Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Whatever you think of the letter to Iran from 47 Republican senators, one thing is clear: It's made Obama doubters in the Democratic Party less likely to cooperate with Republicans on efforts to challenge the president:
Democrats say that as concerned as they are about an emerging deal with Iran, Republicans’ extraordinary moves to undermine Mr. Obama’s efforts to reach an agreement are weakening their resolve to cross party lines and challenge their own president.

“I think Republicans have made it harder for us to approach this in a careful and bipartisan way,” said Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, who has been a leader in his party on pushing for congressional review of the administration’s policies on war and sanctions, and is a sponsor of a bill to review any removal of congressionally imposed sanctions on Iran.

He added: “I regret that this partisan and nutty behavior makes people focus on politics and not the substance.”
This, of course, follows another act of Republican hubris, John Boehner's unilateral decision to ask Benjamin Netanyahu to Obama-bash before a joint session of Congress. That also alienated the GOP's potential Democratic allies:
Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, the most outspoken opponent of an Iran deal, to address a joint meeting of Congress last week angered the White House and prompted many Democrats, even ardent supporters of Israel, to boycott the speech.

Shortly after the address, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, moved to speed consideration of the bill to review the Iran deal, which would have led to votes on it before the late-March negotiating deadline for an outline of the agreement. Democratic sponsors of that bill reacted angrily and said that Republicans were politicizing diplomacy and that they would not vote on the measure until after the negotiating deadline.
On the most basic level, this should earn the GOP some Ron Fournier-style finger-wagging: Sure, Republicans won in 2014, but can they lead? Remember how Fournier sand his ilk define "leadership" in reference to President Obama: It's not enough for Obama to advance policy goals, he has to get buy-in from Republicans for those goals, even though Republicans hate him and refuse to cooperate with him on anything. By contrast, in the present situation, some Democrats are quite willing to cross the aisle and work with Republicans -- but Republicans are alienating them. The GOP isn't leading well!

But, of course, that's because Republicans these days care about brand-building a hell of a lot more than they do about accomplishing anything. The way to build the GOP brand is to define the president and other Democrats as unspeakably horrible and evil and un-American in new ways at every possible moment, as a means of keeping Republican base voters angry and fired up. By that standard, the Netanyahu speech and the senators' letter were resounding successes. Who cares if they alienated potential allies in Congress?

The long-term goal is for Republicans to get control of the entire government. Then they'll legislate like crazy, with no Democratic input, in three areas: lining the pockets of the rich, driving foreign policy in the direction of more and more war, and giving social conservatives and gun nuts pretty much everything they want. (The last item is to keep the voters reelecting Republicans so Republicans can keep pursuing the first two items.)

But until that opportunity comes, Republicans don't care about advancing an agenda. They just care about keeping their fans pumped up and enraged.


aimai said...

I think this is right, Steve, but I also think that they are very much in the bully school of thinking. So I am pretty sure that some large proportion of them think that this kind of behavior will have a salutory effect on Obama and the Iranians by teaching them their place. I'm really, really, sure that the whole "invite bibi" thing was meant to force Obama--though how it would do that no sane person can figure--to drop his negotiations with the Iranians. I think many Republicans believe this kind of thing is possible. So they do have a plan. Its just not a realistic one.

Victor said...

Today's GOP;
Party over people!

Party over country!!

PARTY UBER ALLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yastreblyansky said...

Everybody notice that Tom Cotton got nearly a million dollars from Dr. William Kristol's Emergency Committee for Israel five months ago? Spread it around.

Grung_e_Gene said...

The Republicans staged a Coup d'etat in the Senate as soon as President Obama was sworn in creating the 60 vote minimum.

Now, flush off of the crowning success of years of minority party obstructionism they figured they would flex their majority muscle and show their rabid base how they'll heel PBO.

But, the real goal is War with Iran in order to steal another 3 Trillion Dollars and the Republicans know that an agreement between the US and Iran will dampen War Fever especially if the Iranians honor it.

Dark Avenger said...

They'll come up with a new Hillary scandal by next week, something that appeals to the morons, fools and Internet trolls that make up their base.