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January 27, 2006

There was a time when Republicans loved a filibuster and it came as no surprise to me that it happened to protect Ronald Reagan's dubious "legacy." *

Supporters of George W. Bush are lambasting Sen. John Kerry for a threatened filibuster against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. But 15 years ago, their attitude was different as backers of George H.W. Bush wielded the filibuster to block a probe into Republican secret dealings with Iran that could have doomed the Bush Dynasty.

In 1991, the Democratic-controlled Senate was planning an investigation into whether Republicans had conducted secret negotiations with Iran’s Islamic fundamentalist regime during the 1980 campaign, when Jimmy Carter was still President and Iran was holding 52 Americans hostage.

The unresolved hostage crisis destroyed Carter’s reelection hopes and gave an important boost to Ronald Reagan when the hostages were released on Jan. 20, 1981, immediately after he was sworn in as President and George H.W. Bush became Vice President.

A decade after those events, some Democrats wanted to get to the bottom of recurring allegations that George Bush Sr., a former CIA director, had joined clandestine negotiations with Iran in fall 1980 that may have delayed release of the hostages for political gain, what was called the “October Surprise” mystery.

Meanwhile, Republicans were worried that a full-scale October Surprise investigation might implicate Bush in near-treasonous talks with an enemy state and devastate his 1992 reelection campaign. Confirmation of the allegations also would have eviscerated the legitimacy of the Reagan-Bush era.

Near-treasonous? For an election campaign to negotiate with a foreign power to prevent the release of USofA hostages and to block the work of the government is near-treasonous?

Well, you can't say we set the bar for "treason" too low in this country.

The preponderance of evidence now suggests that in 1980, Republicans – most likely including Ronald Reagan’s campaign chief William Casey and then-vice presidential nominee George H.W. Bush – did negotiate with representatives of Iran’s Islamic government behind Carter’s back.

Color me...so not surprised. Even I, in the midst of a long-term bout of political apathy, heard the rumors at the time.

If you're interested in the story, don't miss this page of links to previous coverage. I haven't gotten through a fraction of it yet but there's some interesting stuff there.


* It remains wholly inexplicable to me why such a warmongering bunch of crooks are so dear to the hearts of the Right. I can only assume that the Right, regardless of what else they say, really likes warmongers and thinks that the gov'mint breaking the law isn't really such a big deal.

And also that they equate their so-called superiority on "national defense" with us constantly beating up on some little country. Which makes it puzzling that they view Dems as weak, since Dems have a tendency to get us into wars, but then I also don't think of the Right as an aggregation of logic and good sense.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:58 AM