The leading voies who are trashing President Obama securing the freedom of four U.S. prisoners from Iran this weekend, including former Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, and Pastor Saeed Abedin have tied themselves in knots expressing happiness at the release of the prisoners, while explaining that Obama is still a bad, bad man whose just implemented nuclear deal in no way opened the door to this positive development, or to the quick release of 10 U.S. sailors who accidentally encroached into Iranian waters last week.
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have led the charge to denigrate the prisoner swap, and their main argument is that by making any sort of a deal for these unjustly detained Americans, President Obama has given the forces of evil a green light to capture Americans. Here's Ted Cruz making that argument on Fox News Sunday:
The result of this, every bad actor on earth has been told go capture an American. If you want terrorists out of the jail, capture an American and President Obama is in the let's make a deal business. That's a really dangerous precedent.
Marco Rubio echoed Cruz, but had a hard time getting around to telling Chuck Todd that President Rubio would have left these guys to rot until Iran just gave them up voluntarily:
MARCO RUBIO: When I become President of the United States, our adversaries around the world will know that America is no longer under the command of someone weak like Barack Obama. And it will be like Ronald Reagan where as soon as he took office, the hostages were released from Iran. We would impose additional sanctions, not just this Congressional sanctions now that would have been--
CHUCK TODD: You wouldn't have given Iran anything--
MARCO RUBIO: more additional sanctions on Iran.
CHUCK TODD: You wouldn't have given Iran anything even if it meant--
MARCO RUBIO: We would have gotten them home--
CHUCK TODD: --that Iran--
MARCO RUBIO: We would have gotten them home.
CHUCK TODD: Without giving them anything.
MARCO RUBIO: Well, we would have given them sanctions, crippling sanctions.
He had an easier time of it in October, before Obama actually got them released, when he flat-out told Greta Van Susteren that there was no way he would ever make a deal for hostages.
That's not what Rubio was saying last April, though, if you believe Fox News and/or CNN:
Ted Cruz, meanwhile, was railing on the Senate floor about the prisoners being "cruelly excluded" from the deal:
"And even while Iranians such as Suleimani get relief, four Americans were cruelly excluded from this deal: Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen imprisoned for 8 years in an Iranian prison for the crime of preaching the Gospel; former marine Amir Hekmati; Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian; and Bob Levinson. It is a disgrace on our Nation that we agreed to any deal with Tehran before they were liberated."
This is where it gets more confusing, because Cruz and Rubio have said that the Iran nuclear deal "gives" Iran $150 billion dollars (it actually gives them access to their own money), but Cruz actually said it best:says it:
“If President Obama doesn’t like the rhetoric, that he should stop being the world’s leading global financier of radical Islamic terrorism, then he should stop financing radical Islamic terrorism!”
So, here's what confuses me, gentlemen, and maybe you can help me out. You're both saying that a prisoner trade puts every American in danger, but a $150 billion terrorist ransom wouldn't have? Or maybe that $150 billion would have created a more acceptable risk to the life of every American?
It seems to me that either the principle they're citing now is bullshit, andthey're just using it as an excuse to criticize the President, or their demand that they be included in the nuclear deal was bullshit, and they were just using these prisoners as a way to sabotage the deal.
I like to think the best of people, so I'm going to go with the first one, but it would be nice if people like Chuck Todd or Chris Wallace would ask them which it is.
It would also be nice if they asked, especially when Rubio said he'd be more like Ronald Reagan than that weak-ass Obama, about this guy:
"A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not."
Sounds like Mr. Rubio is saying he won't make a deal to get back hostages like weak-ass Obama, unless he can make sure Iran gets some weapons in the process. That doesn't sound right to me. You would think Reagan would be the last guy he'd want to bring up. Maybe when he does, people in the media could knid of follow up on that. Just a thought.