Republicans Want to Turn Back the Clock on the Constitution

Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Sen. Tom “Tehran Tom” Cotton has done it again.

After embarrassing himself, his party and his country last week by sending a totally unprecedented letter to the government of Iran, the Arkansas Senator then went on CBS’ “Face the Nation” yesterday and said that, “Oh, my God, the Iranians have already secured Tehran.”

That’s right – Tom Cotton is freaking out about the fact that the government of Iran controls Tehran, which IS THE FREAKING CAPITAL OF IRAN!

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

I think it’s safe to say that Senator Cotton might want to skim through a Rand McNally World Atlas before his next Sunday show appearance.

In fact, while he’s at it, Senator Cotton should also retake high school civics because his letter to the government of Iran didn’t just violate diplomatic protocol, it also turned back the clock to one of the most chaotic periods in US history.

You see in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, the United States was governed by a collection of documents known as the Articles of Confederation.

The Articles were, for lack of a better word, a mess.

They didn’t provide for any real central authority and gave no clear guidelines as to who had what kind of power, which was a big problem when it came to things like foreign policy.

As historian Kathleen DuVal pointed out in excellent piece for The New York Times this weekend, the result was a total vacuum where anyone who wanted to could negotiate with foreign governments.

Things got so bad that at one point in 1786, North Carolina Congressman James White actually tried to work out a deal with Spain that would have seen the western part of his state secede from the US and join the Spanish Empire.

This obviously never happened, but it’s still a great example why when they scrapped the Articles of Confederation in favor of the Constitution, the founding fathers gave the president and only the president the sole power to make and ratify treaties.

The founders had seen the kind of chaos that came about when citizens negotiated directly with foreign governments, and they wanted to make sure that that chaos never reared its ugly head again.

And, for the most part, they succeeded.

Except for a few hiccups in the early 1800s – like when former Vice President Aaron Burr tried to establish his own empire in the west and Thomas Jefferson called him out as a traitor – pretty much every other consequential politician has, for the past two centuries, accepted the president’s dominant role in foreign affairs.

Everyone that is, except for today’s Republicans and their geographically-challenged pied piper, Tom Cotton.

These guys are so committed to the “Caucus Room conspiracy” that was hatched the night Obama was inaugurated that they will do whatever it takes to stop our nation’s first Black president from achieving any sort of meaningful success.

They’ve already shut down the government, brought the nation to brink of fiscal crisis and filibustered countless pieces of legislation.

Now they’re dragging us back to the dark days before we even had a Constitution, which essentially means they’re willing to turn back the clock on the entire US democratic experiment just so they can sabotage President Obama.

The Republican Party now officially belongs in the dustbin of history. It’s time to dissolve it with a RICO complaint, and bring back the federalists or the whigs.