Bibi’s U.S. Senatorial Negotiators

It’s bad enough that Republicans are beginning to treat Bibi Netanyahu as their fantasy President. It’s getting a lot worse when 47 Republican senators basically choose to represent him in a communication with a hostile foreign country with whom our actual president is in sensitive negotiations.

From informal comments I’ve heard elsewhere, I was not alone in reacting to the news of this Republican letter to Iran basically telling them not to rely on any diplomatic commitments from the United State government by thinking: Can they do that? Is there any precedent for this?

I gather the only clear analog was a series of actions taken by Republican senators to undermine European trust in Woodrow Wilson’s position during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. So it’s not unprecedented but it’s been a while, and history has not been kind to Wilson’s senatorial tormenters.

It’s depressing to note that of the handful of senators who did not sign this letter three (Alexander, Coats and Cochran) are likely in their final terms, and a fourth (Murkowski) was last elected as a write-in candidate running against the GOP nominee. Whether it’s true or not, the perception among Senate Republicans certainly seems to be that “the base” demands this.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.