scary theocratic enemy, he just needed to clarify to the drooling members of his base that he doesn't trust that Iranian guy either
, lest they think he too is a sekrit musslim. So he doesn't trust either the American president or the Iranian theocratic ruler to a roughly equal extent, I guess. I don't know the precise numbers there, he didn't provide a chart.
All right, let's play that always-fun game called Imagine a Democratic Politician Said This. If a Democratic senator spoke to constituents during the run-up to the Iraq War or Not-War and told them "Do I trust George Bush, or Saddam Hussein? I'm not so sure I'm trusting President Bush" here is an approximate list of what would happen to that person.
It would be the top news story on every network. It would be the topic of discussion on every cable punditry show, on all channels. The senator would be called un-American in newspaper columns. Other senators would hold a press conference to denounce that senator's statements. That senator would need to give, at minimum, a press conference apologizing for his remark. The senator's staff would be inundated with furious phone calls. That senator would get hate mail. That senator would likely receive anthrax in the mail, and several letters containing a white powdery substance that looked like anthrax, but was not. Bullets might or might not be fired at the senator's in-state offices. The quote would be featured on every campaign mailer funded by every PAC in that senator's next election: Senator SoAndSo says he trusts Saddam Hussein more than our own president. He would be branded a traitor.
Sen. Ron Johnson, on the other hand, can tell a town hall full of his supporters that when it comes down to trusting President Obama or the ayatollah of Iran, he is "not so sure" he trusts the American president more. And the only clarification he needs to give is one condemning the idea that he trusts the ayatollah either, lest his frothing base of God's worst humans get a bee in their bonnets over that one.
And, presumably, that will be the end of that.
You know, I really do think this current crop of conservative legislators is the dumbest we've ever had. You have to credit the tea party Republicans for that one—they know what they want, and by golly if it can ooze its way into a suit and tie they'll vote for it—but I also think the media has been ratcheting down their own expectations as a result. There's no way to write a news article that truly conveys the empty craptacularness that is a Ron Johnson, and it's not like there are that many fresh Republican faces that are much better, so the pundit class all just grits their teeth and tries their best to present all of this as the new normal.