Politics is the art of achieving the basest goals while using the loftiest rhetoric.
I am a big fan of President Obama, but this rule applies to him too. Obama's distortions about Mitt Romney's character served to secure his re-election. This principle--baseness disguised as loftiness--knows no party, because the real goal of politics is amassing power.
Bibi Netanyahu's speech last week about the Iran nuclear negotiations was disappointing because there was no lofty rhetoric to hide his obviously base goal of embarrassing President Obama. Netanyahu used the US Congress as a political prop, while proferring a strategy that would damage Israel.
To be sure, Netanyahu proclaimed his sadness about how anyone could possibly perceive his speech as political. But this was obvious nonsense before he got to the meat of his speech.
And what was that meat? Essentially, a call to attack Iran to prevent its nuclear capability. As Roger Cohen brilliantly points out, this option is more dangerous than the inspections currently being considered: "[H]e [Netanyahu] dances over the fact that military action — the solution implicit in Netanyahu’s demands for Iranian nuclear capitulation — would likely set back the Iranian program by a couple of years at most, while guaranteeing that Iran races for a bomb in the aftermath."
In short--chest thumping. Which, if respected, would leave Israel worse off than before.
See? Base goals (embarrassing the President) combined with stupid rhetoric. Loftiness be gone.
If there was any doubt that Netanyahu had combined baseness with stupidity, that was erased today. At the head of 47 Republicans, Arkansas's 37 year old Senator Tom Cotton drafted a juvenile letter that purported to explain the US government to Iran. Cotton's contention is that Congress will overturn any deal reached by President Obama as soon as the President leaves office. But it turns out that Cotton does not know how things work, as the agreement under discussion will not even go to Congress.
Added to Bibi's combination of baseness/stupidity, we now have Cotton's combo of baseness/nonsense. It is enough to make one pine for the sweet, soft music of baseness/loftiness.