Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tweetle dee-Tweetle dumb

 Dana Milbank in the Washington Post eviscerates the knee-jerk Republican Insta-response to the announcement of the Iran Nuclear deal:
But Graham and his congressional colleagues are not reserving judgment until they know the facts. This is, perhaps, to be expected after 47 GOP senators sent a letter to Iran’s ayatollahs trying to block an agreement even before there was one. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), author of that letter, called the new deal “a terrible, dangerous mistake.”
This is legislating by reflex — a mass knee-jerk by the Republican majority in Congress. Those who howled “read the bill” during the health-care debate couldn’t be bothered to read the nuclear agreement before sounding off.
Well put. But let us also shoot the messenger. The Republican leaders did not stand up in the well of the House or Senate to read a statement of opposition. Nor did any of them make a speech to the people in their districts, or, perhaps, sit down with the editor of their hometown paper to explain the nuances of their assessment.

They Tweeted.

It may be that Twitter is effective for getting sound-bite position statements out to a politician's supporters, but it can only encourage simple-minded responses and -- worse -- simple-minded political positions. Some of those twitterers were members of the United States Senate, which in the old days liked to describe itself as "the greatest deliberative body in history."

It never was that, but it was a noble aspiration.

This indictment of Twittledum-Twittledumber political noise applies equally to Democrats when they use it. It just happens that the occasion of a nuclear agreement with Iran is the worst possible issue to resort to simplistic popspeak.

Some journalists -- including some whose work I respect -- have resorted to Twitter, too.

I don't get it. I particularly don't get the Tweets that include links back to earlier tweets. This is not convenient and by shortening the already paltry word count makes it hard to say anything beyond "Me too" or "You're all wet."

I try to keep RtO posts short. For several reasons. One is respect for my readers, whose time could be used for other things. One is to keep my thinking focused.

Some RtO posts would fit into a Tweet, but not many.

When you have something to say, keep it short but make it long enough to show you've got something to talk about. 



  1. That was a lot longer than a Tweet. I didn't say the rightwingers spoke (Tweeted) without thinking. I suspect they had their statements ready for a long time. What I said was their statements were vapid.

    They haven't gotten much more profound in the time since, either.

  2. But Graham and his congressional colleagues are not reserving judgment until they know the facts.

    You are assuming without evidence -- your modus vivendi -- that members of Congress had absolutely no idea beforehand what the agreement was going to include, nor any idea what concessions the US would have to make to the Iranians in order for there to be an agreement in the first place.

  3. They had ideas. Were they grounded in reality? No.

  4. Well, they don't seem to have anticipated that Iran would agree to give up 98% of its uranium. In fact, they don't seem to have had any more specific ideas than 1) Iran bad; 2) US good; 3) I am so frightful that if I had been in the chair, I would have scared the evil Iranians into cowering at my feet and screaming for mercy.

  5. You don't seem to understand how much uranium 2% is.

    Nor do you have any explanation for Saudi Arabia's reaction.

    What's worse, you have a touching faith in arms control agreements. They never work in the face of an ongoing clash of national security policies. (BTW, please don't mention SALT and START as exceptions, you'll just make a fool of yourself.)