A Brief Modern History On Congressional “Treason” (Ed Morrissey)

A Brief Modern History On Congressional “Treason” – Ed Morrissey

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Over the last couple of days, media outlets and some Democrats have lost their minds over the letter signed by 47 Republican Senators, sent to Iran to warn them that President Obama does not have the authority to create a lasting agreement without the participation of Congress. The New York Daily News ran a headline calling them “traitors,” a charge that has been bandied about on social media without any sense of either its legal sense or the history of Congressional influence on foreign policy. A petition on the White House website to arrest the 47 Senators has gathered over 136,000 signatures, in an apparent attempt of the ignorant to publicly self-identify.

Obviously, this situation requires a little history and perspective, as well as a civics lesson on the nature of co-equal branches of government, and on how this latest “treason” stacks up. The US and the Soviet Union conducted a 44-year “cold war” that often turned hot in places like Korea and Vietnam, and yet as Noah pointed out yesterday, Senator Ted Kennedy encouraged the Soviets to interfere in the 1984 election. Noah also mentions Nancy Pelosi’s trip to visit Bashar Assad in 2007 against the Bush administration’s express desires. But there are even more instances that speak more directly to Congressional interference with executive branch efforts on foreign policy.

Joe Scarborough pointed out one example this morning on Twitter from the Reagan era. The Reagan administration wanted to block Soviet influence in the Western hemisphere by backing rebellions against Communist dictators, especially in Nicaragua. Reagan supported the contras against Daniel Ortega, a policy which Democrats opposed and for which they later passed the controversial Boland Amendment in an attempt to restrict Reagan’s options in foreign policy (and which led to the Iran-Contra scandal.) Before Boland, though, 10 Democrats in the House – including Edward Boland (D-MA) – wrote a letter to Ortega called the “Dear Commandante” letter pledging their support to his government. See if this sounds familiar:

The 10 authors include Jim Wright of Texas, the majority leader; Edward P. Boland of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and other senior Democrats in the foreign policy field. The letter tells Mr. Ortega that it was written ”in a spirit of hopefulness and goodwill” and voices regret that relations between Nicaragua and Washington are not better.

The writers stress that they all oppose further money for rebel campaigns against the Sandinista Government. In a veiled reference to the Reagan Administration, the letter says that if the Sandinistas do hold genuine elections, those who are ”supporting violence” against the Nicaraguan leaders would have ”far greater difficulty winning support for their policies than they do today.”

In his retort, Representative Gingrich argues that the letter writers ”step across the boundary from opposition to a policy, to undercutting that policy.”

He also notes that the members of Congress offer to discuss these issues with Mr. Ortega and the junta. In Mr. Gingrich’s view, ”This clearly violates the executive branch’s exclusive prerogative of negotiating with a foreign government.”

Not convinced? Well, let’s look to more recent events. In September 2002, the Bush administration was preparing its case for war against Saddam Hussein, both with Congress and at the UN, for continuing violations of the cease-fire agreement that had ended war operations in 1991. Hussein’s forces repeatedly locked anti-aircraft radar on US and British fighters enforcing the no-fly zones in the south and north of Iraq. Hussein repeatedly and belligerently refused to fully comply with what would eventually be 17 UN Security Council resolutions aimed at settling the conflict. In the midst of that scenario, three House Democrats flew to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi officials and lecture George W. Bush on trusting Hussein and his regime:

IT’S A RARE POLITICAL MOMENT when Terry McAuliffe says no comment. Yet McAuliffe, the garrulous chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said just that last Wednesday at the Brookings Institution after a speech by Al Gore. Asked about the trip to Baghdad taken by three of his fellow partisans – Representatives David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson – McAuliffe was nonplussed…

Problem is, the elected officials aren’t saying much either. Bonior was until recently the second-ranking Democrat in the House, and yet it’s nearly impossible to get Democrats to say anything about his and the others’ trip to Baghdad.

But if other Democrats aren’t talking about the Baghdad tour, Bonior and McDermott themselves won’t shut up. And the more they talk, the more scrutiny they invite.

The controversy ignited on September 29 when Bonior and McDermott appeared from Baghdad on ABC’s “This Week.” Host George Stephanopoulos asked McDermott about his recent comment that “the president of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war.”

Last I checked, no one had the three Democrats arrested for treason, even though they hadn’t just sent a letter to Saddam Hussein but cluelessly participated in his propaganda exercise for him. Why? Because it wasn’t treason, and it wasn’t even a violation of the Logan Act. It may have been ill-advised, but Congress and its members do a lot of ill-advised things, which is why we have regular elections to deal with them.

This letter may or may not be ill-advised, too. Jazz and Noah are split on that point, and I fall somewhere in between. The deal with Iran is just terrible on multiple levels, as is the attempt by the Obama administration to bypass Congress yet again instead of engaging the Senate to develop a stronger plan. It may have been politically wiser to put it in the form of an op-ed in the Washington Post rather than a letter to Ali Khameini, but the need to speak out comes from Obama’s mindless pursuit of a deal at all costs rather than allowing sanctions to force a capitulation – and to keep their support for terrorism bottled up as much as possible. But it’s not treason, and it’s idiotic to argue otherwise, especially with the long precedents set by Democrats and progressives in Congress over the last 30-plus years.

Yesterday I interviewed Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), one of the signatories, about his hearing today at Environment and Public Works on Obama’s Clean Power Plan. We also speak briefly about Iran and the letter toward the end of the interview.

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Related article:

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Kissinger Slammed Kerry For Negotiating With Sandinistas In 1985 – Daily Caller

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger hammered John Kerry in 1985 for interfering in diplomatic negotiations with Nicaragua’s Marxist government as a Massachusetts senator.

Thirty years later, Kerry is skewering Senate Republicans for their open letter to the Iranian leadership warning that any nuclear deal with the United States without the advice and consent of the U.S. Congress would not last beyond President Obama’s term.

Kerry and then-Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin visited Nicaragua in 1985 to cut a deal with the Sandinista government, which was close to the former Soviet Union. President Ronald Reagan, however, was already set on overthrowing the Marxist government in Nicaragua by sending aid to a group of Nicaraguan rebels – the contras.

“The Sandinista government would agree to a cease-fire and restore civil liberties if the US government ceased its support of the contras,” the Boston Globe reported.

“If the United States is serious about peace, this is a great opportunity,” Kerry said at the time.

Kissinger, though, hit back at Kerry on the CBS Sunday program “Face the Nation,” calling him a congressman rather than a senator.

“With all due respect to Rep. Kerry, he’s a congressman,” Kissinger said. “He’s not secretary of state, and if the Nicaraguans want to make an offer, they ought to make it in diplomatic channels. We can’t be negotiating with our own congressman and the Nicaraguans simultaneously. My own view is that what we want from the Nicaraguans is the removal of foreign military and intelligence advisers.”

According to the Globe, Kerry responded that he was only applying the lessons he learned in Vietnam to Reagan’s actions in Central America.

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Kerry, now secretary of state, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday and was asked by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy how he reacted to the letter.

“My reaction to the letter was utter disbelief,” Kerry said. “During my 29 years here in the Senate I never heard of nor even heard of it being proposed anything comparable to this. If I had, I can tell you, no matter what the issue and no matter who was president, I would’ve certainly rejected it.”

“No one is questioning anybody’s right to dissent,” he continued. “Any senator can go to the floor any day and raise any of the questions that were raised. You write to the leaders in the middle of a negotiation – particularly the leaders that they have criticized other people for even engaging with or writing to – to write then and suggest they were going to give a constitutional lesson, which by the way was absolutely incorrect, is quite stunning. This letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy.”

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Militant Feminists are crazy, in any language!

Stacy McCain has proof from Argentina, where radical nutcase supporters of abortion attacked Catholics who dare to be pro-life.

You may have seen this video earlier — Ed Morrissey featured it at Hot Air — but I didn’t see it until it was tweeted to me by Covenant College student Keifer Wynn and, because it was in Spanish, at first I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at.

Abortistas atacan a católicos que defendían la Catedral de San Juan,” is the headline, and the description: “Estas son las hordas de lesbianas y abortistas del Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres.”

So, translation via Google: “Abortionists attack  Catholics defending the Cathedral of San Juan. These are the hordes of lesbians and abortionists of the National Conference of Women.” Keep in mind that when I watched this, I hadn’t even translated the titles yet:

Every year in Argentina, the National Conference of Women — sponsored by various non-profit NGOs — gathers in some city and, in recent years, the event has featured a protest against the Catholic Church. So when the radical feminists marched on the cathedral in San Juan de Cuyo on November 24, they were met by 1,500 Catholics who locked arms to form a human shield around the cathedral:

The women, many of them topless, spray-painted the men’s crotches and faces and swastikas on their chests and foreheads, using markers to paint their faces with Hitler-like mustaches. They also performed obscene sexual acts in front of them and pushed their breasts onto their faces, all the while shouting “get your rosaries out of our ovaries.” . . .
While the site of the protest was the front of the cathedral . . . “the whole city awoke to graffiti in favor of abortion.”
Inside the cathedral, 700 people were also in prayer accompanied by their bishop . . .
After unsuccessfully trying to get into the building, the women burned a human-sized effigy of Pope Francis. “If the pope were a woman, abortion would be legal,” they shouted . . .
The police reportedly told the media they were unable to intervene because “they are women.”

As usual with rabid abortion proponents, their deranged state of mind is pretty clear to see. they celebrate perverse sexual acts, and of course they celebrate killing babies in the womb as if it were some sacred “choice”.

 

The Quagmire the Left does not want to talk about

Among the words the Left loves to use, and use, and use is the word “quagmire”. As in Vietnam was a “quagmire” Iraq will be a “quagmire”, it seems the Left loves them some quagmires, unless it is a quagmire involving President Obama. Stacy McCain has more on Obamamire, or maybe quagcare is more suiting

Attempts by the White House and liberal media to spin their way out of this mess are failing almost as badly as ObamaCare itself.

The simple facts are against them, and the elaborate rationalizations cannot hide the truth. A quick sample of headlines today:

Health Consumers Finding Out
They Were Sold a Lemon

– Megan McArdle, Bloomberg

I had great cancer doctors and
health insurance. My plan was cancelled.
Now I worry how long I’ll live.

– Edie Littlefield Sundby, Wall Street Journal

Will Insularity, Incompetence,
and Lies Doom Obamacare?

– Ron Fournier, National Journal

Obamacare: Memo reveals health care adviser
warned W.H. was losing control 3 years ago

– CBS News

Feinstein: Hey, you could have kept your
plan … until we enacted ObamaCare

– Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

What this resembles, quite frankly, is the way George W. Bush’s popularity tumbled in his second term after the insurgency in Iraq started inflicting significant casualties on U.S. troops with no apparent end in sight. Bush was re-elected in 2004 because voters believed (by a relatively narrow majority) that we should “stay the course” in Iraq, and that the insurgency was being defeated. But as 2005 gave way to 2006 and the U.S. death toll in Iraq kept mounting, the perception began to grow that we had taken on an impossible task, that our troops were stuck in a pointless mission they could not win, and there was a political backlash that caught most Republicans by surprise.

ObamaCare is a quagmire, and Democrats have no exit strategy.

Sadly, the exit strategy is glaringly obvious. Repeal Obamacare, and replace it with meaningful measures that A- CAN be done and B- that leave those already insured alone, and C- that actually tries to fix the problems rather than hijacking the entire healthcare system. Yeah, I know, the Democrats will never go for that will they? Now might be a time for any Democrat reading this to ask themselves why they are still a Democrat.

 

Obama cares SO much about working Americans?

That was part of his rhetoric, yet, unemployment has risen sharply, AGAIN it stands at over 8%. And, thanks to the walking brain donors who vote with their hands out, we have four more years of this! 

Stacy McCain has the “unexpected” news

Can we endure four more years of this?

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, was 7.8% for the month of November, up significantly from 7.0% for October. Gallup’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.3%, nearly a one-point increase over October’s rate.

Ed Morrissey comments:

The economy is shedding jobs at roughly the same rate as we’ve seen for [the past 18 months], and it’s not generating jobs quickly enough to give those workers enough options other than unemployment.

Given the continuing misery, why did Americans re-elect Obama?

Why? So many reasons, most revolving around the lack of an understanding of what American principles are about. Start with an education system that spends far more than it should to NOT teach about the Constitution! Add a news media that shills for Obama, and the rest of the Democrats. Add a growing sense of entitlement from so many Americans. Add a detachment from politics and things political by most of us. And of those who do try to be informed, many just skim headlines, so they end up misinformed rather than informed. Add the Americans who want to be “understood” and “related to”. Good grief we are so sensitive now. Finally, add the fact that style and not substance matters to most voters.

 

Nate Silver is the Rodney Dangerfield of Polling

He gets no respect from those Conservative bloggers, no respect I tell ya!

Stacey McCain continues to badger poor Nate Silver, who some think is THE big cheese among poll analysis. Nate, I think, has been built up past his abilities, as he continues to not see the obvious. As McCain puts it Nate Silver approaches a clue and almost gets it:

Nate Silver approaches a clue and almost gets it:

For Romney to Win, State Polls
Must Be Statistically Biased

Missed it by that much, as Maxwell Smart might say.

His headline summarizes exactly what Republican poll-mongers have been saying since September, as they see poll after poll with crazy oversamples of Democrats. As for example, the NBC/WSJ/Marist poll that has Obama winning Ohio by 6 points — SIX FREAKING POINTS!— about which Ed Morrissey says, “all you need to know is this: the D/R/I is 38/29/32.  In 2008, the exit polls showed a split of 39/31/30, and in 2010 36/37/28.”

Stop for a second and think about that: What this poll is telling us is that partisan ID has shifted 2 points toward Democrats since 2008, which was the best year for Democrats since LBJ won a landslide in ’64. Therefore, we must choose between two alternative explanations:

  1. Obama is headed toward a world-historic victory based upon the remarkable popularity of the Democratic Party; or
  2. The poll sample is fucked-up beyond all comprehension.

The issue, the problem with Nate Silver’s model is this, he is using polls that use bad sampling. Samples 2008 and 2010 are decidedly different, and frankly, the numbers from 2008 are likely outdated. A LOT has changed since 2008, not so much from 2010. The economy still stinks, the same issues that caused Democrats to lose badly two year ago remain, excitement levels about voting are still higher among Republicans than Democrats, and Romney continues to hold solid majorities among Independents. Yet, Nate Silver ignores all of that

UPDATE: Michael Flynn at Breitbart.com Friday:

This morning, because the sun rose in the East, Nate Silver again increased his odds of Obama winning reelection. Silver now estimates Obama’s chances of reelection at a precise 83.7%.

Not  83.6% mind you, not 83.8%, no 83.7%!

Is reality finally dawning on the Left?

 

The Other McCain ponders the question, and comes close to concluding that the Left has over-valued Obamamania

A steady drip, drip, drip of polling data — including a new Battleground poll showing Democrats on the losing side of an “enthusiasm gap” – has started to undermine the carefully maintained perception of Obama’s re-election as inevitable. Ed Morrissey comments:

If Obama trails in a D+8 poll by 6 among the extremely likely voters with four weeks to go, he’s in deep trouble — and his debate performance certainly won’t boost him.

Meanwhile, also via Hot Air, we find the WaPo’s Chris Cilizza as the first liberal analyst to try getting ahead of the chance that Obama might lose:

Obama’s debate performance also raised a bigger question: Is he overrated as a candidate?
Four years ago, that question would have been unimaginable 

Fast-forward to this campaign — and specifically its last two major public events — and you see Obama’s flaws as a candidate in starker relief.
His acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention was flat and, rhetorically, felt like a patchwork effort — five or six different speeches all clumped into a single address. His debate performance was glum and defensive, leaving anyone who watched with the overwhelming sense that the president would have rather been anywhere but sharing the stage with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R).

If this is all true then there is a meltdown of Biblical proportions looming for early November. SAtacy McCain offers one last analogy too good NOT to steal

Reality? What a bummer. It’s like the old joke: What did the Grateful Dead fan say after the dope wore off? “Dude, this band sucks

Amen!

 

Standing up for liberty, and fighting Leftist intimidation!

If I miss anyone who is standing up for bloggers targeted by Brett Kimberlin and his cohorts, let me know, and I will gladly include you. And do not forget to take part in Friday-may-25th-is-everybody-blog-about-brett-kimberlin-day

Zilla has her boots on

Matt at Conservative Hideout notes that the big guns are being brought to bear

Ed Morrissey ain’t standing by for this

Ace is noting the “little guys” leading this fight

Michelle is ready to roll

Film Ladd is asking some tough questions

Pope Hat is on board

Lisa Grass

Instapundit: We will NOT be silenced

Daily Pundit: Kimberlin will rue the day

Donald Douglas stands up!

An Ex-Con too

Bob Belvedere is locked and loaded!

Dan Collins suspects that Kimberlin lacks balls

William Jacobson notes the big picture

Nice Deb asks: Are you ready………

Da Tech Guy understands the price of free speech.

That Mr. G Guy: Doofus!

The LOnely Conservative: Why this matters

Granite Grok

The Lid

Goldfish and Clowns notes those who stood up first

William Teach adds his greatness

Rosslyn Smith

Yo ADRIENNE!

I Own the World PASS IT ON!

Blazing Cat Fur The Left’s criminal intimidation

American Catholic: Political thuggery

Kathy Shaidle

Jimmy Bise:Here comes the calvary

Doubleplusundead

Coalition of the Swilling: Free Stacy McCain

Dan Riehl: Kimberlin is going down like a cheap hooker on Saturday night!

Wake Up America

Darth Chipmunk: It has come to this?

Lady Liberty: Creepy

Small Dead Animals: The Left will “tolerance” us to death!

HillBuzz:

Evil Blogger Lady

israel matzav

Bob Owens has a key question for Maryland Democrats

Gay Patriot: Standing with McCain!

Patterico

POH Diaries

Political Junkie Mom: And you wonder why…

Pundit & Pundette: An ongoing nightmare

Radio Patriot: Coming this Friday BLOGBURST!

Sister Toldjah: Supporting the cause

Richard McEnroe