Senator Bob Menendez Becoming the Dem’s Jesse Helms


This morning, I joined Evan McMorris-Santoro, Krystal Ball, Ali Gharib and Steve Kornacki on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki to discuss Senate efforts to botch up President Obama’s & Secretary of State John Kerry’s important diplomacy with Iran.  This is not another crank at the sanctions wheel but potentially a pivotal moment in US diplomatic history and global affairs.

With all due respect to many of the good things Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has done in the domestic policy arena, in foreign affairs he is positioning himself more and more as the Democratic version of Jesse Helms.  Unlike recent Democratic and Republican chairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — including Joe Biden, Richard Lugar, and John Kerry himself — Menendez tilts towards ideological and emotional crusades, not strategic frameworks.

The segment is well worth watching.  For the moment, I have confidence that Senator Harry Reid will use his Rule 14 authority to keep the Menendez-Kirk bill in purgatory.  Letting it out for a vote could set the US on a war track with Iran and lead to staggering long-term economic and geostrategic consequences for the United States that many of the bill-supporting Senators haven’t begun to consider.


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