Saturday, March 7, 2015

New Rand Paul scandal: The "clap gap"

The Rand Paul clap gap: Why the GOP is afraid to have a real debate about foreign policy - Michael Brendan Dougherty, TheWeek:

March 5, 2015 - "As Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress on Tuesday ended, cameras panned around the chamber and focused on a few important senators who were giving the Israeli prime minister a standing ovation. For a few seconds they landed on Rand Paul.

"And that's when people lost their minds. You see, Paul wasn't clapping enthusiastically enough. It was a clap gap! How did he fail to catch the clap as it spread through Congress?

"Perhaps the outrage is understandable. Bibi's supporters believe that the president of the United States is undermining Israel's long-term security in its negotiations with Iran over that nation's nuclear capability....

"But none of that justifies the creepiness of judging an American legislator on such a fine grading system. Sen. Paul, who is known for standing outside the hawkish mainstream of the Republican Party, was not making gagging gestures, or cough-snarking 'bullsh-t' at Netanyahu's speech.

"Monitoring the relative enthusiasm of applause has an ugly history, mostly in dictatorships.... In the nightmare prison-state of North Korea, Kim Jong Un's own uncle (and the rest of his uncle's family) were executed by the state for 'thrice-cursed acts of treachery.' Listed among the traitorous deeds: 'half-heartedly clapping.'

"Foreign policy hawks don't have the power to jail Rand Paul, but they should at least have the good sense to disagree with him like a normal human being....

 "But ... I understand the suspicion. If I ever exerted myself so frantically on behalf of a cause, if lobbying for it required investing so many millions of dollars, and if maintaining party discipline on it required 'brutal' ad drops on congressional obscurities, I would worry that some of the response I sought was perfunctory and insincere. The sonnets you receive don't sound as sweet. The applause seems forced. Almost like they are faking it."

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