Monday, March 9, 2015
In their effort to undermine not only the President, but also the Constitution, forty seven Republican senators have written an open letter they pretend was addressed to "the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran." It is insulting and condescending, and its clear purpose is to interfere with President Obama's negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons development.
I provide a link to the letter here (or click on the small version below). Go read it. I'll wait.
The message of this letter is clear: It doesn't matter what you agree to with this President. We Republican senators will never approve any agreement he negotiates with you. And the next president can therefore nullify any unratified agreement with a wave of his pen. So don't bother.
Second, the Constitution gives the President the power to negotiate treaties and other international agreements. For the Senate to interfere in that process as these senators are trying to do violates the basic principles of the separation of powers. Their lecturing on the Constitution is thus self-negating.
Third, late last year, Republicans tried to make a stink about the President writing letters to the leader of Iran, encouraging him to help fight ISIL. Now here they are, writing a letter to "the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran," as if they hadn't previously criticized doing exactly that.
The worst dishonesty though is in who the audience of this letter really is. Yes, Republicans are trying to scuttle an international agreement that would stop Iranian nuclear weapons research, because such an agreement would make war with Iran less likely. An agreement would also mean yet another foreign policy victory for this President, once again undermining the Republican meme of President Obama somehow being inept at his job (Republicans are still trying to live down the embarrassment of Bush 2). Yes, Republicans are very much afraid an agreement is in sight -- they brought out Bibi in their attempt to stop it, and now they're doing this. That's all true, but these are all secondary considerations.
There's a reason this was an "open letter" rather than a communication sent through any official channels. It's not really intended to send a message to "the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran." It is intended as fodder for the nutty right-wing base, in an effort to keep them riled up and engaged. The letter isn't really a lecture on the nature of our Constitution meant to educate Iranians -- it is intended to remind the nutty American right about the meme of President Obama trying to ignore the Constitution.
These 47 Morons are not pretending to lecture "the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran" about the Constitution. They are pretending to lecture the President. When they say, "you may not fully understand our constitutional system," it is the President toward whom they are directing that insult.
Republicans are losing this fight, and they know it. The President is free to negotiate an end to Iranian nuclear hopes, and they can't do anything about it. Mitch McConnell tried to schedule a vote in the Senate to pre-block approval of any such agreement, and was forced to un-schedule the vote. This is a fight Republicans can't win. All they can do is get their crazy base angry at President Obama once more doing something good for America.
ADDENDUM: It turns out, the Republicans who wrote this lecture on the Constitution apparently do not themselves understand the Constitution. They should be embarrassed, but then, Republicans are way beyond the capability to be embarrassed by their stupidity and perfidy.