For liberals, opposition to Republicans is as much about defending President Barack Obama’s honor as it is in opposing the GOP’s policies. The left’s antipathy toward the GOP is shared by many in the political press, which spent the better part of the last two months defending the president’s patriotism, his devotion to the Christian faith, and examining the basis for charging 47 Republican senators with violating the Logan Act. The president’s good name, not his policies, moves the left to rise to his defense.
It was this impulse that inspired the Democratic base and their allies in the media to embrace the logic behind the asinine “47 traitors” campaign. This month, the left’s most historically illiterate supporters claimed that the decision by these senators to send an open letter to Tehran reminding them (and the administration) of their constitutional role in ratifying international agreements was met with disproportionate condemnation from the left. Those who did not irrationally insist that this maneuver amounted to treason against the United States insisted that it was historically unprecedented. Neither was true, and this tantrum said more about the left than it did Republicans.
It seems like those liberals who gnashed their teeth over the Senate GOP’s impertinence will have many more lawmakers to attack for their sedition. On Monday, a massive, veto-proof majority of the U.S. House of Representatives signed an open letter addressed to the president warning that their consent will be required for any nuclear deal the administration secures with Iran.
The letter, which was signed by 367 members of the House and released Monday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, follows a similar one, issued to Iran’s leaders and signed by 47 Republican senators, warning that any deal with Iran could be rolled back by a future president.
That letter sparked fierce criticism from Democrats, who said it was inappropriate meddling in delicate diplomatic talks and meant to undermine negotiations, and even some Republicans expressed reservations over the tactic.
The House letter lays out lawmakers’ concerns in more diplomatic terms, hitting on the potential time restraints as a key sticking point for a final deal. The emerging deal would lift some restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in a decade, which critics say could allow the country to resume its pursuit of a nuclear bomb at that point.
The lawmakers’ letter does not focus on the constitutional necessity of the upper chamber’s ratification of international treaty, as the Senate GOP’s letter did. Instead, the House version dwells on the fact that the Congress has had a significant role in constraining Iran’s path to a bomb in the past, and they will not be sidelined by this administration merely due to its myopic obsession with securing a legacy achievement for Obama before his second term in the White House expires.
The United States has had a longstanding interest in preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability. Over the last twenty years, Congress has passed numerous pieces of legislation imposing sanctions on Iran to prevent that outcome, ultimately forcing Iran into negotiations. Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation. In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief.
Resolving the nuclear crisis with Iran remains of grave importance to our nation’s security. As the Administration continues to negotiate with Iran, we are prepared to evaluate any agreement to determine its long-term impact on the United States and our allies. We remain hopeful that a diplomatic solution preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon may yet be reached, and we want to work with you to assure such a result.
If you’re keeping track, we’re now up to 414 of the 535 members of Congress whom the left would consider traitorous rebels merely because they oppose the president’s approach to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic. The left should ask itself why it is increasingly surrounded by enemies on all sides, even among members of its own political coalition. Liberals would be equally well-served if they were to consider that it might be the president rather than the vast majority of the American Congress that is jeopardizing American national interests.