Republicans, Barack Obama, and Woodrow Wilson


Back home – shades of Obama – Wilson’s Republican opponents plotted to destroy whatever peace treaty he brought back.

About Iran, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) wrote on March 13, 2015

The news that 47 Republican Senators wrote to Iran’s leader, inserting themselves in the delicate negotiations over nuclear weapons development is simply stunning, even in today’s hyper-partisan environment. I disagreed with President Bush on almost everything but I respected him and his office, and would never have sought to undermine him the way that this letter undermines President Obama.

Quite plainly, the letter that 47 Republican Senators sent is a show of disrespect for the Office of the President of the United States and disregard for the Constitutional separation of powers. To tell Iran’s leader that any agreement negotiators craft essentially means nothing once President Obama leaves office is more than an escalation in tensions between Republicans in the Senate and the White House. It is troubling constitutionally.  Make no mistake; this letter represents more than just misplaced concern over complicated negotiations. It undermines the ability of the President and the Department of State to conduct foreign policy and threatens the President as Commander-in-Chief.  Criticism is legitimate, but this time, 47 Republican critics went too far.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about history and if there is any precedent for action like this. I recall the end of World War I when, in 1920, Republicans then in the Senate sabotaged United States entry into the League of Nations. This ultimately made it more difficult for the world to thwart aggression by Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan.  Regardless, at least that Republican Senate respected the Office of the President (if not the President himself) and the powers vested in that office by the Constitution. They waited until negotiations were concluded and the Treaty of Versailles was presented to them before they acted.

Today’s Senate Republicans couldn’t even give the Obama Administration the courtesy of waiting to see what the deal looks like before trying to derail it.

It is true that Senator Lodge waited for the Versailles Treaty to be presented before the Senate refused to ratify it, but the GOP had decided to do what they could to defeat it much earlier, long before the Treaty was negotiated.

© William Hungerford – March 2015


About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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10 Responses to Republicans, Barack Obama, and Woodrow Wilson

  1. Anne says:

    According to Reed’s comment on the topic at this morning’s TH in Atlanta, he thinks the senators acted correctly. While he said he’d let them speak for themselves on that, he also said, and I quote, it was “a reasonable approach to take” and “a clear message that needed to be sent.”


  2. whungerford says:

    If the letter sends a clear message, it is that 47 Senators threaten to oppose any agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons even before they know what it is. Is that the message that Tom thinks needed to be sent?


  3. Anne says:

    Tom seems to feel that Obama is going to give away the store, i.e., lift sanctions before there’s any evidence of Iran backing off. Tom of course wants it to play out in reverse. The other thing he did say is that he feels one of the concessions Iran ought to make is to bring internet access into its country and to all its citizens. At this point in his speech, Tom paused and called on someone in the audience by name (a plant? I wasn’t sure) and asked him: and what do you think is the biggest problem with Iran? To which the man replied: the Ayatollah. And the imams. (Here, Tom said, without a hint of irony, “Amen.”) The audience member continued: they’re all tribes. They’ve been tribes for thousands of years. I have no idea what his point may have been, and Tom’s original point was handily lost in that part of the discussion. But I guess for a congresscritter who was content to let the senators speak for themselves, Tom had plenty to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. whungerford says:

    “Congresscritter,” I love it.


  5. josephurban says:

    This is what happens when states elect people to the Senate and House that have no understanding of history and other nations. It seems as long as the person says “I hate Obama” that is enough of a qualification in some states. Too bad. We all end up paying the price.
    If the deal with Iran is scuttled what do they think will happen? Will the leaders of Iran say. “OK, I guess we won’t get more nuclear technology”?
    Here is the end game, in my opinion. Mr Putin is waiting quietly in the wings. If the international agreement falls through, along with the inspections, what choice does Iran have? They will buy their nuclear fuel and equipment and accept the assistance from Russia, their neighbor. What a deal for Putin. He can extend his influence, unhampered by international treaties or agreements, beyond the Caspian right into the heart of the Middle East. The rest of the world loses any opportunity to inspect Iran’s facilities. That is the only end game I can imagine.
    After seeing how the US invaded and destroyed the infrastructure of their neighbor, the Iranians certainly know they need a nuclear deterrent or a very strong relationship with Russia. After all, many in the US are already calling for a military solution. What is Iran supposed to do? Not protect its citizens? Wait for an attack without preparing?
    Just as the GOP Senate after WW2 was determined to follow a theory rather than the global reality, so today’s GOP seems set on a similar course. Kids need to pass a history test before graduating from high school. We need a similar test before they can run for Congress.


  6. whungerford says:

    I think a competence test for legislators is an excellent idea. Drivers need to pass a test, engineers need to pass a test, lawyers need to pass a test, why not legislators? It should include not only History, but Economics, Civics, Law, Ethics, and Sociology.


  7. Anne says:

    And creative thinking. Reed said of his landowners’ proposed legislation that it’s “a creative solution.” But he’s stumped as far as what to do about SSDI, or any other problem that’s facing us, real or perceived. I thought that was what he was drawing a salary for, to solve problems?


  8. whungerford says:

    I think Tom and others discount reasonable, obvious solutions–raise the limit on payroll deductions to fund SS, adjust the division of funds between SS and SSDI, negotiate with Iran.


  9. solodm says:

    That’s precious. Reed wants internet for all Iranians, while “at home” (as this article says in the beginning) – Reed voted to shut down funding for American National Public Radio, and spoke up against Net Neutrality.
    Really, could Tom Reed be in any more contempt of our President? He is such an embarrassment.


  10. Pingback: Negotiations: Iran and Trans-Pacific-Partnership | New NY 23rd

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