It’s been a long time since I have posted here but something has happen that demands comment. Something terribly hostile to the Constitution.
Last month, Chuck Todd was interviewing Paul Ryan on Meet the Press and he asked Ryan if Congress has the right to invite a foreign head of state to speak to Congress without consulting the president first. Ryan said the legislative and executive branches were separate but equal. He completely ignored the significance of separation of powers and focused on “equal” as if the two branches held the same authorities. This is obviously not true. The three branches of Government are separated for the purpose of separating their authorities with the intent of preventing tyranny. Paul Ryan did not give Chuck Todd “a lesson in the Constitution”, only a lesson in Ryan’s willingness to misrepresent it to support his own agenda. Conservatives, however, took a victory lap and an opportunity to denigrate liberals:
He could have stopped with “look at the Constitution.” Libs stop listening after that anyway.
This is, of course, completely wrong. Article 2 section 3 of the Constitution assigns responsibility for receiving ambassadors and other foreign dignitaries to the President.
he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers;
There is no such authority for the legislative branch. The Senate has “advise and consent” (Article 2 section 2) authority, but that refers to interacting with the President. It does NOT include initiating contact with foreign governments and interfering with Executive Branch negotiations. It was done this way so that the United States would speak with one voice, with the idea that a monolithic nation would command more respect than a divided one.
Because this failure to respect the Constitution’s separation of powers has been bounced around the conservative echo chamber as a good thing, this raises the question of whether the conservatives in general, and Republicans in particular, have read and understood the constitution.
The Framers were quite concerned about foreign influence infecting our government and they put several conditions in the Constitution to thwart the possibility. The invitation of the Republicans to bring a foreign leader into Congress to lecture Congress about foreign policy is an arrogant and unforgivable violation of the Constitution. It is throwing the Constitution out the window and openly inviting the very foreign influence that the Framers wanted to prohibit. There is no question that they operated in collusion with Netanyahu to manipulate domestic politics.
Their disregard for the sovereignty of other nations has spilled over into disregard for our own sovereignty.
This comes on top of four years of trying to micromanage the separate and equal executive branch through the purse strings, putting ideology ahead of the country and their oaths of office by using manufactured crises to leverage more political power than allotted them by the voters.
And they’re not done yet…
A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran’s leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama’s administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.
Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber’s entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process.
And what was the response to this letter?
In Iran, Tehran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) criticized Republican Senator Tom Cotton’s “insulting” address to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
IRNA accused Cotton of trying to “humiliate” Zarif by posting a Farsi version of his letter and by tweeting directly to Zarif: This is the translation of the letter if necessary.
“Now it is clear that Cotton does not know that the Iranian foreign minister has been a U.S. educated figure since young age and he knows English language and the U.S. power structure better than Cotton,” IRNA reported.
On Monday, Zarif’s initial response was to describe the letter as a “publicity ploy” that “contradicts international law.”
And the Tehran Times reported that Zarif said the U.S. senators were “ignorant of international law.”
In London, foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told members of parliament Tuesday that the Republican letter could throw “a spanner in the works” at the negotiations and will have an “unpredictable effect” on the government in Tehran.
The Guardian’s Julian Border wondered if Republican intervention in Iran nuclear negotiations would confirm Iranian suspicions about the West and make it easier for Tehran to blame Washington if talks fail.
“The ‘spanner’ effect was on display in the Iranian capital where the hardline press splashed news of the letter across its front pages. The moderate media focused instead of Zarif’s rebuke. But what really counts is the impact on one person, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. His judgment will be critical in determining whether there is an agreement at all, and he is famously suspicious of the West’s motives towards Iran,” Border wrote.
In Israel, the Jerusalem Post wrote an editorial that said, “The subtext of the GOP letter to the Iranians is: Think twice before signing a deal with a lame-duck president.”
Israel Hayom, a newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson, an American billionaire who has supported several Republican presidential candidates, used wire and staff reports under the headline: Republicans warn Iran nuclear deal with Obama may not last.
“Monday’s open letter from 47 Republican senators marked an unusually public and aggressive attempt to undermine Obama and the five world powers as negotiators try to strike an initial deal by the end of March to limit Iran’s nuclear programs.“
The Republicans have announced to the world that we are now a weak and divided nation, and that our agreements cannot be trusted. Even the Iranians no longer respect the Republicans. And because they control Congress, the Supreme Court, and a majority of the States, they have completely undermined our authority on the world stage.
Top Republicans have once again diminished us as a nation. To hardline conservatives, they are patriots.
They have gone from attacking the President, to attacking the Office itself. Even one of our closest allies is openly showing disrespect – with the encouragement of the Republicans.
Anyone thinking of running for Prez, on both sides, should sign on to the letter to make clear that Iran is negotiating w/ lame duck Prez.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) March 10, 2015
Oath of Office for Senators:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
These are the names of the 47. They represent the iron fist of tyranny, and the military-industrial-political complex.
- Tom Cotton, R-AR
- Orrin Hatch, R-UT
- Charles Grassley, R-IA
- Mitch McConnell, R-KY
- Richard Shelby, R-AL
- John McCain, R-AZ
- James Inhofe, R-OK
- Pat Roberts, R-KS
- Jeff Sessions, R-AL
- Michael Enzi, R-WY
- Michael Crapo, R-ID
- Lindsey Graham, R-SC
- John Cornyn, R-TX
- Richard Burr, R-NC
- John Thune, R-SD
- Johnny Isakson, R-GA
- David Vitter, R-LA
- John A. Barrasso, R-WY
- Roger Wicker, R-MS
- Jim Risch, R-ID
- Mark Kirk, R-IL
- Roy Blunt, R-MO
- Jerry Moran, R-KS
- Rob Portman, R-OH
- John Boozman, R-AR
- Pat Toomey, R-PA
- John Hoeven, R-ND
- Marco Rubio, R-FL
- Ron Johnson, R-WI
- Rand Paul, R-KY
- Mike Lee, R-UT
- Kelly Ayotte, R-NH
- Dean Heller, R-NV
- Tim Scott, R-SC
- Ted Cruz, R-TX
- Deb Fischer, R-NE
- Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV
- Bill Cassidy, R-LA
- Cory Gardner, R-CO
- James Lankford, R-OK
- Steve Daines, R-MT
- Mike Rounds, R-SD
- David Perdue, R-GA
- Thom Tillis, R-NC
- Joni Ernst, R-IA
- Ben Sasse, R-NE
- Dan Sullivan, R-AK
Republicans Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum have also expressed their support of this train wreck.
- Bobby Jindal signs open letter to Iran
- Jindal, Santorum, Walker, Perry Add Support to Cotton’s Iran Letter
- Iran dismisses GOP letter as ‘propaganda ploy’
- Iran Schools GOP Senators On International Law
- Obama, GOP grapple over Iran
- Outrage over GOP’s letter to Iran
- Tom Cotton ‘Corruption Of Blood’ Bill Would Convict Family Members Of Iran Sanctions Violators
- Tom Cotton Tries To Offer Alternative To Iran Talks, Gets Almost Everything Wrong
- Creepy Obama Cult Calls for Charges Against Sitting Senators Sounds like the Tea Party constantly promoting a petition calling for President Obama’s impeachment. Maybe they’re a creepy cult too.
- Republicans Admit: That Iran Letter Was a Dumb Idea
- Amateur Hour: The letter 47 Republican senators sent to Iran is one of the most plainly stupid things a group of senators has ever done.
- Republican Idiocy on Iran
- Americans are ‘back-stabbers’ and ‘tricksters’ says Iran’s leader after Senate letter
- Germany lashes US Republicans over Iran letter
- Iran Schools GOP Senators On International Law
- Is GOP engaging directly with Iran over nukes? Iran minister responds
- Bibi Using Congressional Address In New Campaign Ad, Just As Critics Warned
- Tom Cotton picked apart by Army general over ‘mutinous’ Iran letter
A complete failure of critical thinking and due diligence. In short – rubber-stamping/malfeasance:
- McCain’s breathtaking defense of signing the Iran letter: “I sign lots of letters”
- John McCain Blames A Snowstorm For His Treasonous Decision To Sign Iran Letter
It’s like they care more about image and posturing than about the Constitution and how it was intended to work.