It’s only the first part of March, yet Republicans have launched two unprecedented attacks against President Obama so far this year – placing politics ahead of foreign policy and national security.
Republicans won both houses of Congress during the 2014 mid term elections and as Think Progress reported at the time Republicans were careful not to “offer an overreaching agenda” during the elections, “instead they promised to compromise with the president.” [emphasis added]
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus explained on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that “It’s really important that our leaders in the legislature now set-up real achievable goals that are simple, that we can define for the American people,” stressing that Congressional Republicans must focus on “achievable things, work with the president, get those things done, repeat and repeat and repeat.” [emphasis added]
However, the two examples below indicate Republicans have no intention of working with the president.
John Boehner Attempts To Create Two Conflicting Foreign Policies For The United States – One Pursued By Congress, The Other By The President
Following President Obama’s State of the Union Address, House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak before Congress about nuclear negotiations with Iran without first verifying the invitation with Obama.
Politico described this action as Boehner’s “most dramatic foreign policy confrontation” with Obama, due to the fact that Netanyahu is a “fierce opponent of the emerging U.S. nuclear agreement with the Islamic republic and has served as Obama’s foil, of sorts, as the negotiations have progressed.”
Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk told the New York Times that:
Netanyahu is using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign and the Republicans are using Bibi for their campaign against Obama. Unfortunately, the U.S. relationship will take the hit. It would be far wiser for us to stay out of their politics and for them to stay out of ours.
Later in a discussion about Boehner’s unprecedented subversion of Obama’s authority, Fox News correspondent Chris Wallace spoke out against Boehner saying that he completely agreed with Indyk’s assessment of the situation.
What neither the Speaker, nor those who cannot manage to think beyond their distaste for this president, understand is the truly unprecedented step Boehner has taken by joining with the leader of a foreign nation against his own president.
Presidents come and go. However, respect for the office of the presidency, particularly on the part of the man who is second in the line of succession to the presidency, should not.
Through his actions, Boehner may have scored some points for his party and for his preferred policy option vis-à-vis the Iranian nuclear negotiations. But in the process, the Speaker of the American House of Representatives has succeeded in embarrassing the Office of the President.
Considering that Speaker Boehner has failed to accomplish anything of note during his Speakership, I can only wonder how it must feel to have his legacy be his effort to disgrace the American President in the effort to bolster the political chances of a foreign leader.
In a move that should surprise no one by this time, 47 Senate Republicans led by freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) have made an extraordinary move: They’ve sent an open letter to Iran to suggest they can undo whatever President Obama’s administration agrees to by penning an open letter to the leaders of Iran.
First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. […] Second, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then – perhaps decades.
NBC News called this move “extraordinary because for a GOP Congress that objects to Obama overstepping his bounds, the president is commander-in-chief and conducts the nation’s foreign policy,” adding”Let’s officially retire the phrase that politics stops at the water’s edge. Because it just isn’t true.”
Noting that 87% of the Senate GOP caucus signed this letter, NBC concludes their report noting:
It’s stunning. And it’s a rebuke on an international stage that doesn’t really have a precedent. Imagine Democrats micro-managing the START talks in the 80s by sending an open letter to Gorbachev? It just wouldn’t have been viewed as an acceptable political move while the talks were still happening.