On March 10, 2015, several prominent GOP presidential hopefuls rushed to support the ill-considered Republican Senate letter, addressed to Iran’s leaders. The letter which sparked public outcry, and caused the hashtag #47Traitors to trend on Twitter, may be backfiring on the Senators who signed it. But that didn’t stop Republican presidential contenders from chiming in to say that they also favored undermining the President’s multilateral negotiations with the Iranian government. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, all voiced their support for the letter on Tuesday.
Bobby Jindahl said in a statement:
Every single person thinking about running for president, on both sides, should sign on to this letter to make clear to Iran that they are negotiating with a lame duck president. Make no mistake—any Iran deal that President Obama makes is not binding on a future president.
Rick Santorum voiced his support, stating:
Senator Cotton is correct, the United States Senate plays an important role in moments like this and President Obama cannot usurp their authority… I am grateful that the U.S. Senate is exercising their constitutional prerogative to stop this reckless diplomacy by the Obama-Kerry-Clinton foreign policy team.
Apparently somebody also forgot to remind Mr. Santorum that Hillary Clinton is no longer heading the State Department.
Texas Governor Rick Perry tweeted:
I would be proud and honored to sign the letter @SenTomCotton has put forward on Iran.
Later on Tuesday, the two Republican front-runners, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, got in on the act. Walker said in a statement:
Republicans need to ensure that any deal President Obama reaches with Iran receives congressional review. Unless the White House is prepared to submit the Iran deal it negotiates for congressional approval, the next president should not be bound by it. I will continue to express that concern publicly to the President and directly to the American people.
Jeb Bush defended the letter, stating:
The Senators are reacting to reports of a bad deal that will likely enable Iran to become a nuclear state over time. They would not have been put in this position had the Administration consulted regularly with them rather than ignoring their input.
Three GOP Presidential hopefuls who are in the U.S. Senate –Rand Paul (KY), Marco Rubio (FL), and Ted Cruz (TX) signed the actual letter. No prominent Republican candidate has issued a statement calling out the Republican Senators for their efforts to derail a diplomatic agreement.
By contrast, presumed Democratic Presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton had harsh words for the seditious Senators. Clinton stated:
A recent letter from Republican senators was out of step with the best traditions of American leadership, and one has to ask, what was the purpose of this letter?There appear to be two logical answers. Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to commander-in-chief in middle of high-stakes international diplomacy. Either answer does discredit to the letter’s signatories.
Clinton sounded the right tone. Sadly, not a single Republican running for president, could bring himself to buck the Tea Party orthodoxy, of always dutifully lining up against the President. There are no moderate, thoughtful, Republican candidates for president who are willing to put country before party.
Instead, like a chorus of parrots, each Republican hopeful squawks the party line, because opposing Obama is the only platform the GOP has to run on. Each Republican candidate knows that the one who squawks the loudest, will have the edge in the Tea Party dominated GOP caucuses and primaries. The only problem for voters is that with every candidate squawking at the same time, all they hear is the constant echo of anti-Obama noise.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.