Monday, March 31, 2014


The Hill reported this yesterday:
House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Sunday that his new radio gig will give him the chance to stand up to "celebrity politicians" with dangerous ideas on national security.

Rogers ... announced he would not seek reelection on Friday...

"There's a lot of celebrity politicians that are using issues, candidly, in Washington, D.C., today that are detrimental to the national security of the United States, and the politics in Washington has gotten as small as I've ever seen it," Rogers said, declining to name the politicians to which he was referring.
I think he's referring primarily to Rand Paul-- not, say, to Hillary Clinton. He was not a fan of Paul's drone filibuster:
One of Paul's fellow Republicans from across the Capitol, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, called the day's discussion in the Senate "irresponsible."

"It would be unconstitutional for the U.S. military or intelligence services to conduct lethal counterterrorism operations in the United States against U.S. citizens," Rogers said. "I would never allow such operations to occur on my watch. I urge the administration to clarify this point immediately so Congress can return to its pressing oversight responsibilities."
Fear of Rand Paul, as The Washington Post noted over the weekend, is also fueling "Draft Jeb" talk. It's a huge motivator on the Establishment right. (Quiz question: If it's Hillary vs. Rand, will some Republican foreign policy hard-liners decide not to endorse the party's nominee, on the assumption that Hillary is a better choice from their perspective? I could imagine Bill Kristol doing that.)

But if Mike Rogers thinks a radio gig could lead to a successful bid of his own for the 2016 presidential nomination, I'd say he's being naive. He's talking as if that's what's on his mind:
On "Fox News Sunday," Rogers said the quality of the current debate on national security and foreign policy made him worried "for the future of this country."

"So when someone walked in and said, 'Hey, we're going to give you the opportunity to have a discussion in people's cars, living rooms and kitchens, every single day, from California to Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina. We think you can change the needle on this debate,' I thought long and hard about it and thought, 'You know, I think they're right.'"

The states Rogers named aren't just a random assortment: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina are the first three states on the presidential primary calendar.
The GOP base really doesn't like him. Go to Free Republic and you find headlines like "Joe diGenova tells WMAL GOP Congressman Mike Rogers (MI-8) is trying to kill Benghazi Investigation." (DiGenova is a veteran GOP operative who's been spreading Benghazi cover-up claims lately.) Rogers's handling of Benghazi came up over the weekend in a Washington Post interview:
We've heard in the past few hours from some of your colleagues in the House Republican conference, who've expressed concerns with how your committee investigated the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya. There's some suggestion from them privately that the committee might not have been as aggressive with some administration officials as they would have liked. Care to respond?

I find that interesting. We have been the most aggressive committee, we've had the most hearings, the most investigative time from my investigators. I'm having the third hearing with the deputy and then acting CIA director Mike Morrell, and it's going to be open. Part of the problem has been that there are conspiracy theorists who wanted us to find conspiracy A, B, and C, and I ran a very aggressive fact-based investigation. I didn't go into it -- as an old FBI agent you don’t get into it with a conclusion, but a premise.

And by the way, all the reports that you saw, all the interim reports, that all came from our investigation off the Intel Committee. I take that with a grain of salt, it’s been the most aggressive investigation. I'll keep going with it until we get to the logical conclusion.
If he's actually bragging about not working backward from the conclusion that Hillary Clinton is an anti-American Antichrist, no wonder the base hates him.

The base doesn't even trust Rogers's new employer, Cumulus, which, after all, let Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity go last year. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey acknowledged that the Sandra Fluke siuation lost Limbaugh advertisers, which was regarded on the right as a heretical statement.

Rogers may be thinking he'll run for president with an eye toward being the vice presidential nominee, given the fact that the nominee could be a governor with no foreign policy experience (Jeb, Walker, or Kasich, if not Christie). Or maybe he thinks he could be the running mate picked to reassure neocons that it's safe to vote for Rand Paul. (That would be the running-mates-as-erstwhile-opponents scenario -- Kennedy/LBJ, Reagan/Bush.) But the base may not approve, unless he becomes a Benghazi attack dog on the radio.


aimai said...

I doubt that any politician or radio personality (or both) has any illusion that radio shows get you to the white house. But pretending to be close to the levers of power is pretty good business. If you can sell the idea that you are intimate with power, that you know people who know people, and even that you are always on the verge of being drafted for high office by your (imaingary) legions of listeners that's a pretty good wheeze. In fact radio is perfect for the sale of this illusion since each radio listener thinks that the country is filled with people just like him, listening to the same things he listens to. Unlike an election cycle which is highly local and ends in a clear win or loss, on the radio no one knows you are a loser. But you still have to continually pose as a winner.

Ken_L said...

When I read he was going to take on celebrity politicians, my immediate thought was he must be referring to Sunday morning TV fixture John McCain :)