The letter written by Sen. Tom Cotton to the leaders of Iran and signed by 47 Republicans is not simply outrageous because it presents a dangerous challenge to the Constitutional framework under which the United States conducts foreign policy. It is important that we remember the context in which it came about. Here are a few recent events we need to keep in mind.

Judge Roy Moore:

In a dramatic show of defiance toward the federal judiciary, Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court on Sunday night ordered the state’s probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on Monday, the day same-sex marriages were expected to begin here…

“I think I’ve done what I can do: advise the state court probate judges that they’re not bound by any ruling of the Federal District Court,” he said…

His argument has deep resonance in a place where a governor, George Wallace, stood in a doorway of the University of Alabama in 1963 in an unsuccessful bid to block its federally ordered integration.

Although much has changed from Wallace’s era, Chief Justice Moore had used a series of strongly worded letters and memorandums to insist that Judge Granade, an appointee of President George W. Bush who joined the federal bench in 2002, had instigated a grave breach of law.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on EPA regulations:

So what are governors and state officials who value the well-being of the middle class to do? Here’s my advice:

Don’t be complicit in the administration’s attack on the middle class. Think twice before submitting a state plan — which could lock you in to federal enforcement and expose you to lawsuits…

So for now, hold back on the costly process of complying.

Senator Lindsay Graham:

And here’s the first thing I would do if I were president of the United States. I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We are not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts.

(Note: apparently Sen. Graham’s spokesperson suggested that when he said “literally,” he didn’t mean “literally.”)

Those aren’t the rantings of right wing radio hosts or tea party rabble rousers. They are the words of Republican leaders suggesting and/or recommending illegal actions. In other words, they are the rumblings of insurgency.

I don’t say that to fear-monger or join some bandwagon of hysteria. I’m simply quoting facts that we need to acknowledge and name accordingly.

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