The oh so serious Bill Kristol has some advice for the Obama administration and how to handle any sort of diplomacy with Iran. Regime change is the only "serious" and "realistic" policy the United States now needs with Iran in Kristol's view. I'm so glad listening to his similar advice for the Bush administration on Iraq has worked out so well for all of us.
Listening to Republicans Peggy Noonan and Kathleen Parker on the panel of This Week practically swooning over Mark Sanford's emails to his mistress and excusing his behavior was truly a sight to behold. They both looked downright giddy this morning while dismissing his actions because he was in love.
Paul Krugman and Michael Eric Dyson do their best to try to point out that the trouble is not so much the cheating since it is human nature which is not reserved for one party, but the hypocrisy of the Republicans being the party of family values and people like Mark Sanford's words coming back to bite him. Of course Noonan and Parker were having none of that.
Noonan: Ooohh...I never think that when politicians, Democrats and Republicans get in these stories, that the story itself, the sin itself if you will, undermines what the politician stands for necessarily. Mark Sanford's Libertarian/traditional views are right or wrong on their own. Um..I must say I've been thinking about Clinton a lot and it seems to me that in the Clinton era, during that famous story, a new devilishness was unleashed, especially in the media where a new meanness took style.
And I feel like in every one of the scandals of the past few months, and we've had so many of them, the political sex scandals, the level of meanness of the response, publicly, and on cable and the newspapers, gets meaner each time. It seems to me that we are coming, we are reacting as almost as a nation, but certainly in the media as kind of Puritans without faith, which is the worst of both worlds. To be Puritanical and not even have faith.
I'm sorry Peggy, but the treatment any of the Republicans of late have gotten in the press pales in comparison to what the media did to Bill Clinton. And the media are not the ones being Puritans. The Republicans are the ones who have held themselves out there as the party of virtue and family values. The press didn't invent that.
Someone please tell me this means we are finally going to see a Sen. Al Franken some time in the next week or so. If Pawlenty actually signs the election certification once the Minnesota Supreme Court makes its ruling, it's about damned time. Enough with the games Governor.
KING: Welcome back to State of the Union. Let's continue our conversation with Minnesota's Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty.
Governor, I want to move on to what you think ails the national Republican Party. But first, a question that is very personal to you. Your state has only had one United States senator since the election because of the disputed election between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken.
Your state supreme court has a ruling before it, it could come very soon. After that ruling, the next step would be for you to certify the election. Will you certify the election based on your state's supreme court ruling, is that for you?
PAWLENTY: I'm going to follow the direction of the court, John. We expect that ruling any day now. I also expect them to give guidance and direction as to the certificate of election. I'm prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light.
KING: And so if Norm Coleman loses at the state supreme court and says he's going to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, will you give him that time or will you say, sorry, Senator Coleman, our state supreme court, our highest court in this state, has spoken, and I will follow their lead?
PAWLENTY: Well, a federal court could stay or put a limit on or stop the effect of the state court ruling. If they chose, if they do that, I would certainly follow their direction. But if that doesn't happen promptly or drags out for any period of time, then we need to move ahead with signing this, particularly if I'm ordered to do that by the state court. KING: And if you're ordered to do it and they say Al Franken has narrowly won the election, you're prepared to sign it, if the court says so.
PAWLENTY: I'm not going to defy an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would be a dereliction of my duty. But a federal court could weigh in and say, don't do that and order a different result.
Wolf Blitzer asks Fareed Zakaria if he agrees with former CIA agent Bob Baer's assessment that there has been a military coup by the revolutionary guard in Iran. Zakaria is not as willing to use the word coup, but does feel that there is some conflict between the clerics in Iran.
As Zakaria points out, the dynamics of those conflicts and the ease with which they can be blamed on American interference is exactly why it was wise for the Obama administration to be cautious with their rhetoric.
BLITZER: One Middle East expert says what we're seeing unfold in Iran right now isn't just a government crackdown, but an actual coup by the country's elite revolutionary guard.
ZAKARIA: Do you think it's pretty clear that the government has the ability to really consolidate power and crackdown on this?
BAER: Fareed, I'm quite sure there's been a military coup d'etat by the Islamic revolutionary corp in Tehran. They're taken over. And the fact that the Basij came out so quickly. They could have only done that on orders from the IRGC. The fact that Ahmadinejad's a former IRGC officer, he has the backing of senior officers. I think what we've seen is a military coup against the old clerical establishment.
BLITZER: Let's bring in Fareed Zakaria to join us now. Fareed, what do you think? You are an authority on this subject?
ZAKARIA: I think that Bob Baer is on to something. I'm not sure I would use the word coup, you know, that strongly, but there is no question what we're witnessing in Iran is the displacement of the old clerical establishment and the rise to power of some new clerics, but mostly a group of people who have much closer ties to the military, to the intelligence organizations, to the police, and to the Basij. So what you're seeing is a kind of consolidation of a pure military dictatorship, losing the trappings of the Islam and the ideology as much.
And by the way, this is very much part of Ahmadinejad's strategy when he is now attacking America. It is an attempt to consolidate power and to move beyond the debate about what's going on in Iran.
WHITFIELD: Gay pride activities shift into high gear this weekend with marches in New York, San Francisco, gay marriage tops a long list of issues affecting the gay and lesbian community. Joining me from Boston is Jarrett Barrios he is the incoming president of GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Good to see you.
JARRETT BARRIOS: Hi Fredricka, how are you?
WHITFIELD: I'm doing good. So, as early as this Monday. This is a big weekend and the big week coming up for you, because this Monday you are among those invited to White House to talk to the president about what?
BARRIOS: About fundamental equality in a time that it's the 40th anniversary of Stonewall.
WHITFIELD: What do you expect to -- what kind of commitment do you expect from the White House? Or what kind of advancement are you looking for from the White House? Because there has been some criticism in recent months the White House has not been doing enough, quickly enough as it pertains to gay and lesbian rights?
BARRIOS: You know, I think that first of all we are appreciative, or I for one, am appreciative that the president has decided to commemorate Stonewall. This is a very important symbolic act from the White House. Stonewall goes back to 40 years this week to when few folks who used to go to a bar and couldn't go -- breaking the law when they went to a bar, stood up to the police and stood up to blackmail and discrimination. And we mark this, we remember this, as sort of the first time we started asking for equality.
And I think what's going on today is the same thing. It's really asking the president, and really, America, to recognize the same basic rights, the stuff that all of us take for granted as Americans, but that gay and transgender Americans can't take for granted.
In 30 states it's legal to kick somebody off their job just because they're gay. In 37 states just because they're transgendered and that really goes against the grain of what America is about.
You know, if you live, you work hard, you play by the rules, you should be able to be valued for what you do and shouldn't be kicked off the job. That's the kind of stuff that we are talking about.
Wolf Blitzer talks to Michael Ware about the increase in violence as the deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq's major cities nears. As Michael points out, it's not that people have not been dying there all year.
Our press in the United States just hasn't been covering it. Maybe John McCain and Lindsey Graham can go over and visit the markets in Baghdad for another rug shopping excursion and tell all of us how wonderful everything is there right now.
I'm sure they'll do their best to blame what's happening now on the Obama administration, rather than the fact the people such as themselves thought it was such a great idea to go in there in the first place and blow up and occupy a country that wasn't a threat to us, despite Dick Cheney and his daughter's best attempts to convince the public otherwise. I'm also sure our American media will give both of them ample time on the air to make those criticisms.
When we quit building and occupying Vatican City sized embassies in Iraq and Afghanistan we can do more than pretend we really have any intention of getting our military out of either country.
BLITZER: A bloody wave of violence is washing over Iraq with scores of people across the country killed in a series of gruesome bombings this past week. And it all comes only days before U.S. forces are scheduled to withdraw from all major Iraqi cities.
Let's go to Baghdad, CNN's Michael Ware, who's standing by. The deadline is Tuesday for U.S. combat forces to leave the cities. Michael, what's likely to happen?
WARE: Well, on the morning of July 1st, not a great deal to be honest, Wolf. This withdrawal has been going on since January. Now you're still going to see some odd Americans out on the streets. You're going to have U.S. advisers embedded with Iraqi units. You'll still see them occasionally. There's going to be some partnered operations. There's some partner patrols, some joint events. But by and large, you're not going to see the presence of U.S. forces that we've become so accustomed to.
Because as you point out, as of Tuesday, all U.S. forces by then have to have had retreated to predesignated bases. They're allowed to operate in the green belt around Baghdad. They're allowed to around in the desert, but they're not allowed in the cities or the townships without the true commanders of the Iraq War as of Tuesday, the Iraqis.
Pat Buchanan on MSNBC during a break in their wall to wall Michael Jackson coverage fear mongering over the energy bill that just passed the House.
Witt: Why doesn't anyone want to call it a climate bill?
Buchanan: Well, because the science is suggesting that maybe all of this isn't really happening or it's not really dangerous or it's not really man made. Barack Obama, the President is right when he said we shouldn't be afraid of the future. That is how this bill got passed through fear. We're all going to change. The climate's going to change. The oceans are going to rise. Our cities are going to be under water.
But more and more scientists are coming forward to say this is a hoax and a scam which is designed to transfer wealth and power from the private sector to the government sector and from the government of the United States to a world government. Which is what we're going to get in Copenhagen when we get this Kyoto two agreement.
Witt: Okay, here come the emails.
Alex, no one believes you didn't fully expect Buchanan to say something outrageous before you and your producers allowed him on the air. Don't go whining after it's too late about getting nasty emails for doing it. Buchanan fails to specify, and Witt fails to ask him just who these scientists are.
Barack Obama promotes his health care plan on ABC, while Republicans propose their own health care reform with an infomercial.
While the cable news channels decided that nothing else was going on other than the death of Michael Jackson, John Boehner was on the floor of the House doing his best job to pretend he is in the Senate filibustering a piece of legislation. He was supposed to be using his two and a half minutes alloted to him to wrap up debate on the energy bill and carried on for well over an hour instead.
The entire fiasco looked like nothing less than cheap showmanship and games to me, with Michelle Bachmann for the better part of the hour in the background with the rest of the Republican peanut gallery yelling "Yeah!!! You go John!!!...Keep going!!!" every chance she got.
The party of "No" isn't too good at governing when given the opportunity, but they sure are good at theatrics.
You can watch the entire thing at CSPANJunkie's new site: Minority Leader John Boehner On The Clean Energy & Climate Change Bill. I've just got the last few minutes of his freedom lovin' diatribe here.
The bill passed, barely, but all this exercise appeared to be to me was Boehner seeing if he could talk long enough to make a few members of the House get tired of listening to him and leave. Games. Political theater, pure and simple. No one likes this bill on either side and it appears the sausage makers have mucked it up enough that is not a good bill. Boehner didn't need an hour long rant to get that point across.
David Waldman's got a summary of the bill at Congress Matters:
He makes a good point that goes to the hypocrisy of Boehner's theatrics yesterday as well. Will the Republicans actually read their substitute bill they're likely to offer? Here's a "Read the Bill" question for you...