By Monsignor William J. Linder
Astrange and disturbing pattern of behavior has emerged as the norm on Capitol Hill.
As partisan spats continue to rankle national politics, a destructive code of conduct based on undercutting the President has replaced civilized dealings between the Legislative and Executive branches of our federal government.
The open letter to the leaders of Iran, which was signed by 47 Republican senators and drafted by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, showed that the GOP is willing to display their disrespect of President Barack Obama’s authority more brazenly than ever.
In the letter addressed to “leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOP lawmakers attempted to convince Iranian officials that any nuclear deal struck with the White House could easily be undone “with a stroke of a pen” come January of 2017, when President Obama’s second term ends.
The letter came forth as Secretary of State John Kerry and leaders of five other world powers—Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia—met in Switzerland with Iranian officials to hammer out a framework agreement where Iran would reduce its nuclear program in exchange for partial sanctions relief. These talks have brought together an international coalition and represent legitimate, and painstaking, diplomacy. The open letter, on the other hand, displays a type of partisan politics that leads nowhere.
Iranian leaders claim that its nuclear program is solely aimed at generating power, but Israel and other nations fear the threat of nuclear weaponry. As we learned from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world cannot afford another atomic blast. Our collective conscience must refuse it as world peace depends on it.
Meanwhile, Cotton has raised his national profile for all the wrong reasons. Republicans who followed suit should have instead taken their cue from Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, one of a handful of Republicans who refused to jump on the bandwagon. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Corker has been working shoulder to shoulder with Democrats on legislation dealing with Iran. He’s in the trenches, sleeves rolled up, doing real bipartisan work instead of pulling shock-and-awe political stunts that ultimately hurt us all.
Let me be clear, this letter speaks badly of our present day politics, not our President.
For now, Iran’s foreign minister reportedly dismissed the letter as a “propaganda ploy.” Even conservative voices on Fox News frowned upon the letter. That’s because an elected official is expected to display statesmanship, not thoughtlessness. Wisdom, rather than selling out.