The Letter

Republicans in the Senate have sent a letter to Iran’s leadership informing them of the Constitutional limitations of any deal the President may make without the approval of Congress. This is in response to Mr. Obama’s apparent intention to make such a deal as an ‘executive agreement’ that he can conclude without seeking Congress’s consent. (And this, in turn, is due to the fact that he lacks robust support in Congress for his scheme, and so wouldn’t get such consent if he asked for it.)

I’ll go on record as saying that I think this was a needless and needlessly polarizing gesture, unless one makes the (not wholly unpersuasive) argument that more polarization, or indeed anything that hastens the inevitable crisis and final showdown in this fatally fractured nation (of which the current political polarization is only a symptom) is something to be encouraged. Even if you accept that argument, though, it’s silly to think that Iran’s leaders aren’t fully aware of the Constitutional limitations of Mr. Obama’s powers here, or of how deeply divided we are over the deal he’s trying to make. So it’s important to be clear that the letter is nothing more than a public rebuke of the President, and a public airing to the rest of the world of the depth of our internal fissures — an increasingly pugnacious conflict that some have already called, and I think rightly, a cold civil war.

Liberals, of course, consider the Republican epistle a shocking violation of protocol and intranational solidarity, and something closely akin to treason. The corresponding opinion on the Right is that this President, in the service of an ideology that is deeply inimical to the traditional American nation, its people, and its values, has been defying our Constitutional order in every way he can, and should be checked and countered wherever possible. The signatories of this letter also believe, I suppose, that the agreement being pursued by Messrs. Obama and Kerry is almost certain to be a bad one, and so they are doing everything in their power to snuff it out in utero.

The letter, however, accomplishes nothing, and just seems petulant. So I think it was a silly idea.

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40 Comments

  1. Ordinarily I would agree that undiplomatic dealings among our Branches of the Federal Government is not in our Nation’s best interests. But petulance is Obama’s middle name (he has two) and diplomacy in dealing with Congress or the Supremes is, for him, a show of weakness (as his frequent taunts aimed at his political opponents have demonstrated).

    So in these antagonistic times I think a taste of his own medicine is OK with me.

    Posted March 9, 2015 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
  2. Whitewall says

    Personally, I am fine with the “public rebuke” aspect of this letter. Iranian officials are well aware of our system and are not worried by it as they have Obama as a show poodle needing a deal for a treat. Our friends and allies need to know that America is still here, we just have to wait 22 months before we can wipe away the slime of this president.

    As for this “cold civil war”, I learned long ago and far away that when you find yourself embroiled in a civil war, the best thing to do is fight it. I view all this as nothing more than the final battle of the Cold War since the fall of the USSR.

    The ideological Cold War simply paused, changed players and dates, and has relocated to the only place it was ever going to end..the USA. With Obama’s curious rise to power from murky origins, Dems finally have their catalyst. This era will finally sort out who is whom and who stands where.

    Democrats can either stand with their president or they can stand with America. Not both. Meantime, their bobble head mobs of rent a reds who are placed around the country for purposes of agitprop go about driving normal people away. Into this contrived “theater in the round” there needs to be well timed and aimed “letters of rebuke”. This serves to “make liberal heads explode”. An easy task these days.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink
  3. I like your style, WW — and your worldview.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink
  4. The letter is akin to a married couple fighting in public in front of their children and strangers. It harms the children and the strangers walk away thinking, what a unstable home for those poor kids. The couple remains oblivious to how their behavior did any harm and both members of this couple feel righteous indignation at their partner.

    Foreign policy from the United States of America should be conducted in one voice. We have a President who has gone rogue and the Congress, as a co-equal branch of government, chooses not to rein in his excesses. The judicial branch is split along political ideological lines too. Foreigners see only American weakness, fecklessness and instability – hardly a platform for us to project any sort of American strength globally. This President insanely announces he hears every unfolding controversy from the news, letting the entire world know he is either a bold-faced liar or the most uninformed, clueless nincompoop ever to hold that office.

    Regardless of the Democrat reaction, this is no way to run American foreign policy. We either fix our fractured polity and culture or America will face rising threats, as adversarial countries size up our dysfunctional “family’….

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink
  5. LB,

    I totally agree. But, but, in the meantime …

    How the hell can we deal with this anti-American president while he holds the levers of power?

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    I learned long ago and far away that when you find yourself embroiled in a civil war, the best thing to do is fight it.

    There are times — and they are more frequent now — when I think that the only way to move beyond this tottering wreck, and begin to build whatever we can upon its rubble, is to help it fall, as quickly as possible. Forget Hillary: Al Sharpton in 2016!

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
  7. Whitewall says

    Sharpton 2016! My lunch nearly came up.
    Our vigilant president, yesterday, let some media know that there is now another threat to our national security. My God, I thought he might be going to “out himself” at long last. But no, he informs us it is poor Venezuela. A Bolivarian Socialist dictatorship that is imploding because well, socialism, you know. We see images from there at times and read a bit in the media. A couple of blogs do a great job of covering as well.

    The remarks Obama made had to do with civil rights and protest and such, but no admission of “this is what the heck it looks like when socialism collapses”. It is the images of socialism in collapse so near to us that will be appearing on video that have Obama so concerned.

    As for the outcome there…Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte will be most impacted.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    Libertybelle,

    Your comment expresses better than my own remarks the reasons I thought the letter was undignified and inappropriate.

    As both Jesus and Lincoln observed, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” The question, then, is whether the divisions in America have grown so deep that they are beyond reconciliation. I am increasingly convinced that this is indeed the case, and I have been saying so for a long time now. (Others are beginning to realize this too, but I’ll save that for a post of its own.)

    If our house truly can no longer stand, the best thing is to let it fall — the sooner the better — so we can begin to build anew. The duty of conservatives, patriots, and all who seek to preserve the Western tradition then becomes the construction of some sort of ‘ark’ that can ride out the coming deluge.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  9. JK says

    OT sorry. Whitewall, I noticed something you might, since it’s got a NC connection, you might get into the hands of.

    http://www.ktlo.com/Confederate-soldier-to-be-honored-in-Craighead-Cou/21109052

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  10. Henry, I was standing in line at the grocery store this morning and saw the Globe Magazine tabloid headline blaring Obama is insane. http://www.globemagazine.com/content/doctors-say-obama-insane. I was afraid to pick it up and read the story – geez, and here we are worrying about Iran having fingers on nukes…

    If America survives this corrupt President, 2016 isn’t real promising either – the brazen liar for the Dems, whom, if you’ll pardon my language, is batshit crazy, imo. Then who knows with the GOP, but we can rest assured the chances of an honest, strong, principled, resolute leader there are very slim. Need to buy some rose-colored glasses soon…

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  11. Whitewall says

    Libertybelle, btw, nice blog page you have there.

    If our current America is to continue to fail which it surely is doing, then some must believe it is succeeding by some irrational measure. Maybe there comes a tipping point where traditional America becomes infuriated enough and says “no more”. The more the Left succeeds, the faster they fail. In this case, it is vital to keep the pressure on the Left by any and all means necessary. This will keep us on the offensive and them ranting and raving and pulling their hair out. America is still within us. It may get a bit ugly, but so what? It’s worth it.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  12. Thanks Whitewall, Sadly, the vast majority of Americans don’t follow politics or even read the news. The politically motivated tend to be energized by partisan issues or highly sensationalized news reporting, which motivates them to engage in protests or join groups committed to single, hot button issues.

    Finding America’s way back from the edge of this cliff will require uniting America around simple American values again, not engaging in more partisan fighting. We need someone with the moral compass of George Washington, the vision of Abraham Lincoln and the patience (persistence) of Job. Sadly, I fear most Americans won’t drag themselves away from pop culture entertainment long enough to even see our collapse coming.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    Libertybelle,

    Finding America’s way back from the edge of this cliff will require uniting America around simple American values again, not engaging in more partisan fighting.

    I think that, in the absence of a crisis so dire that it forces everyone to choose sides, those who can be united around those values already are united around them, and are losing — faster and faster — to those who are united around their negation.

    Yes, there are apathetic multitudes who might still be reached (such as the empty-headed college students you linked to at your blog), but it will take a serious threat to their comfort to stir them — and the Left’s primary aim is to keep the masses swaddled in soft batting until it’s far too late for anything to be done.

    Conflict, at least, has the possibility to disturb their slumber. And the willingness to engage in conflict in the defense of liberty is a simple American value.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink
  14. “Conflict, at least, has the possibility to disturb their slumber. And the willingness to engage in conflict in the defense of liberty is a simple American value.”

    Indeed. America, The Sleeping Giant, has historically been very slow to respond to external threats. But when it finally is persuaded to act in its best interests it performs brilliantly (e.g., World War II; Desert Storm) because it then presents a united front.

    When it comes to internal threats, however, America’s response has been anything but brilliant, albeit persistent and ultimately victorious (e.g., the Revolutionary War; the Civil War). Though Americans were divided in the Revolution and in the Civil War, the Union of the Colonies and of the United States survived because of the great good fortune of having the leadership of Washington and Lincoln, respectively.

    The $64k question today, of course, is, “Where in God’s name are we going to find another Washington or Lincoln?”

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink
  15. Malcolm,

    I agree with many of your points and yes, as one who swore the oath decades ago, to protect and defend The Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, I agree that:

    “Conflict, at least, has the possibility to disturb their slumber. And the willingness to engage in conflict in the defense of liberty is a simple American value.”

    But: Let us remember that remnants of the ravages of the US Civil War can still be easily found and that political, ethnic and racial hatred can persist through many generations. At least, hopefully, history has taught us that much. My hope is that we can avoid bloodshed and violence to repair the rends in our American fabric. Of course, I understand those who want to be prepared, but there’s a quote from Machiavelli, of all people, in his Discourses on Livy (discussing Republics,no less), that has stuck with my for years:

    “A republic may, likewise, be brought back to its original form, without recourse to ordinances for enforcing justice, by the mere virtues of a single citizen, by reason that these virtues are of such influence and authority that good men love to imitate them, and bad men are ashamed to depart from them.”

    We need some worthy leaders and I am sure that across America we possess such people, both men and women who love America. I have encountered many such leaders during my years around the US Army, perhaps some of them will emerge and try to rebuild the American team (that recurring theme of mine – http://libertybellediaries.com/2012/12/26/survival-the-mind-set/).

    Trying to incite violence like the Ferguson situation, the FTP protests and ugly race-baiting and incendiary tactics by this President and the likes of Al Sharpton cause me worry though. Van Jones, an acknowledged ideological inspiration to Obama and Valerie Jarrett, advocates for fueling a racial civil war. Let’s hope that in the information age, we can work to calm the waters and unite people, avoid bloodshed and violence and perhaps with enough effort – learn to reach across partisan divides and talk to each other as fellow Americans, instead of political opponents.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink
  16. Malcolm says

    Libertybelle,

    I agree wholeheartedly with all of your sentiments here, and wouldn’t have dissented from them in the slightest as recently as a few years ago. But both my own views and the state of the nation have, shall we say, ‘evolved’ since then.

    As for the nation, I fear that we have long ago passed the point where even another Washington could call enough of the people back to the character it possessed at the time of its ‘original form’ (although certainly many, many Americans yearn for such a leader, and would instantly rally round). The rot is simply too deep, and the displacement of the necessary virtues — and indeed, of the founding people themselves — has gone too far.

    Benjamin Franklin said:

    …only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.

    John Adams:

    Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

    Even to an unbeliever like me, the sense of this rings true. And I think this ship, as they say, has sailed.

    As for my own views, I am increasingly persuaded that the decay and decline of this nation, and of the West in general, is part of a natural sequence that runs from organic hierarchy to republic to democracy to tyranny to collapse — an entropic process of increasing disorder, in which all the gradients from which a society can harvest usable energy are progressively leveled.

    So while I share your yearning for a peaceful reversal of time’s arrow, I no longer share your optimism. It will not happen, for the same thermodynamic reasons that one cannot reanimate a corpse.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink
  17. Malcolm says

    So: bottoms up, everybody! This round’s on me. We’re going to have work to do on the morrow of the storm.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink
  18. Troy says

    I think the term “Cold Civil War” is a quite perspicacious observation describing the current social situation.

    In the first Civil War, we had a nice bright dividing point like, say, the Mason-Dixon line. But where are the fault lines today? I find defining the fault lines difficult for I see many: Leftist vs. Reality, feminist vs. any who dares love or is a man, Islam vs. Western Civilization, Blacks vs Blacks, X Race vs. Y Race, the bankers vs ?, etc. My intuition says that a Venn diagram of the interests/sides at issue in the first civil war are a lot less than if you drew one for today. It seem way more complicated.

    Anywhoo. About those lazy, ambivalent masses? How can you have a war with so many people who don’t know what is going on in their own region much less than the world. Can you have any kind of civil war when the sheep are too many consuming Kim’s latest Gluteus Maximus picture© on the latest Samsung Galxy 12™ while eating some Extra Crispy Kentucky Fried Chicken™ But maybe that is why it is a cold war. People are just to lazy to give a fats rats to take the time to pick a side.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
  19. Malcolm, this has turned into a very interesting discussion. I’ve enjoyed pondering all the comments here. My faith in God floundered through some long years of personal struggle, yet it is through those years of despair, when I thought all hope had deserted me that I came to trust in God. Still working on some important issues with my faith, but I retain a firm conviction that faith truly can move mountains and with God there are no “insurmountable obstacles”.

    Your more scientific and clinical observation of a cyclical nature to civilizational collapse carries a heavy weight of historical evidence to document that process, but here is where my faith comes in. I do not believe that a man made system (government) locks us into a vicious cycle unto perpetuity. We can not escape the very foibles of human nature, but I firmly believe that good leaders can, to borrow a Biblical phase, “lead us to that shining city on the hill”. I believe we can change for the better. It all depends on what we believe.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm | Permalink
  20. Malcolm says

    Libertybelle,

    The linearity you describe is itself a profoundly Christian, and by extension Western, view. It lingers in the very name of ‘progressivism’.

    I share your confidence in the power of charismatic leaders, both for good and ill, and there may very well be another Washington among us. What I have begun to think, though, is that even such a leader could not reverse the latter-day condition of this nation, and that we will first have to pass through some very hard times, in which much will be lost and broken down, before the rebirth you imagine will be possible.

    I do believe there is still a seed of something new and good in our people, but it may be that, like the jack-pine tree, we must pass through fire to release it. It is our duty to cherish and protect that seed, for it will be our children’s only connection to their heritage and their birthright.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink
  21. Malcolm says

    Troy, you are right. The nation has become, as Barack Obama happily observed, a ‘hodgepodge’.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
  22. LB,

    I am not sure who or what deserves the credit, but I do know from personal experience that miraculous turns of events can occur. Perhaps we will never see the likes of Washington and Lincoln again. But maybe another Truman or Eisenhower could come along and do what needs to be done.

    I’ll drink to that and keep my fingers crossed.

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink
  23. Malcolm says

    Let me put this another way.

    What will our latter-day Washington do with this?

    Posted March 10, 2015 at 11:27 pm | Permalink
  24. Point made Malcolm, omg.

    Posted March 11, 2015 at 1:06 am | Permalink
  25. Whitewall says

    “What will our latter-day Washington do with this?” Get him on camera for the widest distribution possible. Make the Lefties embrace their own freaks.

    Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink
  26. What, no eye-brow piercings?

    Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  27. Malcolm says

    Well, that was a show-stopper. Sorry.

    Too busy to post anything for a day or two.

    Posted March 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  28. Whitewall says

    Well, looks like the music world lost Jimmy Greenspoon of 3 Dog Night fame.

    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink
  29. JK says

    Posted March 11, 2015 at 11:04 pm | Permalink
  30. Whitewall says

    Frank and The Mother’s would be a hit today I believe in some quarters.

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  31. Whitewall says

    Regarding much of the commentary on this thread, I saw this just now–http://www.gallup.com/poll/181946/americans-name-government-no-problem.aspx

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink
  32. WW,

    That link also caught my eye …

    Possible awakenings?

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
  33. Whitewall says

    Henry, it’s hard to tell. We see America constantly polling “wrong track” 60-70%. Maybe some of these things start to come together. It also takes some gutsy “I don’t give a damn” pols to start telling some ugly truths about Washington as well. Democrats aren’t the only problem, gelding Republicans are just as bad. Much work to be done and many people need to be called out loud and ugly.

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  34. Malcolm says

    Thanks for that, Whitewall.

    I notice climate change didn’t even make the list.

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  35. Whitewall says

    “I notice climate change didn’t even make the list”. Al Gore hardest hit?

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  36. But then, there’s this piece of dreck:

    Clinton Favorability, Familiarity Bests 2016 Contenders.”

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  37. Whitewall says

    “Clinton Favorability, Familiarity Bests 2016 Contenders.” America hardest hit?

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  38. “We see America constantly polling “wrong track” 60-70%. Maybe some of these things start to come together. It also takes some gutsy “I don’t give a damn” pols to start telling some ugly truths about Washington as well. Democrats aren’t the only problem, gelding Republicans are just as bad.”

    Polling is a huge con game played on Americans. I’ve done it myself to make cheap points in political debate. You hunt for the poll numbers as substantively proving your point, when in reality it’s a flimsy number arrived at through a large subset of variables consisting of some combination of selecting questions and those to be questioned and pollers to be the determiners of those variables. Of course, the pollers control the variables, making them and their methodology part of the variables too. They’ve convinced us that this hugely svengali type process is “scientific”.

    Aside from the con, convincing us that the poll itself heralds some hard fact, we are led, liked trained parrots, to recite poll numbers, with our media and political minders using these numbers to define societal values, societal political views and lead people to a particular mainstream view.

    Using polls avoids the necessity of debating the merits (or lack thereof) of issues, by casting the views outside the “majority” opinion reflected as a fringe, outlier view, unworthy of consideration. Politicians reliance on polls, creates a system of gutless and spineless, and mindless leadership, which in truth is as decapitated as when Obama kills another Al Qaeda #3 leader. There’s always more behind to spout the polled orthodoxy.

    Leadership, by it’s very nature, requires often swimming against the tide of “popular” opinion and standing up for an “unpopular” view. Leaders don’t rely on “polls”, they rely on principles to guide their steps. Washington crushes every vestige of good leadership quickly, imho.

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink
  39. JK says

    Careful there LB.

    You’re coming close to goading one of those variables to make an appearance.

    Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink
  40. Whitewall says

    Libertybelle..that makes sense. When polls are the news, the news is really what someone wants to avoid. It does however seem that our election polling comes together pretty well.

    Posted March 13, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink