Over the last 24 hours, there's been enormous national interest in the 47 Senate Republicans who wrote to Iran to undermine American foreign policy. Nationwide, as of a couple of hours ago, the top 10 trending Twitter topics in the United States listed "#47traitors" at the top. The list also included "#IranLetter" and "Logan Act," which the senators are accused of violating.
As the intensity of the controversy grows, there's renewed interest in Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), the right-wing freshman who organized the letter to Tehran. The GOP senator talked to msnbc this morning about the kind of policy he'd like to see.
When asked what an acceptable deal would look like to him, Cotton answered "complete nuclear disarmament by Iran." "They can simply disarm their nuclear weapons program and allow complete intrusive inspections," Cotton said.
The Arkansan added that he wants Iranians to "completely disarm their nuclear weapons program."
It's worth emphasizing that Iran does not have nuclear weapons. "Disarming" sounds like a worthy goal, but it's difficult to get rid of weapons that do not currently exist.
Cotton proceeded to quote Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu twice, and complain about Iran's dominant influence in Baghdad -- dominance made possible, of course, by the U.S. war in Iraq, a conflict Cotton supported and participated in.
The senator added there are "nothing but hardliners in Iran." What he neglected to mention is that Iran's hardliners oppose a nuclear agreement with the United States, our allies, and our negotiating partners, putting them in line with ... Tom Cotton.
As the controversy continues to unfold, Republican presidential hopefuls are slowly starting to weigh in on the matter, most notably Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who has a curious habit of answering questions he hasn't been asked.
Jindal, arguably a little too eager to draw attention to himself, this morning called on Vice President Biden to apologize to Cotton because the senator "wore the boots in Iraq," a reference to Cotton's status as a war veteran.
There's probably little point to taking Jindal's cry for attention too seriously, but for the record, let's note that Biden may have condemned the effort by American senators trying to sabotage American foreign policy, but he never denigrated Cotton's military service. In fact, Secretary of State John Kerry, who's helping lead the P5+1 talks, also "wore the boots" during his combat service, and he's probably not impressed with the 47 Senate Republicans conducting their own freelance foreign policy, either.
If you missed Cotton's appearance on msnbc this morning, here's the whole interview: