Friday, March 13, 2015

Senators Should be Ashamed of Actions


This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Friday, March 13, 2015
 
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia

     

            This is addressed to the 47 Republican members of the United States Senate who recently signed an open letter to the leaders of Iran.


            Dear Senators:


            You should be ashamed of yourselves.  You are an embarrassment to your states, your country, your party and the people you represent.  Your behavior is un-American, bordering on treasonous and treacherous, and damaging to the government you allegedly serve.  And frankly, those are the kindest things I can find to say about what you have done.


            You alleged leaders wrote a letter to a foreign government undermining the President of the Unites States.  You did this while your President and Secretary of State were engaged in negotiations with that government.  You put party politics ahead of our country, and tried to disguise it as standing up for America.


            The topic being negotiated is irrelevant to this conversation.  It does not matter if you agree with what is being discussed.  There are legitimate avenues for you to express support or opposition to this process, and you have stepped beyond them.  You can disagree with the President’s stance on these negotiations at the top of your voice on national television for hours if you like.


            But you communicated directly with foreign leaders who you in the past have (justifiably) accused of sponsoring terrorism.  You flat-out told them the President could not guarantee the government of the Unites States would stand by his actions.  You did so while publicly proclaiming you were just making sure these leaders understood how American government really works.

 
            It seems they understand it just fine, Senators.  You are the ones who apparently don’t get it.


            You have invited others to disrespect your President, your government, and yourselves.  You have made it appear the leader of the free world does not speak for the people who twice elected him.  You have overstepped your bounds, gone beyond your authority, and made yourselves look petty and foolish.

 
            In your letter you used the words “Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.”  A mere executive agreement?  Like that means nothing?  Like the word of the President of the United States means less because the prevailing political party in Congress does not agree with him?  That disgusts me, Senators.


            Criticize the President all you want.  Slam his actions, his methods, his philosophies.  Complain about his politics and where he is leading the country.  This system of government which you appear intent on undermining gives you that right.


            But the office of President of the United States deserves better than this.  Regardless of who occupies the White House, we are only as good as the word of our President.  That individual carries on his or her shoulders the responsibility to speak for a nation that was founded upon the basic principles of democracy.


            Vice President Joe Biden put it best the other day when he said:  “This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that our commander-in-chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments — a message that is as false as it is dangerous.  Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger.”


            However, you 47 senators did achieve one pretty impressive accomplishment.  You managed to make the leadership of Iran appear reasonable and rational.


            Iranian response to your letter was exactly as it should be.  They recognized it for the desperately political act it so obviously was.  Iran’s Foreign Minister said, “We believe the letter has no legal value and is propaganda.”  And he was right.


            If this were a group of Democratic senators undermining the authority of a Republican President, I would feel exactly the same.  In fact, I was angry when well-known individual Democrats deliberately undermined past Presidents.


            But this is far more outrageous.  This is a near-majority of the US Senate deliberately devaluing the power and authority of executive orders issued by the President.  It is nothing short of an attack on the very foundation of American democracy.

 
            You Republican senators can try and claim the high ground here, but the end does not justify the means.  Shame on you.  When you disrespect the office of the President to a foreign nation, you disrespect America.

 
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official.  He can be emailed at aninsidelook@aol.com and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

4 comments:

Jim said...

I AM VERY PROUD OF THE LEADERSHIP SHOWN BY THE COURAGEOUS SENATORS WHO STAND AGAINST OUR ROGUE PRESIDENT...OUR PRESIDENT WHO IS ASSISTING OUR ENEMY TO BE ABLE TO ACQUIRE NUCLEAR WEAPONS...OUR PRESIDENT WHO HAS BETRAYED OUR ALLIES ISRAEL AND SAUDI ARABIA...AND SENT A CLEAR MESSAGE TO THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT THAT WE THE PEOPLE ARE NOT BLIND TO THEIR INTENTIONS AND DESPITE OUR CURRENT ADMINISTRATION WE AS AMERICANS WILL STAND AGAINST THEM...

Chuck said...

Jim , you clearly don't get Mr. Gouveia's message, and you make valid points that I may agree with,but proud of their leadership is not the feeling I get! Petty grandstanding, high school like antics probably could make other comparisons but not now! This type of leadership is why we are where we are today in this country! Let's grow up act like the supposedly responsible elected officials chosen to take our country in a direction that makes us all proud to be Americans not republican or democrat!

Scott Kelly said...

While I agree that it was not a great strategy for the Republicans, Democrats have a long history of doing the same thing. Two wrongs don't make a right, but the Republicans have not cornered the market on embarrassing themselves.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/10/7-times-democrats-advised-americas-enemies-to-oppose-the-president/

Bill Gouveia said...

The "But they did it too" defense is weak at best. This was a disgrace, pure and simple.