By Andrew Bostom
By voting for the Corker-Cardin amendment, S.615, “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015,” all three Republican senators running for president – Ted Cruz, Rand Paul (who just “suspended” his presidential campaign) and Marco Rubio – relinquished their constitutional authority to manage one of the most important global security matters of our time.
Back in March of 2015 I supported the only member of the Senate who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Sen. Tom Cotton, and his March 9, 2015, “Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Cotton’s letter, endorsed by 46 other GOP senators, informed the theocratic totalitarians of Iran – and reminded U.S. citizens – that, “In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote.” Commendably, and consistent with the “advice and consent” power of the Senate, Sens. Cruz, Paul and Rubio, co-signed Sen. Cotton’s letter. As signatories to the Cotton letter, these senators and presidential aspirants were cognizant – then – of the anti-constitutional Obama administration approach to such a dangerously destabilizing nuclear “agreement,” shorn of senatorial review and debate, and mandatory two-thirds approval vote by that august body.
The subsequent months leading to eventual passage of the Corker-Cardin senatorial “oversight” bill, and eventual approval of the Obama administration’s agreement with Iran, however, were punctuated by ignoble, capitulatory actions on the part of Sens. Cruz, Paul and Rubio. I maintain this shared sacrifice of one their most sacred constitutional duties as senators – advice and consent – disqualifies each of them from consideration as worthy presidential candidates.
April 14, 2015, a much ballyhooed “compromise” – but in fact a constitutional capitulation – regarding S.615 was unanimously agreed upon within the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The next day, April 15, 2015, I reported my worst fears about what had actually transpired, citing p. 32 of the updated bill, under a section entitled, “EFFECT OF CONGRESSIONAL ACTION WITH RESPECT TO NUCLEAR AGREEMENTS WITH IRAN,” which states in lines 16-19:
16”(C) this section does not require a vote by
17 Congress for the agreement to commence;
18 ”(D) this section provides for congressional
19 review …”
Thus the Corker-Cardin compromise validated the Obama administration’s negotiations strategy. That “strategy” was contrary to almost all past arms control agreements of consequence, which have been Senate advice and consent treaties, whose approval requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate. The Obama administration, in contrast, was (and remains) hell-bent on giving legitimacy to Iran’s uranium enrichment program, waiving economic sanctions on Iran, and not submitting the fruits of its masterful negotiations to a congressional vote for approval, before implementing the agreement. These developments should have been a tocsin of looming calamity given that the framework fiasco for this deal included a thoroughly inadequate inspections process, while also fully ignored Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear weaponization programs.
April 28, 2014, in a belated, rather feeble effort to restore constitutional advice and consent, as the Cotton/ the GOP-47 letter emphasized a mere seven weeks earlier, Sen. Ron Johnson proposed an amendment to the Corker Cardin Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, “To declare that any agreement reached by the President relating to the nuclear program of Iran is deemed a treaty that is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.” That evening Sen. Johnson’s amendment was voted down, 39 yea, 57 nay, a majority of senators rejecting this last-ditch effort to give the Iran nuke deal the international treaty status it merited. Sen Cotton, of course, voted to approve the amendment. To his credit, Sen. Paul voted “yea” as well. But the two other Republican presidential candidates, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, did not even vote on the amendment.
The next day, in a Washington Times op-ed, April 29, 2015, Sen. Ted Cruz observed, appositely:
“Thus, Corker-Cardin motion of disapproval reverses the ordinary presumptions. Instead of the President needing 67 Senate votes to ratify the Iran deal, it would now require 67 votes to stop an Iran deal. This makes no sense.”
Less than a week later, Wednesday, May 6, 2015, Cruz redoubled his criticism of Corker Cardin, calling it a “bad bill.” Cruz added that legislation, “is unlikely to stop a bad Iran deal … this issue [the Iran nuke deal] is far too important to send a bad bill simply to send a message. This legislation at best will slow down slightly a terrible deal. Don’t have a fig leaf vote.”
But the very next day, May 7, 2015, while brave Sen. Cotton alone held fast to principle, Sen. Cruz joined the rest of the senatorial lemmings, including Rubio and Paul, all three disavowing their constitutional responsibility, and voting 98 to 1 to approve the shameful Corker-Cardin capitulation. Sen. Cruz could muster only this mealy-mouthed unprincipled rationale for cravenly sacrificing his own oft-avowed constitutional purity.
“Ultimately, I voted yes on final passage because it may delay, slightly, President Obama’s ability to lift the Iran sanctions and it ensures we will have a congressional debate on the merits of the Iran deal.”
In stark contrast, Sen. Cotton reiterated his principled, constitutional objection that the Iran nuclear deal was not to be presented to the Congress as a treaty.
“A nuclear-arms agreement with any adversary – especially the terror-sponsoring, Islamist Iranian regime – should be submitted as a treaty and obtain a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate as required by the Constitution.”
The self-declared jihadist state of Iran has global hegemonic aspirations, and continues its open-ended, “fierce” jihad war with the U.S. “at all levels,” as one “moderate” Iranian adviser to former “moderate” Iranian President Khatami has explained.
Senate Republicans, most notably GOP presidential contenders Cruz and Rubio, shirked their constitutional and moral responsibility, to avoid confronting the implications of Iran’s religiously inspired bellicosity. Excepting a gimlet-eyed young Sen. Tom Cotton – who speaks candidly about tactical destruction of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, which is the only rational way to thwart Tehran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons capability – Senate Republicans – including self-proclaimed constitutional “champions” Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and “Iran hawk” Marco Rubio – cravenly acquiesced to cynical, perverse Obama administration bullying so as not to be labeled “warmongers.” All the events vis-à-vis the shameful and destabilizing Iran nuke deal that have transpired since, were set in motion by this hypocritical sacrifice of the fundamental principle of advice and consent – in Cruz’s case, within a day. Finally, to add insult to irony, on Nov. 10, 2015, in relation to a controversial nominee for U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Sen. Rubio proclaimed:
“I have always taken seriously my ‘advice and consent’ role in the Senate.”
Andrew G. Bostom, M.D., M.S., is an associate professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, and the author of the highly acclaimed “The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims,” “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History” and his most recent book, “Iran’s Final Solution for Israel—The Legacy of Shi’ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran,”. This latter book was re-issued with an updated author’s Preface within a week of the announcement, Nov. 24, 2014, that the so-called “P5 +1” Iranian nuclear negotiations were extended through July, 2015. Dr. Bostom has published numerous articles and commentaries on Islam in the New York Post, Washington Times, The New York Daily News, National Review Online, The American Thinker, Pajamas Media, FrontPage Magazine.com, Family Security Matters, and other print and online publications. More on Andrew Bostom’s work can be found at his website: http://www.andrewbostom.org.