Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tom Cotton's open letter to Iran hounds the GOP's most vulnerable senators back home

Four of the Republican's most vulnerable senators who decided to follow Sen. Tom Cotton into battle against the White House by addressing a letter to Iran's leaders are likely regretting that move. Among Cotton's 26 co-signers were Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Rob Portman of Ohio.

The letter, which was an effort to scuttle the Obama administration's diplomatic efforts to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, is also having a nuclear effect back home.

In New Hampshire: A hometown editorial read, "Ayotte signs up for a dangerous political game."

"When Ayotte signed her name on that piece of paper, she cast her lot with a thoughtless brand of politics splintered from the thread of American diplomatic history. Time and future negotiations will reveal the damage done." --The Concord Monitor
In Wisconsin: A new poll found Ron Johnson sucking wind against for Sen. Russ Feingold.
Johnson, who rode the Republican tidal wave of 2010 to victory over longtime incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold, comes in at just 32% approval, making him one of the least popular senators in the country.

Feingold, meanwhile, is the most popular Wisconsin politician included in this poll with 46/35 favorability. He holds a healthy nine-point lead over Johnson in a hypothetical re- match of their 2010 race, 50/41.

Johnson tried to deflect criticism of the letter by saying they had simply made a minor error in addressing the letter.
“I suppose the only regret is who it’s addressed to,” Johnson said during a Friday breakfast with Bloomberg staff. “But the content of the letter, the fact that it was an open letter, none whatsoever.”
For more scathing hometown reviews, head below the fold.

In Illinois: a hometown newspaper editorializes, "When contempt trumps common sense."

Kirk has not been among the crazies in Congress, particularly on foreign policy matters, but he joined them here (while notably the GOP chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, did not). Perhaps our senator should follow this little guide in the future: Any time he finds himself in agreement with Ted Cruz, he ought to reconsider. --Peoria Journal Star
In Ohio: Portman has taken a beating from multiple papers.
[T]here is no excuse for Senate Republicans’ sorry behavior, and voters should make them pay a price. Diplomacy with Iran is too important to be hijacked by a partisan sideshow. --The Toledo Blade
It's bad enough that the letter, signed by 47 senators, diminishes the dignity of the Senate by disparaging the president and presenting an amateur lesson on U.S. governance ... But worst of all, the senators' breach of protocol gives Iran something to blame if it breaks off talks on a possible deal. --The Cincinnati Enquirer
In terms of national sentiment, one poll found Americans disapproved of the letter by 42 to 28 percent, with 31 percent saying they weren't sure.

Washington Post readers were even less impressed, with an unscientific poll of more than 330,000 respondents finding that 90 percent thought Republicans had gone too far.  


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