Republicans who are already reeling from the letter that 47 of their senators sent to Iran were dealt another blow as the U.S. Senate Historian’s Office can’t find another example of this type of behavior anywhere in Senate history.
The U.S. Senate Historian’s Office has so far been unable to find another example in the chamber’s history where one political party openly tried to deal with a foreign power against a presidential policy, as Republicans have attempted in their open letter to Iran this week.
We haven’t found a precedent,” said Senate Historian Donald Ritchie. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t a precedent. After 200 years. It’s hard to find anything that unprecedented.”
In the past, Ritchie said, “what usually happened is a senator would sign a ’round robin’ letter or a sense of the Senate resolution, or write a letter to the president or secretary of State voicing objections to some particular policy.”
The historian left the door open to a letter surfacing that could lend precedent to the Republicans’ actions, but it isn’t a good sign for Republicans that one hasn’t been found. Congressional Republicans are fond of accusing President Obama of overreaching and overstepping his bounds, but the letter sent to the Iranian government was a clear case of overreach.
As Rmuse pointed out, the letter most likely was not a crime, because it was a public letter, and not an official negotiation with a foreign country. The letter was an act of political sabotage by a group of senators who may not have legally committed treason, but who were acting with the intent of treasonously undermining the Commander In Chief.
Republicans were hoping that the Hillary Clinton email “scandal” would dominate the headlines, and for the desperate Beltway media types who are addicted to Clinton speculation like kittens to catnip, it has. However, the rest of the country has been outraged by the behavior of the 47 Republican senators.
The fact that the Senate can’t find a comparable example to the Iran letter demonstrates that the level of hatred that Republicans have for President Obama is also unprecedented. The level of partisan contempt for the man who occupies the White House is so extreme that Republicans are willing to sabotage global security and world peace in an attempt to politically wound the president.
The Iran letter was bad enough, but the intent behind the letter was even worse. Republicans have gone from wrecking their government at home to making the world less safe for all humankind.