Top administration officials are at Congress today for a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Iran nuclear deal, a subject that has always brought out the crazy in American politicians.
No one expected this hearing to be anything other than a circus: the deal is politically contentious, and Republicans are trying to out-hawk one another for the coming presidential primaries. Congress did not disappoint. This tweet, from New York Times economics policy reporter Jonathan Weisman, captures the scene pretty nicely:
Now Sen. Ron Johnson is lecturing MIT physicist Ernest Moniz on electro-magnetic pulse weapons.
— Jonathan Weisman (@jonathanweisman) July 23, 2015
A bit of context: Johnson is the senior senator from Wisconsin and a Republican. Ernest Moniz is the secretary of energy and one of the lead US negotiators on the Iran deal. Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons are a nonsense science fiction “threat” and a longtime point of obsession among certain conservatives, such as Newt Gingrich and Ron Johnson. Johnson’s line of questioning, to a top-of-his-field nuclear physicist, is a little like asking Neil Armstrong if he thinks the moon landing might have been faked.