It is beyond reason to assume that Republicans have any respect or fealty to the nation’s founding document any longer regardless of their protestations to the contrary. Since January 2009, they have refused to accept that, according to the Constitution, Barack Obama is the President of the United States, or that he is the head of the Executive Branch of government. It is bad enough they cannot fulfill their own Constitutional duties as legislators, but for the past six years they have attempted to take on the duties of the Executive branch because they hate and cannot accept that Barack Obama is the President and leader of the free world. Subsequently, they have completely destroyed the concept of a working government and made a mockery the entire world now sees as a dysfunctional circus. The latest outrage, the open letter signed by 47 Republican senators, is the greatest sign to date that the spoiled little children are throwing a fit and are furious they are not allowed to be president and control foreign policy.
There is nothing in the United States Constitution that gives Congress oversight or authority of the nation’s foreign policy, and the Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear the President is the sole power and representative of America on the world stage. According to the United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp (1936), in speaking for the majority Justice Sutherland wrote: “The President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.” Sutherland also noted that, “The President is the constitutional representative of the United States with regard to foreign nations. He manages our concerns with foreign nations, and must necessarily determine when, how, and upon what subjects negotiation may be urged with the greatest prospect of success. For his conduct, he is responsible to the Constitution.”
This has been the case since America’s founding, and yet as has been noted recently, for the first time in history a group of Republican senators still angry they are not the President apparently believe they have authority over negotiations with foreign nations. It is true the Senate can advise and give consent for treaties, but this Iran and P5+1 negotiation is in no conceivable way a treaty. It is also not an agreement between America and Iran, President Obama and Ayatollah Khomeini, or any variant thereof. Republicans cannot accept this fact. President Obama, as represented by Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power represent America’s one voice among six nations negotiating an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As the Iranian Foreign Minister reminded the GOP 47, “the current negotiation with P5+1 [Britain, China, France, Germany Russia and the United States] will result in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action concluded with five other countries including all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and endorsed by a Security Council resolution.” Still, Republicans believe it is their dog-given duty, and within their purview, to either stop negotiations or negate an international agreement because they believe they are the president and have authority over American foreign policy; something even war criminal Dick Cheney regards as outrageous.
In 1986, Dick Cheney was incensed that some legislators in a congressional committee investigating the illegal and contentious Iran-Contra scandal dared to interfere with then-president Reagan’s policy and negotiations with Iran. In fact, Republicans claimed that Congress, not Reagan, had “done something wrong” because according to Cheney, the president had “constitutional authority to ignore the congressional ban on giving aid to Nicaraguan Contras;” regardless that it was patently illegal. In fact, Cheney condemned the House investigative committee and said they had better understand “the proper roles of Congress and the President in foreign policy. Throughout the nation’s history, Congress has accepted substantial exercises of Presidential power in the conduct of diplomacy. What President Reagan did was constitutionally protected exercises of inherent Presidential powers. The power of the purse is not and was never intended to be a license for Congress to usurp Presidential powers and functions. You have to preserve the prerogative of the President not to notify Congress at all.”
Republicans cannot accept what Cheney rightly called “the proper roles of Congress and the President” as they apply to foreign policy whatsoever. In fact, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker (R-TN) did not sign the ‘open letter‘ to Iran because he “did not think that the letter was going to produce an outcome that we’re all seeking, and that is Congress playing that appropriate role” in determining foreign policy with Iran. There is no appropriate role for Congress on foreign policy with Iran and Corker knows it. Foreign policy is the purview of the Executive branch under President Obama; not the Legislative branch under Republicans who are deluded in thinking that they and Netanyahu are the president and control foreign policy.
It has been over six years since Americans elected Barack Obama as their President, and congressional Republicans have acted like they won the White House ever since. There is nothing this President has done that Republicans have failed to cite as overreach, unconstitutional, and illegal since 2009. Every executive order Obama has issued, regardless his predecessor issued the same ones, has been attacked mercilessly as inherently unconstitutional and illegal; likely because of the President’s race. The GOP’s failed ploy to supersede the Executive branch’s over issuing a pipeline permit to a foreign corporation was bad enough, but this latest attempt to sabotage the President and dictate foreign policy as Netanyahu’s surrogates is beyond the pale.
Legal scholars and historical precedent inform that the idea of the GOP47 violating the Logan Act is a non-starter. As an aside, the Logan Act has only been used once in 1803, and the case was summarily dismissed. In fact, in legal circles something known as “desuetude” is a legal doctrine that means statutes may lapse if they are never enforced; the Logan Act certainly falls into that category. However, this latest Republican stunt is beyond a violation of an archaic law; it is a clear sign that in practice, Republicans do not recognize the United States Constitution or presidential authority they believe belongs to them.
Republicans in Congress have never accepted the results of two legal general elections and in fact began acting as if they won control of the White House in January 2009. They have displayed the actions of delusional sycophants and deliberately retarded progress in this country as retribution on the people for not giving them, and recently a foreigner, control of the Executive Branch. It is true the desperately want a major war with Iran, but controlling the Executive is what their latest attempt to sabotage President Obama’s constitutional foreign policy authority is all about.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.