Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: Character?... Integrity?... Nah


Don't you have to wonder what's been going on in the calculating little brains of Mike Crapo, Jim Risch, Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson these last few days? Since last weekend, I mean, when it became as obvious as the rising sun that the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran have turned out to be one of the most stunning diplomatic achievements in the past 50 years?

Of course, we know what the Republican presidential candidates think of it all. Their response was rapid, predictable and as shallow in reasoning as you would expect from such shallow gasbags. In a nutshell: This (the release of four American prisoners from Iran) is a very good thing, but it happened because of a very bad thing (Obama's negotiations with the Iranians).

But what about Crapo, Risch, Labrador and Simpson... what have they been thinking about the developments?

You recognize the names, no doubt. These 30-watt luminaries are the entirety of the delegation that represents you and me and all other Idahoans in Congress. Two senators, two representatives, they are the face of Idaho to whatever portion of the country it may be that spends any time at all thinking about Idaho.

Just as most of the country doesn't normally spend a lot of time thinking about Idaho, I don't normally spend a lot of time thinking about our delegation. Nor, I suspect, do you. It's not like any of them are... what you might call... "rising stars," is it? Not a one of them is known, even here on their home turf, for his scintillating personality, intellectual brilliance, quick wit, oratory talents, charm, charisma, statesmanship, leadership qualities or anything else that would make him stand out from the shuffling herd of dull, frowning men you see clustered around a microphone anytime they have another bitch about President Barack Obama. 

Yet it seems to me that after what happened last weekend—the release of the four Americans; the news that Iran was actually well ahead of schedule in dismantling its nuclear program; the dawning, international realization that because of the administration's work, the world is by several degrees a safer place—we should expect something more out of the men who speak for Idaho than a generic, "Welcome home, Pastor Abedini," followed by a canned condemnation of our president for the process that got Abedini freed.

It's true. By the day after the release was announced, both Risch and Simpson criticized the president for not getting Abedini and the others out sooner.

Said Risch: "He [Abedini] certainly should have been released prior to the administration making any kind of deal with the Iranians."

So I guess we can assume it was the chronological ordering of Obama's successes that has our Jimmy Junior Senator all snippy, huh?

But let's go back a few days. Back to Tuesday before last, to the night Obama gave his final State of the Union speech and made such an eloquent appeal for civility and unity in American politics.

Now, it's a safe bet to say whatever was going on in our congressmen's minds was not a serious consideration of civility and unity in American politics. I wouldn't be surprised to learn they weren't listening to the president's words at all, but were instead watching their fellow Republicans for cues as to when to clap, when to boo, when to smile, when to smirk, when to rise and when to keep their asses glued to a leather seat.

We can be quite sure there is not a one among them who would take a chance on not being seen in 100 percent sync with the rest of that sour flock—not when the most pressing issue on their minds at all times is, What do I gotta do to keep this job?

I also suspect that, like the rest of their bitchy brethren, they were itching for the following day to come—for the opportunity, un-distracted by a State of the Union, to hit the airwaves with a collective "Told Ya' So!" in regards to Iran. Remember? That same Tuesday was also the day 10 U.S. sailors had been taken into custody by Iran's navy. By the time the president made his speech, it still wasn't clear if the incident had occurred because U.S. boats were in Iranian waters, or if the Iranians were up to some nefarious axis of evil-doing.

Either way, it was all the GOP presidential candidates needed to thump their chests and crow—before they knew any facts about the incident—that they had been right all along about Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, blah blah... about how weak Obama is, blah blah... and naive, too, blah blah... and how Obama is the worst president ever, blah blah... how only Obama could be weak and naive and incompetent enough to trust a bunch of shifty Iranians, blah blah... and how there was only one way to deal with a bunch of shifty Iranians... blah blah blah.

Now, I'm willing to give our Idaho four the benefit of a doubt. Before the boat affair, during those weeks when it was beginning to look like Iran was indeed complying with the agreement, it is possible Crapo and Risch were having some doubts about the wisdom of having signed that traitorous letter to Iran, which in essence promised to gut anything that Obama and Tehran agreed to.

It is possible, isn't it?

Further, I'm willing to entertain the possibility that the other two legs of this four-stooge stool, Simpson and Labrador, were thinking they might have been too hasty in welcoming the venomous Benjamin Netanyahu to that hateful appearance before Congress last March. Perhaps the four of them, before the boat incident, were regretting taking such an enthusiastic part in the general thoughtlessness, hysteria and spite that has come to define their party, especially in regards to the diplomatic efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry and his boss, Obama.

After all, in lieu of having anything even barely noticeable on which to rest their career laurels, wouldn't you think they would at least try to demonstrate the character and integrity it takes to admit when you're wrong?

Nah. We can forget that. The only thing these hacks were worried about in regards to the diplomatic efforts of Kerry and Obama is that those efforts might actually pay off. I'll say without qualms that when word came that 10 U.S. sailors had been snatched by Iran, they couldn't have been more pleased. Come Wednesday morning, after the hopeful glow of the president's speech had dissipated, back to the mikes and the air waves they would scoot. En masse, like snotty little kids eager to spread rumors about a timid classmate, the whole Republican establishment, high-level and low, reloaded with fresh scorn with which to bring down that uppity poseur Obama in public.

Only... oops. By the time they'd put on their shoes Wednesday morning, the 10 sailors and their boats were on their way home. That damn John Kerry had done it again! Cut another deal with those Iranian bastards who—as everyone on the party line knows—you just can't make deals with.

By Saturday, it only got worse. Not only were Abedini and comrades set free, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is monitoring Iran's compliance with the agreement, announced the compliance is going even better than planned.

How dare that feckless, naive, incompetent, weak, worst-president-ever, accomplish something that—as everyone on the party line knows—should by rights take another war in the Middle East to accomplish!? Now how are we supposed to bitch about it and at the same time pretend we have an ounce of character!? A glimmer of integrity!? Even a hint of all those noble qualities we've spent years pretending we have!?

Am I being too harsh on Crapo, Risch, Labrador and Simpson? OK, maybe. And I'm willing to give them one more benefit of a doubt. Perhaps they truly have spent the last few days struggling to find a way to balance party-line loyalty with a semblance of character and integrity. Perhaps—if I may presume to inculcate myself into that calculating, what-do-I-gotta-do-to-keep-this-job?, common-in-every-way, group-think brains of theirs—they have been pondering the options an honorable person might pursue...

...Holy cow, I wonder if maybe I haven't been a wee bit wrong about this diplomacy stuff... about how this Iranian deal is working out the exact opposite of what the party line said it would... about how Netanyahu was either wrong or lying through his teeth, seeing as how it turns out Iran is actually shipping most of their nuclear material out of the country and filling reactors with concrete... about how having opened up diplomatic channels with those shifty Muslim bastards has turned into great news for those 10 sailors; for those four American families who now get their sons back; for all those men, women and children who would have gotten killed in another war in the Middle East.

Gee, is it possible I could even have it wrong about how naive, weak, incompetent and just plain horrible Obama is? Maybe I should issue a statement or something, just to show I'm paying attention.

Maybe I could say how proud I am that America is as good at negotiating peaceful solutions as it is at blowing the f*** out of other countries. Maybe I could at least acknowledge that there may be some validity to what Obama is doing and what Kerry negotiated. Maybe I could even admit it looks like the whole nuclear deal was better than...

NO! Good Christ, what am I THINKING? Admit I've been wrong about Obama?... GAAH, get your shit together, MikeJimRaulMike! I can't even HINT that maybe Obama's doing a good job, God no! Not in an election year, and NEVER as long as I want to keep these gullible Idaho hayseeds sending me back to Washington to pretend I'm doing something for them at rate of $174,000 per!

Jesus, that was close! Would o' been the end of ol' MikeJimRaulMike's days of pretending I'm somebody, that's for damn sure! That's what I get listening to my f***ing conscience!

Yeah. That's more likely, isn't it?