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Republican Contempt For The Constitution

In case you missed it yesterday, forty-seven republicans in the senate sent a letter to the Ayatollah of Iran, letting him know that Obama’s word in the negotiations is basically meaningless. Think I’m being hyperbolic? See for yourself;

It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system.  Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution—the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices—which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.
 
We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.
 
First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them.  In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote.  A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate).  Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.
 

Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics.  For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms.  As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades.

What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.  The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.

Here’s the thing; congress’ role with regard to foreign treaties, is to vote on a deal after the president has done the negotiating. Congress does not enter into treaties with foreign countries. And it’s unprecedented for congress to step in to halt a treaty. This has literally never happened before.

These idiots think they stuck it to the black guy but what they actually did, was take another step toward turning the US into the clown car of developed countries. Step one was with the perpetual government shutdowns over deciding whether to pay for the spending they already approved (and spent). That was nice. Those headlines all around the world that basically said, "WTF, United States?" were awesome. So was the downgrading of our credit rating. So now what they’ve done, in addition to letting the world know that we don’t take our debt all that seriously, is to tell the world that we don’t take our president all that seriously and neither should they.

I’ve never witnessed this level of disrespect for the office of the presidency. Not even when it was deserved in 2000, when the president was selected by the Supreme Court (it’s a fact, look it up), rather than duly elected by the citizens of the United States. No one in congress threw a temper tantrum to subvert the powers of the executive branch, just because the presidency wasn’t legitimately won by that occupant of the oval office. I didn’t see this level of disrespect when congress passed The Boland Amendment explicitly banning president Reagan from "overthrowing the government of Nicaragua or provoking a war between Nicaragua and Honduras". Reagan flat out ignored that law and went ahead and did as he pleased anyway, and that congress never undermined him the way this congress is undermining President Obama.

These were legitimately questionable presidencies and still, congress respected the authority given to the president by the constitution. Why? Well for one, I don’t think it ever occurred to them to so thoroughly crap on the constitution, the way this congress has.

But more importantly, I want to believe that there was some thought given to precedent. This moronic republican congress is utterly incapable of calculating the ramifications of their actions. President Obama has less than two years left in office so shitting on him in public doesn’t have much of an upside if you really think about it. It is well within congress’ power not to ratify any deal Obama makes with Iran. From the constitution;

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…..

All they had to do, was to wait for their turn to vote on any deal Obama may have made with Iran. This letter wasn’t about killing the treaty. It was about undermining Obama. They weren’t afraid that Obama was going to make a bad deal, as their leader President Netanyahu warned. They were afraid that he was going to make a really good deal that was going to neutralize this bogeyman they love so much, for good. But they actually did way more than that. They permanently undermined the executive branch. They diminished not only this president, but all future presidents, as well as all future congresses.

They literally turned the United States government into the laughing stock of the world. They turned themselves into a joke.

Read me now, quote me later; they insured that President Obama will have an approval rating greater than or equal to the 68% that President Clinton had when he left office. I’ll go a step further so that you don’t have to wait nearly two years to see if I know what the hell I’m talking about; by summer, President Obama’s approval rating is going to be around 50%. These morons in congress have ensured that President Obama will be seen as one of the most beloved presidents in history. Why? Because the American people don’t like to see their president picked on by congress or anyone else. We’ve seen this movie before with Bill Clinton. On December 18, 1998, the house spent the whole day debating the impeachment of President Clinton. On December 19, 1998, the house approved two articles of impeachment. On December 19 – 20, 1998, Gallup reports the highest approval rating of the Clinton presidency at 73%.

My prediction isn’t wishful thinking, or rectally generated. I usually have a basis I can point to when I embark on the fool’s errand of making predictions!

Here’s another thing that congress didn’t take into account; sanctions against Iran. We alone, can’t successfully damage Iran with our sanctions. We have partners all around the world that joined us in squeezing Iran hard enough to get them to the negotiating table. I suspect that more than a few of our allies in these sanctions is going to question whether going along with the US still seems like a good idea. The sanctions that Obama negotiated had their desired effect; getting Iran to the negotiating table. If our congress is saying that we won’t be sitting on the other side of that table, under any circumstances, I don’t see why our allies would continue with the sanctions.

There is literally no upside for congressional republicans or the American people at large, in what those forty-seven idiotic senators did yesterday. They accomplished nothing for themselves, for you, or for the rest of the world. And if they get to their goal of starting a war with Iran, it’s going to be your kids that fight it.

Elections have consequences. This last election had nothing but negative consequences for all of us, regardless of party affiliation.

 

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