Opinion Outpost Jan. 26

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Palin and Trump

It’s been quite a while since the world outside the tea party has checked in on Sarah Palin.

… The absolute high point of her rather long, rambling address was the moment when she complained that the United States pays for Middle Eastern “squirmishes.”

The next day, Palin spoke at another Trump rally, where she appeared to blame Barack Obama’s veterans policy for her son’s domestic-violence arrest this week. Republicans seem currently OK with blaming the president for anything, including sunspots. But even some of them must have found it a little creepy.

—  Gail Collins
The Seattle Times

A lot of conservatives, especially in Ted Cruz’s orbit, have acted shocked or disappointed that Palin would endorse a figure like Trump, who has no plausible claim to be a principled conservative.

… It’s a populism that the G.O.P. is discovering has a lot more appeal to many of its voters than the litmus test of the official right.

Which means that in a certain way, Trump and Palin together on stage is the closest American politics has come to offering the populist grand new party…

—  Ross Douthat
The New York Times

… The GOP candidates have been competing to see who can spew the most nonsense, but they’ll never top Palin. Not when she offers gems such as this:

… “And now, some of them even whispering, they’re ready to throw in for Hillary [Clinton] over Trump because they can’t afford to see the status quo go. Otherwise, they won’t be able to be slurping off the gravy train that’s been feeding them all these years.”

— Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post

If you’re in the mood for irony, here’s one. The great foes of Sarah Palin now are the people who made her a national figure in 2008, defended her and attacked her critics. It is the GOP establishment that now most furiously disses and denigrates her. Everything has switched around in the GOP the past eight years. It is a world turned upside down.

… It’s good for Mr. Trump she’s off the table and on his side. But in the long run it’s probably a wash.

— Peggy Noonan
The Wall Street Journal

Iran prisoner swap

Even as Americans released from captivity in Iran were joyfully reunited with family members on Monday, debate continued over the wisdom of the prisoner exchange that freed them.

… Under the circumstances, the Obama administration made the right call by bargaining to win the release of five Americans held in Iran and agreeing, in return, to grant clemency to seven Iranians charged or imprisoned in the U.S. for violating economic sanctions against Iran.

… It marked another small step for diplomacy between two nations frozen in mutual antagonism for most of the past 40 years.

— Editorial Board
USA Today

Give President Obama credit. His Iran nuclear deal may be disastrous but the packaging was brilliant. The near-simultaneous prisoner exchange was meant to distract from last Saturday’s official implementation of the sanctions-lifting deal. And it did. The Republicans concentrated almost all their fire on the swap sideshow.

And in denouncing the swap, they were wrong.

 … Republicans say: We shouldn’t negotiate with terror states. But we do and we should. How else do you get hostages back?

— Charles Krauthammer
New York Daily News

The prisoner exchange punctuated a Cold War-esque day of drama as the Iranian nuclear deal with the West kicked in and economic sanctions were lifted. Tehran will now reap billions of dollars, a vital infusion for its crippled economy.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the prisoner release deal should “remind us once again of diplomacy’s power.”

It also reminded us of the power of a rogue regime to seize hostages on trumped up charges and use them as pawns. This was a hostage negotiation, not a prisoner exchange.

— Editorial Board
The Chicago Tribune

The big lessons of the eventful week are that diplomacy with Iran works and the model of negotiations established to resolve an incredibly complex and dangerous nuclear impasse with Iran can and must be extended to address the major crises in the Middle East.

… The prisoner swap, however, will be remembered as no more than a short footnote to the historic nuclear deal between Iran and the six global powers whose implementation phase began Sunday.

— Mohsen Milani
CNN

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