I started watching House of Cards on Netflix earlier this year and I am already in the middle of season three just released. The ruthless Francis Underwood now as President of the United States has appropriated FEMA disaster funds to fund his pet project AmericaWorks thereby circumventing the law to get his way. In addition, he has appointed his wife, the First Lady, to be the US ambassador to the United Nations even though the Senate failed to confirm her. Make-believe stuff. Yet, sometimes, when I hear or read the news I forget that I’ve switched back to real life. That’s the treachery of American politics for you.
Case in point. Not content with Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress to tell them and the American people that President Obama’s approach to Iran is wrong, 47 of the 54 Republicans in the Senate sent a rather condescending “open letter” to the leaders of Iran warning them that any nuclear agreement they would reach with President Obama representing the US (and leadership from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China but who cares right?) would need congressional approval for it to last beyond Obama’s presidency.
Beyond the language being condescending (by attempting to school Iranian leaders on the US constitution), the letter is also insulting to President Obama and the White House, embarrassing to all Republicans and indeed Americans, and frankly it puts the safety and security of the American people in jeopardy. It is not enough that former mayor Giuliani questions whether Obama loves America or that Republican Tea Party Birthers continue to question his right to be President. The Republicans today seem to exist solely to undermine the Obama administration.
In short the letter tells Iran and all other foreign governments “don’t trust America”. Is that what Americans want to tell the rest of the world?
I’m astonished that I continue to be surprised by Republican antics of the past several years. They’ve dug to the bottom of the barrel and now seem to be digging towards Middle Earth. When else in American diplomatic history has one political party in opposition to the leadership formed its own foreign policy in regards to foreign governments? What line needs to be crossed for these current actions to be regarded as sabotage or even treason? I know that there is a current petition to the White House calling for charges to be filed against the Senators for violating Logan’s Act, a law that forbids US citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. This legal blog though suggests that there is no violation.
Either way, it was a stupid move. I’m not impressed. It reeks of the level of naivete you would expect from a child. I hope it blows up in their faces, especially in that of the contenders for the 2016 Presidency – Cruz, Paul, and Rubio, who all signed it. It’s very telling that they just want Obama to fail (as they’ve been hoping for since 2008) and are putting politics ahead of working towards the good of the American people. It’s sad that even the possibility of an agreement is so scary to these folks that they are willing to pull off a stunt like this. I hear that Vice-President Biden is furious. Good!
History is going to be very kind to President Barack Obama. He knows it and I think we all know it. Meanwhile the Republican party of this decade should forever be remembered as one of cynicism and ideological extremism not rooted in facts, and full of contempt and scorn for their political opponents, their President, and the American people they are supposed to be serving.