Saturday, March 14, 2015
Meet the latest Bully Boy of the Republicans. Tom Cotton has made an instant impact in the Senate with the letter he crafted to Iran, "warning" the government of signing any nuclear agreement with the President. He had quite a track record from the House, where he previously served as US Representative of Arkansas.
At 37, he is much younger than the other leading lights of the GOP: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse, and has the potential to be around a long, long time. He is part of a new generation of religious conservatives, schooled in the ivy-covered halls of the Northeast, yet espousing the same religious conservative agenda of their less educated colleagues. I suppose the Harvard, Yale and Columbia degrees give these Young Turks legitimacy, but the stunts they pull in Congress defy all credulity.
I'm not sure why the Republican establishment is so willing to cast its lot behind these young senators. I suppose it is a way of reaching out to the so-called Millennials who are coming of age politically. However, by most accounts the newest "me generation" doesn't share the same religious conservative values. They seem to be more in line with Libertarians like Paul Rand, if they vote conservative.
I guess you can't blame the Republicans for trying, which is more than what the Democrats seem to be doing these days. The Dems either take this vote for granted or assume these kids won't vote at all, as you see little outreach. The leading figures in the Democratic Party are for the most part over 50, with few young voices emerging from the ranks at the national level. Not so for the Republicans, who are making a big effort to cultivate national figures under 50, even if they all too often end up sticking their feet in their mouths.
After losing the last two Presidential elections with senior citizens, you can bet the next Republican nominee won't be eligible for Social Security. Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are having a hard time gaining traction in straw polls. Christie is just 52 but even he seems like an old man in today's GOP. It just depends on who Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers and other conservative billionaires decide to put their money behind.
The Republicans let their so-called election mandate slip away in the wake of the President's executive actions and have been trying hard to counter him in recent weeks. The "open letter" to Iran was just the latest show of defiance, with Lindsey Graham proclaiming there will soon be a "veto-proof" majority to send their bill proposing new sanctions on Iran through Congress. It seems to me the Republicans are using the Iran sanctions bill to sidestep the war powers act Obama wants to fight IS, which hardly gets any news these days. The GOP is very good at deflecting issues.
However, Foreign Policy is still the primary prerogative of the White House, and Obama can choose to enforce the sanctions or not. Of course, I'm sure there will be a law suit to try to make him enforce this bill, should it become law, just as Boehner has tried to sue the president on enforcing immigration policies. Sadly, it seems it is going to be a very adversarial two years, with little compromise between the executive and legislative branches. It would be nice, however, if the Democrats would stick together in Congress, instead of joining the Republicans on this pointless sanctions bill.