Treason and Sedition: Cotton or Obama?

This week, the great foreign policy brouhaha revolves around a letter authored by Senator [mc_name name=’Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001095′ ] of Arkansas and signed by 47 fellow Senators.  This letter was delivered to Iranian leaders who are currently negotiating a nuclear deal with the Obama administration, among others.  To state that this has engendered some extreme hyberbole would be an understatement of the reactions.  David Axelrod and Howard Dean, among others, have intimated that the action was “treasonous” or “seditious.”  The talking heads on the Left are aghast that any Republican would stoop so low as to interfere in foreign relations, a sphere they are under the erroneous belief is the exclusive province of the Executive Branch.

Without getting into a constitutional lecture on foreign policy, suffice to say our Founders established strong safeguards against America entangling itself in foreign affairs.  It is the reason why the Executive Branch is granted great leeway in negotiating treaties and then making it almost impossible, except in the most clear-cut ways, to actually put that treaty into effect by establishing the two-thirds majority rule to ratify that treaty.

However, theoretically this is not a treaty per se since there are are other actors to the deal besides just the United States and Iran.  Obama can get around the treaty ratification power of Congress in this manner.  In effect, it would be a non-formal agreement among the parties- a non-formal agreement negotiated with a state that sponsors terrorism, is a destabilizing political force in the Middle East, one that has an avowed hatred towards Israel, and one that is pursuing an ICBM program, besides a nuclear capability.  Regardless of the evilness of the Iranian regime, the one point of leverage the United States has over Iran is sanctions against them.  This is where things get prickly.  Before we get to that, however, it would be best to remind the progressive Left of some recent history.

In comparison to some efforts by Democrats in Congress, the letter by Cotton is tame.  It merely advises the Iranians of how our Constitution is supposed to work.  This writer fails to see how it differs from any action taken by Democrats in the past other than it was Democrats doing the “impinging on foreign affairs” and a Republican President’s foreign policy they were “undermining.”  What about the many visits by sitting Democratic members of Congress to Cuba during the Cold War.  We had a travel embargo to Cuba in effect for many years, but celebrated Leftist “flotillas” to that country were commonplace.  Was not this Congressional meddling in foreign affairs?  What about Ted Kennedy’s now known visits with Soviet operatives in 1984 beseeching them to intervene in the 1984 presidential election against Ronald Reagan.  Only after the fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of their archives did this come to light.  What can be more interfering than a sitting “iconic” (treasonous) Senator asking a foreign government to affect a presidential election?  The Cotton letter pales in comparison.

What about [mc_name name=’Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000148′ ]’s visits to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua?  In an effort to be fair, Jesse Helms often injected himself into foreign affairs in direct opposition to the Executive Branch’s policies.  While the Clinton administration was set to negotiate an ABM treaty with the Soviet Union, he dispatched a letter to Izvestia, a Soviet-run newspaper.  He, along with Joe Biden, actually traveled to Rome to join negotiations over the establishment of an International Criminal Court.  And Helms is the only sitting Senator to ever address the UN Security Council.  There are numerous examples in recent and past history of members of Congress embroiling themselves in foreign affairs during negotiations with foreign countries.

Now to the prickly part- lifting sanctions.  These sanctions are a part of American law- passed by Congress and signed by the President.  As part of a nuclear deal with Iran, the apparent carrot being offered to the Iranians is a gradual lifting of sanctions against that regime.  The problem would appear to be that what Congress passed, Congress must then agree to rescind.  The rescission of those sanctions could be in the form of an official treaty, or it could happen in the absence of a treaty through the normal legislative process which does not require a two-thirds majority vote.

As we have seen in other areas, however, the Obama administration cares little about laws.  They could and likely will just invoke “prosecutorial discretion” to effectively loosen sanctions against Iran.  That is, they will decide to simply not enforce those sanctions.  It is the very tactic they used with immigration and with Obamacare and many other areas such as net neutrality with the FCC, the attack on coal through the EPA, targeting of Tea Party groups through the IRS, etc.  What they could not achieve legislatively, they achieved administratively through sleight of hand and pushing the boundaries of presidential authority.

Many on both the Left and Right have noted that despite protestations to the contrary, this administration is the least transparent in recent history.  What the Right only realizes is that it is also the most lawless and one seething with contempt for Congress, Republicans and most importantly, the United States Constitution.  The President of the United States is required to swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws.  Obama has done neither.  This is the most paranoid, contemptuous administration since Nixon.  Whereas Nixon may have had an excuse- a paranoid delusion- Obama has a more scary delusion: one of perceived righteousness despite what Congress or the American people think or believe.

While people like David Axelrod and Howard Dean decry [mc_name name=’Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001095′ ] for writing this letter and accusing him and the other Senators who signed that letter of “treason” and “sedition,” it is Barack Obama committing a more treasonous and seditious act by ignoring enforcement of the laws and his disdain for the Constitution- a seemingly outdated piece of paper worthy of presidential ignorance.  Their rhetoric is based on a blind view of recent history or one where they justify previous actions as “righteous” because they have deluded themselves into believing they were on the right side of the issue or foreign policy goal.  Yet the question remains: If treason was committed here, who is the real traitor?  [mc_name name=’Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001095′ ] or Barack Obama?