Fear-mongering on Iran: Bipartisanship gone very wrong

Not all bad behavior is partisan

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Negotiations with Iran are nearing a potential finish line, and the public lobbying in the U.S. is getting louder.  But in a surprise twist, the worst behavior isn’t necessarily partisan.

The apex of the battle, of course, was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last week, which came at the invitation of House Republicans. Democrats are still fuming at Netanyahu and the Republicans.  Historians of diplomacy, meanwhile, are still searching for a precedent.

On Monday, 47 Senate Republicans sent an open letter to the leadership of Iran. “…[W]e will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei,” it says.  “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

The Open Letter format is a traditional route for registering protest and getting on the record, even if presidents find it unhelpful.

Perhaps the most incendiary bit of propaganda so far was bipartisan. Two former Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Norm Coleman of Minnesota, and a Democrat, former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, want Congress to pass a bill that would require any treaty or deal with Iran to be approved by Congress.

That’s a reasonable proposition well worth a good debate.

But this bipartisan troika boosted their cause with an outrageous, fear-mongering ad. Take a look:

How is this helpful?

It just goes to show you that not all the bad behavior in Washington is partisan.

[Also by Dick Meyer: If Hillary doesn’t run, who will get the nod?]

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