This week, 47 Republicans tacked their names on an open letter to Tehran, but now a few of the Republican signatories of the Iran letter are expressing some regret. The letter outlined the role of Congress in ratifying any treaties, effectively telling Iran that any deal reached is temporary and cannot withstand long without Congressional support. Now, some members of the GOP are wondering if their actions were a little rash and should have signed the document in pencil.
John McCain mentioned some concerns about the act during an interview with Politico. “It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm,” adding, “I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.”
Weather and and excitement for a vacation should not be an excuse for a rapid decision that could have serious implications on the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Tehran. Come on, it's almost childish. You've got to get your work done before you get a reward.
Perhaps, had a more lengthy discussion occurred, the senators would have realized that there was a more appropriate person or group to address their concerns. The American political process promotes debate, and it would not be wrong, or unprecedented for elected officials to express apprehensions to the president — just to clarify, the president of the United States.
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin expressed some regret over the Iran letter over just this during a breakfast with Bloomberg reporters, saying that his "only regret is who it's addressed, but "none whatsoever" about "the content of the letter, the fact that it was an open letter." That's fair. The letter was addressed to the "Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran." But there's not a lot Iranian leaders can do to facilitate greater interaction between the Republicans in the legislature and the Obama administration. (Though The New Yorker published a satirical piece about Iran acting as mediator between the two parties).
But we're also just seeing excuses, and confusing ones at that. During an appearance on NBC, Senator Rand Paul defended his choice to sign the letter under the premise that he thought it would “strengthen the president’s hand" at the negotiating table. Really? Because it seemed to say the next president could nix any deal reached by this president.
The backlash against the GOP letter has also come from within the Republican Party, with seven senators abstaining from signing. Senator Susan Collins didn't sign the letter because it didn't address the right person with the problem. Congress is elected to serve as a check over the executive branch. Instead of taking the time to explain the principles of the U.S. Constitution to Iranian leaders, perhaps they should do their job and pose all questions to the White House.
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