Hagel Haters Couldn’t Take — or Recognize — a Joke

We in the reality-based community know that the group “Friends of Hamas” doesn’t exist except in the fevered imaginations of those who hate the President and his pick for DoD, Chuck Hagel.

Today we learned the origin of the bizarre “Friends” trope.  Dan Friedman of the New York Daily News explains* how he made up the name and threw it out jokingly — or so he thought! — in a conversation with a GOP aide on the Hill.  He also mentioned the “Junior League of Hezbollah” for good measure.  Friedman writes:

“The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically.  No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them.  Or so I thought.”

Dan Friedman, you  obviously thought wrong.  First of all, these folks have no sense of humor, they are self-righteously grim.  Second, they believe the president is determined to destroy our way of life, so it stands to reason his cabinet picks must be evil too, especially in the second term when the president doesn’t have to run again and can show his true Kenyan Muslim Communist colors.

Anyway, next thing Friedman knew, Breitbart.com had a “Friends of Hamas” story and the rest of the neocon/Tea Party world picked it up and ran with it.

This preposterous and pathetic little story tells you everything you need you know about our politics right now.  The “Friends of Stupid” have way too much power.

* “‘Friends of Hamas’:  My role in the birth of a rumor”

Right Wing Tries to Kill Hagel by Saying He’s Dead

“He who hesitates is lost”  — and the delay of the Armed Services Committee vote on Chuck Hagel for DoD has created a vacuum that the right-wing is rushing to fill with anti-Hagel venom.

The right is trying to put the Hagel nomination in trouble by claiming that it already is in trouble.  You kill him by pronouncing him already dead.

Tom Ricks, at Foreign Policy, says it’s now “50-50” that Hagel will withdraw.  He illustrates his post with a slice of bread, half of which has been toasted.  Going all Nate Silver, he writes “Bottom line:  Every business day that the Senate Armed Services Committee doesn’t vote to send the nomination to the full Senate, I think the likelihood of Hagel becoming defense secretary declines by about 2 percent.”

At Breitbart, Ben Shapiro, relying on “Senate sources,” i.e., Tea Partier Ted Cruz (R-Texas),  tries to link Hagel to a group called “Friends of Hamas,” which sounds like a Daily Show joke.  Shapiro claims White House Associate Communications Director Eric Schultz hung up on him when he called to ask.

The neo-cons at American Future Fund (Bill Kristol and friends) are running an anti-Hagel on the Sunday talks shows this weekend.  If the vote had happened on Thursday as scheduled, they wouldn’t have had another weekend to grind up Chuck, but Carl Levin gave them this gift.  The gift of time is invaluable when you’re trying to stop a nomination.

Over at National Review, Andrew Stiles has a long post called “What’s Hagel Hiding?” where, based on anonymous sources, he proclaims the nomination in trouble:

“GOP Senate aides say they are not sure why Levin decided to postpone the vote, but suspect that Hagel’s nomination could be in jeopardy.  ‘The only plausible reason they delayed the vote is because they didn’t have enough votes to confirm him,’ an aide close to the committee told National Review Online.  Some Republicans are said to be considering a hold on Hagel’s nomination….

“Now, there is reason to believe Hagel could be in trouble.”

“Multiple sources raised the possibility that the materials Republicans are seeking contain ‘explosive details’ that could prove devastating Hagel’s prospects for confirmation.  Some Hagel opponents strongly suspect he has delivered speeches at events hosted by organizations most Americans would find ‘unsavory.'”

Also at National Review, Andrew McCarthy asks, “Is Hagel Toast?” and tries to link Hagel to the National Iranian American Council, which lobbies for the Iranian government.

Jennifer Rubin, who writes for the Washington Post, but confuses it with the Jerusalem Post, gleefully says this is a “critical” weekend for the nomination she opposes, gets all conspiratorial about Levin, and starts writing Hagel’s obituary:

“Or it might be that Levin, with or without encouragement from the White House, is letting this nominee hang out there for maybe just one more shoe to drop, thus ridding everyone (especially our troops) of Hagel’s stewardship of the military at a particularly challenging time.

“It does seem the weekend is critical.  We will see how vigorously (or not) the White House defends Hagel on the Sunday shows; whether any more Republicans publicly announce their opposition or any Democrats show weakness; and, finally, what documents, if any, Hagel coughs up.  The weekend also gives the White House, if so inclined, to come up with a Plan B — a qualified, competent nominee who won’t scare the living daylights out of the Senate.”


Please Don’t Feed the Crazies

The Crazies are having a field day.  The late Andrew Breitbart’s website discovered a promotional brochure from President Obama’s literary agency published in 1991 that says he was born in Kenya.  Apparently, this biographical detail remained unchanged until 2007.   As Rick Perry would say — Oops!  Of course, it became a huge Drudge headline.

The Breitbart people said they were publishing it not because they believe it’s true (they’ll leave that to the Birthers), but because it shows that Obama has changed the way he wants to present himself at different points in his life.  Of course, if you’re running for president, you’d damn well better present yourself as born in the United States.

One of the literary agents involved is describing it as a “fact-checking error,” but to the Birthers, it’s the Holy Grail.