Republicans Flip-Flop on Menendez

One of the odder circumstances surrounding the endangered career (and freedom to wear clothes that are not orange) of indicted Sen. Bob Menendez of NJ is that the guy’s main defenders appear to be Republicans obsessed with his role in the fight against an Iran nuclear deal. Here’s how Brother Benen puts it:

Menendez apparently won’t face too much heat from Senate Republicans, who continue to suggest some kind of White House conspiracy is unfolding. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said yesterday, “Bob Menendez has been an excellent partner for me on the Iran stuff, and I’m worried now by leaking stuff [from] Justice it’s politically motivated to silence Bob for his work on Iran, which he should be praised for.”

You don’t need an especially good memory to recall the conservative media campaign to drive Menendez out of office over dubious claims–subsequently shown to have been cooked up by the senator’s bitter enemies in Havana–that he availed himself of prostitution services provided by the self-same friend who is at the center of the current indictment.

It seems opposing Barack Obama (and Menendez has done that not just on Iran but on normalization of relations with Cuba) washeth away one’s sins or at least restores the presumption of innocence.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.