Here’s some unsolicited advice for Republican leaders in Washington: Think about hiring a liberal public relations firm. No, not to write your press releases. But to serve as a sounding board for political maneuvers to see how they will play in the mainstream media. The idea is to avoid another PR debacle like the recent letter to Iran.
Nothing was wrong with the content of the letter. The idea that President Barack Obama would commit the United States to a nuclear arms agreement with a hostile regime stretching over a decade or more without getting the support of Congress is ludicrous. It’s bad policy and bad politics. Unfortunately it’s also all too characteristic of a White House whose lodestar is an uber-imperial presidency.
But it was also bad policy and bad politics for the 47 Senate Republicans to address the letter to Iran’s leadership, instead of directing it to Obama. In doing that they stepped all over their constitutionally sound message and let Obama and his Democrat allies divert attention away from his again flouting something in the Constitution, this time the requirement for the Senate to concur on treaties.
Republicans will argue that Democrat House Leader Nancy Pelosi and other liberals have visited or communicated with dictators in defiance of the wishes of GOP presidents. Holding our constitutional separation of powers in contempt is what Democrats and progressives do. Republicans and conservatives shouldn’t mimic it.
Some might argue it’s not surprising that the GOP is horning in on a presidential prerogative in foreign affairs given Obama’s usurping the authority of Congress by rewriting laws on immigration, the environment and health care. But Republicans shouldn’t become accomplices in Obama’s shredding of the Constitution.
My advice about hiring a liberal PR firm is a little over the top. But the point is that too many times GOP policy seems to be formulated without serious regard for how it will sound to anyone outside the party’s base. Another example: The recent failed attempt to roll back Obama’s lawless immigration edict by holding up funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Withholding money from the agency charged with protecting Americans in the age of terror? Talk about a tin ear.
Yes, I understand the complaint that conservatives are not going to get a fair hearing in the mainstream media. But that’s the world we live in and GOP leaders have to learn to deal with it.
Maybe they are. A new fight has erupted and this one has Democrat leaders filibustering a bill with bipartisan sponsorship to help girls and women forced into sex slavery because the measure prohibits federal money being used for abortions — government policy for nearly four decades. For liberals, abortion is a good that trumps everything else, even aiding 100,000 girls and women victimized in sex trafficking. Desperate Democrats are trying to divert attention to the pending confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general. In a sleazy tactic, Democrats claim racism is behind the delay in that balloting, when actually it’s their refusal to allow a vote on the trafficking bill that is holding up Lynch’s appointment.
Many conservative policies always will face tough sledding and simple-minded coverage in the mainstream media. But Republicans shouldn’t make things worse with poor messaging like the Iran letter.
This is especially important as the presidential race looms. Republicans in Congress — and that includes the rebellious Tea Party caucus — need to think how what they do reflects on the party in general and their presidential nominee in particular. The stakes in 2016 are high. Democrats are posed to nominate in Hillary Clinton a politician who doesn’t believe the rules apply to her. Sound familiar? A Clinton White House would be a continuation of Obama’s uber-imperial presidency. We’ve seen that movie.