Bad news for Sen. Mary Landrieu, "Harry Reed," and Sen. Dick Durbin's mother: Russia has released a list of nine Americans who are prohibited from travel to the country, and Landrieu and Reed made the cut. Durbin, to his likely chagrin, did not.
So here's who is banned during Phase One of Cold War Two:
- Caroline Atkinson, deputy assistant to President Obama
- Dan Pfeiffer, assistant to Obama
- Ben Rhodes, assistant to Obama
- Harry Reed, not anyone in Congress, but they probably meant Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (Let he who writes in perfect Cyrillic cast the first stone.)
- John Boehner, Speaker of the House
- Robert Menendez, senator from New Jersey
- Mary Landrieu, senator from Louisiana
- John McCain, senator from Arizona
- Dan Coats, senator from Indiana
It's an unusual group, to say the least. McCain, who'd worried that he might not be included on the list, is pleased to make an appearance. But Landrieu may be happier: running for reelection in a deep red state, being designated one of the nine-most threatening people to our once-and-always Russian enemies will make for a nice TV ad.
But why Landrieu, Coats, and Menendez? Why not Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who could certainly use his own boost in his upcoming reelection? Landrieu is from a fossil-fuel-heavy state and has harangued Putin on the issue of adoption. Coats wrote a letter asking that Russia be kicked out of the World Cup, but he wasn't alone in doing so. He also called Putin a bully, which one would think Putin would wear with honor. Anyway, if there's method to this, it's not immediately obvious.