[Rushtalk] The Menendez Conspiracy Theory

Carl Spitzer lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Mon Mar 9 10:18:10 MDT 2015

The Menendez Conspiracy Theory

By DANIEL LARISON • March 8, 2015, 9:15 PM
Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The Wall Street Journal editors have outdone themselves:

        So it speaks volumes about the lost credibility of President
        Obama ’s Justice Department that last week’s leaks to the media
        that federal charges are being prepared against Democratic
        Senator Robert Menendez has produced skepticism across the
        ideological divide.

It’s funny that the WSJ editors should talk about a lack of credibility,
since they remind us here why they have none. The truth is that the
skepticism about the charges against Menendez has been concentrated
almost entirely among dead-ender opponents of diplomacy with Iran. What
started as lame conspiracy theorizing on Twitter among the usual hawkish
suspects later became Ted Cruz’s preferred set of talking points.
Republican Iran hawks appear to be the only ones that seriously question
the “timing” of the corruption charges against Menendez, since they are
the only ones that claim to see anything amiss. The editors naturally
provide no evidence that there is widespread skepticism about the merits
or timing of these charges, since no such evidence exists. In general,
quibbling about the details of corruption charges against a New Jersey
politician is usually a losing proposition, and were it not for their
sympathy with Menendez’s hawkish views it is very doubtful that
the WSJ would have any doubts on this score.

The idea that Menendez is being charged now as punishment for his
opposition on foreign policy in general and the Iran deal in particular
is especially laughable when we remember that Menendez has
lately stymied the efforts of Iran hawks to push through new sanctions
legislation. In the wake of Netanyahu’s stunt, Senate Republicans were
eager to push through new Iran legislation, but Menendez and his
colleagues would have none of it despite Menendez’s substantive
agreement with the hawks in the other party. While he has often been
very critical of diplomacy with Iran and other administration decisions,
Menendez has most recently been siding with the administration against
its partisan critics. The timing of these charges makes absolutely no
sense if one assumes them to be driven primarily by political

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