If this is true, it is beyond despicable. Per Talking Points Memo:

“In the course of the talks for exchanging prisoners, the Republican rivals of the current US administration who claim to be humanitarians and advocates of human rights sent a message telling us not to release these people [American prisoners] and continue this process [of talks] until the eve of US presidential elections,” Shamkhani said, according to Tasnim.

“We acted upon our independent resolve and moved the process forward,” Shamkhani said.

Representatives of the party that constantly proclaims its Christianity and superior morality, the party whose Presidential contenders are constantly beating their chests and bragging about being strong enough to protect America and its citizens, were evidently willing to forgo honor and patriotism–not to mention basic humanity– in pursuit of partisan electoral advantage.

This claim by the Iranians is believable because it is so consistent with the behavior of Congressional Republicans ever since Barack Obama entered the White House. Absolutely nothing has mattered to the GOP except obstructing and diminishing this President–certainly not the health or safety or best interests of the American public  (as we are seeing in the wake of Scalia’s death, they are even refusing to discharge their constitutional duty to vote on a successor). But even for the sleaziest among them, a willingness to leave four American citizens in Iranian prisons for many months more than necessary in order to score political points is almost beyond comprehension.

Evidently, the ascendance of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is not an anomaly. Appalling as they are, they really do represent today’s GOP.

As I recently wrote elsewhere, Trump, especially, is what happens when politics becomes just another team sport–when campaigns are only about winning, whatever the cost in integrity.

When your sole political ambition is to win, when the only criterion for acceptable behavior is that it gives your “team” an advantage, is it any wonder that your party’s base chooses a self-described “winner”? When you have created a political culture that sneers at nuance and paints every policy dispute as a stark contest between “makers” and “takers,” is it any wonder that your voters see wealth as evidence of superiority? When you have countered even the mildest criticism of U.S. policy with exaltations of “American exceptionalism,” is it any wonder that your base embraces a xenophobic blowhard?

Trump truly is the id of today’s GOP.


  1. Such actions, if true, might be considered acts of treason, but with precedent. Nixon sent back-channel messages to the North Vietnamese at the Paris peace talks to delay. How many people—American and Vietnamese (North or South at the time), Laotians, Cambodians and others died as a result? Reagan sought delay of the release of the Americans taken hostage from the United States Embassy in Iran, contrary to United States efforts to negotiate their release. For all the talk of “law and order” on the right, their disregard for legal authority is hardly new.

  2. Imagine my surprise when I wake up to read the news that Scalia is dead and then, (and then!), to watch a full hour of the GOP debate and get so angry, I refused watch the rest of it. Listen, as an American abroad, the GOP is an embarrassment to watch and to read about their tactics above. I can’t for the life of me understand how anyone would vote for that mess! That debate audience was a disgusting display. Unprofessional of the moderators to allow so much noise from the audience as well.
    I hope that Americans step up this cycle and vote. If massive voter turn out happens, we can maintain some legitimacy in our country and Democrats will win and keep the respect that President Obama has shown to the world. The world is watching and we’re disgusted.
    Indeed Professor, The GOP is despicable!

  3. Thanks Prof. This is just like CIA Spook George Bush and his people conspiring with Iran to hold the US Hostages until AFTER Pres Carter was out of office. These people have NO SHAME. Now they are in a holy war to prevent Pres Obama from selecting a supreme court justice. They just do not get it…. HE IS THE PRESIDENT. He gets to do the job of PRESIDENT. Good Grief.

  4. Why would any thinking person – even Republicans – not believe the Iranian statement about delaying the release of American prisoners after Cotton’s letter containing 47 signatures telling the Iran government not to trust President Obama’s peaceful resolution of on-going nuclear differences? A possible treasonous act ignored by Republicn controlled Congress. We must never forget that Bush and Cheney willfully ignored the investigation results regarding Iraq’s lack of nuclear facilities and their declaration of an unnecessary war. Once Bush and Cheney put us into Iraq they declared “Mission accomplished” after five months but we are not out of that country yet and won’t be for some time to come. Remember Bush’s comment DURING the Katrina tragedy, “Good job, Brownie!” and that outcome. Our losses continue to mount in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the vast number of returning military who still face the possibility of death from their injuries. How many of our young women and men are permanently disabled; facing a lifetime of pain and seeking quality medical help which is blocked by Republicans in Congress due to their anti-Obama foundation and nothing else?

    Scalia’s death is already bringing Republican demands for stoppage of appointing his replacement till after the election. Another “screw the Constitution” by the once strong and vital party hiding behind the GOP name. Heed AgingLGrl’s comments from abroad; she has a view of this country we on the inside can and must learn from. WE know Trump, Cruz and Bush are national embarrassments; she sees them from Europe as the rest of the world is now viewing America and all Americans. A wise but funny post on Facebook tagged Jeb Bush with the observation that “The Bush family is supporting Jeb in his bid for the presidency based on their ‘no child left behind’ basis”.

    Matthew Tully’s column in the Indianapolis Star today highlights the crux of the problem which goes far beyond the borders of the state of Indiana; the weakness of the Democratic party is a national disaster. Did we here begin losing Democratic strength with Evan Bayh as we began caving in to the Republican strength with Steve Goldmith, Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence? Indiana is a major part of the problem. An old adage, “If you understand what the problem is, you know the solution.” is defunct when you refuse to admit the problem. We ignore the solution here and across the country and the problem mounts; giving us Trump, Cruz and another Bush who will declare war somewhere before the end of their first week in office if they take the White House…and the odds are in their favor.

  5. @the Blog

    Scalia’s death and the attempts by the Republican/Tea Party to prevent his replacement will lead WITHOUT EFFECTIVE INTERVENTION to an INEVITABLE civil war or worse in America. An important read would be: “Inevitable Surprises” by Peter Schwartz (Penguin Group, New York, 2003).

  6. Perhaps the House Oversight Committee would like to launch an investigation? They will inevitably end up blaming Hillary for this ploy anyway.

  7. @the Blog

    Because of our backgrounds, JoAnn I can’t help seeing what’s in store for America. We’re not alarmists. We’re trying to warn our friends before it’s too late.

    a-larm’ist n. one who spreads alarming rumors, exaggerated reports of danger, etc.–adj. of an alarmist~Websters New World Dictionary

  8. Do you think you had Republican obstructionism? Stay tuned. Antonin Scalia is dead. Beware of the fallout. After the bios and documentaries, the President will propose a candidate from a list of qualified Americans to bring SCOTUS up to nine again. Then the Republican Senate will shift to obstruct the confirmation until after the November election. You know why so you know how critical it is that either Bernie or Hillary is elected
    Elect one of those Republican debaters and suffer with another Scalia or Clarence Thomas for the rest of your life. Which one would you trust with this responsibility?

  9. Remember conservatism was created not born. It was created by a conspiracy the fathers of which are the Koch Bros, TV evangelists and the NRA all blindly driven by money. It’s not reality based; it’s their fantasy.

    The Republican Party, who took it as a cure for the failures of Bush II, has been consumed by it and now suffers bilge rot from the inside out. The parade of gladiators on TV last night wildly cheered by the blood thirsty pagan crowd was proof enough of their descent into hell’s madness.

    Of course one of the unintended consequences of the conspiracy was Bernie and democratic socialism.

    We’ll see how a democratic socialist and a very liberal Supreme Court do over eight years against an all but irrelevant Congress.

    I think they will be successful at dragging us back to the middle of the road where all solutions are found and they will fully extinguish the plague that was foisted upon us by the unholy trinity of Kochs, the NRA and TV evangelists. May they RIP.

  10. Pete,

    “I think they will be successful at dragging us back to the middle of the road….”

    I hope you’re ultimately right. But the unholy trinity of Kochs, the NRA and TV evangelists are not going to go away anytime soon without a substantial countervailing force which at the present time is non-existent.

  11. Marv, I have been a Hillary supporter mostly but watching the “debate” last night has convinced me that the distance back to center is much greater than I thought and the cure can’t be found in moderation even if that’s the goal.

    We need to operate and remove the cancer. Painful, risky, uncomfortable but necessary.

  12. Thanks, Marv; our comments are probably why Gopper hoped people stopped using their dictionaries after 8th grade;-) I have three; the most informative was published in 1977. People have not only lost thousands of words and definitions, they have lost much of history found in the words they have forgotten and/or ignored.

  13. JoAnn,

    Another important fact that needs to be made is that you can’t understand the FULL extent of racism in America unless you’ve been on the “front lines.” It takes much more than good intentions to see the FULL picture.

    This morning I was viewing another DVD I checked out from the downtown Jacksonville Public Library entitled “Citizen Koch.” Wow! is it clear. It starts out with the attack on President Obama the first day he took office.

    The first scene is labeled “Day one.” The next “Day two.” And so on and so on. The film shows the beginnings of this terrible assault on the President. He was attacked on Fox News the first two days he took office by the “Koch Bunch.” It hasn’t let up since.

    And it is only going to get worse. We need to focus on the present and not the rosy, wishful thinking future.

  14. Pete,

    “We need to operate and remove the cancer.”

    You’re 100% right. Untreated CANCER only gets worse. This cancer is still treatable. But that might not be the case much longer.

  15. I first saw this in on-line news sources a 2 -3 days ago. I’ve been waiting for independent confirmation in other media. Have seen nothing yet.
    Since Jason Rezaian is an employee of the New York Times, it is my sincere hope that this august institution will launch an investigation , the sooner the better.

  16. Not to in any way detract from what Professor Kennedy’s post led off with, which is nauseating in itself, something has also happened that, with all of this in the way over the last 24 hours, has gone unmentioned so far that totally justifies Sheila’s very last line of her piece. Yesterday, at perhaps 1230PM, I saw a brief video clip from one of Donald Trump’s rallies shown on MSNBC which captures “The Donald” referring to Bernie Sanders as a “communist”. His crowd roared in approval obviously since none of them likely knew the difference between a democratic socialist and an actual communist. It happened too quickly for me to capture it on my DVR but I saw it and heard it. Unfortunately as well, no one was lined up by MSNBC to comment on this latest outburst since they may have treated the clip as routine and also as brief filler in Alex Witt’s program.

    I’ve been wondering when someone would try to twist being a democratic socialist into being a communist as an attack on Mr. Sanders and it came sooner than I expected. Still, it was shock to hear. Given the news regarding Justice Scalia’s passing and the major media’s penchant for focusing entirely on certain news stories this comment by Trump might go unnoticed until he says it again and he will say it again. The floodgates for further attacks on Mr. Sanders legitimacy as a candidate for the presidency have been opened.

    I think the rest of this election year will be like a roller coaster ride from hell for all of us. Yet, at the end of it all of us will have a very solemn responsibility to stop this “thing” in its tracks and prevent these obscene fools from gaining total power in this country. Even conservative columnists of the likes of Pat Buchanan are trying to sound the warning to their own brethren. What they have in mind for all of us cannot be allowed to happen but with what JoAnn eluded to in her description of the Democratic Party in Indiana, that was prefaced by my reading of Matt Tully’s column myself a little earlier this morning, preventing it from happening may be an even more daunting task than what anyone can now imagine.

  17. Marv; I had black friends in high school in the mid-1950’s, not only an unpopular thing at the time but could be dangerous. Married a black man in 1973; I did see racism from their side and had become a member of a different minority with enemies in both races. It is one way to learn who are really your friends…and family…and who are not. The ridiculous lies and accusations against President Obama showed to what lengths people would go to spread racism on the Internet in a format appearing to be informing the public of “news”. I marvel at his bravery; stepping out into public daily knowing he is in the crosshairs of hatred from all sides, 24/7. Michelle is just as brave; they are deserving of their positions in America, among Americans and a part of this nation’s history I am proud to have helped happen.

    I wish we could look into the future to see what history books report on his election and administration; or will it be like the full reports on President Kennedy’s assassination and be buried in the archives for 100 years? President Obama’s accomplishments would have had him hailed as a hero if he looked more like his mother than his father.

  18. Pete,

    You know I’ve voiced my concerns over Bernie Sanders Jewish background before. The “Citizen Koch” video included a meeting in Madison, Wisconsin of the Tea Party which the Koch Brothers helped finance. The meeting was a few days before the Scott Walker recall election in 2012.

    The gist of the meeting started out racist with attacks on President Obama, then anti-socialist, then anti-union, and finally anti-Semitic.

    The leader’s anti-Semitic rant started out with praising Ronald Regan for fighting communists in Hollywood. Then he started with the culture wars and we’re now socialists referring back to Barak Obama. “Then the group was asked, “who in 1933 and 1934 drove out the Jews?” Everyone exclaimed Adolph Hitler. “Right. And where did the Jews go. They all came here and started their infiltration. They came to Madison, Columbia, and Berkeley. They taught our teachers. Our teachers were our future.”

    Then he turned again to his attack on President Obama.

    “We must stop Obama now. There will be two appointments to the Supreme Court coming up.” All of this to non-stop applause. There were anti-socialist posters along with terrible images of Justice Ginsberg on display.

    This all took place back in 2012. Things could only be much worse now.

    I can only reiterate what I have been saying all along. Bernie Sanders is extremely vulnerable to a slanderous attack. And I will assure you it will “come in spades.”

    Our only chance is to PRE-EMPT THE ATTACK. The Jewish leadership will do nothing. Just like they have done the past 45 years.

  19. Tom,

    Your analysis is right on.

    However, as I’m sure you realize, it’s not all about Bernie Sanders. A successful attack on him, which isn’t that difficult, can destroy the effectiveness of the Democratic Party as a deterrent to a Republican being elected. And if that happens, as JoAnn has pointed out, it’s all over.

  20. Why not? Worked for Reagan. Guaranteed him his election by making sure the Iranians didn’t release the hostages until the day he got into office. Worked for Nixon negotiating behind Johnson’s back to prevent cooperation in the peace talks with Hanoi. Why would you quit what works? Especially since you are never prosecuted for it…..

  21. Sorry that should have been Justice Ginsburg instead of Ginsberg. I should have been more cautious like Gene Wilder was in the movie “Young Frankenstein” when he asked, “Is that Frankenstein or Frankenstine.”

  22. @the Blog

    I feel like one of those coastal watchers in the play and movie “South Pacific.” I’m signing off for today with one more comment: The Republican/Tea Party better have more than anti-Semitism in their pitifully weak “bag of tricks.”

    If not, they need to find another planet. Lest they forget that President Obama is still Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces and unless things have changed, he still has quite a bit of influence with the Attorney General, the Justice Department and the FBI.

  23. Perhaps if the Republicans refuse to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court pick(s) until after the election, then we can wait until the newly-inaugurated President Clinton or President Sanders can appoint Barack Obama to the Supreme Court.

  24. I just hope that we can find out who these Republicans are that did this incredibly stupid thing. Tom Cotton from Arkansas immediately comes to mind but I wonder who else is so stupid that they would run the risk of being branded as traitors by doing this. When their names do surface, hopefully soon, if the Republican leadership of both Houses of Congress tries to block any ensuing investigations in regard to their actions there should be a huge and sustained public outcry over it. This is purely reprehensible conduct that deserves trials in whichever legislative bodies they reside in, findings of their guilt as basically traitors and then expulsion from those bodies followed by incarceration. Bloody partisan politics is one thing but to place American citizens at risk and to do so just to slam the sitting President is horrendously wrong. These people have absolutely no sense of proportion or decency but if we stand back and let them get away with this what kind of picture does that paint of all of us?

  25. President Obama will do the job that he hired him for and he pledged to do.

    Congress was hijacked years ago and will continue to be irrelevant.

    The GOP will go the way of a nightmare when one awakens.

    Recovery will begin.

  26. Tom – the communist attack on Sanders started before Iowa with Claire McCaskill using the “I won’t say Bernie is a Commie, but you know the Republicans will bring out the hammer and sickle in ads against him, so you must vote for Hillary” — not a direct quote, except for the hammer and sickle part.

Comments are closed.