Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Joe Biden Blasts Republicans for Letter to Iran

From Mother Jones:

"In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country—much less a longtime foreign adversary— that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments—a message that is as false as it is dangerous.

The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine."

More here

As Lawrence O'Donnell observed on his MSNBC show last night, this latest Republican scheme is in all likelihood NOT treason, as some of the more excitable Democrat-oriented observers have been proclaiming these last couple of days. According to O'Donnell, treason can occur only when an official enemy exists, during a legally declared war. Because we have not been in a legally declared war since around 1945, there can be no treason. So the forty seven Republican Senators who signed this thing are not traitors.

This does, however, look and smell like a massive violation of the Constitutional principle of "separation of powers" between the three branches of the federal government. According to Article Two, Section Three, Clause Four of the US Constitution, the President, and only the President, is to receive all foreign ambassadors, which for about two hundred years has effectively meant that the Oval Office is the official mouthpiece for America when it comes to diplomatic relations with other nations.

This GOP letter out of the Senate appears to be a Congressional attempt to "receive ambassadors," that is, to speak diplomatically for the nation, seemingly horning in on executive territory. It's essentially the same thing as if the White House tried to create law, or if the Supreme Court decided to run the FBI, the NSA, the FDA, the SEC, and so on.

Of course, the Republican dominated Congress is currently arguing that Obama's recent executive orders on immigration are horning in on their territory, but that's another story which is now playing itself out in court, which simply adds to my strong sense that conservatives love to project and then accuse. But I digress.

Anyway, I don't really know, for sure, if this letter is a violation of the "separation of powers," or if just looks like one; the courts should probably be working this out, too--we'll see if the White House has the balls to sue. But I do know one thing FOR SURE: this is the most dickish move Republicans have made since the impeachment.

And that's really saying something because there's A LOT of competition in this field. Jeb Bush stealing the 2000 election for his brother, the SCOTUS GOP majority blessing the whole thing with an unsigned and inexplicable decision installing W in the Oval Office, invading Iraq based on lies, Katrina, various government shutdowns, expecting the country to take Sarah Palin seriously, downgrading the US bond rating, piggish and insulting language about women, Citizens United, I mean, the list of candidates for most dickish Republican move since the impeachment goes on and on and on.

But I think this letter wins it pretty easily. In a single gesture, the Republican Party makes this country look like total trailer trash, meth addicted inbred toothless bikers arguing about stupid bullshit on reality television, mugging for the cameras, trying to hit on their old ladies' underage daughters without getting caught. I mean, this is a national embarrassment, the likes of which we haven't seen for nearly twenty years.

The GOP has really outdone itself with this one. I'd congratulate them, but, you know, no I won't. Because they suck.