On Monday, 47 Republican U.S. senators sent a letter to Iran’s leaders warning them that any deal they cut with the Obama administration on that nation’s nuclear program is subject to congressional approval, without which the deal is nothing more than a “mere executive agreement.” The move unsurprisingly is generating heat — and not exclusively from the left. An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal chastises the signatories for taking “their eye off that ball,” which, the editors write, should be to vote on the president’s “security blunder.”
It is easy to understand the GOP’s jitters over the deal that is shaping up in Tehran, but it’s hard so far to see any good that has come out of the so-called “Cotton letter,” named for Tom Cotton, the freshman senator from Arkansas who drafted it. Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarifm, was quick to respond, releasing a statement that read in part:
It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history.
The president also wasted no time before going off half-cocked, accusing the senators of “wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran.” But this time it was his enablers in the mainstream media that really lost any semblance of self-control. New York’s Daily News accused the Republican lawmakers of treason, tweeting its cover:
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 10, 2015
Liberal mouthpiece Thom Hartmann picked up on the treason theme:
— Thom Hartmann (@Thom_Hartmann) March 9, 2015
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, meanwhile, castifated Cotton, minutes before he was scheduled to appear on “Morning Joe,” telling viewers:
If anyone had any reservations that what the Republicans did when they brought Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress to address Congress was not an effort to undercut the president, this then could perhaps seal the deal in your mind that everything they do is focused in almost an obsessive and destructive way to undermine the president and to undermine the president’s effort to get a deal as opposed to going to war.