Hubris and the 47 Republicans

47 RepublicansThere is one thing that really amazes me about the open letter (pdf) from the 47 Republicans (who I hope will all commit seppuku at the end of this term because of the shame they have brought on the nation). It is the level of hubris that it is based on. What they all want to convey is that America is simply right and all other countries should fall in line. Their message to the Iranians is that the United States could back out of this agreement at any time. But that’s true regardless. And more to the point, it is also true of the Iranians.

What do the 47 Republicans think these negotiations are all about? Do they think this is just an exercise where the P5+1 countries are trying to figure out the best way to give Iran everything it wants? This is a deal that will be good for everyone involved. The only people this deal is not good for are those people who want Iran to get a nuclear weapon and those people who want to go to war with Iran. Obama was right to compare the 47 Republicans (and their leader, Benjamin Netanyahu) to the Iranian “hard-liners.” And what they want is not inconsistent: we could go to war with Iran and they could also get a nuclear weapon. All the right wing freaks could get what they want!

Brian Beutler made a compelling case on Monday, Republicans’ Attempt to Sabotage Obama’s Iran Negotiations Will Backfire. But I doubt that this letter is really intended to make any difference to the negotiations. This is what the 47 Republicans think is governing. This is the Senate equivalent of yet another vote to repeal Obamacare. You know the old saying: if you can’t do something constructive, do something that makes a lot of noise and embarrasses you. The Republicans are incapable for doing something constructive.

Another aspect of this embarrassment is the condescending tone of the letter. It reminds me of a recent episode of The Simpsons, “The Princess Guide.” In it, the Nigerian king[1] comes to Springfield to sell Uranium to Mr Burns. During the negotiations, Mr Burns keeps offering goats in exchange for the Uranium, which the king takes offense at. It’s funny when Mr Burns does that. When the 47 Republicans make roughly the same mistake — assuming that the Iranians are ignorant of our political system — it is just embarrassing.

But this just highlights the fact that the letter was not intended for the Iranians. And it was not intended for the president or any of the P5+1 countries. The 47 Republicans — like the Iranian leaders — are sophisticated people. They don’t actually believe that the Iranian leaders are primitive people who deal in goats. But they don’t mind the world thinking they do. And that’s because their base most definitely thinks that. And their base most definitely thinks that every country should just bow and fall in line behind America. And the base is who this letter was intended for: people filled with so much hubris that they think they are humble. And I doubt the 47 Republicans care that Brian Beutler is right: hurting their supposed cause doesn’t matter to them. The only thing that matters is that they win their next primary. Isn’t it time to vote to repeal Obamacare again?


[1] For the record, Nigeria has a political system modeled on ours; it has no king. But it was necessary for the plot so they could make jokes about the Nigerian prince who keeps ripping people off.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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