Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kathleen Parker on GOP Letter

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker offers a sensible take on the GOP Senate letter to Iran in The Washington Post.

It must be relatively simple, as one clips along the marble halls of the Russell Senate Office Building, speaking only to those of like mind, to decide that undermining the president is a public service. Hating the president isn’t personal; it’s a national imperative! He’s not our leader, after all. Therefore, he shall not be allowed to lead. Collateral damage? Well, such is the toll we pay for truth, justice and My Way.

Yes, the preceding paragraph could as easily have been written about the president, whose approach to governance has become an executive action (or agreement, in this case) and a pen. The disorder isn’t unique to one party and is, apparently, highly contagious.

So what was the rush to tell Iran, essentially, “You’re wasting your time” ? The 47 senators are like food critics who condemn a chef before he has finished preparing the entree. Their letter also signals to the world that they have zero respect for our president, or for the other world powers attempting to try diplomacy first.

This cannot have been helpful to any but the signees’ legendary standing in their own minds.

In comments about the letter, his lips stretched a little tighter than usual, Obama suggested that the 47 were seeking “common cause” with Iran’s hard-right religious leaders.

The foregoing observations don’t mean that Republicans are wrong about their concerns. Many Democrats are concerned, too. No American disagrees that Iran is a bad actor undeserving of faith or trust. But there are other ways to accomplish our goals than profiling for political profit. The 47 may have felt like Zorro, inking their opposition with the bold felt tips of their swords, but they were acting like children at the school fair whose single purpose is to dunk the principal.

No one is jockeying for a bad deal, plainly. And everyone at the table and beyond knows that the United States and Israel will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Period. Thus, an attempt at a diplomatic agreement is more than a hedge against the unthinkable — a nuclear-armed Iran. It is a message to the world that, if and when we do take military action, it will be as a last resort.

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