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Washington Post's Milbank: If Obama Promoted 'Motherhood, Baseball, and Apple Pie,' GOPers Would 'Disapprove'

Media Research CenterOn Tuesday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank reacted to GOP complaints about President Obama's Iran deal by cracking that Republicans "would have reflexively disapproved" even if Obama made a "deal to promote motherhood, baseball and apple pie."

But later, Milbank still predicted that the Iranian government "probably are not for real," as he recommended making the effort at a six-month deal anyway. Host Al Sharpton surpisingly also seemed to think it more likely than not that Iran would cheat as he asserted that "it's likely they may not live up to it."

After Sharpton introduced the segment complaining about a "deranged" response from conservatives who have attacked the deal, he went to Milbank, who began:

I think, Reverend, that the President could have struck a deal to promote motherhood, baseball, and apple pie around the world, and Republicans would have reflexively disapproved of it. And it is sort of, I mean, to call it knee-jerk, I think is, I think the rejection of anything Obama does goes more quickly than a knee-jerk response. It is truly automatic here.

He later continued:

Now, we don't know if the Iranians are going to deal in good faith, but that's the silliness of the criticism of this. It's a temporary six-month deal completely reversible. If the Iranians don't continue to do what they've been told to do, guess what, the sanctions go back in place. Tougher sanctions the Congress seems likely to pass will go in place then. Nothing lost.

He then added:

The only reason not to do it is to say, well, we were just, we would prefer to launch a military strike before finding out if these guys are for real. They're probably not for real, but it would be a real shame not to explore that possibly first.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, November 26, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: Right-wing pundits and politicians are ramping up their deranged response to President Obama's new deal with Iran, lacing their comments with ridiculous accusation and ugly disrespect. Take a look.

SEAN HANNITY, FNC: Under the cover of darkness, our fearless commander-in-chief addressed the country and announced that he's willing to enter into a nuclear agreement with the rogue regime in Tehran. That's right, President Obama is now openly negotiating with terrorists.

SHARPTON: Openly negotiating with terrorists? This is ugly stuff. President Obama is working to take away nuclear weapons from Iran.

Have Republicans forgotten who actually gave weapons to Iran? The Reagan administration. That's right. During the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, the Reaganites traded arms to Iran in exchange for hostages. It was a scandal, but Republicans don't want to talk about that, do they?

(...)

You wrote something in your new column that really struck me, Dana. The President announced the details of the Iran nuke deal at 10:34 p.m. Saturday night, but, an hour and a half earlier at 9:08 p.m., former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer sent out a tweet that said, quote, "The Iran deal and our allies. You can't spell abandonment without Obama."

Attacking the deal before it was even announced? Classic. They exposed their true agenda. They don't care about policy. They only care about opposing this President, Dana.

MILBANK: I think, Reverend, that the President could have struck a deal to promote motherhood, baseball, and apple pie around the world, and Republicans would have reflexively disapproved of it. And it is sort of, I mean, to call it knee-jerk, I think is, I think the rejection of anything Obama does goes more quickly than a knee-jerk response. It is truly automatic here.

Now, in this case, what they're saying is any talking with Iran, unacceptable. So that means, well, then, I guess we have to go to war with Iran. Of course, we tried that once before, going to war before exhausting diplomatic possibilities. That's when Ari Fleischer was speaking from the White House podium, and we know how that turned out.

(...)

SHARPTON: He said he would talk to Iran direct. He said that these things have not happened. He's doing that, and the American people voted for him. They voted to change direction from the Bush years when they voted for Obama. So what's the big news here to our right-wing friends?

MILBANK: Well, the American people did that, and the Iranian people approved a new leader there who seems more willing to deal in good faith. Now, we don't know if the Iranians are going to deal in good faith, but that's the silliness of the criticism of this. It's a temporary six-month deal completely reversible. If the Iranians don't continue to do what they've been told to do, guess what, the sanctions go back in place. Tougher sanctions the Congress seems likely to pass will go in place then. Nothing lost.

The only reason not to do it is to say, well, we were just, we would prefer to launch a military strike before finding out if these guys are for real. They're probably not for real, but it would be a real shame not to explore that possibly first.

SHARPTON: And I think you're right. We don't know what they will do. It's likely they may not live up to it, but you have to always try peace before you go into risking lives and losing lives. Dana Milbank, thanks for your time tonight. Have a great Thanksgiving.