March 15, 2015

Tom Cotton has "no regrets" because "if the president and the secretary of state were intent on driving a hard bargain, they would be able to point to this letter and say, they're right."

"When past senators like Joe Biden or Jesse Helms communicated directly with foreign leaders, past presidents, like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, did just that. The fact that President Obama doesn't see this letter as a way to get more leverage at the negotiating table just underscores that he is not negotiating for the hardest deal possible. He's negotiating a deal that is going to put Iran on the path to a bomb, if not today or tomorrow, then 10 years from now."

On "Face the Nation" this morning.

96 comments:

Sam L. said...

They can deny this, but refuting it... They can try, but their Believability = Zero.

The Godfather said...

An excellent performance in his rookie reason. Wonder what he'll do when he's had some experience.

cubanbob said...

Obama and his flacks and hacks can try but its difficult to refute the obvious truth.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Hi, I'm a junior Senator named Tom Bumpkin Cotton and I'm stupid enough to believe that no leverage over Iran in the form of no agreement with them is better than agreements that would have them uphold certain responsibilities and commitments to the most powerful country in the world in coordination with five or six of the next most-powerful political organizations.

I am also stupid enough to telegraph this to the hardliners in Iran who would agree.

Rhythm and Balls said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhythm and Balls said...

An excellent performance in his rookie reason. Wonder what he'll do when he's had some experience.

I don't know. Hopefully parachute himself into Tiananmen Square with a howitzer so that he can show his willingness to back up his overblown rhetoric with the kind of futile courage a guy like him can really appreciate.

Ain't nothin' in this world like making a strong point.

Michael said...

The IAEA notes that they cannot verify the current compliance of the Iranians with the plan already in place. It is unlikely that this inability to verify, forget trust, will get better going forward. The most powerful country in the world in coordination with five or six of the most powerful political organizations cannot make compliance happen today much less in the future.

The administration is trying to get a box checked. I doubt they seriously believe their negotiations are being met with anything but guffaws on the opposing side of the table.

I believe the administration believes it is OK for the Iranians to have a bomb but is willing to wait ten years for them to announce they have it.

cubanbob said...

This junior Senator is far better qualified to be president as demonstrated by his comments that the fool currently in office who by the way was also an unaccomplished junior senator when he was elected.

YoungHegelian said...

Uhhh, isn't this just a clear case of the "Good Cop, Bad Cop" style of negotiation?

When it comes to foreign policy, it's good idea not to believe that what's on the surface for public consumption is what's really happening behind close doors.

There are a lot of people in the government on both sides of the aisle who want the same thing --- for Iran not to have a nuclear weapon. I actually believe that there may be more cooperation between the parties than it seems.

Drago said...

R&B: " Tom Bumpkin Cotton..."

LOL

Harvard BA, Magna Cum Laude
Harvard Law, JD

Strike one.

R&B: ".. I'm stupid enough to believe that no leverage over Iran in the form of no agreement with them is better than agreements.."

LOL

The leverage is in the potential use of military force to preclude further development or slow down development of the materials necessary for creating a nuclear device.

As any child knows.

Strike Three.

R&B: "...that would have them uphold certain responsibilities and commitments to the most powerful country in the world in coordination with five or six of the next most-powerful political organizations."

LOL

There are no "certain responsibilities" that the Iranians will bother to be bound by as obama and lefties such as yourself have already telegraphed your total "coolness" with Iran getting the bomb.

More hilariously, there are no 5 or 6 or even 'eleventy-gazillion' "next most powerful political organizations" (which you wisely did not list to not induce laughter on the part of the readers!) under whose gaze the Iranians would be bound.

Strike three.

Thanks Pharmacology guy!

Have you hugged your Pharmacist today?

Drago said...

YoungHegelian: "There are a lot of people in the government on both sides of the aisle who want the same thing --- for Iran not to have a nuclear weapon"

Irrelevant, for it is obama himself who wants to deliver the nuclear capability to Iran himself.

The ultimate FU to Israel.

Lem said...

The Cotton Scott ticket.

Hagar said...

We have been fighting an undeclared war with Iran for more than a decade, and the Obama administration is now setting them up to be the hegemonial power in the Middle East as they pull all US forces out.

This is going to come back to bite us big-time.

Drago said...

If Tom Cotton really wanted to piss of the lefties, he would just send obama's newest mullah friends (for whom obama is willing to be most flexible indeed) a copy of Constitution.

Can you imagine the outcry of the left if Cotton were to do just that?

YoungHegelian said...

@Drago,

Irrelevant, for it is obama himself who wants to deliver the nuclear capability to Iran himself.

Even if that were true, which I don't believe, in every high-level negotiation between countries, there are all sorts of interests jockeying for position. It's no different under the Obama administration. Or, in Iran, for that matter.

CWJ said...

YoungHegelian,

Boy you'd think like to think so wouldn't you. And by you, I mean the collective "you", including me.

OTOH, Obama's repeated exhibits of thin skin hissy fits argues to just go with Occam's razor on this one as well.

Cotton may or may not have erred with this letter, but his answer today was a good one.

jr565 said...

Ritmo wrote:
Hi, I'm a junior Senator named Tom Bumpkin Cotton and I'm stupid enough to believe that no leverage over Iran in the form of no agreement with them is better than agreements that would have them uphold certain responsibilities and commitments to the most powerful country in the world in coordination with five or six of the next most-powerful political organizations.

What agreement? Iran rejected Obama's 10 year framework.

jr565 said...

Ritmo wrote:
Hi, I'm a junior Senator named Tom Bumpkin Cotton and I'm stupid enough to believe that no leverage over Iran in the form of no agreement with them is better than agreements that would have them uphold certain responsibilities and commitments to the most powerful country in the world in coordination with five or six of the next most-powerful political organizations.


The leverage we have over them with no agreement is sanctions. And if those aren't tough enough, strengthen those. Don't accede all points to Iran.

jr565 said...

Young Hegelian wrote:
Even if that were true, which I don't believe, in every high-level negotiation between countries, there are all sorts of interests jockeying for position. It's no different under the Obama administration. Or, in Iran, for that matter.

If its for show wouldn't a solid front be more strategically advantageous?

Anonymous said...

When HRC starts her campaign, she will have Tom Cotton for breakfast!

He is going to be finished.

Edward Lunny said...

Sure, we should place faith in the veracity of the word of some 9th century pedophile worshippers , whose relationship with the truth and trust is as equally tenuous as Barry's , about nuclear weapons. Weapons that will be directed at us . And senator Cotton and his letter is the real problem ? Yea, sure, clueless much ?

YoungHegelian said...

@jr565,

If its for show wouldn't a solid front be more strategically advantageous?

Not necessarily, because a solid hard-line front would just be a deal-breaker for the Iranians.

But the "G-C,B-C" approach always gives the opening of "C'mon, buddy, let's work a deal here before my partner gets back, because you know what a hard ass he is, and I'll let you off a light lighter", and the deal that gets set-up is what the two partners had the strength of evidence to stand up in court, anyway.

The Godfather said...

@America's Politico: Thanks for the laugh; this discussion was getting too serious.

Rhythm and Balls said...

"Irrelevant, for it is obama himself who wants to deliver the nuclear capability to Iran himself."

Even if that were true, which I don't believe…


But Drago's a total fucking nutter - and incidentally one who doesn't believe a 37-year old lawyer is speaking for the misapprehensions of his provincial Arkansas constituents, or that the number two precedes the number three.

These are the dangers of an adult remedial education student like him taking a nap while watching his favorite Sesame Street episodes.

Drago said...

R&B is clearly in the camp that the Iranians can be trusted to live up to their "agreements" based on obama is magnificent and "5 or 6" of the next most powerful political organizations.

Which, to this moment, remain oddly unnamed.

Why, it's almost like R&B just lobbed that line into his "argument" (such as it is) and didn't expect to be asked about it.

Well, when, like R&B, you are blundering blindly about looking for anything anywhere that would distract from obama doing precisely what he is doing (and rather openly as evidenced by the Iranians responses), you'll latch onto anything.

Hence, the more obama hands over to the Iranians, the greater the volume of blather to be expected from the voice-actuated minions like R&B.

Drago said...

Now would be an excellent time for R&B to nail down his we-can-trust-the-iranian-mullahs argument by bringing up Mark Foley again.

Rhythm and Balls said...

R&B is clearly in the camp that the Iranians can be trusted to live up to their "agreements" based on obama is magnificent and "5 or 6" of the next most powerful political organizations.

Another straw man.

Drago can't control himself. At some point these become predictable. Or if I was as obsessive as he, I'd catalog them.

sinz52 said...

Iran has been the aggressor against America since the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979.

One of the hard-won lessons of the 20th century is that treaties made with aggressive virulently anti-Western dictatorships aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

So one way or the other, the U.S. will either have to give in to Iranian goals of getting atomic weapons--or stop them by force.

Bottom line:

No piece of paper has ever stopped a bullet, let alone a nuclear weapon.

Drago said...

R&B's: "Another straw man."

LOL

R&B's: "Hi, I'm a junior Senator named Tom Bumpkin Cotton and I'm stupid enough to believe that no leverage over Iran in the form of no agreement with them is better than agreements that would have them uphold certain responsibilities and commitments to the most powerful country in the world in coordination with five or six of the next most-powerful political organizations.

I am also stupid enough to telegraph this to the hardliners in Iran who would agree."

3/15/15, 4:25 PM

By all means, name these 5 or 6 political organizations.

Don't keep us in suspense.

We are fully prepared to be "wowed" by your insight...assuming we ever encounter any.

Drago said...

sinz52: "No piece of paper has ever stopped a bullet, let alone a nuclear weapon."

This is no time to bring historical truth and rational thinking into a conversation where R&B is in full help obama spin mode.

Besides, we are still waiting to see this list of 5 or 6 glorious political organizations whose cooperation/oversight/leverage guarantee that obama keeps the Iranian crazies in check.

It must be quite a list as R&B's seems to require significant time compiling it.

hawkeyedjb said...

"I believe the administration believes it is OK for the Iranians to have a bomb"

So do I. There is a fairly small number of people in the world who care if the mullahs do their target practice on Israel, and a great many who would cheer. I don't think any of "those who would care" are in the present administration.

But no matter how much they may hate Israel, they should be aware that arming the mullahs may mean Apocalypse Now. The Jews aren't going quietly into that good night, not this time.

Levi Starks said...

Duh...
Good cop/bad cop

American Liberal Elite said...

Pretzel logic.

machine said...

"But to directly engage a foreign entity, in this way, undermining the strategy and work of our diplomats and our Commander in Chief, strains the very discipline and structure that our foreign relations depend on, to succeed”.


not mature enough to lead...

Michael said...

I believe Obama would shoot craps over the phone with the Iranians.

Eustace Chilke said...

I have a hard time seeing what Obutthole would do differently if he was an outright Islamist. Even down to pretending he's not. Expect the year before election day to be the bloodiest of his presidency.

As for Cotton representing Arkansas, how does this observation qualify as criticism? I've got to live with McCaskill, who represents what.... Some Commie Coast state? I guess Arkansas wasn't such a benighted place when bubba was the best known native son.

Bob Ellison said...

The Left sees atomic weapons scientifically: eventually everyone's gonna have them. It's just a matter of time. Iran is just the latest scare.

The Left also has no interest in the future. I'm gonna die, so who cares?

That dictates Obama's actions. He doesn't care what comes about. Iran can get the bomb, because Iran will get the bomb eventually anyway. That's what most leftists think. The genii is out of the bottle, so why bother fighting it?

Obama's trying to stay rich. There is nothing more.

Bob Ellison said...

To the main point of your post, Professor: Cotton is correct. If Obama were not the dumbest negotiator in the galaxy, he would use this letter to say to Iran, "hey, guys, I'm doing my best, but look at what I've got to work with over here!"

Obama, alas, is the most clueless negotiator in the universe. He could negotiate a 32-mph speeding ticket in a 45-zone into a 60-mph moving violation. We've got idiots here.

jr565 said...

The problem with the good cop bad cop argument is that it seems like the good cop and the bad cop are at cross purposes.

Phil 3:14 said...

I thought the letter was foolish. Do we honestly believe the Iranians don't understand how American government and politics work.

And will Republicans feel the same when the Democratically controlled Senate in 2026 warns the Chinese government that President Cotton is not negotiating with the full consent of the US government?

Bob Ellison said...

Phil 3:14 said...I thought the letter was foolish. Do we honestly believe the Iranians don't understand how American government and politics work.

Uh, question mark.

Anyway, do you believe Americans understand how American government and politics work? Did you just fall off the truck?

jr565 said...

From national review (talking about Cotton's interview on CBS):
After questioning Cotton about whether he had any regrets over writing the letter, Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation, admitted that he found the Cotton’s decision “surprising,” considering that Cotton was a veteran. The New York Times’ Peter Baker added that Cotton’s actions also might have dissuaded some Democrats from pushing back against the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran. “What’s interesting about it though, is it seemed to jeopardize what had been a bipartisan skepticism [of the negotiations],” Baker said. “The White House actually is kind of happy, frankly, that it played out this way.”


inherent underneath all the outrage about Cotton's letter was thwt Obama's own side was deeply skeptical about said negotiations. As are most sentient people.

Even the Iranians have rejected the 10 year framework. even John Kerry suggested it would be non binding. What then are they negotiating for? Are they literally trying to give away the whole store?

machine said...

and now even our allies can't/won't trust us....


brilliant.

and do you really think Obama is the only negotiator on this? really?

CWJ said...

"And will Republicans feel the same when the Democratically controlled Senate in 2026 warns the Chinese government that President Cotton is not negotiating with the full consent of the US government?"

Like this sort of thing hasn't happened already.

tim in vermont said...

If course when Obama contacted the Iranians while Bush was negotiating with them and told them not to worry, he would give them much better terms, that was fine.

Michael K said...

The best discussion of what is going on is this piece today.

The Obama administration may have been prudent to avoid suggesting that it would launch a comprehensive blow that could lead to full-scale war. Sending troops into Iran isn’t wise or viable — and therefore not particularly credible. A surgical strike, on the other hand, is a perfectly credible approach. Israel has demonstrated that twice, with strikes on Iraqi and Syrian nuclear facilities. The United States used its air power alone to devastating effect in Bosnia to end the genocide there. Moreover, it clearly has the technological capability to deliver a crippling strike on Iran. In dismissing the surgical approach, members of the Obama administration have distorted the debate about military action and taken the most credible threat — the only one that gives the negotiations real teeth — off the table.

No one believes that Obama would strike. They could barely get him to agree to the Osama mission or even the Somali kidnapping of the ship captain.

He is trying to run out the clock so that, like Clinton did, he can blame his successor for the disaster that is coming.

Michael K said...

"and do you really think Obama is the only negotiator on this? really?"

The Saudis are supporting Israel and negotiating to buy an atomic program with South Korea. Does that answer your question ?

Drago said...

machine: "and do you really think Obama is the only negotiator on this? really?"

LOL

It's come to this.

Poor obama.

If only he was in a position to exert some influence over the position of our negotiating parties.

I can't wait to see obama's reaction when he reads in the paper precisely what his negotiators have been up to.

Drago said...

Michael K: "The Saudis are supporting Israel and negotiating to buy an atomic program with South Korea. Does that answer your question?"

No fair bringing in the inevitable and now public consequences of obamas actions!

jr565 said...

cotton does make a good point (tying into the good cop bad cop argument) in thst if Obama was really negotiating for a tough deal he could use this as a negotiating tool. But clearly he's not.

dbp said...

Under any scenario, what the Republicans did helps Obama in terms of his negotiation power:

1. If he wants a hard bargain (unlikely, but I don't want to exclude any possibility). He can say that he needs this or it won't get ratified.

2. If he wants a lenient bargain, he can argue that this is the Iranian's chance to act before the hardliners take the White House.

Of course Obama is too stupid to figure any of this out and it is so much easier to act pissy.

EDH said...

CWJ said...
"And will Republicans feel the same when the Democratically controlled Senate in 2026 warns the Chinese government that President Cotton is not negotiating with the full consent of the US government?"

How about senator Barack Obama in 2008?

HOW BARACK OBAMA UNDERCUT BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS WITH IRAN

In 2008, the Bush administration, along with the “six powers,” was negotiating with Iran concerning that country’s nuclear arms program. The Bush administration’s objective was to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. On July 20, 2008, the New York Times headlined: “Nuclear Talks With Iran End in a Deadlock.” What caused the talks to founder? The Times explained:

Iran responded with a written document that failed to address the main issue: international demands that it stop enriching uranium. And Iranian diplomats reiterated before the talks that they considered the issue nonnegotiable.

The Iranians held firm to their position, perhaps because they knew that help was on the way, in the form of a new president. Barack Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination on June 3. At some point either before or after that date, but prior to the election, he secretly let the Iranians know that he would be much easier to bargain with than President Bush. Michael Ledeen reported the story last year:

During his first presidential campaign in 2008, Mr. Obama used a secret back channel to Tehran to assure the mullahs that he was a friend of the Islamic Republic, and that they would be very happy with his policies. The secret channel was Ambassador William G. Miller, who served in Iran during the shah’s rule, as chief of staff for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as ambassador to Ukraine. Ambassador Miller has confirmed to me his conversations with Iranian leaders during the 2008 campaign.

So Obama secretly told the mullahs not to make a deal until he assumed the presidency, when they would be able to make a better agreement. Which is exactly what happened: Obama abandoned the requirement that Iran stop enriching uranium, so that Iran’s nuclear program has sped ahead over the months and years that negotiations have dragged on.

jr565 said...

For the libs, I thought a nuclear arms race was not a good thing. When we got into the whole containing Iran what do the liberals think the intention was? To get a deal where it's easier for Iran to get nukes?
Some people don't want us to be containing Iran at all, and for them any deal that allows Iran to get its way is a good deal. My guess is Ritmo falls in this camp.
There is another camp of people. Let's call them sane, who think IZran getting a nuke is not a good idea. and so any negotiations need to lead to thst result, not to Iran getting to stretch out the clock while enriching uranium.
Obama and Kerry in negotiating their ten year framework thsts not even binding and has no way to let us know if Iran is cheating, can't possibly think that there negotiation is a good one.

And so, you are left with the suggestion thst either Obama is one of the worst negotiators in history, or he really doesn't have a problem with Iran getting nukes.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Do we honestly believe the Iranians don't understand how American government and politics work."

A majority of Americans don't understand how American government and politics work.

Our high horse is at ankle-level.


I am Laslo.

EDH said...

It looks like Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wasn't the first person Obama asked to convey his "more flexibility after the election" message to an adversary.

jr565 said...

And EDH in posting that link gives the answer.

John S said...

If BO wanted Iran to have nukes and maintain plausible deniability, what would he be doing differently?

Big Mike said...

Why is it the case that there is absolutely no Democrat in the Senate, in the administration, or in the media who get this? Why on earth did Cotton have to go on "Face the Nation" to explain the simple reality?

Really, is there any Progressive anywhere who has two or more digits in their IQ?

Terry said...

Libya, Iraq, Russia . . .
Obama is looking to add Iran to his unbroken string of foreign policy failures.
Led by John Kerry, who, as Senator, voted against the successful first Iraq War and voted for the second, less-than-successful Iraq War.
Cotton's critics ain't got a leg to stand on.

Beldar said...

This letter will have no effect on Iran, and Sen. Tom Cotton, its author, certainly knew that when he wrote it. There are probably a few copies of the U.S. Constitution somewhere in the confidential files of the mullahs, in both English and Farsi translations. There are probably one or two people in Iran who know the history behind the United States’ refusal, via the United States Senate, to go along with Woodrow Wilson’s naive plans for the League of Nations. Indeed, Islamic bandits going back to the days of Thomas Jefferson and John Monroe have certainly had occasion to learn the difference between striking a deal with an American President and seeing that deal become a treaty ratified, or rejected, by the U.S. Senate.

This letter is all about sub-text, and that sub-text is intended for its effect on American political audiences. To attack the letter as being “patronizing” to the Iranians is actually more patronizing than it would be to suggest that the Iranians don’t know about the Senate treaty ratification process prescribed by the Constitution. But that’s not really what this letter was about anyway. Indeed, a letter from 47 U.S. Senators has zero operative effect under the Constitution or laws of the United States.

This is a devilish, puckish, and droll way to point out to the American people that Obama is prancing about a world stage pretending to have greater powers than he actually possesses under the U.S. Constitution.

The Iranians won’t care about the letter. They don’t even care about the Senate’s ratifying powers. They don’t care about any treaties, and they won’t comply with them regardless of whether the Senate ratifies them or not. The Iranians are stalling, successfully, for time, and gobbling up every bite that Obama gives away, for nothing in return, just for the “privilege” of continuing to negotiate.

If an agreement is reached, it will be one that Obama pretends we're committed to, and the Iranians pretend they're committed to, with the inevitable and direct result that Iran will be free to proceed with its nuclear ambitions. The only people fooled will be the stupidest segment of the American public and that tiny sliver of the rest of the world that still takes Obama seriously.

But the letter scored a hit on Obama, and that’s why he’s whining and his minions are accusing Republicans of being traitors.

The Dems should put John Kerry out front on this one. Nothing like having the former U.S. Navy Reserve officer who actively conspired in person with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese against the American government during the Paris Peace Conferences in the 1970s as the government point man to accuse the Republicans of treason.

I’ll bet there are even some Iranians who can appreciate that irony.

Original Mike said...

"The fact that President Obama doesn't see this letter as a way to get more leverage at the negotiating table just underscores that he is not negotiating for the hardest deal possible."

Obama couldn't negotiate his way out of a paper bag.

Terry said...

If you think R&B is the dumbest lefty alive, check out this Chris Britt editorial cartoon . . .

http://www.gocomics.com/chrisbritt/2015/03/12

madAsHell said...

I'm starting to like this Tom Cotton guy.
It's the face that re-assured everyone that our side was going to win the football game.

Beldar said...

Although he already had degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law, Tom Cotton volunteered to lead American infantry troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning a chestful of medals including the Bronze Star. In both countries he saw soldiers in his command who were maimed or killed by Iranian-made weapons whose use was sponsored and taught by members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

He writes a public letter explaining, accurately, a basic structural balance-of-powers feature of the American Constitution that Pres. Obama wishes to downplay, probably to bypass, and possibly even to ignore.

To Democrats, this makes him a "traitor."

The only thing surprising about that is: It's not a surprise, that's their uniform tactic and has been for decades.

Achilles said...

Obama's reaction to the letter underscores the real truth. To Obama and the progressives the only real enemies are their political opponents here in the US.

CWJ said...

Beldar,

Thank you for that. It was heartfelt and sincere. One could argue with sending the letter, but only politics can explain the vitriol it received.

Smaller people than he are playing this game.

Anonymous said...

I really like Tom Cotton.

I wish he were running for President.

Michael K said...

"This is a devilish, puckish, and droll way to point out to the American people that Obama is prancing about a world stage pretending to have greater powers than he actually possesses under the U.S. Constitution."

Good post. I'm just reading Conrad Black's history of the US, "The Flight of the Eagle." I just read his section on WWI and Wilson's fiasco with the League of Nations. The parallels are startling.

Wilson refused to take any member of the Senate or any Republican with him to Paris. He behaved exactly like Obama is behaving after he promised to make the Treaty "nonpartisan."

Black is a bit more fond of Wilson than I am but the story is amazing in its parallel to today.

CWJ said...

Michael K,

And the Euros reaction to Wilson was "who is this presumptuous buffoon." Like Obama, they played him like a fiddle.

Anonymous said...

CWJ, the letter was never "sent". It was an open letter in the newspaper.
A good negotiator would've arranged for this letter to be written just to gain an even greater amount of leverage.

CWJ said...

EDH @ 8:19,

Geez man. If you're going to say I said something why don't you quote what I actually said, rather than repeat the person I quoted and claim I said it.

Pay attention! Your post was redundant to what I actually said. Either agree, give me credit, or amplify my comment. Don't say I said something I didn't and then pretend to offer an original reply.

I wonder which is worse. Being seemngly invisible on this blog or being noticed and ignorantly misrepresented.

CWJ said...

Livermoron,

Thanks. If so, then I should have said writing instead of sending but I think my point still stands.

Todd Roberson said...

"Do we honestly believe the Iranians don't understand how American government and politics work."

They don't work; that's the fundamental problem.

We're in a position now of dealing with 21st century problems with a 18th century business model. Our form of government is antiquated, top-heavy and heavy-handed. Hence the inability to make progress on issues and challenges upon which there is general agreement.

For example ... The need to "invest in infrastructure". Hard to imagine anyone disputing that. Plus, I've been hearing it from candidates for at least 30 years.

Yet I'm still driving over the same congested, pothole strewn roads.

EDH said...

Sorry, CWJ. Was working from the small screen when I went back to pull the quote.

EDH said...

Didn't Sen. Elizabeth Warren's letter do they same to president Obama's ability to negotiate an international agreement as did Cotton's letter?

Law professors back Elizabeth Warren’s fight against trade pact

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has picked up some support in her campaign against the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a massive international free-trade agreement backed by President Obama — that she says could “undermine U.S. sovereignty.”

“The name may sound a little wonky, but this is a powerful provision that would fundamentally tilt the playing field further in favor of big multinational corporations,” Warren said yesterday while releasing a letter signed by 90 law professors who oppose the provision. “ISDS allows foreign companies to challenge American laws and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers without ever stepping foot in an American court. Instead, companies that want to challenge U.S. laws could do so before an international tribunal that is entirely unaccountable.”

“Our negotiators claim that they have a bigger, better version of ISDS that will protect America’s ability to regulate in the public interest, but they refuse to make the text of the trade agreement public,” Warren said. “If they are sure they have fixed this problem, then they need to show us the new provisions, not wave their hands around and just say ‘don’t worry.’ ”

tim in vermont said...

Maybe a copy of the US Constitution was in Snowden's files, and so Cotton's letter was redundant.

damikesc said...

Obama is planning on making an accord and not going to the Senate at all about it.

Cotton and the GOP was too nice with their letter.

And what's up with Lefties claiming veteran Cotton is somehow unpatriotic? I got called that for stating that Kerry's war injuries weren't terribly serious.

And, as R & B showed here, no matter the qualifications, the Republican is always "stupid".

And will Republicans feel the same when the Democratically controlled Senate in 2026 warns the Chinese government that President Cotton is not negotiating with the full consent of the US government?

Dems have done that thing for years, Kennedy tried to get the Soviets to assist with defeating Reagan in 1984. Pelosi visited Assad. McDermott visited Saddam.

Brando said...

I don't understand what's so bad about a deal that requires verification and gives Iran a carrot we can take away if they violate it--if the goal is to prevent them from acquiring nukes, this is far more realistic than the Swiss cheese sanctions they've been under for decades. Plus, anything that can drive a wedge between the (relatively) moderate and extremist factions in Iran can only be to our benefit.

I get that Cotton and Co. think this is Munich in 1938 and this is their chance to be Churchill. But the parallel is terrible--Iran is incredibly weak compared to us, and much as interventionists think they're run by suicidal fanatics, we're still talking about a country that never invaded its neighbors since its founding in 1979, and the only reason its regional influence has grown is because we removed their major obstacle--Saddam Hussein. And now the same people who thought THAT was a great idea want us to invade Iran now?

Continued isolation of Iran only benefits their hardliners, and if we have the chance to put them on the spot--gradual normalization in exchange for giving up nuclear ambitions--there's a better chance of reducing their influence than more sanctions (or worse, an armed response). Not every negotiation is Munich, folks.

Simon said...

What I find surprising is that so many Senators don't realize that a President can abrogate a treaty just as readily as he can terminate an executive agreement. The Senate advises and consents in making treaties and appointing officers, but it has no role in their abrogation or firing.

Simon said...

Todd Roberson said...
"They don't work; that's the fundamental problem."

No, they work perfectly. Our system was designed to make it difficult to pass legislation that lacks consensus. In an era in which Americans are fundamentally divided, we would expect that system to grind to a halt, which is exactly what has happened. That's exactly what it was designed to do, and quite frankly it's exactly what it ought to do. The problem is that because progressives succeeded in sticking the Federal Government's fingers into so many pies in the 20th century, it causes many more ripples to have the system on-hold.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Rhythm and Balls and I'm stupid enough to believe that Iran will actually sign and honor an agreement with the US that will keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Despite the fact that Iran routinely engaged in acts of war against the US in Iraq, murdering hundreds of US soldiers, I think they're afraid of Barack Obama, and will honor their agreement with them.

FIFY

Todd Roberson said...

Simon -

Thanks for the civics lesson. A couple of thoughts.

Name me an era when Americans weren't "fundamentally divided". A pluralistic society is always going to be divided. Yet there are issues upon which there is general consensus. If the government system "works perfectly" why:

1. Am I still driving over congested pothole strewn roads?
2. Are we paying billions each year for a federally subsidized junk-mail delivery system (the Post Office) when nearly everything can be done online?
3. Am I spending weeks filling out my taxes when nearly everyone agrees that taxes need reform?
4. Are we paying farmers not to grow food?
5. Do I have a 45 year-old able bodied sister with no dependents living at home with my 80 year old father getting food stamps?

I can go on, but I'm sure you get the point.

The system of government we have is antiquated, top-heavy and heavy-handed. And it's not just the progressives. It's everyone involved.

For instance, there is this thing called the Internet. Why can't we simply have direct democracy? Why do I need this massive machinery of government for simple decisions?

Brando said...

"I think they're afraid of Barack Obama, and will honor their agreement with them."

It's not whether Iran will honor the agreement because they're just so honorable--it's that an agreement can be structured so that if they don't honor it, we have something to take away. Same reason we were able to make treaties with the Soviets--we never fooled ourselves into thinking they were just wonderful people, but they tended to screw us only when we had no leverage to use on them (like at the end of WWII, when we couldn't credibly stop them from keeping their forces in Eastern Europe).

But there's another thing here--trying to get a deal with Iran, even if unsuccessful (and it may be--Iranian hardliners want a deal no more than Tom Cotton does) is necessary if we're to get more countries to back strict sanctions now or down the road. If they think we'll accept nothing short of regime change, they may balk and oppose stricter sanctions, also weakening our leverage.

damikesc said...

For instance, there is this thing called the Internet. Why can't we simply have direct democracy? Why do I need this massive machinery of government for simple decisions?

Yes, let's use the internet for voting. No identity theft there.

Yet I'm still driving over the same congested, pothole strewn roads.

You act like that is an unforeseen consequence and not the plan to keep the gravy train going...

Simon said...

Todd, I do get the point, yes: Your point is that you misunderstand what the system is designed to accomplish, and so, when it fails to accomplish something for which it wasn't designed, you complain that it is failing. For example, you cite the fact that almost everyone agrees that the tax code needs reform, and you could say the same about the immigration system, for example. There is indeed such a consensus. There is, however, no such consensus on what ought to replace it, and when proposals that one side favors are brought forward, the other side retains sufficient power to defeat them. That is the system working. The system also works to derail dangerous, precipitous, and ill-considered innovations such as your direct democracy proposal. Your inability to accomplish what you want is not a sign that the system is working. To the contrary, it is quite often a sign that the system is doing exactly what it was intended to do.

I Callahan said...

The Jews aren't going quietly into that good night, not this time.

I wish I could believe that. They're just about to throw Bibi under the bus.

I Callahan said...

not mature enough to lead...

I wonder if the lefties were saying that when Pelosi was in Syria visiting with Assad? Or when McDermott and Bonior were in Iraq? Or when the current Secretary of State was interfering in the winddown of the Vietnam War?

Of course not. Because lefties are flat-out hypocrites.

machine said...

"Iran is such a dangerous regime that the Republican Party's biggest hero gave them weapons."

Matthew Sablan said...

... That's a... well, interesting point. But, at the end of the day, I think Obama wants to drive a bargain that is favorable to him, which is primarily a political concern.

damikesc said...

"Iran is such a dangerous regime that the Republican Party's biggest hero gave them weapons."

FDR heavily armed Stalin who killed far more than Hitler did.

Just sayin'.

damikesc said...

... That's a... well, interesting point. But, at the end of the day, I think Obama wants to drive a bargain that is favorable to him, which is primarily a political concern.

He views his administration as a check list. He wants to check the box saying "deal with Iran" with zero concerns about what the deal contains.

And anybody for guesses on if Obama follows Bush's example of not slamming Presidents after you? It seems to be a rule only Republicans follow.

Todd said...

damikesc said...

And anybody for guesses on if Obama follows Bush's example of not slamming Presidents after you? It seems to be a rule only Republicans follow.

3/16/15, 12:58 PM


That is something that indeed "chaps my ass". Dem Presidents want no end of quiet acquiescence from all when they are in office and just can't seem to not armchair quarterback once they are out.

Douglas said...

The real problem is that Obama is negotiating a deal that does not even have substantial, let alone majority, support in the Senate. Why hasn't he sat down with Democratic Senators Menendez and Schumer? Why is he stiff-arming the entire Senate? The way our system works, a president cannot commit the US to an international deal without the support, either explicit or implicit, of the Senate, and Obama doesn't have that and doesn't seem to want to put any effort into getting it. Pointing this simple fact out via a public letter changes nothing.

Simon said...

Douglas said...
"The way our system works, a president cannot commit the US to an international deal without the support, either explicit or implicit, of the Senate, and Obama doesn't have that and doesn't seem to want to put any effort into getting it."

The way our system works, a President cannot make a treaty without the Senate's approval.

Is a treaty the only form of international agreement?

grackle said...

I believe the administration believes it is OK for the Iranians to have a bomb but is willing to wait ten years for them to announce they have it.

Yes. That way the Iranians announce they have the bomb during another president's term. Very neat – IF Obama gets away with it.

There are a lot of people in the government on both sides of the aisle who want the same thing --- for Iran not to have a nuclear weapon. I actually believe that there may be more cooperation between the parties than it seems.

Dream on, sucker.

This is going to come back to bite us big-time.

Reality is frequently ugly. And scary.

If BO wanted Iran to have nukes and maintain plausible deniability, what would he be doing differently?

Bingo!

This letter will have no effect on Iran.

Cotton's smart enough to know Iranians will not be affected or deterred by the letter. The letter was really for the American public.

I don't understand what's so bad about a deal that requires verification and gives Iran a carrot we can take away if they violate it …

Except … the "carrot" doesn't exist.

ken in tx said...

Those crazy hayseeds from Arkansas are really put there aren't they? Especially Billerary.