We’re running a little bit hot tonight

This is one right-wing legend with which I was not previously familiar:

Like the Panama Canal debate that made Ronald Reagan a hero, this is a defining moment. No GOP senator who agreed to the Carter-Torrijos treaty ever made it onto a national ticket.

And if you don’t know, now you know, I guess.

Also too, this is just the kind of complicated mythology that will endear Republicans to the kidz, especially brown ones.

53 replies
  1. 1
    FlipYrWhig says:

    This seems like an elaborate way to say something that applies only to Bob Dole.

  2. 2
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    The treaty went through — and nothing terrible happened.

    Ah, but something terrible did happen to the Republicans who voted to ratify it, no? Within the party, anyway. Inside the bubble is the only place that matters to these people.

  3. 3
    Hunter Gathers says:

    All of those late-night drinking sessions Patty Boo had with The Good Doctor Of Journalism must be finally getting to him. I don’t expect ‘Carter-Torrijos!’ to become the rallying cry that ‘Benghazi!’ has.

  4. 4
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I’m currently reading Noel Maurer and Carlos Yu’s book on the Panama Canal, The Big Ditch. Haven’t gotten to that part, though. It’ll be interesting to see what they have to say about it; both authors are quite outspoken about general stupidity online.

  5. 5
    Cassidy says:

    Didn’t they just show their toughness by gunning down another young blah man playing thug music? They’re like serial killers hwo need that fix more frequently.

  6. 6
    The Dangerman says:

    …”model citizen, zero discipline”…

    A song about a hot car and the BJ community; well polished, practically spit shined.

  7. 7
    Alex S. says:

    Say what? By the way, what’s Noriega up to? How are the Contras doing?

  8. 8
    PeakVT says:

    Carter-Torrijos Treaty? Buchanan is starting to take his paleocon schtick a little too seriously.

    ETA: Technically, it’s more than one treaty.

  9. 9
    AliceBlue says:

    God, I remember when that treaty passed; I had relatives ranting about it for weeks.

  10. 10
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Carter-Torrijos treaty

    Band name, yo.

  11. 11
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Alex S.: Every newborn baby in Grenada is given “Reagan” as a middle name. True story.

    I now remember my seventh grade history teacher, who told us after the election she voted for Reagan, thought the Panama Canal was a major blow to the United States.

  12. 12
    slag says:

    Ahhhhh…That’s a Limbaugh 1992 vintage, I believe. I remember it distinctly for its dusky, vague, and facile bouquet.

  13. 13
    Schlemizel says:

    Like so many internet memes this one is only known by adherents to the wingnut-o-sphere and those of us who point and laugh. Still, if it puts the fear of Pasta into wavering Congressthings it will have served the wingnut purpose.

    These things are not dangerous because voters believe them, they are dangerous because elected goopers fear them

  14. 14
    Gin & Tonic says:

    People still quote Pat Buchanan? On anything? Wow.

  15. 15
    jibeaux says:

    I see the youth GOTV effort is getting underway.

  16. 16
    Biff Longbotham says:

    I’m sneaking up on 52 and even I had to think for a moment about the context of the whole ‘giving away the canal’ hubbub. Way to reach out to the youth vote!

  17. 17

    We’re pretty much doomed as a culture, society, country, species…

    Plus side, it’ll all be over in another 24 days, right?

  18. 18
    Schlemizel says:

    @Biff Longbotham:

    Did you know that Nixon opened relations with China!

    Yes sir, we have to go back a long way to find anything a Republican has done that could be mildly though of as a good idea at the time. That tied with the “obvious weakness in the canal matter Carter showed” is all they poor bastards have left.

  19. 19
    Woodrowfan says:

    and the treaties prevented a war with Panama which would have closed the canal. Reagan did make an even bigger name for himself opposing the treaty but, of course, his claims about it were generally lies.

  20. 20
    Mike E says:

    Van Halen was a band pre Sammy Hagar, who knew?

    The lone comment to the linked post is spot-on, btw. GOP is the kind of military-tough that requires poors and blahs to do the fighting for them, because they’re patriots and shut up you hippie traitors

  21. 21
    handsmile says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Well, one can always hope, but I don’t believe present-day Panama was part of the Mayan empire.

  22. 22
    Citizen_X says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    I don’t expect ‘Carter-Torrijos!’ to become the rallying cry that ‘Benghazi!’ has.

    At least people can understand “The treaty gave Panama the canal.” Who can explain Benghazi! in six words? (Other than “Old white men pissed at Obama,” that is.)

  23. 23
    Biff Longbotham says:

    Hmmm…Carter and weakness…Yup, those Republicans sure know how to back a winner (Shrub, Rmoney) and demonize a loser (Nobel prize winner, ambassador for peace, humanitarian good-deed doer through Habitat, etc.)

  24. 24
    Count Ulster says:

    Yeah, I remember the canal being central to every presidential debate over the past several decades, so much so that I can’t recall presidential candidates speaking of anything else. It was all-canal-all-the-time during this cycle.

  25. 25
    Threadkiller says:

    Didn’t Torrijos die in a convenient plane crash right after Reagan’s election?

    And who was our replacement “man in Panama”? Manuel something. . .

    These guys are a riot.

  26. 26
    MattF says:

    The argument against the Panama Treaty was “We took it, it’s ours”. Now that I think of it, that argument isn’t all that different from the anti-tax argument.

  27. 27
    gene108 says:

    The U.S. ceded control of a vital transportation artery, which we built from scratch after the French like totally failed at it (surprise? Not).

    It is a major blow to U.S. sovereignty and our ability to exert influence in the world; one from which we can never actually recover.

    Now we are at the mercy of some crack pot Panamanian dictator about getting goods from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice versa.

    The only thing worse the Democrat Presidents have hoisted on us is the U.N., which we should withdraw from immediately. Fretting away our God given sovereignty to foreign nationals one step at a time.

    I can’t wait for us to be forced to speak other languages than English and convert to the metric system, which seems what the effeminate liberal elites want to ram down our throats.

  28. 28
    gene108 says:


    Who can explain Benghazi! in six words?

    Worse than Watergate. 4 people dead.

    Done in six words, no sweat.

  29. 29
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Really? No one linked to the XKCD strip about electoral predictions yet?

  30. 30
    Rob in Buffalo says:

    Howard Baker voted for the treaty and as a result he was so rejected by the Republican establishment that he was relegated to being St. Reagan’s Chief of Staff.

    Jay in Oregon: That’s great!

  31. 31
    aimai says:


    Oh be-HAAAAAVE.


  32. 32
    Tokyokie says:

    @MattF: I believe it was S.I. Hayakawa, the one-term Republican senator from California, who acidly said: “We should keep the Panama Canal. After all, we stole it fair and square.”

    Anyway, as the treaties were coming up for debate, it was clear that their fate would be determined by a couple or three Republican senators, one of whom was my senator, Henry Bellmon. And the story I heard about his decision, is that the weekend before the vote, he returned home to his farm near Billings and talked to the townspeople about the issue. On the plane back to D.C., he wrote out two statements, one explaining his vote against the treaties, one explaining his vote for them. And after having done so, he reread them, and promptly crumpled up the anti-treaties statement, “because it was bullshit.” He voted for the treaties, and shortly thereafter announced that he would not seek re-election.

    I believe that Hank Bellmon was the last Republican for whom I’ve voted for statewide office.

  33. 33
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    Kinda stupid insight. I assume by national ticket they mean Prez/VP. So…9 elections since Carter = 18 slots on the Republican side. If presidential contenders were drawn only from the Senate maybe that would be more compelling. How many of the 16 who voted for, how many were the right age/viable contenders anyway? Etc etc etc. People get paid for these sorts of bullshit insights?

  34. 34
    different-church-lady says:

    Pat Buchanan? He’s still alive?

  35. 35
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    @Full Metal Wingnut: I should add that 3 of the past 9 elections were Republican re-election bids. Since VPs tend to stay intact in modern days, that means only 6 chances and 12 total slots for a Republican: 1980, 1988, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012.

  36. 36
    different-church-lady says:

    @Citizen_X: You don’t explain Benghazi. You just know what it is.

  37. 37
    Cassidy says:

    @different-church-lady: The first rule of Benghazi?

  38. 38
    different-church-lady says:

    Despite the fact that the pullout of the United States is now complete, there are still organizations (primarily conservative ones such as the John Birch Society)…

    Jeez, there’s that name again…

  39. 39
    Rob in Buffalo says:


    French bashing? Check.

    UN takeover paranoia? Check.

    Insane hypotheticals? Check (“forced to speak another language”).

    Wayyy overcompensating macho pose? Check (“effeminate liberals”).

    Yep, you’re a right wing tool. Congrats.

  40. 40
    Citizen_X says:

    Pat Buchanan’s still pissed about giving away Danzig to those dastardly Poles.

  41. 41
    different-church-lady says:

    Stuff you didn’t know:

    In 1984 a reporter for a LaRouche publication buttonholed President Ronald Reagan as he was leaving a White House press conference, demanding to know why LaRouche was not receiving Secret Service protection. As a result, future press conferences in the East Room were arranged with the door behind the president so he can leave without passing through the reporters.

  42. 42
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    As a result, future press conferences in the East Room were arranged with the door behind the president so he can leave without passing through the reporters.

    Sigh. Missed opportunities. Instead of a back door they should have installed a trapdoor in the floor leading to a pit full of hungry crocodiles. It would have been much more entertaining that way, and today we wouldn’t have Jake Tapper to kick around.

  43. 43
    Calouste says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: That would be cruel and unusual punishment. For the crocodiles.

  44. 44
    Fred says:

    The Panama Canal was absolutely essential to get Mitt’s 1910 navy from the atlantic to the pacific in quick time. Of course they don’t make war ships or even cargo ships that fit through that ditch anymore. BUT IT’S THE PRINCIPAL DAMMIT!
    I hear that Kenyan Socialist is planning to sign away our right to use muzzel loading cannons. It’s a national disgrace I tells ya!
    And all that stuff about the GOP believing that no taxes on “The Job Creators” is good for the country. They really just believe if they keep saying that crap they can get other people to believe it. They don’t give a shit about the country.

  45. 45
    different-church-lady says:

    @Fred: Panama is Iran’s path to the sea.

  46. 46
    gene108 says:

    @Rob in Buffalo:

    I forgot to mention that our resistance of the metric system is the only thing standing between humanity and French cultural hegemony in weights and measures.

  47. 47
    Rob in Buffalo says:

    gene108 – You young’uns and your irony. :-(

  48. 48
    Brandon says:

    Disappointed to see only one comment mention LaRouche, considering that I believe the Panama Canal was his defining issue for much of the 80’s. Then I think he had some tax problems and spent most of the 90’s on a crusade of wild conspiracy/vendetta against HW Bush that extended pretty much Clinton’s presidency. Now he is promoting the Obama=Hitler thing, but I have no clue if there is even an issue behind it.

    For me, bringing up the canal is an excellent tell of how extreme Buchanan is, as if more evidence was required. Nativist, militia, white supremacist, Bircher, LaRouchie. I wonder why he doesn’t move to Idaho and wouldn’t be suprised if he has a house there already.

  49. 49
    gene108 says:

    @Rob in Buffalo:

    I will say that there is a glimmer of hope, with regards to weights and measures.

    As long as absolute zero is measured in Kelvins, we do have a buffer – though a very specific and not widely used buffer – to thwart French hegemony in weights and measures, should the U.S. ever capitulate and go on the metric system.

    The Kelvin scale has the benefit of no negative numbers, though thinking 273 Kelvins is freezing will take some getting used to, since integers that large are usually associated with temperatures too high to sustain us in the Celsius or Fahrenheit scales.

  50. 50
    MattF says:

    @Brandon: No, no. Ol’ Pat has his big house in Chevy Chase, his cat, and his pals in the Village. Not going away, not going anywhere, evah.

  51. 51
    Interrobang says:

    That Wikipedia article on the treaties is pretty informative. I had to get a laugh out of the Birchers’ contention that the treaties are null and void because “the Spanish text is different from the English text,” because I immediately thought “How the hell would they know?”

    I mean, seriously, do any modern-day Birchers speak any foreign languages?

    I know Birch himself spent time in China and presumably spoke the language, and further, entertained this pastoralist fantasy about running off to China to find himself a fucktoy/slave who’d be happy eating peasant gruel, birthing babies, and not mouthing off to him (unlike those spoiled, decadent, independent-minded, ruined American women), but I think they’ve…uh, moved beyond that a bit.

  52. 52
    Jose Padilla says:

    How many GOP senators who voted against it made it on to a national ticket? The only one I can think of is Bob Dole (I’m assuming he voted against the treaty).

  53. 53
    Marshall says:

    The Panama Canal Treaty was just the Benghazi of its day.

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