Does the Republican party

Does the Republican party have a problem with race?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Does the Republican party have a problem with uranium?

You better #$%@#&% believe it!

The previous two days I’ve been on TV (Crossfire) and radio (The Hugh Hewitt Show) discussing the North Korea crisis. In each case my Republican interlocutor either misunderstood, mistated or simply ignored the key difference between the North Koreans’ plutonium-based and uranium-based nuclear weapons programs. Without understanding that difference it’s really hard to have any idea what’s going on.

Last night on Hugh Hewitt’s show I said that everyone agrees that the North Koreans’ uranium enrichment program is years away from making actual bombs. Hugh said I was flat wrong, simply making it up. I think there was even an Alice in Wonderland comment. Everyone knows, he said, that the clandestine uranium-enrichment program had already produced probably two bombs and would soon produce more. It’s up and running, he said. He pointed to Michael Kelly’s column in yesterday’s Post and another article by Glenn Kessler, saying they refuted my contentions about the North Korean uranium program.

Not only is what Hewitt said patently false. But neither Kessler nor even the characteristically hot-headed Kelly support his claim. They say no such thing. Conservatives might have a better time making their arguments on this issue if they got a handle on the most basic factual issues involved in the debate.

Meanwhile, we now have more information on the administration’s awkward climb-down and the resultant sell-out of the abandoned-on-the-battlefield conservative scribes who prematurely leapt forward to carry the administration’s water. We have this today from the Washington Post

While many senior administration officials have been critical of Clinton’s 1994 deal, saying it allowed an inevitable problem to fester, Powell lauded what is known as the Agreed Framework. “The previous administration I give great credit to for freezing that plutonium site,” he said. “Lots of nuclear weapons were not made because of the Agreed Framework and the work of President Clinton and his team.”

It would be easy to knock Powell for this, but also unfair. The truth is that Powell wanted to keep to at least the broad framework of the Clinton policy from the beginning. He just got outgunned by the hawks.

So let’s review. Colin Powell comes in with one policy. He gets outvoted by the hawks in the administration. Then after the amateurs and the hot-heads have created a mess Powell gets called back in to clean it all up.

Somehow that story line sounds oddly familiar.